I still remember the first time I ever got in trouble at school. I was a bit playful and sarcastic as a young child, and I thought it would be hilarious to skip the cliche Valentines and make my own… smart alecky sentiments included. Long story short, the one insulted kid in my class collected them all, handed them to the teacher, and I was given detention at lunch. My only option: to read. I put on my best humbled face, momentarily pleaded to be allowed to play tether ball, then walked away with a smile as I ran through my book options for my upcoming “punishment”. I spent lunch the next day in quiet bliss. To that sad little boy, I must apologize and tell him justice was eventually served. My parents figured out through this experience that the best way to ground me was take away my books. Sigh.
Here are a few great reads that I have escaped into recently. I noticed they have a few similarities: they all center around young people, strong in character, who take noble actions. Also, a majority of these characters have to base way too many decisions around food.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: I am reading this book to the 2 young girls that I work with. As I see the girls light up with every new character we meet, I relive that awe & wonder I first felt reading this at their age. I also find myself amazed at the fact that there is no way this book would fly if it were being published for children today. Does anyone else think kids books are a little too structured and “safe” now?
The Hunger Games Trilogy: What can I say about this series? Better question, what can’t I say about this series? I DEVOURED these books. When I picked up the 1st book, I figured I would read a couple of chapters and go to sleep. 4 hours later, James was begging me to turn the lights out. I woke up the next morning, finished, and knew I couldn’t wait the 4 WEEKS left on the waiting list at the library for Catching Fire. Thank you Borders for a quick end to my suffering. Major props to those who had to wait in between each book release, I would have had a breakdown complete with untreatable twitching. In all seriousness, I was blown away by each book in this series. The characters are strong role models, imperfect but determined, and their relationships & trials (or rather the morals behind them) are as realistic as they are harrowing. The strong messages about media, war, humanity, and relationships (which goes soooooo far beyond love triangles) are commendable. The author has no fear, and seems to enjoy torturing her fans a little, but overall I have utmost respect and love for this gritty tale. I have taken great delight in watching these stories open up important conversations between young and old alike. I have also enjoyed experiencing them through a wildly entertaining and thoughtful community over at Mark Reads. If cursing doesn’t phase you, and you enjoy a good gif along with thoughtful observations, I highly recommend his reviews alongside your own personal read, or shortly after you finish the series. If you are not obsessed with this series, get on board soon. Let them take over your waking and sleeping thoughts, and then come talk to me about it.
Jane Eyre: Be still my heart. I love this book. I have always been a big fan of the classics, but Jane always evaded me, that saucy minx. It doesn’t take me long to fall into the language & writing style. Those close to me can always tell when I’m reading a well written book because my vocabulary expands. Jane Eyre is everything a good book should be: sophisticated, inspiring characters, a strong message. It is a lovely, sweeping story, everytime I picked it up felt like I was about to enjoy quality time with a dear loved one. Upon completion, I realized this book touched me so deeply that I have reserved Jane as the middle name of my future daughter. Yes. It is that good. Good is not even close. The book is a masterpiece. Lastly, who can resist the new Penguin Classic Clothbound design? It is to die for.
Little Princes: Much to the dismay of my parents, and now James, I have a habit of ditching the dust jackets on hardcover books. I prefer clean look that a bookshelf has without them. However, I will always keep this jacket, as the glimpse of the blue door on the cover of Little Princes is a lovely reminder of an even lovelier (true) story. Conor Grennan shares his surprising adventures & personal transformation that began with a 3 month stretch as a reluctant volunteer at an orphanage in Nepal. I will refrain from sharing more of the plot, as it truly needs to be experienced with your own read. I WILL say that the story is at the top of my recommendations list. Proceeds from every book go directly to Next Generation Nepal, and continues to help the children who you will fall in love with while reading this book. I met Conor at a recent author event here in Boston, and it was a true joy to witness his passion for the people firsthand, and to hear what has happened since the book has was written. I would be happy to share updates with anyone who has read the book. I am also brainstorming ways to help NGN in the future in a tangible way (including readings, promoting the books, or possibly even a fundraiser). If you are an artist, book enthusiast, or simply a person of passion, and have ideas/would love to work together, send me an email!
Thank you for sharing in my beloved literary world. Please comment with suggestions!