THE rainy days may be here for a while, so there’s no better time than now to catch up on your reading and curl up with a book that will transport you to another realm or teach you a thing or two about current societal issues. Here are some titles to keep an eye out for and add to your reading list:
“If I Had Your Face” | Author: Frances Cha
SET in Seoul, South Korea, this tells the story of four young women living in the same apartment complex as they deal with female friendship, tears and triumphs amid a K-pop-soaked culture surrounded by misogyny, consumerism and impossible beauty standards. The author carefully dissects contemporary life for women, demeaning cultural norms, male dominance and decreased economic opportunities and all.
“A Long Petal of the Sea” | Author: Isabel Allende
THIS story follows a pregnant widow in 1930s Spain and her tormenting pilgrimage over mountains and seas to escape civil war. She settles in Chile with her deceased lover’s brother, whom she’s bound to in a marriage of convenience. Transcendent and life-affirming, this novel is an example of how one can find joy even in a refugee experience and how there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
“Sansei and Sensibility” | Author: Karen Tei Yamashita
A collection of daring and delightful stories, this book is a remix of Jane Austen’s classic novels and the Japanese American immigrant experience of southern California families in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Here, Mr. Darcy captains the football team and public school bake sales, all while the stories tackle inheritance and wisdom of generations, among others.
“Exciting Times” | Author: Naoise Dolan
An Irish expat named Ava teaches English to wealthy children in Hong Kong. She becomes romantically entangled with a rich banker who has commitment issues, and with another woman, a lawyer who’s both enviable and desirable. The author explores insightful truths about modern love and all its eccentricities, and the gap between the haves and have nots.
“Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation” | Author: Anne Helen Peterson
A book of cultural criticism, this exposes the forces that have left millennials feeling disempowered and deprived. It also sheds light on this generation’s gig economy, monetization of hobbies and how they’re incredibly influenced by social media.