Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope to Find Under the Christmas Tree

Happy Tuesday and MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I’m back to blogging now that I’m on break in between semesters, which means it’s time for my first Top Ten Tuesday in a while. This week we’re asked to share the top ten books we hope to find under the Christmas tree. I actually didn’t ask for any books this year, but there are always some that I wouldn’t mind receiving…

 

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

It’s no secret that I love learning and reading about Frederick Douglass, a former slave who became an incredibly influential and important abolitionist orator in the nineteenth century. This new biography of Douglass just came out in October, so I’m eager to see how it compares to the other Douglass biography I’ve read.

Nehanda by Yvonne Vera

I’ve been trying to check out this book through the ILL system at my college library for weeks and for some reason it never seems to work. Vera is a large part of the honors thesis I’m currently working on, so I would love to read Nehanda, which was the first novel she ever wrote (not counting her collection of short stories published in 1992).

 

Operation Shylock: A Confession by Philip Roth

This past semester I took a senior seminar solely about Philip Roth. After reading so many Roth novels (and complaining about reading so many Roth novels), it’s a wonder that one has ended up on this list! But now that I’ve read so much Roth I feel like I should just keep going at this point.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I’ve been a fan of the Vlogbrothers for nearly a decade now, so it seems only fitting that I pick up Hank’s first novel one of these days. I’m so intrigued by the synopsis on Goodreads–who knows what kind of crazy stuff Hank has in store for us?

Secrets for the Mad by Dodie Clark

I’ve been a fan of Dodie’s music for a little while now (especially since seeing her perform live in London earlier this year!) so I’d love to read her book. If it’s anything like her song lyrics, then it’s bound to be beautifully written!

Those are all of the books I could come up with off the top of my head that I’d really love to own a copy of. What books are on your wish list? What do you think of the books on mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Once again, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share books by some of our favorite authors that we haven’t read (yet). Because I’ve had very little time to read lately and much of my reading is dictated by class reading lists, this particular list of mine could go on for miles. In the interest of time, here are just ten:

What books by your favorite authors have you yet to read? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

FREDERICK DOUGLASS by William S. McFeely

I’ve been fascinated by the life and writing of Frederick Douglass ever since reading his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) in my Introduction to Literature class during my very first semester of college. Born into slavery, Douglass eventually escaped to the North, became a free man, and rose to be a prolific orator and writer in the abolitionist movement of the nineteenth century. Like countless people throughout history, I am captivated by how eloquently and effectively Douglass was able to portray himself through language. I’ve written more essays about him than any other subject so far in college, all from different perspectives and angles. After writing a research paper about the critical reception of his biographies in a literary theory class, I decided it was time for me to finally read a full biography about this extraordinary figure. One day while browsing the shelves of a local independent bookshop I saw William S. McFeely’s biography Frederick Douglass and decided to give it a try.

Perhaps I should have expected reading a biography about someone who wrote several autobiographies to feel a bit strange, but the feeling didn’t really hit me until about fifty pages in. The story of Douglass’ experiences as a young slave and eventual success at running away sounded extremely familiar because it was– Douglass himself had written about it in all three of his autobiographies: A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). At this point I started to ask myself what the point of reading or writing a biography of someone who had written their autobiography was in the first place, but the answer was soon obvious: context. Anyone can write an autobiography any way they want, but the way they portray their own life can vary greatly depending on the context they choose to incorporate. For instance, Douglass left out nearly everything about his personal relationships from his autobiographies, only briefly mentioning that he married a woman named Anna at one point. Readers were left wondering what his life was like behind closed doors, which is information we now know thanks to research done for biographies such as this one.

Speaking of Douglass’ wife, reading about the many women in Douglass’ life was one of the most interesting aspects of this biography. Douglass might have been famously admired both in the North of the United States and abroad in the United Kingdom, but it sounds like Anna was not a huge fan. In reality, it seems like Douglass was a pretty mediocre husband at best. Not only did he leave Anna for extended periods of time while orating and traveling abroad, but he often brought back other women– usually white intellectual women he met in his travels– to live in their home. This latter action caused incessant rumors to spread wherever he was living at the time about Douglass’ potential affairs. It didn’t help matters that Anna, having once been a slave as well, was illiterate and therefore could not help Douglass with his writing career as could some of the other women he met and became close to later in life. Throughout this biography I couldn’t help but feel like poor Anna was dealt the short straw of the bunch, yet few people have recognized the struggle she must have endured sitting in the background of her husband’s life.

Overall, I really enjoyed this biography of Frederick Douglass and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about his life, abolitionism, or even woman’s rights during the Civil War and Reconstruction in the United States.

What are your thoughts on this biography of Frederick Douglass? Do you have a favorite biography in general? Any you would recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes

Happy Tuesday!! I am so excited for today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic because it focuses on one of my favorite things: QUOTES. So many of my books are covered in highlighter and pen lines because I’m an avid annotator and marker of writing that really resonates with me. Here are just a few of the many quotes I’ve fallen in love with over the years:

“I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”

{Originally from poet Francois Rabelais, read in Looking for Alaska by John Green}

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

{Brave New World by Aldous Huxley}

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”

{Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt}

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

{Matilda by Roald Dahl}

“In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.”

{Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton}

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” 

{Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass}

“My mother is a fish.”

{As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner}

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”

{The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien}

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

{Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling}

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

{Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë}

What are your favorite book quotes? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Could Reread Forever

Happy Tuesday!! I am so excited about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic because it features one of my absolute favorite parts about being a bookworm: rereading. I adore rereading my favorite books over and over and over again for countless reasons: the comforting familiarity, the brilliant writing, the characters that feel like old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while… the list goes on and on! It is my pleasure to share with you this list of ten books that I could reread forever. 

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I know I mention this book all the time but that is certainly not going to stop me from highlighting it here! I’ve read this novel more times than I can count and each time I do I become invested in Taylor and Jonah’s story all over again. It contains everything I love: characters with depth, a boarding school setting, stories within stories, literary references, beautiful writing, and a plot twist at the end that I never saw coming.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I first read The Hobbit when I was in fifth grade and then continued on with the trilogy before the following summer was out. I love these books to pieces and they’ve played such an important role in shaping me into the avid reader that I am today. (Favorite of the bunch? Definitely Two Towers. For some reason I’ve always had a dear attachment to it!)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

What would a list of rereads be without mentioning good old Harry Potter? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has featured this in their list this week. I’ve read many of the books a handful of times, although I can’t remember ever rereading Goblet of Fire now that I think about it…. (that’s my least favorite of the seven). I could definitely reread these books (and rewatch the movies) forever!

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

I reread this book for the first time last summer and was taken aback by how many new things I noticed. I’m now a firm believer that Faulkner is meant to be read more than once and I’m already looking forward to reading this brilliant, fascinating, bewildering novel again and again in the future. (The same goes for basically all of Faulkner’s works for me!)

The BFG by Roald Dahl

I was first read this adorable book by my fourth grade teacher in elementary school– and then again in fifth grade by the same teacher. Since then I’ve reread it once or twice and have loved it even more each time. Road Dahl is the master at creating timeless stories that captivate readers of all ages. There’s nothing like going back to this old favorite!

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg

I purchased my first and only copy of this book at a Scholastic book fair (I miss those so much!) when I was in third grade and I have read it nearly every summer since then. Not only is this simply an entertaining, clever summer camp story, but it’s also a novel about growing up and realizing that even adults don’t really know what they’re doing (what’s more liberating than that?!).

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is definitely one of those classics that never get old. There are countless fascinating ways to read and interpret this novel, from focusing on colors and other motifs to thinking about location, the American Dream, the role of women, prohibition, narrative voice– the list goes on and on! I’ve studied this in two different classes over the years and I honestly hope I get to study it again before undergrad is over.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

This may be John Green’s debut novel, but it remains my absolute favorite out of all the ones he has written. I love how the story seems so simple yet involves all of the complex and confusing emotions we each experience at one point or another. Besides, this novel has some of my favorite quotes in it!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

It’s generally rare for me to want to reread mystery novels once I know how they end; however, this book has always been the exception to that rule. This murder mystery is so cleverly executed that I never tire of tiptoeing around its twists and turns over and over again. (If anyone has seen the BBC mini series, I’d be really interested to hear what you think of it because I have yet to watch it!)

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

I. Love. This. Text. I’ve written numerous papers about it for various classes over the years and Douglass’ story never ceases to amaze, inspire, and intrigue me. Douglass’ life story is as captivating as his writing is eloquent, making Narrative a text that I’ll undoubtedly return to again and again in the future.

What books could you endlessly reread? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

Happy Tuesday!! It’s one of my favorite times of the year: THANKSGIVING! Even though I won’t be in the States for Thanksgiving this year (shout out to my college at Oxford for having a dinner for the American students!) it’s still fun to get into the festive spirit. Today I’ll be sharing ten books that I’m thankful for (besides Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings because I feel like those are a given for me).

The BFG by Roald Dahl

I distinctly remember my fourth and fifth grade teacher reading this book aloud to us on multiple occasions and I simply adored it. Dahl’s creative, whimsical, witty stories are one of the things that made me fall in love with reading from a young age.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I read this novel several summers ago and it is one of the books that made me realize how fun and rewarding reading classics can be. It also expanded my horizons of romantic classics beyond the usual Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

THIS. BOOK. I read this book in on of my freshman year literature classes in college and I’m convinced that it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with literary criticism and now want to be a professor. It’s amazing how one book can change everything!

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

I read this in the very first college literature class I ever took and it completely changed the way I think about narrative, form, and linguistic expression. In many ways it’s the text I keep coming back to over and over again what it is that I really love about literature.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Not only did this collection spark me to read and write more poetry recently, but it also made me think about myself and the world from a different perspective. Rupi Kaur’s words have gotten me through many rough days, for which I am incredibly grateful.

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky

I couldn’t be more thankful for this essay collection’s wit, humor, and important message: absolutely no one is perfect. Reading this book also launched me into the world of Watsky’s music, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already!

1984 by George Orwell

I’m so grateful for this novel’s ability to spark and continue important conversations about where today’s society is headed tomorrow. The parallels between our modern world and the fictional society in this novel are terrifying and uncanny and real.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I’m thankful for the way this book has made me laugh, think, and realize that I wasn’t the only one experiencing frustrating high school drama. John Green is amazing at making you feel less alone.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

This book is a hilarious reminder that success doesn’t come easy, not even for those who you admire or who seem like they have everything figured out. (Besides, Mindy always makes me smile!)

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg

I’m thankful for the way this book has made me smile, laugh, think, and look back on my own childhood nearly every summer for over a decade now.

Which books are you thankful for? What do you think about the ones I’ve mentioned? Do you have any fun Thanksgiving traditions or plans? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems in Non-fiction

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic celebrates books that are under-rated, under-discussed, and under-appreciated in specific genres. I’ve chosen a genre that I think fits this as well: non-fiction. There are so many amazing non-fiction books out there, yet so many readers (myself included!) tend to gravitate away from this misunderstood genre. In an effort to try to convince myself and others to read more from this genre, here are ten hidden gems of non-fiction!

 

Do you have a favorite non-fiction book? Have any recommendations? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,
HOLLY

Awards

Liebster Award | 5

I hope you’re having a fantastic Friday! Today I’m here to answer some questions as part of the lovely Liebster Award. Thanks so much to Kathy @ The Novelty of Life for nominating me!!

1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

I would LOVE to travel to Germany. I have family there that I’ve never visited, though they’ve visited me in the United States many times.

2. Do you have a good new adult recommendation?

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually read a book that’s considered part of the new adult genre!

3. If someone were to ask you why it is important to read, what would you say?

Perspective. Reading not only offers you new perspectives on ideas and situations, but it also allows you to view other people and cultures with more empathy.

4. What is your favorite reading spot?

At home in the summer I love to read in my backyard. Ideally, my favorite reading spot is on the beach at the lake where my family goes camping every summer.

5. When did you begin blogging?

SO LONG AGO. Technically I began blogging back in eighth grade using the Blogger platform (seven years ago?!?!) but I didn’t start using WordPress until high school.

6. If you could meet any author, who would you choose to meet?

Alive: John Green. Already dead: Willa Cather.

7. What genre do you want to read more of?

Contemporary poetry. I love Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey  and would really like to read more poetry collections like it. (Any and all recommendations are greatly appreciated!!!)

8. What is your favorite book? Why?

UGH THIS QUESTION. SO DIFFICULT. A book I really love that I don’t talk about nearly as much as I should is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I read it last summer by the lake when I was camping and was absolutely captivated by this sprawling, enchanting, beautifully crafted narrative. It’s not my favorite book ever, but it’s certainly on my list.

9. What is your least favorite book? Why?

I don’t think I have an all-time least favorite book, but one that I didn’t enjoy is The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. The protagonist bothered me, the love triangle plot was unoriginal, and the hype definitely caused me to have unrealistically high expectations. I went on to read the rest of the trilogy hoping that it would get better, but unfortunately I had no such luck.

10.  What is your favorite non-fiction book?

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. I cannot even begin to explain how fascinated I am by Douglass work and life story. I wrote one of my final papers last semester on the critical reception of Douglass as a writer and it was actually such an enjoyable paper to write. I’m really looking forward to reading his other two autobiographies (hopefully soon!).

11. What is the reasoning behind your blog’s title?

I’m a nerd with a nut allergy!

Meredith @ Meredith Reads || Tania @ The Bookworm Mummy || Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts || Angharad & Becky @ Two Book Thieves || Caitlyn @ Rhodes of Reading

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: FREEDOM!!

Happy Tuesday!! The lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish are taking a brief hiatus from hosting Top Ten Tuesday this summer, which means that I’ve decided to create some of my own TTT themes. Since today is Independence Day in the United States, I thought it would be fun to talk about books revolving around freedom. Though we might initially think of freedom as escaping from physical imprisonment or captivity, there are countless ways that freedom can be manifested. In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Books About Freedom:

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

This autobiography discusses one of the most important kinds of freedom, in my opinion: freedom from slavery. Douglass was a slave who escaped from bondage, traveled to New England, and became one of the most successful and influential African American orators of his time. His life story and his writing are as fascinating as they are inspirational.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I think we can all relate to the feeling of being trapped in a monotonous, dull routine. The Phantom Tollbooth offers young Milo a respite from this gloomy boredom and helps him realize that there is fun, adventure, and excitement to be found in everyday life. (It also features the most adorable dog!!)

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

As she hikes the grueling Pacific Crest Trail, Strayed is simultaneously on a journey to free herself from the regrets, mistakes, and sorrows of her past. What she finds is an illuminating sense of self, life, and purpose. This empowering emotional and spiritual freedom is incredibly inspiring to read about.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Atwood has created a brilliant, expertly crafted novel of what it feels like to live under an oppressive government that does not recognize the rights of women to their own bodies and lives. Offred, the protagonist, seeks freedom from the societal chains she is forced to bear. Not only is this simply a captivating story, but it contains an important message that we should remember in our own society today.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Though very different in many ways, Huck and Jim are both searching for the same thing as they journey along the river: freedom from the restrictive, controlling civilization they are forced to live in. This is a classic case of nature vs. civilization, making the raft a kind of liminal space where the normal rules of society are bent.

1984 by George Orwell

In this classic dystopian novel, Orwell shows how difficult it can be to maintain individuality and assert one’s free will in the face of an all-knowing, omnipotent government. Though freedom from observance is sought, such efforts ultimately prove futile. This is one of the most unsettling, startling, eye-opening books I’ve ever read!

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Haunted by the ghosts of her past as a slave, Sethe is nearly driven to madness as her memories become more and more real. This raw, unsettling, captivating novel captures the struggle of trying to break free from the past, especially when remnants of it still surround you.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Sometimes adolescence can feel like one big cage built by society, arbitrary rules of “popularity,” the desire to conform and be liked, high expectations of adults, and all of the questions you wish you had answers for. Fortunately, Charlie finds some freedom from this cage through the help of some unlikely friends.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer tells the true story of a man named Chris McCandless who traveled across the United States all the way to Alaska where he unfortunately passed away in the middle of the wilderness. Though people wonder exactly what Chris wanted to get out of his journey, I personally feel as though he was searching for the freedom to live the life he wanted to live without feeling restricted by society.

1776 by David McCullough

How could I create a list about freedom without including a book about America’s independence from Great Britain? McCullough is a masterful historian and storyteller, as shown through his ability to tell this inspirational and engaging historical account.

 

What books remind you of freedom? What do you think of the books on my list? Do you have any fun Fourth of July traditions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Non-fiction

Happy Tuesday!! This week the wonderful bloggers of The Broke and the Bookish are focusing on books that we’ve recently discovered in specific genres. Today I’ll be sharing my list of ten non-fiction books that I recently added to my TBR list. I’m hoping to read quite a bit of non-fiction this summer, so this seems like a good starting place!

What non-fiction books have you recently added to your TBR list? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY