Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Trina (from Between Chapters) and Kayla Rayne. Bloggers and booktubers who participate in this group recommend books to each other (and others) based on a different genre/category each month. You can visit the group to find more posts for each month’s topic and to share your own.
This month, the theme is friendship stories.
If you’re not familiar, the Harry Potter series follows–you guessed it!–Harry Potter on his journey to discovering his true identity as a wizard, and, as he ages, his quest to defeat the dark wizard Lord Voldemort once and for all. I can’t even begin to explain all the wonderful friendship stories in this series. Harry and Ron. Harry and Hermione. Hermione and Ron. Harry and Lupin. Harry and Sirius. Harry and…well, you get the picture. Lots of friends. Lots of bittersweet endings. Lots of feels.
To Kill A Mockingbird follows Jean Louise Finch, known more commonly as Scout, as she grows into an age of understanding in a small Alabama town in the 1930s. Through Scout’s young eyes, we learn about her father Atticus, and his decision to offer legal defense to a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.
There’s much more to the story than that, though. Through the anecdotal, episodic method of storytelling, we witness several friendships begin and grow, several of them unexpected. There is the bond between Scout and her older brother, Jem, and later their occasional neighbor, Dill. Calpurnia, the Finches’ housekeeper, is very close with the children. And of course, there’s the completely unexpected connections the children form with Mrs. Dubose and Boo Radley.
Being from Alabama, I’m used to being surrounded by people who have read this book, but it occurs to me that not every region (or country!) might be familiar. If you haven’t read this book, you need to.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend follows Sara, a Swedish native who doesn’t care for people nearly as much as she cares for books, as she travels to America to meet her penpal Amy. But when she arrives in the small, backwards town of Broken Wheel, Iowa, she finds that Amy has passed away. She’s shocked to find that no one really reads in this town–Amy was the only one. With several weeks left until her visa expires, Sara sets about to fix that. She opens a bookstore using Amy’s plethora of books as initial stock. While she tries to introduce everyone to the joy of reading, the town pushes back, eager to show her that human companionship isn’t so bad, either.
I didn’t love this book–it was just a little too schmaltzy for me–but I did find the friendship between Sara and Amy quite fascinating. Even though Amy is already deceased when the book opens, we learn more about their relationship through letters and memories. Since some of my best friends are online only–meaning I haven’t had the chance to meet them in person yet–I enjoyed seeing that kind of friendship explored in literature.
Anna Karenina follows the tempestuous, ill-fated love affair between the reckless, carefree Anna and the charismatic County Vronsky. Despite Anna being the titular character, though, I believe the best part of the story follows Konstantin Levin, a member of the Russian nobility who has chosen to live simply like the peasants who work his lands. His friendship with Anna’s brother Stiva is a wonderful juxtaposition, showing exactly how lavish and ridiculous the rest of the nobility can be. Additionally, his friendship turned romance with Kitty, Stiva’s young sister-in-law, will both warm and break your heart. (Yes, everyone is very strangely related or connected by marriage in this book. I suppose that’s how it is with nobility.)
Set on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in the 1980s, Soulless Creatures is all about friendship in unlikely places. There’s Roy, a poor kid who’s determined to be successful one day, and his rich roommate Jonathan who would rather reenact Walden than use the resources he’s blessed with. What begins as a rivalry over Abby, a lovely fresh-faced girl finally experiencing life outside her overprotective parents’ control, blossoms into a deep friendship you just have the feeling will last. This book is laugh out loud funny, but also very serious and introspective.
That’s it for this month’s recommendations. See you next time!