Happy Birthday, Haruki Murakami!

Today is Haruki Murakami’s 71st birthday! He was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1949. For those who don’t know who he is (I’d be surprised!), he’s an incredibly well-known and loved Japanese writer. His work has been translated in 50 different languages and remains on bestseller lists internationally. He has over ten fiction works and two non-fiction books. Some of his most popular books are: Norwegian Wood (1987), 1Q84 (2009-2010), Kafka on the Shore (2002) and a Wild Sheep Chase (1982).

  • Norwegian Wood (1987)

Image result for norwegian wood“Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

A magnificent blending of the music, the mood, and the ethos that was the sixties with the story of one college student’s romantic coming of age, Norwegian Wood brilliantly recaptures a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.”

 

  • 1Q84 (2009/2010)

10357575A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.”

 

  • Kafka on the Shore (2002)

4929Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle—yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.”

 

and to share with you the book I am currently reading by him, it’s called the Colorless Life of Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage! It came out in 2013.

41022133. sy475 “A New York Times and Washington Post notable book, and one of the Financial Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Slate, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, and BookPage’s best books of the year

An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the remarkable story of a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. Here Haruki Murakami—one of the most revered voices in literature today—gives us a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.”

 

I originally went to the used bookstore to find Norwegian Wood but it’s so popular that they didn’t have any and it’s not available to order right now either. I settled on this one because the first page was so interesting and I needed to know what happens next. It does seem sad but the writing is so beautiful so I can’t put it down. I’m not very far into it yet but I hope to finish it this weekend.

I decided that even though this book has mixed ratings, I’d let it be my first Haruki Murakami book because it was so captivating. I rarely ever pick up books I know nothing about and after reading that first page, it was hard to say no.

If you’re wondering why I am just now reading his books, I decided I would start reading more Japanese translated works since I’m learning Japanese and Haruki Murakami is an absolute legend when it comes to translated fiction. I also just wanted more books set in Japan!

 

Have you ever read anything by Haruki Murakami? What book was it and how’d you feel?

 

Find any of these at your local bookstore!

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the Perfect Reads for New Years

Happy New Year’s Eve! New Year’s Eve/New Years are for some reason my favorite days of the year. I just love the feeling of something new even though it’s just a date. I love feeling so hopeful about the upcoming year. I love setting goals for myself and feeling as if I can really achieve them. I also love reading cheesy self help books at the beginning of the year. We sold a lot of these types of books last year in January and I get it. They’re just so much better when you read them at the beginning of the year because you feel like you’re ready to take on the entire year after reading them. I made this little list of books that I feel like you could benefit from reading at the beginning of the year.

I revisit a few of these books at the beginning of the year because they make me feel so good. I also added some new interesting ones that may be good for this time of the year!

  • Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

45754997“For readers of Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill–a compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction

Miranda Popkey’s first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt–written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women–the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage–and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.”

This book comes out on January 7th, 2020!

  • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

43848929. sx318 Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers — and why they often go wrong.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you’ll hear the voices of people he interviewed–scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There’s even a theme song – Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout.”

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

 

  • the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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“Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.”

Money Diaries by Lindsey Stanberry

37707358

“Does it feel like you’re NEVER going to finish paying back your student loans?
Do you spend more on coffee per month than you put into your 401(k)?
Do you avoid looking at your bank balance because it’s easier to live in denial?
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend.

Money Diaries, the breakout series from Refinery29, offers readers a revealing and often surprising look at the personal finances of others: what they spend, how they save, and even the purchases they hide from their partners and friends. Featuring all-new Money Diaries, valuable advice on how to get rich (and afford life in the meantime) from a handpicked team of female financial advisers, and money challenges that will save you up to $500, Refinery29 Money Diaries will empower you to take immediate control of your own money.

With a vision of what your dream bank account balance looks like, some expert advice to help you achieve it, and the support of a powerful community with the same goal, you’ll be a step closer to taking control of not just your wallet, but your life.”

  • No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

48188086“The groundbreaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has become the voice of a generation, including her historic address to the United Nations

In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day in order to protest the climate crisis. Her actions sparked a global movement, inspiring millions of students to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across the globe, from the United Nations to Capitol Hill and mass street protests, her book is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.”

 

 

Do you read motivational books in the beginning of the year?

 

Find any of these at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

My Top Ten Books of 2019

IT’S FINALLY HERE. It’s time to list my top ten books of this year. This list was so hard to create and I sat down last night writing out possible picks and narrowing it down. I think I finally have a finished top ten list that I can share so without further ado, here are my favorite books I read in 2019 in order!

