15 Books I’d Like to Re-read

15 Books I'd Love to Reread

I love rereading books that I previously enjoyed. It’s not something that I do often because there are so many new books coming out every week, and it’s hard to prioritize rereading a book when I’ve got ten brand new ones that I want to get to.

There are certain books that I make sure to reread frequently: I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road every single year; I’ll reread my favorite self-help books (Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass and Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck) whenever I need a pick-me-up; anytime a new book is released in a series that I love, I’ll reread the entire thing prior to the release date of the newest book.

There are several books, however, that I’d love to reread, but that I haven’t made time for yet. I’d like to try to reread these all in 2020. It wasn’t until I put the list together that I noticed that there are definitely a few themes! Here are the fifteen books that I’d love to reread!

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15. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

the lion the witch and the wardrobe chronicles of narnia cs lewis

Goodreads | Amazon

My mother had a complete set of these books and I read them a few times while I was growing up. It’s been nearly fifteen years since I last read them, however, so I’m curious to see if I’d love them as much as I used to now that I’m in my thirties. As a child, I saw the books only as fun fantasy adventure novels with interesting characters; now that I’m older, I’m worried that the Christian undertones that I’ve learned about over the years will either distract me from the story or even ruin the story for me. I’d still like to give it a shot one day if only to feel some nostalgia.


14. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

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Goodreads | Amazon

You’re about to see a lot of nature-oriented books on this list. I thoroughly enjoyed Cheryl Strayed’s account of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile trail from Mexico to Canada. I love the idea of long-distance backpacking trips, but this is a bit much for me in real life. However, I love reading about other people having these types of hardcore adventures, so this easily became a favorite of mine. I’ll probably reread this next time I’m in the mountains.

13. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

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Goodreads | Amazon

An ex-boyfriend recommended this book to me years and years ago, and it’s really stuck with me (one of two books on this list recommended by him, by the way). I’ve always dreamed of having my own homestead, where I could grow and raise my own food, live off of sustainable energy, and create a self-sufficient life. The older that I get, the stronger that desire becomes, to the point where I’m trying to plan out buying a house on a decent amount of land in the North Carolina mountains within the next several years. I’ve been wanting to reread this for years, but I’ve been putting it off because I know it’ll make me crave that sort of life even more, and I’m not financially able to jump right into it. Once I get closer to my goals, however, you better believe that I’ll be rereading this!


12. Blindness by José Saramago

Blindness Jose Saramago

Goodreads | Amazon

I had never heard of this book before grabbing it second-hand at a thrift store. I briefly read through the synopsis and liked the cover, so I took it home. This dystopian, science fiction novel blindsided (hehe) me; I loved it so much, and it was absolutely horrifying. The story is about an epidemic of blindness that affects everyone. Can you imagine how hard the world would become if everyone lost sight? José Saramago will walk you through how rough it will become while enchanting you with his writing style. I desperately want to relive this book, so hopefully, I’ll be able to get to it very soon.


11. A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess: Goodreads | Amazon
The Secret Garden: Goodreads | Amazon

Obviously, this is technically two books, but I’m combining them since they’re both written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and because I read them at the same point in my life – early childhood. These two books have been my favorites since I was very young, and they’re actually the earliest books I can remember reading (aside from some Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss perhaps). I’ve watched the film adaptations of both, I own fancy copies of both, and I will read both to my future children. I’ve been planning on rereading these for a while, but there’s a tiny part of me who is afraid I won’t feel the same way about them. We’ll see soon enough.


10. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

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Goodreads | Amazon

While Slaughterhouse Five might be Vonnegut’s most famous book, Breakfast of Champions has always been my personal favorite. It’s a novel that’s hard to explain, but the story follows author Kilgore Trout as he discovers that a midwestern car dealer believes his stories to be true. If you’ve never read Vonnegut, I’d recommend it – it’s a truly unique experience.


9. The Dharma Bums and On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Dharma Bums: Goodreads | Amazon
On the Road: Goodreads | Amazon

As of now, these are the only two Jack Kerouac novels I’ve read (despite owning many more), and when I first read them back in the early 2010s, they left a huge impression on me. I’d love to reread both of them, but particularly On the Road. One of the editions that I have of this novel is the original scroll, which is formatted in the way that Kerouac originally wrote the novel. It’s one long, continuous narrative with no paragraphs or chapters. It definitely won’t be easy to read, but I want to experience the story as Kerouac wrote it originally.


8. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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Goodreads | Amazon

Many of you who have been reading this blog for a while already know that I’m obsessed with post-apocalyptic fiction, and this is one of the best that I’ve ever read (third only to The Road and The Stand). I feel like it’s a little on-the-nose to read right now due to the book being about a deadly worldwide plague, so I’m going to wait until this plague dies out a bit. It’s a unique post-apocalyptic book in that it’s told from the point of view of a group of Shakespearian actors in Canada.


7. The Stand by Stephen King

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Goodreads | Amazon

Speaking of The Stand, this is another novel that I would love to reread. I’ve almost done so multiple times, but the novel’s 1,153 pages have held me back a bit. I don’t hate reading big books, and in fact, a lot of my favorite books are long, but I haven’t been ready for the time commitment anytime recently. It’s also another book that deals with a deadly plague, so I’d like to do my hypochondriac self a favor and wait until COVID-19 calms down a bit before sitting down with it again.


6. The Outlaws of the Marsh by Shi Nai’an & Luo Guanzhong

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Goodreads | Amazon

I read volume one of this classic Chinese novel in 2019 and really enjoyed it. I held back on reading volumes two and three however because each volume is massive, written in a non-Western style that I wasn’t familiar with, and was extremely confusing when it came to the 100+ characters. Having enjoyed the story, however, I am determined to reread volume one and give two and three a shot.


5. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

Goodreads | Amazon

I was that kid in high school who spent a lot of their lunch breaks browsing the library. I remember in tenth grade randomly checking out this book. I don’t remember what prompted me to, but I’ve always been thankful that something pushed me to read it. It’s been one of my favorite books since 2003, and it’s about time that I reread it. A Fine Balance is a historical fiction novel set in India which follows several people with extremely tragic stories. It’s not the happiest novel to read, but a powerful and moving one. It’s realness and honesty are the elements of the story that have always drawn me in.


4. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

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Goodreads | Amazon

A Sand County Almanac was recommended to me by the same ex-boyfriend who introduced both Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, and The Road to me. Aldo Leopold writes in such a way that you really feel as though you’re sitting next to him observing the landscape and wildlife. It’s a beautiful, non-fiction book that I’d recommend to everyone who gets homesick for the great outdoors. I’m planning a vacation to the North Carolina mountains once this plague is over, and this is one of the books that I’ll be packing with me to finally reread.


3. Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie

 Haroun and the Sea of Stories: Goodreads | Amazon
The Ground Beneath Her Feet: Goodreads | Amazon

The first Salman Rushdie book that I ever read was The Ground Beneath Her Feet at the request of my brother, and I was instantly (and pleasantly) surprised by Rushdie’s poetic and moving writing style. There are plenty of authors who have unique styles, but I’ve never read any as beautiful as Rushdie’s. Haroun and the Sea of Stories isn’t one of his most-famous novels, but it’s always been my favorite. I would love to reread both, and read his other novels that I haven’t had the pleasure to pick up yet.


2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia

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Goodreads | Amazon

I buddy-read this book with my friend Tawni, and I fell in love with it quickly. I grew up on North Carolina’s coast, where the story takes place, and the familiarity with the setting drew me in just as much as the heartbreaking story did.  I haven’t written a review of this novel yet because I wanted time to process it a bit more, but it’s been so long that I want to reread it before finally writing about it.


1. Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Reincarnation Blues Michael Poore

Goodreads | Amazon

I read this book for the first time last year, and I have a feeling it’s going to join The Hobbit and The Road in being books that I reread annually. It’s one of the most amazing stories that I’ve ever read. It’s not a novel that I can sum up quickly, so read my full review to learn why this book left such an impression on me.



What books would you love to reread? Let me know in the comments!




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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – a Review

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer
Contemporary and/or Historical Fiction
Published by Mariner Books
Released April 4, 2006
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Note: This review was originally published on September 11, 2018. While I have made a few updates to formating and everything you see above this statement, everything that follows is the content in its original form from one year ago.

We were determined to ignore whatever needed to be ignored, to build a new world from nothing if nothing in our world could be salvaged.


What It Is

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is am an ambitious child, spending his time inventing, learning, acting, making jewelry, and more. After his father dies in one of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, Oskar feels a lot of different emotions: anger at his mother for seemingly moving on; fear of many things, from elevators to public transportation to bridges; empathy for the many people around him, like a homeless man he passes frequently on the street. He appears to be suffering from PTSD and insomnia after the tragic events that took his father, and he looks for ways to be close to his father once more.

One day while exploring through his father’s closet, he comes across a blue vase he’d never seen before. While reaching for it, his hand slips, and the vase falls to the floor, shattering. Among the broken glass, he discovers an envelope with the word “Black” written across the front of it. Opening the envelope, he finds a mysterious key.

The novel is the tale of Oskar searching for the lock, meeting new people along the way, and trying to find evidence of his father along the way. It’s a truly heartbreaking story and one that will stick with you long after you finish it.


What I Loved

The novel is written from three points-of-view, Oskar being one of them. I’m hesitant to say who the other narrators are because I feel it’s best to just let the story unfold for yourself. Foer does a wonderful job of making Oskar’s narration seem believable coming from a nine-year-old character. The book is also great for taking a terrible, tragic event, and dealing with it in a relatively light-hearted way, while still maintaining elements of tragedy and heartbreak.

This was also the first book I’ve read by Jonathan Safran Foer, and I was a huge fan of his writing style in this book. I’ll be reading Everything is Illuminated soon, I’m sure.


What I Disliked

When I first began the novel, I had a hard time relating to the main character, Oskar, because he seemed so annoying and unlikable to me. After the first hundred pages, however, he grew on me. I sort of believe my initial aversion to Oskar is simply based on the fact that I’m not a fan of child narrators.


Verdict (Buy/Borrow/Skip)

Buy. It’s important to remind ourselves of the tragedies that occurred in New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. For many people, it’s easier to remember through fiction. This is definitely a book I’ll be reading again.

Click here to discover more books about September 11th, 2001




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The Ultimate Guide to Kindle Unlimited

The Ultimate Guide to Kindle Unlimited
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Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?

To many people, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is a great ebook subscription service. For $9.99 per month, you can read as many Kindle Unlimited ebooks as you wish, and there are thousands of options available. (psst… to get a free month of Kindle Unlimited, head to the bottom of the article!)

I’ve subscribed to Kindle Unlimited on and off for several years. I’ll subscribe for a few months at a time to read titles on my TBR that are offered through the service, and then cancel for a few months when there’s nothing I want to read right then.

I’ve seen a lot of people asking about Kindle Unlimited on Twitter and on other social media sites, so I wanted to put together a guide to teach you all of the ins and outs of using the service. If you have any tips or advice not featured here, let me know in the comments!


How does Kindle Unlimited Work?

Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service, just like Netflix or Spotify. For $9.99 per month (or thirty days), you get access to all of the ebooks that are part of this service. While not every Kindle ebook that Amazon offers is part of the Kindle Unlimited service, there are some really great titles available, such as the Harry Potter series, several books by Charlie N. Holmberg, classics such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Taleand newer releases like Victoria Lee’s The Fever King.


Do I need a Kindle to subscribe?

Nope! If you don’t have an Amazon Kindle (although they’re amazing and I highly recommend you getting one!), you can download Amazon’s Kindle apps for Android, iPhone, or your computer.


How many ebooks can I have downloaded at one time?

You can have up to ten titles downloaded to your device at one time. If you’ve reached the limit and there’s something else that you want to download, you can return the title and download something new immediately.

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Are there any options aside from ebooks?

Absolutely! You also get access to certain magazines and audiobooks!

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How can I find Kindle Unlimited titles?

There are actually a few different ways that you can do this.

First, you can head to the Kindle Unlimited page, and you’ll see titles recommended for you from your buying and browsing history.

Second, you can browse through their entire ebook selection and use the Kindle Unlimited filter.

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Third, you can search for a title you’re interested in, and you’ll see an option for Kindle Unlimited if it’s available.

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Is Kindle Unlimited international?

Yes and no. All of the links included in this article are for the US version of Amazon, but if you live in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and Australia you will also be able to sign up for the service through your country’s Amazon marketplace.


