Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny_Beautiful-680.jpgThis book is a collection of the advice column responses called Dear Sugar written by Cheryl Strayed. At the time of publication, Strayed was known to her audience only as Sugar. Completely unqualified for the job, Strayed took it anyway and her advice captured the attention of many. From love to loss to sex, Strayed his wholesome advice and shares her own life stories.

I became a huge fan of Cheryl Strayed after reading Wild. It was a life changing book. Tiny Beautiful Things was no exception. This book is filled with sound advice, and it will leave you thinking, smiling, laughing, and even crying. Some of the columns I could deeply relate to while others I just enjoyed for their perspective. No matter what the issue, however, Strayed has a way of connecting to people and forming a loving bond. I give this book a 5 out of 5. If you ever looking to be influenced by literature, Strayed novels are a great place to start.

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

purple.jpgCelie is an African-American woman living the life that was pre-determined for her. Forced marriage. Incest. Beatings. Separation from her family. Celie learned from a young age to close her mouth and take what was given to her – no matter how bad it was. Through letters to God, Celie tells the story of her life, the various people she meets, and how she changes through time.

It is very hard to describe this book without spoiling many of the events! This book easily became one of my favorites. There is a lot of sex and scenes some may consider graphic, but they are essential to making the story. I was rooting for Celie the entire book, and I was captivated by her story. This one is hard to put down. I would rate this book a 5 out of 5. There is a reason this is a well-known and vastly read novel!

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

raisin.jpgLorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is a drama that tells the story of a working class African-American family in search of their dreams. Inspired by Langston Hughes poem “A Dream Deferred”, Hansberry gives the reader an inside look at the struggles the Younger family: Walter, Ruth, Mama, Beneatha and Travis. With a life insurance check on its way, the family battles and fights over where the money should go. Mama wants to donate to the church. Ruth wants to move out of the crowded apartment. Beneatha wants to continue medical school. And Walter wants to became a Black man who follows is ambition. Who’s dream will they follow? And can money solve all their problems?

I absolutely loved this story! It was funny, heartwarming, sad, and eye-opening…all the great things you would expect from a drama. This book gives a great insight to the lives of struggling working class families, especially African-Americans during the civil rights era. This is a well told story that will have you rooting for the Youngers and praying it all works out in the end. I give this book a 5 out of 5. Quick yet fulfilling read.

Common sense media: 13+ yrs

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

bnw.jpgBernard has always felt like an outsider. In a world where babies are produced in factories, and their life is predestined, there is an expectation for how everyone should act. Relationships are frowned upon, and regular casual sex is normal and encouraged. But Bernard has a hard time living up to the societal ideals. Well, until he becomes well-known in the society for his trip amongst the savages. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a classic dystopian that envisions the world in “Henry Ford’s” time, where machines rule everything and production is a way of life.

This book really is not one of my favorites. I hardly ever decide to stop reading before I have finished a book, but I simply couldn’t take anymore of this one! While the idea and premise behind the novel is interesting, Huxley spends too much time describing scenes and not enough time telling a story. The plot can also be very difficult to follow because there are words and ideas that Huxley uses which are unique to his world, but are not explained to the reader. Overall, I give this book a 2 out of 5. I really wanted to get into it, but I didn’t have the energy to pull apart the book and focus on the detail.