Happy Tuesday everyone! It is the second day of the week already but I hope everyone is doing well and is safe. Tuesdays also mean one thing, a Top Ten Tuesday update! Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s given topic is Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme
Another tough topic for this week. To be honest, I am not really mindful of the theme or the trope of the book I am reading. In fact, I am not really much into tropes. As for the themes, there are just too many themes to choose from. However, for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday update, I will be enumerating 10 books from one of my favorite literary themes: coming-of-age. I have read quite a lot of bildungsroman novels and it is easier for me to choose books with this theme. Without more ado, here are ten of my favorite coming-of-age novels.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. At once powerful and tender, Americanah is a remarkable novel of race, love, and identity by the award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Heaven by Mieko Kawakami
From the bestselling author of Breasts and Eggs and international literary sensation Mieko Kawakami comes a sharp and illuminating novel about the impact of violence and the power of solidarity.
In Heaven, a fourteen-year-old boy is subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, he chooses to suffer in silence. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate, Kohima, who experiences similar treatment at the hands of her bullies. Providing each other with immeasurable consolation at a time in their lives when they need it most, the two young friends grow closer than ever. But what, ultimately, is the nature of a friendship when your shared bond is terror.
Unflinching yet tender, sharply observed, intimate and multi-layered, this simple yet profound novel stands as yet another dazzling testament to Mieka Kawakami’s uncontainable talent. There can be little doubt that it has cemented her reputation as one of the most important young authors at work today.
How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino
The streets of Tokyo swarm below fifteen-year-old Copper as he gazes out into the city of his childhood. Struck by the thought of the infinite people whose lives play out alongside his own, he begins to wonder, how do you live?
Considering life’s biggest questions for the first time, Copper turns to his dear uncle for heart-warming wisdom. As the old man guides the boy on a journey of philosophical discovery, a timeless tale unfolds, offering a poignant reflection on what it means to be human.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey, generally agreed to be Jane Austen’s earliest major work, grew out of her distaste for the absurdities of the novels of her time, and in particular for the conventions of the ‘Gothic novels’ with their impossibly perfect heroines and unnatural events. At Northanger Abbey Jane Austen’s charmingly imperfect heroine, Catherine Morland, meets all the trappings of Gothic horror and imagines the worst. Fortunately she has at hand her own fundamental good sense and the irresistible but unsentimental hero, Henry Tilney. Disaster does eventually strike, in the real world as distinct from the romantic one of her imagination, but without spoiling for too long the gay, good-humoured atmosphere of this most delightful of books.
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang
Ba dies in the night, Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned, Lucy and Sam, ages twelve and eleven, are suddenly alone and on the run. With their father’s body on their backs, they roam an unforgiving landscape dotted with giant buffalo bones and tiger paw prints, searching for a place to give him a proper burial. Along the way, they must battle their own secrets, the illusion of the American Dream, and each other.
Set against the twilight of the Gold Rush in a reimagined American West, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a sweeping adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. With fiercely original language and story that is both epic and intimate, C Pam Zhang has written a remarkable novel about family, bound and divided by its memories.
The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare
Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education.
The only daughter of a broke father, she is a valuable commodity. removed from school and sold as a third wife to an old man, Adunni finds that her life amounts to this: four goats, two bags of rice, some chickens, and a new TV. When unspeakable tragedy swiftly strikes in her new home, she is secretly sold as a domestic servant to a household in the wealthy enclaves of Lagos, where no one will talk about the strange disappearance of her predecessor, Rebecca. No one but Adunni…
As a yielding daughter, subservient wife, and a powerless servant, Adunni is repeatedly told that she is nothing. But Adunni won’t be silenced. She is determined to find her voice – in a whisper, in song, in broken English – until she can speak for herself, for the girls like Rebecca who came before, and for all the girls who will follow.
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
We came from somewhere, everything does. When the transition is made from spirit to flesh, the gates are meant to be closed. It’s a kindness. It would be cruel not to. Perhaps the gods forgot – they can be absent-minded like that.
Ada has always been unusual. As an infant in southern Nigeria, she is a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents successfully prayed her into existence, but something must have gone awry, as the young Ada becomes a troubled child, prone to violent fits of anger and grief.
But Ada turns out to be more than just volatile. Born “with one foot on the other side,” she begins to develop separate selves. When Ada travels to America for college, a traumatic event crystallizes the selves into something more powerful. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these alters – now protective, now hedonistic – move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dangerous direction.
Written with stylistic brilliance and based on the author’s realities, this raw and extraordinary debut explores the metaphysics of identity and being, plunging the reader into the mysteries of self. Unsettling, heart-wrenching, dark and powerful, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born – a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam and spans to Hartford, Connecticut – and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, it is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
JO: The hot-tempered rebel who adores her pet rats and writing – but detests everything about being a girl. MEG: the high-energy romantic who loves love – and is bitter about all she can’t own. BETH: the timid, mousey invalid, terrified of everything – except kittens, dolls… and music. AMY: the spoiled beauty princess who schemes to have the life of the rich and famous…
Different as night and day, light and dark; but together they face all of life’s agony and love’s magic. For despite poverty and war, the March sisters have all they need to survive:
They have each other.