Is it easy to cancel Kindle Unlimited?

Thankfully, it is. I’m sure I’m not the only person who becomes furious at companies that make you jump through hoops to cancel their service.

In order to cancel Kindle Unlimited, you first need to go to your Memberships & Subscriptions page, and then choose Kindle Unlimited.

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Next, you’ll be taken to the page where you can manage your subscription and titles, and you’ll also see a couple of boxes on the left that looks like this (I’ve erased my personal information):
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How do I get started?

If Kindle Unlimited sounds like something you’d be interested, here’s my affiliate link to get you started, which comes with your first month free. By purchasing a subscription through the link I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Just click on the link here!



Do you use Kindle Unlimited? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!




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Becca: Friday Favorites

Last week, we talked to Tori. This week, we’re revisiting Becca. This post was originally published on October 5, 2018.



Friday Favorites; Read Yourself Happy; Reading Blog; Book Blog; books

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’ve always been a book nerd so it was no surprise that I became an English teacher. When most people find out that I’m an English teacher, they picture me reading Ulysses or some other equally confounding tomb. Suckers! I love comic books, classic books, and a cereal box if it’s within reach. My dog, Nala, loves when I read out loud to her. Her favorite book is Things Fall Apart, but I don’t have the heart to tell her she’s on her own there. This picture is of Nala waiting for me to read some lit theory to her.

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Nala

If you could spend a night hanging out with three authors, living or dead, who would you choose?

I’d like to hang out with Oscar Wilde, drinking champagne (obviously), Zadie Smith, and James Baldwin. All 3 of them speak to me so much and I can’t help but go back to their work time and again.


Which classic or popular book do you hate?

The Crucible - Arthur Miller

I don’t really like The Crucible. It’s boring. I don’t like teaching it or even showing the movie anymore. We get it, Daniel Day Lewis — you only have your name. But news flash: you create your identity, not those wiggos. I also never read any of the Harry Potter books until my mother-in-law made me read the first one when I was about to graduate from college. I guess it’s good for 11-year-olds, but not so much if you’re 22.


How do you keep track of books you’ve finished and books you want to read?

I use Goodreads to keep track of books that I want (and basically to generate my wish lists for my birthday and holidays). I like that it suggests other books to read once I’ve finished one.


What are your five favorite books, and why?

My top 5 favorite books (that will likely change in a month) are:
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith — I can’t really articulate what all I like about this book (the writing! the characters! the plot! the underlying commentary on post-colonialism!), but it’s always had a special place in my heart.
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles — This is just such a wonderful story told in a delightful voice. I was reading a few books about Russia at the time…BONUS: Towles is apparently a distant relative of my husband!
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — I re-read this every semester when I teach it and notice new things EVERY TIME!
  • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama — Books don’t usually make me cry like I did when I read this, but maybe it’s the fact that I recently finished it and am nostalgic/sad/disgusting with our current world.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry — This is the first book I remember reading that stressed the importance of thinking for yourself and not buying into what other people want from you.

Finally, leave us with your favorite bookish quote.

I cannot remember the books I've read nay more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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April 2019 Wrap-Up

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Although autumn will always be my favorite season, spring is beautiful as well. I love the thunderstorms we’ve begun having in the mid-Atlantic, and the blooming flowers are beautiful, even if I’m having trouble breathing as a result of the pollen.

April has felt nuts to me, and like it flew by in a flash. I was diagnosed as bipolar this month, a diagnosis that was both surprising and relieving. When you go nearly two decades thinking there’s something wrong with your brain and you don’t understand why you can’t control your moods or emotions, a diagnosis is something to be celebrated.

Even though being diagnosed as bipolar is a bit scary, at least now I can begin to find ways to control and manage the disorder. Also, just putting a name to it has made it easier.

Books I Reviewed


Articles & Editorials

 




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Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up


Around the Web


Things I Love

  • Even though it’s a daunting undertaking, I find it so peaceful to pull all of my books off my bookshelf and reorganize them. It’s been one of my go-to stress relievers for years. I spent Saturday night doing this, and I found a few books on my shelf that I had forgotten I’d owned.
  • I’m obsessed with these new royalty-inspired eyeshadow palettes from CoverGirl. I rarely wear makeup, but these make me want to start putting it on regularly. The shades are gorgeous.

On the Blog



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Bookish Merch to Add to Your Wishlist

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There’s one thing I love almost as much as books: bookish merch.

Whether it’s a product with a favorite quote, gorgeous fandom-inspired art, or just a scarf with a bunch of books on it – I want it.

Here are some adorable bookish products available on Amazon right now.

I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means that if you purchase any of these products I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. However, this is not a sponsored post – these are all products that are on my personal wishlist!



Out of Print Scarves

Out of Print makes some of the most amazing book merchandise. They sell a variety of their scarves on Amazon, including a Polka-dot Poe one, but these two are my favorites, especially the colorful typewriter one.


Leather Book Strap Carrier

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I’ve only seen these leather book straps in old movies and photos, so I was stoked to find out you could still buy them. It’s not the most practical thing in the world, but I’m into the aesthetic.


Book Darts

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While Post-It Notes are cheap as hell, these reusable metal book darts are much better. This is something that I came across recently that I immediately wanted. I annotate my books as I read them, but once I’ve written a review I typically remove the Post-Its marking the page. I also read a lot of library books that I have to remove markers from. I love that these are usable and the whole tin of them is very affordable!


Retro Book T-Shirt

Take a look it's in a book

It’s a simple shirt, but I like it.


That’s all I have for today, but I’m always on the lookout for cute bookish merch so these won’t be the last I feel.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – A Review

 

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Contemporary | Young Adult
Published by Balzer + Bray
Released February 28, 2017
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give deserves all the hype surrounding it. It’s a well-written, thoughtful, and important book that deals with difficult topics, and I’m certain this book is going to be read in schools for years to come.

The book has been sitting on my shelf for way too long, but I’m glad I finally picked it up. I occasionally listened to the audiobook while reading it, and the audiobook is amazing. It’s narrated by Bahni Turpin and she does a spectacular job of putting emotion into the story and giving all the characters distinct voices and tones.

The Hate U Give is a book that was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. We follow Starr Carter, who witnesses her childhood friend, Khalil, get shot at the hands of the police. Khalil didn’t have any weapons and wasn’t threatening the police officer, and was shot in the back right in front of Starr.

