My Top 5 Books of 2015

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Another wonderful year has ended, and it’s time to recap all the books that I have read! According to Goodreads, I have completed 23 books in 2015, totaling 7,364 pages! This year was above average in quality, considering that I rated over half of these books at least a 4 out of 5.

This, of course, made it very difficult to select my top five books of 2015, but I managed it! Click on my vlog above to hear my thoughts on my favorite books of the year in detail, and see below for the full list from best to worst. (Big shout-out to my awesome brother Nick Jarrett for producing this video; feel free to reach out to him for stellar work in graphic and web design!) As noted, be on the lookout next week for my rant on my least favorite book of 2015, Chuck Palahniuk’s Beautiful You.

I already have 11 more books waiting for me on my desk, so it’s time to ring in 2016 with lots and lots of reading! Thank you so much to all of you who read my blog; these past four years of blogging have been an amazing journey, and I look forward to sharing many more with you!

XOXO Book Club Babe

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
Uganda Be Kidding Me – Chelsea Handler
Bet Me – Jennifer Crusie
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: 16 Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids – Meghan Daum
It Happened One Wedding – Julie James
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Texts From Jane Eyre – Mallory Ortberg

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Gendarme – Mark T. Mustian
P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han
Royal Wedding – Meg Cabot

Rating: 3 out of 5

Invisibility – Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Sisterhood Everlasting – Ann Brashares
Popular – Lauren Urasek
When in Doubt, Add Butter – Beth Harbison
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
God’s Debris – Scott Adams

Rating: 2 out of 5

Beautiful You – Chuck Palahniuk (book review coming soon!)

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Love YA? Try These Classic Alternatives to Your Favorite Novels

Happy Friday everyone!

My week off has flown by, and tomorrow I travel to NYC for one of the biggest tradeshows in the software industry. I’ll be much too busy with work to blog, so to leave you on a high note until I get back in October, I’ve created another vlog!

In this video, I take a look at a few insanely popular YA novels and recommend some classic alternatives. Given that the vast majority of book bloggers focus primarily on young-adult fiction, I wanted to encourage them to read outside their comfort zone.

Many readers may think that the Western canon is full of boring tales written by dead white people, and although I can’t deny its lack of diversity, I can speak for its merit. There are tons of reasons why we read these literary classics in school: the themes are timeless and the writing is superb.

If you’re a huge fan of YA like I am, then I highly recommend that you challenge yourself with these older novels. Sure, you might have to look up a tough piece of vocabulary or review the SparkNotes to get a better understanding, but it doesn’t hurt to exercise your brain every now and then! In fact, I believe that you’ll appreciate your reading experience more when you do.

Literary Things that Grind My Gears

It’s no shock that hating on something gets more attention than loving it. Between the hipster sentiment of enjoying something ironically to the concept of the ‘anti-fan,’ we’ve created an entire culture based on opposing the things around us. Heck, I’ve even benefitted from it, given that my rant on why I hate Nicholas Sparks continues to gain the most amount of traffic on Book Club Babe.

So why fight it when you can join it? A little complaining can be therapeutic after all, so here are two things in the literary world going on this month that are grinding my gears!

Amen, Meme Generator!

The plight of the white male writer. There’s nothing quite as obnoxious as a white man who does not recognize his privilege in society. Many blogs are criticizing Kevin Morris, an entertainment attorney, for lamenting that before he got published, he was rejected many times and had to self-publish his book on Amazon. His book White Man’s Problems (ugh) discusses how hard it is for white men to get the credit they deserve now that women and people of color are dominating the cultural narrative. Hang on a second while I play the world’s smallest violin.

Oh, woe is the white man!

Not to worry, though, because Morris was fortunate enough to have a co-creator of “South Park” as a client who was able to hook him up with a publisher. Thank goodness there were other white men to help a white man out!

So let’s just completely ignore the fact that women often use gender-ambiguous pen names to increase readership, lest they get unceremoniously shoved into the infantilizing “women’s fiction” genre full of pink, fluffy covers. And let’s just bypass that in 2012, there were only three out of 124 authors on the NYT bestsellers list that were people of color, none of which were African-American. No, what the literary world needs more of is white men, of course!

Book vlog trolling. Anyone who has read YouTube comments knows that that’s where common decency goes to die. One poor girl named Katie who posted videos of book reviews was harassed so badly by mouth-breathers from 4chan forums that she decided to take down her entire channel. They mocked her personality, appearance, and sexuality so incessantly that she felt “disgusted” and “violated.”

As someone who has recently posted my own book vlogs on YouTube, I sympathize with Katie completely. My channel may not have enough of a spotlight on it to attract these gnats, but trolling book vloggers has to be a new low. If your hobby involves verbally assaulting people on the Internet–especially innocent, introverted bookworms–then you have a sad, pitiful life, and I hope you spend the rest of it stepping on Legos.

And this might be my new favorite gif!

So what’s grinding your gears right now? Feel free to let loose, because as Taylor Swift said, us haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate today!

My 2014 Reading Recap!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

2014 has finally come to an end, and I’ve read some great books in the process! To recap, I have completed 20 books, totaling over 6,877 pages! Eight of these were audiobooks, which goes to show how valuable my commute is in staying on track to meet my quota.

The video above discusses my top five books in detail, but below is the full list from best to worst. 2014 was all about comedic memoirs and chick-lit, with a few YA fantasies and works of literary fiction in the mix. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the new year!

Rating: 5 out of 5
1. Yes Please – Amy Poehler (2014)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
2. Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan (2014)
3. Hollow City – Ransom Riggs (2014)

Rating: 4 out of 5
4. The Engagements – J. Courtney Sullivan (2013)
5. Wedding Night – Sophie Kinsella (2013)
6. Afterworlds – Scott Westerfeld (2014)
7. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro (2000)
8. A Well-Tempered Heart – Jan-Philipp Sendker (2014)
9. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson (2012)
10. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (2014)
11. My Horizontal Life – Chelsea Handler (2004)
12. A Lot Like Love – Julie James (2011)
13. About That Night – Julie James (2012)
14. Love Irresistibly – Julie James (2013)

Rating: 3 out of 5
15. I Know I Am, But What Are You? – Samantha Bee (2011)
16. The Bedwetter – Sarah Silverman (2010)
17. Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham (2014)
18. Deeply, Desperately – Heather Webber (2010)
19. Absolutely, Positively – Heather Webber (2011)

Rating: 2 out of 5
20. Reached – Ally Condie (2012)

So have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think? And what were your top five books of 2014?

The Top 25 Things Books Have Taught Me

Hi everyone! I’m back from vacation for a very special blog post. Today I’m officially a quarter century old, so to celebrate my 25th birthday, I’ve created my first vlog!

In this video, expertly shot and edited by my brother Nick Jarrett (check out his portfolio at nickjarrett.com), I discuss the top 25 things books have taught me. If you’re familiar with YouTube diva Jenna Marbles, you’ll find the theme similar to her viral videos of what hip hop and Disney movies have taught her.

I poke fun at everything from popular YA books to dystopian classics to Ancient Greek epics. Make sure to watch until the end for some funny bloopers!

I hope you all enjoy this vlog, because blogging at Book Club Babe has made my life so much more fulfilling and I appreciate all of your support. Here’s to the next 25 years!