Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books!

toptentuesday

Whew! I took an unexpected week off from blogging and I think it did me a lot of good. I’m going through some personal things at the moment, some of which I’m hoping to post about tomorrow on my late February wrap-up.

But for now, let me ease back into blogging with my favorite meme, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)! This week’s topic is about our favorite books. For a long time now I’ve had a very stable Top 5, so for today I had to decide on my top 6-10, which was hard! I almost cheated…

Top Ten Favorite Books

AoGG Pride and Prejudice janeeyre Persuasion Harry Potter

attachments IMG_2049 tokillamockingbird littlewomen Hamlet

Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book, but Anne of the Island should be on this list, too! I only left it out to make room for some others. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Persuasion are so close I could easily switch them around. Yes, my favorite Harry Potter book is the last! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made me feel all the feels, and I thought it was the perfect ending to a favorite series. The rest of the books on this list probably don’t belong in that order, but I haven’t given it much thought before now. Those would be my next favorites, though. Attachments is my favorite book from this decade, so far. Short Straw Bride is my favorite historical novel. What else can I say to justify To Kill a Mockingbird‘s place in my heart and on this list? Little Women is another book that makes me feel so deeply! And Hamlet has always been, and most likely always will be, my favorite Shakespearean play (and favorite play in general, for that matter), no matter how cliché it sounds :)

There you have it: my ten favorite books! Do you like any of my favorites? And what are your most beloved reads??

Back to the Classics 2014 Wrap-Up Post!

classics2014I did it!! I read 10 classics from various authors, countries, and time periods in 12 months! (To be honest, a big chunk of those books were read this month *procrastinator*).

This was such a fun challenge, and I’m earnestly considering doing the Back to the Classics 2015 challenge next year, although I still have a little time to decide :)

Here is my wrap-up post listing all of my reviews for this challenge:

Required Categories:

Optional Categories:

I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these books (except for maybe Wuthering Heights), but if I had to rank my Top 3 it would be: North and South, Little Women, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thank you to Books and Chocolate for hosting this challenge!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are you up for next year’s Back to the Classics Challenge?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2014 Reads

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the best books we read in 2014! I am very happy that my Top Ten is filled with so many classics! It’s not surprising, because I love classics and they usually fill up about half of what I read, but this year I read so many young adult books that I wasn’t able to read as many classics as usual. I guess this just means that I picked a few really good classics ;)

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

robinhood secondchancesummer muchado sisterhoodeverlasting littlewomen

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, my love <3 Your tricks and mischievous ways never fail to entertain me :)
9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: This book made me bawl like a baby, and only the best books can make me do that. This was the third Morgan Matson book I read, and before that I was already convinced that I’d preorder her future books because they’re that good.
8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Usually I prefer Shakespearean tragedies, but Much Ado was so funny and suspenseful that I found myself really enjoying it despite its “shallowness.” The recent film version is great as well.
7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series for the first time this summer, and I loved the four sisters so much! When I went to read this 5th, more adult book, I knew it was going to be a lot different from its predecessors. It’s darker and sadder, but also so much fuller than the other four books. Several chapters made me cry, but not just out of sadness. There’s one scene in particular involving my two favorite characters that is giving me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it <3
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The beloved March family! I so wish I had read this book as a young adult. It would have gone well with Anne of Green Gables, but in any case I loved it so much when I read it earlier this year. And of course, the Winona Rider/Christian Bale movie is spot-on. I could watch that all day, AND it’s a Christmas movie so that means I will be watching it soon!

 

tokillamockingbird sinceyouvebeengone meanttobe NorthandSouth attachments

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of those classics that is usually assigned in school, but it wasn’t for me, and after reading it I totally wish it had been! But maybe not, actually, because there’s always that dreaded assigned reading curse that can destroy books for us =P It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book will touch your heart.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This book is perfect for summer reading. It made my heart smile with giddy happiness and it’s a Morgan Matson book so obviously it’s amazing.
3. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill: This book was so cute! I seriously could not put it down. I love books that mix in multiple communications platforms, and this one deals a lot with texting mishaps. Plus, if you love travelling, especially to the UK, you’ll love this one. The whole book takes place in London and Lauren Morrill makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’ve been dying to see all the places that were mentioned in the book ever since I read it.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished this book a few days ago and I am still on the book hangover. Some people might think it’s weird to rave about a book that’s been around for over 150 years, but right now all I want to do is rave about North and South. The last time I felt like this was when I read Jane Eyre for the first time last September. My best friends can attest to it, I talked their heads off about that book (but I even converted my BFF into liking it after she HATED the movie!).
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This has been my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve talked about it so many times, I don’t know what else to say besides IT’S WONDERFUL!

 

There you have it! That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, actually. I rated all of these books 5/5, and there were around 6 other books I also gave a 5 star rating this year. It’s been a good reading year for me :)

 

What has been your favorite read of the year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite New-To-Me Authors

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, created by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about authors we read for the first time in 2014! This was actually a fun and easy post for me since I read a whole bunch of “new to me” authors this year, and I got to meet some of them too! :)

Top Ten “New To Me” Authors in 2014

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Meeting Rainbow Rowell at YALL Fest was DEFINITELY one of my highlights from 2014!!

Rainbow Rowell – By far my favorite author of the year. I read Attachments back in January after seeing so many recommendations from fellow bloggers. I LOVED IT. I know it came out a few years ago, but I talked about that book to all of my friends because it was so wonderful. Since then I’ve read Fangirl and Landline, and I’ve decided that I prefer Rainbow Rowell’s adult fiction to her YA fiction, but I’m still waiting to read Eleanor & Park :)
Veronica Roth – This year I also read the Divergent series. It wasn’t my favorite series, but I did like the world Veronica Roth created (and I really liked the first movie!).
Lauren Morrill – My second favorite author I discovered this year! She wrote Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs and if I could give her an award it would be for prettiest book covers one & two.
Ann Brashares – This year I read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and I especially loved the most recent 5th book. When I met Ann Brashares at YALL Fest (and totally fangirled), I got to chat with her a bit about it and she was really happy to know that I enjoyed the last book since so many people don’t want to read it because it’s sad. I had her sign a copy of her new book, The Here and Now (which also has a gorgeous cover), and I’m excited to read it soon!
Louisa May Alcott – I still don’t know why I waited so long to read Little Women, but I’m so glad I finally did this year! I’m looking forward to reading Alcott’s other novels as well.
Morgan Matson – After hearing so many good things about Since You’ve Been Gone, my book club voted to read this earlier this summer and we all fell in love! Since then I’ve read all of Matson’s other novels, I’ve laughed & cried, and now I can’t wait for her to publish more!
Jennifer E. Smith – It is very rare for me to read a book by an author, not really like it, and then decide to give out a second chance and read another of his/her novels. I’m glad I did this with Jennifer E. Smith. I read The Geography of You and Me a few months ago and felt “Ehh” about it. But then I checked out This Is What Happy Looks Like on audiobook and I actually rather enjoyed it. I think I’ll give The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight a chance next.
Cindi Madsen – I won a copy of Madsen’s Falling For Her Fiancé a couple of months ago and adored it! I speed read it and then bought the two sequels and finished them in roughly two days. If you like clean, funny, romances, Cindi Madsen writes some pretty great ones :)
Harper Lee – I was never assigned to read To Kill A Mockingbird, but maybe that’s a good thing, because when I finally felt like reading it this year, I loved it. I wrote all about my feelings on the novel here.
Huntley Fitzpatrick – I had been eyeing My Life Next Door for months and maybe it was delayed gratification, but I loved that book so much more than I thought I would. It’s definitely not all that it seems; it’s better :)

What are some authors you read for the first time this year? I’d love some recommendations!

To Kill a Mockingbird & Childhood Innocence

tokillamockingbird

The sixth grade seemed to please him from the beginning: he went through a brief Egyptian Period that baffled me – he tried to walk flat a great deal, sticking one arm in front of him and one in back of him, putting one foot behind the other. He declared Egyptians walked that way; I said if they did I didn’t see how they got anything done, but Jem said they accomplished more than the Americans ever did, they invented toilet paper and perpetual embalming, and asked where would we be today if they hadn’t? Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Published July 1960 by J.B. Lippincott & Co.
Classic/Young Adult
Format: Paperback-324 pages
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 5/5

One of my favorite parts about this novel was that it’s told from the point of view of a 6-year-old girl, so every now and then we get to enjoy hilarious commentaries like this one about the Egyptians. Scout’s childhood perspective serves more than to amuse us, however. Her innocence and unprejudiced outlook on life brings us emotional conviction, but one that inspires hope in us instead of guilt or regret. To Kill a Mockingbird takes place shortly before the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, so there is a great deal of racial tension going on that is presented through the eyes of a child, which is genius, in my opinion. I loved that Harper Lee did that; having Scout narrate her observations was a powerful way of highlighting not only the injustice in racism, but the injustice in all prejudices. I think one of my favorite scenes in this novel happened during the big court case, when Scout and Dill stepped outside for a moment  and ended up having a conversation with Mr. Raymond, “the town drunk”. Mr. Raymond is known for stumbling around town nursing a brown paper bag-covered bottle. When Dill comes out of the courthouse with an upset stomach, Mr. Raymond offers him a sip of his drink to help him feel better, and this is when we find out that all Mr. Raymond has been drinking is Coca-Cola. The reason? Because the townspeople don’t agree with Mr. Raymond’s lifestyle (he has “mixed” children), so he feels the need to give them a reason for his actions–or something they can blame them on.

I had never encountered a being who deliberately perpetrated fraud against himself. But why had he entrusted us with his deepest secret? I asked him why. “Because you’re children and you can understand it…”

I love this statement that children can understand what adults are often blinded from. They haven’t been as tainted by prejudices like adults have been. And in Scout’s case, this can be attributed to her moral upbringing by her father, Atticus. Let me just say that Atticus is my favorite fictional parent ever–I inspire to be like him when I’m a parent one day. He shows how important moral education is for children, and I believe the book argues that moral education is the responsibility of the parent, and not the responsibility of teachers or even extended family members. Whenever Scout and Jem have questions, Atticus answers them, and he answers them in a way that his children can understand. Whenever they have faulty opinions, Atticus realigns them, and he does it in a way that doesn’t belittle his children. He takes his role as a father very seriously and he always leads by example. This theme of childhood innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird was incredibly powerful to me as a reader. I mentioned at the beginning that Scout’s narration produced this inspiring emotional conviction in me, and I don’t think I would have been as impacted by this novel if it had been written from any other POV, even if Jem had been the narrator. I loved Jem, he was a great older brother, but he was already a little too grown up to be the most effective narrator. But, he and Scout both gave me plenty of chuckles from quotes like the one I’m about to end this post with:

As I made my way home, I thought Jem and I would get grown but there wasn’t much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra.

Clearly there are countless of things to be said about To Kill a Mockingbird, but what were the ones that stood out to you the most?