Tag Archives: bookaholic

Twenty-Five Favorite Books

The final installment of my favorites series! You can find my children’s recommendations, my teen recommendations, and finally my “adult” books here on my blog!

I will admit my “adult” selection is lacking, as I have spent most of my older years balancing my time between classes and other more important pursuits. However, here are some books I’d include on that list, many of which were reads for my courses, but nonetheless enjoyable. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!

Room  Room by Emma Donoghue- One of the newest additions to my favorites list! A fantastic story from the point of view of a five year old who’s been confined to one room for most of his life. His story is heart warming, suspenseful, funny, and compelling.

The Marriage Plot  The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides- A random paperback find in France (that was in English) at the thrift store. Nonetheless I found the “plot” interesting and appreciated the themes as an English major myself. A bit depressing, if you think this is romance be prepared it’s nothing so fluffy as the title might suggest.

The Handmaid's Tale   The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- A fantastic work of distopian fiction with a very unique storyline. Fascinating and dark and awful in its own way. I would recommend reading a description before jumping in. Nonetheless, I highly recommend this book.

A Lesson Before Dying  A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines- A great book that poses many interesting questions. I recommended it to my host mom in France when she said she didn’t know of any books that taught you about getting ready to die and how important she thought that is. Well, guess what, here’s one! A great story that definitely caused me to shed a tear or two.

To Kill a Mockingbird  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– Oh goodness, where to even begin. A beautiful story with fantastic characters. Just read it if you haven’t.

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion, #1)  A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers- I used to read a lot of Christian fiction, and most of it is pretty bad (in terms of writing anyways), but I liked these pretty well back in the day. I felt compelled to include at least one book of this genre that I liked, since it was so meaningful to me a few years ago. This one is historical fiction as well, set in the days of the Roman empire following a Jewish slave girl, a Germanic gladiator, and a Roman family (and others I think too). Interesting read.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare  Merchant of Venice, King LearRichard III, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare- Sorry, I couldn’t choose just one favorite Shakespeare play (and yes I know these aren’t technically “books” in the sense of novels, but they are good literary works). Anyhow, I love Shakespeare too much to choose one. So here are a few of different genres.

Till We Have Faces  Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis– Alright, I grew up being taught to love C.S. Lewis. And yes, I have some problems with his work now as an adult, between racism and misogyny and lovely things of that nature. However, this remains one of my favorite books of his, and I really enjoyed it at the time. To fellow students at my university: YES I liked Gary’s C.S. Lewis class ok! Sorry if that’s an unpopular opinion, but I did.

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- Long. Ridiculously long. Some people just cannot work past Tolkien’s long prose, but I loved every bit of these books and devoured them as a twelve year old. Part of that had to do with love of the movies, but even as long as the films are, they don’t capture all of Tolkien’s genius. Great books for anyone who loves epic adventure stories of course!

Thérèse Desqueyroux  Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac- I have to include some French books here as well. My teacher told me it was too hard for me, and I read it anyways. And I will admit I didn’t understand as much as I wanted to. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting story. There are English translations if you want to look for one. It’s a story about a woman who tries to murder her husband and her difficult life. I really enjoyed the parts I understood and will maybe pursue reading it in my own language sometime soon.
The Silver Linings Playbook  The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick- Ok, no lies, I only read this because of the movie. However, I found that the book was very different, and I enjoyed certain elements of it more than the film. If you haven’t watched the movie, read the book first because otherwise some of the cool plot twists will be ruined. Nonetheless, a thought-provoking and interesting story. Read the book for deeper more depressing thoughts, and watch the film for some great laughs. Definitely two different tones at least in my opinion. 
The Joy Luck Club  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan-  This novel is so fantastic! You’ll need to find a way to keep track of the eight main characters, but the stories are so incredible and moving! One of my favorite books of all time.Frankenstein  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley- So, if you’re picturing a green creepy monster chasing people around with his arms outstretched grunting, go watch the disgusting Hollywood films. If you instead want a fascinating story about a scientist who creates human life from the dead and then faces horrible depressing consequences as a result, read on! The book is nothing like all of the movies out there (usually).
The Hiding Place  The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom-  I read this the same year I visited a concentration camp, and it completely changed my life. Though this is a true story of the Holocaust, it was nowhere near as depressing as many of the accounts I read. Many of those were unbearable for me, I couldn’t process the horror of what I was reading. And though this story is still tragic, it contains a sense of hope that is so important to maintain even in the darkest days.Oliver Twist  Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens- I also love A Tale of Two Cities and Hard Times, but this remains my favorite Dickens’s novel. His works contain such fantastic characters, such wonderful and intriguing stories. Read this and follow poor little Oliver through his various misadventures and enjoy the mystery Dickens creates.

Jane Eyre  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë- This novel is one of my most beloved reads. The story is so enchanting, and Jane is a fabulous and unique character! I like the Gothic tradition surrounding this novel and the twists that gives the story. I will never fail to coo over Jane and Rochester, even though I have been dubbed a bad feminist for doing so.

Cyrano de Bergerac   Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand- Maybe I should have made a section for plays too! This is another favorite of mine, a tragic yet beautiful love story of a man who is ugly yet intelligent, incapable of wooing the love of his life because of his ridiculously long nose. The beautiful language and witty prose are all wonderful, and I always feel like crying whenever I watch the film adaption.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale   Moby Dick by Herman Melville- I did say I mostly chose books I’d read in class right? Sorry for the influx of canon novels onto the list, but this book is too good to pass up on including. It’s an amazing story and Captain Ahab is one of the most fascinating literary characters ever invented. The story is hilarious in certain elements, and dark in others. It’s again, very long, but well worth the read.

Their Eyes Were Watching God  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston– This book is very sad, but I nonetheless loved the writing and found the story interesting. I also wrote a feminist paper on this book and can’t help but admire the messages I think Hurston is portraying. Salima, if you’re reading this… I’m sorry.

The Help  The Help by Katheryn Stockett-

This is a wonderful book, again my inspiration to read it was from the equally amazing movie. This one follows pretty closely but still offers some unique perspective on pages it can’t in film. I find Skeeter somewhat relatable and wish I had her courage.

The Princess Bride The Princess Bride by William Goldman- A book version of the hilarious movie? Inconceivable! Yes, indeed, there is a book version of this classic film, filled with the same hilarity and overly dramatic shenanigans though it remains remarkably different. And yet it still contains the classic true love story, pirates, the Fire Swamp, fantastic sword fights, the Pit of Despair, magic, all your favorite characters, and of course…there’s kissing in this book. So go ahead and read, because really true love is the greatest thing in the world–except maybe for a really good MLT (Mutton Lettuce and Tomato). Also, no worries if the book says “abridged” on it, that worried me the first time too but trust me you won’t find a “full” edition anywhere. Just read it and you’ll understand.

That’s that. Any good books you’d like to tell me about? (to those who’ve commented on the others, don’t worry I won’t be offended if you skip this one)

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I’ve Lived a Thousand Lives

I've Lived a Thousand Lives

Something I saw on pinterest that is so true for a reader.

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September 4, 2013 · 11:57 AM

A Bookaholic’s Guide to College Packing

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It’s my last week at home, and I’m busy trying to get all of my stuff packed up. Of course, I’m running across the same problem I have every year. And that is choosing which books to take and which to leave.

My first year in college I packed half of my collection up to take. When my father caught sight of it he ordered me to cut it down. I cut it in half again. My second year I tried to select a few favorites but still ended up with more than I expected. But this coming year I’m going to be studying abroad second semester, so I really need to cut down on my books. So I’ve decided to create a guide of ways to lower down the number of books you take with you. Here are some initial questions to ask.

1. Will I read this?

Carefully consider what you will or will not use. You’ll likely be busy and won’t have a lot of free time. So if you’re bringing books make sure it’s something you like enough to read again or really want to read.

2. Can I find this on the internet/another source?

Somethings are easy to find online. For example, Shakespeare’s plays, poetry collections, or baby name meanings. So, why not leave your dictionary at home and figure that you can always look up a word meaning if you need it.

3. Is there another option for reading?

Check if there’s a local library you can use. At my college I can get a library card for the school year. My school library also has lending from other schools that allows me to get ahold of books if I really want them. And most of the time I’d rather read a new book than an old one, so it’s better to get one from the library.

4. Can I wait to read this?

Remember you might have more free time over Christmas or Summer break, so sometimes it’s just better to leave a book waiting for you til you get home. That way you save yourself the trouble of carting it back home over the breaks.

5. Is this too similar to something else I’m taking?

Trying to take a variety helps cut it down a bit. So ensure you’re not taking books that are very similar. As a Christian I like having devotionals to read, but it’s silly to take four or five different ones when they’re a similar type of book. So narrow it down. Take one book by your favorite author and consider saving the other space for something different.

6. Is this hard to pack or worth the space?

Avoid the big bulky books. I have a complete collection of Shakespeare and a Lord of the Rings collection. Neither are coming with me because the books are gigantic! Pick small books, paperbacks if possible. These are easy to take with you. In fact, if you want to pick up a few new books for college you can always check your local library for book sales and grab a few $0.25 books that you can later just donate when you’re done with. This saves you space on the return home if you have less books than you started with.

7. Will I be upset if this gets lost/dirty/damaged?

I’m a book collector, so I like picking up old fashioned copies of things. Now, in college you’re often sharing space and sometimes things get lost or dirty. Plus, the traveling process is a risk too. So maybe leave a special edition or signed copy home.

8. Why am I really taking this?

This is the essential question to ask. You can kid yourself all you want, but if you can’t come up with a good answer to this question then you should kick that book back in storage. Pick books you really want, books you know you’ll read, and books that clearly have some irreplaceable value to them.

So be careful in your consideration for packing. It’s easy to end up with way more books than you’ll actually use. And in the end, remember that college is a time to study and be social and branch out. So keep in mind you’ll want to keep your nose out of a book at times and get out into the world…or keep it in a book to actually study. So bring a few of your favorites, leave the rest at home, and have a great year!

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Confessions of a Reader

So, reading is one of my greatest passions but within the world of reading I’ve discovered several problems, or perhaps bad habits. So I’d like to highlight some of my problems as a reader and relieve my burdened soul. I hope you feel free to put your own confessions in the comments below!

I am a bookaholic- So I’ll confess that this is the biggest problem. I am addicted to books. Obviously there are worse things to be addicted to but this comes with a few problems of its own.

1. No shelf space- I currently have two shelves that are double stacked with books. I’m horrible at finding more space and yet for some reason every time I see a book at a yard sale or discounted at a bookstore I seem to forget all about what my room looks like.

2. Skimming- I’m a skimmer. It makes things difficult when I’m reading for class and the professor quizzes on minute details, but otherwise it does have its handy uses. I’m just so eager to get onto the next book I can’t seem to make myself read every word. This bad habit is something I am working on. I don’t believe every book should be skimmed.

3. Multiple books- I rarely finish a book before I pick another up. As you can see from my goodreads shelf on the side I have a problem with reading multiple books at once. I just read such a variety it makes it hard to pick just one thing to read.

4. Skipping ahead- As a kid I was especially bad about this. I used to just skip to the end and read it. If the end was worth it I’d finish the book but otherwise I wouldn’t.

5. Kidding myself- Sometimes I pick up books to read that I honestly know I’m not going to read but somehow try to convince myself I will. I can’t think of a specific example right now but far too many books I’ve gotten from the library have gone back untouched because I checked out the book for the wrong reasons.

6. Bad quality literature- as an English major there is a certain standard you feel you have to live up to in your reading. It’s always a bit embarrassing when people ask you what you’re reading and instead of replying Walden, or Great Expectations you have to admit it’s some teen romance novel. To be honest I know it’s good to read a variety and to know what’s out there besides classics, but this is still something I struggle with. Those guilty pleasure books are just too easy to pick up sometimes after struggling through a “classic”. As I am now 20 I still do feel a bit embarrassed going to the teens section and picking out a book, but I’ll admit I still do it anyways.

7. Books are my friends- now a days it’s usually my computer that consumes my time, but in the past I’ve had problems with picking up books instead of socializing. As a teenager my friends used to hide my books from me at lunch time so I would interact with people instead of pages.

8. Books before movies- I have always had a rule about books and movies. Always read the book first. Of course, while I state that rule I often lie about how well I follow it. Here is a list of movies I’ve watched before reading books or without reading the books:  The Help, The Lord of the Rings, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, The NeverEnding Story, The Jungle Book, Escape to Witch Mountain, Bridge to Terabethia, Ballet Shoes, Matilda, Pride and Prejudice, A Little Princess, Emma, Harriet the Spy, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and so many more. So, I confess I am a liar about this rule. I’ve likely seen more movies before reading the book than the other way around.

9. Being a nerd- This weekend I’ve been playing an old Harry Potter computer game I have and I have to admit there are a lot of inconsistencies with the books or what I know to be true. Sometimes I’m a nerd like that, knowing too much about the books I read. But to be honest I’m ok with that.

10. Travel issues- I always bring at least three books anytime I go on vacation. Sometimes even more. And of course that leads to a sore back when I return from carrying a heavy backpack or suitcase around. But I love my books and even if I don’t read them there’s something nice about having them along just in case.

So those are my confessions to make right now. Anyone else have some to share?

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