Books I Should Have Read By Now…

 

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As someone who loves books so much, I can sometimes surprise myself with the books that I haven’t read yet! I put together a SURPRISING list of books that I have been meaning to read, should have read, but have not. I say surprising not just because the majority of literary buffs have read these books, but because these books are considered classics. I love contemporary fiction, so every time a new book (with it’s shiny new cover, fresh smelling pages, and promise of being the next ‘Gone Girl’) comes into the library.. I have to read it..right then..no excuses! This leaves all of these beautiful classic novels to be pushed down further and further on my reading list. But don’t worry, my goal for next year is to read every book on this list! Wish me luck!

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Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Published September 2003

This book has only been on my list for about a year. Published in 2003, it isn’t exactly considered a “classic” novel yet- but it absolutely will be! If you’ve read anything by Jeffrey Eugenides before (The Virgin Suicides/Extreme Solitude) you will know that his writing is absolutely phenomenal. Middlesex is the story of Calliope Stephanides and the staggering genetic history she uncovers that eventually turns Callie into Cal. I actually bought this book a few months ago,so i’m excited to finally crack it open!

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The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, Published March 1966

This is my boyfriend’s favorite book. I have a framed poster of this book cover hanging in my house! But, I haven’t read it. We have two copies of this book in our collection, and I’ve picked it up to read it about a dozen times but never finished it. Completed in 1940, The Master and Margarita was written in Moscow during the darkest period of Stalin’s regime. The story tells of a visit from the devil to the mainly atheist Soviet Union. It’s considered one of the best books of the 20th century!

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Published 1932

Ah! I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet! Considered one of the greatest dystopian fantasy novels, Brave New World is the story of an ideal society created by “World Controllers” through genetic engineering. However; the protagonist, Bernard Marx, longs to break free. I’ve been told that if I enjoyed 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 I would LOVE this novel. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I should definitely find out for myself!

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The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath, Originally published in 1982

I am a sucker for biographies and nonfiction books about interesting people! I have read extensively about Sylvia Plath’s writing, depression, and suicide, but have yet to read her own words through her journal entries. I’m looking forward to venturing into her writing even more.

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Watership Down by Richard Adams, Published 1972

Ugh, I have been waiting WAY TOO LONG to read this novel! The 1978 film adaption is phenomenal. This book is actually in our young adult section. The story follows a group of rabbits from their home, which will eventually be destroyed by man, to a new home on a hill. During their trip they will encounter predators, traps, and more danger! The movie is actually kind of graphic and frightening and emotional for an animated feature, but I just loved it so much. I’m so excited to finally read the book because chances are it’s better than the movie!

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The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis, Originally published January 1949

I know, I know. How? How can I go this long without reading The Chronicles of Narnia series? I’m obsessed with the movies, so HOW!? I don’t really have an excuse. I am always hesitant about starting a series because I always get distracted with newer novels (see intro). We have complete sets in the children’s room, young adult, and adult fiction…so i really just need to suck it up and start reading it- FOR NARNIA AND FOR ASLAN!

UPDATE: I have read the first book in the series: The Magicians Nephew! I really enjoyed it and i’m excited to finish the series!

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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Published 1951

I know many people read this book in high school. It was never a part of our curriculum and to be honest, I wasn’t much of a reader in high school. It’s a smaller book, so I have actually started to read it as a “palate cleanser” a few times but i’ve never finished it. Holden Caulfield narrates the story of the few days after his expulsion from prep school. Read mostly in high school for a good reason, Holden is the epitome of  teenage angst and alienation.

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Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Originally published in 1915

I have read a few short stories that were based on Kafka’s novel of the man who wakes up one morning to find that he has transformed into a gigantic insect. Gregor Samsa, the now beetle like character, is alienated from his family and society. The novel deals with human feelings of isolation and inadequacy. Kafka is still considered one of the best authors of the 20th century. I’m excited to venture into such a bizarre story!

 

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Originally Published in 1844

This is also another book that my boyfriend has been telling me to read for years! I’ve drifted off to sleep while the audiobook plays a dozen times, but I have yet to sit down and actually read the entire (HUGE) book. Thrown into the dreadful Chateau D’If prison for a crime he did not commit, Edmond Dantes learns of a treasure on the isle of Monte Cristo and plots his escape in order to retrieve the treasure and use it to get revenge on the men who are responsible for his imprisonment! I can’t wait to get lost in this exciting tale!

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The Wonderful Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum, Originally Published in May 1900

Yes, I live in Kansas and have not read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is another book that is located in the children’s room, young adult, and adult fiction here at our library. I’m not even going to give you a synopsis because it’s The Wizard of Oz! I should have read this when i was younger, but it’s never too late!

Is there a book that you haven’t read yet, but desperately need to?! Share in the comments!

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DIY ‘TBR’ Jar

 

 

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Okay, you’ve found a dozen books that you want to read- GREAT! Now, if you are anything like me, you just added those dozen books to a list of about 30 more books that you want to read. How will we ever decide what book to read next!?

I’m so excited for this simple little DIY because I have been using this method for so long! The best part about this is that you can make it as extravagant or as simple as you want! If you fancy yourself an artist than you can decorate the actual jar or use patterned scissors while cutting the paper. I’ve also seen people use small stones instead of paper. I love color, but I also love clean designs so my jar reflects that in me.

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What you will need:

  1. A Jar, box, or container of any sort (remember, you can decorate it to your liking)
  2. Scissors
  3. Pens, markers, pencils, whatever you want to use!
  4. Any type of paper

I used an old Bath and Body Works candle jar. You know, the ones that cost an arm and a leg…but are SO ADDICTING! I kept it because I LOVED the glittery lid. I also used just ordinary colored construction paper and a black pen.

