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

Advertisements
Classic Couple

A Classic Couple: Chronicle of a Death Foretold and The Secret History

I don’t often enjoy reading books that are really dark, unsettling, and morbid, but this week’s Classic Couple is certainly an exception. Published a little over a decade apart, Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez (1981) and The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992) both have similar structures as murder mystery novels with a twist.

Answers your question before it is even asked || Both of these novels waste no time telling the reader exactly what death will occur by the end of the story. Rather than reading to see who has died, you’re reading to learn under what circumstances they died. When I first started reading The Secret History a few years ago I was a bit dubious about this format– after all, how interesting could it be if you already know who is going to die? Well, I stand corrected. Tartt’s attention to detail as well as the convoluted, bizarre plot and intriguing characters made the novel even more engaging and interesting than I had initially anticipated. Chronicle of a Death Foretold definitely confirms the effectiveness of this inside-out format with its suspense and ability to pull readers in from the very first page.

Complicates the notion of blame || One of the most interesting aspects of these books is the way they complicate the notion of blame. To a certain extent, one could argue that numerous people are involved with the deaths of Bunny and Santiago Nasar alongside those who literally, physically killed them. A sense of communal blame is especially prominent in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, in which basically the entire community knows that the two Vicario brothers plan to murder Nasar but no one actually tells him. Should these people also be held responsible for the death of Nasar? Should they be considered accomplices in this crime? Or are they simply bystanders trying to do their best to stay out of trouble? These are the sort of questions that make these kinds of novels so difficult to put down.

Still surprising and suspenseful || Despite the large amount of information presented in the beginning, these novels still manage to be surprising and suspenseful. In particular, I was taken aback by how unexpected the deaths felt at the end even though I had plenty of warning ahead of time that they were coming. I think convoluted plots play a role in this surprising feeling (particularly in the case of The Secret History, in which many bizarre events occur), as do the gory details and the suddenness of the event after so much leading up to it. All at once what was a mere story for so long abruptly becomes reality, and the brutal force of the death is hard to swallow.

If you’re ever in the mood for a different kind of murder mystery, definitely check out these haunting, dark, lyrically written novels!

Click here to check out other Classic Couples from past posts.

What are your thoughts on these books? What other books could they be paired with? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Got some tea and a snack or two? Buckle up, because this Rapid Fire Book Tag is a long one! Thanks so much to Heather @ Book and Words for tagging me!!

Question 1 : E-Book or Physical Book?

Physical book!! I can’t even remember the last time I read an ebook.

Question 2 : Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback!! They’re easier to hold, lighter to carry, fit easily on bookshelves, and you don’t have to worry about pesky dust jackets.

Question 3 : Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Online shopping for the cheaper prices, but in-store book shopping for the overall experiences and lovely bookish smells.

Question 4 : Trilogies or Series?

Hmm…. this is a tough one! I think I’ll go with series to avoid the second-book slump that a lot of trilogies tend to have. (Except for Lord of the Rings because I absolutely love The Two Towers!)

Question 5 : Heroes or Villains?

Heroes!! I’m a sucker for an underdog story, though I do enjoy books with anti-heroes. My favorite anti-hero to mention is Victor from Vicious by V.E. Schwab. He’s such a complex, interesting character to read about because you never know what he’s going to do next.

Question 6 : A book you want everyone to read?

If you branch out and read one book you wouldn’t normally read this summer, definitely read Sartoris by William Faulkner. This is possibly my favorite Faulkner book I’ve read so far, which surprised me because it isn’t one that’s usually discussed or read in English classes. It might not be as popular as The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying, but in my opinion it is just as fascinating, poignant, well-written, and brilliant!

Question 7 : Recommend an underrated book?

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, look no further than Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This story about a woman who relives parts of her life over and over again in different ways is sure to have you on the edge of your seat!

Question 8 : The last book you finished?

Just this morning I finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was SO SAD, but I enjoyed it much more than I initially thought I would.

Question 9 :The Last Book(s) You Bought?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Question 10 : Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

Usually I’m pretty good about using actual bookmarks, but occasionally I do use receipts, sticky notes, and even string (!!) as placeholders.

Question 11 : Used Books: Yes or No?

YES!! I love used books because a) they’re cheap and b) sometimes they have fun notes and annotations from previous owners in them. Also, who can resist than old book smell?

Question 12 : Top Three Favourite Genres?

Right now my top three favorite genres are classic literature, fantasy, and science fiction.

Question 13 : Borrow or Buy?

