Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Thanksgiving freebie — tell us what you are thankful for! Books you are thankful for!

As someone who’s been a reader my whole life, I’ve read a lot of books. Obviously. But there’s only a handful of those books that have actually changed me, moved my insides around and gave me a new outlook on life. I will forever be thankful for those books for making me who I am today, and I couldn’t be more excited to list them here for you.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’m sure this one is obvious, but I will never be able to properly express the way I feel about this series. I’ve always been someone who reads, but Harry Potter made me a reader. Harry Potter made me a voracious reader. Growing up with Harry and the crew put magic into my life and I’ll never forget that.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. A friend recommended this book to me my freshman year of college, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Meeting Charlie was exactly what I needed to come out of my shell and find myself in college. I’ve read this book more times than I can count and every single time I do, it means something else to me.

The Falls

The Falls by Ian Rankin. The first time I read The Falls, I was just a few months away from spending a month in Scotland for the very first time. I fell in love with the idea of Scotland in the book and I couldn’t wait to see it. The first time I walked across the North Bridge, which is part of a big scene in the book, I was filled with a sense of belonging and happiness and contentedness that I’d never felt. I went on to read every single book that Ian Rankin had written and wrote my senior honors thesis on his books and Edinburgh within them.

The Humans by Matt Haig     Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

The Humans by Matt Haig. At some point in every person’s life, they feel like an outsider, like an alien from another planet that no one understands. This book came at a time in my life when I felt like that, and it’s there for me every time I feel like that. It reminds me that I’m alive and I’m human and everything will be okay.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. Why, yes, I do have two books by Matt Haig on this list. Both of these books came at a time in my life when I really needed it. I read Reasons to Stay Alive at exactly the right time. Reading about Matt’s struggles with anxiety and depression helped me to understand my own more. It helped me to find hope and to find ways to hold on through the hurricane I was in.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy Cover

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. I think by now you all know I’m a little bit obsessed with Oliver Jeffers books. I first read this a few weeks after starting at my first library. It reignited my love of picture books, reminding me that they are happy things, easily digested for when things are tough and you just. need. to. finish. a. book.

What books changed your life?

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Top Ten Tuesday: (6) Bookish Characters

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.)

I couldn’t come up with a list of ten bookish characters, so instead, I have a list of six characters and a quote that describes their bookishness.

Throne of Glass The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Matilda by Roald Dahl The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Celaena Sardothien, Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

“It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”

Liesel, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.”

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

“I’ve learned all of our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough – I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?”

Matilda, Matilda by Roald Dahl

“These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

Skeeter, The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“I always order the banned books from a black market dealer in California, figuring if the State of Mississippi banned them, they must be good.”

Who are your favorite bookish characters?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to Check in With

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Characters You’d Like To Check In With (meaning, the book or series is over and you so just wish you could peek in on the “life” you imagine they are leading years down the line after the story ends).

I have very carefully chosen books that will probably never see another book. I think it’s somewhat silly to choose a book that is in the middle of the series or will have at least one more book after (even though I CAN’T WAIT to check it with the Raven Boys).

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli    The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky    The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons    The Humans by Matt Haig    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

1. Simon and Blue – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Happy publication day to this wonderful book!)

2. CharlieThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

3. Aya and KiranThe Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

4. Professor Andrew MartinThe Humans by Matt Haig

5. Everyone from the Anna and the French Kiss books but mostly Lola and CricketLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling    It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini    Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater    S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

6. Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch – The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

7. Teddy Lupin or really anyone in the second generation – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

8. CraigIt’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (I actually started crying while I typed that out. I just…can’t. All I can do is think of Ned Vizzini)

9. Grace Brisbane – the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

10. Jennifer and EricS. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

There are so many more I could list. What characters would you love to check in with?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends

toptentuesday

So it’s Top Ten Tuesday again! Yay! This week’s theme as laid out by The Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten Characters Who X (you fill in the blank — examples: piss me off, are the popular kids, are bookish, would be my bff, that stole my heart, etc. etc.)

I decided to choose top ten characters who were totally my book boyfriend.

I’d just like to say before I start this list that I am probably seriously screwed up if these are the characters I’d choose to be my boyfriend. But you know what? This is a judgment free zone. So no judging, okay? J I’d also just like to say I’m not really a Mr. Darcy type of girl.


1. Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower (he’s messed up, too, so we’d be one really messed up couple)

Charlie

Logan Lerman is my perfect Charlie.

2. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars (I think everyone will agree on this one)

3. John Rebus from the Inspector Rebus series by Ian Rankin (I’m so screwed up)

4. Fred or George Weasley (I mean, constant laughs)

Just adorable!

Just adorable!

5. Will from Divergent (he’s witty and sweet and brave)

6. Don Tillman from The Rosie Project (imagine dating Sheldon Cooper. I have problems)

7. Finnick from The Hunger Games series (He is gorgeous, strong, sweet. What else do you want?)

I mean, HELLO!

I mean, HELLO!

8. Sherlock Holmes (Of course I’d be interested in someone who’d have absolutely none in me)

9. Wes from The Truth About Forever (No words, guys)

I couldn’t think of a full list, so I asked one of my friends, Noelle Avenmarg, for her book boyfriend. She said:

10. Calvin O’Keefe from the Wrinkle in Time series. (Probably my first book crush).

 

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the Dead

 

Title: Love Letters to the Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publication Date: April 2014

Hardback: 323 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

 

 

I would like to start by saying that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my absolute favorite books, and Love Letters to the Dead has been highly recommended by the author of Perks, Stephen Chbosky, on Twitter, Goodreads, blurbs on the cover, and several other outlets. This was how I originally heard about Love Letters to the Dead, and it gave me pretty high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

Love Letters to the Dead begins with “Dear Kurt Cobain.” Laurel’s first assignment in her freshman English class is to write a letter to a dead person. She chooses Kurt Cobain because her older sister May loved him. But there’s another reason: May died young just like Kurt. Laurel doesn’t just stop at one letter though; she keeps writing letters to other people who have died, like Janis Joplin, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse. She writes to them about starting high school, being alone, making new friends and falling in love. Her letters detail what it is like to live with her broken family after the death of her sister. And eventually she writes about what happened to her before May died and why she cannot accept May’s death. She’s stuck, and through her letters she discovers who she is, who May was, and where she’s going in life.

What I thought:

Oh, man. This book is so powerful. There were several times that I just had to put the book down and breathe. Dellaira’s prose is beautiful, lyrical almost in the way she writes about Laurel and what’s she’s dealing with. The novel begins several months after the death of Laurel’s sister May, and Laurel has just started high school. She switches between a week at her father’s, where it is too quiet and sad, and her Aunt Amy’s, where she feels suffocated. Her mother left her to move to California after May died. Laurel is lost; she doesn’t know who she is or who she wants to be. The letters follow her as she begins to make friends at school: Natalie and Hannah, two girls who are trying to hide their true selves from the world, Tristan and Kristen, a free spirited couple dealing with what comes next after graduation, and Sky, the boy who will change, support, and love Laurel for who she is, if she could ever figure that out.

Not only does Laurel detail her own life, but she also writes about the lives that these deceased celebrities lead. She pays tribute to them in a way, because she doesn’t relate to them for their fame but rather for who they were as people and for the art they gave us. She talks about how Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse were able to use their voices to express how they truly felt and how we are able to relate to it because of that. Laurel tells us about what these people went through, why they died, or at least why she thinks they did, and how they suffered. She relates most of it back to herself in these letters. I really enjoyed these parts because I was able to learn so much more about these incredible people, and I can now relate to them on a completely different level, not just through their music, movies, or feats.

And finally she tells us what she went through, the abuse she suffered at the hands of someone that May trusted to take care of her. I think that the reader will probably be able to tell long before it is actually detailed that something like this happened to either her or May, but it was still a shock when you read it and could see how Laurel felt, the shame, the guilt, the uncertainty and confusion. And how she was unable to tell May because she was both angry at May and afraid. I think, however, that this is one of the only things I didn’t like about this book: Laurel repeats several times in her letters that she has a secret that she cannot tell anyone. While I understand that she felt that way, once I got that she had a secret to tell, every time she said it, I was just like Yeah, I know! But I think I can deal with the few repetitions for the beauty of the rest of the book.

After May’s death, Laurel deals with the guilt she feels, as if she was the one who killed her. Through Dellaira’s writing, we feel what Laurel feels, we deal with the guilt, too. It’s intense, horrific, and heartbreaking. This is one of Dellaira’s bestselling points: her portrayal of Laurel’s emotions. Sometimes it was like Dellaira just took as many emotions as she could and smashed them all together on a single page. But you know what? That’s what life is like, especially for someone dealing with the grief that Laurel is. Sometimes Laurel seems unpredictable in her emotions; one minute she is happy and falling in love and the next, she is grumpy, quiet, crying. I don’t think she could have more accurately captured the life of an adolescent. I also think she captured the emotions and unpredictability of someone dealing with depression. I’ve seen some reviewers say that the book seems as if it was written by someone who is analyzing Laurel’s emotions and not actually someone this young. I think these people have forgotten what it was like to be this age.

More than once I had to reread a few sentences or one of the letters because I just couldn’t believe how true it was or how much I could relate to it or just how beautifully written it was. Dellaira has written a book that pulls on your heartstrings and that rings completely true and sincere. I am so happy and sad to have read this book, and I hope that makes sense.

The bottom line:

Read it. I loved it. When I was just about to read the last letter, I put it down and sighed, pretty hard, I guess, and my mom said, “What’s wrong?” I just said, “I don’t want to finish it.” It was true; I didn’t. Not because it wasn’t good, but because then it would be over.

If you’re a fan of Perks, I think you’ll be a fan of Love Letters to the Dead.

One of my favorite quotes:

The house felt haunted, like only I understood the way all of our shadows, the ones we’d left, had seeped into the wood and stained it.” – Page 90

Rating: 9 – Practically Perfect

You can read and download the first four letters HERE

Learn more about Dellaira and her book on her website

 

Reading Next: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige