Top 10 Tuesdays: Throwback Freebie — 10 Books that Have Been on My TBR The Longest

About a month and a half ago, while left to choose my own topics for a month or so of Top 10 Tuesdays, I came across one that talked about the books that had been on your TBR the longest. I had so much fun with that post (found here), that I decided this week’s throwback would be a bit of a follow-up with ten more books that have been on my TBR for a very long time. It is a throwback to when I first started my Goodreads account and the books I was interested in when I put together my TBR list.

I’ll confess that although I go through my TBR list pretty often, I never really remove anything from it unless it is a repeat copy of a book I’ve already read or added. I know there was a trend going around where some bloggers went through their lists and decided whether to keep or delete the books in batches of 10 or so. My thinking usually is that if I added it to my list, there was something about it that made it catch my attention. I’m hesitant to delete it in case I’m interested in it later, and I tend to view my TBR as a (very) long-term project, so it’s not such a problem for me to have a huge list. Here are a few more of the books that have been on my list the longest.

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

6564261Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while now will know that Jodi Picoult is by far my favourite author. However, as of right now I still have not read all of her books, although I’m getting very close to it. I have never read her first two novels and I have heard that they are quite different from her later work. This book was published in the early 90s, so it’s no surprise that her style has changed since then. I actually own a copy of this book but have never picked it up because I’ve been busy reading her more recent books among many others. I will definitely have to get around to reading this one soon!

2) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

3682This is another book that I actually own a copy of, but have never bothered to read. I got this one for free from the library’s discards and I’ve had it for years but never had the motivation to pick it up. I’ve heard so many great things about this book and the author. This book is about a 16-year-old girl who is sent to boarding school after having a vision of her mother’s death, where she is led to discover a mystical Order and explore other realms. On the one hand, a Victorian-style boarding school seems like it would be right up my alley, but on the other, I’m not so sure about the paranormal elements.

3) When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah

836944I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah last year as part of my reading challenges, and it was one of my favourite books of the year. Although I’m sure I added this book to my TBR before reading The Nightingale, I can’t remember which of them I discovered on Goodreads first. This book is actually a good example of one that I was less sure of keeping on my list, but decided to leave it just in case. This book is about a romance novelist who is sent back in time to the Western setting of her latest novel. I am not a huge fan of romance novels, and especially not of Westerns, so I’m having a hard time remembering what my reason was for adding this book. I think I discovered it through the recommendations pages and decided it sounded interesting enough to consider so I added it to come back to.

4) While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

4071018There are a few authors that I must have discovered soon after joining Goodreads, since I added several of their books to my TBR. Since then, I’ve read and enjoyed two books by Barbara Delinsky, and I believe I added this one to my list around the same time. This book is about a young woman named Molly whose sister suffers from a heart attack and may not regain consciousness. When the rest of her family has difficulty coping, Molly is left to make all of the tough decisions and to learn more about her sister. Both of the other books by this author have been 4 star reads for me, which is still very good, so I’m looking forward to trying another one.

5) Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock

80534This was a book I discovered while playing around with the recommendations section on Goodreads and trying out different genres. This book is about two sisters who live in an unstable, abusive situation, and the Goodreads synopsis seems to promise a lot of twists and a shocking ending. It is a book I kept putting off because there were so many others that interested me more, but each time I come back to this one, it seems like something I might like. I guess it may be a little strange to say I’m not a big fan of abuse stories (is anyone, really?) but I love stories that have a good plot twist.

6) The Lies We Told by Diane Chamberlain

7602266Diane Chamberlain was a bit of a strange author for me since I added nearly all of her books to my TBR before ever reading one of them. It wasn’t until this year that I finally managed to get a copy of one, and I loved it! This book is about two sisters, Maya and Rebecca, who lived through a terrifying experience together, and grew up to be very different. When a hurricane hits and the women, along with Maya’s husband Adam, join the relief effort, Maya ends up lost in a helicopter crash and presumed dead, forcing her to find her own way to survive. I think the main reason I have not picked up this book until now is that I’m not a huge fan of survival stories but this one seemed very interesting. I kept passing it over for other books that appealed to me more at the time, but knowing now that I enjoy Diane Chamberlain’s writing, I may be more willing to try it.

7) The Good Sister by Drusilla Campbell

8423841I’m pretty sure I often mixed this book up with Me & Emma because of the fairly similar cover art. It also seems that I went through some kind of “sister relationship” phase when looking at Goodreads, which is a bit weird since I don’t even have a sister. This book is about a young woman, Simone, who commits a crime while suffering from postpartum depression. Her older sister is drawn back into her difficult relationship with Simone to help her family make sense of what happened. I had never heard of Drusilla Campbell before, so this one was a discovery purely from the recommendations pages.

8) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

6567017This is one of the few books from my early TBR list that I’m a little surprised I haven’t read by now, although I usually self-impose a rule on my challenges not to read more than one book by the same author if I can avoid it. I’ve read one John Green book a year already since I started my challenges, and this one was a bit lower on the list. This book is about two boys, both named Will Grayson, each written by one of the two authors who (if I understood the synopsis correctly) fall in love while working on the school musical. I like John Green’s books in general, and I’ve absolutely loved the one book by David Levithan that I’ve tried so far. This is one that I may have to get to pretty soon.

9) Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

33906This book has actually been on my TBR for a lot longer than I’ve really had a TBR. I first discovered this book years ago on Amazon while looking at book recommendations based on books I’d already read. I didn’t read it at the time because I had a lot of other books that interested me more, and haven’t picked it up since then because I thought I might have outgrown it by now. The book is about a teenage girl who is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother’s best friend, leading a rumours and reputations. It is a story that has been told many times by now, and given how short this book is (just under 200 pages), I was worried that it would not develop very much. This is one I’ll have to pick up at some point just to be able to say I finally read it. It’s probably quite literally the book that I’ve been meaning to read the longest, even though it is not first on my TBR.

10) No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

2512103Another book that seems to focus on sister relationships! I really must have been going through a phase. This book is about a young woman named Ellie, whose sister Lila was murdered in a crime that was never solved. Ellie confided in a man who turned the story into a bestselling book that seemed to identify the killer. Years later, someone gives Ellie her sister’s notebook which she uses to begin investigating what really happened to Lila. This actually sounds like a very interesting book, and I think the only reason I haven’t picked it up yet is because it got buried among all the others on my TBR!


Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Books I Had a Hard Time Getting Into

It’s funny that this topic should come up now, because it was something I was considering posting about not too long ago when I had the freedom to choose my own Top 10 Tuesday topics. Since I started doing reading challenges, I’ve generally been pretty good at predicting which books I will enjoy but inevitably there are a few that just fall flat for me. Each year, there have been at least a couple of books that just don’t appeal to me much. In some cases, I know going into it that I probably won’t like it because it is for a prompt that I’m dreading (non-fiction, usually), and in other cases, it’s a book that I’m anticipating reading that just doesn’t work for me. In all of the cases listed here, not only did I have a hard time getting into the book, but I also did not enjoy it very much overall.

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

5946This was by far my least favourite book that I was ever forced to read in school. It was my first real experience with a non-linear format, with a very strict teacher who was absolutely in love with this book, and I just could not get into it at all. English was always one of my best subjects at school and I loved reading and studying books, even if I didn’t always enjoy the books that were selected, but this one was just torturous for me to get through. I had no idea what was going on or how anything connected. It probably didn’t help that I had this book assigned during my most stressful semester of my life, both personally and academically. My best friend actually re-read this book of his own choice several years later and recommended giving it a second chance. He hated it in school too, but when he read it again just for himself, he loved it. I usually trust his judgment so maybe it’s worth a second try.

2) Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

154423Mary Higgins Clark was one of my first adult-level authors that I read, starting in seventh grade. My mom had several of her books and recommended them to me because they were at a higher reading level but appropriate enough content that I could manage them. By the time I tried this one, I had already read and loved two or three of Mary Higgins Clark’s other books, but I could not get into this one at all. This book is about 3-year-old twins who are kidnapped, and only one of them is returned with a note saying that her sister has died. Afterwards, the remaining twin starts to give her parents messages from her sister indicating that they are still connected. I found this book so disappointing because the identity of the kidnappers is revealed almost right away, so there wasn’t much of a mystery. All that is left to figure out is who is masterminding the kidnapping plot. It was boring compared to the other books I’d read by this author.

3) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

28194This book was such a slog! Let me be upfront — I often have trouble with longer books unless they really engage me from the start (ie. Harry Potter), and this one definitely did not. This was one of those book series that I’d always heard about when I was younger but completely missed out on. I decided to pick it up toward the end of last year for a prompt requiring a book that was originally written in another language. Since it was a children’s series, I expected this book to be a pretty easy read, but it was very dry. The concept was interesting, focusing on a girl named Meggie whose father can bring characters to life when he reads books out loud. Villainous characters have been brought out of a book called Inkheart and kidnap Meggie’s father to get him to bring a monster out of the book. The concept was very interesting, but the book took way too long to get going. I never connected with any of the characters, and ended up having to switch to an audio version just to get through it.

4) A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

162898This is another book that I ended up forced to switch to the audio version just to get through. I absolutely love King Arthur mythology so I was really looking forward to reading this. I chose it for a challenge prompt requiring a book at least 100 years older than I am. The book is about an American man who travels back in time to King Arthur’s court, which he decides to take over and modernize. While I did enjoy a lot of the political and social commentary, I found the narrator arrogant and annoying, and I was put off by the overly long descriptions and Old English monologues. I felt bogged down by the text while reading it, and realized I was reading pages without absorbing a single thing from them. The audio version was much better, but by that point my mind was already made up about the book. This is definitely not one of my favourite classics.

5) The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard

5161One weird thing about this book — I somehow managed to completely mix up what the storyline was supposed to be. Before I picked it up, I was convinced that this book was about a family who lost their young son in a drowning accident on the beach, and was forced to cope with that. I have no idea what book that one is, but it is not this one. This book is actually about a young boy who is kidnapped from his family during a high school reunion, and later comes back home. The book is narrated by the boy’s mother, Beth, who is one of the most irritating and selfish characters I have ever read. I thought the story had a lot of potential, and I’m not sure if I was just thrown off because it was not the book I thought it was going to be, but I found the book very difficult to get into. It was very slow-paced and dragged on, and the kidnapping itself was pretty anti-climatic. I was very disappointed by this one.

6) Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

7857663I read this book as part of a BookRiot challenge prompt requiring a book by an author from Southeast Asia, which was a pretty difficult prompt to fulfill. I was very interested in this book because the main character, Linda has synesthesia, a condition where people’s senses get mixed up. In Linda’s case, she can taste words that she hears or says. The book started out pretty well, but lost my interest toward the middle when it started to jump around a lot without too much really happening. I was actually a little disappointed that more attention wasn’t given to the synesthesia aspect of the story since it did not seem to serve much purpose other than just making the protagonist a little more unique. I also found it really weird how Linda constantly referred to her uncle as “Baby Harper” and made constant references to her best friend’s weight for no real reason. This book was nowhere near as strong as I expected.

7) Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs

181116This book was disappointing mostly because I could not help but compare it to the Bones TV show, which is one of my favourites. I knew going into it that the Temperance Brennan of the book series was very different from the TV character, but I think I underestimated exactly how different they would be. I had a really hard time getting past the differences, but aside from that, I just could not get invested in this story. I found Brennan a pretty boring character and I did not like the way she handled the case she was investigating. I might have enjoyed this book a little more if I wasn’t already familiar with the Bones series, but even in that case, I am not sure I would have liked the characters very much. I actually was not a fan of the writing style in general, and strongly preferred the TV show both in terms of the characters and the case.

8) Kill Me by Stephen White

382983To be honest, I probably never would have picked up this book if it hadn’t been for my reading challenge, which required a book recommended by someone else. This book was recommended to me by my boyfriend, and it had a very interesting concept. It is about a man who has signed a contract that he would be killed by an organization called the Death Angels if he ever passes a certain “threshold” that he predetermined, such as being diagnosed with a terminal illness or becoming incapacitated. However, the contract cannot be cancelled even if he later changes his mind. While I thought the concept was very interesting, I did not really like the writing style. Ironically enough, I don’t find action sequences very interesting to read, particularly car chases. I was a bit disappointed because the idea behind this book was so fascinating.

