Novels That Make You Think

I’ve always been a bigger fan of nonfiction than fiction. Especially after becoming a stay-at-home mom, I felt like I needed to keep my brain active; to learn more. But, reading fiction is just as important. As studies show, reading fiction creates empathy, allows us to think about big things in new perspectives, and introduces us to worlds and people we may not gravitate to in real life.

I’m always on the lookout for good fiction – stories that draw me in with characters I can relate with but also with plots in which I learn something new. Gone are the days when I really enjoyed fluff beach reads – I have precious minutes each day to read and I want to use them wisely.

While I still lean heavily toward nonfiction, I wanted to share a few fiction books I’ve read recently that I wanted to pass along:

bdec924dd0f4f7621241fd6bcc68a941Just Life by Neil Abramson 
This story of animals, community, politics, and a potential super-virus is woven in such a way that I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen next. Topics of politics and panic, ethical science, human vs. animal life, and the unconditional faithfulness of pet ownership made this a fascinating read. It made me think about our responses to certain viruses now that we don’t know much about. It made me think about our response to saving humans at the cost of animals – regardless of threat. And it made me reflect on how much we can learn when we stop and listen. It’s a fast-paced read with a bit of the supernatural thrown in to keep you on your toes. I’d definitely recommend this one to dog lovers.
Note: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Published in 2010, this has been on my to-read list for ages and I’m sad I waited so long to read it. It’s a long story but one I was sad to see end. Allende creates a world of slaves and owners and promises of freedom that keep you anxious and waiting. It’s a realistic look at the Caribbean slave trade and its effects on America’s own view of slavery. Allende’s writing is powerful and her ability to connect the reader to her characters is inspiring.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Another oldie that is incredibly powerful, given today’s climate of immigration reform and views of why people leave their homes. This YA novel is one I have seen in school libraries for years but just never picked up. I’m so glad I did. This novel most embodies the idea that reading fiction teaches empathy for real-world issues.

Clearly I’m behind in reading up-to-date novels. Any suggestions? What are you reading these days? And, are you more of a fiction reader or a nonfiction fan?

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