My apologies to my vegan or vegetarian readers but I have a theory about books - specifically I believe there are steak books and potato chip books. Steak books are books which stay with you a long time after you read them. You chew on them, talk about them, ruminate on them. They can be fat or thick, long or short, but they still stick to your ribs. You generally can't read two in a row. Normally you have to put a potato chip book between them.
Potato chip books are books you read quickly. They are good but not filling. They are a pleasure while you are reading them and you might be able to read a couple back to back but they don't sustain you. You forget them quickly but remember that you enjoyed them.
Here are some books I consider steak books.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - The story centers around Kya, a child who grows up in the marshlands of North Carolina. Her mothers walks out when Kya is 6, her siblings leave soon after, and she is left with her very damaged father who teaches her to live in the marshes. When he leaves, she is left on her own to survive. The book makes you consider the isolation, abandonment, and the healing power of nature.
The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion - Oddly enough this might be considered a potato chip book because of its humor and ease of reading but it leaves you thinking. The third book in the Rosie trilogy (The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect), Don Tillman and his wife Rosie move back to Australia from New York with their 11 year old son, Hudson. Hudson has trouble adjusting to his new life and Don decides to quit his job to "coach" his son in how to be "normal." Themes here include labeling children as autistic or disabled, anger management, making people fit into society, and forgiveness.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - This book is a fictionalized account of the life of Sarah Grimke and her sister Angelina. Raised in Charleston in the early 1800's in a slave holding family, these women became fervent abolitionists. They left the family home to move north and became speakers on the rights of slaves and women. The book is an excellent study on how women of that time freed themselves from societal expectations and restrictions on their lives.
Wool by Hugh Howey - Wool was not a book I would have picked up on my own as it was a book club selection. The story revolves around Juliette who has been made the Sheriff of the silo in which she and thousands of others live. It seems that some tragedy has taken place which keeps people from living outside of a silo. There is intrigue, government conspiracy, and humans acting for the greater good in this fully engaging sci-fi novel. Makes you think what we can do to make sure the events never happen.
The Book of Dreams by Nina George - I was a fan of George's previous two books but The Book of Dreams is probably my favorite. Henri Skinner is a war journalist who is on his way to see his son Sam for the first time in years. After saving a child from drowning, he is hit by a car and ends up in a coma. As he hovers between life and death, people come in and out of his room and his life. It is a meditation on what we have done with our lives and what we might be remembered for.
Do you have any steak books that you want to share? Let me know!