Opinion: Pleiad Staff Book Recommendations

“Snapdragon,” by Kat Leyh and “Braiding Sweetgrass,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, are displayed on their owner, Alma sophomore Bonnie Lord’s desk. The latter of the two is stuffed with notes and tags, marking quotes and memorable moments after several loving re-reads (Photo illustration by Bonnie Lord).

As writers of the Pleiad, a multi-media news publication, it should come as no surprise that we are also avid readers. We read articles – of course – but also stories, novels, comics and other forms of writing.

Here are a collection of recommendations from members of our staff: 

Bonnie Lord, Managing Editor

“Braiding Sweetgrass,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer: “Braiding Sweetgrass” changes how you understand the environment – and the world. Kimmerer encapsulates several ways of knowing in this lovingly written novel, combining scientific knowledge, spirituality, personal experience and indigenous ecological knowledge for an end product that both captivates and educates.

It dissects and destroys ecofascism, introduces the reader to several of our native ecosystems and leaves one feeling not guilty, but validated and inspired. 

 If you’re looking for a book to start your journey to healing your relationship with the natural world, this is it.

“Snapdragon,” by Kat Leyh: “Snapdragon” is a graphic novel that is overwhelmingly creative and original. It follows Snapdragon, a young girl who happens to meet and befriend the town witch.

This story is wonderfully dynamic, fantastical, empowering, queer and funny. It is both comforting and mysterious and the cast is endearing and adorable. 

If you’re looking for a book you can read in an hour, then read all over again (I must be on my sixth re-read?), this is your book.

The “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series by Sarah J. Maas rests on a bookshelf, above it is graphic memoir “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe. Berkley junior, Bella Bakeman, says these books are worth “each read and re-read” (Photo illustration by Bella Bakeman).

Bella Bakeman, Editor-in-Chief 

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” (ACOTAR), by Sarah J. Maas: If you’re interested in getting into a fantasy series that finds itself within a multiverse (15 books and counting) I enthusiastically recommend “ACOTAR,” by Sarah J. Maas. Technically, the beginning of the multiverse begins with “Throne of Glass,” Mass’ first novel, which she began writing when she was just 16 years old. These books are fantastical and romantic, they deal with trauma and pain and entirely transport you into the universe; her world-building skills are like no other.

I’ve been obsessed since I was 14 years old, so to fully explain what these books are to me is impossible. All I can say is that each book Maas has written is worth every read and re-read. It’s BookTok famous for a reason! 

And please, if you read “ACOTAR,” read the second book, “A Court of Mist and Fury”  – it is the best one. Her newest series, “Crescent City,” is also more than worth a read. It’s more adult and harder to get into – but the payoff is so worth it.

“Genderqueer,” by Maia Kobabe: If you’re looking for a fast read, this is the one. Kobabe tells eir story of discovering eir gender identity and sexuality through a graphic memoir. The art is beautiful, the language is real and the story as a whole is brilliant. It’s also the most banned book in the nation if that should entice you further. 

Jed Mackay and Alessandro Cappuccio’s current run on “Moon Knight” is on display in Dallas senior Juan G. Rodriguez’s room. The collection started with “The Midnight Mission” and slowly grew out from there (Photo illustration by Juan G. Rodriguez).

Juan Rodriguez, Opinions Editor

“Moon Knight,” by Jed MacKay: MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio’s current run on “Moon Knight” has been my favorite comics run to keep up with as of late. I picked up the first volume, “The Midnight Mission,” in a bookstore over in Marshall when the power on campus went out last year. Since then, I’ve been making an active effort to keep up with the story; it served as a gateway into comics for me. Maybe it could serve the same purpose for others. This run has enough of a connection to previous Moon Knight stories to be recognizable as the same character, while also being able to stand on its own and without any need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the character. 

“Lake Michigan,” by Daniel Borzutzky: Originally an assigned reading for an English class, I took to Borzutzky’s poetry with a ravenous hunger. Politically charged and hyper-focused on the ways that individuals are often victimized and harmed by the systems in place, Lake Michigan serves as a reminder of the kind of writing I want to do and why this work matters in the first place. For anyone else with the same appetite for politically charged literature, I’d strongly recommend this.

“The Entire Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series,” by Rick Riordan: I feel the need to recommend the five books in the “Percy Jackson and The Olympians” series by Rick Riordan, from “The Lighting Thief” up until “The Last Olympian.” They are always a comfort read for me, something I always delight in treating myself to. The characters are immediately compelling and eternally enthralling. The humor is so thoroughly enjoyable, even on the 50th reread. The adaptation of Greek myths into the context of the modern world always leaves me with a sense of wonder. It’s a timeless series, something I could share with younger readers in my family and have them grow up with.

(Bakeman seconds the final recommendation).


Gabe Peraino, Sports Editor

Any book by Mike Lupica: All of them are great reads. “Baseball Card Adventures” is for those who love good baseball reads too.


Rhiannon Slotnick, Staff Writer

“The Selection,” by Kiera Cass: I love “The Selection” series by Kiera Cass! It’s my favorite sci/fi romance series; it’s basically The Bachelor in a book. It’s set in the future and all the classes are divided into numbers one through eight. It follows the story of a young girl who is randomly selected, along with multiple other girls, to compete for the crown of their country and the prince’s heart. It is very family-oriented and has a slow-burn romance that makes me swoon! 

(Bakeman seconds this recommendation).


Aidan Shapiro, Staff Writer 

“The Dark Knight Returns,” by Frank Miller: It’s a story about an older Bruce Wayne who must return to crime fighting as Batman after his most infamous villains are “rehabilitated” and sent back into society. It’s a dark, graphic and violent story about an aging Batman who struggles with his morality and his infamous “no-kill rule.”


Phoebe Holm, Staff Photographer

“My Best Friend’s Exorcism,” by Grady Hendrix: It’s a horror, comedy, coming-of-age story set in the 1980s, where two best friends have to fight with evil forces to keep their friendship alive. If you can’t tell by the title, one of the girls becomes possessed and their lives flip upside down. 

Imagine trying to navigate teenage life with a demon terrorizing you. 

“Desperation,” by Stephen King: I read the almost 900-page book in about five days. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as a seemingly insane police chief of a deteriorating town is found terrorizing people on Highway 50. The people traveling on this stretch of road find themselves responsible for figuring out and stopping whatever sinister thing is happening in the town, now only occupied by the chief. 

“Dreamcatcher,” by Stephen King: This is the story of four lifelong friends who go on a trip to a remote cabin for an annual hunting trip. Their trip is interrupted when a stranger stumbles into their cabin, muttering about lights in the sky. 

Honestly, anything by Stephen King is going to be a great read for any horror lover. I could go on and on about any number of his books and why you should read them. They can be sick and twisted, but his work is always full of suspense and great character-building. 

“The Illustrated Man,” by Ray Bradbury: This is a collection of 18 short stories, most of them having to do with the coldness of technology and the psychology of human beings. Each of these stories refers back to a carnival worker covered head to toe in tattoos that move and tell stories of the future.

1 Comment

  1. So many great recommendations, Pleiad Staff.

    Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus are both great—anything by Rick Riordan. Is fantastic, and it’s ALL interconnected at least a little bit, but PJO and HoO are TEN books, so that’s daunting in and of itself.

    Mike Lupica is also a great recommendation if you’re sporty. He has a lot of great books for all ages. There are middle school/high school age books like “Heat”, “Travel Team”, and “Million Dollar Throw”, but now he’s started to get into more adult fiction with “The Horsewoman” and “The House of Wolves”—one of my new favorite reads (imagine “Succession”, but sporty and with the violence of Yellowstone).

    I’d also add Mitch Albom to the list. He has a little something for everyone—be it the music nut (“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto”), the faithful (“The Five People You Meet in Heaven”), or the people who like to grow themselves as they read (“Tuesdays with Morrie”—a favorite of my Pops.)

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