Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors in 2017

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic takes us back to what we read last year (it’s so strange to say that already!). Today I’m here to share the top ten new-to-me authors that I read for the first time in 2017. Fortunately, I have many, many great authors to choose from! In the order that I read them, they are:

What were your favorite authors in 2017? What do you think of the authors I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2017

Happy Tuesday!! The end of 2017 is just around the corner (!!!), meaning it’s time to reflect on what I’ve read thus far this year. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme highlights the best books we’ve read in 2017, and fortunately I have plenty of fantastic texts to choose from. I’ve decided to limit my list to the books I read for the first time this year because there were many, many rereads thrown into the mix. Here are my favorite books of 2017 in the order that I read them:

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

From my review: I bought a copy of Milk and Honey on a whim because I had heard a lot of great things about it. What I didn’t realize was that Rupi’s words would resonate so deeply with me and linger on in my mind long after I had read them. These poems are for anyone and everyone, regardless of whether or not you’ve read or enjoyed poetry in the past. Rupi Kaur has written poetry for human nature.

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky

From my review: Reading this book felt like having the a random, hilarious, and well-spoken conversation with Watsky. How to Ruin Everything is definitely something I’ll be returning to in the future– for a laugh, for inspiration, and to be reminded that there’s nothing quite like the power of a good story.

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

From my review: I was enthralled by this novel. Everything about it captivated me from the very first sentence to the very last word. In fact, I was enjoying it so much that I marked all of my favorite passages with sticky notes, only to realize halfway through that I would have to take them all out when I was finished (it was a library book).

Sartoris by William Faulkner

From my review: When I first started reading Sartoris I was so confused by the many Johns and Bayards that I actually created a character web or family tree of sorts in an attempt to keep them all straight in my mind. However, I thought this would be a much larger hindrance than it ended up being in the long run because the characters became more defined as I became more invested in the story. In fact, the links between the characters– both linguistically with names and in terms of their relationships and personalities– soon became my favorite aspect of this novel. Faulkner uses the Sartoris family to ask a fascinating question: Are these events caused by the fate of the family or a logical cause-and-effect reaction? In other words, are these people responsible for their actions or have they already been destined (or doomed)?

Matilda by Roald Dahl

From my review: I really wish I had read this book when I was younger because I think Matilda’s character would have really resonated with me. Younger Holly would have been thrilled to read about a bookworm like myself who triumphed over obstacles against all odds. Matilda is such an important character for children to read about, both as a bookish hero as well as a strong, clever, independent female character.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

From my review: I enjoyed The Woman in White far more than I had initially expected to when I turned to the very first page. Collins’ meticulous attention to details and carefully developed characters make for an impressive, memorable, suspenseful, and thrilling story. I’m so thankful that this novel was on my required reading list for this term– sometimes they contain unexpected gems!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

From my review: As the facade fades away, the reader realizes that what appears to be a utopian world is actually a dystopian society masked in false promises and illusions. I love Brave New World for the way it makes you think about our own society and what we value in our lives today. It’s interesting to think about how this novel was first published in 1932 yet it’s still relevant almost a century later. To me, this endurance is the definition of a classic.

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

From my review: For me, the most challenging aspect of this novel was deciphering exactly what happened in the Sutpen family. Who married who? Who killed who? Who had children and who didn’t? Who is still alive? In what order did this all take place? These questions and many others remained at the forefront of my mind the entire time I was reading. There are so many characters, voices, and events– not to mention the fact that it’s not told in chronological order. It was fascinating and exciting to constantly learn new information; however, it also makes it much more confusing to read. I think this is a novel that would absolutely benefit from being reread in the future now that I have the basic plot in my mind.

Quiet by Susan Cain

Sneak peak of my upcoming review: Cain has done incredible work providing both introverts and extroverts with a guide as to the importance of being “quiet.” As an introvert, I constantly found myself nodding along with her ideas and examples, seeing myself accurately reflected in her words. If more teachers, employers, friends, and family members read Quiet, the world would be a brighter, more productive, less stress-inducing place for introverts everywhere.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I haven’t yet posted my review of John Green’s most recent novel, but rest assured that I enjoyed it immensely. The representation of mental health issues is incredible and I became invested in the characters almost immediately. You know a novel is great when you find yourself still thinking about it days later!

What are your favorite books of 2017? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books, Poetry

THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS by Rupi Kaur | Review

Recently I read this Guardian article by Priya Khaira-Hanks that speaks about the controversy surrounding Rupi Kaur as an “instapoet” who has supposedly lowered the bar when it comes to the quality of publishable poetry. Kaur’s poetic style is often parodied with the intended implication being that anyone could write such simple, mundane lines. Despite this criticism, Khaira-Hanks asserts that Kaur presents an important and underrepresented voice in our modern world of poetry, saying at the end of the article:

As a young woman of colour in a world where white, male delectations are treated as the definitive barometer of taste, Kaur speaks a truth that the literary establishment is unlikely to understand. Even the most sincere critique of her work can slide from healthy debate into vicious attack at the turn of a page. But to read Kaur’s success as an omen of the death of poetry would be to unfairly dismiss writing that contains bravery, beauty and wisdom. Frankly, the literary world is saturated with white male voices of dubious quality. Kaur’s poetry should be given the same freedom to be flawed.

After reading Kaur’s second published poetry collection titled The Sun and Her Flowers, I’m inclined to agree with the Guardian article. Kaur’s poems are not perfect, yet I believe that is precisely the point: they are not perfect and neither are those who read them. I admire Kaur’s poetry not because it demonstrates a mastery of poetic form or follows conventional poetic traditional; rather, I keep returning to her words because they’re true. Genuine. Raw. Honest. Real.

Kaur once gave a TEDtalk called “I’m Taking My Body Back” in which she discussed how she began writing poetry as a means of survival in the tumultuous aftermath of abuse. Listening to her speak about her trauma adds another layer of depth and emotion to her work. Suddenly those short, seemingly simple snippets of verse (“what is stronger / than the human heart / which shatters over and over / and still lives”) take on greater meaning and significance in the context of someone’s actual experiences. I know that I find solace and comfort in her words because they are so undeniably human in their capacity to feel. Those moments of clarity when you finally feel as though someone else understands what you’re going through are abundant in Kaur’s work– perhaps this is why readers continue to support this (to use her flower analogy) blossoming young poet.

At times The Sun and Her Flowers so closely resembles her first collection Milk and Honey that I probably would only be able to recognize a handful of poems by sight from each. I would have liked to see a little bit more experimentation with form (more than the long paragraph poems); however, I did appreciate the vivid flower analogy that ties the entire collection together quite nicely. This collection felt repetitive to me, especially following Milk and Honey. Personally, I hope that she branches out a bit more if she publishes a third collection in the future.

Overall, Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers is an emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking collection of poetry. Although Milk and Honey remains my favorite of her collections, I nevertheless look forward to reading whatever poetry she continues to share with us readers in the future. I would highly recommend this collection even if you haven’t read anything by Kaur before!

What are your thoughts on The Sun and Her Flowers or any of Rupi Kaur’s other poetry? Have any recommendations for other poets I should check out? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Location Book Tag

I hope you’ve all had a lovely week! Today I’m here with the Location Book Tag from ages ago (I was tagged in the summer, I think). Thanks so much to Charlotte Annelise for tagging me!!

1. You’re sat in a coffee shop trying to read when a group of excited six year olds come in with their parents and begin screaming in the play area. Which book can you push past the noise and lose yourself in?

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Not only is this book incredibly suspenseful and gripping, but it’s also such a fun story. I could block out any and all noise while reading this!

2. Your (rich) friends dare you to spend the night in a haunted house for an undisclosed but inevitably large sum of money. Which book do you bring to distract yourself with?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Imagine reading Frankenstein in such a spooky atmosphere! It’s kind of like the time I read Stephen King’s The Shining while staying at a lodge on a mountain in the wintertime…

3. Though the landscapes are beautiful, your delayed train journey is starting to drag. Which book do you take out?

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. While reading this book I couldn’t help but think about the beautiful landscape it must have taken place in.

4. It’s beach time! You have your family and friends around you and don’t want to miss out on the conversation too much but still want to read. Which book do you choose?

Probably something I’ve read before and loved, such as The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg. I’ve read this book so many times that I feel like I know it by heart at this point!

5. You’re backstage ready for your big emotional scene but the tears just won’t come. Which book do you get out to make you cry?

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This collection of poetry is so emotional, raw, and honest that it’s bound to make me tear up at times.

6. You’re camping in the woods with your friends and you’re the first to wake up. Which book do you read under the early morning light?

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. This lovely story set in a magical woods would be perfect to read from a cozy sleeping bag in a tent.

7. You’ve had an amazing day on your solo trip but now that you’re back at the hotel, you’re starting to feel a little homesick. What do you read to feel less lonely?

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book always reminds me of my childhood and is sure to make me feel less homesick.

8. You’ve been invited for an interview for a place at a prestigious university. Which book do you lay flat on your knee to hide the cover while you wait?

Probably something Shakespeare that I feel like I should have read by now as an English major.

9. The book exchange stall at the library finally has the book you’ve wanted for so long, and you have a book in your bag that you’ve been dying to get rid of. Which do you give away, and which do you take?

I’d give away The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han and I’d pick up Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

10. You were just browsing the children’s section of the library and boom, you’re hit with a sudden blast from the past. Which book have you found that you haven’t seen for years but that you used to love as a child?

The BFG by Roald Dahl. I loved this book SO MUCH when I was younger. Recently I reread it and it was everything I remembered and more. Roald Dahl is a brilliant storyteller!

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

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

OCTOBER 2017 | Wrap-Up

Hello! I hope you’re all having a lovely November day now that October has come and gone. Though I’m sad to see it go, I’m even more excited to welcome in the new month– November may be my favorite! The leaves are falling, the air is getting colder and crisper, and it’s time to talk about what I was up to during the month of October.

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In October I read a total of 3 books:

  1. Light in August: A Study in Black and White by Alwyn Berland
  2. George Eliot by Simon Dentith
  3. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

I think this short list is kind of hilarious when compared to all of the snippets and chapters of books my nose has been stuck in over the past month for my course work. I do so much reading each week in order to research for the essays I have to write, but it’s rare that I actually read an entire book because usually it’s not all relevant to my essay topic. However, I’m really pleased that I was able to squeak in two full books… and one for FUN?!?!?!

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur is definitely the best book I read in October. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this second poetry collection from Rupi Kaur ever since I finished reading her first one, Milk and Honey. This collection has a similar vibe and the words are as raw, intense, emotional, genuine, and beautiful as ever. I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, even if you have never read her previous poetry collection.

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Someone once told me that after spending a certain amount of time in a new place, no matter how grand or new or different, it will eventually start to feel like less of a Place and more of simply a place. Now that I’ve lived here for a month and a half I’m starting to look at Oxford from a different perspective. It is the magnificent place of my year abroad, but it’s also just another city in which people live and work and go grocery shopping and commute and do the normal tasks we do every day. It’s actually refreshing to see the city this way because it feels more real and less like I’m walking around in a dream. There’s a shopping mall next to buildings that have been there for centuries and a cyclists that whizz by you on their way to and from work and people walking down the street in black formal gowns on a Tuesday night and somehow it’s all become my new sense of “normal.”

I’ve definitely felt myself settling in more during October. Not only did I join more extracurricular activities (I play football now, joined the Oxford Student Union, and was elected as the Visiting Student Representative for my college) but I also feel more connected to the people here. Sometimes it’s strange to think about the fact that after June I might never see some of these people again, but we’re all trying to just make the most of our time while we are here. Fortunately the matriculated students at my college are incredibly friendly and welcoming, so they definitely make it easier to feel a sense of belonging.

Tutorials have been interesting and great but still very different from the style of education that I’m used to back in the States. The food is delicious but I’m also craving a big homemade pumpkin pie. Everything is absolutely beautiful here and I’m convinced that I will never, ever get used to being surrounded by so much gorgeous architecture and scenery. Long story short: I feel very, very lucky.