As the event’s only witness, Starr has to decide if she wants to speak up or stay silent and also has to deal with the police, gang violence, and more. It’s certainly a difficult novel to read, but one that I think everyone should read.

Starr has to deal with being two different versions of herself: the Starr in Garden Heights, and the Starr that goes to a mostly white private school. In the process, we meet other topics head-on, such as interracial dating, privilege, and racism.

More than anything, this book is about placing value on human life. After Khalil’s shooting, the media paints him in a harsh light, as a drug-dealing gangbanger who may have deserved being shot. One of Starr’s white friends openly states that she doesn’t understand why people care so much about a drug dealer being shot. However, this book shows us the reality behind the media: that Khalil, and all of his real-life counterparts, are real people, who didn’t deserve to be murdered.

This was Angie Thomas’ first book, but it has the polish of a seasoned writer. It was well-paced, the characters were three-dimensional and felt real, Starr was absolutely believable as a teenage girl, and it was just all-around written perfectly.

I want everyone to read this book. It’s a book that America needs, and I’m glad Angie Thomas wrote it.

As a side note, Angie Thomas’ second book, On the Come Upis already out if you’re interested in reading it.


Have you read The Hate U Give? What were your thoughts on it?




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How a Single Trip to the Library Changed My Life

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I had a really rough time in high school, as do many people. I was horribly depressed, had crippling social anxiety, felt like an epic loser, and fantasized about suicide. At a time when I really should have been in therapy or on anti-depressants, I had no outlet for my building stress and no one to talk to. My free time was spent being absorbed is escapism through video games such as The Sims and in books.

Things didn’t change after graduation. The few friends I had moved away for school, my family’s house burned down, and when I wasn’t working I was still spending all of my time just trying to mentally escape how depressed I was.

One day, after we had settled into the new house my family had rented, my mother and I made one of our frequent trips to our local library. I picked up the few books I had reserved and then wandered among the shelves for a while.

I came across a shelf of books about Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness, and picked up several books by the Dalai Lama, Alan Watts, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

I’m not sure what prompted me to check out those books. I wasn’t particularly interested in meditation or Buddhism. I didn’t know any Buddhists aside from the group of monks that would periodically come to the farmer’s market I worked at to stock up on honey. I’m not even positive I’d heard of mindfulness before. However, regardless of what prompted nineteen-year-old me to check those books out of the library, I’m forever grateful that I did.

One of the books I picked up was The Dalai Lama’s How to Practice the Way to a Meaningful Life. The book, and the others I had gotten, somehow motivated me enough to start putting their lessons into practice.

(Side note: I soon purchased my own copy, which I still have. It’s easy to see how well-loved this book has been.)

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I started meditating every day and slowly became 100% happier.

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I meditated daily; just for a few minutes at first, then eventually ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Eventually, I felt myself growing happier. All of my motivation reappeared. I applied to a university in the mountains and was accepted. While in college, I became more interested in Buddhist teachings, read up on philosophy and mindfulness, and continued meditating daily. While I still had some anxieties, I became much happier and allowed myself to focus on real life rather than escapism.

After my first two years at that college, I ended up dropping out and moving to Asheville, NC (I had been studying political science and it was making me feel apathetic and frustrated). I made friends who also meditated, and was in a city where many of its inhabitants spend their time focusing on spiritual pursuits. I was finally in an environment that promoted happiness and relaxation.

After a few years of meditating, I became the happiest I’ve ever been. I felt motivated to exercise and eat healthily. I went hiking every week and made a ton of great friends. My life finally felt worth living, and it was all due to a trip to the library. 


Has a book ever changed your life? Let me know in the comments.

Book Drama: Nora Roberts & Tomi Adeyemi

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It seems as though there’s so much drama happening in the book community lately.

I wanted to take a moment to talk about the latest, involving the author of one of my favorite books of 2018: Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Boneand Nora Roberts, a prolific and well-known author that you’ve probably heard of.

A few days ago, I was wasting time on Instagram when I came across Adeyemi’s Instagram story about Nora Roberts’ new book, Of Blood and BoneAdeyemi was upset because she felt that Roberts had plagiarized the title and cover of her book. She spent several stories fuming about this, and also posted the following on Twitter:

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Since then, Adeyemi posted this:

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As of the time of this writing on December 3, Tomi Adeyemi appears to have deleted the tweets directed at Nora Roberts. The above tweet is a pretty pathetic apology if it can even be called that. Adeyemi has been quiet on the topic since November 28th.

I’ve never read any of Nora Roberts’ books, so I cannot claim to be a fan, but Roberts released a perfect statement on her website later on the 28th, which you should go and read in its entirety, but I’ll highlight a bit of it here:

I have worked my entire career to build a foundation of professionalism, of teamwork with my publisher, to create a community with other writers, and to show readers I value them–not just with communication, but by doing my best to give them good books.

No one who knows me would believe any of these accusations. But that’s the problem. Those making them don’t know me, they simply lash out because they can.

This foolish and false statement has damaged my reputation. Vicious and ugly accusations and names have been tossed at me when I did nothing but write and title a book.

While this writer issued a kind of retraction after I reached out to her, it didn’t stop some of her readers from calling me a liar, and worse. We reached out again, asking her to put out the fire.

I want to say a few things about this entire fiasco:

First, it’s hard to plagiarise a title. There are billions of published books in the world, and a lot of them have very similar or even exactly the same titles. It happens all the time. As Roberts correctly put it in her statement, you cannot trademark or own a book title. It’s a ridiculous thing to call someone out on. The only thing that matters is the story, and while I would 100% support an author for being angry about their story being plagiarized, I cannot support Adeyemi’s accusation.

Second, I feel that Tomi Adeyemi handled the entire situation in an entitled, petty, unprofessional, and childish way. If she suspected that Roberts had stolen her idea, she should have contacted Roberts privately or brought up the matter with her agent. Calling someone out publicly on social media before knowing for sure if it was copied is un-called for and completely unfair.

Third, anyone that wrote Nora Roberts angry emails or left nasty comments on any of her websites or platforms should be ashamed of themselves. There’s no reason to add more hate to the internet than there already is, and it’s really low to direct so much hate to an author (or anyone else) without hearing their side of the story or having any proof. The same goes for anyone that has written angry messages to Adeyemi. Stop spreading so much hate.

I’m really conflicted about this entire situation. Children of Blood and Bone is one of the best books I’ve read in 2018, and one of my favorite young adult fantasy novels of all time. That said, right now, I’m hesitant about reading or purchasing the sequel unless she issues a public apology to Roberts.

I’m usually a fan of separating the art from the artist with authors that are long-dead, but with something current like this, I don’t wish to support authors who put forth unwarranted hate.  I can’t say for certain if I’ll read Adeyemi’s sequel in January or not, because I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the entire situation, but it definitely made me respect her less as a person.


What’s your take on the current book drama? Leave your comments below.

Mystery Blogger Award

Thank you to Lori for tagging me to do this!

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WHAT IS MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD?

Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
Okoto Enigma

RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Myself

  • I’m obsessed with Star Trek. My favorite series are The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. From an early age, Star Trek taught me to respect other cultures and to embrace diversity. I’m always re-watching one of the series at any given time; right now my boyfriend and I are watching EnterpriseSide note: I still always giggle anytime I seek Commander Riker sit in a chair.
  • I have a couple of speech impediments, specifically rhotacism and a lisp. I was incredibly self-conscious about it for the first twenty-five years of my life or so before realizing that I would have to learn to embrace it. Now I’ve had two jobs in a row that entails speaking to large groups of people, and I no longer stress about the way I talk (or, at least not as much as I used to)!
  • I wrote a picture book about vampires taking a road trip in the fourth grade. It was in a composition notebook and I illustrated the whole thing. I was so immensely proud of it and dragged it everywhere I went. I don’t remember what happened to it – I recall searching for it in high school and never found it, and then my family’s house burned down when I was 19. It may be lost forever, but I’m still proud of that first book I wrote!

Lori’s Questions

Why did you start blogging?

Although Read Yourself Happy is just a few months old, I started my first blog during my freshman year at university in 2007. It was about politics and current events (I was a political science major), and I’m still proud of it. I called it Karmic Reverberations and it’s still available online. From the title and the fact that I was blogging under the name of Karmalily, I’m sure you can tell I was going through my hippy phase when I did this.

Less than a year later I started a blog about living as a vegan, which became much more successful than Karmic Reverberations. I named it Ahimsa, and it is also still available online. I spent years doing this blog until I left Asheville, NC and started eating eggs, at which point I felt it would be dishonest to continue writing a vegan blog.

What is your weird habit that you always used to do while growing up?

This will probably gross a lot of people out, but when I was a kid I would only eat bacon dipped in ketchup and Tabasco.

What book(s) are you hoping that you could finish before 2018 ends?

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama. I adore Michelle Obama, and I purchased her new memoir the day it was released. I can’t wait to get more of an inside look at her life.
  • Outlaws of the Marsh by Shi Nai’an.This book is massive at 1600 pages, and I’m only in the middle of volume 1. I had intended to finish it this month, but I’m starting to realize that there’s no way that is going to happen. Despite being written in a different language and nearly a century ago, it’s a very enjoyable read.
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. I just got this book from the library and I can’t wait to start it. Originally it was the absolutely gorgeous cover that caught my eye, but the story sounds really interesting as well.
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle. I grew up loving Monty Python, and I’m currently listening to the audiobook of this, which is read by Eric Idle and I highly recommend it because he sprinkles in singing here and there throughout it. It’s so hilarious!

A book that you would recommend to someone no matter what?

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood because it should terrify anyone that reads it. There’s a reason people are obsessed with how real the current television series depicting this novel seems, and that reason is that it’s not at all far-fetched. This is a cautionary tale that everyone should read at least once.

Have you played an instrument before? If so, what did you play?

I’ve attempted it twice – a guitar and a violin. Then I discovered that I have the worst ear for music ever. I still eventually want to learn to play the saxophone. I listen to jazz every day and the saxophone is such a relaxing sound. Saxophones are crazy expensive though, so that’ll have to wait.


My Best Posts


My Five Questions, and Who I’m Nominating

  1. What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?
  2. What is the most memorable dream you’ve ever had?
  3. Who is your musical guilty pleasure?
  4. If you could get lost in any fictional world, what would it be?
  5. What book are you most looking forward to being released in 2019?

I’m tagging Jennifer, Margaret, Jamie, and Hâf.

Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron

Daisy's Run: Book One of The Clockwork Chimera by Scott Baron; new books, scifi books, what should i read next; good books coming out in november

The Book

Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron
Part One of The Clockwork Chimera series
Amazon | Goodreads
Published by Curiouser
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | FacebookTwitter
Obtained through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

What It Is

Daisy’s Run is the first in a five-part science fiction series focused on artificial intelligence, cyborgs, spaceships, and what it means to be human.

After an accident in space, the crew of a massive spaceship, the Vali, is woken from their cryo-sleep in order to repair the ship. One of these characters is Daisy, one of the two technicians/engineers on the ship. She and Sarah work together to try to repair a ship that seems to be constantly malfunctioning, until one day a tragic event occurs and Sarah is jettisoned into space.

Daisy is wary of the artificial intelligence all around her, including the cybernetic implants that almost all of the crew have. The ship is full of other futuristic technology, such as neuro-stims, which allow the crew to learn new information as they sleep by plugging a cord into the back of their heads.

As time goes on, Daisy starts to realize that the ship and everyone on it may not be what they seem, and she goes on a mission to uncover the truth.

My Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. As readers of this blog probably already know, science fiction is my favorite genre, and I’m always searching for new books and series to get into.

From the very first page, I found myself getting very strong Star Trek vibes, which is exciting since Star Trek is the most important thing in the world (yes, I am a Trekkie). A cyborg/android that appears human; Gustavo, a character that has artificial eyes that allow him to see in multiple spectrums; a responsive, personable ship’s computer; food replicators – all things that make me think of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

Scott Baron does a great job with setting and landscape. While following the characters on the ship, I could easily picture everything in my head. When the story moves down to Los Angeles, I really enjoyed the imagery of an empty city.

I did not like Daisy’s character, although I do think Scott Baron did a fine job of writing her. I simply did not enjoy her personality: I found her to be irrational, rash, and prejudiced. Her main reason for not liking cyborgs and being judgemental of her cybernetically-enhanced crewmates appears to be that they creep her out, which gave me absolutely no sympathy for her. She also has a tendency to be patronizing, which is most apparent when she’s speaking to Alfred Chu.

