EmCat's Take Ten

Emily Catherine Mealor is a Raleigh native who works to show how creative expression can empower citizens, build resilient communities, and change the world! Currently, she lives in Durham with too many house plants and too few bookshelves. In her free time, she enjoys theatre, fiber arts, tabletop games, Bollywood movies, tennis, and anything Harry Potter. Happy to have been part of the amazing QRB family since 2014, she can recommend sci-fi/fantasy and creative nonfiction, tell you whether your online order has been processed, and explain how to support your local bookstore if you prefer audio books.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Cover Image
By J. K. Rowling, Mary GrandPre (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780590353427
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - September 7th, 1999

Describing my connection to this book often feels rather trite and clichéd, but I really do feel that this novel changed my life (or—at the very least—led me to my English degree, writing career, and bookselling gig). I’ve even got the tattoo to prove it!

A Doll's House (Dover Thrift Editions) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780486270623
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dover Publications - February 21st, 1992

Ibsen is the one man on the list. Written and performed in 19th century Europe, this play was considered so scandalous by some (women thinking for themselves? Oh, the horra!) that Ibsen was forced to write an alternative, “suitable” ending for certain stages—an act of revision he called a “barbaric outrage.”

The Complete Stories (FSG Classics) Cover Image
By Flannery O'Connor, Robert Giroux (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780374515362
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Noonday Press - January 1st, 1971

Flannery is my spirit animal in all the ways. She was critiquing hypocrisy long before it was cool. These stories may keep you up at night, but the realizations you’ll come to while lying there in bed are all too important to miss out on. I’ve got a tattoo related to her as well!

A Room of One's Own Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156787338
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P - December 27th, 1989

Could there be a better time for this essay? Every woman in the arts should read this book and consider the realities of those that came before us. If you’re wanting to totally nerd out over it, try the Eileen Atkins dramatic interpretation, the one VHS tape you’ll keep your VCR to watch.

The House on Mango Street (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679734772
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 3rd, 1991

From the first page, Esperanza settles you into her new neighborhood—the smells, the sounds, the idiosyncrasies of her family and neighbors. You’ll follow her winding prose through hope, fear, and heartbreak; this book is for all those who dreamed of escaping, and all the ones they’d have to leave behind.

Pride and Prejudice (Modern Library Classics) Cover Image
By Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780679783268
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Modern Library - October 10th, 2000

Jane Austen is hilarious! This book features some of the best quippy one-liners, darkest humor, and the single greatest proposal scene literature has to offer. Make some jasmine tea, put on the soundtrack to the Keira Knightley film adaptation, and prepare to laugh your bum off!

Oryx and Crake Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385721677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 30th, 2004

Eugenics, a dystopian future, genetically engineered pigs—what more does one need? From the woman who scared the living daylights out of you with The Handmaid’s Tale comes another science fiction masterpiece that will...also scare the living daylights out of you. With two sequels, you’ll be up for weeks. 

Walk Two Moons Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064405171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - December 27th, 2011

My middle school favorite, this book does a masterful job of elegantly weaving stories in the manner in which we look back on our lives—some broken memories, soundbites of others, with new eyes years later. This gorgeous portrayal of mothers and daughters is one for the ages.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375714573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon Books - June 1st, 2004

Graphic novel memoirs have been very popular, and I love how it makes difficult material more accessible. A beautifully illustrated autobiography, this story is an essential read for anyone, young or old, seeking to understand the world we’re living in.

Kindred (Bluestreak) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807083697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 1st, 2004

Through an unexplained time connection, Dana, a young writer, finds herself passing between her 1970s home and that of a pre-civil war plantation. Butler examines race and power throughout history, and the lasting trauma of America’s past.