Reader Recommendations with Lisa Snead / by Madeleine

Hey, readers!

Today I have another round of Reader Recommendations for you from a fellow bookworm. Lisa also inhabits the bookstagram world as @imlisaann and blogs over at Lisa Ann Reads. I'm really excited about her picks today because I haven't read a single one of them yet!

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Lisa, tell us a little about yourself!

I'm an Austin, Texas transplant from the East Coast, Red Sox fan, disability rights attorney, wannabe yogi, and enthusiastic dog mom. I can almost always be found with a book in my hand. My go-to books are usually LitFic, WWII fiction, or narrative non-fiction, though I'll read almost anything. Bonus points for well-done magical realism.

Our bookish tastes totally align. Tell us some of your favorites!

Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card

I love this book because every time I read it I find something new. There's the obvious appeal for sci-fi fans since the book follows children training for a galactic battle against an alien species coming to take over earth. Even outside of this, however, the book raises important questions of what it means to harm one person to save the many, the necessity (or not) of telling the truth to those impacted by it, and even what it means to be a child growing up in a time of war. I love that this book is being taught in the local high school curriculum here. While Ender's Game is full of buggers and blasters, don't let the word "aliens" turn you off. I'm not usually an alien fan and very picky about sci-fi, but Ender's Game is a book with cross-genre and cross-gender appeal--the aliens are just the tool to set the stage for the larger questions Card is raising. (If you absolutely love sci-fi, the rest of the series is worth a read, particularly Xenocide and Speaker for the Dead, but otherwise, I'd just stick to Ender's Game).

The March Trilogy

by John Lewis

Before you judge me, this trilogy is literally the only graphic novels I can remember reading since the days of reading Archie and Jughead while waiting for my mom to finish paying for groceries. Representative John Lewis is perhaps best known for his leadership during the Civil Rights Movement, including marching with Dr. King in Selma, Alabama. March is the story of his early life and his life in the movement, culminating in that march. Interspersed within the flashback of his life are scenes from the inauguration of President Obama. Y'all--I never thought a comic book could make me cry, but here we are. I'm tearing up again just thinking about it. The novels are inspiring and more easily accessible than his actual autobiography--Walking With the Wind (which I also recommend). They're also sobering to read as current events seem more and more to remind me that this work isn't done. These are best savored--it would be easy to speed through them, but I found I got the most out of them when I made a point to read them slowly over several days.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

by Sherman Alexie

This recently-published memoir recounts Alexie's memories of his mother and the larger impact she had on him, his family, and the reservation where Alexie grew up. The memoir is told as an amalgam of essays and poems, with parts of the poems sung as First Nation chants. I highly recommend the audiobook--there are times Alexie is chuckling while reading, others where he can barely speak through tears. He also sings the chants he's interwoven into the poetry. This book made me laugh, tear up, and get angry at the treatment of First Nation peoples in this country.

The Double Bind

by Chris Bohjalian

Not to brag too much but I have a pretty uncanny ability to predict twists in TV shows and books--it kind of annoys my boyfriend. With that said, I completely missed the twist in this book the first time I read it. The story follows a social worker as she recovers from an assault and becomes entangled with trying to discover how one of her clients became homeless, all within a world where The Great Gatsby is not a work of fiction, but rather historical fact. I couldn't put this book down and still pick it up at least once a year for a re-read. (Significant trigger warning for sexual assault.)

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Thank you Lisa for sharing these great reads with us! I've bumped at least one of these titles onto my must-read-soon list!

See any favorites above? Have a recommendation for Lisa based on these picks? Let us know!