2021 Reading Challenge: Read a Book Told From Multiple Points of View

This post was contributed by Maggie Petersen, a library outreach specialist at W. Dale Clark Main Library.

In 2021, OPL invites patrons to take part in the Reading Challenge! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to listen to or read. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to let us know which read you picked up this month!

Have you ever experienced something with another person and walked away with different interpretations of the events? How can people experience the same thing in different ways? 

Hearing a story from multiple points of view is a great opportunity to read how personal experiences can alter and shape the way another person views the world around them. Studies have shown that reading helps develop emotional intelligence and empathy. What better way to do this than reading a story told from multiple points of view? 

Where do you even start? Fortunately, telling a story from multiple points of view crosses a wide variety of genres!

If you’re looking for a thriller that will have you analyzing a mystery through multiple sources, try the latest from "The Girl on the Train, opens a new window" author Paula Hawkins titled "A Slow Fire Burning, opens a new window." When a young man turns up brutally murdered on his London houseboat, three women are brought in for questioning: his neighbor who discovers the body but removes a bloody key before placing the call to the authorities, his grief stricken aunt with a painful grudge for her nephew’s family, and a young woman with impulse control issues who shared his bed for a night. What unfolds will keep you guessing until the end. 

Try something in the cutthroat world of corporate publishing in "The Other Black Girl, opens a new window" by Zakiya Dalila Harris. Nella Rogers is a young editorial assistant at Wagner Publishing who is tired of carrying the mantle of the sole woman of color in the office. When another black woman joins the office, Nella is thrilled! She and Hazel begin to bond immediately. One day, Nella finds a note on her desk that simply reads: “LEAVE WAGNER. NOW”. What follows is a physiological thriller that weaves racism, office politics, code switching and more into a story you won’t be able to put down. A must read for fans of "Get Out, opens a new window" or "The Devil Wears Prada, opens a new window."

Historical fiction holds a seemingly endless variety for multiple points of view. Fans of "Daisy Jones and the Six, opens a new window" by Taylor Jenkins Reid might like the author’s new book "Malibu Rising, opens a new window" about an epic party thrown by celebrity siblings that results in a massive house fire. The sibling dynamic is tainted by the abandonment they share thanks to their rockstar father. It’s a novel about the complex relationship between siblings told in the hard party years of the early 1980s. 

Craving something with a Nebraska connection? Try "The Lincoln Highway, opens a new window" by master storyteller Amor Towles which follows the exciting journey of the young Watson brothers. Emmett is just 18 years old and released from a juvenile detention camp to take custody of his 8-year-old brother after the death of their father. They plan to go to California where they hope to find the mother who abandoned them years ago when Emmett discovers something in the family barn that will turn their plan on its head. It’s a richly-told story of Americana and life on the railroad. 

If you love the authentic feel of literary fiction, you might like "Something Wild, opens a new window" by Hanna Halperin. Sisters Tanya and Nessa descend on their childhood home to prepare their mother for a big move, only to confront an awful reality. It’s a portrait of a family in crisis and the lifelong effects of generational trauma, and it’s a moving and deeply felt read. 

For something pulled from real events, try "Dear Miss Metropolitan, opens a new window" by Carolyn Ferrell. Told through the perspective of three girls abducted and held for a decade by a man called Boss Man, this is a story of survival, the bonds of trauma, and how we define “family.” Readers will find documents, excerpts from interviews, photographs and more throughout the book that bring the story to life in a huge way.

Looking for something unique with a magical realism slant? Try "The Old Drift, opens a new window" by Namwali Serpell. It’s an epic saga following three families connected by one violent event and follows the reverberations over a century and into the not-so-distant future. 

For magical realism with a historical flare covered in romance, try "The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, opens a new window" by V. E. Schwab. Addie is a 18th century French peasant girl who dreams of more than marrying the local widowed farmer. After making a Faustian bargain with a dark god, she finds herself with the gift of endless time but she is also cursed to be forgotten by all she meets the moment they turn away from her. Stubborn pride keeps her from calling off the bargain for centuries until one day she meets a man in modern day New York City who says the three words she’s been waiting to hear: “I remember you.” It’s a dreamy, romantic read that will devastate and uplift. 

For even more ideas, check out this list, opens a new window or fill out a Custom Reading List request at omahalibrary.org/find-your-next-read and a librarian will find you more options. 

Whatever you choose, considering the world through another point of view is an exercise in curiosity that is sure to engage and thrill!

Submit your completed reading log online or return a completed tracking sheet to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed prizes! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2021, to be entered into the prize drawing.

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