I am so excited to say this new post is a collaboration with Caroline from @the.carolife. We wanted to round up some of our favorite life-changing books to share with you! Because we both have different tastes in reading there is for sure something for everyone here. So check out why you should pick up these books and get reading!
One of my absolute favorite things to do is to read. I have loved stories since I was a baby. Even before I could read I would memorize some of my favorite stories that my mom would read me. Every year I set a book challenge for myself to see how many I can read that year. With one full week left of 2019, my total is 42/40. So let’s take a trip down book lane and reminisce on the most memorable from this year.
For every new book, I read a year I end up probably rereading two or three books. Not because I don’t want to read new books, but because A. I don’t always have money to get new books and B. I like to have a book on me at all times and it is easier to reread a book while I am on the go or in studying because I don’t have to intently focus on what is going on. Plus that way I won’t get sucked in and be late for class or never do my work. Some of the great rereads for this year include…
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Both times I have read this was for a class, first back in eight grade and now this year for my Literature for Adolescents class. Still a good book but not really a favorite of mine.
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I got to present this book for class this semester and even after the fourth read, this book is fantastic. Made by the author of The Book Thief, I can say this book rivals that novel. I can not recommend it enough.
The Giver by Lois Lowry. I know this book is actually part of a series, but I love it so much as a stand-alone that I have yet to get around to the rest of them. It is probably my favorite book and I don’t want to risk being disappointed by the others. Someone let me know if I should read the sequels! Continue reading
Markus Zusak (MZ) is the author of two books on my all-time favorite list so when I found his newest release during a Barnes n Noble browsing it was quickly added to my shopping cart.
Zusak is the author of the award-winning novel, The Book Thief as well as I Am the Messenger (probably my absolute favorite of his). But we aren’t here to talk about those today. Today’s blog is all about Bridge of Clay.
“In the beginning, there was one murderer, one mule and one boy…”
Bride of Clay is a story about the 5 Dunbar boys, most notably the fourth, Clay. Clay the boy who will build a bridge.
I will have to say that this book was a bit slow-paced and it is looooong, almost 600 pages, and with it starting off slow it took me a while to get into it. Including a lot of patience on my end but I knew I didn’t want to stop because I love MZ’s writing style. Although, his style is also the reason this book ended up being this long.
The way he writes incorporates details in a way that is different than other books and in use takes longer than average explaining something which can feel, at times, tedious.
“The sun was some sort of barbarian, a Viking in the sky.”
One thing for me that makes MZ a fantastic writer is his command of language. If you are a lover of language than his books are for you. His sentences have a very poetic feel and are often used to both rip your heart out and stitch it back up at the same time. It is writing to where sometimes you just have to stop and admire a sentence because it takes your breath away.
Compared to his other books I’ve read I will have to say it is my least favorite. The extensiveness of the book created some confusion as the plotlines shift around a lot and I don’t feel that it allowed for enough cohesive detailing in any specific one.
In total there are maybe 10 characters that this book delves into pasts for and I for one had to reread pages a few times over to keep up.
Similar to his The Book Thief, Death as its own character makes a return in Bridge of Clay, for good or bad. Which is all I will say since, spoilers.
“It was in there, out there, waiting. It lived on our front porch.”
I felt the narration fell a bit flat compared to his other novels because, for me, it was harder to connect to Matthew as a character and the narrator. I felt we saw little of him as his own intricate character. Despite the novel being centered around Clay and not Matthew, I would have liked to have had more glimpses into him.
MZ also used Homer’s novels The Odyssey and The Illiad as both allusions and physical objects throughout the book which were intriguing and I felt were tied well into the other plot points as a whole. For those who know me they know, I am a lover of anything involving Ancient Greek Heroes so I very much appreciated this detail.
In whole, I enjoyed the plot of the novel and my read but I do not think this will be one of his that I reread over and over again.
“That bridge was made of him.”
Let me know in the comments if you have read one of his books and which is your favorite.
National Book Day, a day that should come around more than once a year. It would be every day if I had my way. In honor of this momentous day, I thought I would tell you a little about the books I’ve read lately.
Sense and Sensibility By Jane Austen
This book took me much longer than I would have liked to finish. It was a bit lackluster next to Pride and Prejudice.
The book centers around sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as they navigate love and their changing circumstances.
The middle part of this novel felt excruciatingly long, and the book in total is about 400 pages. It was a long middle of very little action. I felt myself just working to get to the end to find what happens. Though by that time I was unenthused with either girl’s potential marriage choices and wished they would have something else to focus on. Elinor, I liked well enough, but oh Marianne I just wanted to stick a sock in her mouth and stop her woes.
I will say there were some lovely written sentences.
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”
“Eleanor went to her room “where she was free to think and be wretched.”
“I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness.”
But overall Sense and Sensibility reads like a first novel, which it is, and fell short for me.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean By Jenny Han
The third and final installment of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” series. The story follows Lara Jean as she navigates her final semester of High School and what graduating and growing up brings with it. As Lara Jean finds her way through love, college acceptances, and new additions to her family dynamic you can’t help but be right there in the passenger seat with her.
I will say that this book did in the end due to its job. I am pleased with how Lara Jean’s story wrapped up, but there are some side character’s stories that I am not ready to let go and don’t believe were fully finished. *cough*John Ambrose McClaren*cough*
While not everything I wanted to be wrapped up was wrapped, the series did end with a neat little bow on top and I can rest, mostly, easy knowing this is the end.
Out of my Mind By Sharon M. Draper
Out of my Mind follows the story of Melody an almost eleven-year-old born with Cerebral Palsy. Melody has a photographic memory and can remember every detail of everything she has experienced, but has never spoken a word. Despite her challenges, she refuses to be defined by them and is determined to let everyone know how smart and capable she really is -somehow.
I had it on my list for quite some time and am very glad I finally had a chance to read it.
It had a great message and I really loved a lot of the side characters. There were a few plot points that I don’t think were necessary to the story as a whole. It was a very pleasant read. I read it in one sitting and that is how I know I was invested.
A new year means a new list of books to read. This year one of my goals is to expand my horizons on the type of books I read. Last year I incorporated more classic novels into my reading, something I want to continue this year, and with many of my series already having ended I am at a loss for reading content. I read a lot of fantasy novels and have ventured more into the YA reading section for romance and adventure. For 2019 I am thinking of venturing into historical based novels. Though I have yet to look into that genre.
Now being a few weeks into January I have compiled a list of 7 books I for sure want to read this year!
Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han (Final Installment of the Trilogy)
With the release of the Netflix original adaption of book 1 “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” last year, I finally got around to reading the first two books over winter break. I had wanted to see the movie but refused to watch it until I had read the first book. The books are always better but I will say they did a good job with the movie and I enjoyed it. After reading the second one I know I have to finish the series and see if book 3 can top my love for the sequel.
This is a book I read sometime in middle school as one of our required reading. I clearly remember talking to one of my friends after we finished it about how we cried a lot once we finished it. I listened to the musical soundtrack sometime last year and fell in love. It has been over 6 years since then and because I can’t clearly recite everything that happened in this book I want to reread it.
One of my teacher’s brought up this book last semester and it intrigued me because I had heard about it but never looked into it. So now it is on my list.
The Tyrants Tomb by Rick Riordan (Fourth Installment of Trials of Apollo)
I discussed the third book in my last book post and I am ready for this one. Even though the release date isn’t until Fall 2019… After the last book’s ending and a million videos sent to my friend of me freaking out, I need to know what happens next. I also need the Haiku chapter titles that never fail to disappoint.
After reading Pride and Prejudice I want to make my way through the rest of Austen’s novels, and this seemed like the perfect one to read next.
I stumbled across this book during one of my Barnes and Noble browsing days and immediately added the title to my list of books to read. I haven’t had a chance to read it so I am determined to do so this year.
I have loved the movie since the first time my mom showed it to me. Back then I didn’t actually know there was a book. After never getting around to meeting it I have deemed 2019 the year it happens.
Leave some book recommendations in the comments below I am always in need of new reading material and tell me what you are reading in 2019!
To follow along with my reading goal progress for 2019 and see what I see follow my Goodreads page >here<.