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04/23/18

World Book Day! Here are some of my top picks and recommendations

Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

Today is Confederate Memorial Day.  But significantly less controversial, it’s also World Book Day!  I am SO looking forward to writing this post because I’m going to share with you all my favorite books of the past, present, and the ones I’m eyeing for a read in the future.  Leave comments here (or on Facebook) with recommendations because I’m always looking to add good reads to my shelf!  And speaking of, if you’re in the reading culture and don’t have a Goodreads account yet, sign up!  You can track which books you read, interact with authors, leave reviews, and check out all of the newest releases.

Let the reading begin!

Favorite Childhood Book

Children Just Like Me (Kindersley, 1995)

My mom bought me a copy of this book after I kept stealing it from my second grade teacher’s bookshelf.  I still have it and repeatedly read it.  Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley travel all over the world to meet kids and their families from all six inhabited continents, and you get to see their family life, school life, things they do for fun, and their dreams.  They’ve been everywhere.  There are more recent editions of this book but it feels more homogenized and there’s less info.  I’d definitely recommend the 1995 one without reservation.  The Celebrations book is awesome too, talking about holidays all around the world.

Some runner ups: Blubber by Judy Blume, Amelia’s Notebook by Marissa Moss, and all of the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park.

Favorite YA Novel

This one is a LOT harder.  I still read YA a lot because they’re great!  Full of uplifting lessons about life and adventure without any of the somewhat bogging adult themes.  I’ve never meet a YA novel I didn’t like.  I’m going to make an obvious choice here.

Every Harry Potter Novel (No author necessary since we all know it)

Harry Potter has been unbelievable.  A whole universe we can escape into, where out problems become no longer.  It’s engrossing and we feel like we are one with the characters.  Until the summer before my sophomore year, I had only read the first four books.  I was always too young to understand the darkness and honestly, fantasy isn’t my favorite genre.  But I gave it another shot, and read all seven in two months.  Worth every second.  I’m very sorrowful if you haven’t read these yet, GET TO IT.

Some runner ups: Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Westing Game by Ellen Rasking, The Kingdom Keepers by Rick Riordan (especially if you’re a Disney fanatic), The Clique by Lisi Harrison, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (wow, tears)

I’ve read Eleanor and Park and Looking for Alaska as an adult and especially enjoyed those.  I’m not into the whole YA theme of vampires and romance.  EVERY book, amirite?

Favorite Classic

To Kill a Mockingbird  (Harper Lee)

Much better than the movie.  I know it’s usually required reading, but I’ve come across a few people who haven’t read it.  Another cast of relatable characters and themes of racism that echo into today.  And of course the whole mystery that surrounds Boo Radley (I don’t remember how it ended though, since it’s been four years).  One of the more readable classics for sure!  If you really liked this, I’d at least give Go Set a Watchman a try, but it certainly isn’t as good.  It’s all about Scout grown up and it’s just a slow moving story that takes place over a couple of days.  Oh, and Jem is dead.  Sorry!

Runner ups: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Favorite Mystery/Thriller

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

One of the first real thrillers I read, and it got me HOOKED on the genre.  Gillian Flynn’s works are messed up.  But that’s what makes them intriguing on a natural level – murder, psychological distress, lies, cheating, killer children, whatever.  Our desire for a good scandal is always fulfilled through her works.  All three of her mainstream ones are good, just pick any of em up.  But this one is best.  And arguably, the most complete in the sense of detail.

Runner ups: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, any Stephen King monstrosity (if you can get through it, I got about halfway through It, but maybe I’ll finish it next Halloween),  You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott, and Tornado Weather by Deborah Kennedy

Favorite Historical Fiction

By far my least favorite category.  I read them so far and few between that I actually only have like two to recommend to you.

My top choice is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

My only other recommendation is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Especially if you like war fiction.  You’ll laugh, but you’ll mostly cry.

Favorite Nonfic/Memoir

I’ve really begun to love nonfiction.  I enjoy reading about people in different parts of the world, and getting to travel there in my brain as I read.  I’ll read nonfiction… for fun.  Excluding education books from here since I’ll do a separate category below.

I Am Malala

A bit hard to read at first, the story becomes one you can’t put down.  It took me awhile to comprehend and organize the names of all the places she mentions in the book, so they should put a map in.  But just an outstanding story about repression of women’s rights to education in Pakistan (I guess this is about education after all..).  I wish I had gone to see her speak last fall, but I had a three hour class that night, not skippable in the least.  I trust that she was even more inspiring in person.

Runner ups: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline (one of my honors seminar books!), The Corset: A Cultural History by Valerie Steele, and The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore.

Favorite Education Books That Will Make You Really Angry About The State of American Education

Here’s a category I’m an expert in!

The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, by Amanda Ripley

A journalist’s educational investigation into why the kids in Finland and South Korea are so darn smart, including the good and the ugly.  No homework policies for the Finns but cram schools for the South Koreans!  Ripley traces a few high school kids as they embark on exchange programs and get to experience education in another country.  A must-read for comparative ed fanatics like me!

Runner ups (although who am I kidding, they’re all good): 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools by David Berliner, Savage Inequalities by Johnathan Kozol, and The Language Police by Diane Ravitch

On The Horizon

I have a LOT on my to-read list – ALL of the education books I’m missing out on, memoirs, hot fiction, and travel memoirs.

I’m currently in the middle of both A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins, necessary trip prep, as well as What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, a travel memoir about a girl in her twenties who goes abroad once and decides she needs to give her entire life and soul up and follow her dreams.  Not too keen on it so far but we’ll see how it progresses.

I eventually want to read some of the major classics I’ve never touched – things like The Great Gatsby, Frankenstein, and 1984.  The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Turtles all the Way Down, and Educated: A Memoir.

I’m constantly updating and revising my GoodReads list.

Well guys, that is all for today!  Happy reading!

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