Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Reading Room (35)

The Reading Room is a weekly update on books I'm reading and planning to read, and is posted on Tuesdays.

Let this be a warning to all you bookworms out there: don't be like me and volunteer at a library, even if it seems like a good idea for your required project/volunteer hours for school. Why? Because you spend a whole lot of time putting other people's books away and helping other people find things and entertaining small children and not a lot of time finding and reading books for yourself.

Still, I managed to make a trip down on Friday and pick up a few books. The first thing that caught my eye was Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, which I'm partway through and is one of the best and most inspiring books about fiction writing that I've ever read. I also grabbed Stealing Air by Trent Reedy, which I finished Sunday and was a good way to spend the afternoon, though not the best book I've ever read, and The Innocents, by Lili Peloquin, which I started tonight and can't put down. (Really - I had to pry myself away just to write this blog post.)

Other than that, not much bookish news; I have some birthday money that's just begging to be spent on a Barnes & Noble order, though, so hopefully I'll have some more updates next week. I'll also probably have started on the summer reading list for AP English by then, so be prepared for either gushing or complaining about The Catcher in the Rye. 


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category.

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2013

10. My Antonia
By Willa Cather

We read this book for English class during the middle of the year, and I really enjoyed it. The image and description were beautiful - the setting was described with such detail, and it really brought the book to life and made you feel like you were right there with the characters.

9. The Eternal Ones
By Kirsten Miller

I love everything Kirsten Miller does, and this book was no exception. It was beautifully written, haunting, strange, thrilling, and dangerous. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, and I would definitely recommend this one. 

8. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
By Laurie R. King

As a devoted [i.e., obsessed] fan of Sherlock Holmes, I'm always eager to check out an adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, but I also spend a lot of time comparing it to the originals - except in this case, where I was too swept up in the story to be critical. It was a flawless version of the well-known detective and a fantastic read. 

7. Clockwork Princess
By Cassandra Clare

I had been waiting for this book ever since I finished Clockwork Prince back in January of 2012, and it did not disappoint. This book was emotional, suspenseful, superbly written and impossible to put down. I bought it a few days after it came out and carried it everywhere with me until I had finished it. It was just so good.

6. The Curiosities
By Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff

The best and most unique and creative collection of short stories I've read in a long time - possibly ever. Every single page was filled with the wonderful and strange, as well as the author's hilarious and insightful comments. If you haven't read it, you need to. 

5. The Help
By Kathryn Stockett

This is not one of those books that you read only to find out it doesn't live up to all the hype. It's one of those books you read and then go out and recommend to everyone you know because it's so powerful and there's so much truth in it. 

4. It's Kind of a Funny Story
By Ned Vizzini

Funny, sad, and heartwarming all at once. It makes you think, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry - all of which is pretty impressive for a novel that takes place over such a short period of time, and in a mental hospital. Every sentence is insightful and perfectly paced, and it comes together to make one fantastic story.

3. The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Another one we read for English class that I completely and wholeheartedly fell in love with. The language, the characters, the symbols, the setting - it all blew me away. Much like To Kill a Mockingbird, this is one of those books that I could reread and analyze for the rest of my life, and I can't really remember what my life was like before I read it.

2. The Fault in Our Stars
By John Green

Because with the wise and hilarious John Green (http://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers) creating lines like "You gave me forever within the numbered days," and "What a slut time is. She screws everybody" and "It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you"...well, how could it not be at least number 2?

1. Code Name Verity
By Elizabeth Wein 

Any attempt to describe this book would spoil the ending, make me cry, and still would not do it justice. I'll just toss out a friendly reminder that it beat The Fault in Our Stars and leave it at that. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers share their top ten in the category.

Top Ten Books Featuring Travel

10. Across the Universe
By Beth Revis

You can't travel much farther than an entirely new world. Though this book didn't quite live up to me expectations for it, I still really enjoyed it. The complex difficulties of life on an isolated ship on a journey that spans hundreds of years were fascinating to read about, and I loved the characters. 

9. Uncommon Criminals
By Ally Carter

The second book in the Heist Society series was just as amazing as the first and had the characters traveling to interesting locations all over the globe. 

8. 13 Treasures
By Michele Harrison

Tania's grandmother's house is the kind of place I'd want to visit every summer - old, beautiful, mysterious, and filled with fairies and magic. I usually reread these books over the summer, because they provide a fantastic escape from normal life. 

7. Pegasus
By Robin McKinley

Sylvaniiel's journey into the Pegasus country was one of the most well-written, beautifully described, magical stories I have ever read. I loved the whole new world she was exposed to and the wonders she experienced.

6. The Tiger's Wife
By Tea Obreht

I loved all the different settings in this book. The entire world was so lifelike, and the journeys described in it were both fantastic and relatable. It remains one of my favorite books, and the way you feel as if you're traveling through the story with the characters is one of the main reasons. 

5. The Thief
By Megan Whalen Turner

There's not much to say about this book other than the fact that I just really loved it. The journey, the myths, the stories - it was all so fun to read about, and perfectly paced. 

4. Along for the Ride
By Sarah Dessen

This is still my favorite of Sarah Dessen's books and the perfect summer read. Auden is exposed to not only a new location but new experiences, new people, and a new way of thinking and living her life, and all of it contributes equally to the changes she goes through. If it weren't for the travel in this book, it wouldn't be nearly as compelling or lovable. 

3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
By Douglas Adams

I feel that I don't gush about this book nearly enough compared to other things I gush about (i.e., Maggie Stiefvater, Sherlock Holmes, The Book Thief.) It's a hilarious whirlwind of adventure, and all you can do is hang on tight, enjoy the ride, try not to think too much about what's actually going on and make sure you know where your towel is. 

2. Code Name Verity
By Elizabeth Wein

This book! I cannot even find the words to describe this book. Maddie and Queenie's journey into enemy territory and the incredible way they handle being stranded far from home is remarkable, and their friendship more remarkable still. I would try to say more, but it wouldn't do the book justice. You'll just have to read it yourself. 

1. The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien

Obvious choice for number one on the list is obvious. The Hobbit contains one of the most iconic journeys of all time, and it's probably one of my favorite stories in existence. I've reread it at least four times, and am able to recall the plot with significant detail purely from memory. It's a fantastic book, and it would take a lot to knock it out of the number one spot.