Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Recently Read: The Gigantic Beard That was Evil

Author: Stephen Collins
Genre: Graphic Novel
Status: Standalone
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 240
Rating: 3/5

Dave lives on the island of Here. Where everything is perfect and orderly, and the only thing to fear is the Sea and what lays on the other side of the Sea: There. Everyone in Here sports the same orderly, and beard-less look, until one day Dave's single facial hair grows into a gigantic beard that just won't stop growing and the orderly and beard-free Here is never the same. 

This book was a super quick read, perfect for reading in one sitting. The art is all done in black and white and is visually stunning.

I must admit I'm not the biggest fan of graphic novels. I love the idea of them and I love them as an art form, but I usually feel that I would love whatever graphic novel I'm reading more if the story were told in regular novel form. But that's not the case with this one; this story was perfect for a graphic novel format. I really liked the message behind this story; the fear of the unknown and what people can't understand, and I thought the art was perfect for the story. The words have an almost Dr. Seuss feel to them sometimes and the pictures were often incorporated right into the text- meaning the words on items in the pictures were part of the sentence. 
I really recommend checking this book out. It's very unique and is a great experience to read. It's a very beautiful book that is truly thought provoking. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Goals for 2015

I'm not one to set a bunch of goals at the same time, because I tend to feel over-whelmed with them, but there are a few goals I would like to set for myself in 2015- in terms of reading, blogging, and in other parts of my life. So here's what I hope to accomplish in 2015. 

Reading Goals:
1. Reread at least ten books-- I'm taking part in the 2015 Reread Challenge this year so that should help me accomplish this one. 

2. Complete my 2015 Rereads and Classics List-- I made a list of the top five rereads and classics that are top priority for this year and I hope to get through them. See the list here, and the wrap-up for 2014's list here.

3. Read 75 books-- I read about 100 books this year, but I'm putting my goal at 75 this year because I have a very full semester coming up in the spring and I might take classes over the summer too, so I will be busier with school this year. 

4. Read more new releases-- I made a list of 2015 releases I'm looking forward to and I hope to get to most of them. Read the list here. And the list of sequels coming out in 2015 that I can't wait to read here.

5. Read newly purchased books sooner after purchasing them-- This one goes along with number four. I tend to buy newer releases and then not read them for a year or two when they are no longer new releases. This year I would like to read the books I buy in a timely fashion, which may also help me to only buy when I'm ready to read (but I'm pretty sure that's just wishful thinking.)

Blogging Goals:
6. Continue my Literary Look Series-- I love doing this series I created, but the posts take a while to put together. I'd like do a lot of them this year. You can check out the first two in this series; The Beatnik Generation and The Harlem Renaissance

General Life Goals:
7. Relax!-- This year I'm going to try to not get so stressed out about everything (which is really difficult for a perfectionist who is also a college student).  If you have any tips on this, please let me know. 

Leave me a link to your goals, I would love to read them! 
Hope you have a great New Year! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Rereads and Classics List

Here's some of the books I hope to reread and some of the classics I hope to read for the first time in 2015. I'm participating in the 2015 Reread Challenge so I'm hoping to reread at least ten books this year,but I'm going to put five on this list that are top priority. Same goes for classics, this is just the list of classics that are top priority for this year, I will definitely read more classics than the ones I put on this list.
Read my Wrap-up of my 2014 list here.

Emma, Jane Austen

1984, George Orwell

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Thomas Hardy

Howards End, E.M. Forster

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger--Read 2011

The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak--Read 2013

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck--Read 2009

Fahrenheit 415, Ray Bradbury--Read 2011

Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick-- Read 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves and What Happened This Week: Happy Holidays

What I Bought and Received:
Graphic Novels

Fahrenheit 451 Graphic Novel, Tim Hamilton
The Beats, Harvey Pekar, Ed Piskor, Paul Buhle-- Graphic novel that gives a short history of a few of the most prominent members of the Beatnik Movement


Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton-- I love this book and this beautiful Penguin Deluxe edition I received for Christmas!
Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, Sylvia Plath-- So excited to read more of Plath's prose. I love her work.


Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, and The Body in the Library, Agatha Christie-- Can't wait to read more of Christie. I've read one of her mysteries and really enjoyed it. I'm excited to get to some of her more well known tittles.


A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway-- Not crazy about Hemingway as a person, but can't deny his talent for writing, especially short stories. This one is about his experience in Paris in the 20's as a part of the Lost Generation,which I'm really interested in.
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley-- I have been wanting to pick this one for a while, but couldn't decide on an edition. I finally decided to go with this leather bound Barnes and Noble edition; I just love that spine.
Young Adult-- Should I Give This a Go?

The Disenchantments, Nina Lacour-- I picked this up really cheap, and was just planning to save it for my future classroom, but then I thought maybe I would want to read it. Have you read it? Did you like it? Let me know!

What Happened This Week:
Monday-- I started the week off with my 2014 End of the Year Book Survey. I loved writing this post. 
Wednesday-- I shared my thoughts about rereading one of my all-time favorite books The Rules Of Civility.
Thursday-- Merry Christmas! I took the day off from posting. 
Friday-- I wrapped up my completion of my 2014 Classics and Rereads List. 

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tynga's Reviews 
Sunday Post Hosted by: Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Rereads and Classics List Wrap Up

I completed my 2014 List of Books to Reread and Classics I Want to Read! (The 2015 List will be coming next week) So I thought I would do a little wrap-up of the books I read for this challenge and my thoughts on them. I really loved making a list of top priority classics and rereads, and the list definitely helped motivate me to read all these books, especially the rereads which can get pushed to the side sometimes.


Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte -- Rating: 5/5-- Review-- Quick thoughts: I loved Jane as a character, and I loved her quest for independence. She refused to live a life anything less than what she knew she deserved and is an admirable woman to this day, but especially for her time period. 

On The Road, Jack Kerouac-- Rating: 4/5--Review-- Quick thoughts: This book was beautifully written. The writing is so simple, true, and poetic. The characters are so interesting and truly flawed; knowing they were real literary figures really enhanced the reading experience for me. I'm eager to read more of Kerouac's works. This book also inspired my first Literary Look post on The Beatnik Generation

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde-- Rating: 4/5-- Review-- Quick thoughts: I love Oscar Wilde, so it was no surprise that I was mesmerized by the beautiful writing in this book. The plot is a little slow, Wilde goes off an a few tangents, but who cares when the writing is exceptional. This novel presented so many thoughts and ideas about art and the artist and the audience of art and I loved the atmosphere. Wilde is a genius- there's nothing else to say. 

Persuasion, Jane Austen-- Rating: 5/5-- Review-- Quick Thoughts: Austen is the Queen of Marriage Plots with Meaning. I have loved both the books by her that I have read and I can't wait to read the rest of her works. This book was funny, witty, and featured another unapologetically independent female lead. The romance was sweet, yet very practical, and the suspense while waiting for them to get together almost killed me! 

A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf-- Rating: 5/5-- Review-- Quick thoughts: This was my first piece by Woolf and I can't wait to read more. This short essay was so full of sass and spunk, and I loved what she had to say about the woman artist, and the lack of respect they are given. I'm hoping to dive into some of Woolf's fiction this year.


The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath-- Rating: 5/5-- Reread Thoughts-- Quick Thoughts: This book is one of my favorites and it became an instant favorite after my first reading of it. This time I annotated my copy and really took the time to appreciate Plath's genius. I also read a lot of her poetry this year, which really offered new insights into this work and how I think about this work. I will be rereading this book many times in the future. 

Paper Towns, John Green-- Rating: 5/5-- Reread Thoughts-- Quick Thoughts: I swapped out An Abundance of Kathrines for this one off of my original rereads list this year. I read this one for one of my lit classes and of course thoroughly enjoyed it. This is my favorite Green novel and I have endless things to say about it. It's so funny, and yet so important and thought provoking.

Rules of Civility, Amor Towles-- Rating: 5/5-- Reread Thoughts-- Quick Thoughts: One of my favorite books of all time. I plan to read this book every year. Beautiful writing and a beautiful look at fate, chance, and timing set in New York in 1938. 

Deenie, Judy Blume-- Rating: 5/5 in a nostalgic childhood favorite way-- Quick Thoughts: This was always my favorite Judy Blume book as a kid. I read a lot of my mom's old copies of them, so to me they are extra special. Love the new look her books are getting, and I think they are still great and always will be great for young girls to read.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green-- Rating: 5/5 of course-- Quick Thoughts: It's so hard for me to write my thoughts about this book in an organized way. I do think about this book a lot, and despite the mega-hype that can sometimes kill a book, I think this book is a great piece of art and a great young adult read. This is another book that I will continue to reread throughout my life. 

Wuthering Heights Classics Illustrated Graphic Novel-- Quick Thoughts: I decided to do my reread of this Bronte novel in graphic novel form and really liked it. I really love the original novel, and want to reread the original very soon, but thought this little graphic novel captured the tone and desperation of this novel pretty well. I love that this novel is about unlikable characters and how different of a reading experience that is for the reader. I'm really hoping to read more graphic novel adaptations of classic novels in the future.

Be sure to check back next week to check out my list of classics and rereads for 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Recently Reread: The Rules of Civility

Author: Amor Towles
Genre: Adult Fiction/Historical Fiction
Status: Stand-alone
Publication Date: 2011
Page Count: 320
Rating: 5/5 a million times over

This book opens on the last day of 1937, where Katey and her friend Eve have a chance encounter with a handsome young man named Tinker Grey. This meeting changes the course of both Katey and Eve's lives. This book takes place in New York City, and the atmosphere is so well built up; the city is the perfect backdrop for this story.

I read this book for the first time last year right before Christmas and before I even finished the book I knew I wanted to reread it and that it would become one of my favorite books. So, when I decided to reread it this year, I thought it would be perfect to reread it exactly a year after the original reading. I loved this book even more the second time around, and I have decided that I will reread it every year before Christmas. 

The writing in this novel is perfect. Katey's voice is so clear, real, and gorgeous. The narration mixes the perfect mix of wit and humor with emotion and reflection. One of my favorite aspects of this novel is the way that Katey's reading material is seamlessly woven into the story. She is a true reader and makes her reading choices based on what she needs in her life at the moment, and her reading is woven into her thoughts about her real life. I have a lot of respect for Katey and how she handles situations and stays true to herself.

I think that Christmas time/ New Year's is a great time to read this book. Not only does it open on New Year's Eve, but the book really delves into fate and chance and change, which to me are a big part of the New Year. This book touches on a number of very large concepts and themes. It's not a romance, it's more about how people relate to each other and how all types of relationships function, as well as the impact of timing and fate on relationships.

The themes of chance and fate are quite appropriate since I was just wandering through Barnes and Noble one day when the cover of this book caught my eye. I picked it up, read the back, and decided to buy it on a whim, and started reading it as soon as I got home (which I almost never do with books). It was just pure chance that I discovered this book, but I'm so glad I did.

It's really hard for me to communicate my thoughts about this book, because they continue to develop long after I have read it. I found myself thinking about this book long after I read it the first time, and I know this time will be no different. I'm already looking forward to my yearly reread next year, and I will be automatically purchasing any new book Towles writes in the future.    

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Santa Should Bring Me (Because I've Been Good)

The books on this list are books that I have been lusting over for quite a while, but can't quite bring myself to buy yet, or haven't found the perfect edition yet. 

1. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

2. Well Read Women, Samantha Hahn

3. Texts from Jane Eyre, Mallory Ortberg

4. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos

5. I'll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson

6. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

7. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson 

8. The Big Sleep and Other Novels, Raymond Chandler

9. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent

10. 101 Dalmatians, Dodie Smith

Bonus-- Any of the Penguin Deluxe Editions, Drop Caps Series, or the Cloth bound Classics!! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 End of the Year Book Survey!

Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner posted her 5th annual End of the Year Survey at the beginning of the month, and I thought I would jump in. Now, there is still about two weeks until the end of the year, and I'm hoping to do a fair amount of reading in that time, so if I read anything life changing, I may have to alter my answers. I read some really great book this year that will probably pop up on the list multiple times so be prepared.

Reading Stats:
Number of Books Read: 98 so far 
Number of Rereads: Seven, and I'm currently working on number eight
Most Read Genre: Young Adult was big with me this year.

Best in Books: 
Best Book You Read in 2014:  You can see my top ten books of the year here, because there is no way I could pick just one!

I Thought I Would Love This, But I Didn't: 
It was okay, but I expected to be head-over-heels about it.
Most Surprising Read:
Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
I went into this with no expectations and was blown away.
Book I Recommended the Most:
Best Series I Started:
Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
Love this series- I need #4
Best Sequel:
It's Not summer Without You, Jenny Han
I devoured this trilogy in three days. 
Best Series Finale:
Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare
So Good! So many feels!
Favorite New Author:
 Marcus Sedgwick

Andrew Smith
Best Book From a Genre I Don't Typically Read:
Why We Broke Up, David Handler- Contemporary

Most Action-Packed Book:
Crown of Midnight, Sarah J. Maas

Most Likely to Reread Next Year:
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
It's already on my list for the 2015 Reread Challenge

Favorite Cover:
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte 

The Assassin's Blade, Sarah J. Maas

Most Memorable Character:
Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones' Diary

Most Beautifully Written:

On The Road, Jack Kerouac

Most Thought Provoking:
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

I Can't Believe I Waited This Long to Read:
David Levithan! I loved reading him this year for
the first time.

Favorite Quote:
Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Shortest Book I Read: 

The Sign of Four, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- 129 pages

Longest Book I read: 
City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare- 725 pages

Most Shocking Book:
The Virgin Suicides, Jeffery Eudenides
The plot was not shocking, but the themes and how
true they are was shocking. 

OTP of the Year:
Tarver and Lilac  
These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Favorite Non-Romance Relationship:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
Jem and Will
(What can I say? I love a good bromance)

Favorite Book from a Familiar Author:
Flappers and Philosophers, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best Book I Read Based on Recommendations:
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Everyone and their mother recommended me this! 

Newest Fictional Crush:
Chaol Westfall!!!

Best Debut:
Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo

Best World Building:
The Winner's Curse, Marie Rutkoski 

Book that Made Me Smile:

Book That Made Me Cry:
Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare

Hidden Gem: 

The Name of the Star, Maureen Johson
So funny and creepy at the same time

Book That Crushed My Soul:
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
So beautiful!

Most Unique Book of the Year:
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Please read this!

Book That Made Me Angry:
Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo
Most anti-climatic battle scene ever!

Blogging and Bookish Life: 
New Favorite Book Blog: This was the first year I really started reading blogs, so I discovered so many! All of the blogs are my favorite!
Favorite Review I Wrote: I loved reviewing the classics I read this year. For example Dracula, Jane Eyre and The Bell Jar Reread are a few of my favorites.
Best Discussion/ Non-review Post: This one where I discuss life slumps and reading slumps.
Best Event I Participated In: I loved joining into blog memes this year. It has been a great way to discover new blogs, and many of them involve making lists, which is a hobby of mine.
Best Moment of Blogging/Bookish Life: I was nominated for The Liebster Award- which was awesome! 
Most Popular Post: Hot Authors and Top Ten Books of 2014
Post That Needs More Love: Literary Look: The Beatnik Generation and Literary Look: The Harlem Renaissance I love putting posts in this series together!  
Best Bookish Discovery: This year I really discovered the comfort and happiness that book shopping and browsing brings me, and I discovered how much I love my local independent bookstore when I moved away from it. 
Reading Challenges I Completed: My Rereads and Classics List for 2014 Well almost... I'm reading my final reread from this list currently, but I know I will be finished with it by the end of the year. 

Looking Ahead: 
Number One Priority of 2015:  

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Books I'm Anticipating in 2015: Check out my top ten list here.
One Goal For Blogging:  I would love to continue posting in depth thoughts of the classics I read, and continue my Literary Look series here on the blog. 
One Goal For Reading: My two big reading goals for 2105 are to reread more, and read more classics. I took a bit of break from classics this year so my pile of classics I need to read has really grown.

Phew! That was a long post and a lot of difficult decisions! Which books did you choose for your favorites list this year?