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Anchor staff favorites: books

Olivia Barone

Arts and Entertainment Editor

As writers, The Anchor staff and a good book tend to go hand in hand and we have reached deep into our home libraries to find our favorite books for you to enjoy. Watch out BookTok, for The Anchor has compiled a list of must-adds to every bookworm’s “TBR.”

The Anchor’s Editor in Chief, Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro, was excited to tell me about Hadley Vlahos’ “The In-Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life’s Final Moments.” Published in 2023, Mel warns interested readers that Vlahos’ novel cannot be read in a single sitting, but in segments separated by a few tears. As a healthcare worker, Mel put down “The In-Between” with a positive new perspective on hospice care. In the book, Vlahos dives deep into her experience working with hospice patients in their final days, reviewing their journeys to acceptance and how she grappled with the difficult task of caring for them as their time ran out. Mel describes Vlahos’s efforts to expose the humanity in nursing and encourages those within and without healthcare to give the book a try. 

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Sierra Tanzi, The Anchor’s Art Director is fond of the coming-of-age classic, “Looking for Alaska.” Written by the social media influencer and author John Green in 2005, the book once populated classroom libraries. Now, it has crept its way onto many schools’ banned lists. It seems John Green has joined the greats: authors who’ve been exiled from classrooms for their most beloved stories. Before the book is pulled from shelves completely, follow main character Miles “Pudge” Halter and his band of mischievous misfits as they conquer Culver Creek boarding school and weave a mysterious web with a tragic end.

Business Manager Caitlyn Garant adores Alice Oseman’s graphic novel turned Netflix series, “Heartstopper.” The series began in 2016 as a webcomic on Tumblr with a small cult following, but fans quickly became obsessed with its endearing art style and heartfelt plot and the once small romance series blossomed into an icon of the LGBTQ+ literary genre. Oseman now writes the script for the series’ popular Netflix adaptation wherein lead characters Nick and Charlie are brought to life by the talented Kit Connor and Joe Locke respectively. To see where the Netflix sensation began, read “Heartstopper,” the perfect series for hopeless romantics who are looking for something new after Valentine’s Day. 

My Arts & Entertainment cohort, Kelcy Conroy, is a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Released in 1925, this tale of deception is old but not out of date, and is widely referred to as one of the greatest novels of all time. Kelcy admires its message: that you cannot relive the past, but you can learn from it, as Nick Carraway finds by the end of his and Jay Gatsby’s story. Throughout the novel, the very opposite lives of these two men become inextricably intertwined via Gatsby’s plot to craft his perfect life. Their destinies are solidified in the midst of the roaring 1920s, creating a gripping narrative that readers ought to love. Many fear “The Great Gatsby” after escaping high school English class, but I encourage you to give it a second look. 

Anchor Staff Writer Malcolm Streitfeld is known by staff and readers for his thoughtful book reviews, so I was interested to hear his favorite. He shared with me his love for the series, “The Dresden Files,” particularly the seventh installment, “Dead Beat.” Written in 2005 by Jim Butcher, “The Dresden Files” is a zany series of contemporary fantasy novels full of twists and turns. Each book follows Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator working to crack a variety of supernatural cases open wide. “Dead Beat” follows Dresden in pursuit of a powerful necromancer with malicious intentions– not to mention the zombified dinosaur, suitably named Sue. Malcolm says that “Dead Beat” encapsulates everything he loves about this wild series, from its clever worldbuilding to its insane storylines. 

“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath is my personal favorite. Usually a poet, Plath wrote her first and only novel in 1963 as a semi-autobiography. A marvel of classical literature, “The Bell Jar” tackles being a woman writer in a patriarchal society, particularly in the 1950s when sexism was more tolerated. Plath unashamedly discusses women’s mental health and the mistreatment of depression and anxiety in women during her era. Her skill as a poet translates seamlessly into a narrative format, making for memorable visuals that serve to strike readers in the heart. Esther Greenwood, the main character and Plath’s stand-in, proves to be three-dimensional as she navigates the obstacles Plath has built for her to overcome and emerges stronger than before. 

From graphic novels to nonfiction, The Anchor has readers covered. Open up a new favorite fresh from our library and let us know what you find. 


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