9) Among Others by Jo Walton

8706185This may have been the book I was most disappointed by during my 2015 reading challenge, which was chosen for a prompt requiring a book with magic. I had never heard of this book before, but the beautiful cover design caught my attention and I thought the plot sounded really interesting. The book is about a girl named Morwenna whose magical battle with her mother left Morwenna fleeing to live with her father, and her twin sister dead. I love books involving magic and boarding school, but I found this book very disappointing since most of the magical content actually happened before the story starts. I also found the constant references to obscure fantasy and sci-fi books more irritating than anything. The book itself was pretty boring and hard for me to get into, and I was so disappointed!

10) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach

13151165This is the most recent addition to this list, which I read early last month. I have never seen the movie, and honestly did not care much about this book. I chose it for a prompt requiring a book set in a hotel, and went into it with very low expectations. I often find that it I go into a book expecting that I won’t like it, I don’t. I’m not sure if that was entirely the case here though, since I don’t think I would have liked this book very much anyway. The book is about a man named Ravi Kapoor who sets up a seniors residence in India, partly in attempt to get rid of his obnoxious father-in-law. While I liked some of the commentary this book had about the treatment of seniors in society, I had trouble getting into the story. Some of the characters were unlikable, and others were too hard to distinguish between. The characters’ stories all started out pretty strong, but as soon as they arrived at the hotel, most of the women seemed interchangeable and I got very bored with the story. I did not enjoy this book very much at all, although I have to say that the movie looks much better!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Ten Hidden Gem YA Books

I love finding hidden gem books, although I’ve developed a pretty good streak for finding books that I’m reasonably sure I’ll enjoy. Every so often, even a book that I’m pretty sure I will enjoy ends up exceeding my expectations. The challenge for this week’s prompt was finding hidden gems that were from the same genre. I decided to look for books that I’d given a 4 or 5 star rating to on Goodreads and that had fewer than 50,000 ratings in total. Although 50,000 still seems like a lot of ratings, it is nothing compared to some of the most popular books on my list, which have up to nearly 5 million ratings (The Hunger Games). It is a completely arbitrary cut-off point, but the books I’ve chosen are those that I rarely see mentioned on Youtube, other blogs, or even on Goodreads. I decided to go for YA, most contemporary but there are a few exceptions, since that is one of the genres that I’ve read most from recently.

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

enter-title-here-book-coverAlthough I tried to vary my list to avoid talking too much about books that I’ve mentioned before, this was the first book that jumped out as soon as I saw this week’s topic. This book is not particularly well-known, with only 972 ratings and 301 reviews on Goodreads. I was a bit worried because the average rating was on the low side (3.48 stars) and the synopsis seemed a bit generic, but this ended up being one of the best and most memorable books I read last year. The book is about Reshma Kapoor, a high-achieving and extremely competitive high school senior who is trying to write her own YA novel in attempt to impress her top-choice college. Reshma decides she needs more “normal” teen experiences to make her protagonist more relatable and makes herself a list of things she needs to do, like make friends and start dating. Although the plot sounds like it will end up as the typical YA fluff, it was a brilliant commentary on academic pressures and the flaws in the education system, with a complex (and often unlikeable) protagonist. Readers may be put off by Reshma, but this book is definitely worth a fair chance.

2) Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

devotedI read this book last year for a challenge prompt that called for a book that focused on religion, which is definitely not the kind of book I would normally pick up. This book is about a teenage girl named Rachel Walker who comes from a quite strict Christian families (think along the lines of 19 Kids and Counting). As Rachel gets older, she begins to question her upbringing and her faith. I was very impressed with how the author handled this topic with so much respect for both sides of the issue. Rachel was a very realistic and relatable character, even for someone as non-religious as I am. I went into this book expecting that I would have to slog through it and that it would be too heavy on religious content for my liking, but I ended up loving it and devouring it in just over a day! It’s too bad that this book hasn’t received more attention.

3) The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler

10997I wasn’t sure at first if this book was truly considered YA, although it seems to be classified that way on Goodreads so it seems fair to count it. Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket, created a very compelling story about a group of teenage friends, one of whom has been accused of murder. This book is told from the perspective of Flannery, using diary entries which Flannery openly edits and alters throughout to describe what happened. This book is both a departure from A Series of Unfortunate Events and a more adult version of that style, with the same kind of sarcasm and dark humour. It’s actually a pretty tough book to describe without giving too much away, but it is definitely a good one!

4) Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

20579291I’m on the fence about how much of a hidden gem this is. I’ve heard Robin Talley’s name quite frequently in online book communities, but rarely this book specifically. This book is set in Virginia in 1959, when the first black students are integrated into a previously all-white high school. The book focuses on the perspectives of Sarah, who is one of the black students, and Linda, the daughter of one of the leading advocates against integration. This strength of this book lies in how it humanizes issues of segregation, racism and the way people treat each other. If I’m honest, I’ve always had a hard time understanding how people could have ever treated each other so horribly and this book was eye-opening because of how it worked in some of the ways people attempted to justify their behaviour. It is a very powerful book for showing the human side of these issues, and especially because of the strength of its characters.

5) Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

18635084I will say upfront that this may not be the kind of book that would appeal to everyone, despite comparisons to The Fault in Our Stars or Eleanor and Park. This book is about a high school student named Amy who was born with cerebral palsy, uses a walker and talks using a voice box. Matthew, a classmate who has OCD, is hired to be an aide to assist Amy during her senior year and the two of them quickly bond. I connected with this book immediately because I work with young adults who have special needs, and many of the issues the book brings up with how individuals with disabilities are treated are topics that come up often at work. The main reason I say this book might not be for everyone is because some may find it unrealistic or difficult to relate to, but it is a beautiful and very honest story and well worth reading.

6) Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816This was another book that I read as part of my reading challenge last year that really exceeded my expectations. This book is about two childhood friends, Emmy and Oliver, who reconnect ten years after Oliver was kidnapped by his own father. I thought this book was a unique version of the fairly typical YA storyline, and the characters were very well-written. I loved the interactions between Emmy and Oliver, and especially how the book did not shy away from discussing Oliver’s complex feelings about the way he was raised. I also loved the interesting take on how the two characters would fit back together as friends after such a long absence. This book was also very funny and there was great banter between the two main characters. I think this book is one that I would truly consider a hidden gem, because it is easy to go into it with very low expectations that it will quickly exceed by far.

7) Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

23341894Can a book be considered a hidden gem when it was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award? This book is about a high school student named Samantha who has Purely-Obsessional OCD, which takes the form of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t stop. Sam is part of the popular crowd at school and has kept her condition secret from her friends for years, but she starts to feel better about herself after making a new friend who introduces her to a secret poetry group at school. I thought the book was interesting and it was a bit different to have the character with a mental illness as part of the popular group. I thought the book was generally quite well-written, although I could not rate it a full 5 stars since it glossed over a few aspects that could have done with more fleshing out. It seemed at times that the author was trying to take on a little too much at once, but it was still a great book and deserves more attention.

8) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

714902Given the complete overflow of YA dystopians there have been in the past few years, it’s no surprise that a few of them will fly under the radar. I have only read the first book in this series so far due to difficulty accessing the others, but it is a strong start to the series. This book is set in an alternate society consisting of Crosses, the dark-skinned ruling class, and Noughts, the “colourless” underclass who have historically been enslaved and oppressed. A romance builds between childhood friends Sephy, a Cross, and Callum, a Nought, which puts them both in great danger.  This book was a very moving story and quite strong compared to other YA dystopians. I was a little put off at first since some of the early chapters that established the way Noughts were treated were ripped straight from the history books, but with the races reversed. However, the characters were likable and relatable and you can’t help but root for them. It is a series that does not get as much attention as other dystopians, but I think it should! I hope I can find a way to read the rest of them.

9) Hate List by Jennifer Brown

6316171This was among the first new books I added to my TBR when I joined Goodreads two years ago, and it wasn’t until this year that I actually decided to give it a chance. This book is a unique take on a school shooting story, focusing on the aftermath for Valerie, the shooter’s girlfriend who is suspected of being his accomplice. I have also never read a school shooting story that included a “hate list” (potential victims list) before, so I thought that was a very interesting angle. I thought the way Valerie was treated by others, even her own family members, was realistic, and the characters were well-written. My one very minor gripe with this book is that I hated the way the author chose to name her characters (ie. the therapist was called Dr. Heiler (healer), and Valerie’s last name was Leftman because “she was left behind”). It seemed a little childish, but the characters were strong enough that their names didn’t matter too much. It is a tough book to read, but a very compelling one.

10) Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

11096647This is the only book here that had just over 50,000 Goodreads ratings, but I think it still qualifies as a hidden gem since I have never heard it talked about in online communities. This book is about a college freshman named Julie who moves in with her mother’s friend and her family after her off-campus housing falls through. While there, Julie becomes very attached to the family, especially 13-year-old Celeste who carries around a life-sized cardboard version of her eldest brother, who Julie has only met online. Julie becomes involved in trying to discover what is really going on with the family, although it sometimes seems that she is really overstepping her bounds. This book was a surprisingly strong story, and I especially enjoyed the interactions between Julie and the other characters. It is quite an odd book, but an interesting one.

Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Classics I Missed Out Reading in School

I’ve always been impressed by the sheer number of books high school students on TV and in movies seem to read in a year. I know it is not realistic in the slightest, especially when they books they are reading conveniently relate directly to the main characters lives, but I’ve always been a little disappointed by how few classics we read in school. In elementary school, “novel studies” were a big part of the English curriculum. I still remember listening to the teacher read Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe out to the class in the earliest years of school. Both of which quickly became favourites. In the later years, one of my favourite activities was when we were assigned books to read and questions to answer (although I enjoyed the reading a lot more than the questions). I remember reading Underground to Canada, The Giver, and The Outsiders.

I’ll admit I don’t really have the best track record when it comes to enjoying the books I was required to read, especially in high school. My high school was on a semester system, where our English classes lasted about 5 months so there wasn’t a ton of time to devote to more than one or two classics. We read one Shakespeare play each year, and one novel: To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Kite Runner, and In the Skin of a Lion. Of those, I liked the first two, loved The Kite Runner, and absolutely despised In the Skin of a Lion. By the end of high school, I was surprised to find how many of the common required high school classics I had missed out on, including some that other classes in my year had read. Even by university, when I took a children’s literature course, I still missed so many! By now, I have actually gone out of my way to read many of these classics as part of my reading challenges, but it’s a bit weird to me that I got through school without them. Here is my list of ten books that I missed out on reading in high school.

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) Brave New World by Aldolus Huxley

5129For some reason, my school completely skipped over all of the classic dystopians that most high school students seem to read. I was surprised because my brother, who is four years older and went to the same school, read at least one of them. I can’t remember if it was this one or 1984, but I was looking forward to reading it and was very disappointed that my teacher chose something else! Once I realized my school wasn’t covering these books, I actually borrowed several from the library and ended up talking myself out of reading them because I assumed I wouldn’t like them. I ended up reading this book back in 2015 as part of my first ever reading challenge, and I enjoyed it. It was a bit confusing at times, but it’s pretty scary how much in resembles our world today.

2) 1984 by George Orwell

5470I think I actually took this one and Brave New World out of the library at the same time, intent on reading them both, and returned both without touching them the first time I tried. This was another book that I ended up reading as part of my 2015 reading challenge. Although I gave both of them a 4 star rating on Goodreads, I remember enjoying this book more than Brave New World. I was especially interested by the idea of the Thought Police, rewriting history to coincide with current beliefs, and the way writing and speech were streamlined to become more efficient. If I recall correctly, other classes in my school were studying this book the same year I did The Kite Runner. Although I loved that book, I was sorry to miss out on this one.

3) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

38447Despite having a teacher who was absolutely obsessed with Margaret Atwood, I never read any of her books while in school. Actually, that teacher inadvertently put me off reading this book for a few years since she used Atwood’s Rapunzel Syndrome theories as a basis for the class, and had us read some pretty dry material on it. I worried that I wouldn’t like The Handmaid’s Tale because I assumed it would be a similar style (and also because this teacher was by far the most intimidating and intense English teacher I ever had, so I associated that with Atwood). This was another book I finally decided to read in 2015, and I loved it.

4) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

17470674I think this one was a little less common in high school, but it was definitely another of the big dystopain novels that my school skipped over. This was one that I was probably most excited to read because I was very interested in the themes of censorship and book-burning, although I knew little about the story itself. I read this book in 2016 as part of a second wave of major classics that I felt I had missed out on. I was very interested by the descriptions of how books were becoming condensed further and further, and eventually replaced by TV — definitely something I see happening in the real world. I was not a big fan of the writing style of this book though, and I found it confusing at times. It is probably the least memorable of all the dystopians listed here, but I’m still glad I tried it.

5) The Color Purple by Alice Walker

11486This is another book that I know for a fact some people in my school read, since one of my close friends was reading it at the same time that I read either Lord of the Flies or The Kite Runner. I can’t remember which one. This was another classic that I decided to pick up during my first reading challenge in 2015 because I had seen so many rave reviews for it all over Goodreads and I remembered my friend talking about it. If I’m honest, I didn’t love this book quite as much as everyone else seems to and it was very different from what I expected. I almost feel like this is a book that I need to give another try at some point considering how much everyone else seems to love it.

6) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

12898I knew absolutely nothing about this play before reading it, except that it was about American consumerism and my brother had read it at some point in high school. I vaguely remember helping him study for a test on this one. I read this book earlier this year, but unfortunately I did not enjoy it very much. I was surprised, since I’d absolutely loved The Crucible by the same author. Unlike The Crucible, this play seems much more clearly suited to being seen on-stage and was hard to read in a text format. There were a lot of flashbacks and time jumps that did not come across clearly on the page, but I liked the overall storyline. I think I need to see it to really enjoy it.

7) Animal Farm by George Orwell

7613I can’t remember if my brother or any of my classmates ended up reading this book, but I know that it is a very common one in high schools. I finally read this book last month after deciding it had been way too long since I first decided I would try it. It is a very short book, so I’m a little surprised my school never managed to squeeze it in. This book is an excellent political commentary using farm animals as a stand-in for humans, and showing how easy it is for those in power to become power-hungry over time. There were a few dry moments, but it was a very strong story overall and I’m glad I decided to give this one a chance.

8) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

5107I don’t think my school ever covered this one, but it is an extremely common required reading, despite how many people can’t stand Holden Caulfield (and I can see why). I read this book in 2015 and I thought that Holden was a very interesting, but also very irritating, character. I remember enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would. I can see why it has become such a classic since there is quite a bit to discuss and analyze here. However, I can also see why some schools might shy away from it given how sensitive they have to be to certain kinds of content. It’s pretty tough to find classics that are interesting to read, relevant to teens with enough to analyze on a literary level, and still appropriate enough for school.

9) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

4671This is another book that was part of my “second wave” of classics, which I read in 2016. I wasn’t very impressed with the story at first and it took quite a while for the book to draw me in, but the last third or so had a very strong impact. What struck me the most was how everyone flocked to Gatsby when it benefits them, but as soon as he truly needed others, they all disappeared. This is definitely not one of my favourite classics, and it is one that I think I might actually have enjoyed more if I had read it in school with a bit more of the context behind it explained. It is another very short book, so it almost surprises me that my school didn’t decided to put a few of these shorter books together into a one year.

10) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

890Speaking of short classics, this  was another classic that I completely skipped over in school although I seem to remember one of my best friends studying it. Of all the classics listed here, this is definitely my favourite. It is another very short book, but it had a lot of impact. It is actually not the kind of book I probably would have picked up at all unless I had to, or in this case to find out what I was missing. I read this book in 2016 and was surprised to find that it was one of the standouts of the year. Actually, I think if I had been forced to read this in school, I probably would not have liked it very much. There seems to be something about being required to read a book that makes it harder to get into it, even when it is a very good book!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Ten Books With a Social Media Focus

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on several blogs lately about how readers feel about the use of social media and other very specific technological references in our books. On the one hand, some readers find including social media runs the risk of dating the books unnecessarily when it makes out-of-date references. On the other hand, social media has become such a huge part of many people’s lives that it makes the books seem more contemporary.

As technology becomes more firmly entrenched in our lives, I’m noticing more books that use social media as a main plot device. It’s funny sometimes going back to look at older books from the start of the Internet age, which focus almost exclusively on online predators and other pitfalls. That’s not to say that the risks of social media and the Internet should not be mentioned — it is very important to remain aware of the potential dangers and to keep ourselves safe. However, I think it just as important to break away from some of these stereotypes and recognize that the majority of people using social media are just regular people trying to interact with their friends and relatives, and participating in groups and discussions about their interests.

As someone who has made some great online friendships over the years, I have really appreciated how books have evolved a bit to include more positive relationships and friendships that develop online. I also really appreciate how more books are including different angles on social media — the risks are not just random strangers you meet online. It’s quite scary how many people in real life fall victim to cyberbullying, harassment and other online issues involving people that they know in real life. I think it’s great that books are starting to reflect this reality as well. There have been so many recent releases that focus on how social media affects our lives, but unfortunately I have not had a chance to get to most of them yet. Instead, for this week’s topic I will talk about ten of the books I’ve read so far that have plots that focus on social media in a variety of forms.

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

8909152I will admit that this book is not the most realistic, but it was quite an entertaining read. This book is about a man named Lincoln who works as a security officer for a company, where his role is to monitor employee’s emails and ensure that they are being used appropriately for work purposes. In the course of his work, Lincoln becomes fascinated by conversations between two women, Beth and Jennifer, eventually falling in love with Beth through her messages. However, Lincoln struggles with what to do about his feelings since he and Beth have technically never met. Employees at this office know that their email accounts are monitored, but I don’t think anyone would assume their messages were being read fully. What I loved about this book is all the near-misses between Lincoln and Beth, where they could have met but didn’t. It was a fun book, although hardly the most realistic account of online relationships.

2) Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight

15776309Social media is such a great tool for mysteries and thrillers, since so much of what we do online can be different from our “real” lives. In this book, Kate Baron receives a phone call from her daughter’s school claiming that her daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating. By the time Kate arrives at the school, Amelia has died from an apparent suicide. Kate soon begins to receive anonymous texts telling her that Amelia did not jump, and she begins to look through Amelia’s texts and online messages to try to piece together what happened to her daughter. This was one of the first social media-heavy books that I read, and it was an excellent story.

3) Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

51kdakbpg2lThis is a book I’ve mentioned a few times before because it was one that really surprised me. It is about an author named Abigail Donovan who is pressured by her publicist to develop more of a Twitter presence to keep her name out there while she struggles to write her next book. Abigail quickly begins to interact with one of her Twitter follows, a man named Mark, developing feelings for him. This is one of the fairly typical “online friend might not be what they say” stories, but it is handled very well. I loved how the author was able to develop her characters so well using mostly Tweets and direct messages, and the interactions between Abigail and Mark were great! This is a very quick read, but it was one of my favourite books of the year when I read it.

4) The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

23492736This is a book that I read more recently, and it was another one that really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. Compared to other social media books, it has a bit more of a magical realism slant. This book is about a woman named Kate who was recently dumped by her fiance. Kate is obsessed with Facebook and she quickly discovers that the statuses she posts are affecting her real life, giving her the idea to use Facebook to go back and fix her relationship. I went into this book not expecting very much, and ended up absolutely loving it! It was a much stronger book than I expected, although the social media angle actually was not used quite as much as I thought it would be. I would still say it fits though, since it was a central plot point to set things in motion.

5) The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

10959277In a sense, this book is the YA version of The Status of All Things (and predates it by about five years). This book is about two teenage neighbours in 1996 who receive a free AOL CD in the mail. When they put it into the computer, they are automatically logged into Facebook, 8 years before the website even existed! The profiles they see are of themselves 15 years in the future, and the decisions they make today have consequences that can be seen when they refresh their pages. It’s been several years since I read this one, so it is hard for me to remember specifics. I just remember that I really enjoyed it, although not quite as much as Thirteen Reasons Why.

6) Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

19254725Honestly, this was such a weird book for me. It was one of the books that I was most strongly looking forward to reading this year, and it wasn’t quite what I expected. This book is about two young women who meet online because both are heavily involved in the fandom of one of their favourite TV shows. Gena, who is getting ready to go to college, keeps up a popular blog and writes fanfiction, and Finn is in a long-term relationship with a man who knows nothing about her online life. The two young women begin to interact online and develop a fast friendship, and even feelings for each other. I thought this book did an excellent job of developing the online friendship between the two characters and I loved the first half where this was the focus. The second half of the book took a bit of a strange turn toward a darker storyline, and the relationship between Gena and Finn became a bit weird. It honestly almost felt like an entirely different story that the authors were trying to fit in, but it didn’t quite match with the rest. It is still a great book and I enjoyed it though, and I think it is worth giving a chance.

7) Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

11096647This is another book that was a great depiction of developing an online relationship, including the risks. This book is about a teenage girl named Julie who moves in with her mother’s old college roommate and her family after her off-campus housing opportunity falls through. The family has three children: Finn, who is away travelling the world; Matt, the geeky middle child who is Julie’s age; and Celeste, an odd 13-year-old who carries around a life-size cutout of her oldest brother everywhere. Julie develops an online friendship with Finn, without ever meeting him, and soon develops feelings for him. However, she also tries to uncover what is really going on with the family, especially Celeste’s unusual behaviour. While the “twist” in this book was a little on the predictable side, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the online relationship development, and the very realistic way that it played out. Although Julie was an irritating main character at times, I thought it was a great book.

8) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905Aside from online relationships, another huge aspect of social media is fandom and online communities. In this book, Cath is a huge fan of Simon Snow (a Harry Potter type series) and has been heavily involved in the fandom, even writing her own very popular fanfiction. Cath is devastated to find her twin sister wants to branch out a bit more now that they are starting college, and that her professor does not consider fanfiction “real” writing. I really loved all the snippets of Cath’s fanfiction that were interspersed throughout the story, and the emphasis placed on how important the fandom was to her. Although I have never written any fanfiction, I do enjoy reading it and participating in online discussions about my favourite TV shows, music, etc. (and books of course!). I think it’s great that authors are starting to include online hobbies as a normal part of their character’s lives. This was an excellent book, and one of my favourites of the year so far.

9) Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

22692740This is another book where social media is not necessarily the main focus, but it plays a pretty significant role in the story. This book is about a gender-fluid teenager named Riley, who under the advice of a therapist, begins blogging anonymously about their feelings and experiences. When Riley’s blog goes viral, someone threatens to reveal who is behind it, forcing Riley to choose between giving up everything the blog has done to help, or risking everything by coming out. Aside from this book being a great introduction to gender-fluidity for people (like me) who are not familiar with it, I loved how it incorporated the blog and the idea of an online support group or community. I think it is important to show the variety of ways the Internet is used in our daily lives, and finding a supportive community is definitely an important one.

10) Feed by Mira Grant

7094569This is probably the most unusual of all the books here, blending social media and zombies. This book takes place in a world where humans have cured cancer and the common cold, but in the process created an infection that takes turns people into zombies that are only driven to feed. Since the usual news channels are all controlled by the government, the public depends on bloggers to post the truth. This book focuses on three bloggers: Georgia, her brother Shaun, and their friend Buffy who are following a presidential candidate on his campaign to post honest updates about the elections. I am generally not a fan of zombie stories, but I loved the social media angle on this one. I thought it was a really interesting way of showing the importance of critical thinking about the media and how bloggers can help give an alternative view. I found the book a little long and repetitive, but it was still a pretty interesting read and definitely a unique take on social media.

Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Books I’ve Added to My TBR Recently

I will be so happy when the hosts at The Broke and The Bookish are back next week, and I can start getting my topics from them again! Over the last few weeks, it’s been fun to have the freedom to choose my own topics, but also a real challenge sometimes. Since my TBR list is constantly expanding, I’ve decided to make this week’s list 10 of the books I’ve recently added to by TBR. To be honest, I add books to my list so frequently, this could probably become a series of it’s own!

