Sunday, September 29, 2013

Perfect October Reads

October is approaching and I have been seeing lots of books lately that would be perfect to read during this month. With Halloween and the weather starting to really feel like fall, October is a great month to read something a little strange or creepy. While I'm not a big fan of horror movies or novels, I do enjoy reading something really strange and different from the norm. Here's a list of books I think would be perfect for this strange month.

1. Libba Bray's The Diviners
2. Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys
3. Anything by Edgar Allan Poe
4. Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls
5. Neil Gaiman's The Grave Yard Book

Libba Bray has a reputation for writing unique and strange books. I have not read one by her yet, I attempted her A Great and Terrible Beauty awhile ago, but I went into it blind and was totally caught off guard by the creepy element of it so I quite, though I would like to try that series again. This book really catches my interest, I love the cover of this book. It takes place in the 1920's, the main character's uncle owns an oddities museum, and there is crime solving. Sounds like a perfect October read to me.
This is a recently purchased book that I plan to read soon. Blue comes from a family of psychics but she herself has no abilities. One day she sees a ghost in the grave yard and that means one of two things: the ghost is her true love, or she killed him. That's really all I know about the plot and I am really intrigued. The second book in this series just came out this month so I am excited to read this one soon.
I really enjoy Poe all year round, but this is truly the best time of year to read him. I like his writing and find his life to be truly intriguing. My favorite stories by him include, Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher. Poe also wrote my all time favorite poem Annabel Lee. Check out his other poems The Raven, A Dream Within a Dream, and To Helen. 
I just bought this really cool illustrated version of this Patrick Ness book. I was shopping in my bookstore when I saw it on a table and decided I had to have the illustrated version if I was going to read this book. I have never read a Patrick Ness book but I have heard so many people talk about how much they love him and how great he is.
Finally, a Neal Gaiman book. He is another author I am eager to read. This is kind of a retelling of The Jungle Book but instead of being raised by animals, the young boy is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. I am eager to pick this book up, and especially the illustrated edition.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Recently Read: City of Bones

I finally stared the very popular The Mortal Instruments series. The first book is titled City of Bones there is currently five books out in the series by Cassandra Clare.

This book follows Clary Fray as she discovers a secret world she is apart of but that she has been unaware of her whole life. She meets Jace, Isabelle, and Alec who are shadowhunters, trained to hunt and kill demons, and Clary and her best friend Simon are pulled into the shadowhunter world when Clary's mother is kidnapped.
This book was witty and funny and full of action. I really like the characters Jace and Simon and their interactions with Clary. The book is packed full of action and danger. I enjoyed the way the plot unfolded. It was a very fast paced read, I stayed up way too late reading it a couple time because I just couldn't stop. And holy cow, this book is full of plot twists and turns. I'm still not sure how I feel about the big twist at the end, but I am anxious to see how it all plays out in the next book in the series.
I enjoyed this book more than I expected too. I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy with demons and creatures of the sort, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend picking it up if you haven't already. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Banned Books Week!

It's national banned books week. If you are not familiar with this event I suggest you check out the American Library Association site here. Last year for one of my writing classes I wrote a paper on why books should not be banned or removed from public libraries and schools and I really discovered a lot of great things during my research. For example, books are still being removed and banned from schools. If a book has been challenged in your town, at the local library or your school report it at and they will help you fight the removal of the book. That's awesome! As a future English teacher I believe that reading should be encouraged in all forms, especially in children and teens. Celebrate this week by reading a formally banned book. Here is a list of some of my favorite banned or challenged books. Check here for the lists compiled by the ALA.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
 Looking for Alaska, John Green
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Deenie, Judy Bloom

By the way, do you think people get the gigantic amount of irony they create when they try to ban Fahrenheit 451?

Monday, September 23, 2013

October Wish List

I have decided to wait until October to buy anymore books. I have bought way to many the past two months. The end of September is near and I am already planning my next purchases. So far I am definite about two books, but let me know if there are any other books I HAVE to read like right now!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Recently Read: The Lost Hero

I finished The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan the second book from my September TBR list. I am a big, big fan of Riordan's Percy Jackson series and was so excited to discover Percy Jackson is in this series as well. This is book one of the Heroes of Olympus series.
The humor, adventure, and romance elements are similar to the Percy Jackson series, but this book is not simply that story retold with different characters. I did laugh out loud at this book on more than
one occasion, and found it to be hard to put down so I could go to sleep.
The story follows three kids, Piper, a troublemaker who likes to get in trouble to get her movie star dad's attention. Leo who is hilarious, but has had a hard life of feeling out of place and unwanted, and Jason, who wakes up during a field trip holding Piper's hand, best friends with Leo, and no memory of either of them or anything that has happened to him in his life. If you have mad love for Percy Jackson, you will love Jason. The three kids must go on a quest while the search for the lost hero, who just so happens to be Percy Jackson is carried out by Annabeth and other members of Camp Half-Blood.
There are three books out in the series as of right now, and the fourth novel is set to release this October. I will defiantly be picking up the next novels in this series very soon. I would recommend this to lovers of Percy Jackson, Greek or Roman mythology, and everyone else! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recently Purchased: Amazon is Dangerous

I am not allowing myself to buy any more books this month, even though my list of books I want to buy keeps growing. Taking a break from YA over the last year or so has left me very behind and I'm trying to get caught up as fast as I can.
Here is the content of my latest amazon book haul. Amazon has a great bargain book section and good prices on books in general.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
The Bronze Horsemen, Paullina Simmons (book one of a trilogy)
The Raven Boys, Maggie Sriefvater (book one of the Raven Cycle)
City Of Bones, Cassandra Clare (book one of the Mortal Instruments Series)
City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare (book two of the Mortal Instruments Series)
The Son of Neptune, Rick Rioridan (book two of the Heroes of Olympus Series) 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recently Read: In Our Time

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway is the first book I have finished from my college English class. It was Hemingway's first novel in 1925. If you are unfamiliar with the structure of this novel, it is rather short and is made up of short chapters that are separate short stories within themselves. There are short vignettes in front of each chapter. There is a lot of debate on whether to classify this work as a novel or a collection of short stories. If you have read this work, let me know what your thoughts on this matter are.  
This is the second Hemingway work I have read, the first being The Old Man and the Sea. I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. A lot of Hemingway's works have themes of nature and are nature based which I tend to find a little boring. This book had those themes as well, but they were not in every story. I was interested to find connections between the vignettes and the stories and between the stories themselves which kept me eagerly reading on to the next story. I really sympathized with the character of Nick Adams even though the reader doesn't know much about him. If you have never read a Hemmingway and are interested in reading him, I would suggest this as a starting point.
On a side note, If you are interested in Hemingway's personal life and his relationship with his first wife. I would recommend The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. This is a fictionalized account of Hemingway's relationship with his first wife Hadley, and their time in Paris. This is one of my favorite books I have read and I really enjoyed both the writing style and the subject.
Oh and by the way, young Ernest was very, very handsome.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Quick TBR Update

Just a quick update on how my September to be read list is coming along. I finished Rumors by Anna Godbersen earlier this week. I decided not to do a review on this book because it is a sequel, which will make it difficult to make a spoiler free review. But I will say, it had a little bit of a surprise ending. You can read my review of the first book in the series, which is The Luxe here.

After finishing that, I started The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. Which is a series that takes place in the same world of his Percy Jackson series. I am a big fan of the Percy series so I have been a little reluctant to start this series for fear it wouldn't live up to Percy. So far I am enjoying the book, though I am not far enough in to make a final judgment. If you had any doubts about this series because you loved Percy so much, I would say go for it. The characters overlap with the Percy series, and the new additions to the characters are loveable and funny.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quick Thoughts

Just thought I would share a quick words of wisdom before I went to class today. This is one of my favorite quotes from George Bernard Shaw.

"If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it how to dance."
-George Bernard Shaw
This is a good optimistic quote about playing the cards you were dealt. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September To Be Read List

I thought I would make a TBR, or a to be read, list for this month. I have been accumulating a lot of books lately and have a long list of other books I want to purchase and read. Making a list will help me get through the books I have been wanting to read.

Currently Reading: Rumors by Anna Godbersen I am half way through this book, which is the second book in The Luxe series. I reviewed the first book here if you are interested in reading that. This series has proven to be quite addicting in the way a good dramatic tv show is. I am enjoying the series and planning on reading the other two in the series.

This month my TBR is made up of first books in a series. I plan to read the first books in these series and then run out to buy the rest of the series because I know I will love them.

September 2013 TBR
Rumors, Anna Godbersen
The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan (the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series)
City of Bones, Cassandra Clare (the first of the Immortal Instruments series)
If I have extra time at the end of the month after those books, I will continue on with one of the three series. It seems that more and more YA novels are series and it is hard to find stand alone novels. What are your thoughts on series vs. stand alone novels? What are you reading this month?  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Recently Read: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is one of the best books I have read so far this year. This is Plath's only novel, and it is considered to be semi autobiographical.

Plath, like the main character in the book Esther, suffered from depression. Esther is a normal college girl who is attending a women's college on scholarship in the 1960's. She is known for her remarkable grades and all the professors think she is brilliant. Despite her seemingly normal and  happy life, Esther starts to fall apart. The book chronicles her descent into depression as she looses her rational thought.
The book is so powerful and Esther's thoughts are so strong they almost seem to be normal while you are reading the book. One of the most powerful images from the book is when Esther compares the life choices a young woman must make to a fig tree. Esther above all questions the role of women in relationships, marriage, and the world in general which I found to be really interesting. There is not a lot of plot to the book, the book mostly consists of Esther's thoughts and how the minor events of a day affect her, which some people may find boring. I tend to really enjoy books like this, that are character studies and character driven more so than plot based. If you enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye, This Side of Paradise, or Mrs. Dalloway you will more then likely not be bothered by this aspect of the book.
I highly recommend this book. I think the questions Esther has about a woman's place in marriage and in the world are still relative to women today. I also found Esther's thought process on her decent into madness and her rise to normalcy to be really intriguing. The ending of the book leaves the reader to decide what happens next, and if you have read the book I would love to know what you think happens to Esther.   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Recently Read: The Importance of Being Earnest

I am in the car for about an hour four days a week going to school and back. It frustrates me that those four hours a week are just wasted in driving, so  I decided to use them. I used a free audio book app on my Iphone that is loaded with classic novels and decided to listen to this play by Oscar Wilde. It was a little under three hours, so it took me a little less than three days to finish.

I'm just going to start by saying, I love Oscar Wilde. I love his personality and his complexity. I think he is so wise and so witty. That being said, this was the first play by him I have read. I have read his short stories, some of his poetry and fairytales, and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is at the top of my to be read list. My favorite murder mysteries are The Oscar Wilde  Mysteries  series by Gyles Brandeth, where Oscar solves mysteries with a slew of other famous people of the time including, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stroker, Sarah Bernhardt, and the Pope just to name a few. Anyway... back to the play, I found this to be so witty, entertaining and enjoyable. In true Oscar fashion, it had me laughing out loud in my car on my way to school at 9:00 in the morning, which is not something that happens often. I would love to see a film version of this play, and I plan to start another Wilde play next week.
The story centers around two bachelors and the trouble they cause themselves, and each other, while they pursue the women they wish to marry.   

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recently Purchased: Addicted to Cheap Books

I bought more cheap used books online. I can't stop browsing through the bargain books on and This order came from thrift books. The total for four hardcovers and one paper back was less than twenty dollars! Now you can see why I can't stop.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac
The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan
Splendor (books two-four of the Luxe Series), Anna Godbersen
See my review of The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, the first book in the series, here. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Thinking About Poetry

So nigh is grandeur to our dust
So near is God to man
When duty whispers low "Thou must,"
The youth replies "I can"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Today I was looking for poem. For my English class I need a 15-30 line poem with rhyme and rhythm, written by a well known poet. I have been reading every poetry book in my house, which  I will admit is not very many, and scouring the internet. Every poem that I like is either too long or too short for this project, which is proving to be very difficult. Above would be my favorite poem, which is of course too short. Do you have any favorite poems to suggest?