The Five Best Non-Required Books to Read this Fall
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 22:09
Fed up with physics? Lost with Latin? Bored with Boethius? Sometimes reading for class can be overwhelming, especially when a student is assigned a 300-page book to read within 24 hours. That’s no reason to give up on literature altogether, though. The Oracle has comprised a list of the five best new fiction books to read this fall.
“Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures” by Emma Straub, Published Sept. 4, 2012
Straub demonstrates her talent for description in this captivating novel, which centers around a young Wisconsin beauty named Elsa Emerson. Set in the 1920s, the novel follows Emma as she transitions from a small-town celebrity at the local playhouse to an Oscar-winning actress in the studio era of Hollywood. Both intimate and expansive, “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures” is a fresh take on ambition and the American dream.
“Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel, Published May 8, 2012
This work of historical fiction is the follow-up to Mantel’s 2009 Booker Prize-winning novel “Wolf Hall.” “Bring Up the Bodies” begins where “Wolf Hall” left off, chronicling the life of Anne Boleyn. The novel deals less with the actual facts of Boleyn’s life and more with the multitude of conspiracy theories propagated by Henry VIII’s camp. This is a devastating read as Mantel allows the reader to inhabit the terrifying mindset of Boylen during her last years. Fans of history and horror will revel in this compelling read from one of the best
historical fiction writers of all time.
“Dare Me” by Megan Abbott, Published July 31, 2012
This book is about a group of high school teenagers, but don’t let that throw you off. These teenage girls are holy terrors. While drinking, doing drugs and having sex through their high school days, they reign as queens. When a new cheerlreading coach enters the girls’ lives, she quickly becomes inappropriately involved with her squad, inviting them over to her house for drinks, encouraging eating disorders and pushing the girls to try dangerous cheerleading moves that ultimately result in tragedy. “Dare Me” is also a mystery — when the man the coach is having an affair with is found dead after an apparent suicide, the focus is placed on the both the coach and the girls. Add in a surprise ending and you have one good read on your hands.
“The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman, Published July 31, 2012
Stedman writes beautifully in this tale of a young Australian man and his wife who live on a remote island as keepers of a lighthouse. After years of struggling to conceive a child with no success, the couple finds an abandoned baby and claims the child as their own. Stedman’s stunning debut novel heavily examines the importance of justice and morality when humans are confronted with overwhelming loss and isolation. “The Light Between Oceans” is a haunting read that will stay with you long after the final page.
“Narcopolis” by Jeet Thayil, Published April 12, 2012
If you enjoyed “Slumdog Millionaire,” you’ll love this novel by Indian writer Jeet Thayil. Set in Mumbai during the 1970s, Narcopolis focuses on the devastation surrounding India at the time — namely drug addiction and human trafficking — where the only redemption and chance to witness beauty was via the movies. Much like “Slumdog Millionaire,” The novel leaves the reader feeling both appalled and intrigued by the hellish existence of everyday life during a time and place where human life meant so little.