The main problem I had with Daisy is that her unwillingness to listen to her crewmates was so incredibly frustrating. There were times throughout the book where I wished I could reach into the story, grab her by the shoulders, and shake her until she agreed to listen to what they had to say.

When Daisy reaches Los Angeles, she encounters a completely new type of threat, which I won’t mention due to spoilers, but ultimately I believe it is a threat that would cause most people to re-evaluate their objectives, but not Daisy. She seems to be so focused on her original, somewhat irritating, goals, that she seems to just ignore the new threat entirely.

My not liking Daisy actually led to my enjoying the book more. It is very difficult for a writer to write a compelling character, and even more difficult to write a compelling, unlikeable character into a novel, and still have the novel itself be enjoyable. It was refreshing to read a book where I wasn’t rooting for the main character, but couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

The main reason I could not give this book five stars is due to two main points: The novel never addresses whether Sarah’s death was an accident or not. It’s a major plot hole that I’m surprised was never addressed. Also, I was really disappointed in the ending of the book. I read a lot of book series, and the best ones offer novels that can stand on their own even if you don’t read the whole series. Each book is a complete story. I cannot say that about Daisy’s Run: the book ends more like a television show, in the middle of an incident. There’s no closure at the end of this book, and while I will probably read the next four books at some point, I did not enjoy the story ending in the middle of a cliffhanger.

Another quick note is that all five of these books are being released on the same day. I’m not sure why that is being done, and I personally do not believe it is a good choice. One of the exciting things about book series is the anticipation between book releases. Think of a book series you read as they were being released. For me, that’s Harry Potter. When I finished each book, I was so anxious to get my hands on the next one. I spent so much time between book releases dreaming of what could happen next, and it was well worth the wait when I could finally go to the bookstore to get the next one. I feel like releasing an entire series at the same time robs the readers of that excitement.

Verdict

I struggled to choose a rating for this novel. I kept wavering between 3-4.5 stars. I’m still not really sure, but I’m settling on 4 out of 5 stars. The main issue I had with this book was the way it ended, but the rest of it I really enjoyed. Scott Baron is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

 

How to Read Great Books Without Spending Your Entire Paycheck

how to save money; how to find discount books; where to find cheap books; book blog; reading
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Here’s a basic truth that all readers know: books are expensive. With single books costing between $15-$20, sometimes more, catching up on your favorite series can be a pricey endeavor. Goodness knows I spend far too much on books, to the point where my boyfriend has to frequently remind me that we have bills to pay, so maybe I shouldn’t be buying three new books right this second.

Reading doesn’t have to be expensive, though. In fact, there are several ways that you can read what you want for free or extremely cheap! Here are my tips:

Get a Library Card

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Photo by Max Langelott on Unsplash

Hopefully, this is obvious and you already have a card to your local library. If you don’t, go. Right now. Seriously.

The library is my favorite place in the whole world. Every time I’ve moved to a new town, the first thing I do is run to my nearest library branch and sign up for a card. The entire literary world is waiting for you, and if your library doesn’t have a book you want to read, you can request it, usually through their website or a form near the checkout desk.

There are also a ton of other great resources available to you once you have that library card! Every city’s library system is different, but a here are a few cool things I’ve seen:

  • equipment rentals (such as telescopes and 3D printers)
  • free language courses (my own library offers Rosetta Stone for certain languages)
  • magazines and newspapers that you can either read at the library or online
  • digital music, movies, and television shows
  • classes for everything from language to computer skills
  • the ability to reserve study rooms
  • free wi-fi
  • access to select museums

Most libraries these days also offer OverDrive and Hoopla, services that allow you to check out free ebooks, movies, music, comics and more. I use both frequently, and they’re both wonderful.

Online Databases of Free Books

where to find cheap books; what should i read next; book blog; cheap books; free books online

The internet is a wonderful thing. There are so many websites where you can read public domain books or books that publishers are putting online for free. This is particularly helpful for fans of classic literature, as you’ll have plenty to choose from. Here are some of the best:

A Netflix-Style Subscription Service

digital books; reading blog; where to find cheap books, books, book blog, kindle

There are a couple of services that allows you access to thousands of books in exchange for a monthly fee, usually around $10.

  • Kindle Unlimited – I love Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 per month, you have access to thousands of books, audiobooks, and magazines. I use this service frequently.
  • Audible – Audible is a great service for people that enjoy audiobooks. The service is through Amazon, and once a month you get a credit for a free ebook. They have a very wide selection so you can find any book you have your heart set on.
  • Scribd – This is another service that I adore. I discovered it a couple of months ago while watching a video from A Clockwork Reader, and I use it every day now. While I particularly use it for audiobooks, you also get access to books, magazines, and sheet music, all for $8.99 per month. And if you sign up at this link, you can get two months free!
  • Marvel Unlimited – A wonderful option for fans of comic books, Marvel Unlimited is $9.99 per month, and gives you access to a massive collection of back issues. They don’t have everything yet, but they are adding new issues every week. I’m currently trying to work my way through all of the Doctor Strange series.
  • Comixology Unlimited – This service is very similar to Marvel Unlimited, but it is better for people who enjoy indie comic series. The service is only $5.99 per month, making it the cheapest option on this list, and if you’re a member you also receive 10-15% off digital issues that you purchase.

Find Discounted Books

used bookstore; where to find cheap books, free books, book blog, reading blog, Read Yourself Happy

If you are planning on buying a book that you cannot find for free, that doesn’t mean you need to pay full price for it. There are several places where you can get discounted books.

  • Ebay – This is probably an obvious one. In most cases, you can find what you’re looking for. In my own experience, Ebay is best for people looking for a specific edition of a book, old books that are currently out of print, or entire book series.
  • Amazon – Amazon offers used books at a discount. When you go to the page of the book you’re looking for, under the normal Amazon buttons, you’ll also see the availability of used books.
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  • Amazon Kindle Deals – Every day, Amazon offers hundreds of ebooks for as low as $0.99. Even if you don’t have a Kindle (which you really should, because they’re very handy), you can download the Kindle app to your phone or computer, and still read these ebooks.
  • Book Outlet – I’m a tiny bit obsessed with Book Outlet, another website I found through my favorite booktube channel, A Clockwork Reader. I’ve mentioned Book Outlet before, but let’s run through the main points again: Book Outlet has a constantly rotating stock of books, so if you see something you really want, you might want to go ahead and get it. The books are heavily discounted – I’ve gotten books for as little as $2! I’ve also heard they do a Black Friday sale, which I very much hope is true.
  • Thrift Books – Much like Book Outlet, this is an online discount bookshop.
  • AbeBooks – I believe it was my father who introduced me to this website originally, but over time I’ve known a few people who used it successfully to get used textbooks.
  • Half Price Books – Yet another discount book website. Hopefully, with this many options, you’ll be able to find that book you really want to read!
  • Humble Bundle – This website offers rotating selections of ebooks and games. The thing that makes this website special is that it is “pay what you want,” with 3 tiers that get you a new set of books. A part of what you buy also goes to charity, so you can do something good while buying books that you want. Right now, they have four book bundles you can choose from:
  • Thrift Shops & Second-hand Bookstores  – I have scored some amazing books at second-hand shops, like this recent haul I got from Goodwill. While it does require a little more work to find the gems, usually in the form of hours of digging through stacks of old books, it’s definitely worth it.
  • Yard, Garage, and Estate Sales – I love going to yard sales, and every time I go I end up with at least an armful of books, if not a whole trunk full. The best part of yard sale shopping is that sometimes you can haggle for a lower price – think an entire box of books for $5.

Those are some of my best ideas for finding cheap or free books. Did I leave anything out? What are your methods for reading cheap?

 

 

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Book

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The Witches by Roald Dahl
Amazon | Goodreads
Published by Jonathan Cape, a division of Penguin Random House
Released 1983
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter
10 Things You Should Know About Roald Dahl on His Birthday


“It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” ― Roald Dahl, The Witches.png


What Is It About?

The Witches is a children’s book about a little boy that goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother after his parents are killed in a car crash. His grandmother warns him about the dangers of witches and how to spot one.

“Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs.”

There are several ways to spot a witch, who are always female: they wear gloves to hide their hideous claws; all witches are bald, and therefore wear itchy wigs upon their heads; they have slightly larger nose-holes, which helps them to smell out nasty children and their “stink-waves”; the pupil of their eye continuously changes color; witches do not have toes, so the end of their feet are simply squared off; their spit and saliva is blue.

The reason for her teaching him about witches is quite simple: Witches are very dangerous and they want nothing more than to rid the entire world of children.

“A real witch hates children with a red-hot sizzling hatred that is more sizzling and red hot than any hatred you could possibly imagine.”

When the lawyer representing the boy’s parents share their will with his grandmother, the pair of them move back to the family’s home in England. One summer, after school is over, they decide to take a vacation, heading out to the coast.

The boy has pet mice, which the hotel has threatened to drown if they see them running about, so he searches for a quiet, hidden place to train them to do acrobatic feats.

The boy finds an empty conference room and sets up behind a curtain. Suddenly a large group of women starts coming in, taking their seats before a podium. Once they’ve all filtered in, a beautiful woman stands at the front and has them lock and chain the doors.

Once they’re all safely locked in, the woman standing at the front of the room removes her face, which had been a mask, and the boy makes a horrifying realization: this is a conference of witches, and the woman who took the mask off is the infamous Grand High Witch! And he’s trapped in a locked room with them!

The boy cowers in fear, anxious for their meeting to be over so he can get back to his grandmother. He breathes a sigh of relief as they start to exit, thinking he made it safely through until one of the witches gets a whiff of a child in the room. They catch him, and they turn him into a tiny mouse, although he still thinks and speaks as the child he was.

From there, the story turns into an adventure, with the boy and his grandmother working together to rid England, and the world, of witches.

The book is illustrated by Quentin Blake, who did work for most of Roald Dahl’s books.


My Thoughts

I grew up with Roald Dahl’s books. In the fifth grade, my teacher was obsessed with him, and every day she would read to us from one of his books. Now, at 31, I still find plenty of reasons to love his stories.

One of my favorite things about this book was the incredibly sweet relationship between the boy and his grandmother. It’s a nearly ideal family relationship, with both of them willing to do anything for the other.

Dahl’s writing style is fun to read, as you can see in this description of the witches:

“That face of hers was the most frightful and frightening thing I have ever seen. Just looking at it gave me the shakes all over. It was so crumpled and wizened, so shrunken and shriveled, it looked as though it had been pickled in vinegar. It was a fearsome and ghastly sight. There was something terribly wrong with it, something foul and putrid and decayed. It seemed quite literally to be rotting away at the edges, and in the middle of the face, all around the mouth and cheeks, I could see the skin all cankered and worm-eaten, as though there were maggots working away in there.”

That is definitely a description that terrified by as a child, but one that delights me to read as an adult.

I honestly cannot tell if I like the illustrations by Quentin Blake. While my art history-degree boyfriend hates it, I find myself feeling that, while not something I would actively seek out to display on my walls, his illustrations work very well for a children’s book. They’re fun and simple.

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One thing about the book that surprised me that I didn’t remember from my childhood-reading of it was it’s frank and positive depiction of death. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a conversation between Grandmamma and the boy near the end of the story where you can really see this. It’s not something that’s written about frequently in books, especially in books meant for children, so it was refreshing to see.

This book has been banned and challenged in several places, mainly for people feeling that this story teaches boys to hate women and that some of the points in the book are sexist.

There are two main points that I see when people complain about this book: misogyny, and the negative portrayal of witches.

I’m not sure if I’m somewhat biased simply because I read this book and loved it as a child, but my own opinion is that this is simply a light-hearted children’s book about a boy having an adventure. However, there are some points that can be made.

First, Grandmamma, the boy’s grandmother, is an amazing, strong woman. She isn’t afraid of anything, is immensely wise, and has a way of staying positive despite difficult circumstances. I think we can all learn a few lessons from her, and she’s a wonderful role model to look up to.

Second, the witches aren’t actually women, they just look like women.

“You don’t seem to understand that witches are not actually human beings at all. They look like humans. They talk like humans. And they are able to act like humans. But in actual fact, they are totally different animals. They are demons in human shape. That is why they have claws and bald heads and queer noses and peculiar eyes, all of which they have to conceal as best they can from the rest of the world.”

Overall, if this book makes you uncomfortable for either of the above reasons, that’s absolutely okay. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally, I really enjoyed this story, and it’s one that I can easily see myself reading to my own children one day, albeit reminding them afterward that just because they see a woman wearing long gloves, that doesn’t mean she’s a witch.


Verdict

4 out of 5 stars. This is a really enjoyable book and one that is quick to read. It’s also a great book to read near Halloween! I recommend buying this book if you’re a Roald Dahl fan, or checking it out from your local library if you’ve never read one of his books before.



Have you read The Witches? What do you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments down below!




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Chloe: Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites is a new weekly feature that asks readers to share their favorite books. If you would like to contribute just shoot me a message!

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Tell us a bit about yourself!

My first love is knitting! Above anything else, I love the tranquility and meditative peace it brings me, and also having something I created to wear proudly. I also enjoy reading, and I have recently started reading a good deal more than I had been. In January this year I promised myself that I would try to read at least one book per month, and I’ve already finished twenty books, so I’ve surpassed my goal!

 

Aside from hobbies, I work as a massage therapist at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. I didn’t realize that I loved the mountains as much as I do until I moved here. I also have a petite corgi named Chubbs (I know, ironic) who is just the sweetest, goodest little girl that I ever did meet. And she loves to give me kisses. I also have an extremely supportive boyfriend named Jeff, who is very camera shy.
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What types of books are you drawn to?

I love high fantasy! Anything with magic, set in times where ladies wore corsets and people still used bows and arrows, swords, shields, etc. I’m happy to read most fiction, though, and love to have people personally recommend books for me to read. I also love an old-fashioned mystery novel.

If you could spend a night hanging out with three authors, living or dead, who would you choose?

I would choose Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and Agatha Christie. I truly enjoy reading books from well before my time. There was such a different quality in writing than there is now, and there’s something magically beautiful about that.

Which classic or popular book do you hate?

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens; Read Yourself Happy; book blog; reading blog; book recommendations

I will admit, reading something when you are a child and disliking it can leave a very sour taste in your mouth about that particular book, but I don’t like to proclaim that I dislike something until I’ve given it a second shot once I’ve had a few years to stew on it. That said, I absolutely abhor Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It’s supposed to be fantastic and brilliant, and I’ve read it twice now–once in my homeschool years, forced upon me by my mother, who proclaimed it was literature and therefore a necessary part of my education, and then again about six or seven years later. I thought being older would help me understand it better, but it was still just as confusing as it had been when I was a child. Needless to say, the word ‘literature’ filled me with dread for a very long time.

How do you keep track of books you’ve finished and books you want to read?

I had this cute little reading log when I was a kid that I loved. I had used a folded up piece of pink construction paper and several pages of notebook paper folded and tucked inside the pink and stapled into place. From a young age, my mother indulged me in my love for office supplies, buying me a date stamp (like librarians used to have to stamp to the cards in books before they changed to an automated system) so I could feel really official when I started or finished a book. I recorded the title and author and designated a little spot for comments I had about the book.


I looked up online reading records a couple months ago and stumbled across Goodreads.com, which I had somehow never heard of. It made me actually want to start reading more, and to challenge myself to meet a goal of reading x number of books in a year. I love it!

What are your five favorite books, and why?

  • I feel like Pride and Prejudice should be on everyone’s favorites list somewhere. It’s a classic. The way that Austen writes is so profoundly different from modern authors that it still makes it a challenging read every time (and I’ve read it four or five times now), but it’s also rewarding. I got my own personal copy from a used bookstore in Southport, NC called Books ‘n Stuff, and the previous owner had written several things in the margins, making it feel well-loved and like someone had thumbed through to their favorite passages every time they felt like they needed a little old-world charm added to their day.
  • Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None fights Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the top spot in my favorites. I simply love how chilling and morbid and creepy and horrific the book is, how genuinely terrified you feel while reading it, praying that at least one of the characters will make it off the island…but they don’t. ‘Nuff said.
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik will hold a special place in my heart. One day, after work, I got home, ready to plunk down on the couch and knit until bedtime…then the power went out. I was really scared (not of the dark, but of the power not ever coming back on), so my boyfriend and I lit a bunch of candles and I randomly picked this book off the shelf and started to read. And read. And read. I couldn’t put it down. I felt almost physically in pain every time I had to part with it, to go to work or to hang out with a friend. All I wanted to do was read this book. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend was getting upset at how much time I was spending with it. It’s based on Polish fairy tales, which makes it different from a lot of the books I’ve read that are fantasy or science fiction. The antagonist of the book isn’t a person, but rather corruption of the Wood, which came from an ancient wrong done to someone who became a tree. It festered in her heart until she corrupted the entire forest around her, creating poisonous fruit and dangerous monsters. Magic plays a large role in this, but also the intuition of a young girl, who isn’t particularly beautiful or special. I’ll move on to the next book before I end up laying out the entire plot.
  • Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. The reason I chose the second in the series is because it felt incredibly real. I can’t give away too many spoilers, but one of the main character’s closest friends dies in this book, and the way the author writes Celaena’s grief is intensely perfect. It’s irrational at times, and I feel that that alone made this book kind of epic. I haven’t finished the series, but I’ve read reviews of each book that I have read and can only offer that no one should read the reviews that other people have written about these books. Maas poured herself into her work and you can tell in some of the themes repeated throughout the series. The main character has several different love interests as the series progresses and each one helps to shape and form her as she grows into what she needs to become. I love that Celaena changes gradually, and I found it frustrating that other readers who had reviewed these books didn’t share my appreciation for Maas’ creative musings, or letting her character evolve. Fans wanted Celaena to stay exactly the way she was in the first book, and with all of what happens to her, that was never going to happen. I’m so glad Maas decided to follow her heart instead of pandering to greedy fans, because it made the series that much more genuine and true to itself.
  • I read Heir Apparent when I was pretty young, maybe eleven or twelve. I can’t really place why I love it so much, other than nostalgia. This book does cross from modern science fiction into high fantasy, and the main character ‘dies’ so many times, and learns from her mistakes, only to learn that the game she is playing is actually not possible to win. I highly recommend it, if only so you can see into my childhood a little bit to see how it was shaped.

Finally, leave us with your favorite bookish quote.

Jane Austen quotes; read yourself happy