Buy!! (As long as my wallet is able.)

Question 14 : Characters or Plot?

Characters!! In general I tend to find character-driven novels a lot more interesting and captivating than novels mostly motivated by plot. Part of me thinks this is because it can be really difficult to write a plot without holes and with a satisfying ending. William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and Melina Marchetta are some writers who write excellent character-driven novels. 

Question 15 : Long or Short Books?

Long books!! There’s nothing like the feeling of finally finishing a tome after hours upon hours dedicated to reading. It’s so satisfying!

Question 16 : Long or Short Chapters?

Short!! I tend to read books with short chapters so much more quickly than books with long chapters because it’s easy to say, “Oh, just one more quick chapter before I go to bed…”

Question 17 : Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Question 18 : Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

Laugh!! I usually try to avoid sad books (and movies!) at all costs. Who wants to be sad when they can read something that will make their day brighter?

Question 19 : Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Oooh, this is tough! Though I love reading books about fictional worlds (Harry Potter, LOTR, etc.), lately I’ve been reading many more books set in our world. I think some of the most interesting and captivating stories mix the two. For instance, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez takes place in our world but adds in magical elements from legends and myths that make it fantastical. 

Question 20 : Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes!! I love how much you can get done while listening to audio books– exercising, doing laundry, washing dishes, knitting, etc. My favorite audio books are ones narrated by the authors who wrote the books themselves, such as Neil Gaiman.

Question 21 : Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Yes, though I certainly won’t hold an ugly cover against a book if the content inside is amazing ❤

Question 22 : Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

Book to movie adaptations! I’m the worst with staying up to date with TV series, so I would much rather watch a single movie and be in the know already.

Question 23 : A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

The Shining by Stephen King. I watched the movie before reading the book and was so disappointed to find that some of my favorite scenes aren’t even in the novel!

Question 24 : Series or Standalone’s?

Stand-alones!! I love reading classic literature, and most of the books in this genre are standalone.

Thanks again to Heather for tagging me!!

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

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

St. Patrick’s Day {the bookish way}

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! I’m not Irish in the slightest, but I’m a firm believer that holidays are meant to be celebrated by anyone and everyone. When I was younger I always looked forward to going to school dressed in green from head to toe and seeing what the “leprechaun” would leave me in my shoes during the night.

In honor of this special occasion, I thought it would be fun to share some pretty pictures of books with green covers. Finding a decent number of green books on my bookshelves was actually more difficult than I initially expected it to be (apparently I own many more blue books than green!) but in the end I managed to round up a fair amount.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling is probably my favorite book of the entire series. I love how dark and mysterious it is as well as how much information we learn about Tom Riddle, Dumbledore, and the inner workings of Voldemort lore in general. For me, it was when the driving plot behind the series really clicked into place.

To be honest, I don’t even know why I’ve kept my copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne for this long because I really wasn’t impressed by the story in the slightest. I read it years ago but distinctly remember thinking that the story was ridiculously illogical at times. I hated the awkward, shifting pacing of the plot and the ending was disappointingly lackluster. But just look at the gorgeous green cover!

Nothing screams “SUMMER!” to me quite like The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg, which I excitedly bought at a Scholastic Book Fair when I was in third grade. I’ve reread it countless times since then, taking something new away from the story with each revisit. Back when I was ten years old it was simply a summer camp story to me; now that I’m twice that age, I tend to notice the way the narrative arcs through time in subtle patterns. And there’s no denying that Konigsburg’s witty sense of humor gets better and better with each reread.

Growth and Structure of the English Language by Otto Jespersen was the textbook I used for the Evolution of English class I took last semester. It was a tad drier than I would have liked, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more informative, concise volume. (Besides, it has such a strikingly simple design.)

I read the English translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez over the summer and unexpectedly fell in love with it. The colorful green design of this edition perfectly suits the narrative’s basis on nature, passion, and the cyclical aspect of life.

Last but not least, O Pioneers! is the second novel I’ve read by Willa Cather. I decided to read it after I felt the void of having finished Cather’s brilliant book My Ántonia. Another one of her novels is currently eyeing me from my bookshelf as I write this and I can’t wait to finally get around to reading it soon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into my meager collection of green books. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

What are your favorite books that are green? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2016

foodie-facts-about-me-15

Happy Tuesday!! Can you believe that 2016 has almost come to a close? It feels like it was New Year’s Day just yesterday, yet here we are as 2017 fast approaches. I’ve been fortunate to have read a plethora of fantastic books this past year, so narrowing down a list of my Top Ten Best Books of 2016 was no easy feat. Nevertheless, here are the best books I’ve read in 2016 in the order that I read them:

stiletto-13

stiletto-14

stiletto-15

stiletto-16

stiletto-17

stiletto-18

stiletto-19

stiletto-20

stiletto-21

stiletto-22

What are some of the best books that you read in 2016? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books, Classics Club Challenge

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel García Márquez | Review

In a New York Times book review, William Kennedy once wrote that “One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” After reading Gregory Rabassa’s English translation of this classic Spanish novel by Gabriel García Márquez, I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Kennedy. My Spanish professor has been recommending this book to us for several semesters, and now I finally understand the source of his enthusiasm. Not only is this novel an incredible work of literature, but it is also a captivating, entertaining story that encompasses so many different aspects of the human experience.

IMG_3368

One of the countless strengths of One Thousand Years of Solitude is how seamlessly the stories and experiences of numerous characters are woven together in one effortless account. The chapters feel more like checkpoints added for the benefit of the reader rather than necessary components of the story itself, emphasizing the remarkable fluidity of this novel. Each scene flows into the next as though they were always meant to lead directly into one another, as though the story could not have been told any other way. Moreover, the writing itself is beautiful and enchanting, like Márquez wanted to lull the reader into a state of tranquility with this strange, captivating fairy tale of sorts. There’s nothing quite like his writing style– you really have to experience it for yourself!

“She became human in her solitude.” (p.363)

The largest complaint I’ve heard about this book is that it can be confusing and difficult to fully understand. There is an ever-growing cast of characters, many of which share one of two names: either José Arcadio or Aureliano. Though I did have to reorient myself at times while reading, the confusion problem wasn’t a significant issue for me. I found that it didn’t really matter if I knew exactly what was happening at all times because in the end everything was cyclical anyways. In some ways, I think that is part of the essence of the novel: intense drama occurs and crazy things happen and people are born and then die, but amidst the chaos life will always go on. I didn’t worry about keeping all of the names and events perfectly straight in my mind because understanding the overarching ideas was more important. In that regard, I love the way this story literally spans over a century of time. Most stories take place within a mere number of days, months, or a handful of years, but this novel is unique in its wide breadth of time.

To be completely honest, I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I do. Everything about it is brilliant: the writing, the characters, the town of Macondo, and the simple feeling of the story overall. This book is strangely relaxing to read. It’s difficult to express, but I felt a wave of calm wash over me whenever I returned to the story again. I love the surprising elements of magic and the little nuggets of history hidden here and there that I wasn’t expecting to uncover. I even love the fact that this is a translation of the original Spanish version, because it makes me wonder how my perception of the story has been influenced by reading it in English. While I’m glad that I read it in English my first time around, I am looking forward to reading the original Spanish version at some point in the future!

There is so much more that I could discuss, but I fear that doing so would result in a mile-long post. I know that no review I will ever write can possibly do this masterpiece of literature just, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it is truly an incredible novel. I am so grateful that my Spanish professor highly recommended this book to use in class because otherwise it might have been years before I would have gotten around to reading it. Enchanting, mesmerizing, and beautifully bizarre, One Hundred Years of Solitude surely is a must-read for everyone.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!

What are your thoughts on this novel? Are there any other works by Gabriel García Márquez that you would recommend? What has your experience been with reading books in translation? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Bookish Booklover Tag

Book Courtship-9

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely day. Today I have a great tag that is right up every bibliophile’s alley: the Bookish Booklover Tag. Thank you so much Grace @ kimmie.gg for tagging me! It made my day!

Suspense-30

  • Answer the questions!
  • Use lots of book covers
  • Tag your friends

Suspense-31

One More Thing by B.J. NovakWhat book are you currently reading?

I’ve been reading One More Thing by B.J. Novak for many months now. It’s a book of short stories written by one of the writers of the TV show The Office, so naturally it’s something that I would love. I keep it by my bed in my dorm room and occasionally read a story or two before bed if I have time or feel like I need to unwind. It’s a great book to pick up and down in short bursts.

420694What’s the last book you finished?

Crónica del desamor by Rosa Montero, which was assigned reading for my Contemporary Women Writers in Spanish class. It was a challenging book to get through, but the issues it discusses concerning gender roles, sexuality, and women’s rights in society are really fascinating.

7597Favorite book you read this year?

I’ve read a lot of amazing books in 2016, so choosing only one favorite is really challenging. The most recent book I read that blew me away was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. My Spanish professor has been recommending this classic to us for ages, and I finally decided to read it this summer. This bizarre but beautiful novel is one that I’ll surely be returning to in the future!

My AntoniaWhat genre have you read most this year?

I don’t have an exact number or percentage to go off of for this question, but I think it’s safe to say that I’ve mostly read classic literature and non-fiction. I read a lot of them this past semester for my literature class, so that helps explain it. Besides, I just love reading classics. ❤

When We CollidedWhat genre have you read least this year?

This sounds strange to say, but I think I’ve actually read Young Adult books so far this year. For the longest time it’s been the genre that I’ve consistently read the most of each year, but I feel as though that’s starting to change. I’ve been so busy reading for school that I haven’t had much time to catch up with all of the YA books that I’ve missed. So many series, so little time!

9822053What genre do you want to read more of?

Classic literature! Even though I read a lot of classic already, I still can’t help but feel as though there are so many of them that I have yet to read. Sense and Sensibility, Far from the Madding Crowd, Middlemarch, and Emma are all titles that I want to get to soon, and there are so many more that I could list!

badge-home-completed-1736dedbcd3c31946d5b98bb506c1051How many books have you read this year, and what’s your goal?

My original Goodreads goal for 2016 was 24 books, but I reached that number in late May. As of now I’ve read THIS MANY books this year, and I’m really happy with that number. With school and my busy schedule I definitely didn’t expect to read that many books!

tumblr_inline_mrqz35q0S81qz4rgpWhat’s the last book you bought?

Textbooks. Lots and lots of textbooks. I needed seven for my Modern Latin American History class alone, not to mention the ones for my Evolution of English, Physics, and Contemporary Spanish Women Writers classes. The majority of the titles on my required reading list are actual textbooks instead of novels (besides the Spanish ones), so I’ll be reading a lot of non-fiction in the near future!

13588439What book are you saving up to buy next?

I don’t have a specific book in mind, but I would love to buy a copy of Stacy London’s book The Truth About Style. I’ve had my eye on it for a while now, but I’ve never seen a copy in any of the bookstores I’ve shopped at recently. I’ll probably end up ordering it online eventually!

2016-07-16 09.53.32How many books did you check out last library visit?

Probably three? I tend to usually check out books in groups of three, in case I make it through two and don’t have anything to read. (Spoiler alert: This rarely ends up happening, and then I end up returning a bunch of books I didn’t even read. Bad library habits.)

stiletto coverWhat’s a book you can’t wait to read?

Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley. I absolutely loved The Rook when I read it a few years ago, and I’ve been dying to read this sequel ever since. It was finally released this summer, but I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I can’t wait to get back into this clever, witty, fantastical story!

the raven boysWhat’s a series you’d recommend to everyone?

I don’t know if I would recommend it to everyone, but if you’re a fan of fantasy, YA, or Maggie Stiefvater’s writing in general than I would highly recommend her Raven Cycle series. I recently finished reading it in August and I was absolutely enthralled by the story. It has a little bit of everything: magic, adventure, suspense, family, friendship, romance, and even some private school drama!

looking for alaskaWho’s an author you’re hoping writes more?

JOHN GREEN. I don’t care what negative things people say about him– I love his books, and I really hope he writes more of them soon! I read his books so many times throughout high school that I feel as though they helped shape me as a reader in some way. Looking for Alaska is by far my favorite of his novels.

jane eyre coverA few books your heart adores?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. There are so many more books I could mention, but I think I’ll stop there for now. I tend to fall in love with books much more easily than disliking them, which means my list of favorites is quite long!

The Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterWhat series’ coming conclusion makes you sad?

I haven’t been reading a lot of series lately, so I’m not really up to date with which ones are ending soon. However, the ending of the Raven Cycle series that I previously mentioned was really bittersweet. I wish that series could go on forever, or for a few more books at the very least!

21412202-2What books are on your wish list?

One book that’s on my wish list that I haven’t mentioned yet in this tag is As You Wish by Cary Elwes, who played Westley in the movie The Princess Bride. It’s about his experiences surrounding the movie and honestly just sounds like such a fun, lighthearted read. Besides that, my wish list contains a bunch of beautiful classic editions I’ve been pining over for ages. Fingers crossed I can add a few of them to my bookshelves soon!

200_s

Suspense-32

Thanks again to Grace for tagging me!

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

Yours,

HOLLY