Hey there, my Darling Devils, it’s me, ya girl, and I’m here to give you my book recommendations! This took me a LONG time because I have so many books that I adore for various different reasons. Somehow, I’ve got it down to my Top 5 with a few honorable mentions at the end because it was hard to pick. There are a wide variety of genres represented, so there should be something for everybody, and I will provide links to where you can purchase these.
NOTE: I have NOT included any of the Church of Satan’s book in this list because I plan to do a literary analysis on each of them later.
So, without further ado, please put your hands together for…
5) Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature
This book is dear to my heart because it is (mostly) about Bellingham, which is where I spend most of my days, as well as other parts of Washington, Alaska, and Diet Washington AKA Oregon. This is a collection of short stories, poems, fiction, and non-fictions from a woman who was absolutely amazing.
Ella Higginson was born in Kansas, moved to Oregon, and then moved to what was known was New Whatcom, Washington with her husband in 1885. She was chosen to be the very first Poet Laureate of Washgton State and was hugely popular. On the side of one of the buildings at my alma mater is the phrase “Here is the home of color and of light” which is attributed to nobody. This is one of Higginson’s lines from her poem “College by the Sea”, which is a poem about WWU back when it was a Normal School, which taught women how to be teachers. Her name isn’t under the quote because nobody at that time could imagine a world where people didn’t know Ella Higginson. Actually, I have a tattoo of that line!
Sadly, Ella was lost to history until one of my favorite people in the world, Laura Laffrado rediscovered her work in the State Archives. Seriously, what a character this woman is. I can’t put Laura into words, but there are interviews with her in various magazines. Just google her.
I really recommend this book if you want to see some amazing examples of poetry and prose writing. Ella Higginson was an accomplished poet with an unparalleled master of words.
4) I am America (and So Can You!) dictated by Stephen Colbert (Author of I am America (and So Can You!).
As you can see from the cover, this book is hilarious! This is written by the character Stephen Colbert played on his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, also named Stephen Colbert. Sadly, this character died after Stephen left The Colbert Report, but his identical twin cousin, Stephen Colbert, often makes appearances on Stephen’s current show, The Daily Show.
By the time you’re done reading this book, you’ll have a hole in the side of your cheek from how often your tongue has been shoved in there. It’s all about what is wrong with America and how Stephen knows how to fix it! If you’re a fan of Stephen it’s really easy to read in his voice, which adds to the hilarity of the entire thing.
Sections include “The Family: So help me God I will turn this book around right here”; “Class War: Let them buy cake for a change”; and “Homosexuals: Do not read by glow stick light”.
If these sound like really right-wing talking points, it’s because they are! That’s the whole point of the character of Stephen Colbert, the show he used to host, and the book I am recommending here.
Beyond this humor, the text pokes holes into all of the arguments often used by republicans to defend their views. This serves as a humorous way to point out the flaws of Uncle Gary the he starts going off about the Lesbians and the Mexicans after be’s had a few at Thanksgiving.
Seriously, I don’t laugh out loud at books often, but this one had me roaring!
3) Man v. Nature stories by Diane Cook
This book is interesting because it’s one of two on this list that I had to purchase for a class while I was at WWU. It’s a collection of short stories that pit humans against, not only nature, but their natural instincts. I’ve read the book through, but often come back for specific stories within the text, as they have the ability to stand alone.
A few of my favorites are It’s Coming, which is about a group of humans that are trying to escape from a monster that the readers never get a really good look at; Meteorologist Dave Santana, about a woman obsessed with a local weather man; and The Not-Needed Forest which takes us into a world where boys are sorted into “Needed” and “Not-Needed”.
What makes these stories so amazing is that they don’t explain everything. Allow me to explain. We as readers are shoved into the world where out characters live, but we don’t learn everything that they already know because, well, they already know it and have no reason to explain everything to an observer they as characters are unaware of. This is something that movies have a huge issue with, though the one movie I’ve recently seen that does it REALLY well is A Quiet Place.
Another interesting aspect of a lot of these stories is the perspective. Often times, the characters refer to themselves in first-person plural, using “we” instead of “he” or “I”. I was actually doing it in the last paragraph. This draws the reader into the story and makes it feel more personal; like it’s actually happening to them, too.
If you’re into some really fucked up stories written beautifully, check out this one for sure.
2) Aristotle and Date Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Just as Stephen Colbert’s book made me laugh out loud, this book had me weeping. It may seem like it’s going to be a philosophical book, which it is in some ways, but this is actually a book about two boys growing up together and finding love.
As you can see from the cover, this book has won many awards, including an LGBTQ+ literature award, so you can kinda figure out how the story goes just by looking at it. This isn’t a bad thing at all since there are a lot of twists and turns that put you on edge as you’re reading.
I don’t want to go too far into the story or the characters because I really think you should read it! Actually, I have a second copy of this book, so if you really want it, shoot me a comment and I can send it to you at the end of July. I’ll even write you a little personalized note if you want!
1) The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Holy, holy, holy I love this book! I read this book for the first time in 10th grade and I read the whole damn thing in one go because I couldn’t put it down!
This is the story of a family and how life takes you through crazy twists and turns, even when you’re already dealing with other issues. We follow a man through his life as he struggles to balance following his dreams and falling in love.
Oh, and the narrator is a dog. That’s right, folks, you get to hear about life through the best dog ever. Enzo is a wonderful pup with some wonderful views on life. This isn’t really a spoiler, but if you want to go in blind, don’t read the next sentence. Enzo believes that if he really tries, he can learn all he can during his time as a dog and then come back in the next life as a person. Also, since his human is a racer driver, he loves watching races and so there’s some really cool nods to real racing culture, if that’s your thing.
I’ve loaned out these books many time and have purchased it as gifts for people’s birthdays and weddings because I love it so much. I really, really recommend buying, borrowing, or checking out this book because it really fun and well-written.
I really, really wanted to put these books in the list, but I forced myself to only pick five.
1) Boxers and Saints, a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang
2) The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
4) Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, which is a book about reaching rock bottom and getting back up again.
So, that’s all for this post, but if it goes well, I can do some more! I have many opinions on movies, shows… twitter profiles. Let me know in the comments what other lists you’d like.
I hope you enjoyed this post and, if you read or have read any of these, please let me know what you thought!
Have an amazing day, my Sweet Satans.