Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’ve (Shamelessly & Proudly) Written In

Happy Tuesday! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share our unpopular bookish opinions. However, I thought I would hone in on one unpopular bookish opinion and share ten examples of it instead. Perhaps one of my most controversial book habits is that I often annotate and highlight my books. *Gasp!* I know this is an atrocious act to some bookworms, but I view it as the actual purpose of books. To me, books are meant to be experienced, meaning that they are not meant for just sitting prettily on a shelf (with the exception of some expensive editions). I want to get the most out of a book as I possibly can, and if that means underlining or highlighting quotes that resonate with me or writing little notes in the margins, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Plus, I think it’s fun to reread a book that I’ve annotated and see what I was thinking about the last time I read it. For me, it’s a way by which I think more deeply about what I’m reading. I don’t do it all the time, but when I do I really enjoy the process.

Now that I’ve explained a bit about this unpopular bookish opinion of mine, here are ten examples of books from my shelves that I’ve annotated or highlighted:

 

What are your thoughts on highlighting or writing in books? What’s your most controversial bookish habit or opinion? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Tackle that Reading Slump

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share books that pull us out of reading slumps. We’ve all been there: for some reason the mood just won’t strike us, and any book we open up inevitably seems off-putting. Reading slumps are a bibliophile’s worst nightmare, especially when your looming TBR pile is staring you in the face. Today I’d like to share a list of ten books that have helped me break through reading slumps in the past.

What books have gotten you out of a reading slump? 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 that Surprised Me

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) focuses on books that surprised us– for better or worse. Although I think it’s intended to be interpreted as “books that surprised us with how much we ended up liking or disliking them,” I’ve decided to take the topic rather literally. Instead, I’ll be sharing ten books that literally surprised me with their twists, turns, and unexpected plots.

What are some books that have surprised you? 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: 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

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Summer Book Tag

Summer is pretty much over, but that won’t stop me from wrapping up the season with the Summer Book Tag. Thanks so much to Mischenko @ Read, Rant, Rock & Roll for tagging me!!

What book cover makes you think of summer?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I read this novel last summer and it is one of the most lyrical, seamless, beautifully written books I have ever read.

What book has brightened your day?

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I remember reading it over and over again because a) mice used to be by favorite animals and b) this story is captivating, charming, and creative.

Find a book cover with yellow on it.

Just look at that cute little yellow chick! I read Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen a few weeks ago and loved it. I can’t even explain to you how heart-warming, poignant, hilarious, and brilliant this book is. I definitely wish I had read it sooner!

What action book had you running for the ice cream man?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is equal parts hilarious, romantic, and action-packed. No matter what you’re in the mood to read, chances are that this book will fulfill it!

(Sunburn) What book has left you with a bad and/or painful ending?

I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t yet read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it’s pretty devastating.

(Sunset) what book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended? 
I desperately hoped for at least a moderately happy ending for Jane (given her circumstances) and Charlotte Brontë didn’t disappoint!

What book cover reminds you of a sunset?

Look at that literal sunset on the cover. This old edition of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton made this question easy!

What is one book or series you hope to read this summer?

I actually didn’t read any full series this summer… it was a summer of standalones, I guess!

Since summer has pretty much come to an end, I’m not going to tag anyone specifically… unless you would like to do it, then by all means GO FOR IT!

Is summer your favorite season or do you prefer autumn/winter (like me!)? What’s your favorite thing about summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

My Personal Canon | 2017

Recently Jillian @ To Begin with I Read Jane Eyre created a post about her own personal literary canon and requested that I do the same. The goal is to compose a list of books that have greatly influenced your life, that you consider to be your favorite books, etc. I think this is a really interesting idea because there are so many different variables involved. On what criteria do you decide which books to include? Do you focus solely on books that have had a positive influence on your life? How long should your list be? Canon formation in general is really fascinating, but that’s a topic for another day.

For now, here is what I consider to be my personal canon. Some of these books I’ve read more times than I can count, while others I’ve only had the pleasure of experiencing once. Some have shaped who I’ve grown to be since childhood, while others have influenced my much more recently. Nevertheless, all of these books are ones that I love wholeheartedly, that I would read again and highly recommend to others. You’ll likely recognize these as ones I talk a lot about on this blog! In no particular order, they are:

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think this one needs much of an explanation. I first started this series when I was in second grade and in a way I don’t think I’ll ever be truly done with it completely. Even though I’ve certainly “finished” the series in the sense that I’ve read all seven books, I know that I’ll keep rereading it well into the future.

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

Again, this one doesn’t require much of an explanation. I’ve reread these books more times than I can possibly count and they played a huge role in shaping my reading tastes and interests in middle school. They’re books I return to again and again for comfort, reassurance, and entertainment alike.

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

I vividly remember buying my first and only copy of this book at a Scholastic book fair when I was in third grade. (Did anyone else LOVE those things?!?!) Since then I’ve reread it nearly every summer and each time I discover something new. What was at first a simple summer camp story in my ten-year-old eyes has transformed into a story of family, history, creativity, and resilience. (And THIS is why rereading is both important and awesome!)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I’m sure it is absolutely no surprise to anyone in the slightest that this book has a spot in my personal canon. Words cannot express how much I LOVE this book. It’s the one book I always bring with me to college each semester and that I talk about incessantly on this blog. For the millionth time, PLEASE read this fantastic novel. ❤

Gone by Michael Grant

Interestingly, this book’s influence comes from the context in which I first read it: a lunchtime book club in seventh grade. Through avidly reading and following this series’ six books I met one of my best friends, actually met Michael Grant in person at a book-signing, and realized how social reading could be.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

In reality, this is more of a placeholder for all of John Green’s books, though Looking for Alaska is probably my favorite. As with Gone, the context surrounding these books has been just as influential in my life (if not more so) than the content of the books themselves. John and Hank Green have shaped my life in countless ways at a time when I needed it most (I’m looking at you, tumultuous middle school years).

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reading this classic novel in my high school American literature class opened my eyes to the depth and breadth that symbolism could add to books. Though this symbolism is pretty obvious (colors, the green light, East and West Egg, the eyes, etc.) it nevertheless made me realize how interesting and fun analyzing literature with a critical eye could be.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Ah, Jane Eyre. I adore this novel not for the romance, writing, or plot (though all aspects of this book are fantastic) but primarily for the character of Jane herself. She is strong, independent, witty, kind, determined, and resilient– everything that I aspire to be. I’ve only read this novel once; however, it has lingered in my mind with more clarity than most other books I’ve read since then. I can’t wait to read it again soon!

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I ADORED this book when I was assigned to read it for my AP English class senior year of high school (much to the annoyance of the majority of my peers, who didn’t share my enthusiasm). I love watching Pip grow over time and overcome all of the obstacles he has to face. Dickens’ writing is witty and captivating, and the plot twist at the end had me gasping in surprise. This is another one that I definitely have to reread in the near future!

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass

Since reading this autobiography in my Intro to Literature class during my first semester of college I have written at least three papers about it and researched the critical reception of Douglass’ works in general. Something about Douglass’ life and use of language to transform himself in American society fascinates me like nothing else.

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

I read this for my Cultural Diversity in American Literature class during my second semester of college and have not been able to stop thinking about it since (I’m only slightly exaggerating here). The narrative is constructed brilliantly and I think it’s fascinating how we only ever see Ántonia through the lens of Jim’s narration. Since then I’ve read two of Cather’s other novels and am eagerly looking forward to reading more!

There are so many books that I could have included, but I think this is a solid look into the books that have had the greatest influence on me thus far. Thanks so much to Jillian for asking me to make a personal canon! I had such a great time forming this list and thinking about all of the amazing books I’ve had the pleasure of reading over the years.

What books would be in your personal canon? What are you thoughts on any of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Stationary Book Tag

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Hello, hello! Today I bring you another tag, this time about one of my favorite things: stationary! I love school supplies, paper products, pens, pencils, notebooks– if it can be found in an office supplies store, then chances are that I adore it. Luckily, this lovely Stationary Book Tag exists for stationary lovers such as myself. Thanks so much to Giovanna @ Book Coma Blog for tagging me!

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  • Thank the creator: Sam @ RiverMooseReads, Thank you!
  • Answer the questions.
  • Add pictures! (If you want to)
  • Tag (about) 5 people.

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The_BFG_(Dahl_novel_-_cover_art)PENCILS: FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK.

Definitely The BFG by Roald Dahl. I reread this childhood favorite of mine this past summer for the first time since fifth grade and I absolutely adored it. How can you say no to the Big Friendly Giant’s cute, oversized ears?

the great gatsby coverPENS: A BASIC STAPLE FOR ANY READER.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, hands down. There are just so many great reasons to read this classic American novel– the beautiful writing style, the many modern references to the story, the abundant symbolism and questions and raises about the so-called “American Dream.” I think everyone should read about good ol’ Gatsby!

the hobbit coverNOTEBOOKS: BOOKS YOU OWN MULTIPLE COPIES OF.

Surprisingly enough, I think the only book I own multiple copies of is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve thought about buying different editions of the same book depending on the different covers, but I just can’t justify spending the money when I already own a copy of it.

A Darker Shade final for IreneMARKERS: BOOKS WITH BEAUTIFUL COVERS.

A Darker Shade of Magic and the other books in this fantasy series by V.E. Schwab. I love the color scheme as well as the simple but interesting use of geometric shapes. Plus, just look at that font!

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone coverGLUE: TWO CHARACTERS THAT WORK TOGETHER EVEN IF THEY AREN’T TOGETHER.

Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’ve always wanted these two wonderful characters to end up together– they’re both quirky and kind and would be so cute as a couple!

29069989SCISSORS: WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU LIKE TO DESTROY.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany.  (A bit harsh? Maybe. Do I apologize? Not in the slightest.) I was just really disappointed with this book, as you can probably tell.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne CollinsART KIT: WHAT COMPLETED SERIES YOU OWN.

From my glory days in the elementary school reading enrichment program I still own the entirety of the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins. This was back before she was of Hunger Games fame… boy, that feels like ages ago!

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  1. Marta @ The Book Mermaid
  2. MC @ Blame It On The Books
  3. Emily @ Rose Read
  4. Conny @ Literati Girl
  5. Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? What is your favorite kind of school supplies? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Name My Plants After

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Happy Tuesday! If you were to ever visit my dorm room then you would immediately understand my love for tiny plants. My roommate and I have a number of them sitting along our windowsill, eagerly waiting to cheer us up whenever we come back to the room after a long day. I adore my plants, but I must admit that I have a small problem with them: I don’t know what to name them.

Then I gratefully stumbled upon this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, an open-ended topic involving naming things after fictional characters. In an attempt to give some solace to my nameless plants, here are ten fictional characters I would consider naming them after: 

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Which of these names do you like best? What fictional characters would you name your plants after? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Read for APUSH, Read for English Class, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read for Class

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Happy Tuesday!! Since this new semester is now well underway and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is open-ended, I thought I would share with you all my Top Ten Favorite Books I’ve Read for Class (that’s a genre, right? Well, it is now!). Assigned reading often has a bit of an undeserved bad reputation. Sure, you’re not going to love everything that you’re assigned to read for school, but isn’t that the point? Being forced to explore different genres, authors, and texts can open your eyes to new perspectives and topics you never knew you would enjoy learning about. Some of my all time favorite books were originally assigned reading for classes!

In the spirit of the back-to-school season, here are my top picks in the order that I read them:

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Honorable Mentions: Lord of the Flies by William Golding {high school freshman}, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer {high school freshman}, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins {college freshman}

What are some of the best books that you’ve had to read for school? What do you think of the books on my list? How do you feel about assigned reading in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

A Letter to Daisy Buchanan

A Letter to Daisy Buchanan

Dear Daisy,

Hi. How are you? How has your day been so far? No, you don’t know me, and I would venture to say that I don’t know you quite as well as I’d like to think I do. I’ve read about your luxurious house and your arrogant, obnoxious husband and even your daughter. Despite this information that I’ve been privy to, I still feel as though I barely know you.

Some people might automatically write you off as a stereotypical wealthy housewife who is unintelligent and unaware of her privilege, but I would beg to differ. Perhaps I’m reading into your “beautiful little fool” comment a little too much, but it seems to me like you’re a very aware of your status in society. I think you know that you’re privileged. I think you also recognize the way women are valued significantly more for their appearances than for anything that they say. (We’re better about that where I come from, but it still happens.)

The problem is that you don’t do anything about it. You know that your husband is having an affair, yet you let it continue without protest. You’re smart, yet you don’t seem to acknowledge how entranced you are by material objects. You know that Gatsby is hopelessly infatuated with you, yet you lead him on anyways. Why?

The comments you make to Nick, particularly while he’s visiting your house on that one night, have convinced me that you’re far more intelligent than you let on. You’re insistence that you’ve “been everywhere and seen everything and done everything” might sound naive at first, but I think there’s some merit to it. Maybe you feel jaded by your luxurious life, by all of the opportunities you’ve had. I just wish that you would do something more with your sharp mind than lounge around in white dresses, embodying the flower which bears your same name.

I have such mixed feelings about you, Daisy. Whenever I read about you I can’t decide whether you’re someone I should be rooting for or against. You confuse me. I guess I understand why Gatsby couldn’t solve your puzzle of a personality.

I don’t expect you to write back. I just thought I’d let you know.

Yours,

HOLLY

P.S. Cut Gatsby some slack, okay? He’s blinded by your golden social status.