In this April 2019, there are tremendous good books and outstanding authors that inspire us with their writings. However, in the frame of this article, we will just mention top 5 books of this month you must read.
A Wonderful Stroke of Luck, Ann Beattie
This is the 21st book of Ann Beattie, an experienced author with an attractive writing style. It tells the story about Ben, a new student in Bailey Academy, a boarding school in New England, from when he has just entered this school and started be receive impacts from his teacher Pierre LaVerdere , to when he goes to college, meets the teacher again and has chances to see how the lessons he has been taught during his lifetime can shape his own life. This is the book to tell you the story about the real life, under a veteran view of an experienced author. You can learn something useful from the story of Ben.
The Tradition: Poems, Jericho Brown
Jericho Brown is a poet who is famous for the awards he has received during the career. If you have never read any of his poems, then this is a suggestion to start with. This book is a collection of his latest poems. They mention the painful history of the USA with racism and discrimination. Brown expresses how regretful he is to realize that the US past can still affect the present of this country. After reading this book, you can sympathize with him when the safety and the true definition of freedom are still vague.
Women Talking, Miriam Toews
This fiction is based on a haunting story with the setting in Bolivia in the early 2000s. It was a tragedy for 130 women in Mennonite to be forced to use drug and raped by men in their local living place. They were told that they have to restrain all of this because they are punished by Satan for their sins. Among the weak women, there were still some people who knew that they still had another choice, besides staying and accepting, that is to fight.
The mentioned books are all good choices as gifts for your soul. You can really learn from them, and once you understand the stories behind, your life will be more meaningful with the values you have taken.
Reading books is the easiest way we escape from stresses in life and refresh ourselves for the new days. Nothing can be compared to reading a good book, so it would be nice if we are recommended with interesting books every week.
Why not coming to some suggestions by The New York Times, one of the most notable newspapers in the world. There are some outstanding new books that The New York Times advises us to read now, mentioned one by one below.
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
The book is a story of three intertwined families, the white, the black and the one as the product of the interracial marriage. The author made this story interesting and sincere with the engagement of historical factors and scientific factors. The book is a discussion about political, psychological and social status related issues. Many critics have viewed this as an intimate and brainy epic and seem to be impressed by the book tremendously.
HATTIESBURG: An American City in Black and White by William Sturkey
This is a portrait about Mississippi from its foundation dated back in 1882 to the movement of civil rights. This book gives us the most intimate approach to its targeted readers, the residents of Hattiesburg and also any of us who got interested in the American social in the past.
Also recommended THE PROMISE OF ELSEWHERE by Brad Leithauser, DOING JUSTICE: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law by Preet Bharara, and THE DEVIL ASPECT by Craig Russell.
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I have read Winger twice. And it is the only book that has made me uncontrollably sob. Twice.
Winger is about Ryan Dean West, a 14 year old junior at a northwestern boarding school for rich kids. Somehow, he got put in the “bad kids” dorm, rooming with the bully of his rugby team and across the hall from burly football players. And he’s in love with Annie, his best friend. Life gets pretty complicated at Pine Mountain Academy, but he manages to make it all work out between his friends and rugby and comics. But nothing could prepare him for what the end of the year brought, and his world comes tumbling down.
Stand-Off continues into Ryan Dean’s senior year, which should mean that he’s on top of the world but instead he is still haunted by last year’s tragedy. He fills in for stand-off after his best friend Joey passed away, and suddenly his entire team is counting on him. To make matters worse, he doesn’t even get to enjoy senior dorm privileges because administration decided to pair him with 12-year-old freshmen Sam Abernathy so he could “show him the ropes.” Ryan Dean is convinced the “Next Accidental Terrible Experience” is around the corner, and his paranoia is leaking into all aspects of his life, including his relationship with Annie.
Alrighty. Here we go. It’s almost difficult for me to review these books, Winger especially, because it’s just so good.
So instead, I think I’ll review Stand-Off and mention Winger thoughts and feelings along the way.
I despise contemporary series, so I had some hesitation about the book, but it’s by Andrew Smith so that hesitation was all of 0.2 seconds. Then I read the book. And I did have some legitimacy to my concern. I think Stand-Off is the worst book I’ve read by Smith– that being said, I still loved it. But I loved it less than Winger and 100 Sideways Miles and Grasshopper Jungle and The Alex Crow.
First of all, I had the initial distaste for contemporary sequels. Then I thought Ryan Dean was a bit of a jerk all the time. I’m all for well rounded and diverse characters, and I don’t think everyone should be likeable because a) that’s no fun and b) it’s not believable. But I think he went a little overboard with is meanness toward Sam Abernathy.
Also, I didn’t think the plot moved fast enough. Not saying that there’s supposed to be a lot of action or anything, but there were definitely parts that dragged. Like every rugby scene. In Winger, the rugby field was a backdrop for other things, a means for a team and games and excitement in Ryan Dean’s life. I felt like Stand-Off emphasized rugby too much. I didn’t want game coverage; I wanted Ryan Dean coverage! I think one of the reasons Stand-Off went slower is because I already know Ryan Dean from Winger, so there was less to learn.
Winger, on the other hand, turned the 400+ page book into a one-sitting read with its character development of Ryan Dean, trials of high school, and hilarious random events. Screaming Ned? I literally laughed out loud, which was embarrassing as I sat in the break room at work, but still. Funny stuff. I loved Ryan Dean’s humor and his cute comics. His narrative first-person voice made everything that much more entertaining.
Both books definitely have intense boy humor, so if you don’t like that kind of stuff… these aren’t the books for you. Apparently, I am a teenage boy, so I cracked up every time. Whoops?
But there’s this one thing in Stand-Off that I absolutely adored. It made me smile, or actually laugh, every single time it cropped up in the book, and Andrew Smith is all about repetition so it came up a lot. Whenever Sam Abernathy talked, or the Abernathy as Ryan Dean called him, Andrew Smith used very descriptive “said” verbs and vivid imagery. The Abernathy didn’t say it– or demand, or shout, or hiss or anything like that. The Abernathy gurgled.
Smith used descriptions for babies or toddlers whenever the Abernathy spoke, and it cracked me up. Or he would be described as a juice box or other childish and squeezable things to make him seem so cute and innocent that I just had to laugh.
Guys, there’s really no way to critique Andrew Smith’s writing. It’s beautiful. It’s descriptive. It’s funny. Even if I didn’t wholeheartedly like Stand-Off, I couldn’t deny the literary merit.
But I did wholeheartedly love Winger. I loved the ending. The commentary on the ridiculousness of social stereotypes and the realness of it all. Seriously, though. What I said before about crying? Weeping, really. That’s all true. It made me laugh and cry and everything in between. It goes on my list of all-time favorite books. It opened my door to Andrew Smith. It’s just beautiful. I emailed Andrew Smith I loved it so much. Whenever I think about this book
Anyway, I better wrap this up before I go on forever.
Winger by far surpasses Stand-Off, but I’m glad I got to catch up with Ryan Dean and make sure he was okay. It was good closure.
Read these books.
As a teenager, Janie’s grandmother married her off as quickly as possible to an old man with his prospects in his sixty acres. When she’s tired of being stifled by him, she runs away with a man she found on the horizon, Jody. When Jody claims Eatonville and becomes the mayor, he takes her voice and covers her hair. Finally, she meets Tea Cake after Jody’s death, and she realizes what it means to be in love.
Alright, I’ll admit it. I was completely bored in the beginning of this book. And I hated the dialect. And I didn’t really have any feelings toward Janie because to me, she seemed very papery.
I can’t tell you exactly where the transition happened or why, but somewhere toward the middle I realized that I actually really enjoyed reading this book.
First of all, after Janie’s initial marriage and into her second one with Jody, I understood the weight of her voice and the toll it took on her to muffle it. And I started to appreciate how Hurston set up the novel and characterized Janie. It was subtle. She wasn’t papery. She was smart.
One of the major topics Hurston explores is the power of language, and she shows this through Janie’s marriages and attitudes. She hardly talks at all while married to Jody, showing her position as less than him, while with Tea Cake, they have real conversations and her dialogue is scattered throughout the end of the novel. She uses the form of the novel, not giving Janie much dialogue to greatly increasing it, to show her transition from less than her husband to equal with him. By doing this, I mistook her silence for two dimensional, but really it means so much more because language and the lack thereof shows the inequality between genders and Janie’s strategies in her marriage.
It is written pretty much completely in dialect, but I quickly got used to it. I also think the dialect definitely adds to the story, making it more real and emphasizing her themes on the importance of language.
Otherwise, I felt like there was probably a lot of stuff in the book that I missed. Plot wise, it picked up when Jody got sick. There is a bit of a twist with Tea Cake that I wasn’t expecting, but I also neglected to read the back and am a cynic, so it probably wouldn’t be surprising to anyone else.
I really did enjoy the book, and I liked how it didn’t seem like a race novel. Sure, there was a subtheme concerning racism and how it can affect anyone, black or white, but it didn’t overtake the novel. The novel is a classic because of its themes on language and equality, not because it’s only directed toward one audience.
I definitely recommend it as an important classic that isn’t that difficult to read.
“She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her.”
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic focuses on less-known books that would be good recommendations for readers who like certain popular books or authors. I chose John Green because I felt like this would give me a wide variety of contemporary young adult novels to chose from.
- Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts: This book is about a guy and a girl, who fall in love… and one of them has cancer.
- Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout: This one is about a girl who goes to Korea for boarding school and falls in love with an aloof KPOP star.
- 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith: Smith’s male protagonists have similar voices to Green’s main characters.
- Mosquitoland by David Arnold: It’s a classic road trip, Abundance of Katherines/ Paper Towns,anyone?
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Her male protagonist is also similar to Green’s, and the entire book is a contemporary love story with a focus on teen angst.
- Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: This book is about a relationship between Naomi and Ely, young adults and best friends, and it has themes of teen role confusion and a contemporary mood.
- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: Lockhart’s writing style reminds me of Green’s because there are a lot of beautiful quotes and abstract concepts to think about.
- It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini: Again, the male protagonist reminds me of any Green book, and it focuses on internal conflict, just like Green.
- Six Months Later by Natalie Richards: I don’treally have a good explanation for this one, other than its contemporary feel.
- My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: The conflicts in this book, and the inevitable star-crossed teen lovers, is perfect for Green aficionados.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is all the books on our to-read lists. I actually don’t have a lot of timely books this season.
- Winger by Andrew Smith (I want to reread this for the sequel)
- Stand-Off by Andrew Smith
- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston
- More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera
- The Diviners by Libba Bray
- Wicked by Gregory Maguire
- Hello, I Love You by Katie Stout
- Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic focus on the series that we haven’t finished yet, and this basically encompassing every book I’ve ever read. I’m not dedicated enough to finish series. Honestly, some of these series may not be finished yet, but I know that I won’t finish them.
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
- The Program by Suzanne Young
- Matched by Allie Condie
- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
- Legend by Marie Lu
Alright, so I slacked on my wrap-ups. Conveniently, it was all the summer months that I missed, so here goes an all-in-one finishing post to summarize my summer. I definitely didn’t read as many books as I should have, and I’m way behind on my books to review and Goodreads challenge, but oh well.
Read: 14 novels
- Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
- Mosquitoland by David Arnold
- The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
- Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
- The Future of Us by Jay Asher
- The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation by M. T. Anderson
- Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
- The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior by Stephanie Barbe Hammer
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Reviewed: 5 novels
- Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
- Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
- Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
- The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mini Reviews: 3 novels
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- Crabby Conversations: Spontaneous Road Trip
- Confessions of a Teenage Reader: The Inevitable Hiatus
- Confessions of a Teenage Reader: Beautiful Little Birdy
- Crabby Conversations: The Bookish Patriarchy
Book Haul: 17 novels
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- The Stranger by Albert Camus
- Even the Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou
- Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- The Pearl by John Steinbeck
- The Plague by Albert Camus
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- The Underdogs by Markus Zusak
- 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
- Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes
- The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith
- One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
- Wicked by Gregory Maguire
- Summer of the Oak Moon by Laura Templeton
- YALL Festival and Decatur Book Festival released their author line-ups.
- Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer held a signing sponsored by The Little Shop of Stories for their new book Off the Page.
- 995 Bookmarks
- Little Shop is hosting a good many author events coming in October and I’m super pumped!
I, surprisingly, had a very eventful summer without doing much…
- Tybee Island and Orange Beach trip
- Nashville trip to visit Vanderbilt (the campus and the school are both perfect, by the way)
- It’s been the summer of concerts: Dave Matthews Band, Train, Fall Out Boy
- Zoo Atlanta… twice
Guys, the summer has been beautiful and full of everything and I’m ready for it to be over but I’m also not ready to go back to school. Just think about it. I’m a senior now. This is it. You spend three years getting comfortable, one year to enjoy the glory, and the process begins again. Scary, right? I guess that’s just how it will always be. Cyclical to a fault. Anyway. Let’s see if I can even begin to pick the best parts out of the summer…
- Read: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson– How can I not pick this one? It’s a summer anthem book.
- Reviewed: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
- Mini Review: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- Discussed: The Bookish Patriarchy
- Haul: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
- Bookish: Guys. I’m five bookmarks away from reaching 1,000. Five.
- Non-Bookish: The concert string– specifically Dave Matthews and Train.
I like to pretend I fear very little. I’m not scared of heights or small spaces. I can handle flying and water and darkness. I can pretend that snakes and horror films don’t bother me. But I do have a rather public list of irrational fears. Some of the fears are ordinary, some are impossible, and some are just plain embarrassing. So here they are, in no particular order.
- Ceiling fans
- Tape measures
- Someone closing a car door for me and getting one of my limbs caught and having it fall off
- A baby kicking out of a mother’s stomach
Yep. Those are my fears. In black and white. I know some of them are really dumb, but… whoops?
But anyway, I did bring this up for a reason. I’ve been doing some soul searching as of recently, specifically during my hiatus. Bloggers are supposed to be super into Twitter, right? I’m supposed to be scrolling through my feed constantly, reading author tweets and responding to fellow book bloggers and being cyberly social. I should be tweeting about how obsessed I am with Twitter.
The thing is, I’m not. I hate Twitter. I hate it with a burning passion. I see that little icon, their cute little Twitter logo, and I cringe. I “read” my feed by seeing how far and fast I can scroll on one swipe. I have a widget on my phone’s home screen that’s *supposed* to help me care about Twitter, but I have yet to set it up. It’s bordering on pathetic, my inability to care about it.
Then I connected something. This may be far-fetched. This may be a laughable excuse. This may be downright wrong. But here goes…
Refer back to my second fear. Birds.
Click the next tab over, where I know you have Twitter opened. What’s that little blue icon? Oh? A bird.
Bam! Mystery solved.
Oh but Erin, why do you hate birds so much? Good question. I have no idea. I had not traumatizing situation relating to birds, I’ve never seen any movies to harbor my hatred of them. I just came to the realization that their are two things that make my skin crawl: fluttering and scuttling. Birds flutter. Cockroaches scuttle. End of discussion, they’re going on my list.
So in some weird connect-the-dots shape, I’ve come to the conclusion that I physically cannot like Twitter because of my pathological fear of birds. I apologize to the blogesphere in general, and I will work to curb my fear of both the app and the creature. But I make no promises.
It finally hit me. The disease that threatened the greats and plagued the minds of students everywhere. The disease that seeps its way into library walls and wraps its cloudy hands among computer screens and lined paper and destroys the works of many.
I struggled with it for a while. The better part of last semester I trudged through posts and reviews and just felt drained every time I opened my laptop. The disease worked its way into my mind and destroyed all of my discipline. And not only that, it found its way into other parts of my life. If I had no will to write, I read less, I slacked on my quotes, I let my room be taken over by books and clothes and trash.
Then I decided the only way to curb said disease would be to withdrawal myself from blogging. I still wrote for myself and I read (though not as much as I would like to say), but I figured that taking a blogging hiatus would be good for me. I didn’t have a plan for how long, and I felt guilty for the amount of books I have stacked in my “to review” pile.
So then yesterday I cleaned my room. Mostly. And I updated Goodreads. And I reshelved all my miscellaneous books and tallied my bookmark collection. And today felt like the day to start blogging again because despite my loss of will, I missed it. I feel so detached now because not only did I stop blogging, I stopped tweeting and reading blogs and withdrew from the general bookish fanbase.
Today rolled around. And I knew it was time. The sky was overcast, everyone was out of the house, and my laptop called to me. My writer’s block may take a little work to shake off, and I’ll have to be on overdrive to catch up with everything, but I can handle it. I think.
So here it is. My obligatory sorry-I-left-but-I’m-back-now post. I’m not going to give myself any real goals, yet, and I think I’ll just let myself drift back into things. I figure it’s not a big deal if I’m not completely involved all the time. It’ll be okay.
But I think I am going to give myself a little bit of an out.
As I previously noted, I have a stack of books to review. A literal stack. It makes me cringe just thinking about it, and I always want to curl up and put a book over my head and pretend they aren’t there. But they are. And I want to review them, I just don’t want to write the reviews. Which is not possible.
So here’s my out.
I think for the summer I’ll do a series of mini reviews. I’ll have my book review on Monday, Top Ten Tuesday on Tuesday, (maybe) a discussion post on Friday, and a mini review that’s plopped into any day I have time to do it. It’ll probably just be a paragraph or two about the things that really stuck out at me about the book (considering I haven’t read them in a while), which will allow me to review them without going through the lengthy review process.
It’s a win win. Right?
Well, hopefully. So that’s my plan of action. After posting this, I’m going to update my quote jar and plan a couple weeks of posts. And write some of them. And maybe get on Twitter if I have enough energy after that. We’ll see. But I’m definitely ready to start blogging again. I’ve missed it!