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1) The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember 

32890474This book came out just a couple of months ago, and seems to be receiving quite a bit of attention recently. It is an LGBT retelling of The Little Mermaid that is also partly inspired by Norse mythology, which seems to be a very interesting mix. Lately, I’ve seen some pretty mixed reviews for this book for potentially problematic content that apparently goes unchallenged. Having not read the book myself, I have no idea how the representation is but this kind of retelling sounds very interesting. I never would have thought of combining The Little Mermaid with characters like Loki, so I really want to see how that will work.

2) Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

32075662I just finished reading This Savage Song a couple of days ago, and I absolutely loved it! It is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year, and it ended in such a frustrating way. As soon as I finished the book, I went straight onto Goodreads to add this one to my TBR. Given the way my reading challenges are going, I don’t know if I will be able to squeeze this one in by the end of the year but I’m sure it will be one of the first I pick up next year at least. This is such a unique and well-written series. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

3) Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

24833801I’ve kind of pre-emptively added this one to my list before I’ve read anything by this author. I have Mark Edwards’ The Magpies on order from the library to read later on this year, and a few of his other books recently came up when I was browsing recommendations. I love psychological thrillers, but I can’t read them too often because they tend to really creep me out. This book actually first caught my attention because of the very eerie cover design. It may be a while before I work up the nerve to actually try this one though.

4) I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

9482772This book has been out for quite a while, but I had never heard of it until it showed up on my recommendations page. It was another one that caught my attention with the cover art. This book is about a young woman who abducts a child from the hospital. The synopsis did not say much, but it is a plotline that I don’t think I have read much before so it will be interesting to see how it turns out. The book is also on the relatively short side (just under 300 pages), which doesn’t necessarily leave a ton of room for the story to develop. However, it received a pretty high average rating on Goodreads (3.85 stars overall), so I think it will be worth a try.

5) Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

289190581Just to move away from some of the darker books, I also recently added this one after hearing one of my favourite Youtube channels talking about it. This book was recently mentioned by CeCe at Problems of a Book Nerd (in this video), and it immediately caught my attention. I thought the cover art was beautiful, and the storyline also seemed interesting. This book has been compared to Fangirl and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, both books that I loved. I actually think I heard about this book a while ago but found the title a little annoying at the time, so I bypassed it. This book won’t be out until September, but it already seems to be pretty highly anticipated.

6) Them and Us by Nicola Moriarty

34316345Is it too early to start adding books from 2018 to my TBR? To be fair, I started doing that well over a month ago. I actually have not read anything by Nicola Moriarty yet, but her sister Liane Moriarty has quickly become one of my favourite authors. This book is about two women who decide to create a Facebook group dedicated to women who don’t want to have children, setting tasks for the group to make sure they receive the same kinds of “benefits” that parents get (ie. leaving work early). It seems like it has the potential to be a very interesting book, but also has the potential to upset a lot of people depending how the story is handled.

7) The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

30046340It seems to be rare for YA books to tackle issues about getting into college or university, which is a bit surprising since that is often such an issue for people that age. This book is due out at the end of August, and although it is also tagged as a romance, it also seems to focus quite a bit on planning for the future, and what happens when those plans don’t go as expected. Although I am well past the college stage myself, and honestly never had much worry about whether I would get in, I think it’s nice to see a book addressing the topic. We definitely need more YA books where the characters aren’t stuck at age 16 or 17, but actually manage to graduate and move past high school!

8) Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble

44312This is the type of book that I usually would not be very motivated to pick up, but I’ve actually been enjoying some of the “Women’s Fiction” that I’ve read, although I hate that term. This book is about two best friends, Tom and Natalie. When Natalie’s boyfriend suddenly leaves her, Tom convinces her to spend 26 weekends with him, participating in different activities for each letter of the alphabet, believing that by the end they will have fallen in love. I’m not usually very interested in these kinds of stories, but I loved the alphabet concept and I think it can be very creatively done if it is done well. It definitely seems like a very cute story.

9) More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

34236194It wasn’t until just now as I started writing this that I realized this book follows a character from Brigid Kemmerer’s Letters to the Lost, which I haven’t read yet so I will probably need to read that first. This book caught my attention because the cover art seemed to suggest it was a book that might focus quite a bit on social media, something that I’ve been very interested in lately. This book is not due out until March of next year, but it is already receiving rave reviews on Goodreads. To be fair, I’m always a little hesitant with that because I’m never sure whether these reviewers have actually read ARC copies unless they can provide some detail about what the book is about. Either way, it seems to be very highly anticipated, and I want to read both of Brigid Kemmerer’s books.

10) Copycat by Alex Lake

33026842This is another book that is due out a bit later on this year, and it sounds really creepy! This book combines two of my interests: social media, and psychological thrillers. It is about a woman who discovers that someone has been keeping a Facebook profile with her name and with recent photos of her and her family and friends. It seems like a very creepy story. I have all three books by this author on my TBR, and all of them sound very interesting but also quite scary for me to read. Hopefully I will eventually be brave enough to try them.

Has anyone read any of these books yet? Any recommendations for what else I should be reading? 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Lately, I’ve started to really notice how many very popular books there are that I haven’t tried yet. Many of them are books that I actually do plan on reading, including several which I have in mind for my reading challenges this year. In some cases, my avoidance of very overly hyped books has led me to miss out on books that it seems that everyone else has read. It leaves me in a bit of a strange situation where the book might not interest me very much, but I sometimes feel like I should read it just to see what everyone is talking about. I think this has only multiplied since I started following more blogs and Youtube channels that talk about popular and new releases.

When putting together this list, I decided not to include any books that I already have in mind to read this year. Reading challenges in general over the past couple of years have been a great excuse for reading many of the popular books that I’ve never picked up. For example, A Court of Thorns and Roses is definitely a book I feel everyone has read but me, but I’m planning on fixing that pretty soon. I struggled a bit with whether to include books that I planned on ever reading, but decided to go ahead with those since I have no idea if or when that will happen. Here are ten of the books I feel everyone has tried but me:

1) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

968To be honest, I have never had very much interest in this book at all. When I first heard about it, I thought the plot might be good but never bothered to pick it up. As it started to become overhyped, I started to get more and more tired of hearing about it and actively avoided it. I got even more confused when I saw that the book was labelled as the second in a series, following Angels and Demons which apparently was published first but I’d never heard of until after The Da Vinci Code came out. I still think the book might be interesting, but I’m not very motivated to try it either.