Honourable Mentions:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I really started to read more horror/thriller this year and I found that I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s writing. I read Sharp Objects by her and the Grown Up (a short story) and liked them both but they were nothing like Gone Girl. It was so enticing and I loved reading it!

  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Listen, I had a hard time not putting this in my top ten. This was the one Rainbow Rowell novel that I hadn’t read yet because I was waiting to see a used copy in my local bookstore. Eventually, I scored a copy at a newer bookstore near me and decided it was finally time to read it. I ended up loving it, so much so that it’s higher up on my favorite Rainbow Rowell book lists.

  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins

This book was so well done and creative in the way it was written that I couldn’t ignore it this year. If you like Almost Famous the movie, you’ll probably love this book.

  • Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

This was one of my favorite romance novels I read this year. I love the characters in this book and I could seriously see myself re-reading this book for pure joy. However, it didn’t make my favorites list because the ending wasn’t my favorite. But, everything before the ending deserves to be on this list!

AND NOW ONTO MY ACTUAL LIST!

10. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

You guys, I read more thrillers/horror this year than I ever have. I couldn’t believe that I even read Imaginary Friend, a 700 page horror/thriller and I LOVED IT. I have an entire review here.

9. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This was one of my highly anticipated books of 2020 even though I hadn’t read the Handmaid’s Tale at the beginning of the year. I pre-ordered this book and drove to pick it up right when my manager had called me to tell me it’s in. I binge read it in like three days and I loved every minute of it! I think it’s much more entertaining than the first one. I have a review for it here.

8. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

I just recently read this book and I was amazed at how much I ended up loving this book. It was marketed as a rom com but it’s soo much more than that. It’s a beautiful story of living in a Korean family in America with a bit of relationship stuff in it. I totally cried reading this book and I highly recommend it!

7. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

I finally finished Throne of Glass this year and I can’t believe it’s over…This series might be one of the biggest fantasy series of the decade for me. I loved it so much at the beginning and I was growing away from it near the end but honestly, this finale was everything I wanted and more.  I’m so glad it ended on such a great note. If you haven’t read this series yet, it’s truly worth it.

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I also FINALLY got around to reading the Hate U Give this year and like all the other books on this list, I loved it. I listened to most of it on audio and it made me laugh at times but also sob in other parts. This is a book everyone should read.

5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

YOU GUYS! This is the last book I read this year and I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I’ve had it for awhile and I try to save my historical fiction reads for the winter because that seems to be my favorite time of the year to read them. I knew this book was sad but I didn’t know it would make me cry so much. I loved Isabelle as a character — she’s so strong, independent and outspoken. Seeing such a strong female character like her during WWII was inspiring nonetheless. I understand why everyone has read and loved this book now.

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I’ve been meaning to read this classic for awhile now and I finally got around to it this year. I’ve read and loved other things written by Sylvia Plath but somehow had never read her only novel. This book doesn’t read like a classic honestly and I was shocked at how oddly relatable the main character is. It is a really sad book (like most things she writes) but it kept me entertained throughout. I actually read this mostly in one sitting so that definitely says something about this classic.

3. The Great Alone my Kristin Hannah

This is the book that introduced me to Kristin Hannah near the very beginning of this year. I had gotten a copy of it on super sale from Book Outlet and decided to start the audiobook. I would listen to the audiobook on my hour long drive to work and it’s all I would listen to. I never really listen to audiobooks in the car because I prefer singing to music but this book had me HOOKED. I love books set in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest so the setting was absolutely perfect. I have a review for it here if you want to know more about how I felt.

2. We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

I requested this book the day it had went up on Edelweiss because I was in love with the cover and I saw that it was comparable to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. If any of you know me, you know that’s one of my favorite stories. I ended up reading this book with my close friend Amber and we both really loved it. I could go on and on about this book but I have an in-depth review that you can read here.

1. The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This is kind of a weird favorite book of the year for me but I think it really was. I don’t own a copy of this book (sadly) because I got it from the library (hehe see what I did) and I really loved it. I picked this book without knowing what it was even about but I remember working at b&n when it was really popular. It’s also a part of Reese’s book club which I tend to enjoy books from so I gave it a shot. This book was so well written considering it’s a non-fiction that I absolutely devoured. I wanted to know what happened next even though it was a cliffhanger type of book. I just loved reading it so I wanted to keep reading. This book isn’t just about the Los Angeles Library fire, but about the histories of libraries themselves and some other library fires in history. She also writes about the case of figuring out who did start the fire but I found the information about libraries so fascinating. It made me want to be a librarian even more…I even just recently applied to volunteer at my library because I love everything librarians do. I want to contribute to my local community in the way that librarians do. So, in a way, this book changed my life a bit. I highly recommend it!

 

What were some of your favorite books of the year? Have you read any of these? I’d love to know!

 

Find any of these titles at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

12 Holiday Reads to Cozy Up With This Christmas

It’s that time of the year again and I’m here for some cozy Christmas reads! I’m at work and decided to do a little research about some of the best reads during the holiday season. Enjoy!

1. Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

5661151 “Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful colour drawing. They were from Father Christmas, telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole.

From the first note to Tolkien’s eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.”

Read more about it here on Goodreads.

 

 

 

2. One Day in December by Josie Silver

image “Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”

Read more about this book on Goodreads.

 

3. Little Women by Louisaa cj May Alcott

“Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?”

Listen, I couldn’t NOT include this book. The new movie comes out this Christmas too!

Read more about in on Goodreads.

 

 

4. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

23472571. sx318 “Truman Capote’s boyhood Christmas memoir, rereleased with a beautiful new packaging.


The classic story of Truman Capote’s childhood Christmas ritual is more endearing than ever in this newly redesigned package.

In celebration of A Christmas Memory‘s enduring appeal, this repackaged edition retains Beth Peck’s evocative watercolors and Capote’s original text. First published in 1956, this is the story from Capote’s childhood of lovingly making fruitcakes from scratch at Christmas-time with his elderly cousin, and has stood the test of time to become known as an American holiday classic.”

Read more about in on Goodreads.

 

5. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

royal h

“One dollar and eight-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure — her long, beautiful brown hair. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this classic piece of American literature tells the story of a young couple and the sacrifices each must make to buy the other a gift. Beautiful, delicate watercolors by award-winning illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger add new poignancy and charm to this simple tale about the rewards of unselfish love.”

This is one of my favorite short stories ever. I remember doing this story in my junior high thespian’s group and I never forgot it.

Read more about it on Goodreads

 

6. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

44300636. sy475 “From the New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal and “rising star in the romance genre” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a dazzling new novel about a spontaneous holiday vacation that turns into an unforgettable romance.

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

 

7. My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

21531436. sy475 “If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.”

 

 

8. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

7741325 ““I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own”

 

9. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

3300121 “David Sedaris’s holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”)”

 

 

10. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

33290383. sy475 The New York Times bestseller!

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.”

 

11. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’

Introduction and Afterword by Joe Wheeler
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.

Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.”

 

12. Amazing Peace: a Celebration by Maya Angelou

In this beautiful, deeply moving poem, Maya Angelou inspires us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas, so that hope and love can once again light up our holidays and the world. “Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, look heavenward,” she writes, “and speak the word aloud. Peace.”

Read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House on December 1, 2005, Maya Angelou’s celebration of the “Glad Season” is a radiant affirmation of the goodness of life and a beautiful holiday gift for people of all faiths. ”

 

 

Are you reading any holiday books this season? Have you read any of these? I’d love to know! 

Find these at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

5 Perfect Reads for Halloween

It’s the spookiest day of the year! Here are some commonly tagged “Halloween” books from Goodreads that should make a perfect Halloween read.

1. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

40024139“Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.”

 

2. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chobsky

43522576 “Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.” 

You can read my review for Imaginary Friend here!

 

3. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

35403058. sy475 “Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.”

 

4. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephen Perkins

15797848“Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.”

Read my old review for There’s Someone Inside Your House here!

 

5. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack (Artist)

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“On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. Archie Comics’ latest horror sensation starts here! For TEEN+ readers. Compiles the first five issues of the ongoing comic book series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

 

 

 

6. the Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd

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“Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.”

 

Find these books at your local bookstore!

 

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On My Radar | It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

On My Radar is a series I’ve been doing since I started blogging in 2016. I share with you books that may not have as much hype that I’m excited to read. I like sharing debut novels or books I just don’t think enough people are talking about. I usually find these books on Edelweiss and try to provide a review closer to the release date. I love doing these posts so I can boost some great books and help others find their next read!

9781250219268_2e934Becky Albertalli is “all-caps OBSESSED” with this tender, funny, and compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all its awkward glory, perfect for fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day—in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed… and nothing is quite making sense.

Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a tender, funny, and joyful novel about longing, confusion, feeling left out, and finding out what really matters, from an exciting, fresh voice in contemporary realistic fiction.”

Release Date:  April 7th, 2020 

ISBN: 9781250219268, 1250219264

Publisher: Flat Iron Books

Edition: Hardcover

Page Count: 272 pages

 

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Books Set During 1920s (or earlier)

This is an archived post. This original one has been deleted since it was on my old blog. Enjoy!

I decided I’m going to do an entire time periods recommendations tag starting with the 1920s because I’m about to pick up the Diviners by Libba Bray! I decided to share descriptions of only three books because this post would be way too long if I shared all of the ones mentioned. If any of these are wrong, feel free to let me know! I’m pretty quick to change them. 🙂

1. The Diviners by Libba Bray

 

7728889. sy475 “Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.”

 

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

6519719“Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach. Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing, and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby—young, handsome, and fabulously rich—always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.”

  • Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York’s glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star….

Cordelia is searching for the father she’s never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined — and more dangerous. It’s a life anyone would kill for…and someone will.

“The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia’s brother, Charlie. But Astrid’s perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.”

 

 

3. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain

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A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling ozf everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley. ”

 

4. Z by Zelda Fitzgerald

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“A dazzling novel that captures all of the romance, glamour, and tragedy of the first flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame.

Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.”

 

5. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

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“Mrs. Dalloway chronicles a June day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway—a day that is taken up with running minor errands in preparation for a party and that is punctuated, toward the end, by the suicide of a young man she has never met. In giving an apparently ordinary day such immense resonance and significance—infusing it with the elemental conflict between death and life—Virginia Woolf triumphantly discovers her distinctive style as a novelist. Originally published in 1925, Mrs. Dalloway is Woolf’s first complete rendering of what she described as the “luminous envelope” of consciousness: a dazzling display of the mind’s inside as it plays over the brilliant surface and darker depths of reality.

This edition uses the text of the original British publication of Mrs. Dalloway, which includes changes Woolf made that never appeared in the first or subsequent American editions.”

6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

482976“The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.”

 

7. the Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

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“A haunting debut novel set against the background of New York City in the 1920s…

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.”

8. Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

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“Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.”

 

 

if you want more, feel free to check out the Goodreads list I found!

 

Banned Book Recommendation | DAY SIX

It’s banned book week! This week, September 22nd-28th, I’ll be sharing with you some banned book recommendations. If you don’t know what a banned book is, here’s a little definition: A banned book is one that has been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom because of its controversial content. I’ll be highlighting one book per day and telling you why they’re banned.

Here’s the tag for all my banned book week posts!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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“Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.”

Edition: Hardcover
Page Count: 328 pages
Published on: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 1250012570 (ISBN13: 9781250012579)

Why is it challenged?

I literally had no clue that this book was challenged and considered a banned book. I’ve read this book twice and I genuinely love it. But, it’s considered a banned book. Here are the reasons:

  • profanity
  • pornography
If I remember clearly, Eleanor and Park is far away from smut. But, it was pulled from schools for it’s “vile” and “nasty” language and it’s “trash” content. (You’ve got to be kidding me, right?)

Here’s what some articles say:

“During the 2013 challenge in Minnesota, Anoka High School principal Mike Farley explained to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the novel mirrors some of the same situations students find themselves in.

Author Rainbow Rowell
Photo credit: RainbowRowell.com’

“We did acknowledge some of the language is rough, but it fits the situation and the characters. I deal with this stuff every day working in the school with students. Did I think the language was rough? Yes,” Farley said. “There is some tough stuff in there, but a lot of the stuff our kids are dealing with is tough.”

The parents challenged the book’s selection for school libraries, calling it “vile profanity.” They cited 227 uses of profanity or the Lord’s name in vain, including 60 instances of the “F” word.

“It’s is the most profane and obscene work we have ever read in our lives,” said one parent, Troy Cooper, to the Star Tribune.

In 2016, incensed Chesterfield parents were joined by Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase in demanding that Eleanor & Park be removed from voluntary summer reading lists, calling the books “pornographic” and filled with “vile, vile, nasty language.”

Ultimately, based on the recommendation of the review committee, Superintendent James Lane concluded that the book would not be banned. But it also can not be recommended. No books can be recommended by anyone in the Chesterfield County School District. Summer reading lists can no longer be distributed to students by teachers or librarians.”

 

 

Rainbow on Eleanor & Park being challenged: 

“Kids here have the right to read. They have the right to think and imagine. To see their own world in books. To see other worlds in books.” – Rainbow Rowell

She also shares a bunch of links here that I found on her website (I copied and pasted her exact words and links so by I, it mean’s Rainbow):

 

Source: https://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=9248

Banned Book Recommendation | DAY FOUR

It’s banned book week! This week, September 22nd-28th, I’ll be sharing with you some banned book recommendations. If you don’t know what a banned book is, here’s a little definition: A banned book is one that has been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom because of its controversial content. I’ll be highlighting one book per day and telling you why they’re banned.

Here’s the tag for all my banned book week posts!

99561Looking for Alaska by John Green

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.”

Why is it banned?

John Green will forever fight against the book being banned. This book being banned is quite shocking because I’ve read it and couldn’t exactly come up with a reason on why it was taken out of schools and challenged over and over again. It’s banned for reasons like:

  • inappropriate language (cursing)
  • use of drugs + alcohol
  • pornography
  • “unsuitable for age group”

If you want to watch John Green talk about these, he has an entire video about it on the Vlogbrothers! Here’s the link. It’s a great video!

For more in-depth reasons on why it’s banned, here’s a few paragraphs I got from this website. You can see their sources there.

“2008 – New York – Challenged, but retained for the 11th grade Regents English classes in Depew despite concerns about graphic language and sexual content. The school sent parents a letter requesting permission to use the novel and only 3 students were denied permission.

2012 – Tennessee – Challenged as required reading for Knox County High Schools’ Honors and as Advanced Placement outside readings for English II because of “inappropriate language.” School Superintendent Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr. said that a parent identified this as an issue and the book was removed from the required reading list. He didn’t say whether the book was still in the schools.

2013

Colorado – Parents of Fort Lupton Middle and High School challenged the books use in a 9th grade classrooms for sexual and alcohol content

Tennessee – Banned as required reading for Sumner County schools by the director of schools because of a sex scene that was “a bit much” and  “inappropriate language.” The book was retained in the libraries.

2014 – New Jersey – Challenged in the Verona High School curriculum because a parent found the sexual nature of the story inappropriate.

2015 – Wisconsin – Challenged, but retained in the Waukesha South High School despite claims the book is “too racy to read.”

2016

Kentucky – Marion County parent complained about book being included on 12th grade english, “calls the novel “filth” and lists his fear that the book would tempt students “to experiment with pornography, sex, drugs, alcohol and profanity.”” The book was removed from circulation until the school committee reached a decision. “Another resident has written to the local paper describing the novel as “mental pornography” and detailing the number of times the “‘f’ word” is used (16) and the the “‘sh’ word” is used (27).”

New Jersey – Challenged, but retained in the Lumberton Township middle school despite a parent questioning its “sexual content.””

 

Have you read Looking for Alaska? Are you excited for the Hulu show? Let me know your thoughts!

 

Over on my Tumblr, I asked you guys to share with me the banned books that make you MOST angry. Here’s the link to that post!

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

Banned Book Recommendation | DAY THREE

It’s banned book week! This week, September 22nd-28th, I’ll be sharing with you some banned book recommendations. If you don’t know what a banned book is, here’s a little definition: A banned book is one that has been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom because of its controversial content. I’ll be highlighting one book per day and telling you why they’re banned.

Here’s the tag for all my banned book week posts!

9516Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

“A New York Times Notable Book
Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”
San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best-seller

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.”

I read this book whenever I was in high school because it sounded interesting and I loved the fact it was a true story told within a graphic novel. I ended up loving it and I think I gave it around 4 stars. I had no idea the book was banned until recently!

Why is it banned?

“The day after Dignam’s email, district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent another email to principals claiming that the intention was never to remove the book from libraries, but only from classrooms due to “graphic language and images that are not appropriate for general use.”” (source)

“Possibly as a result of publicity from the 2013 CPS ban, Persepolis faced three more school challenges in 2014, landing it the #2 spot on the American Library Association’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books for that year. First, a parent in Oregon’s Three Rivers School District demanded the book’s removal from high school libraries because of “coarse language and scenes of torture.” After some contentious school board meetings, the graphic novel was ultimately retained in the school libraries without restriction.” (source)

 

Here’s some interesting articles about this book being banned:

 

Find Persepolis at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter