Jax Stacks Book Recommendations: A book by an author under 30

Monday, May 1, 2023

Jax Stacks Reading Challenge

#Jax Stacks - May 2023

Welcome to a new month of the 2023 Jax Stacks Reading Challenge! We are going to give you suggestions for each* category in the challenge every month so that you always have a great library book waiting for you when you need it. Check our blog every month for a new round of ideas, and feel free to share your progress and recommendations on social media using #jaxstacks.

You can also sign up for Jax Stacks email reminders on the Library U enrollment page.

Jax Stacks Book Club

Share what you're reading with other Jax Stacks readers at our monthly Jax Stacks Reading Challenge Book Club. Each month we will highlight and discuss one or two categories at the book club. You are welcome to share whatever books you’re reading as long as they count for the challenge.

In April, we moved from Highlands Regional Library to the Beaches Branch! Join us on there Monday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss “A book written by an author when they were under 30."

Click here to register!

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

A book written before 2000:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Truman Capote’s masterpiece created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker in 1965. The intensively researched, atmospheric narrative of the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959, is the seminal work of the “new journalism.” Capote’s account is so detailed that the reader comes to feel almost like a participant in the events.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

A book in a genre you don't usually read: 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

It’s rough to think about the 1990s being “historical” fiction, but here we are! Learn about Bogotá, Colombia against the backdrop of Pablo Escobar and political upheaval, through the perspectives of two children.

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder

A historical book set in Africa: 

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder

It is 1863, but not the one it should be. Time has veered wildly off course, and moves are being made that will lead to a devastating world war. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston believes that by possessing the three Eyes of Naga he'll be able to manipulate events and avoid the war. He already has two of the stones, but he needs Sir Richard Francis Burton to recover the third. But a rival expedition led by John Hanning Speke stands in his way, threatening a confrontation that could ignite the very war that Palmerston is trying to avoid!

Whereabouts written and translated by Jhumpa Lahiri

A book in translation:

Whereabouts was written and translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (originally in Italian).

In the arc of one year, an unnamed narrator in an unnamed city, in the middle of her life’s journey, realizes that she’s lost her way. The city she calls home acts as a companion and interlocutor: traversing the streets around her house, and in parks, piazzas, museums, stores, and coffee bars, she feels less alone. Until one day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will abruptly change.

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

A book written by an author when they were under 30:

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
This novel was published in 2011, when Oyeyemi was 26.

Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

A book set in a place you want to visit: 

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Herriot's heartwarming and humorous stories of his first years as a Yorkshire country veterinarian depict the wonderful relationship between man and animal. A marvelous adaptation of this book series is playing on PBS.

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

A book read by a Library book club in 2023: 

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

Bix is forty, with four kids, restless, and desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—which allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes.

Selected for the New Leaf Book Club at Highlands. Join us on June 24 at 12:30 p.m. – register here!

Let’s Eat!, by Dennis Chan

A book by a 2023 Lit Chat author: 

Let’s Eat! by Dennis Chan

Have you ever enjoyed a fine dining experience and thought: If only I could make food like that for my next gathering? You can do just that by following simple recipes and instructions from award- winning Chef, Dennis Chan, in Let’s Eat! Recipes for Gatherings from his popular restaurant Blue Bamboo Canton Bistro in Jacksonville, Florida.

Appearing live at the Beaches Library and on Zoom on May 17 at 3 p.m. Register for this and other May Lit Chats here!

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

A self-improvement, how-to or DIY book: 

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

Watership Down, Richard Adams

A book with a non-human protagonist: 

Watership Down by Richard Adams

A worldwide bestseller for more than forty years, Watership Down is the compelling tale of a band of wild rabbits struggling to hold onto their place in the world -- "a classic yarn of discovery and struggle" (The New York Times).

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

A book banned in the last 10 years:

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Reasons given (according to the American Library Association): “offensive language, sexually explicit.”

The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling

A book by a Nobel Prize winner:

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Written by the winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature

The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by the English author Rudyard Kipling. Most of the characters are animals such as Shere Khan the tiger and Baloo the bear, though a principal character is the boy or "man-cub" Mowgli, who is raised in the jungle by wolves.

Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix

A book with illustrations:

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor... and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays, Esmé Weijun Wang

A book under 300 pages:

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well.

More Recommendations

Note: We can’t help you with “A book you’ve read and loved before”, but we’re happy to have you share them with us on social media! We love to see what folks are reading.

Second note: All of these recommendations can fit in the category “A book recommended by a library staff member," and we encourage you to seek out your local branch staff or request a personalized booklist for more recommendations.