2) The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

I’m only listing the first book in the series, but I haven’t read any of the His Dark Materials series. This book has been extremely popular since I was in elementary school, but I’ve never had much interest in trying it. While I enjoy fantasy books, it often takes quite a bit to motivate me to actually read them. The older I got, the less interested I became in this series because I worried that it wouldn’t appeal to me much anymore. This is especially true after trying another popular children’s series that I’d missed out on in elementary school, and slogging my way through the book (Inkheart, for anyone wondering). I’ve actually had a copy of this on my shelf for years, always vaguely intended to try it, but never bothered to actually give it a chance.

3) The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

28187Along the same lines, I have never had much interest at all in Percy Jackson or any of Rick Riordan’s other series. I’ve always been a little conflicted about this one because the series itself doesn’t interest me much, but the use of Greek mythology does. I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews for these books, and I’ve even seen quite a few comparisons to Harry Potter. Once again, my main concern reading it now is that I’ve probably outgrown the series a bit. I do read a lot of YA and I’m open to reading middle grade or even children’s books if they are good, so there’s the chance I would enjoy this. There are just so many other books that appeal to me more, and the longer I put it off, the more concerned I get about being too old to really appreciate it.

4) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

256683I have not read any books by Cassandra Clare, but I am just listing this book since I think it is the first one I would read if I decided to give her series a try.  I actually saw and really enjoyed the movie version, although if I recall correctly, the DVD copy I was using was defective (or there was a power outage or something), and I never saw the end. This is actually a series that does interest me, but I’ve always put it aside to read other books instead. I initially put it off because I had just seen the movie and didn’t want the same story so soon afterwards, but it’s been a few years now so there really isn’t much of an excuse anymore. To be fair, it is quite a long series (6 books, I believe) and I usually don’t like to stop series mid-way unless I’m really hating them, so it’s quite the commitment.

5) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

6936382This is probably going to be a very unpopular opinion, but I honestly can’t understand the popularity of this book. I can’t judge completely since I have not read it yet, but I’m just blown away by how universally loved this book seems to be. As I said, I enjoy YA contemporary, and I even often enjoy romance if it is well-done, but from what I know about this book, it seems quite generic. I read the first couple of pages as an online preview just to see what all the hype was about, and I really don’t get it. I’m not really a big fan of the whole “typical American is grudgingly forced against their will to live in Europe” storyline, and the little I know about the relationship dynamic between Anna and her love interest, it is not the kind of story I would really enjoy. For a long time, I was sure I would never read this book, but considering how it seems to get nothing but positive reviews, I may have to eventually see what all the hype is about.

6) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

15749186This is a similar situation, where I’ve known about the book for a long time, but the plot never really appealed to me much. I’ve never been the type to be obsessive over boys/crushes, so these kinds of books often don’t appeal to me very much. This is another series that has received such positive reviews, and has come back to my attention now that the third book was released, that it is actually starting to make me curious. I’ve always thought the plot was a bit silly, especially growing up in a social-media dominated world where anything that is written is always a bit of a risk. Given the overly positive reviews, I might have to give this a chance.

7) Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

18189606I will qualify this one right away by saying that at some point, I probably will be reading this. This book seems to be extremely popular among YA fans, but I’ve always been hesitant because I wasn’t so sure about the plot. This book essentially seems like a YA version of PS I Love You, a storyline that I’m already a bit on the fence about. Essentially, the introverted main character’s best friend disappears and leaves behind a list of tasks to inspire her friend to take more chances and come out of her shell. Speaking as an introvert, I’m a bit nervous about how this plot might be handled, especially after reading a very interesting review recently (I will link to it if I can remember where I saw it) that viewed this book as an attack on introversion, essentially giving the message that the main character was automatically better when she behaved more like her outgoing friend. Having not read the book myself, I can’t comment on that, but it definitely made me a little more reluctant to try it.

8) Looking for Alaska by John Green

99561This is another book that I actually do want to read, and will be reading at some point in the future. The main reason I’ve put it off so far is because I’ve read so many of John Green’s other books. The last one I read, Paper Towns, has been described as very similar to this book, so it seemed best to space them out a bit. Looking for Alaska seems to be John Green’s most popular book, except maybe The Fault in Our Stars, so it definitely feels like everyone has read this already except for me. I was originally planning on slipping it somewhere into this year’s reading challenges but never managed to find a place for it. Maybe next year.

9) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

9969571I’m actually very surprised that this book has been out for 6 years already, since I only really started hearing about it maybe 2 years ago. This is another very popular book that it feels like everyone (or at least everyone who is interested) has already tried. This is a book that theoretically should be really interesting since I enjoy video games, although my gaming knowledge is not very good. This book has come highly recommended to me a few times (mostly by the same person), and although I would like to try it at some point, I’ve always put it off. I think in part, I’m a bit worried because I’ve heard that there are a lot of older gaming references that make the book a lot of fun for gamers to read. I’m a bit worried that if I don’t get the references, I might not fully get what’s going on or I’ll just find them irritating. This book has been absolutely everywhere though, and I think I will have to give it a chance.

10) The Martian by Andy Weir

18007564This is another book that has been absolutely everywhere, and that I’ve always been a little on the fence about. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with sci-fi as a genre, in a sense. It is definitely not a genre I read very often and there are not that many that interest me, although I usually enjoy the books that I do try. Most of the reviewers I follow on Goodreads have absolutely raved about this book and it is another case of a plot that theoretically sounds very good, but I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy actually reading it. I tend to like books that are very character-driven, and it seems that there is only one character in this book. If I don’t like him as a narrator, there is no way I’ll enjoy the book. Usually, even if I don’t like the narrator much but I like the way they interact with others, I’ll like parts of a book, but with only one character, it seems risky.

If anyone has read any of these books, please let me know what you think! Just knowing what I’m like, I’m sure I’ll end up reading them all eventually.