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.

Advertisements

Top Ten Quotes from My Favorite Books

Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, is about our favorite quotes from literature. Books have the power to put your deepest, most complex thoughts into words that stick with you for your entire life.

I’ve separated these ten quotes into three categories: existential ideas that make you think, timeless adages that make you appreciate each moment, and heart-wrenching words that make you pine for love and mourn its absence.

Let me know what you think of these quotes, and feel free to add your own!

Evoking Existentialism

1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus

3. Demian by Hermann Hesse

The Traveling of Time

4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

6. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Love and Loss

7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

8. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

10. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Top Ten Books For People Who Like Romance

Let’s get right to it! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has bloggers recommending ten books for readers of a particular genre, and I since love reading about love, I decided to choose romance as my category.

Love stories come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so I’ve broken my list down into several types. Without further ado, here are my top ten books for people who like romance!

Classic romance: Love doesn’t get any better than this

 

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Romantic tragedies: Bust out the tissues

 

3. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Romantic comedies: Love that makes you LOL

 

5. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
6. Talk Nerdy to Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Sexy romance: It’s about to get steamy

 

7. Something About You by Julie James
8. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Unique romance: Love outside the box

 

9. Every Day by David Levithan
10. The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

I would love to hear recommendations of your favorite love stories! Which type of romance do you like the best, and which other novels would you suggest?

Breaking News! My Litographs Poster has Arrived!

Hands down, the best gift I've given myself!

Hands down, the best gift I’ve given myself!

Hey everyone, I was going to publish my audiobook review of David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, but that can wait until next time, because I’ve got something more important to talk about today: my Litographs poster has finally arrived!

I’m pretty sure that most of you self-respecting bookworms have already heard of Litographs, but in case you haven’t, it’s this awesome company formed in 2012 which sells literary-themed t-shirts, posters, and tote bags.

But the cool part is that each item is designed with the actual text of the book! I’m so giddy with excitement, you can’t even imagine!

Close-up shot of the text!

Close-up shot of the text!

My Litographs poster is 18×24 inches and is inspired by one of my all-time favorite novels, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

The color scheme in my apartment is grey and pink, so this poster is an excellent addition to my dining area.

IMG_4809

 

 

 

 

 

 

This poster only cost me $24, and shirts and totes range from $30-35. Litographs also provides free shipping to anywhere in the U.S., so you have no excuse not to buy one of your own! This isn’t a sponsored post, but trust me, you will LOVE it!

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

To explain today’s post, I have to use my fellow book blogger Wanton Creation’s intro, since he put it so perfectly:

“Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke And The Bookish. I haven’t participated in these before, but today’s one looked quite fun so I figured why not?”

Why not indeed? Let’s get started!

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

  1. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy – Philip Pullman
  3. Demian – Hermann Hesse
  4. 1984 – George Orwell
  5. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  6. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  8. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  9. Fight Club –  Chuck Palahniuk
  10. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Reviewing this list, I realized some things. As much as I love The Lord of the Rings, I find that I do not recommend it often, since it’s truly an acquired taste that unless you’re giddy for fantasy, you won’t stomach well.

I also noticed how much I enjoy pushing classic dystopian and existential literature (also known as books to piss you off and shake things up!) onto those who have jumped onto The Hunger Games bandwagon. Orwell, Huxley, and Bradbury are my Holy Trinity of oppressive governments!

Lastly, Never Let Me Go will continue to be my top recommendation, for these reasons:

  • It’s a perfect blend of romance, tragedy, science fiction, and other genres–thus, appealing to a wide audience.
  • I can’t say much without giving away the plot, so the mystery gets people intrigued.
  • Ishiguro is a literary genius, and I would recommend anything he writes. 
  • It’s just what the world needs, given the over-saturation of Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James, and Nicholas Sparks. ESPECIALLY Nicholas Sparks. In fact, my loathing of him deserves its own blog post in the near future. So be on the look-out!

I would have included some ancient Greek and Shakespearean plays, but I don’t consider them “books,” so do a bit of searching, and I’m sure you’ll find some great choices.

So what would your top recommendations be? Would you veto any of mine? Sound off in the comments!

4 Literary Archetypes You Shouldn’t Love IRL

If you’ve been living under a rock since 2012, you’ve probably woken up to find said rock covered in pink glitter and heart confetti, because today is Valentine’s Day. Many book bloggers have been discussing the best or worst romances in literature, but I’d like to talk about the sorts of characters that are totally swoon-worthy in novels, but I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole in real life:

The Age of Innocence: Nothing says danger like an affair with your wife’s cousin!

The Bad Boy/Girl

You’ve always been warned against them: the rough-around-the-edges type that will get you into trouble and break your heart. You wouldn’t bring them home to your parents, and that’s exactly their allure. Whether it’s taking you to that seedy bar on the back of a motorcycle or convincing you to get a tattoo, everything about them is exciting and a wee bit dangerous. Unfortunately, that adrenaline rush of passion only leads to equally explosive fights and breakups.

Heathcliff: Convincing women around the world to ignore red flags–like hanging your beloved’s dog!

The Angsty Outsider

Unlike the bad boy/girl, the angsty outsider might have a heart of gold. At least you hope so, because their moodiness is downright depressing. They blame their me-against-the-world attitude on their parents’ divorce, school bullying, or impoverished upbringing, and since they’re just so pitiful, you want to be the one to bring  joy back into their lives. All that pressure to be their beacon of light will eventually drain you so much that you’ll abandon them–giving them yet another reason to believe the worst in people–or you’ll end up just as dark and gloomy as them. Misery sure does love company!

Missing: One glass slipper and one actual personality

The Prince(ss) Charming

They’re stunningly good-looking, intelligent, and kind-hearted. They have a lucrative job and a gorgeous home. They really listen to what you say and can always make you laugh. Perhaps their spare time is spent helping the elderly across intersections and taking in stray kittens. All your friends and relatives love them and are counting down the days until your nuptials. But…you want there to be a but. All this perfection is driving you crazy and feeding into your worst insecurities. You wonder what’s wrong with them, what’s wrong with you, until your paranoia sabotages the whole thing. Beware of people who never have bad hair days or get flat tires. They might actually belong in the next category…

Vampire love: When you want to kiss and kill someone at the same time!

The Mythical Creature

Vampires, werewolves, elves, merpeople, even zombies have been re-imagined in literature as lover material. I had no idea that blood-sucking and brain-devouring could be considered sexy but books have come a long way since Dracula. If monsters started appearing in our daily lives, here’s how it would play out: (1) Only you would know their secret, making you feel oh-so-special, until your loved ones start to wonder why your mate doesn’t have a reflection…or a pulse. (2) Someone spills the beans, and you spend the rest of your life keeping your mythical creature away from greedy scientists and rival demons. Don’t worry about it too much, as odds are, your life isn’t going to be very long anyway now.

Any other tropes I’ve missed? What’s a turn-off in books that would be a turn-off IRL? Sound off in the comments!

Book News!

It’s been an eventful week, not only for me, since I was a bridesmaid in one of my closest friends’ wedding last weekend, but also for book news! Here’s the recap:

Today would’ve been T.S. Eliot’s 124th birthday! My favorite Eliot moment was when we were reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” at UC Santa Cruz, and some hippie chick thought the protagonist was strong and brave, despite the entire class politely explaining that he was a weak, pathetic character. She couldn’t deal with the fact that there are wrong answers in poetry, and stormed out of class crying. Interpretation is key to literary scholars, but I think we know that T.S. Eliot was not a rainbows-and-puppies kind of writer.

Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby gets a North American release date of May 10, 2013. Coming Soon commented that this may not be a good choice, since the second week of May has opened quite a few duds. You mean, you couldn’t tell by the modern soundtrack?

Similar to Miley Cyrus flipping Disney the bird with her scandalous antics, J.K. Rowling is proving she can’t be tamed with her first post-Potter novel, Casual Vacancy. The New Yorker published an extensive profile on the author, who discusses the book’s adult themes and her unwillingness to write for critics. Reviews might be negative, but with the money she’s made with Potter, I say that she can write whatever she damn well pleases.

Speaking of flipping the bird, in a complete act of disrespect, Billy Connolly, who’s playing dwarf Dain Ironfoot in “The Hobbit,” called Tolkien “unreadable” and insulted devoted fans of the author. It’s a shame Peter Jackson can’t donate your salary to charity, because with that kind of attitude, you don’t deserve such an amazing career opportunity anyway.

The world of TV is working on its latest facepalm, this time a modern drama based on Wuthering Heights. Tentatively titled “Napa,” the story has swapped Victorian England for California wine country. I love a good soap opera, but leave Bronte out of it, will you, screenwriters? That’s a tale that needs no improving!

Lastly, my blog has been gaining traffic due to the release of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Unfortunately, it’s only in limited theaters (none of which are close to me), so it looks like I’ll be catching it when it comes out on DVD. But feel free to re-read my book review here!

So there you have it! What other book news has sparked your interest?