10 of my unpopular bookish opinions

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. For today, the topic is ‘unpopular bookish opinions’. I really hope I don’t have to say this, but I’ll do so anyway just in case. These opinions are in no way meant to offend anyone. There you have it, disclaimer done. Let’s get into it!

I love breaking the spine of paperbacks

I said it! I love breaking the spine of paperbacks, and seeing the lines it leaves on the spine. I really like the way it looks on my shelves. It makes me feel like the book has been read and loved, like it has a history of its own. I don’t always do it as some paperbacks don’t require bending it somewhat to be able to read it properly, but it does happen quite often. Don’t worry, I don’t really lend books from others, so I’m not breaking other people’s book spines! Just my own.

I prefer paperbacks

I’m sure this is not that much of an unpopular opinion, since many people love them, but I do think there’s this love for hardcovers in the bookish community. Which is fine, obviously! Who am I to say which format you should love more? I personally prefer to read and collect paperbacks, however. I find them easier to hold and read, like the way they look read and loved (due to the spine), and am grateful they are usually cheaper.

The one thing I hate about paperbacks, however, is that there are 234234 different sizes and the chance of my series not matching is high. Looking at you, Nevermoor.

I love used books

I know that a lot of people prefer to buy their books new because they look pristine, haven’t been handled yet, or are a more direct way of supporting the author. I happen to love used books, however, and will almost always seek out a used bookstore before a regular one while traveling. Like I said with the broken spines, it makes me feel like a book has a history already, one that’s now being transferred to me.

sometimes the movie really is better

OOPS, I SAID IT. The book isn’t always better, guys. I do happen to enjoy the book more 90% of the time because there’s usually more time and space to explore the characters and world, but that’s definitely not true for every movie or TV adaptation ever.

Annihilation is a fantastic movie adaptation, for example. More on this later!

I don’t own/want to own a lot of bookish merch

Don’t get me wrong, I love bookish merch. I love the way it looks, and I admire the creators who have put so much of their hard work into it. However, I don’t own all that much. A few pouches, some socks, and a tote. That’s pretty much all the merch I’ve bought myself. Why? I honestly prefer my home to have a more minimalistic style (even though I definitely own too much to truly call myself a minimalist). Having too much stuff makes my house feel cluttered, which stresses me out.

The only bookish items I would buy are things I would use on a daily basis: (travel) mugs, pouches, a welcome mat, or a tote bag.

Obviously, no offence meant to those who do! This is just a personal preference when it comes to keeping my home uncluttered.

5 books I have unpopular opinions on

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
It’s clear how unpopular my opinion on this book is by the amount of annoying comments I get on my review. If I get one, just one, more comment that starts with “you completely misunderstood…” I’m going to scream. I absolutely despised this book and made a review/rant video to talk about the reasons why. Out of all the negative reviews I have ever made, THIS is the one I get the most hate for.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
What the fuck was this book. Seriously. SOMEONE EXPLAIN  how this one has an average rating of 4.28 on Goodreads. I hated every single sentence in this book with a fiery passion, and wish I could erase it from my mind immediately. Since that’s not possible, I decided to grace you all with a review full of quotes so you can experience the horror that is this reading experience too. This is a definitely a case of ‘the movie was better’.

The Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Perhaps a bit less unpopular than the previous two, but still. As a Harry Potter fan, I am deeply disappointed in this one. Yes, I knew this was a play before reading it. Yes, I knew it wasn’t written by Rowling herself. Those are not the reasons I hated it. I disliked it because it broke the few rules of magic established in the original series, because the characters didn’t even seem like themselves, and because of the blatant queerbaiting.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My hate for this book is no secret. I simply don’t understand why everyone loves this, or why it’s a classic in the first place. Supposed symbolism aside, let’s all agree on the fact that this book is incredibly boring. Nothing happens. At all.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This was such a popular mystery novel/thriller when it first came out, and it even won the Goodreads Choice Award in that category. I thought it was incredibly boring, and really struggled to finish it.

Do you agree with my unpopular opinions? Tell me some of yours in the comments!

recommendations from my favorite genre (some more fantasy for you all)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, we’re talking about books from our favorite genre. For me, that’s fantasy. I’ll try to give some recommendations I think a lot of you haven’t read yet. Here are my picks for this week.

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke
This fantasy novel is perfect for a cosy winter day. It’s a polar fantasy, in which the main character goes on a quest to the Goddess to save her village after the red lights in the sky appear. After all, red is a warning.

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
I want more people to read this incredible Asian-inspired fantasy trilogy. It’s one of my favorite series, and I own them all in hardcover. If you know me, you realize that’s a big deal. I usually buy paperback only. It has witches, necromancy, betrayal, royalty, and battling kingdoms.

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova
I have seen quite a lot of people talking about Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series, but not necessarily about her Loom Saga. This is a new adult fantasy series in which the Five Guilds were conquered by the Dragon King. Ari is doing everything she can, as an engineer turned thief, to thwart the Dragon usurpers. It’s brilliant! By making this list, I’m also reminding myself to finally read the third book…

Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn & Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier
I’ve mentioned Juliet Marillier quite often, because she’s such an underrated author when it comes to fantasy. Dreamer’s Pool follows Blackthorn and Grim, who live on the fringe of a mysterious forest. Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance in exchange for freedom, and now she has to spend 7 years assisting those who need her help.

Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier
I’ve been in love with this series since I was a teenager, and I’m still urging people to read it to this day. The first book is the story of 7 siblings, 1 sister and 6 brothers, who have been cursed by their stepmother. The 6 brothers have turned into swans, and the only way Sorcha can save them is by weaving them shirts from weeds with painful thorns and not uttering a sound until she can put the clothes around their necks.

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Out of all of Holly Black’s novels, I feel like I barely see anyone talk about White Cat. I absolutely loved this urban fantasy trilogy, so I’m boosting it here. The main character, Cassel, comes from a worker family (think maffia) and has conned his way into a fancy school. I’d suggest listening to the audiobooks of these, as they’re narrated by Jesse Eisenberg.

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik
Once again, a popular author in the bookish community, but an frequently overlooked series. Temeraire follows Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire, during the Napoleonic Wars. Sounds epic, doesn’t it?

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
For those of you who are craving a graphic novel, I’d recommend Nimona. Nimona is a young shapeshifter who wants to become the sidekick of a villain. Together, they battle the good side! But is it really the “good” side?

Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1) by Rachel Aaron
Another urban fantasy for you all, and another dragon book! Heartstrikers focuses on Julius, the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan. He’s always looked down upon by the others because he’s a nice dragon. Dragons aren’t supposed to be nice. It has magic, dragons, ghosts, ancient feuds, evil, scheming and backstabbing, and everything you could ever want.

Sunbolt (Sunbolt Chronicles #1) by Intisar Khanani
A very underrated fantasy series to close off my list. Hitomi gets caught working for the Shadow League, an underground movement, by Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame and she’ll need every ounce of courage and magical powers she can summon to escape. Be prepared and buy the second book immediately, though, because the first one is very short and you’ll be left wanting more.

Have you read any of these books? Which fantasy novels would you recommend me?

favorite book releases of the past 10 years | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is our favorite books of the past 10 years. As in, a book per year. I thought this was such a fun topic! I did decide to not pick multiple books in a series if I could avoid it, because otherwise this list might just consist of 2 series. Let’s get into it!

To clarify, these are ordered by the year they were published in not the year I read them in.


2010 – The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
I only managed to read The Way of Kings in 2018, but I was blown away by it. To be honest, I don’t know how to describe this book to people who haven’t read it. It’s an epic fantasy novel everyone should read. I feel like this is a novel you shouldn’t know much about before starting it, so you can discover the world, history, and characters for yourself.

2011 – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Who is surprised I picked The Song of Achilles? Absolutely no one. This is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I will never stop singing its praises.

2012 – The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Although it’s been a while since I’ve read The Raven Boys, I feel like it still deserves a spot on this list. I’m usually not very into the magical realism genre or paranormal stories and this series definitely has that vibe. However, I found myself growing attached to the characters pretty quickly, and falling in love with the atmosphere of the novel.

2013 – Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop
I haven’t picked up the spin-off/continuation of this series yet, but The Others has been on my favorite reads of the year lists for ages. I think I’ve read Written in Red at least 5 times by now.

2014 – Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Red Rising was the first dystopian novel I fell in love with in a while. It’s quite a brutal story, and the main character is definitely not very likeable, but that’s why I enjoyed reading it so much.


2015 – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Who cried their eyes out while reading this? That’s right, I did. I’ve recommended this book to three of my family members and 2 of my friends already, and I’ll keep doing so until everyone I know is sick and tired of hearing me go on about it.

2016 – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Radio Silence was the first Alice Oseman book I ever read, and it’s still my favorite of her works today. It’s quietly brilliant, and I found it so relatable (despite not having that much in common with any of the main characters). If there was ever a YA contemporary novel to read, it’s this one.

2017 – If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
I never thought I’d find another novel like The Secret History that I could love just as much. They both have similar themes which is the reason I picked up If We Were Villains at my local library. I’m happy to say that I love both pretty equally. This story revolves around Oliver, who is being released from jail after 10 years for a murder he may or may not have committed.

2018 – Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence
I’ve been raving about this trilogy ever since I read Red Sister in January 2018. I was scared the sequel wouldn’t live up to the epicness of the first book, but I needn’t have worried. I ended up adoring the second book even more, even if I didn’t deem it possible.

2019 – The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco
I know it’s pretty early on in the year and I can’t truly pick my favorite 2019 release yet. However, I’m certain that no matter how many new releases I pick up this year, The Shadowglass will remain in my top 3 favorites. I’ve been in love with these novels since I received an e-ARC of the first book in 2016, and I can’t believe it has come to an end. Did I shed a few tears at the end? Yes, I did.

Those are some of my favorite books arranged by publication year! What are some of your favorite books? Did you also have a hard time picking only one book a year?

books I keep pushing everyone to read (are these books my brand?)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is actually “books I refuse to let anyone touch”, but I don’t really have any books like that. Are there books I would only lend out with specific instructions to take care of them? Of course. That really only goes for my illustrated editions of Harry Potter, though.

Instead, I thought I would talk about the books I keep mentioning over and over again on this blog. Ones that have been on countless recommendations lists. I saw this video go around on BookTube where people were talking about the books that are their “brand”, which are really the books everyone associates with those specific vloggers. It seemed like a fun video, so why not create a blog post around it? Let’s get into the books!

Let me know whether you predicted any of these books to actually be on my list! I would love to know whether this is all in my head or not.

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence
Ever since I read this book at the start of 2018, I’ve been pushing it onto everyone here. I’ve mentioned it countless times, because I still feel like not enough people have read it. It’s a character-driven story that is action-packed at the same time, and follows a girl called Nona who is training to become a Red Sister – a nun of battle, basically. Also, 98% of the characters in this book are female. YES.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
While The Secret History is an incredibly popular novel in general, I feel like I don’t see it mentioned that often in the bookish community. Maybe I’m simply not following the people who also adore this book? Either way, everyone should read it. I know it may seem like an intimidating and somewhat snobbish read, but I promise you it’s worth it. Instead of the classic whodunnit, this novel is more of a whydunnit.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This is one of the only books on my shelves I’ve actually lent out to people “in real life”. I hate saying in real life, but I don’t know how else to convey what I mean. I’ve lent it out to family and friends, and recommended the translated novel to those in my life who don’t read in English. Everyone I have recommended it to has loved it so far, which says something, right? It’s a WWII historical fiction novel about two French sisters during the German occupation of France.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I’m sure the majority of you are sick and tired of seeing me mention The Song of Achilles. Guess what? I couldn’t care less. I’m going to keep talking about it until everyone has read it. It’s a retelling of the Iliad through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles’ best friend and partner.

I Hear the Sunspot volume 1 by Yuki Fumino
I Hear the Sunspot is a very recent addition to this list, because I only read it two months ago. The reason I’m adding it to this list is because I know I’ll keep recommending this manga for years to come. It’s absolutely wonderful. I became obsessed with it immediately, and binge-read the three English volumes available at the moment – as well as the unofficial translation of the next issues out so far. I NEED MORE INFORMATION ON WHEN THE NEXT ONES WILL BE RELEASED. This manga follows two guys at university. One of them offers to take notes for the other, who is hearing impaired, in exchange for lunch. They quickly develop a friendship, and more…

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Once again, I’ve talked about this book so often. Duh, Jolien, that’s what this entire list is about… To this day, Radio Silence is one of my favorite YA contemporary reads. It’s quietly brilliant. It has a biracial, bisexual main character who creates fanart for her favorite podcast and becomes friends with the podcasts’ creator, Aled. There is no romance between them whatsoever, which is refreshing.

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan
I feel like I haven’t talked about these books in a while, even though that’s probably a lie. Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favorite fantasy authors so far, ever since I read Theft of Swords in 2015. This series has all the fantasy tropes I love, and I’ve become so attached to the two main characters.

Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop
How many times have I read Written in Red since first picking it up in 2013? I’ve marked it as read 4 times on Goodreads, but I know I’ve done re-reads of it without adding it to Goodreads. This urban fantasy series is absolutely fantastic. It has a large cast of characters, but the author manages to make you feel attached to every single one of them. There really aren’t any characters I don’t have any feelings on. Either I love them, hate them, want to protect them, want to kill them, or want to be them.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch
Once again, I feel like I don’t need to explain why The Lies of Locke Lamora is on this list. I have been in love with this series for years, and am (im)patiently waiting for the next book to be released. It’s about the Gentleman Bastards, who rob both rich people and other robbers. It’s magnificent.

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
I feel like I haven’t screamed about this series enough, to be honest. I absolutely adore it, yet I never even reviewed the second book? I recently read the last book in the trilogy, and will be reviewing it soon. It’s Asian-inspired YA fantasy, and reminds of of The Name of the Wind. It’s told in two timelines: one in which the main character discovers she’s a bone witch (Dark asha), and one in which she has been exiled from the kingdom and is raising an army of dead monsters to proclaim war.

Did you guess these correctly? Are there any books you feel I shouldn’t have put on this list, or ones that I should’ve added instead? Let me know! I find the idea of a “brand” as a book blogger quite interesting, because I want to know which books you all associate with me. Which books are your “brand”?  I’d love to hear about it!

book-to-movie adaptations I would recommend | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic of the week is ‘page to screen freebie’ which means we can choose any topic related to adaptations. I chose to talk about 10 movie adaptations of books I’ve read that I actually enjoyed. I found this quite difficult because there are a lot of movie adaptations I haven’t watched, books I haven’t read of movies that I have watched, or just adaptations I didn’t like. Looking at you, Eragon. However, I managed to come up with 10 I really liked. Let’s get into it!

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Annihilation is by far one of the weirdest movies I have seen in a while. While I liked the book, I have to admit I enjoyed watching the movie more. I’d highly recommend seeing it, if you haven’t already! Prepare to feel like you’re hallucinating for the last 15 minutes though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Listen, I loved reading The Martian. It’s a science fiction survival story with a good dose of humor – a combination that’s quite difficult to nail. I was terrified that the movie wouldn’t be able to reach the same level of enjoyment for me, but I shouldn’t have worried. While it wasn’t as great as the book, it was a fantastic adaptation.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I don’t think I could ever make a list of favorite movie adaptations without putting The Lord of the Rings on it. These remain some of my all-time favorite movies, and I regularly rewatch them.

Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I haven’t watched the Narnia movies nearly as much as I have The Lord of the Rings, but they are still solid movies I’d recommend. Well, I don’t think I necessarily have to recommend these, because surely the majority of you have already seen them. This is a case in which I watched the movie before reading the book, and would highly recommend watching the movies instead. Not that the books are bad! The movie is just great.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians was one of my most anticipated book-to-movie adaptations in a long time. I listened to the audiobook while traveling, and absolutely loved it. Combined with the fact that it was the first Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast in decades, I was excited. I went to watch the movie in theaters with my friend, and we both adored it. I had read the book, she hadn’t. She did borrow my copy of the book afterwards though, since she wanted more time with the characters. Would highly recommend!

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I honestly didn’t think I would love this movie. I never watched this movie growing up, or read the book, for that matter. I ended up reading the book a little while ago, and watching the adaptation immediately afterwards. They’re quite different but I loved both story lines.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
I think this is a given, no? I watched the movie adaptation of Jenny Han’s series immediately after its release on Netflix, and thought it was so adorable. I’ve only read the first book in the series, and I don’t think I’ll continue. I will, however, continue to watch the movies as they come out.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I think The Hunger Games is another series that’s always on best book-to-movie adaptations, and I agree with that choice. I haven’t actually watched the Mockingjay movies, but the first two were incredible. Especially Catching Fire.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I mentioned Love, Simon in my 2018 ranked post – movie edition. I watched it last year in May, and fell in love with it. It’s absolutely adorable, and I found myself smiling like an idiot throughout the majority of the movie. If somehow you haven’t watched this one yet, please do. I promise you’ll feel happy afterwards.

Het Engelenhuis by Dirk Brack – movie is called ‘Bo’
For my last choice, I went with a Belgian book and movie. I read Het Engelenhuis (the Angel House) as a teenager, and watched the movie when it came out in 2010. This is the story of a young girl who grows up in a poor family, and decides to start earning some money by becoming an escort like one of her friends. It quickly spirals out of control and she ends up in prostitution – all while being controlled by her “boyfriend”. She goes to juvie, and that’s where a big part of the story takes place.

Have you watched any of these movies? Which adaptations do you love?

characters that remind me of myself | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I knew this week’s topic would be difficult from the moment I read the prompt, because I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction novels in which the main characters are genius, courageous and impulsive people, which I’m definitely not. However, I’ll try my best to look for some characters that remind me of myself. Here are my picks for this week’s TTT!


Jasnah – The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
While I was reading The Way of Kings, there was one passage in particular in which Jasnah reminded me of myself. In her world, being an atheist is unthinkable – people can’t understand the fact that Jasnah does not believe. Devotaries come to her all the time, trying to convince her of the fact that their religion is true. I’m not saying that I deal with this all the time. It’s not like every person I know is trying to change my religious beliefs – or lack thereof. Even still, I’ve always been very conscious of the fact that neither I nor anyone in my family really believes. I’ve never been able to find reason within religion, yet I’m not completely opposed to it either (if that makes any sense).

Leah – Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
I know that a lot of people were disappointed in this novel because they disliked Leah. I, on the other hand, saw a younger version of myself in her. Yeah, Leah wasn’t the nicest person. She held grudges for ridiculous reasons, and often felt left out by her friends – even when there was really no reason for it. That’s exactly what I was like as a teenager too. Am I proud of that today? No, of course not. I’ve grown as a person, and so will she. That doesn’t mean that we have to erase our pasts, and the mistakes we made though.

Filippa – If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
A few years ago, I came across this Tumblr post that really stayed with me. It was someone talking about how they always felt like the one additional person in a group, the one no one would really miss, or everyone would talk over at times. The one who always ends up walking alone when the sidewalk isn’t wide enough for everyone to walk side by side. I have always felt like that as well. I know that in many cases, that wasn’t actually true. In my mind, it was though. That’s why Filippa reminded me of myself in If We Were Villains. She’s someone who is easily overlooked, but doesn’t miss anything herself. She observes everything and knows it all, yet people don’t notice her.

He watches her leave, then asks, “How much does she know?” “She knows everything.” He frowns, eyes nearly disappearing beneath his thick brows. “People always forget about Filippa,” I add. “And later, they always wish they hadn’t.”

Elle – Geekerella by Ashley Poston
The reason why Elle reminded me of myself is not as deep or philosophical as the last one was, so don’t worry. I simply relate to Elle’s love for Starfield so much. Growing up, I adored Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon. I still do. Becoming immersed in fandom was a huge part of my life, just like it is in Elle’s. I can also relate to her hearing news of a (new) movie adaptation and being wholly displeased with it. looking at you, Eragon.

Sylv – This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Unfortunately, this is quite a sad pick. If I remember correctly, one of Sylv’s immediate family members has dementia. While I can’t relate to having to take care of a family member who suffers from the disease, I do know what it’s like to one day see a person you love so much and have them not recognize you.

Frances – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
One of the reasons I appreciate this book so much is because of Frances. I was over the moon to finally read a contemporary YA novel in which the main character is an introvert who would rather stay at home and immerse herself in her favorite stories, podcasts or hobbies than go partying. Even better, Alice Oseman shows us through Frances that if you are an introvert, you don’t need to change that integral part of you to have meaningful friendships and/or a happy and fulfilling life.

Like I mentioned earlier, it was very difficult to find characters in books I loved who reminded me of myself. I did manage to find 6 fictional people I feel a true connection with though, which is a surprising amount. I think I prefer to read about people who are very different from me. Escapism, right? Have you read any of these books? Are there any characters that remind you of yourself? 

10 books that made me think | #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about thought-provoking or inspirational books. I decided to go for 10 books that made me think, ones that sparked a discussion within me.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Probably a novel that will be on many people’s lists, but I couldn’t leave it out either. There’s a reason this book is so popular. Not only is the writing incredible, but it’s a brilliant look on the Black Lives Matter movement, and why there’s still such a long way to go in battling racism.

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland
Yes, this book makes you think because it’s a memoir of someone who escaped North Korea. He describes his life as a child, a poor orphan, in North Korea and what he had to do to survive on the streets. However, his life before escaping and his eventual escape aren’t the parts of this book that truly made me think. At the end of the book, Sungju Lee talks about what the world needs to do to prepare for a reunification, especially what South Korea and the West need to do. We always talk about how North Korea will have to adapt, but we always seem to neglect our duty when it comes to helping people integrate.

Night by Elie Wiesel
Another memoir, I know. Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, and this is a record of his memories of being deported to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Honestly, it’s terrifying, brutal and awful – and a book everyone needs to read. It’s very short, so there’s no excuse not to pick it up.

Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Time for a more light-hearted pick. One of the reasons I love Radio Silence is because of its discussion on education. Alice Oseman addresses how university isn’t the best option for everyone, and definitely isn’t the only way to a happy and “successful” life. I feel like we need to talk more about that here. I don’t know how we are all expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives at 18, but that’s basically how the world works in the West.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
The whole premise of this book is to give voice to the women affected by war. In the story of the Iliad, we never really talk about the fate of the women of conquered states. Their voices are always silenced. This novel is told through eyes of Briseis, and made me realize how skewed our vision of history truly is. We only tend to hear the side of the victor. History is so subjective, and I can’t imagine how many millions of voices have been silenced.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
This was such a funny, quick read yet it was thought-provoking at the same time. The story revolves around a woman who has been working in a convenience store for the past 18 years. It talks a lot about fitting in with society, how we perceive anyone who is different as abnormal or weird, and how quick we are to judge others. It’s such an interesting read!

Naoko by Keigo Higashino
Naoko follows a man called Heisuke, whose wife and daughter were in a traffic accident. His wife passes away while his daughter ends up in a coma. When she wakes up, however, she claims to be his wife and knows things about their life together only his wife would know. Yet she’s stuck in their daughter’s body. This book made me think so much! What would I do were I in Naoko’s, his wife, place? What would I do if I were in Heisuke’s situation? There are so many dilemmas and grey areas in this situation, and it was endlessly fascinating.

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohbe
I know, this might seem like an odd pick to a lot of you. However, I can’t help but put myself in Light’s position while reading this. What would I do if I found the death note? Would I use it? On the one hand, I could rid the world of criminals. On the other hand, who am I to decide who lives and dies? Does committing a crime automatically mean you should die? Is there a certain degree of brutality to reach before your life becomes forfeit? After all, not all crimes are equally as horrifying. It’s an interesting thought, and raised questions I still haven’t been able to answer.

Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
I find it incredibly impressive how thought-provoking Binti was, considering it’s a novella and thus quite short. In this science fiction novella, there’s a war going on between multiple species and the spaceship Binti is on gets attacked. This talks about how we don’t even try to understand other people’s culture, but take and steal what we can to put it on display as “exotic”. At least, that’s what I got out of this read.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
I only just finished this book but marked so many passages to tab later. Minnow Bly is a girl who grew up in a cult, and is now in juvie after attacking someone after her escape. The book challenged my view on revenge, justice, and punishment for sure. Is it acceptable to use violence to get out of an abusive situation? For some people, there really is no other option. In the end, it’s the victims who get punished. They did what they needed to do to survive, yet end up in jail. However, we can’t simply condone violence and murder either. It’s just such a difficult situation, and this is why I could never be a judge.

Have you read any of these books? Which books sparked a discussion within you?