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As I mentioned in my last monthly wrap-up, finding time to blog in my hectic schedule is a challenge. Every day I thank past Holly for having the foresight to schedule so many posts in advance! Though it might take me a while to respond to them, please know that I greatly appreciate every single comment left on my posts! ❤

Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month:

How was your month of October? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? 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

Tags

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2017

Can you believe that 2017 is already half way over??? I’m still not used to how far along we are in the twenty-first century. Every time someone mentions the 90s my first thought is “Ah, yes, that decade ten years ago.” But that is NOT THE CASE and it’s kind of scary… Anyways, thanks so much to Inside My Library Mind for tagging me in this Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017?

Must we start with the most difficult question ever??? I’ve read so many great books this year that choosing just one is really hard, so I’m going to go with two: How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky and Sartoris by William Faulkner. (Could you get two more opposite books??)

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017?

I actually don’t think I’ve read any sequels this year!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

When I heard that John Green was releasing a new book this fall I literally squealed in delight, surprise, and excitement. ANOTHER JOHN GREEN BOOK, PEOPLE. From what he’s shared about the basic premise of Turtles All the Way Down it promises to be an entertaining, thought-provoking, and story about adolescence, mental illness, and life. October can’t come soon enough!!!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I’m honestly not very up to date with new releases for the second half of 2017, so I don’t think I have an answer to this question.

5. Biggest disappointment.

How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. This was the first book I read (listened to, actually) in 2017 and I was so disappointed by it. I disagreed with many of her points and was frustrated by her tendency to focus on problems that were fairly tedious and insignificant compared with the more serious issues that some women have to deal with on a regular basis. The potential was there for this to be a great book, but in the end I just don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been.

6. Biggest surprise.

Sartoris by William Faulkner. Unexpectedly, this may be my favorite Faulkner novel that I’ve read thus far. I had never heard of it before taking a closer look at the Faulkner section of my local library because usually people stick with his most well-known texts (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, etc.). Sartoris is under-rated, under-appreciated, and certainly deserves to be read by a wider audience!

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

E.M. Forster. I read his novel A Room with a View earlier this year and was absolutely enthralled by it. Not only is his writing beautiful, but the novel was incredibly thought-provoking and captivating. I look forward to reading more of his writing!

8. Newest fictional crush.

Vincent from On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher. Not only is Vincent incredibly musically gifted, but he’s also sweet, thoughtful, loyal, caring… what more could you want? This entire book is adorable and romantic in general– I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for something really sweet, captivating, and heartwarming .

9. Newest favorite character.

Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl. I really wish I had read this book when I was younger because I think Matilda’s character would have really resonated with me. Younger Holly would have been thrilled to read about a bookworm like myself who triumphed over obstacles against all odds. Matilda is such an important character for children to read about, both as a bookish hero as well as a strong, clever, independent female character.

10. Book that made you cry.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Though I didn’t physically cry while reading this poetry collection, I did feel emotional and sense tears welling up in my eyes at times. Rupi Kaur’s poetry is raw, honest, and beautiful. I highly recommend this collection!

11. Book that made you happy.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. I never read this book when I was a kid (are we sensing a trend here?) but I definitely wish I had because it’s SO FUN. I couldn’t help but smile all the way through this creative, hilarious, adorable book. Roald Dahl is the best! Also, now I really want to watch the movie adaptation directed by Wes Anderson. I’ve heard really great things about it!

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky. I love everything about this cover design– the color, the simple design of handwriting on a solid background, and the way it’s messy but not overwhelmingly so. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve photographed this book (although looking at my bookstagram will give you a pretty good idea). This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year, so I would highly recommend it!!

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

SO MANY. A novel I’m hoping to read by the end of the summer is Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages but for some reason I just haven’t gotten around to it.

14. Favorite Book Community Member (Blogger, Booktuber and Bookstagrammer)

Ahhh, there are so many!!! I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart ❤ For the sake of this tag, I’m going to give a shoutout to:

  • Shar & Shanti @ Virtually Read. Not only do Shar and Shanti post thought-provoking, creative content on they’re blog, but they’re also both incredibly kind individuals. They leave the most thoughtful comments that always make me happy. If you haven’t checked out their blog, definitely do so!! ❤
  • Ariel Bissett. Ariel has been my favorite booktuber for YEARS. A smile immediately lights up my face every time I see that she has posted a new video because they always manage to brighten my day. I love her bubbly, enthusiastic personality and knack for creating content that’s simultaneously thought-provoking, creative, and entertaining.
  • Resh Susan (@thebooksatchel). I love her book blog, but I especially look forward to the photos she posts on bookstagram. They’re beautifully shot and always contain the most gorgeous editions of books. ❤

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How was your reading in the month of #may? Time for a #wrapup. – – 5⭐️ : The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (love the lyrical prose and choice of words) 5⭐️ : Anna Karenina by Tolstoy (loved minute observations of life in Russia & character sketches) 4.5⭐️ : The Dark Circle by Linda Grant (made me feel fortunate for medical advancements. Written in a stream of consciousness style) 4⭐️ : First Love by Gwendine Riley (imperfect lives and flawed characters told in minimal words) 4⭐️ : Lord Edgware dies by Agatha Christie (kept me on toes guessing the killer) 4⭐️ : The Muse by Jessie Burton ( moderate pace, predictable but enjoyable) 3.5⭐️ : Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (beautifully written story of a marriage between a young wife and older husband) 3.5⭐️ : Mr Tibbit's Catholic school (charming boarding school stories and nuances of headmasters) : : What was your favourite book of the month? : : #bookworm#maywrapup #thebooksatchelwrapup #coffee #booksbooksbooks #books

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I hope you’ve had a great first half of 2017 and that the second half is even better! ❤

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? How has your 2017 been so far? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Awards

Sunshine Blogger Award | 3

Hello, hello! I know I’ve been posting a lot of awards and tags lately, but they’re so fun that I can’t help myself. Thanks so much to Beth @ Reading Every Night for nominating me in this Sunshine Blog Award!!

  1. Would you rather witness the beginning of the earth or the ending of the earth and why?

    I would probably prefer to see the beginning of the earth because it sounds like it would be a lot more hopeful than seeing the ending. (Besides, there would be more chances of eventually seeing dinosaurs!)

  2. Why did you call your blog what you did?

    I’m severely allergic to nuts and a proud nerd; hence, the blog name Nut Free Nerd was born.

  3. What social cause do you feel the strongest about (e.g. LGBTQ+ rights, animal rights, etc.)?

    For the past two summers I have worked at a local Child Advocacy Center where they conduct forensic interviews of children who have allegedly been abused. Because of this work I’m constantly reminded of the severity of the child abuse problem and how our society likes to brush it under the rug because it’s difficult to talk about. Fortunately, organizations like Child Advocacy Centers are working to spread awareness about this important issue.

  4. Give five amazing bloggers a shout-out, share the love.

    I’d love to give a shout-out to Emma @ Emma the Book Lover, Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books, Sydney @ Sydney’s Shelves, Shar & Shanti @ Virtually Read, and May @ Forever and Everly. These bloggers are so lovely and always leave the most thoughtful comments on posts. Definitely check out their blogs if you haven’t already! ❤

  5. Post a picture of a beautiful book cover.

    I absolutely love the simple cover design of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. It suits the raw honesty of the poetry and lets the words speak for themselves. 

  6. Pick your two favorite characters of all time. Now sacrifice one! (The universe is at stake)

    Oh, this is so difficult! The first two that come to mind are Jane from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Matilda from Roald Dahl’s Matilda. (The fact that they both are named in the titles was completely unplanned!) Matilda is a new favorite of mine because I just read this children’s classic for the first time recently. Both of these characters are strong, intelligent, witty, independent females who I admire greatly. If I absolutely had to sacrifice one it would probably be Jane because the thought of sacrificing little Matilda is just too horrible to endure.

  7. If the apocalypse was coming and you had to evacuate Earth, what are three things you would take with you (both bookish and non-bookish items accepted)?

    A book for when I need to escape, a notebook and pencil (those count as one item, right?!) to record my thoughts and ideas, and a photo album to remember those that I love.

  8. What would you do if you won the lottery?

    Pay off my college loans, pay off all of my parents loans and bills, go traveling, and donate to a bunch of charities (and my local library!).

  9. Share one of your favorite quotes!

    I discovered one of my absolute favorite quotes years ago while reading John Green’s debut novel Looking for Alaska. In it he quotes Francois Rabelais, who once said: “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” I love how this quote can be interpreted in so many different ways. I think we all have our own unique “Great Perhaps” that we’re trying to find, and this quote is a reminder to keep your ultimate goal in the back of your mind when you need inspiration or motivation.

  10. Tell us about the last book you read; what did you love/hate about it?

    The last book I read was Big Woods by William Faulkner, which I really enjoyed. I love how all of the stories are interconnected through characters, themes, and settings. There really wasn’t anything I disliked about it, besides the fact that his writing can be confusing at times.

  11. Share one song that you feel would be a perfect fit for your favourite book character.

    Jay Gatsby isn’t my favorite book character, but I can’t help but pair him with Lorde’s song “Green Light.” (Is this cliché? Yes. Do I regret it? NOPE.)

Kirstie @ Upside-Down Books

Gee @ The Bibliomaniac Book Blog 

Chelsea @ The Suspense is Thrilling Me

Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blogs

Heather @ Book & Words

Thanks again to Beth for nominating me! I hope you all have a lovely day ❤

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: Best Books of 2017 (So Far)

Happy Tuesday!! Since we’re around halfway done with 2017 (eek!) it’s time to reflect on what I’ve read so far this year. Though my reading slowed to a near halt during the first few months of this year due to my busy semester at school, but it picked up significantly once I moved back home for the summer in May. (I’ve read SO MANY books since I’ve been home and it feels WONDERFUL.) Hosted by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish, this week’s TTT theme is the Top Ten Best Books of 2017 (So Far). In no particular order, here are my favorites with some snippets of my thoughts from reviews I’ve written about them:

The Shining by Stephen King

From my review: Stephen King’s The Shining is a standout thriller in its attention to detail and incorporation of family dynamics, human nature, and the perspective of a child into a twisted, creepy story. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie adaptation or are a fan of thrillers in general, The Shining is one book that you must add to your TBR list!

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

From my review: I bought a copy of Milk and Honey on a whim because I had heard a lot of great things about it. What I didn’t realize was that Rupi’s words would resonate so deeply with me and linger on in my mind long after I had read them. These poems are for anyone and everyone, regardless of whether or not you’ve read or enjoyed poetry in the past. Rupi Kaur has written poetry for human nature.

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky

From my review: Reading this book felt like having the a random, hilarious, and well-spoken conversation with Watsky. How to Ruin Everything is definitely something I’ll be returning to in the future– for a laugh, for inspiration, and to be reminded that there’s nothing quite like the power of a good story.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

From my review: Reading this memoir was such a fun, entertaining, and interesting experience. Not only did I learn a lot about Elwes and everything that went into making this movie, but my eyes were also opened to the entire film-making process in general. As You Wish is a must-read for any fan of The Princess Bride. Now all I want to do is re-watch the movie!

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

From my review: A Room with a View is basically an English major’s dream novel. As I was reading I couldn’t help but think how many interesting papers could be written about it. You could discuss the entire concept of a “room with a view” and what that means, the contrast between the liminal space of the woods as opposed to the confines of the domestic sphere, the hierarchy of social classes, the portrayal of women and their role in society, the differences between Italy and England– the list goes on and on!

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

From my review: The time period and setting and characters are so specifically and carefully crafted with tiny details, yet the story itself could really have taken place anywhere. This is a testament to the universality of this novel’s major themes and questions about life and death, a reflection of the fact that we all must face these issues at some point in our lives. The stories of these five individuals present a sort of microcosm of life in general, presenting the reader with different challenges and experiences that must be confronted eventually.

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

From my review: For me, the experience of reading  Cather novel is like coming home after months of being away: it’s familiar, refreshing, comforting, and sweetly nostalgic… reading Death Comes for the Archbishop has reaffirmed Cather as one of my favorite authors.

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

From my review: I was enthralled by this novel. Everything about it captivated me from the very first sentence to the very last word. In fact, I was enjoying it so much that I marked all of my favorite passages with sticky notes, only to realize halfway through that I would have to take them all out when I was finished (it was a library book).

{I forgot to take a photo of my library copy– whoops!}

Sartoris by William Faulkner

From my review: What has always stood out to me the most about Faulkner’s novels is how character driven they are in every sense. The plot seems almost secondary, as though all that really matters are the thoughts within and relationships between the characters. (And sometimes this is all we are ever given!) In some ways it feels like more happens in texts that are steered by characters rather than plot because we are always learning more about characters’ changing beliefs, values, and attitudes as the story progresses.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

From my review (scheduled): I really wish I had read this book when I was younger because I think Matilda’s character would have really resonated with me. Younger Holly would have been thrilled to read about a bookworm like myself who triumphed over obstacles against all odds. Matilda is such an important character for children to read about, both as a bookish hero as well as a strong, clever, independent female character.

What are the best books that you’ve read so far in 2017? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers that Scream Spring

Happy Tuesday!! Now that May is officially here I think it’s safe to say that spring is here to stay as well (at least until summer rolls around!). Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is a cover design freebie, I though I would share with you all my Top Ten Covers that Scream Spring. Who doesn’t love a colorful, happy, vibrant cover to brighten their day?

1. Not Just Jane by Shelley DeWees

I love the mix of bright blue and pink on this cover. You can’t see it from this angle, but the spine is also fluorescent pink as well. This color scheme makes me think of blooming flowers like the ones in this photo (which was taken in the garden at my home last summer). I always associate flowers with the coming of spring.

2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

This gorgeous cover design makes me think of warm weather in general, so it’s perfect for both spring and summer.  I love the bold pops of orange, teal, and pink as well as the different shades of green blended together to create the background. The bird and the snake also remind me of the way animals seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere in springtime.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This Penguin English Library edition of P&P highlights flora and fauna, two things closely associated with springtime. The colors are vaguely muted, like the way spring can be viewed as a subtler, paler, muted version of summer with its hesitantly hot days and newly blossoming buds.

4. Emma by Jane Austen

The Penguin Threads edition of Emma immediately makes me think of Easter eggs and the colors surrounding this springy holiday. I especially love the polka dots in the background and the way her hair is a mix of many different colors. Easter has always been a marker of springtime for me, so it’s no surprise that this cover design would be included in this list.

5. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Green is closely associated with spring in my mind, which is why this overwhelmingly green cover always reminds me of this lush season. I also first read Willa Cather in the springtime (spring semester of my freshman year of college), so perhaps that has something to do with why I tend to link her with this time of year.

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

What screams spring more than a lawn of freshly cut green grass? Even though this book takes place during the summer, I can’t help but be reminded of spring whenever I look at the cover.

7. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

This is another novel that takes place during the summertime, yet its cover is much more reminiscent of spring to me. It makes me think of the feeling of waking up in the morning and realizing that the birds have finally begun to chirp again.

8. When We Collided by Emery Lord

I love how colorful, fun, and creative this cover is. Even though this novel can be emotional and intense at times, I think this cover does a great job at capturing Vivi’s lively and vibrant spirit. Definitely how I feel on a warm spring day! (Also, do these colors remind anyone else of Easter eggs?)

9. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

I can’t help but add yet another beautiful Penguin English Library edition to this list. I chose this cover for its bright greens and muted blues, both of which I associate with coloring Easter eggs. (Can you tell that I’m quite a big fan of Easter eggs?) The novel itself also carries a feeling of spring, as characters find new beginnings and experiences that gradually help them grow.

10. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Even though this cover isn’t colorful, it still screams spring with its cute little bees and simplicity. These poems are also all about endings and new beginnings, both of which take place in the springtime. (Honestly, this beautiful cover can work for any season!)

What book covers remind you of spring? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY