The Plant Recommends: Literary Picks!
Fall has arrived; the crisp air of October makes you want to put on that big beige cable knit sweater that has been taking up space in your closet, drink your third cup of coffee in a day, bake pumpkin flavoured everything, and cozy up in bed with a good book. Lucky for you, The Plant’s team has curated a list of some of their favourite literary picks! Take a trip to your local bookstore and treat yourself to a new novel; open it up and inhale the incomparable aroma of a brand-new book. Annotate, underline, and fold the edges of the pages if you dare…
Arts & Culture Co-Editor
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa is a book I will always recommend to others if they ask me for a good book you can cry and laugh at on a cozy day. I particularly love how real the characters feel; Sebby, Mira and Jeremy are all well-established characters with problems not sugar-coated by the author. Scelsa beautifully navigates the themes of sexuality and mental health while developing all of these amazing characters. The chapters of the book alternate between the point of view of the three characters, so if you’d enjoy really getting into the mind of these beloved characters, I suggest picking up a copy!
Science & Environment Editor
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski is the first collection of short stories in The Witcher series. Blending classic fairytales and slavic mythology, the world of The Last Wish feels extremely modern and grounded despite its fantastical setting. Each short story follows Geralt of Rivia, a mutant monster-hunter, navigating through dangerous monsters and some of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read. Everyone Geralt meets along his journeys is full of hidden twists and turns, and nothing is ever as it seems. The book takes characters from classic fairy tales and re-invents them, bringing to light the darker ambiguities of our favorite childhood fables. It explores the (lack of) difference between monsters and men with mesmerizing wit, and its short-story structure makes it an extremely fast and engaging read.
City by Alessandro Baricco
City by Alessandro Baricco is far and away one of the most impressively written novels I have ever read. The credit being equally split between its playfulness of language and its innovative storytelling, it describes the life of a boy genius, Gould, as he experiences university life with his imaginary friends Diesel and Poomerang as well as with his nanny Shatzy Shell. Though the amount of characters is plentiful, each one possesses a colorful personality and captivating insight. With the plot alternating between Gould’s race to the nobel prize, a lawyer’s son hellbent on becoming a famous boxer, and a dusty western village that is stuck in time after its clock stops ticking, you will soon come to realize that the enchanting atmosphere in this novel is an exceptional achievement that cannot be overstated.
Arts & Culture Co-Editor
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange is the gateway to a terrifyingly exquisite dystopia, a prophetic land where the good old “ultraviolence” rules unequivocally. Under this rogue regime, young Alex and his “droogs” reclaim their streets every night, when the real horror show begins; hardcore drugs, rape, robbery, torture, and murder shape the hellish lifestyle of the fifteen-year-old crew. Through the anarchist Nadsat and “your humble narrator’s” poignant voice, Burgess drags us into a not-so-distant future where oppression, language, police brutality, freedom of thought, addiction, redemption, loyalty, and, crucially, classical music, all end up entangled under the most absurd yet brilliant circumstances.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley will always be a classic and a comfort novel in the months of October and November due to its spooky vibe. The story follows the tumultuous journey of a creature created by a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who is abandoned after Victor is faced with the terrifying reality that his supposed angelic creature becomes hideous when his plans are executed. Shelley’s incredible prose and astonishing plot delves into the ideas of what it truly means to be human, the loneliness one can feel when rejected from society and what it takes to be loved for who you are. It is almost as if you are on the journey with the creature himself living vicariously through his eyes, feeling the sympathy for this overzealous need to function like a human. Shelley’s twists and turns won’t let you down and will leave you satisfied when all the loose ends are tied.
A lite too bright by Samuel Miller
A lite too bright by Samuel Miller is my favorite fall read. The story unfolds as Arthur Louis Pullman the Third goes on a cross-country train ride to understand what happened to his grandfather during his last week alive. Being guided by diverse clues, Arthur finds himself trapped between the past and the present. I adored the poetic nature of the storytelling as well as the numerous historical parallels. The readers enter the plots and live through Arthur’s perspective. This book does not disappoint.
The Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black
The Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black is great for binge-reading on a rainy weekend. It follows Jude, a human, who lives in the Kingdom of the Faes. Throughout the books, we see her evolving, and developing new skills that help her survive in said universe. Although it is a young adult fantasy series, Black’s writing is beautiful and mature. The characters are complex, and there are no true heroes in the story, as every character is rotten.
Social Media Manager
The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli
The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli is that kind of book that doesn't just teach you stuff; it makes you feel smarter as you read it. It’s not about big fancy words; it's about taking something as familiar as time and turning it on its head. Shoutout to my awesome physics teacher, Chris, for introducing me to this gem! This book seriously rewired my brain's clock, and let's not forget the icing on the cake – Benedict Cumberbatch's voice narrating the audiobook makes quantum mechanics sound like the coolest thing ever. It breaks down the wild ride through the quantum world into something even a 16-year-old can wrap their head around. You come out feeling like a time-bending genius. Embrace being a nerd this fall!
11/23/63 by Stephen King
Stephen King’s 11/23/63 is one of those books where the premise seems a bit silly - a high school teacher traveling back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and historical fiction doesn’t seem characteristic of someone as prolific at horror as King. However, the magistral storyteller knocked it out of the park with a gripping narrative and captivating characters while retaining the same suspense and emotion he is known for. I know most of us GenZ-ers definitely cannot relate to living in the early 1960s in Maine and Texas like King, but my God did I get entranced as I turned each page; I got invested in not only the main assassination plot but the subplot of the protagonist living in the era too (calling it a subplot would do it a great disservice, but you’ll see once you pick up the book). Funnily enough, the romance here is one of the greatest I’ve ever read, and the ending… I was close to tears when I finished it, and let me tell you, I am not one to cry often. The length of the book might turn you off, understandably, but if you’re patient enough to get through it, you’ll be rewarded with a profound and resonating experience for sure.