Welcome back to another Winter Term at Lawrence! Everywhere you look, glasses are fogged up, snow boots are donned and hands are freezing. All of these signs can only mean one thing — it is the perfect time to stay inside and get cozy with a new book! And luckily for you, I had some time to read a few books over break, so I have a few recommendations up my sleeve to help you get back into the reading groove. Were any of the books I read the ones I mentioned potentially reading in the last edition? Not in the slightest! But sometimes the book you want to read and the one you find yourself needing to read are two different things, and that is totally okay!
In my case, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and read a nonfiction book rather than my usual mystery novel or fiction piece. In the Dream House is a memoir by Carmen Maria Machado that is unlike any other memoir I have picked up, and it tackles some rather sensitive subjects to a great extent, such as partner abuse and sexual assault in a same-sex relationship. So, if you do not feel comfortable reading that sort of content, then this might not be the book for you, in which case I have a post-apocalyptic piece that might float your boat mentioned later in this article.
What made this memoir unique was Machado’s writing style, though when I say that I do not mean her word choice. While her writing was rather down to earth and easy to read, the chapter design was what drew me in. She titled every chapter with “Dream House as…” and proceeded to change what filled in the final blank. For example, she had a chapter titled “Dream House as Demonic Possession” or “Dream House as Choose Your Own Adventure.” The chapter lengths varied and could be as short as just a line or over twenty pages, and the story itself had almost a non-linear structure. You can follow the plot and the passage of time as her relationship develops, but you often are told the story through numerous metaphors and footnotes at the bottom of the page, since she found it difficult to find the right words to describe her traumatic experiences.
Despite its unconventional form, Machado managed to create a heartbreaking piece depicting her account of partner abuse in an LGBTQ+ relationship. It is hauntingly tragic, yet the experience of reading it was worth every teardrop. I would recommend this for anyone who adores memoirs and wants a new one to read that features a LGBTQ+ perspective and a unique format.
The other book I read over break was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It tells the story of a boy and his father as they try to survive, yet the rest of the details are vague. Our main characters have no names, the disaster that created this wasteland is never mentioned and there is very little dialogue included. All that matters is, as the title suggests, the road and the dangers the characters encounter on the way to the East Coast. It is a bleak tale of survival, highlighting the disturbing details of how far people may need to go to survive. It is a gruesome read, yet still an interesting one. I would recommend this for anyone who is a sucker for books that take place in a post-apocalyptic world and wants to read something that is simple, yet super captivating to read.
That is all for this week’s recommendations! Hopefully you all can stay warm this week and can find some time to read for fun between assignments. Until next time, happy reading!