Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

The book “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hanna is a coming-of-age and historical fiction novel that deals with the themes of friendship, love, familial bonds, the challenges of motherhood, and accepting and living with one’s choices. The book starts in 1974 and tells the story of Tully and Kate, two eighth graders whose personalities are poles apart yet they form a friendship that grows stronger with time. Tully Hart is a fourteen years old girl who outwardly is a beautiful and popular girl at school, has a very bubbly personality, and lots of friends, however, inside she is a lonely, scared, girl of fourteen. She lives with her grandparents as her mother is a drug addict who lives in her own world, making Tully feel rejected and unloved. Kate Mularkey, on the other hand, is a nerd who as soon as she enters the teenage, loses all her friends because they do not want to hang out with a boring girl who wears glasses and reads Lord of the Rings. Kate doesn’t have the personality and looks Tully has but she has a beautiful family who loves her, something that Tully longs for. One day, when Tully moves into Firefly Lane right across Kate’s house, both these girls’ life changes. The story is about these two young girls finding each other at the time when they both needed each other the most and form a strong bond of friendship that goes on for thirty years in which they learn to stay together and become each other’s rock during their tough times, sad times, joy, happiness, heartbreaks, jealousies, and first love until something happens that separates them but cannot kill the love they have for each other.

Arabian Nights Volume I: Marvels and Wonders of Thousand and One Nights

The book “Arabian Nights: Marvels and Wonders of Thousand and One Nights” is a collection of folktales of Arab, Persian, and Indian origin written by an unknown author. Set in the middle ages, the book opens with the frame tale of a vengeful King, Shah Shahryar, who develops a hatred for women after his wife’s infidelity. As a result, every night he would take a young virgin girl as his bride and execute her at the dawn of the next day. This continues to happen for quite a long time until there are no women left in his Kingdom except for the two daughters of his Vizier, Scheherazade, and Dinazade. Scheherazade, the eldest daughter is a wise, learned woman, and a gifted storyteller. She takes it upon herself to protect not only herself but also the women of her country from these senseless killings. Hence, Scheherazade volunteers to be the King’s next bride, despite her father’s protests. Now, every night, she narrates a story to Shah Shahryar and deliberately leaves it unfinished, ending on a cliffhanger, before dawn to pique his curiosity and to prevent him from executing her. This continues to happen for one thousand and one nights until Shah Shahryar is convinced of her chastity.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Read so many good reviews of this book that I finally decided to give it a read. The book ‘A Study in Scarlet’ by Arthur Conan Doyle belongs to the genre of detective fiction, a genre I haven’t explored much and mainly deals with the themes of love, hate, injustice, murder, and revenge. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, the story is told in the first-person narrative through the character of Doctor John Watson who serves in the British army as a doctor, however, is sent back to England as a result of an injury during the Anglo-Afghan War to recuperate from the mental and physical injuries from the war. Dr. Watson tells the readers about how he meets the “eccentric” Mr. Sherlock Holmes whom he met through an old colleague for the purpose of sharing an apartment. Soon, Watson discovers that Holmes is not an ordinary person but is a consulting detective, who advises other detectives through his ability of deduction and analysis.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou is her autobiography in which she relates the early years of her life and her transition from a child of a broken family and victim of racism to a survivor of child sexual abuse and rape, and a mother at the age of sixteen. The story is told through the perspective of Marguerite Johnson aka Maya Angelou, an African American girl who, as a result of her parent’s divorce was sent to Stamp, Arkansas along with her brother to live with her grandmother and uncle. The story is set during the 1930s, a time when Black Americans were not given their due rights, status, and respect and were treated as lesser beings by the whites. Moreover, they were persecuted and abused by the white supremacist group known as Ku Klux Klan for having a different skin color than theirs. The book illustrates Angelou’s struggle to accept herself, her identity as a black, and her fight for her rights as a colored American woman. This book also shows the nature of people in power and authority and how they enjoy abusing their power by oppressing the oppressed.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald revolves around the themes of loneliness, isolation, and the unattainable American dream of upward social mobility. The protagonist of the story is Jay Gatsby, a mysterious rich guy who threw big parties at his place. He is the one through which the writer shows the failure of the American dream. Set during the 1920s, a period also known as the Jazz age, characterized by the pomp and show by the rich and elite classes, “The Great Gatsby” indicates the American dream is nothing but a ruse, and no matter how hard a person tries to achieve it, it will remain unattainable to a person belonging lower-class. Society won’t accept him no matter what.