• Inspire Teen Reads

Ride-or-die book picks, brought to you by Inspire (Part 1)

We asked the Inspire Teen Reads team what their favourite books were. From classics to memoir, here are the team’s ride-or-die books.

Divya’s Pick: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

“It’s hard to choose a favourite book, but one that stands out to me over the years is the Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri. A Pulitzer Prize winning book, it consists of nine stories that describe the diasporic experience. After reading mostly eurocentric stories as a child, I realized that there is power in seeing your experiences represented in writing. For me, this book explored questions that were intimately connected with my identity and experiences, as an Indo-Canadian woman born to immigrants. What does it mean to truly belong? How does it feel when your body is in one place, but your heart in another? There’s a feeling of loss that subliminally pervades the stories of first and second generation immigrants, and this collection of stories is artful in its portrayal of this feeling.” --Divya

Emma’s Pick: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

“I had a lot of debate with choosing this book: it’s a classic, but it’s also really cliche and there’s about a million and one adaptations. It’s a story of a man trying to find redemption and kindness in the midst of a fight for equality. It’s an absolute unit of a book to try to get through, but it’s completely worth it to dive into all of the little details that make its world, characters, and storylines just so human even though it’s separated from me by almost two hundred years. Victor Hugo wrote in the prologue that “so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless,” and although it’s a bit sad that this book continues to be relevant, I think that seeing injustice separate from our own helps us identify those in our own communities.” --Emma

Rita’s Pick: Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill.

“In O’Neill’s writing style, there is a certain dreamlike quality surrounding horrible, gritty events— she writes beautifully about the struggle of survival and necessary sacrifices when society pits people on the lowest rung against each other. The main character, Baby, aged just thirteen, has an incredibly complex relationship with her fleeting childhood. Similarly poignant & terrifying & fascinating is Lonely Hearts Hotel also by Ms. O’Neill. Give them a gander when you have the time.” --Rita