Recent Reads | November 2020

November 28, 2020

Herione, by Mindy McGinnis

If you read recent post entitled A Course on the Heroin Epidemic: Initial Thoughts & More, you would know Heroine, by Mindy McGinnis is a required reading in the course. I finished it around a week ago in just a couple of days, as it was an easy, engaging read and I learned so much about drug use, addiction, and recovery. For anyone interested in learning more about this issue, I would highly recommend this book as an introductory novel. Though it is fiction and is classified as a young adult novel, it gives a very comprehensive introduction to the opioid problem and highlights how it affects everyone, no matter their gender, race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

As a part of a Summer Reading Committee at my school, I as well as the other members of the groupboth student and faculty—were given three books from a long list we narrowed down at the end of the summertime to read and discuss throughout the end of the fall and winter term. The first book I read was Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. To quote Toni Morrison, who is referenced on the cover of this novel, Between the World and Me is "required reading." The book is formatted as a letter to the author's teenage son and explores what it means to grow up as a Black person in the United States. Especially given the terrible racial injustices that occurred over the past summer and exposed the deep-rooted, systemic racism in America, this novel is all the more essential for people to read, particularly those individuals who identify as White. Aside from the insights I gained from Ta-Nehisi Coates' book, I was also awed by his beautiful writing style and the way he captured and expressed his internal thoughts and emotions. The fact that it was formatted as a letter to his son made his words even more impactful.

Body Talk, edited by Kelly Jensen

Another novel that I read as a part of my membership in the Summer Reading Committee is Body Talk. As the cover of the book states, Body Talk, edited by Kelly Jensen, is comprised of thirty-seven voices mostly in the form of three to six paged personal narratives, but also includes illustrations, interviews, and FAQs. Ranging from topics of scoliosis, dwarfism, and other physical disabilities to cancer, eating disorders, and gender and sexuality, the book offers a very wide range of perspectives and seeks to explore how the bodies we live in affect how we moves and view the world and also strives to promote healthy and loving relationships with ourselves and our bodies. Often, these issues are viewed as taboo and there is very limited open discussion, and I appreciated how the authors wrote with such honesty and raw reflection.  The level of intimacy laced in each response allowed me as the reader to better understand the topics being discussed in a more meaningful manner.

The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

I am also a part of a reading group at my school called The Fifteen, a band of fifteen literature lovers in the senior class who gather together throughout the year to discuss novels. The first book we will be discussing is The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka. The story focuses on salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes up one morning to discover that he has been transformed into a huge, grotesque insect. The novella was published in 1915, and is said to have served as a source of inspiration for dystopian writers George Orwell and Ray Bradbury. As a novella, it of course was very short, and I finished it a couple of days. Over the summer, I read Death of a Salesman, a play by Arthur Miller, and it was so interesting to read the afterwords from the translator and her comparison of the protagonists, since both are salesmen. Also, she discussed the challenges she faced in translating from German to English and analyzed how specific language the other used suggested certain subtleties in the story. 


  1. Love all of these different books from your recent reads!! Body Talk is very interesting - good to learn about the perspectives of people living in unique situations. This is a great way to learn and love yourself!

    Nancy ✨

  2. I’ve heard of body talk and I definitely want to give it a read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book. :)

  3. such great reads !! shy -

  4. I've been actually looking for a new book so thanks for these recommendations!