Top 5 Books to Read to Start 23' Right


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

  • “We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So, when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story, too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”
  • “Esi learned to split her life into Before the Castle and Now. Before the Castle, she was the daughter of Big Man and his third wife, Maame. Now she was dust. Before the Castle, she was the prettiest girl in the village. Now she was just thin air.”
  • “Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.”

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

  • “Whenever I am calling god, her line is busy.”
  • “Her husband threw acid on her but, somehow, she is the one in jail. These things happen when you are a woman.”
  • “Clouds like cotton pulled from a roll are moving under the moon, sometimes hiding it, sometimes revealing it. I feel that the world is so big, full of our dreams, love stories, and grief too.”

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

  • “But if you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?”
  • “What is a woman’s life? Do not think because she is not a man, she does not fight. The bedchamber is her tilting ground, where she shows her colours, and her theatre of war is the sealed room where she gives birth. She knows she may not come alive out of that bloody chamber.”
  • “Is a prince even human? If you add him up, does the total make a man? He is made of shards and broken fragments of the past, of prophecies and of the dreams of his ancestral line. The tides of history break inside him, their current threatens to carry him away. His blood is not his own, but ancient blood.”

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

  • “That was the problem: you could never love two people the exact same way.”
  • “She hadn’t realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you.”
  • “She didn’t understand exactly what he meant, but she liked being part of an us. People thought that being one of a kind made you special. No, it just made you lonely. What was special was belonging with someone else.”

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg

  • “She told us that evil rarely looked like evil when it arrived. It could look like innovation and progress and prosperity, courage even, but more than anything, it looked, to some, like a solution — a solution to the secret problem they believed had gone too long unaddressed. They felt as though they had been speaking a hidden language among themselves, and then a man or a woman in a suit stood on a stage and addressed cheering masses in that very same language, hidden no longer.”
  • “She was always telling people to shut the fuck up. It was a term of endearment.”
  • “I wondered if God found people like me annoying, those who turned to prayer only when they were neck-deep, that terrible friend we’ve all had.”



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At The Book Shelf, we help aspiring nonfiction authors bring their books to life.