In our free time, we all too frequently turn to our phones, tablets, laptops, and other stimulating electronics, but it has become a goal of mine to spend less time with my eyes glued to my phone and more time with my nose in a book. Throughout college I always thought I was too busy to read, but then I thought about how much time I actually waste.
How many hours on end did I spend during my college career procrastinating my homework Facebook stalking or Instagram liking? Realizing that I didn’t want my time to be wasted these ways, I tried to cut back on the social media life and revamp my bookshelf.
My collection has grown throughout the years, and my bookshelf is my favorite part of my room. In fact, I just recently got all new bedroom furniture (yay!) but my biggest concern was where I was going to put my books. Much to my pleasure I’ve realized I can, in fact, keep my old bookshelf in its same place. While taking my books off my bookshelf, I saw some of my favorite books collecting dust and wanted to give them the appreciation they deserve.
I’m going to leave out the more widely known books that have turned into big blockbusters with loads of fans, even if I loved them (Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, you know the drill). I’m sure you have been bombarded with enough of their praise or criticism over the years. Instead, here are some of my favorites that will give you a better understanding of what I like to read and will be reading and discussing in this section of my blog!
Chances by Jackie Collins
Chances was the first Jackie Collins novel I ever read and it created an avalanche of all her works for me. This book was published in 1991, so I’m hoping to reintroduce a great series and interesting characters to those who haven’t heard of it. The novel, much like all of Collins work, is like a book version of a soap opera. It’s fun to get lost in the drama of an unknown Italian mobster world, and the characters are fascinatingly addicting and intriguing. The plot is three-fold, centering around a New York City wide blackout bringing characters together and unveiling their life stories, covering the life of the Santangelos and their extended families from the 1900s to present day. The book is a whirlwind drama that will leave you wanting more, and possibly hoarding all of Collins’ work, much like me!
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The way I found this book is ironic, since I found a quote I fell in love with while aimlessly perusing the Internet.
“I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”
Knowing nothing of the plot or the characters, I was immediately drawn to the way John Green put words together to create such a beautiful explanation of feelings. This book might have been on your high school summer reading list, but if you skipped over it, you better go back and give it a read. It’s not a long or hard book, but a light reading with a lot of feeling and passion behind it. With names like Alaska and The Colonel, Looking for Alaska‘s characters keep it interesting. This was another book that started my appreciation for the author, John Green, who is really quite an interesting man who has the utmost appreciation for reading and literature, inspires youth to embrace their “nerd” qualities, and really has a way with words that can keep the pages turning. I suggest starting your John Green journey with Alaska, follow up with The Fault in Our Stars (okay- I caved with the not mentioning books that turned into blockbusters, it’s just too good to leave out!), and then try Paper Towns. If you aren’t hooked by then, feel free to comment your disapproval!
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
This book told the tale of a young girl named Astrid’s upbringing after he eccentric mother is sentenced to prison after being charged with murder. The struggles Astrid faces aren’t something you will soon forget, as you feel all the ups and downs she goes through. Astrid is able to find a newfound sense of self throughout her journey as she champions through the obstacles life throws at her. If you like this book, my next suggestion would be to check out The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary Neal
This book warrants a disclaimer that I am not in the interest of discussing religion or faith in my posts, but this book was really interesting to me and is definitely worth a read. As a kid, I very rarely went to church (and never paid attention when I did) and because of my lack of extensive knowledge, I find it extremely interesting to read about others’ beliefs and interpretations on what our purpose of life is. No matter what your religious background is like, whether you are like me (not very religious) or even if you have your own firmly held beliefs, I would recommend this book to people of all backgrounds. Dr. Neal’s experiences and interpretations are fascinating to me, and she doesn’t spread her ideas in a ‘preachy’ way which I think is important to the credibility of the book. This book definitely shaped my perception on how I want to live my life, and I suggest it to anyone going through a rough patch in their lives or just open to new ideas about life. If you enjoy this book and are craving some more ideas, check out There’s More To Life Than This by Theresa Caputo or Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for a less faith-oriented perspective.
Honorary Mentions: The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Playing with Matches, The Witch’s Daughter
Spring Break Beach Trip Author Suggestions: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Emily Giffin, Nicholas Sparks