The New Year is upon us, and with it comes list after list of everyone’s favorite books of 2016. However, here at Zoetic Press we don’t let the constraints of the calendar dictate what thrilled us. Welcome to the Zoetic Press Best of Books List, curated by the staff and placed here in your timeline in hopes it will inspire you to read and discuss. What were your favorite books this year? Let us know! It’s like a comment section book club!
With LGBT+ and coming-of-age being themes in my own current work, I chose this book initially as research for my own projects. The novel pulls us into protagonist, Gene’s, world of reminiscences of his time at prep school in the 1940s during World War II with his best friend and roommate, Phineas (Finny). When Gene causes Finny to injure himself, which impacts on Finny’s sense of self, we see Gene stumble into questioning his own self and the depth of his feelings towards Finny.
I identified with Gene’s introverted and quiet personality, and found this book difficult to put down. ‘Coming-of-age’ is but one of the many themes the story addresses. It was that and so much more. First published in 1959, the book transcends its era. It is a touching and tragic tale with the backdrop of the War, showcasing a teen struggle with who he is and how is actions impacted on one person he cares for the most in this world. I went in looking for mere coming-of-age research, and came out with another addition to my favourite books list.
–Lani Watt, Associate Editor