Category Archives: Book Report

Book Report // All-Time Favorites

I am a voracious reader. Reading has always been something I loved to do – in fact, my childhood friends still tease me for thinking that “reading books!” was a completely acceptable slumber party activity (#cringe). There are a couple of books that I end up reading at least once a year – they are my comfort objects, like curling up on the couch with an afghan and The Price is Right when you were home sick as a kid. These are my top 3 all-time favorite books.

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1. Harry Potter
Okay, so technically, this is more than one book, but to me, they are a singular entity. I can’t choose a favorite, and whenever I do read them, I always read all seven, in order (OCD, much?!). I remember waiting and waiting and waiting as a kid for each successive book to come out and when I finally had it in hand, holing away in my room and reading it cover to cover all in a single sitting. I just couldn’t put it down – I HAD to know what was going to happen! Even now, after reading them dozens of times, I struggle to take a break from the story. I can’t get over how amazingly well thought out they are. Love, love, love.

2. Paradise
This is my guilty pleasure book. It’s like the silly rom-com of novels, the one that you can’t help but love despite it’s semi-implausible storyline and somewhat sub-par acting. This is the book I pick up when Casey is out of town, or I can’t shut my brain off, or I’m not feeling well. It’s a great fluffy book, perfect for the beach or long road trips or snow days.

3. Under the Tuscan Sun
I picked up this book after I returned from my first trip to Italy (I spent one summer in Florence during college to study art history). I was feeling homesick for tomatoes that tasted like tomatoes, cobblestone streets, art museums, bold red wine, drafty churches, creamy gelato, leather sandals and the evening passeggiata… and this memoir brought me right back. This is the book that I curl up with when I start feeling “itchy” to get back to Italy (which is surprisingly often). For me, the writing is like a time capsule to that amazing summer and a couple subsequent vacations (you can’t keep me away from that country – I swear it’s magnetic). A bit of a warning though – even though the writing is beautiful and amazingly descriptive and kind of magic, I’m not sure the effect it would have if you’ve never been to Italy. I mean, I’m sure it will make it come alive for you, I just can’t guarantee that you’ll feel the heady, tangible connection that I feel when I read it.

What are your all-time favorite books? Are you as obsessed with Harry Potter as I am? I really hope that they aren’t a weird generational fad – that they are timeless and someday my future kids will read and love them too.

Book Report // Recent Favorites

One of the items on my birthday list (26×26) was to read 26 books. I love to read! So finishing at least two books a month seemed like a perfectly achievable goal – one that wouldn’t be too easy or too hard.

book-report-1Well.

I grossly underestimated my reading ability. As of last August, I have read at least 60 books. And that only includes the ones I have kept track of! Some of them I have read more than once… some more than twice. But one of the awesome things about keeping a list has been that I remember the good ones when people ask me for book recommendations. And this year, there have been several standouts. Here are my top 5 (in the order that I read them).

1. The Fault in Our Stars
This book has gotten a lot of press recently (the movie version is coming out in June) and wow, it’s a good one. It’s one of those books that is just so poignant, emotional in the best way. I highly, highly recommend.

2. The Art Forger
Although this story is completely fictional, the plot is woven around the unsolved 1990 theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. I am a fan of art, museums, mysteries and Boston, so this was right up my alley.

3. The Goldfinch
I feel like everyone has been talking about this book this year – not only has it been mentioned by several bloggers whose book recommendations are usually spot on, it won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction! So reading it was a no-brainer. And it didn’t disappoint! This was the first book in a loooong time that I couldn’t just plow straight through – it was long and interesting and jumped through time and the characters were so fascinating and the plot totally engrossing. Everyone should read this!

4. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
I bought this book on a whim – half because Amazon recommended it, and half because I liked the cover (yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t do that but I totally do) and it sucked me in! I guess I really like stories where there is some sort of mystery or mysterious circumstance, and also, I love books, so why not a book about a mysterious bookstore? A fun, twisty, lighter read.

5. Me Before You
Oh man. This book took me completely by surprise. We were going to the beach, I needed something to read, and I bought it sight unseen (one click purchase, FTW). And I loved it! The story was surprisingly, uniquely bittersweet, and although I couldn’t really relate to the characters circumstances, I totally got them.

Now that I’ve listed all of these out, I feel a little bit boring! Although I’ve read tons of books this year, in all categories – fiction, biography, young adult, fantasy, etc etc – all of these kind of fit into two of them! First, there’s emotional, relationship-y, semi-romance-y types (The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You) and then there are the nerdy/creative mystery/thrillers (The Art Forger, The Goldfinch, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore). Maybe I need to branch out – any suggestions?

 

PS The book that I am currently re-reading in the photo up top is The Magicians (it’s like a darker, more adult The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe). The final book in that series comes out this summer, so of course I have to re-read the first two!