Editors’ Choice: Recommended reading from The Cluster’s editorial staff

With all this beautiful spring weather we’ve been experiencing here in Macon, you may be looking for a good book to curl up with in the sunshine. Here are what some of our editors are reading.

Emily Rose Thorne – Editor-in-Chief

“Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe

“Some people are born in the mountains, while others are born by the sea. Some people are happy to live in the place they were born, while others must make a journey to reach the climate in which they can flourish and grow. Between the ocean and the mountains is a wild forest. That is where I want to make my home.” That’s how Maia Kobabe (e/em/eirs), author of “Gender Queer,” explains eir experience with gender in eir debut book.

I read eir breathtaking memoir in one sitting — and then reread it immediately to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Kobabe started writing “Gender Queer” to explain eir identity as a non-binary, asexual person to eir family. The book, at once a memoir and an explainer on gender nonconformity, chronicles Kobabe’s journey with gender from eir childhood spent questioning why e couldn’t dress the same way eir male friends did to eir high school days, when e bonded with queer friends over queer fanfiction.

Kobabe also explores eir current experiences as an adult navigating the world of coming out, questioning eir role in the LGBTQIA+ community and seeking gender-affirming treatments. “Gender Queer” is a timely work of art that will challenge everyone, regardless of gender identity or sexuality, to see the world — and maybe themselves — a little differently.

Nadia Pressley – News Editor

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney

“Normal People” follows the story of high school lovers Connell and Marianne into their young adulthood. The book details their on again, off again relationship as they go off to college, navigate difficult situations and overall grow into people much different than the characters we are introduced to in the beginning of the novel.

Their turbulent yet beautiful love story feels familiar and relatable, which is why I think the book has been such a hit. The novel has recently been turned into a television show which you can watch on Hulu. It is equally as enjoyable as the book.

Ivy Marie Clarke – Arts & Culture Editor

“I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK?” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye is best known for her poetry and short stories. As a Palestinian-American, her works are interested in intercultural relations, with a special emphasis on physical locations and journeys. She is also skilled in revealing the magic within ordinary life.

All of these themes are apparent in this collection of essays, each a specific story about a trip she has taken. The destinations are irrelevant; what matters are the connections made along the way. To satiate your wanderlust in the midst of the current pandemic, give this book a look-through.

Micah Johnston – Sports Editor

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman

This book just takes me to another world. I guess that’s what a good book is supposed to do, but this one really comforts me no matter how I’m feeling.

Following a war between different generations of deities from countless cultures is enticing enough, but combine that with Gaiman’s wry sense of humor and knack for tack-shard characters and you’ve got a knockout.

Following Shadow on his journey to learn what these odd Gods are really about is something I’ll never get tired of. Read this book if you’re interested in history, fantasy or just plain ol’ humanity. It will not disappoint.

Samantha Homcy – Social Media Co-Manager

“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

I first read “The Glass Menagerie” when I was 15 for my English class, and I always come back to it. I love theater, and this play is one that is just as interesting and worthwhile to read as it is to watch.

The story is uniquely presented through the memories of the narrator, Tom, as he reminisces on living with his mother, Amanda, and his sister, Laura, and the fateful night they had a “gentleman caller,” Tom’s coworker and Laura’s former high school classmate, Jim, over for dinner. It’s a great example of a play that doesn’t need to be very long or have many characters to tell a really compelling story.