Our Take Ten staffer for March: Caroline Talton
Caroline was born and raised in Raleigh and has been coming to QRB since she was teething on board books. She’s one of those people who struggles to think of any hobbies outside of reading books, writing books, and generally just talking about books to anyone who makes the mistake of pausing long enough to hear her. She is, however, incredibly passionate about hot chocolate, the city of London, museum gift shops, and the 1998 version of The Parent Trap. See Caroline's top ten books below, accompanied by her reviews.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book: the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy just feels like home to me. Little Women is a love letter to sisterhood, the world of women, and individuality.
Mary Oliver’s poetry, an extended love letter to the natural world and the humanity in everyone, is like a balm for the soul. Devotions collects poems from her decades-long career. I recommend reading one before bed each night.
An epic journey through space and time, this graphic novel is a gentle, character-driven story set against the most breathtaking backgrounds. The stunning art showcases found family and first love in two different timelines.
A girl on the verge of losing her mother to cancer begins working at a camp for troubled kids in this book about faith, both having it and losing it. One of the most moving and honest books I’ve ever read, centered around a vibrant group of characters with distinct, memorable voices.
Ani is a princess, but when her title is stolen and she is left for dead, she must transform herself into a poor goose girl in order to survive. An empowering twist on a classic tale, this is a book that sweeps you away.
Two lonely Mexican-American teens dealing with familial and personal change become best friends over the course of two summers in the mid-1990s. Sáenz writes with raw emotion in absolutely breathtaking prose, and I feel like Aristotle and Dante are two of my oldest friends.
This gorgeously illustrated nonfiction book reimagines famous women writers from history as witches. An example: Toni Morrison as the “Queen of Miracles, Generations, and Memory.”
Virginia Woolf is my absolute favorite writer, and To the Lighthouse is everything that is amazing about her. Experimentally constructed, with incredible descriptions of the natural world and complex characters, this book grips you from start to finish.
Set after a mysterious sickness wipes out the majority of the population, this book is about a Shakespeare troupe that spends its time traveling between the remaining pockets of civilization in a post-apocalyptic America. The novel asks what the place of art, music, and literature would be if the world as we know it ended.
O’Hara’s poetry captures, with warmth and affection, the soul of an average day in New York City in the 1950s, with all of its vitality, diversity, and novelty. Favorites include: “The Day Lady Died,” an elegy for Billie Holiday, and “Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and John Paul,” which includes a stunning refrain about life and how it must go on.