Book Recommendations From One Literary Nerd to Another

Are you craving some new books to check out? Tosca collected some great suggestions for you!


Tosca Ruotolo, Editor

Before we delve into the book recommendations, I’m here to remind you that the 2021-22 Prism submission deadline is TOMORROW! Send in your poetry, prose, illustrations, photography, etc by Friday, November 19th at 11:59pm. Check out the submission form here

Good luck, we’re looking forward to seeing your submissions!

Winter break is right around the corner and book fanatics like myself are starting to wonder: “What am I gonna read during all of that free time?” Luckily, I’ve have collected a list of novels that will hopefully become your next literary obsessions and take up some of that time stuck at home during the break.  

The Push by Ashley Audrain 

This haunting first-person narrative follows the story of Blythe, a mother reflecting on her maternal instincts (or the lack thereof) in the wake of a family tragedy. How do our own upbringings affect our own parenting skills? Is evil created by nature, or by nurture? Can a mother blame herself for the unspeakable actions performed by her child? If you’re a fan of Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, this novel is for you. Be warned, after reading Audrain’s tragic tale, you may be forced to rethink having children.

The New Me by Halle Butler 

Have you ever been stuck in a dead-end office job? Halle Butler’s hilariously sardonic story focuses on the trials and tribulations of late-stage capitalism, fake friendships, depression and social media. While being laugh-out-loud funny at times and tear-jerkingly tragic at others, this young author creates characters that you’ll want to slap and hug at the same time. Check it out if you’re a fan of Chuck Palahniuk, Andrea Lawlor and David Sedaris. 

The Lightness by Emily Temple

Temple’s first novel is an unsettling foray into the world of teenage troubles, spiritualism, mysticism and familial neglect. In the story, a young girl runs away to a Bhuddist camp in search of her absent father, but instead finds herself indoctrinated into a cult in search of the key to levitation. Even months after finishing this book, I still find myself thinking about it’s gorgeous language and mysterious themes. 

The Girls by Emma Cline

Are you a fan of true crime? Check out Emma Cline’s literary re-imagining of the story of the Manson murders. As the reader, you are forced into the perspective of a key witness to the cult’s decline into mania. Did you enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but craved a female perspective on the events? This is the perfect book for you. 

Dog Biscuits by Alex Graham 

This fantastic graphic novel illustrates the lives of a few complicated Seattleites, with the story set in the backdrop of the early months of the Coronavirus pandemic. Graham’s biting social commentary paired with their breathtaking art style makes for a slice-of-life story that you can’t miss out on. If you can’t buy a physical copy of Dog Biscuits, don’t worry, the author has posted the book it it’s entirety on their instagram page, @alex.graham.artist . 

I hope you love these books as much as I did! I know I’ll be spending the upcoming break reading as much as possible. Let me know if you read any of these stories, and what you thought of them! 

Once again, the Prism submission deadline is TOMORROW! Send in your work by Friday, November 19th at 11:59pm for a chance to be published in the 2021-22 edition of Prism. Good luck! 


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