Kristen's Take Ten
A member of the Institutional Sales trio, Kristen is a recent New Jersey transplant. She's had a blast over the last year exploring the Triangle and sampling all its delicious new southern foods (particularly hushpuppies). She has a penchant for achingly depressing yet satirical and funny fiction. She thinks the best books are ones you read with a pen as your bookmark to underline the most beautiful sentences.
My all-time favorite novel is The Handmaid's Tale, but you already know it's great! Now dive into the mind of another complex Atwood narrator as she struggles to find her memory, sanity, and freedom. As always, Atwood's writing is breathtakingly beautiful.
Jump into the passenger seat as Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty take you on a coast to coast tour of the Beat Generation. Few authors have had as great an impact on me as Kerouac—his jazz-like, poetic writing was my greatest companion on the journey through my twenties.
When the question is asked, “Who, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?” my answer, first and foremost, will always be Vonnegut. His brutally honest wit knew no bounds, and his wild blend of history, social commentary, and science fiction will forever find relevance (particularly in today's political climate).
I’ve never read another novel quite like this. Structured as a series of interconnected short stories, it follows the character Tim O'Brien as he navigates the hell of the Vietnam War. O'Brien beautifully asks us to examine the meaning of death, duty, loyalty, and above all, truth.
A classic Best Picture winner—and the book was still better! This incredibly readable novel is both an examination of human nature and a hilarious party of unforgettable characters. It's equal parts disturbing, uplifting, and fun.
What is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe and Everything? You'll find out in this five-novel, complete volume of Douglas Adams' cult classic. Adams' stories are sharp, dry, sarcastic, satirical, and adventurous...basically, all the best things.
This is the best book I've read this year. It's a daring, imaginative masterpiece that's unlike anything you've encountered before. Don't let the wacky, play-like structure scare you—it’ll only take a few pages to immerse yourself into this quirky mix of history and fantasy.
No book has captured depression quite so acutely as Plath's only novel. While a tragic, harrowing vision of her own struggle with mental illness, the book also offers sharp commentary on what it meant to be a young woman in the 1950s.
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'” So says Ernest Hemingway in this rich memoir that covers the craft of writing, the Lost Generation expats of the 1920s, and the city of Paris, of which he claims, “Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
This classic Victorian story has it all—Gothic mystery, pining, passionate love, and best of all a fiercely independent female narrator. Jane is poor and plain, but her strong spirit and bold self-reliance are refreshing even 171 years after the novel was first published.