World Book Day

It’s World Book Day, so I’m going to celebrate by putting forth a list of five books I think are great reads. Enjoy!

1. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

I cannot over-recommend this book. Helen Fielding gives Bridget such a spectacular, unique voice. I don’t usually laugh out loud at books, but this is one of the few, true gems of comedic fare. Characters are all absolutely A+, all totally wacky and normal at the same time. Bridget herself is so dysfunctional in her musings, ramblings, worries and hopes that she ends up just being very, very real. Which is, after all, the books biggest asset.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This lady is absolutely excellent at creating a world where the familiar rules of society as we know it fade. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood shows the reader a glimpse into the life of a woman whose past we never truly know, living in a changed society that we don’t learn the secrets of, in a world where something has happened that is never revealed to its fullest extent. Thrilling, unsettling and thought provoking.

3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Honestly, anything by David Sedaris is lovely. And I’m not being facetious. He is always funny. Sometimes his essays are emotional, sometimes they are silly and sometimes they are very intelligent, but there is always the perfect amount of humor to tie the stories together. He is a genius, and I accept no other descriptor.

4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Coolest, saddest book ever. Ishiguro works magic with his words. Stunning to the very end.

5. Candide by Voltaire

Great for some 18th century French fun. Plenty of versions in English so everybody can join in on the party. Fortunately -or rather, unfortunately – many of the satirized subjects are still around, so you’ll still understand each little zinger you laugh at.

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Books to Look Out For

Take advantage of the colder season by reading anything and everything you can -time permitting, of course.

I went to the bookstore the other day and made a list of books I would like to tackle at some point during this year. It was an easy way to keep track of the books I found the most interesting, and I will definitely look out for them in the library or wait for a gift card to go buy one :)

I know that some of the following are not necessarily new books and are reprinted in newer editions, but since they are new to me hopefully they are new to some of you too! Let me know what you guys think of these if you’ve read any of them!

The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

This book looks so cool. I am such a fan of futuristic dystopian novels and after standing at the display reading page after page until my feet started to lose feeling, I think that I would most likely enjoy “The Wind Up Girl”. Set in a future where calories are extremely valuable, and taste, and just the quality of food and general health is a major issue.. I’m a bit hazy of the details because there was a lot of information to take in, and I think there is a prequel to this novel that would probably help me understand what I’m missing. But it was still amazing, and the beautiful language Bacigalupi used in the first few pages was evocative and descriptive to a tee. Can’t wait to really read this!

I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume

I love cats and I want to read this book. The cover art was beautiful, and flipping it over to see what it was about left me wanting more, and unfortunately I did not have the time to read even a little snippet. A collection of stand alone stories from the perspective of a housecat in the early 20th century who describes the lives of middle class Japanese people. So cool.

Tenth of December by George Saunders

A collection of short stories by George Saunders that will knock your socks off. I just finished it the other day and inhaled the book in under a few hours. I couldn’t put it down, and I hope you won’t be able to either. The writing is stunning. It is poetic yet blunt, and depicts all sorts of life situations in a somehow different world.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Based on the true account of a family’s sudden and unfortunate change of fate after Katrina struck,  it was difficult to wrap my head around this novel. I just couldn’t imagine that this actually happened -yet it did. Wonderfully written, the story moves along with each page, never slowing down for a moment.

These are just a few prospective! I’m always on the lookout for new (and not so new) books to read, so if you have any suggestions let me know!

Thanks,

A

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace

They say to not judge a book by its cover, but in this case that is exactly what I did. Actually, that’s what I do most of the time, so you could say I’m a bit superficial though I’d rather not be called that.

The cover I based all my judgements from.

I picked up “Charlotte Street” by Danny Wallace because I saw the Union Jack somewhere on the cover. As a self-proclaimed Anglophile (and Francophile)I can’t help but be drawn to the British flag. It is so perfect and symmetrical and looks good on anything from Mini Coopers to duvet covers -which I am not ashamed to say I have recently ordered and is on its way to my house as you read – and the tiny spot of Union Jack on the street sign was enough to make me think this book was going to be great.

Danny Wallace is a funny man. I say this because my Google search of his works keeps throwing the word “humorist” at me and we know from that car insurance commercial that everything on the internet is true. I also say this because I did honestly laugh out loud – I lol’d- and unless the book is one of the Georgia Nicholson books or written by Bill Bryson, I do not laugh a squeak. I do not even giggle. But Wallace crafted his characters which such realistic human flaws that it was easy to imagine you were reading about a friend of yours.

Jason Priestly -not the actual famous one- is that friend who doesn’t quite have it all together. But then you remember, who really has it all together anyways? He’s a somewhat recently single and broken man who seems to have given up a little, in the way that people find themselves in a rut and just can’t get out of. And a few months go by. And a few more and then they are nicely settled in that rut. Wallace creates a character so realistically flawed it’s almost like looking into a mirror. His relationships, both the fleeting and the long-lasting, are fraught with the regular mishaps and cracks that afflict relationships in real life.

Though set in London, the often romanticized city is not thrown into the reader’s face. I like treating marvelous cities like they are Cleveland. It’s how people view the cities they live in, just as how I would see Boston (Boston being the city that I am most familiar and comfortable with).

The writing was simple, with no complicated forms or artistic flourishes, making it a nice summer read.

This is a novel is about finding happiness within yourself first, then finding what is important to your life and then finally doing something about it. In “Charlotte Street” the premise is that Jason is in possession of these photos belonging to an unidentified woman that has grabbed his attention. Though it seems he is infatuated with the idea of her, his search for her through her photos takes him on a journey where the destination no longer leads to the mystery girl.

I fully recommend this to anyone who likes a light, summery novel that, while romantic, focuses not on the romance but on the self.

Quotation Sunday

“Let’s get loose
With
Compassion,

Let’s drown in the delicious
Ambiance of
Love.”

-Hafiz

I came across this today, and I think that it’s totally great. I don’t always enjoy explaining how I interpret things to other people, because it can be a little pedantic. So interpret away! It’s amazing how some people can put together words so simply yet have it mean something so deeply.

Brave New England

Recently my friend made a mistake over text that she blamed on sleep deprivation. I believe her because I am a good friend, and also she’d been in a car for over 8 hours, so I cut her some slack.

You see it, right? I think I cried tears of joy. commemorate her glorious, lovely, wonderful mistake, I started bothering her about it, which gave me some ideas for some spectaular (maybe boring) novels.

Brave New England: A novel in which a rebellious region decides they dont want a reigning monarch over their heads and revolt after injustises such as taxes.

Brave New England: In which the humble people of the Northeast last through one of the worst winters of their lives, showing the preservation of the human spirit, the importance of community, and of sharing hot chocolate with neighbors.

Brave New England: The year 2245 was a pivotal  time in the politics of the Formerly United States. New England draws similarities to the 20th century West Germany, or so historians say. The rest of the Regions are not happy and rallied by Deep South, begin to menace the peaceful lives of New Englandians.

Brave New England: The Apple Crisis hit New England hard. A terrible fungus has been attacking the fruit trees, devastating the only stable part of the Northeastern economy. When an enterprising duo realize that New England has more to offer than fruit, they must deal with the reprecussions of fast fame and quick fortunes. Highly recommended for lovers of the commercialization of Thanksgiving.

Thanks for reading!

p.s. Thanks, best friend, for giving me something to laugh about each day! I couldn’t do this without you.

Do you have any ideas what Brave New England could be about? Let me know below!

Reading In the Summertime

I love reading in the summer. I also just love reading. Anytime, anywhere.

But reading in the summer seems drastically different than reading during, say, winter, where I find the most contrast (temperature differences aside) between the two. This probably isn’t a new insight for many people, but sometimes I find myself talking to those who just don’t seem to understand why reading War and Peace just isn’t right during the summer. Trust me, I tried. I even took it to the beach, where reading is a main activity of mine. Nothing. Nada. I couldn’t do it. I just kept getting this feeling that the book would have been great by a nice, cozy fire sometime in mid to late January.

I have an inability to read certain types of books during the summer. Heavy novels begin to be unbearably difficult to digest, and the call of books like The Hunger Games beckon from afar. My mom recently pulled out Dante’s Inferno from the bookshelves we’re packing away, and I started to retch on sight of it. What if I started to read that? I’d probably throw up immediately.
My Brain
This isn’t to say that I’ll start reading Shirtless on the Riviera* (cover with Fabio-esque man) once the temperatures rise. It’s not. I refuse to lower myself to that level. I can’t even read 50 Shades of Grey without wanting to throw acid in my eyes. (Before you think I’m afraid of the sex, I’m not. I’ve read fanfiction. That shit is scary.)
My solution is turning to less “Serious Literature but still Literature” books. Young Adult novels, for example, are so prime. They are interesting reads while still being somewhat serious. Sometimes. Maybe not like, Confessions of Georgia Nicholson. (Still fun to read).
Then there are humorous novels. David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, that book by Tina Fey. Perfect summer reading. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is literally the perfect book for any situation for reading in the summer. (Bonus: you learn cool retro-ish facts!) Or The Nanny Diaries. Lighter novels that  have a little something that make you think after reading them is what I think a Summer Book is.
Literally anything by Dickens is a Winter Book.
See the difference? I do!
What do you think? Is there a difference in what kind of literature you read throughout the year?
*Not actually I real novel. I think. It might be.