Top Ten Tuesday…er Top Seven? (a bit late, but…)

Alright, so 2014 hasn’t been my best reading year, but I plan to make 2015 better! I truly struggled to think of my top ten new-to-me authors. It isn’t that I haven’t read ten or more books in 2014, but not too many stuck with me. Add that to the fact a lot of my reading was for school and well, here we are.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 9.56.20 PM1. Claudia RankineDon’t Let Me Be Lonely: Boy, will Rankine put you in a mood. It isn’t a typical novel where each page is filled top to bottom with words; each page, varying from one paragraph to three, is written like a small snapshot or thought captured. Rankine takes on heavy topics like depression (or mental illness in general) in relation to prescription drugs, faith in America (not necessarily religious faith), visual media, and particularly death in the sense of questioning when a person truly dies. It’s a moving, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking novel. More so, the way she unpacks concepts is what makes me excited to read her other works.

2. Anthony WaltonMississippi: An American Journey: It seems to me that so many people oppose non-fiction and autobiographies! Though they’re not the genres I typically run to either, I still see the value. Walton, in particular, is an author who proves that value. Mississippi is a journey of self-discovery in retelling the history of segregation and slavery  through both historical and personal stories. Everyone learns about the civil rights movement in their American history courses, but not like this. The knowledge and perspective I have gained from reading this novel is more than I’ve ever received in a history class.

3. J.K. RowlingThe Harry Potter Series: Do I even need to state why she’s in the top ten? No? Didn’t think so.

4. Bram StokerDracula: I know Dracula is a classic, but I have been putting it off for years. Why? No particular reason to be exact, but if I could go back in time and read it sooner, I would! Stoker has these moments where he is profound, somewhat philosophical, and I find myself simply sitting and rereading over his beautiful lines:

“…even the terrible change in her daughter to whom she is so attached – do not seem to reach her. It is something like the way Dame Nature gathers round a foreign body an envelope of some insensitive tissue which can protect from evil that which it would otherwise harm by contact. If this be an ordered selfishness, then we should pause before we condemn any one for the vice of egoism, for there may be deeper root for its causes than we have knowledge for” (104).

5. Chimamanda Hgozi AdichieHalf of a Yellow Sun: I’ve been struggling in my African Literature course because I haven’t found much of the material, outside of a short story collection, truly enthralling. Then we read Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. It gripped me from the start. I spent all night flipping page after page into the wee morning. Since then Adichie has been an author I want to read more of. Plus she gives AMAZING TED talks (go watch:).

6. Galway KinnellThe Book of Nightmares: His poetry is grotesque, vivid, and beautiful. I love love love him.

“Dear stranger / extant in memory by the blue Juniata, / these letters / across space I guess / will be all we will know of one another. / So little of what one is threads itself through the eye / of empty space. / Never mind. / The self is the least of it. / Let our scars fall in love” (31).

7. Jennifer L. KnoxThe Mystery of the Hidden Driveway: Hilarious, unexpected, satirical, and imaginative are all words  that describe the type of poet Knox is. There are some serious moments in her collection, but for the most part it is off the wall and quite refreshing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 9.58.26 PMAlso, thanks to The Broke and the Bookish blog for hosting Top Ten Tuesday topics!


What December Gave To Me

It is nearing Christmas time! This means Christmas break is soon which means almost a month off which means LOADS OF READING TIME!elf-excited-oI’m quite thrilled since I’ve just jumped back onto the bandwagon of reading daily.

Let’s jump back two and a half weeks ago though: The two N’s, Netflix and naps, were sucking me in and I was drowning in a pool of papers and exams. Obviously I was skillfully avoiding all responsibilities when I realized I had not read a book for pure pleasure in a while. Naturally I picked up a book. After about a half hour or less I set it down. I picked up another and again, I set it down. I repeated this process three times. Every novel I seemed to pick up couldn’t maintain my attention. I was getting worried. Have I lost my ability to enjoy reading?! Should I go back to Netflix? Is the world ending?! Dramatic you say? Not at all! 

Well in order to avoid near apocalyptic tragedy I put Self-Control (a computer app that blacklists whatever sites you ask it to for a set amount of time) on and sat in front of my bookshelf. My eyes scanned my many TBR novels, attempting to pinpoint the exact book that could reel me in and give me my reading mojo back. Then it hit me: the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

I had never read the series (my childhood was obviously lacking) and I knew it was fun (unless everyone in the history of ever had lied to me). I mean wizards, magic, adventures, and more? It definitely beats the reality of college finals that’s for sure.

Fast forward present day: I am knee-deep in the fourth book and I’m not about to stop. I devoured the Harry Potter the Prisoner of Azkaban in one whole night and had to grab the Goblet of Fire right after. My reading mojo is back! Now hopefully, with so much spare time, by the end of Christmas break I will have read not only the remainder of the Harry Potter series, but also a few other books!

bloomsbury-signature-coversThe Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling because I’m already too far deep. Hogwarts has entrapped me and I am bound to the series until I’ve read every last page; however I’m not really complaining. The picture/link posted for the Harry Potter series is also my dream Christmas gift. The Bloomsbury Harry Potter Paperback Signature Editions are absolutely stunning. The cover art’s minimalism and use of color is what really won me over in contrast to all the other editions.

9780618574940The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien because the LOTR films inspired my desire to venture off into Middle Earth. If the movies were that good then I’m hoping the novels will be better. However, I am only going to start out with the first book since I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.

6523919Buried In Books: A Readers Anthology by Julie Rugg because it has been sitting in my TBR stack since last year’s Printers Row Literary Fest and anything dealing with bookworms, book obsessions, and the love for the written word easily makes my heart skip a beat.

What will you be reading during your Christmas vacation? It’s always fun to hear what others will read in their spare time!