Required Reading #1

Looking for books for the summer? I just got done putting my list of summer reading together. I’ll post that next. First, though, is a few of the novels I read over the school year that were really phenomenal.

1) The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach                                                                             Fielding is such a great book because it forces you to develop feelings for the characters regardless. Harbach did a wonderful job crafting honest, believable characters. There are no “manic-pixie dream” characters that come across in some other novels. Every character has a flaw, and it is a beautiful experience to be a part of every time I read it.

2) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky                                                           Perks is a book for anyone who has ever felt completely and utterly alone. So, what I mean is Perks is a book for everyone. It is weird, and charming. The plot makes you want to laugh, cry, and throw up all at once. I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but it is. It’s a pretty short read. I read it in a day, and passed it on to a friend, who passed it on to another one of our friends. We’re like a really poor book club.

3) The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee                                                       As a science nerd, I found this book to be incredibly informational. Above that though, it was incredibly refreshing to read a novel written by a doctor about medicine that was so incredibly warm, and personable. Doctors get a bad rap for being cold and unattached. Mukherjee writes with such a warm tone that learning about such an abysmal topic seems comfortable. Another author/doctor who does very similar things is Atul Gawande.

4) This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper                                                               Reading this book is like watching a slow motion car crash. It is painful and difficult and messy, but you look on anyways. You know the second you open the book that you are going to watch the main character’s life fall apart. It reads in such a way that makes everything inside you hurt for this character. Tropper manipulates his readers in the best sort of way.

5) Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi                                                                                                     This is an important read for anyone who grew up in the US during the war with Iraq/Afghanistan/Etc. It is important for those of us still growing up in the middle of these wars. It is written comic book style to appeal to a young audience,and outlines a young girls growing up during the time before the US invaded the middle east. It shows the struggle, and trial that she goes through. I read this as an assignment for a Young Adult Literature course, and hated it for the first few chapters. As I begun to understand it, I grew to love it. Persepolis does a great job of reminding us that perspective is all a matter of where we stand.

6) Looking For Alaska, John Green                                                                                         Because it’s not a book list if it doesn’t contain a John Green novel. His book TFiOS has done quite well, but I am considerably more fond of Alaska. It is a tragic coming of age novel. It shows that pain occurs in everyone. And that we all believe in our own invincibility, even if it is only for a short time. It reminds us to let the people around us know that they are loved, they are forgiven, and they are not alone.

There you have it: six books you need to read. Enjoy!


The Fault in our Stars

I have read The Fault in our Stars exactly twice. The first time I read it, I finished it in about a day and a half. Something inside of me felt like I hade missed a huge chunk of the book. So, in order to locate and revel in that chunk, when I read it this time, I went through it with a felt tipped highlighter. I think that helped.

First off, this novel was absolutely brilliant. I’m not saying that just because I love John Green. I do love him. I’m saying this because there is something so charismatic about the way he writes, that I can’t really it it down in words. Reading books written by John Green is incredibly reminiscent of being about five years old, hunkered down in the warmth of my bed, caught in that wonderful state between awake and asleep. John manages to recreate that feeling while I am sitting in the doctor’s office, or lying in the couch. So, this novelist made great mostly by the fact that John is a genius.

The Fault in our Stars (TFioS) is based around the life of the average teenage terminal cancer patient. I don’t want to give a lot away. This novel is so full of everything you would want in a book. It’s light, but only for a moment. And then, it’s tragic for a while. TFioS has the perfect balance of happiness, light, romance, tragedy, and triumph. It is written in a way that ripped my heart out, stomped on it,and then put it back in my chest. The way John writes his character’s is just as brilliant as you’d expect. He allows you to fall in love with them. You don’t think you will ,but you really start caring about these crazy kids, and then you’re invested. A writer that can get you invested deserves nothing less that to be dubbed a saint.

I know, I didn’t really tell you what happens in the book. But that’s because YOU HAVE TO READ IT. My copy is currently out, but you have to go to the bookstore or the library or something and you have to buy this book, and you have to read it. Then you will see. It teaches. That’s got to be the best thing. It teaches you. And it teaches something new. Every. Time.

Okay, my book rant is done.