The Book List
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a book-worm, but I do enjoy getting lost in a series once in a while. I have read my fair share of books and I have a stack of “books-to-read” on my bedside table. There is something amazing about reading. The way that books completely alter your feelings is unparalleled. Simply put, a book is just a collection of words and sentences that someone put together, yet it has unbelievable power. Because of my love of books, I present to you, The Book List: A list of books that I have read and wish to read. (Of course this list is subject to change).
Books I’ve Read
Obviously I cannot include every book I have read, that would be a daunting task—and a boring list. These are a few notable books I have read in the past few years of my life that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
1. The Maze Runner (series) – James Dashner
The Maze Runner is an action packed novel that begins with Thomas, who has just awoken in the Glade. Thomas wakes up with no memories of who he is or how he got to the Glade. He is greeted by the Gladers, the fifty other teenage boys living in the Glade. Over the course of the novel, Thomas has to figure out how to get himself and the Gladers out of the Maze.
As someone who doesn’t typically read romance novels, this book has the perfect mix of drama, action, and romance. The cliffhangers kept me turning the pages and in over a course of three days, I had finished all three books.
2. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel by American poet Sylvia Plath. The novel focuses on the downward spiral of the main character Esther Greenwood. It highlights American culture in the fifties including opinion on mental illness and the place of women in society.
This book was originally appealing to me because I had read a lot of poems by Sylvia Plath. Her depth in her writing was something I could relate to. The way she described mental illness was intense and her style of writing is beautiful. Although there are no action scenes or cliffhangers, it is a beautiful novel and I would encourage anyone to read it.
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (series) – Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo begins with Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, losing a court case against Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Blomkvist is called to meet Henrik Vanger, former head of Vanger Corporation. Vanger offers Blomkvist incriminating information about Wennerstrom in exchange for Blomkvist solving the disappearance of Vanger’s estranged niece. Blomkvist enlists the help of Lisbeth Salander, a researcher and computer hacker.
This series is hands down one of the most thrilling series I have ever read. Although it takes the first hundred pages to get into the heart of the story, it is worth it. The book is dense and it is set in Sweden so even the background is difficult, but the writing is unbelievable and the plot is original. The plot twists and cliffhangers draw you into the book and have you reaching for the next. It took me about three days to read the first book front to back, but it is one of my favorites.
4. Looking for Alaska – John Green
High school student Miles Halter (Pudge) leaves his Florida home to attend Culver Creek Preparatory High School in Alabama. At Culver Creek, Pudge meets a group of friends who push him out of his comfort zone. His roommate Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska Young adopt Pudge into their group and show him the ropes at Culver Creek. Over the year, Pudge falls in love and his life will never be the same.
Disclaimer: tears are inevitable. I don’t typically read romance novels because I think they are cheesy, but this book had me crying my eyes out for days. I read it in about a day and a half, but when it was over I just wanted to read it again.
5. Paper Towns – John Green
One night Quentin Jacobsen is awoken by his beautiful neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman. Margo, the most popular girl at their school, has been Quentin’s object of affection for some time. When Quentin discovers Margo at his window, she asks him to help her get revenge on every person that has hurt her. He agrees and spends the night helping her with her vendetta. At the end of the night Quentin and Margo return to their houses and Quentin thinks about what will happen at school the next day, but Margo never shows up.
It seems like I just gave away the entire plot of the book, but believe me, I did not, and it is worth the read. It’s an easy read and is the kind of book that leaves you thinking. One of the prominent themes in the book is the suppression of reality. The term “paper towns” is referred to by Margo as being a town that is fake; somewhere where people conceal reality.
6. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Hazel Lancaster, a sixteen year old fighting Stage 4 thyroid cancer meets Augustus “Gus” Waters outside of a support group. Gus is in remission after losing his leg to osteosarcoma. Gus invites Hazel to his house to watch a movie. She meets his parents and they spend time talking with each other. Hazel shares her favorite novel “An Imperial Affliction” with Gus, which allows them to bond.
I promise this is the last John Green novel. I also couldn’t explain much of the plot without crying or completely giving away the story. This book induced tears as I was sitting alone on a pool chair at 11:30pm on spring break last year. Since the film is set to come out in June, do me a favor and read the book first. You won’t regret it.
7. Just Kids – Patti Smith
Just Kids is a memoir written by Patti Smith, an American singer-songwriter and visual artist. She writes about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
Originally I picked up this book because the title and the cover appealed to me. As I began to read it I enjoyed the anecdotes that Smith writes about and she talks a lot about American culture at different time periods.
8. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
An anonymous 15-year-old girl begins writing in a diary. The diarist begins by talking about typical teenage issues and is optimistic in the beginning. She documents her experiences with her friends and family. She is eventually introduced to LSD at a party and continues to experiment with drugs. She runs away to California with a friend. They vow to stay away from drugs but eventually break that vow. The diarist returns home and endures more hardships. At the end of the novel it is revealed that the diarist was found dead three weeks after the final diary entry.
This book is part of a series of journals that are promoted as anonymous nonfiction journals. Beatrice Sparks, a psychiatrist, is the alleged editor of the novel. Whether or not this book is a work of fiction, it is presented in a format that brings a new perspective. Because the diarist is never named it allows you to put yourself in her shoes. This book tackles a broad range of issues that every teenager faces and brings a new reality to teenage drug use/abuse.
Books I Wish To Read
1. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
2. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffry Eugenides
3. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
4. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
5. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
6. This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
7. The Wolf of Wall street – Jordan Belfort
8. Ms. Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
9. Columbine – Dave Cullen
10. The Beautiful and Damned– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Finally, the list is over. I’m sure this was boring, but for fellow book junkies, these are my recommendations. There is never enough time in the day to sit down and read a book, but when I get the chance, it is one of my favorite things to do. I’m sure my stack of books is going to continue to build, because frankly I enjoy buying books for no reason. If you have read anything worthwhile, let me know. If you have read any of the books I have read or wish to read, tell me what you think about them.