Awesome YA author Julie Murphy and some of her awesome author friends stopped by our Dallas Flagship store back in July as part of the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast tour – it was a packed house! We asked Julie to share with us some of her favorite reads in another edition of “Books Authors Read.” (And don’t forget to look for Julie’s book, Side Effects May Vary!) – Emily
I think the best writers are eclectic readers. I love pulling inspiration from all kinds of books to make my own sort of patchwork signature. It takes a lot for me to fall in love with a book, and when I do, I am absolutely evangelical about it. Without further ado, these are the books I just can’t shut up about:
1. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King – My favorite thing about this book is the way it’s pieced together. We know Vera’s best friend, Charlie, is dead, but the mystery of his death is unraveled slowly as we learn about their loaded past. Every relationship in the book is so layered and authentic. Not to mention that I’m a sucker for multiple narrations. This one’s got Vera, Charlie, Vera’s dad, and even the town Pagoda telling different sides of the story.
2. Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu – Life by Committee is one of my favorite books of the year. It’s so different from anything out there with a main character that makes real mistakes. Not to mention the idea of this secret online group serving and guiding your every decision is fresh and relevant. Go for the concept. Stay for the deft character development.
3. One Day by David Nicholls – This is a book I could read over and over again. The story stretches over twenty years, visiting the two protagonists on July 15th of every year. I’m not usually a fan of long timelines, but the structure of the novel keeps me reading every time. Not to mention that the chemistry between the two characters is so tragically perfect. Think Andie and Duckie from Pretty in Pink!
4. Election by Tom Perrotta – Tom Perrotta is all over the place right now with his HBO adaptation of The Leftovers. I’m a huge fan of the book and am enjoying the show so far, but if you’ve never read any Perrotta, you’ve got to start with Election! It is dark (and I mean dark) comedy at its finest. I’d be remiss to mention Perrotta without saying that his body of work has been a huge inspiration for me. Note: The film adaptation of election starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon is completely worthy—after reading the book first, of course!
5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – If this book doesn’t squeeze a few tears from you, I’ll be left wondering if real human blood runs through your veins. Me Before You is one of those books you can’t talk too much about without giving anything away, so I’ll just say that this unlikely friendship isn’t one I’ll soon forget.
6. Stiff by Mary Roach – I’ve always had a morbid curiosity concerning the anatomy of death. In Stiff, Mary Roach dares to ask the questions we all wonder but are too timid to investigate. I love how this book addresses such a complex and touchy subject in simple and humorous terms without being irreverent. A must read for everyone, but especially for those former cemetery obsessed goth geeks and fans of Six Feet Under—my people!
7. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu – Like I’ve already said, multiple narrators are a total sweet spot, but this one has the added benefit of a rich southern setting and Mathieu’s crisp prose. Each narrator offers a different version of what happened on the night Alice supposedly slept with two boys, one of which was killed in a car accident soon after. Everyone thinks they know the truth, except, in the end, it’s the reader who’s left with all the puzzle pieces and the actual truth about Alice.
Julie Murphy is the author of Side Effects May Vary.