Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata is probably one of the strangest books I’ve ever read — and I mean that in the best way possible! Convenience Store Woman is a novel that captures the somewhat eerie daily life of a woman working in a convenience store in Japan.
Keiko Furukawa is a thirty-six-year-old oddball fascinated by human behavior. The book has detailed descriptions of the store she works in and the people that pass through it. The fluorescent lights and brightly colored food will make you homesick for Japan, even if you’ve never been there. Keiko mimics her co-workers in order to fit in and has absolutely no desire to leave her dead-end job. She is fulfilled by her work at Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart; while most would grow weary of it, Keiko is happy to be given a uniform and a script by which to live her life. She searches for the ordinary, perhaps because she herself is far from it. If you are looking for a soothing yet twisted read, this is the book for you.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh is a hilariously relatable read. It is a memoir of the author’s relatively simple life told through a series of funny stories and anecdotes. There are stories about everything from her struggles with depression to the birthday cake she stole from her grandmother as a child, all paired with exaggeratedly simple illustrations. Be prepared to actually laugh out loud when you read this book.
Did you ever wonder why the super skinny female body type became desirable around the same time that women earned the right to vote? Or why women still get paid less than men? Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth answers these questions and more. Although published in 1991, The Beauty Myth is a life-changing book about women, advertisement, and society, and remains staggeringly relevant to today’s world. This is a must-read for everyone who wakes up every morning and looks in the mirror with a frown of dissatisfaction on their face. Wolf shows us that this is exactly what the system wants us to feel. The advertisement industry, the contemporary workforce, and the entertainment industry are built around that dissatisfaction you feel when you look in the mirror. Wolf teaches us that your unhappiness benefits everyone besides yourself. The reader is left with a lasting feeling of hope and empowerment when they turn the last page of The Beauty Myth.
Drenched in love and sorrow, Lang Leav’s Sea of Strangers is a pained portrait of love, longing, heartbreak, and healing. The reader experiences Leav’s emotions through her unique word choices and delicate phrasing. The book is composed of 104 poems ranging from two lines to almost half a page. Like a lot of modern poetry, Leav’s poems are very short and can sound more like snippets or phrases than Shakespearean sonnets. They are less performative, more raw. If you’ve ever been in love, heartbroken, or even just sad, this is the book for you.