Today’s blog post was written by literature connoisseur Mikayla Liston and I am SO excited to introduce Mikayla as a new monthly “Friday Favs” contributor! Mikayla is a writer, reader and self-proclaimed outdoor enthusiast living in Cleveland. You can either find her with a book in hand or outside, but never at the same time. If you are looking for more book recommendations and fun bookish content, follow Mikayla on Youtube at Miklis Writes and follow her on Twitter for just about everything under the sun.
If you would have told me that by August I would have read close to 50 books in 2020, January me would have laughed in your face. I have always been an avid reader and often have a book on hand, but even though I love books it can take me some time to finish one or make the time. Usually, I will have my current read flying about in my tote bag that I take with me everywhere [lately it’s been my lowland hum tote bag, check out their music if you miss The Civil Wars like I do] or I have another book paused mid-chapter on Audible so that I can always listen to something when on a walk or prepping my dinner!
This year has been different — and I think we’re all feeling that way. Instead of taking time out of my weekend to run to brunch with friends or check out the newest wine bar down the street, I’ve made more time to sit in my chaise and read all the books on my shelf that have been calling my name. Whether you’ve been frantically trying to read anything you can during this time in our lives or haven’t really known where to start, I’ve got you covered.
This month, I am shouting out three female authors that deserve the praise they’ve gotten. From speaking about the current moment in eloquent prose to riveting dramatic storylines, here are three authors you should check out in your down time:
Have you been sitting with your thoughts lately and reflecting on how your life has shifted as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic? Let Zadie Smith lead the way in unraveling how you feel. Smith, already a prolific author [and one of my all time favorites] released a short essay collection titled Intimations which explores her experience of lockdown and pieces together her thoughts on what 2020 was already brought. Smith describes her essays as “…small by definition, short by necessity.” If you are the type of person who journals to keep up with their thoughts, hop into Zadie Smith’s with INTIMATIONS. [Other books to check out by Zadie Smith would be her fiction novels: White Teeth and Swing Time.]
Maybe you’ve been binge-watching all that Netflix has gifted us this year from “The Witcher” to “The Umbrella Academy.” If so, you may be like me where I am always looking for a good story that can transport me to a different world, whether that be on my TV with a show or in a book. One of the best female authors to have done this as of late is Samantha Shannon with her recent high fantasy adult fiction novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree. Don’t let the page count fool you [although, be warned as this is definitely considered a “tome”], Shannon crafts an incredible story that is told in one book but follows a global cast. We follow strong women around Shannon’s imaginary world just trying their best and I mean, aren’t we all? If you loved “Game of Thrones” but hated the last season [and want some different cultures represented in fantasy], then Shannon’s storytelling is for you. [Can’t get enough of fantasy? Check out Shannon’s other series: The Bone Season.]
Maybe you haven’t been binge watching TV shows that take you into another world but instead you’ve been feeling busier than ever during this time. For people who are busy, I always recommend reading mysteries. Mystery books can be read in bite-sized chunks; for a few minutes in your daily routine, on your lunch break or during your after-dinner walk. Mysteries are usually fast paced and skip the exposition that a lot of fiction novels spend a lot of time laying out. If you loved Veronica Mars [and if you haven’t watched that yet, it is on Hulu!] and are maybe feeling out of sorts in your twenties, then Lisa Lutz’s The Spellmans series is for you! Follow 28-year-old Izzy Spellman in the first book as she rocks her job as a private investigator but has her own world rocked when the most important case of her life shows up on her doorstep. [The Spellman Files have currently 6 books, so this series should keep you occupied!]