Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Released in the Last 10 Years

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share our favorite books released in the last 10 years. As someone who tends to read older books and isn’t great at staying on top of new releases, I’m pretty intrigued to see how this list will go. I decided to make this list based on which books came out in which year, not on the year that I read them.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Throwback to those first years of me being a Nerdfighter! I’ve always marveled at how these two authors were able to seamlessly write this novel of intertwining stories chapter by chapter. This book is hilarious and heart-wrenching and thought-provoking all at the same time, in Green and Levithan’s usual way. Different from many YA books that I’ve read!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I remember reading this book around Christmastime one year and thinking: Wow, what perfect timing! This book is mysterious and magical and will leave you wanting more of the fantastical world Morgenstern has created. If you’re looking for romance, adventure, suspense, and beautiful writing, then this is definitely the book for you!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

How could this not have been my favorite book of 2012? I was so excited for it to be released that I pre-ordered a signed first edition copy–and I rarely pre-order anything! I loved how John Green balanced tough topics with heartfelt, thought-provoking discussions of important life questions and funny, memorable scenes that I still think about from time to time.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This little book is eerie, suspenseful, and told like a twisted fairy tale. Definitely a great read for a spooky fall day. I love Neil Gaiman’s lyrical writing in general, but this novel in particular has really stood out to me even all these years later. Whether or not you’re a Gaiman fan already, you will be after reading this!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This beautiful, heart-wrenching, emotional historical fiction novel blew me away when I read it as a senior in high school–so much so that I went out and bought a copy just to have it on my shelf, even though I had borrowed it from the library. If that’s not a testament to how much I enjoyed this book, then I don’t know what is!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I remember this book being everywhere in the online book community for the longest time. It took me forever to finally get around to reading it, but when I did I could totally see what all the hype was about. The idea of so many different Londons is really interesting!

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This series is just unlike any other that I have read! I really liked how it was 4 books instead of the usual three or longer–I feel like you rarely see quartets around. The entire premise is so creative and unique, and I couldn’t get enough of the idea of magical ley lines and forests snaking their way through a rural town.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Again, I have never read a book like this one. Written entirely in quotes that blend fact and fiction, Lincoln in the Bardo is a true masterpiece. Not only did this novel win the Man Booker Prize, but it is also Saunders’ first full length novel–wild! Definitely makes me want to read some of his short stories.

When the Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I’ve been a fan of Carrie for years (both her videos on Youtube and her books), and I can confidently say that this is her best novel yet. I feel like Carrie really found her groove in writing this book because the setting, characters, and story all worked together so wonderfully. As with nearly all of Carrie’s books, I read this one in one sitting!

Unfortunately I haven’t read any books released in 2019 yet. Between finishing up the semester, writing my honors thesis, graduating from college, and dealing with some personal stuff that’s been happening lately, I just haven’t had any time to delve into any new releases. I’m really looking forward to finally having time to visit the library again and check out some new books. With that being said, let me know what 2019 releases you recommend!

What are your favorite releases of the past decade? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? 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: Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Happy Tuesday!! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic set by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish highlights the ten bookish settings we’d love to visit. At times it has felt like I have been living in a fictional setting for the past few months (shout out to Oxford for being so magical!), so I was very excited when I saw this topic on the list. I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the really obvious ones (AKA Hogwarts and Middle-earth) so hopefully these are a little more interesting. In no particular order, they are:

The Yorkshire Moors of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is quite a realistic goal for me considering that I’m currently studying abroad in England. I would love to visit the beautiful rural backdrop of this tumultuous Victorian novel.

The forest in Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The forest in this charming little book sounds so idyllic and peaceful (plus there’s that beautiful magic spring!). I’d love to take a strong among the tall trees and have a chat with Winnie Foster.

Cabeswater in The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Another magical forest I’d love to visit (can you tell I have a thing for magical forests?!). Exploring it with Blue and her crew would be an added bonus!

The BFG’s home in The BFG by Roald Dahl

I would give anything to see the rows and rows of dream jars in the BFG’s cavern… and maybe try a snozzcumber or two while I’m at it! Little ten-year-old me was so jealous of Sophie’s adventures and friendship with the Big Friendly Giant.

Jurassic Park in Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Even though the park ends up being a total disaster, it would still be incredible to see such huge dinosaurs up close. Besides, who doesn’t want to cruise around in those fun jeeps?

The circus in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Confession: I’ve never been to a circus before. I feel like the amazing, whimsical, fantastic circus of this novel would be an incredible first circus experience… and a very overwhelming one!

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

I’ve read this book so many times, but I can never quite imagine precisely what the towers in the garden might look like with all of their different pieces and parts. I would love to finally see them for myself!

The Lands Beyond in The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I would go to the Lands Beyond just for the sake of the amazing puns and wordy cleverness (and also Tock, the watchdog). It sounds like the ultimate destination for an English major!

Florin in The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Rolling hills? Looming cliffs? Fire swamps? (Minus the scary R.O.U.S. of course.) Sign me up! I would love to visit the amazing landscape of Florin (especially with Westley by my side…).

Outer space in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Adams makes me want to achieve my childhood dream of being an astronaut (although it probably wouldn’t be as hilarious as he makes it out to be!).

What bookish settings would you love to visit? 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 Read in a Weekend

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Happy Tuesday!! This week is another Top Ten Tuesday freebie, so I’ve decided to share a list of books that I’ve been looking forward to making for quite some time: Ten Books I’ve Read in a Weekend. Some of these books I read over the course of a single weekend because they were very short; however, some of them were just too good to put down for long!

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What great books have you flown through in a single weekend? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish, Discussion

Is there a RIGHT time to read a book? | Discussion

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Have you ever started reading a book you’re really excited about, only to find after a few pages that it’s just not really… clicking with you?

I think that the time in your life when you read a book can definitely impact your opinion of the work. For example, I primarily read Young Adult books all throughout high school. I loved the feeling of being able to directly relate to what the characters were experiencing. From awkward first relationships and hallway drama to prom nights and eventually graduation, I felt as though I understood where they were coming from. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that my love for these stories would wane a bit if I reread them today. With age comes perspective, something that can change the way you view your world. Issues that seemed grandiose and life-altering back in high school– the latest gossip, who was dating who, etc.– now seem quite petty in retrospect.

My AntoniaSimilarly, there are many books I’ve read recently that I love that I don’t believe I would have enjoyed had I read them when I was younger. One example that I talk about all the time on this blog is My Ántonia by Willa Cather. Published in 1918, this classic tells the story of Jim Burden’s experience with immigrant life on the rural plains of Nebraska. My Ántonia is definitely not something I would have picked up and read on my own before college, but after discussing it in class and learning more about Cather it is now one of my favorite books. I’ve noticed that over the years I’ve gained a greater appreciation for novels and stories that are driven by characters rather than plot. When I was younger, fast-paced and exciting plots were the most important aspects of books for me, whereas now I would much prefer to read about a well-developed character.

Apart from ways in which greater perspective can influence your opinions at different times, I think it’s safe to say that personal experiences can also have a significant impact on your perception of a book. For example, a few months ago I finally got around to reading Stacy London’s The Truth About Style. I read this at the perfect time because I could really relate to some of the issues she discusses. Another example I always think about is when I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern a few years ago around Christmastime. This ethereal, mysterious, almost fantastical story fit the mood of the holiday season flawlessly. It was just enough magic and mystery for those cold winter nights!

In my experience, I’ve definitely noticed that timing is an important factor in forming my opinion of a book. What do you think? Do you think there’s a RIGHT time to read a book? Have you had any specific experiences like this? Are there any books that you wish you had read at a different time in your life? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Exceeded My Expectations

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Happy Tuesday! Today I’m here to share an incredibly positive bookish list with you all that will hopefully brighten your day with some recommendations. Usually I try to begin reading a book with an open mind, but it’s inevitable that there will be some initial expectations floating around. Fortunately, I’ve read countless books that I’ve ended up loving so much more than I first thought I would. Without further ado, here are ten books that have exceeded my expectations: 

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What are some books that have exceeded your expectations? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: THE NIGHT CIRCUS

the night circus coverAuthor: Erin Morgenstern

Number of Pages: 387

Publisher: Doubleday

Release Date: September 13, 2011

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway–a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.”

– Goodreads.com

A secretive circus and a potentially deadly game? Once I read a blurb about this book I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

This story remains mysterious and enigmatic throughout the entire novel, making for quite an intriguing atmosphere. It almost felt as though the book itself was one grand circus adventure. Often times in a circus performance you’re not really sure how or why everything is happening, yet the experience is wonderful nevertheless. That’s how this book felt to me, and I loved the overall tone it had. It was a unique balance of dark, whimsical, charming, and magical elements that worked together really well with the circus setting. I can see how it might not have been effective in some circumstances, but it definitely fit perfectly with this one.

Moreover, I really liked how the characters were easy to relate to despite their unique and strange abilities. I especially liked the incorporation of Bailey’s story, since he was simply a normal boy and thus provided more of an outsider’s perspective of the circus. Also, the way his story line was fused with that at the circus towards the end of the novel was quite clever and really well done. I sort of predicted that he would end up being associated more closely with the circus in some fashion eventually, but I never predicted that it would happen in the way that it actually occurred.

The pace of the novel was fairly slow, and did seem to drag out in some places. There were moments of rapid action and intrigue, but for the most part the story was told in a more meandering manner. For example, there were a lot of sections that solely described the circus itself and specific tents within it. I thought that some of these were really interesting- bottled memories, a maze of clouds, and even kittens leaping through hoops- but a lot of time I just wanted to move on with the actual plot of the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The writing is beautiful, the concept of the story is extremely creative, and the magical atmosphere it exudes is perfect for these winter months!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely!

Have you ever read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY