Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Waited A Long Time to Read

Happy Tuesday!! Technically today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share the longest books we’ve ever read; however, I already made a list of a similar topic at the beginning of this year (which you can read by clicking here). Instead, I’m going to share books I waited a long time to read (AKA children’s books that I read for the first time within the past few years). If only I had read these gems sooner!

What are some books that you waited a long time to read? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Character Names {For Plants}

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is supposed to be Best Character Names; however, as per usual I’ve decided to put my own spin on it. A few years ago I made a Top Ten Tuesday list of Characters I’d Name My Plants After, which was a blast. Today I’d like to do a similar list along those lines, so I’ll be sharing ten character names for plants. {Shout out to my plants back at home in the States– hope you’re still alive on my window sill!}

What are some of your favorite character names (for plants or otherwise)? 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: Favorite Book Quotes

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

“I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”

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

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

{Brave New World by Aldous Huxley}

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

{Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt}

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

{Matilda by Roald Dahl}

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

{Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton}

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

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

“My mother is a fish.”

{As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner}

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

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

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

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

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

{Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë}

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

Yours,

HOLLY

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

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want Kiddos to Read

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is simultaneously a throwback and a look at the future. Today I’ll be sharing ten books I hope kiddos continue to read decades from now. Reading played a huge role in shaping me as a child into the person I am now and I am so grateful to all of those who encouraged me to spend time with my nose between pages, eagerly flipping away. I hope that kiddos continue to have positive bookish experiences at an early age!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is such important role model for young readers, especially girls. She is intelligent, bookish, independent, courageous, and kind. I wish I had read this when I was younger!

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

I haven’t read this book in years, but I can still remember certain poems from when I read it as a child. I love this book because it shows kids that poetry doesn’t have to follow rules or conform to certain standards– it can be fun, funny, and silly!

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff

I ADORED this book when I was younger (in fact, I think I still have it in my bedroom back home somewhere…). It’s such a fun read and the little pig is SO CUTE <3. It definitely made me want a little pig of my own!

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I read this book for the first time this past summer and immediately wanted to flip back to the first page and read it all over again. I love everything about this book– if anything, I wish it were longer so I could revel in the story more! Isn’t that always the sign of a great book?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Although I didn’t actually read this when I was younger (just last year!) I still enjoyed it immensely. Juster is incredibly clever, witty, and creative with his use of language to construct not only puns but also characters, settings, and even the plot. I hope both kiddos AND adults continue to read this book for generations to come!

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

This is yet another book that I read for the first time only recently, but I loved it all the same. I think this book is particularly great for reading at different ages because you can get something completely new out of it depending on your perspective. (The movie is excellent as well!)

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Am I mentioning Roald Dahl twice on this list? YES. Do I have regrets? NO. He’s definitely worth it! This is my favorite Roald Dahl book because one of my wonderful elementary school teachers used to read it aloud to us all the time when I was younger. It holds such a nostalgic place in my heart ❤

Holes by Louis Sachar

So fun! So bizarre! It would be a shame if kiddos stopped reading this wacky tale in the future (and if they stopped watching the excellent movie adaptation!). What would life be without the great fictional existence of Stanley Yelnats?

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

I LOVED the Nancy Drew mystery stories when I was younger, especially the original series. Learning that Carolyn Keene isn’t an actual person (it’s a fake name for a group of commissioned writers) was devastating. I desperately wanted there to be a mastermind behind all of those puzzling mysteries!

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I would be amiss to not include the Harry Potter series in this list. I have a feeling kiddos and adults alike will be reading this for decades to come. I can’t even begin to imagine a childhood without the magical world of Harry Potter!

I think it’s interesting that many of these books are ones I’ve read recently rather than when I was actually a kiddo… though I really wish I had read them when I was younger because I know I would have loved them! ❤

What are books that you hope kids will read in the future? What do you think of the titles I’ve mentioned? What was your favorite book when you were younger? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Crushes

Happy Tuesday!! I hope you’ve all been having a lovely week. Today I’m here to do another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a fun one: fictional crushes! We all have those characters that we secretly wish were real, right? Time to share!

Harry from Harry Potter and the Sorcerors’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Ah, the original book crush. Reading this series in second grade was probably the first time I had a fictional crush. (But it wouldn’t be the last!)

Jesse Tuck from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I feel like this one sort of goes without explaining if you’ve read the book. So sweet! So kind! So enthusiastic!

Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

A thousand times yes. Is it a stereotypical tough-guy-is-actually-sweet trope? Yes. Does it matter? Absolutely not.

Gabriel Oak from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Oh, Bathesheba. Though you couldn’t appreciate the thoughtful, loyal, hard-working guy right in front of you, the rest of us certainly could!

Westley from The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The movie might help a little bit with this one… but there’s no denying Westley’s bravery, wit, and devotion. Princess Buttercup is a lucky girl!

Turns out this list was more difficult to make than I expected… I guess the books I’ve been reading lately have been lacking in the crush department?

What are some fictional crushes that you’ve had? What do you think about the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

TUCK EVERLASTING by Natalie Babbitt | Review

I never realized how many popular children’s books I neglected to read when I was younger until I started talking about them with my friends one day. This led me to read books like Matilda by Roald Dahl and Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen in the midst of all my required summer reading to take a quick break from Victorian novels. Among those books was a gem that I still cannot believe I waited twenty years to read: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

I can’t even tell you how much I loved this book. I read it in one sitting and immediately wanted to go right back to the beginning and read it all over again. In an effort to convince you to read this amazing children’s book if you haven’t (and to reread it if you already have!), here are five reasons why you should read Tuck Everlasting:

1 || The characters. Despite this book’s short length, I somehow managed to become incredibly invested in Babbitt’s masterfully developed characters. From lovely Winnie and courageous Mae to wise Angus and adorable Jesse, I couldn’t help but root for these charming characters.

2 || The suspense. The pacing of this book is so well done. There is never a moment that drags or feels out-of-place (if anything, I wish it were longer because I loved it so much!). The climax comes at the perfect moment: when you’re lulled into a state of bliss and start to forget about the worrisome foreshadowing that happened earlier on. Even though you know in the back of your mind that everything will eventually take a turn for the worse, you can’t help but hope for Winnie’s sake that life will be okay for a little longer!

3 || The writing. Not only is Natalie Babbitt an amazing storyteller, but she’s also a brilliant writer. There are countless lines in Tuck Everlasting that just seem to leap off the page and beg to be read again and again.

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

4 || The themes. Be curious. Seek adventure. Live in the moment. Be present. Care genuinely and wholeheartedly about others. I could go on and on listing all of the important messages this book delivers. These themes are what makes Tuck Everlasting a sort of universal novel– Who can’t benefit from being reminded of these life lessons every one and a while?

5 || The ending. I was completely surprised by the ending of this book. The typical fairy tale conclusion, all rosy and ideal and romantic, is not what Natalie Babbitt delivers. Instead, she leaves the reader with an ending that is bittersweet but still memorable, heartwarming, and that makes sense within the context of the rest of the story.

Have I convinced you yet? What are your thoughts on this book? Have any recommendations of other children’s books I might have missed out on when I was younger? What was your favorite book when you were a kid? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

JULY 2017 | Wrap-Up

July was a blur of hot days, air-conditioned office spaces, lakeside reading, and time spent with friends and family… not a bad way to spend the bulk of summer! Here’s what I was up to this past month:

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In July I read a total of 9 books:

  1. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  3. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  5. George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl
  6. Echo by Nadette Rae Rodgers
  7. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
  8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I honestly can’t believe I read so many books this past month, especially since many of them are LONG (I’m looking at you, Middlemarch). Picking a favorite is difficult, but I think the best book I read in July has to be Tuck Everlasting. This short little read was absolutely adorable, charming, and insightful. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! I never read it when I was younger but I wish I had– I feel like it’s something I would have loved.

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It happened, people: I finally visited Willa Cather’s grave!! This is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I learned a few months ago that it’s located a little over an hour away from where I live. Willa Cather is one of my favorite authors, so standing at the foot of her grave was absolutely surreal. I went on a rather dreary day, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every second of it. You can read more about my adventures in this graveyard here. 

My family and I were also able to spend a few days by the lake in July, which means I had plenty of reading time by the water. And who can pass up the opportunity to take some bookish photos in such a beautiful place? (Not me!)

The majority of July was spent trying to plow through my required reading for Oxford, finishing up paperwork for studying abroad, spending time with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and working. It’s strange to think that we’re already more than half way through summer… September will be here before we know it! Also, I started watching the TV series Fargo… is anyone else obsessed with this series?!?!?!

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This past week I also had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Booktube-A-Thon. As you can tell from my initial TBR post, I really wasn’t expecting to get through much reading in a single week. However, in twist that I never saw coming I was actually able to complete almost all of the challenges and read even more than what I had put on my TBR!! I’m so happy with the progress I made and I actually miss the Booktube-A-Thon already. There’s just such fantastic positive bookish energy during those intense seven days of reading! ❤

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

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month (there are so many!!):

How was your month of July? 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

Read-A-Thons

Booktube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap-Up

It’s official: the Booktube-A-Thon has come to a close! It’s time to tally up page counts, reading challenges, and books read in this wrap-up of the week. At the beginning of the read-a-thon I posted my Booktube-A-Thon TBR with my goals for this reading adventure. Let’s see how I did!!

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George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

This book checks off so many challenges! Not only does it have a person on the cover, but I also read it in one sitting outside. Roald Dahl has done it again with yet another book I wish I had read when I was younger. (Although I probably would have been scarred by the abrupt and surprisingly harsh ending!)

Echo by Nadette Rae Rodgers

Fun fact: I also finished this book outside in one day AND it has a person on the cover… SO MANY CHALLENGES COMPLETED. I suppose this could also count as a book about someone different from me because I certainly can’t control my dreams like the protagonist of this suspenseful, engaging novel. I already can’t wait to read the third installment in this trilogy. Stay tuned for a full review soon!

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

When one of my close friends learned that I never read this book when I was younger she immediately said that I had to read it NOW. Needless to say, this children’s classic was pretty hyped. I ADORED this book– I definitely wish I had read it when I was younger! Winnie is such a great protagonist and my heart simultaneously leapt and broke when I read the very last page. (Also: JESSIE <3)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I FINALLY finished this tome! It was definitely worth all 635 pages. This is assigned reading for my upcoming term on Victorian literature and so far it’s one of my favorite novels on the reading list. I’m not sure if it actually completes any challenges– maybe the one about characters being different from me– but I’m still so happy that I finished it!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This was my second time reading Wuthering Heights and I enjoyed it so much more than when I read it years ago. I’m glad this was on my assigned reading list for Oxford because I probably wouldn’t have reread it otherwise. Luckily, I can count this towards the challenge of reading a book I bought because of the cover– I ADORE Penguin English Library editions!! ❤

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Though I’m only half way through this tome, I’m still calling it a success! I managed to read over three hundred pages this week, which isn’t too shabby. I’m enjoying this novel so much more than I initially thought I would. Not only is it easier to read than I first expected, but I’m connecting with the characters much more than I did while reading Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. I can’t wait to see where the second half of this novel goes!

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1 || Read a book with a person on the cover.
2 || Read a hyped book.
3 || Finish a book in one day.
4 || Read about a character that is very different from you.
5 || Finish a book completely outdoors.
6 || Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7 || Read seven books.

I’m honestly SHOCKED that I managed to complete so many challenges! I definitely didn’t expect to read seven books, but I also didn’t think I would complete more than three or four of the rest. I’m so pleased with these results!

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All in all, I feel as though I had an incredibly successful BookTubeAThon this year. I love this event because it’s easy to participate no matter how busy you are during that particular week. It pushed me to read some books that I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while, and it’s always fun seeing the community come together for a glorious week of reading. A huge thanks to Ariel Bissett for organizing yet another lovely BookTubeAThon!! ❤

 Did you participate in the Booktube-A-Thon? How did you do? What do you think of the books that I read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Additions

foodie-facts-about-me-6Happy Tuesday!! Now that November is in full swing I’ve been itching to jump into the holiday season, which makes it even harder to focus on the mountains of coursework that keep getting taller and taller. Nevertheless, I’m hanging in there!

This week’s topic is pretty self-explanatory: I’ll be sharing the Top Ten Recent Additions to My TBR List. I’ve managed to add quite a few titles to my list since my last TBR update in September.

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I’ve only added eight books to my list since my last update, but I’d say that’s a pretty good amount!

What books have you recently added to your TBR list? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned here? Any recommendations on where to start? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY