A stunning read about a young German boy and a young, blind French girl during WWII. This is a story of friendship, hardships, betrayal, and coming-of-age. With short chapters following each of the main characters, this book is surely a page-turner that stays enticing and heart-wrenching until the end. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is my new favorite book.
A story about two French sisters and their family during World War II. Viane is married to a soldier who has gone off to war to fight for France, and together they have a young daughter. Isabel is Viane's rebellious younger sister, who wants nothing more than to join in the fight against Germany.
This story will make you laugh, cry, and want to read on with every page that you turn. Highly recommended.
Considered one of the greatest American novels of all time, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 publication, The Great Gatsby, is as much poetry as it is prose. With a flowing, flowering style, Fitzgerald clearly expresses throughout his work that "all that glitters is not gold." Gatsby follows a memorable cast of characters who don't understand how to function in the present, and instead focus heavily on past relationships and circumstances. This story is stunningly tragic, with glimmers of hope throughout.
It is my all-time favorite book, and has influenced me in countless ways. It is a book that everyone should read at least once in his or her life.
NPR reviewer Maureen Corrigan does a fantastic job in her research and writing about F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. This book is informative, fascinating, and full of interesting clues about the history and inspirations for one of the most classic pieces in the American literary cannon.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a dramatised interpretation of what it was like to be trapped in a mental hospital in the years leading up to the 1960s. This book will make you think, and has the potential to change your opinions on those who are deemed "mentally ill." While sometimes melancholy in tone, this story also has a lot of places within it that are laugh-out-loud funny and witty. This book remains a classic not only due to its controversy, but also because of its charm.
A classic novel, which needs little hype, because so much exists already. But, I'll still try my best to explain this book that I so love. To Kill a Mockingbird has remained a classic for more than fifty years for a number of reasons. First of all, it has beautiful prose. Second, it has a magnificent story about growing up and family. Third, it is a poignant and heart-wrenching tale about race relations in the deep south, and much of it still holds true today. Lee's story is funny and stunning, and Scout, Jem, and Atticus Finch are easy to fall in love with.
Wonderstruck is the perfectly crafted combination of graphic novel and fiction all in one. This story follows a young boy who is reeling over the death of his mother, and who decides to go on a journey to discover who his real father is. Heartbreaking, beautiful, and funny, this tale is sure to hold a place in your heart.
"Young Adult" books seem to be obsessively about love and relationships. And while this is fine for some readers, others may wonder what other issues face teens (and humans in general) in this world. John Green's Looking For Alaska has the romance and friendships that any seasoned YA reader could want, but also has much more. Life and death are topics which are greatly touched upon in this story, and are things that leave a lot of room for conversation and thought. Ten years after its initial release, Green's first novel is still a beloved one.
Ever wonder about which books inspired some of the great authors, public figures, scientists, and others of today? This book explores which literary works inspired those from JK Rowling, to Neil Degrasse Tyson, to Neil Gaiman. This is an incredibly interesting look into some incredibly interesting people. A great gift for book lovers.
If you're a literary or history geek, you'll adore this book! Kate Beaton's fun book of comics is intelligent, hilarious, and thoughtful to say the least. Featuring comics about Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Washington, and tons of other literary and historical figures, this is a fantastic read.
A winner of the Caldecott Medal, this book is beautiful in both its words and pictures both. The story explores the special love between a grandfather and grandson, and how younger generations carry on the traditions of their elders. This is a book that has stuck with me since the first time I read it, and I just can't get enough.
It is rare that an author/illustrator is able to convey a clear and powerful message without a single word on the page. Through his wordless graphic novel, Shaun Tan is able to do just that. The book follows an immigrant family coming to a new land, and gives the reader the experience of what it's like to be on unfamiliar grounds. Filled with beautiful images, this book is sure to become a family favorite.
This is my favorite Dr. Seuss book, as it is one of his lesser-known works. As with all other Seuss works, this story is full of imagination and whimsical illustrations. I won't give much more away; you'll just have to read it yourself!
Ender Wiggin is an imaginative young boy, who possesses a very unique set of skills. He is very mature for his age, and understands the plight of society in a different way than his older siblings. During Ender's Game (and the other books in its series) title character Ender must take on huge challenges that have a very real world impact. Ender is enchanting, magnificent, and thrilling. A must-read series for any lover of sci-fi or coming of age stories!
If you have or enjoy a dry sense of humor, you'll absolutely love what Douglas Adams does with his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Humorous, scientific, and witty at times, Adams achieves a story filled with a strange cast of characters traveling through our galaxy. This book is classic, and is probably my favorite sci-fi series of all-time.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is the book series which inspired me most as a child. Growing up, I wasn't a huge fan of fairytales, or books with overly-happy and peppy tones. Snicket's series was the perfect remedy, and became a huge influence over my personal writing style in later years. The A Series of Unfortunate Events books are sarcastic, hilarious, and dark, and they are a wonderful addition to the library of any person who likes anything just a little bit "different." Having just re-read them at the age of 23, I must say they are even better the second time around. The literary and old pop culture references are abundant, and well done. Snicket is a master of crafting a book that has something to offer for both kids and adults.
If you've never had the pleasure of reading John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men is a fantastic place to start. Not only is this book only a novella in length, but it is also a stunning look into the majesty and prose of Steinbeck. This story follows two unlikely friends, Lenny and George, on a journey of self discovery. Equally tragic and sweet, this book is deemed a classic and taught in schools frequently because of its place in great American literature.
Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea follows Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre in a completely unexpected fashion. This story actually shows the back story of Eyre's villain, and "mad woman in the attic," Bertha. Not only is this novel beautifully written, but it shows a different side of Edward Rochester than Jane Eyre is able to see.
Shirley Jackson actually began her writing career as a domestic women's magazine column writer. When she published her first major short story, her regular readers were shocked at its dark and demented elements. From that time on, Shirley Jackson became a writer known for her horror, thriller, and mystery stories about the human condition. Though We Have Always Lived in the Castle isn't her most famous work, it is certainly one of her best. This story follows a pair of sisters with a dark past, as they navigate their way through a town and community who hate them. Lots of secrets and some shocking twists will leave you wanting more!
Charlotte Bronte is one of my literary heroes. She not only wrote beautifully, but also told the story of a misfit orphan named Jane Eyre, who loved nothing more than creating art, reading, and daydreaming. Jane Eyre is ahead of her time as a female character, and Bronte was ahead of her time as an author. Eyre is a character that many people will be able to relate to and fall in love with, as she is a little bit "different" than the other girls she knows. This story will make you feel a bit of every emotion, and with any luck, will become one of your favorite stories.
The Bronte family was full of very talented children, which is why you may have heard of or read books by Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte, or Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a fine literary work which has received vast positive criticism for both its story and its prose. Part of what makes this book so charming and entertaining is all of the personal and relationship drama which ensues between the book's main characters. Heathcliff and Cathy have one of the most dysfunctional love stories of them all, which makes this book equally beautiful and tragic.
What would you do if you woke up one morning as a large bug, and were unable to communicate this fact to your friends and family? Meet poor Gregor Samsa, who experiences this very thing. Translated to English from German, translators have a hard time agreeing on what exact type of bug Gregor Samsa became. Nevertheless, this book is quite disturbing, but in the best possible way.
There's one thing I love more than literature, and that is Paul McCartney. McCartney, and his three other Beatle counterparts, were/are brilliant musicians, and the stories behind the songs they wrote are almost as fascinating as the men themselves. This gorgeous coffee table book shares images of many of the Beatles' handwritten lyrics, as well as the stories that go along with them. It is a great item for any Beatles or rock and roll lover, and it is one of my favorite books about the Beatles that has been released in years.
An extremely comprehensive book about The Beatles, written and compiled with the help of John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves, as well as those who are closely associated them (George Martin, Geoff Emerick, etc.) This book is a serious treasure for any Beatles lover. It features beautiful photographs in both black and white and color, as well as charming tales about the years of Beatlemania. I LOVE The Beatles.
