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Book Recommendations: What to Read if You Like Ariel Bissett

This book recommendation list is inspired by booktuber Ariel Bissett. Hopefully, you guys can find some awesome new books that you enjoy reading. 

This list is good if you like reading any of the following niches: Adult fiction, creative prose, short stories, and magical realism. 

  • Seahorse by Janice Pariat

  • The Butcher’s Tale (and other stories) by Derek Updegraff

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

  • The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan 

Seahorse by Janice Pariat

Seahorse is perfect for those of you who love reading books that kind of break your heart a little bit in the best way possible. It’s filled with beautiful writing, and the setting changes from the blistering heat of India to the artsy underground of London. It’s easily one of my favorite books of the year and I give it 4/5 stars. 

Nem was not like his college classmates. Instead of crowding around a TV set, Nem opted for lonely walks where he could indulge his passion for photography, until the night he saw Nicholas, a young professor from London, with another male student. The affair is passionate and brief. When Nicholas returns to London, Nem must move on. He graduates and soon finds success as a critic in New Delhi’s burgeoning art world. Then comes an invitation to speak to artists in London, and the past is suddenly resurrected. As London’s cosmopolitan art scene envelops Nem, he is haunted by the possibilities of a life with Nicholas. But Nicholas eludes Nem, avoiding a reunion with his old student, but leaving clues that lead to someone else: Myra, a woman Nem thought was Nicholas’s sister. Brought together by their love for Nicholas, Nem and Myra embark on a surprising friendship.

The Butcher’s Tale(and other stories) by Derek Updegraff

The Butcher’s Tale is a collection of short stories that really make you look deeper in to the complexities of family, friends, life, and faith. I really enjoyed it, and it has the bonus of being written by one of my old professor’s so I do have that personal connection with it too. 

The Butcher’s Tale and Other Stories is a collection of twelve short stories ranging in length from 300 words to 10,000 words. Updegraff writes in the third-, second-, and first-person points of view and writes from the perspectives of both male and female characters. Whether they find themselves in a Midwestern bar, a Laundromat in California, a Denny’s, a jail, or a church service held in a closed-down movie theater, his characters are forced to examine their relationships and their actions as events unfold. Through their stories his readers freshly encounter the familiar joys and aches of being human

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This is one that I am actually currently reading so I haven’t formed my fullopinion of it yet, but I began falling in love with it from the instant I saw the cover so I may have a bit of a bias to it already. It’s a darker, colder fairytale based on Russian folklore that reminds you a bit of Neil Gaiman in the way that it is written.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

This was a favorite book of mine from when I was still doing my 2016 Book a Day Challenge. It was a recommendation from a friend, and I am forever thankful to him for letting me borrow it. This book really captures the cross cultural gap that can happen when it comes to different generations, and I love the first person storytelling point of view. 5/5 Stars for me. 

Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terrible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events that led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.

Alright! So those are the books that I’m recommending you guys read this Wonderful Wednesday. I hope you guys enjoy this new series. What other topics should I cover? Bands? Fandoms? TV Shows? Let me know in the comments!

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