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Top Four “Hits the Solar Plexus” Good Reads for Bookshare Adult Members

This blog is contributed by Bookshare member and staff person, Liz Halperin.

Liz Halperin and her guide dog, Sir Welton with Jim Fruchterman in the Bookshare
Liz Halperin and her guide dog, Sir Welton with Jim Fruchterman in the Bookshare Offices

Hi everyone! I’m an avid reader and proofreader for Bookshare and work in the Collections Department. I’ve had the great fortune to read books that I might not have read otherwise.  This blog is about the books for adult readers I’ve recently read. These books took my breath away with the haunting power of their stories and quality of writing.

Alert!  Bookshare members might find some of these reads disturbing because of their sheer intensity.  My suggestions are NOT light-hearted books. If you are looking for something creative, intense, and well written, I hope you’ll read some of these titles!

Beloved, by Toni Morrison, 1993. I remember this book was popular when it was first published, and friends were telling me to read it. I thought it was going to be a typical adult-meets-adult story: they work through conflicts and end up together. So I didn’t bother with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s a story about slavery and one woman’s astounding actions. This one haunts me with its ethical questions.

Room, by Emma Donoghue, 2011. This book amazed me with its creativity in building an environment for two special characters. A mother, held captive with her five-year-old son, creates his whole world in their one room. The book was unsettling to read, then became a literary déjà vu when three women were found trapped in a basement by two brothers. They had been captives for 10 years.

Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo, 1939. I knew this story was based on a stage play, so I assumed it would be light-hearted and upbeat. But the book was a standout because it was written completely from the perspective of a man terribly wounded in war. The added forewords by the author in 1959 and again in 1970 are thought-provoking.

Little Bee, by Chris Cleeve, 2008. Chronicling the immigration of Bee, there are serious surprises here. Some reviews warned of a very gruesome scene. But this was one action scene that was important to the plot, and it did not strike me as worth scaring readers away. This story exemplifies maximum loyalty.

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, by Heidi Durrow, 2010. Rachel is the daughter of a Danish mother and an African American G.I. When she is the only survivor of family tragedy, her African American grandmother takes her in. It’s the 1980s and the girl must find her way, both internally and in her community. This may sound like a trite coming-of-age story about racial issues, but believe me, it has reason to be on my “hits the solar plexus” list.

Many thanks to Liz for her top picks!

The Bookshare Staff

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