A gorgeous, thick, glossy book about the Clash and their association with the punk rock scene. Great stories, killer photos, and a whole lot of rock and roll. A must have for any fan of The British Invasion, classic rock, or the punk scene.
This is my favorite Shakespeare play, along with Titus Andronicus. If you like blood, gore, fighting, rival royalty, and a whole lot of drama, this might become your favorite Shakespeare play, too.
e.e. Cummings is weird, and that's exactly why I love his work. Done in unusual formats, Cummings' poems have a unique rhythm and feel to them that makes them special. While he does write a lot of really gorgeous love poetry, Cummings' skills go far beyond just the topics of love.
You've probably read all of Roald Dahl's classic stories, from The BFG to Matilda, but you may not have read this witty, scary collection of ghost stories. This is a fun edition of Dahl's that all readers should add to their collection!
A beautiful memoir about living in a mental hospital, and what it is like to have the whole world crumble around you. If you are a sufferer of depression, anxiety, or mental illness, or know someone who does, this is a poignant, beautiful read that makes it clear that you're not alone in this world.
I read Darkness Visible alongside Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted. The two pair very nicely together, despite them being in very different styles. Darkness Visible is a very informative, beautiful memoir about the author's descent into depression and how he managed to find his way out of the darkness.
Whether you're a frequent reader of Bryson's, or whether this is your first book you pick up of his, Bryson's irreverant, witty style is sure to delight! Notes From a Small Island follows Bryson's years living in the United Kingdom. It is filled with silly stories about the British, as well as sweet personal accounts of the people that Bryson met along his way, This is a book which never ceases to make me laugh aloud!
The Bell Jar is one of my favorite classic novels ever. It is not only beautiful and real in prose, but it also contains elements of mania and depression. Sylvia Plath's semi-autobiographical work was originally published under a different name, because she didn't want her friends and family to realize it was actually about her life.
This story is one that gives a glimpse into the everyday struggle of Plath's life, and it is one which is so worth reading.
What would you do if your #1 fan was stalking you and holding you captive against your will? Meet Paul Sheldon, a successful and popular author, and his captor, Annie Wilkes. After a car accident in the cold, snowy months of winter, Paul Sheldon is taken captive by psychotic and obsessive fan Annie Wilkes. While at first, Wilkes pretends to help Sheldon, her guise quickly unravels, revealing her to be an unstable, evil woman. A quick read, which also happens to be my favorite of Stephen King's work.
Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus is deliciously evil, sinister, and amusing. It is full of nasty people, prolific characters, and plot points that are so awful they are hilarious. I'm a big fan of the tragedies of Shakespeare, so it is no surprise that this is one of my favorites. I had the opportunity to see it live at the Globe in London in the summer of 2014, which only made me love it even more. 6 different audience members fainted because of the gore, and it was awesomely crazy. Read this play!
There are few books which affected my childhood as much as this one did. Louis Sachar's delightful and funny story about growing up is one that always stays young. Readers will find themselves rooting for the campers of Camp Green Lake, a camp for misbehaving boys, and also rooting for the demise of the evil camp counselers.
The Little House On the Prairie books give a child-friendly glimpse into the pioneer days of the midwestern United States. Laura Ingalls, along with her ma, pa, and sisters Carrie and Mary, have many hardships and exciting moments along the way. Follow them as they move houses, travel through snow storms, survive a house fire, and more. Loosely based on her own life, Laura Ingalls Wilder's series is sure to become a family favorite.
Catwings is a lovely new reader series about a family of kittens who have the ability (and wings!) to fly. What makes these stories particularly special is that they were written by the acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin. Beautifully illustrated and with a happy resolve to each of them, these are great books for anyone who loves animals or a good story.
Pick up anything written and illustrated by Jan Brett, and you have an instant classic. The Mitten is one of her best known works, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. This book is about a youg boy's mitten, which was accidentally dropped in the woods. This doesn't sound too interesting, until you add in the fact that various woodland animals begin to make the mitten their home. The animals get contiuously bigger, and continue to stretch out the mitten. It is a super cute story, and it is also great to look at!