Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Polarizing Books!

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This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Favorite Polarizing Books! I’m SUPER interested to see what people listed for this week’s topic. I found this pretty challenging so I’m just doing a top 3 this week!

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1. The Da Vinci Code: I know, I know, but hear me out. I mentioned previously that my husband doesn’t enjoy reading fiction. The Da Vinci Code is one of the very few fiction books he’s read all the way through. If a book can keep my husband’s attention and spark an interest in visiting Europe, it’s aces if you ask me!

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2. Gone Girl: This is the first book that popped into my head for this week because you either love it or you hate it. Yes, almost every single character is unlikable. But I could not put this book down! I really enjoyed it!

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3. Lolita: I think the fact that I read this in one of my Lit classes where we had the opportunity to really analyze and discuss it helped me to appreciate this novel. That being said, I totally get people who hate this book. It’s not exactly a pleasant story line.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else did for this one!

Top 5 Wednesday: 2017 Reading Goals!

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It’s the first Top 5 Wednesday of the year! I don’t know about everyone else but I am more than happy to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017! This week’s topic: Goals!

1. A 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge of 30 books: This was my goal last year as well and I *just* made it so I’m keeping it the same. Especially since I’m hoping to finally read Outlander this year, which is pretty long.

2. Read Outlander: Ha! Maybe if I put it down as a goal I’ll actually make it happen 🙂

3. Convince my husband to read 1 fiction book!: Every year my non-reading husband makes it a goal to read a few books. I buy him books he may enjoy for Christmas, ask him about what he’s reading, etc. And every year…nothing. This year I WILL get this man to read a fiction book.

4. Most more non-meme stuff: I do a lot of book memes for the majority of my posts, along with a monthly reading recap. This year I would like to post at least 1 non-meme post a month (baby steps!)

5. Have fun! I’m not going to stress too much about what I’m reading this year – if it sounds interesting, I’m reading it!

What are your 2017 reading goals?

December 2016 Reading Recap

I haven’t posted much this month – December is always insanely busy! Anyhow, this will be a reading recap for November AND December!

I have officially completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 30 books, finishing the year at 32 books! It probably doesn’t sound like a lot compared to other book bloggers but that’s a good number of books for me!

In November and December, I read:

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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: I really enjoyed this! I had the opportunity to hear the author speak at an event shortly after finishing the book, which is always fun. The way the female characters each approached feminism in their own distinct way was really interesting to me. Some of Frankie’s thoughts seemed contradictory but that’s totally normal for a 16-year-old so I thought that was pretty smart of the author. I’m looking forward to reading her latest book, We Were Liars. Here’s a blurb about Frankie:

Over the course of one summer, Frankie Landau-Banks, a somewhat geeky girl with an unassuming nature, has developed into a 15-year-old with an attention-grabbing figure, a new attitude, and sights set on making changes at her elite boarding school. The teenager also has a new boyfriend, a gorgeous senior who belongs to a long-standing secret society on campus—The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, known mostly for silly pranks and a history of male-only membership. With a witty, sharp, and intelligently scheming mind, Frankie manipulates the Loyal Order to do her bidding with pranks meant to make a political statement about the male-dominated and classist nature of the school.

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Mystic River by Dennis LeHane: I think I’ve finally made my way through all of LeHane’s books! This was good but, as usual, dark and sad. I highly recommend the book as well as the film!

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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: This is a re-imagining of Peter Pan. As you probably guessed from the title, this is the story of Tiger Lily and her relationship with Peter. It’s told by Tinker Bell. I have mixed feelings about this book, mainly due to the ending, but overall I thought this was really well done.

That’s it for me! Until next year!

Classic Remarks – Holiday Reads

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Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for Classic Remarks, hosted by Pages Unbound!

I haven’t participated in this for a few months but thought it was time to jump back into it!

This week’s topic: Recommend a classic you think should be read during the holiday season.

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For kids, I’m going to recommend The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats – I loved this Caldecott Medal winner as a kid! The illustrations are story are both very simple and I think it’s a great picture book for kids during the winter months.

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For adults I‘m going with Holiday’s on Ice by David Sedaris – This may not technically be a classic but the first time I heard “six to eight black men” I laughed so hard I cried. If you can get this (or any of his titles) as an audio book I highly recommend it – his delivery makes the stories that much funnier.

What are your favorite books to read during the holiday season?

Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Villains!

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Top 5 Wednesday time! This week’s topic: Favorite Villains! We’ve been asked not to use Harry Potter characters for this one!

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Nils Bjurman from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: He is the legal guardian of Salander (the main character) and he is awful. The. Worst. I specifically waited to watch the U.S. version of the movie until it was released on DVD so I could fast forward past his main scene. Reading it was hard enough.

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Kevin from We Need to Talk About Kevin: Without going into too much detail, he is responsible for a massacre at his high school. The book itself is actually pretty interesting, especially Kevin’s mother.

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Humbert Humbert from Lolita: For obvious reasons.

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Aaron from Titus Andronicus: I read this in college and it’s considered to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy. It is insanely violent and has plenty of characters that I would consider villainous but Aaron stands out the most to me. Hands down the most violent Shakespeare play I’ve ever read.

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And because women can be villains too – Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She is one cold hearted woman.

Who are some of your favorite villains? Leave a link to your T5W in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday – Holiday Gift Guide!

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‘Tis the season to buy stuff so this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is very appropriate – Holiday Gift Guide Freebie! Here are some fun literary-themed gifts I think are pretty great!

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Literary Tattoos by Litographs – They have everything from Pride & Prejudice to Moby Dick and only cost $5 for a set of 2!

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I always welcome an Amazon Gift Card. Always.

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There are a lot of Harry Potter Ornaments out there. This one from B&N is pretty adorable.

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Whosits and Whatsits has a ton of cute stuff! If you like your literary clothing a little more subtle, try this Peter Pan crew neck.

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I love a good book subscription and when it comes to Young Adult books I think Owl Crate is the best!

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If tattoos aren’t your thing, Litographs also has fun scarfs! This one has 30,000 words from Anne of Green Gables printed on it! You can even pick from a variety of colors.

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If you like the idea of a book box but don’t want to commit to a subscription, Out of Print has a book box! Just wait for a theme you like and you’re good to go!

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Beyond the Pages19 has super fun magnetic bookmarks, including these Gone with the Wind ones. For less than $5 you have a great gift! There are also some Gilmore Girls options!

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The New York Public Library sells these fun memo pads! The NYP Library sells a lot of great literary items so I recommend browsing their site!

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The library nerd in me loves Dewey-related gifts. This necklace is a good example!

I can’t wait to see what everyone else posts for this one! Feel free to share your list in the comments below!

Top 5 Wednesday – Books I Want to Re-Read!

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It’s time for Top 5 Wednesday! This week’s topic: Books I Want to Re-Read!

These are five books I absolutely loved! I finished these and immediately told friends and family members to read them. I’d like to re-read these one day to see if I’d have the same reaction the second time around.

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Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I count this as one of the best books I’ve ever read. I had a emotional reaction to this book that I rarely have. Blurb:

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

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The Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers: This book is amazing! I loved every second of reading it! Premise:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt: This book made me want to visit Savannah. I immediately recommended this book to my mom and she didn’t like it nearly as much. I thought it was fantastic.

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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris: I’ve read most of Sedaris’ books and this is my favorite. I’ve also heard a him read a few stories on NPR and watched him read live. I think he’s hilarious.

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Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer: I managed to get a signed copy of this when I was working at Borders. I couldn’t get into the first time around but picked it up maybe a year or so later and loved everything about it. Description:

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man — also named Jonathan Safran Foer — sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

I have so many books on my to-read list that I rarely re-read books but I know I’ll eventually get around to the 5 listed above.

What books do you want to re-read?

Songs Inspired by Literature

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Friend: “There are a lot of songs about Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
Me: “Huh?”
Friend: “The book. George Orwell.”
Me: “Okay…”

Thus began a Google search, which turned into a ridiculous amount of time spent on You Tube listing to songs inspired by books. There are, in fact, a lot of songs inspired by Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four; several by David Bowie (1984 and Big Brother, for example.)

Here is a small list of other songs inspired by literature:

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If I Die Young by The Band Perry was inspired by The Lady of Shallot by Lord Tennyson – You’ve probably heard this song on the radio. The band’s lead singer, Kimberly Perry, said in an interview that she read this poem multiple times before writing the tune. I only know this poem because of Anne of Green Gables, I’m not gonna lie.

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Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons includes lines from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing including “Serve God, love me, and mend,” “For man is a giddy thing,” and, of course, “Sigh no more.”

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Off to the Races by Lana Del Ray references Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov including the line “Light of your life, fire of your loins.”

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Jamaica Inn by Tori Amos is clearly inspired by the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name. A good book, by the way, if you like du Maurier’s other stories like Rebecca and The Birds!

There are so many other songs inspired by literature as well. What are some of your favorite songs inspired by a novel, play, poem, etc.?

October 2016 Reading Recap

Happy Halloween! I’m officially one book away from completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 30 books this year (yay!) This month I read:

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The Passenger by Lisa Lutz: I really like Lutz’s Spellman series so I gave this a try. It is a totally different type of book (the Spellman books are really funny while this much darker in tone.) I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love the ending. I also found myself more interested in one of the secondary characters than the main character.

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: This was not my favorite. The premise sounded really interesting:

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

I was drawn in at the beginning but by the time I reached the middle of the book, every single character was annoying me. Also, the ending was just unnecessary to me. So I wouldn’t recommend this one.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve finally read a Rainbow Rowell book! I see what all the fuss is about – I really liked this book! Here is a blurb:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Out of the three, I definitely had the most fun reading Fangirl! Have you read any of these books? What did you think?