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Step 1: Cut the paper into strips. As you can see, I also cut mine a second time because my jar is a little small.

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Step 2: Write your book titles on the slips of paper.

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Step 3: Fold your papers to your liking and place them in the jar.

THAT’S IT!

Next time you can’t decide what to read, simply choose a slip of paper and START READING!

If you try this out for yourself you can share pictures of your jar with me in the comments!

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Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle

 

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Published October 23rd 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Neil Gaiman is a highly respected author who has written books for almost every genre. I have read only one other book by him, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and it was fantastic! I really look forward to reading more books written by Gaiman. This book was located in our young adult section at the library, but I would actually consider this to be a graphic novel. Chris Riddell illustrated the pictures in the book and his artistry is AMAZING.

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Synopsis:

The day before her wedding, a queen sets out on a quest to rescue a princess and her kingdom from a sleeping curse. Along with the help of three dwarfs she must make her way to the center of the kingdom, while fighting her own sleepiness, to find the cause of the curse. This sleeping beauty meets snow white story has a dark twist that you won’t expect!

My Thoughts:

This novel was a very fun and quick read. I never know what to expect with fantasy-like novels, because i don’t read them as often. It is 67 pages, but some of the pages are only illustrations, and the writing is very simple. It almost read like a children’s book at times. I think it was a very enjoyable palate cleanser that brought me back to my childhood a little bit. I love a good fairy tale (especially one with a dark side) and  It was everything I expected it to be- considering it was written by one of the greats of our generation! I would recommend this to any fantasy lovers who just want a quick read or any ART lovers who want to check out some seriously ridiculous (in a good way)  illustrations!

My Rating: 3/5

Do you have a favorite Neil Gaiman book I should read? Post in the comments below!

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How to Find Your Next “to be read” Book

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Picture taken @ The Emporia Public Library, Emporia, KS

I’m going to be completely honest with you, when it comes time for me to choose the next book to read- THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. There are so many novels that catch my eye, not to mention the HUGE list of “TBR” (to be read) novels I keep. Over the years I have discovered a few different methods that have helped me with deciding which novel to read next. So if you are getting close to the end of your current book and you have no idea what to read next, keep reading for some helpful tips!

1. Fantasticfiction.com. I LOVE THIS SITE! It has been a MUST for me when I’m helping our library patrons locate books in a series, books by a particular author, or popular books in a certain year. Fantastic Fiction gives you a full bibliography for any author you can think of. It also lists popular novels by year, so you can see what people were reading in 1990. My favorite thing about this site is that it gives a full list of new releases for the current month. So, you can read a synopsis and add it to your TBR list if it sounds good!

2.  Goodreads.com. Okay, I could not make a list of book resources without including Goodreads. If you’re not familiar with it, it is a site that allows you to keep track of all the books you have read or plan to read. The site also gives you book recommendations based on books you have placed on one of your “shelves”. I, personally, have had pretty good luck with the recommendations that Goodreads has suggested! You can join groups and partake in book discussions as well. What I like best about this site is that you can add friends and recommend books to each other.

3. Book Quizzes. There are countless book quizzes online that will ask you questions about the type of books you like and then recommend books that are similar. Here are a few that I have tried in the past:

http://justtherightbook.com/quiz

http://www.openingthebook.com/whichbook/

4. Library Browsing. Even if you don’t check out books at a library, there is no better place to browse classic or new novels by genre or age group. Even better, ask your librarians or library assistants for help! Everyone I work with has different taste in genre, so it’s really fun to see what type of books they will recommend me.

5. And finally, the old fashioned way…ask your friends for recommendations! I have found some of the best books because friends have recommended them to me. I recently had a friend who recommended an entire list of children’s fiction to me, which I loved! Who knows you better than the people who are constantly around you?

I hope this list has helped you in some way! I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to add to my TBR list. What methods do you use when looking for new books to read? Comment below and let me know!

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Book Review: The Total Package

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The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich, Published March 15th 2016 by William Morrow

This is Stephanie Evanovich’s third book. She wrote “Big Girl Panties” and “The Sweet Spot”, which are both similar to her third novel. Evanovich writes what I would call “sporty fiction” with a romantic twist. Each of her books tells the story of an unbelievably good looking athletic guy, who falls in love with a woman who is usually described as unique and beautiful in her own way. I loved “The Sweet Spot” so much that I have continued to read her novels, but I do have to say that i don’t think “The Total Package” quite measured up to her previous work.

Synopsis:

Star quarterback and “hunk” Tyson Palmer was on the wrong path after his initial taste of fame. When the owner of the Austin Maverick’s gives Tyson an unbelievable second chance and refuses to let Tyson ruin his life, he turns his life around. Dani is a sports commentator trying to climb the ladder of a male dominated profession when she is thrown into a situation that has her running into Tyson constantly. Of course it would be no big deal…if they didn’t share a steamy past! What’s even worse, Tyson doesn’t even recognize the woman whom he shared a sizzling night with five years ago and she’s holding a secret that could change both of their lives forever.

My Thoughts:

This novel was very engaging and playful. There were many times when I chuckled out loud, but it was also somewhat predictable. Maybe it’s because I have read her other novels, but it felt like I knew what the outcome would be halfway through the book. I wasn’t surprised and that forced me to become slowly less interested as I read. I guess I was expecting a story that differed completely from her previous novels, but that would be ridiculous because Evanovich is so well at creating lighthearted love stories! And that’s exactly what this is! I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a romantic “guilty pleasure” read.

My Rating: 3/5

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