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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

To Be Read. Books I Would Really Like To Read: Part One

Books are wonderful. There's nothing quite like that feeling of stepping out of my own life for a little while and being entirely submerged inside the world within a book. Anne Fine once said the lovely thing about books is that you can try out being other people. I agree. Looking through the eyes of a character, exploring their world with them, discovering why they think in a particular way and do things in a way I had never thought about is quite magical. And sometimes a character comes along that you can relate to so completely, they remind you that you're not the only one that feels the way you do and you're not alone. That's pretty special I think.
There have been a few periods of time in my life where I shunned books. I was too distracted by myspace or by msn (where hours would be lost instant messaging people I'd already spent the entire day at school with just a few hours before, whyyy?!) to make the time to get lost in a good book. And I think that was okay, it was something teenage me felt was more important at the time. But it's only really now that I'm actively trying to make up for those lost years. There are hundreds of books I would really like to read. Hundreds of worlds I would like to get lost in. Hundreds of characters I would like to learn about.

In January I wrote a post entitled 'A few books I'd like to read this year' and this is almost a continuation of that. Many of those are still on my list. The Luminaries by Eleanor Caton, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Stoner by John Williams, The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, and Nausea by John Paul Sartre are sitting over on my bookshelf as I type.

I have read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Wonder by R.J. Palacio and utterly adored them both. I attempted One Day by David Nicholls and The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window & Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson but I couldn't get into them so I've put them back down for now. The rest are firmly on my wishlist and will undoubtedly find their way to me soon. Some of them probably very soon, as a little celebration for submitting my final essay for the term at the end of this month!

These are the first few that came to mind when I was writing a little list for myself. I've included a few sentences about each one, that I have mostly pinched from descriptions over on Goodreads - I've also linked to each book's Goodreads page just incase you'd like to read a little more about them... 

The Gigantic Beard that was evil | Stephen Collins 
+ On the island of Here everything is neat, orderly and beardless. One day Dave grows a gigantic and unstoppable beard. Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what are they going to do with Dave? A graphic novel that looks utterly stunning and most certainly not just the tale of a giant beard.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story | Ned Vizzini
+ A humourous account of a teenager's battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital inspired by Vizzini's own brief hospitalisation with depression in 2004. A struggle Vizzini never overcame, he sadly took his own life at the end of last year. This is such an important book for many, I've lost count of the amount of reviews I've read that said it changed their lives.

Naive. Super | Erlend Loe
+ Our narrator is in his mid-twenties and has suddenly become disillusioned and confused by life. He quits University and begins searching for the meaning in his life. He writes lists, becomes fascinated by time and whether it actually matters, he bounces a ball against a wall repeatedly finding joy in childish activities - all in a quest to find the best way to live life. It sounds so wonderfully enigmatic.  

The five people you meet in heaven | Mitch Albom
+ Eddie is an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. He dies on his 83rd birthday in a tragic accident and awakes in the afterlife where he discovers that heaven is not a destination but an answer. In heaven five people explain your life to you. Eddie's five people illuminate the mysteries of his apparent meaningless life and reveal the haunting secret behind the question 'why was I here?'.

Rebecca | Daphne Du Maurier
+ Our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing Maxim de Winter and she can barely believe her luck. When the couple arrive at Manderly, a vast country estate, Max is a changed man and the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is kept alive by Mrs Danvers. Realising how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives, this is the story of a young girl who is consumed by love and the struggle to find her own identity.

Orlando | Virginia Woolfe
+ A 'biography' that tells the story of the cross-dressing, sex-changing Orlando who begins life as a young noble in the sixteenth century and moves through multiple worlds to end life as a modern female writer in the 1920s.

Waiting for Godot | Samuel Beckett
+ Vladimir and Estragon, two seemingly homeless men, are waiting for someone or something named Godot. A comical wordplay of nonsense, dreamscapes and poetry. Famously described as a play in which 'nothing happens, twice'. I'm certainly incredibly curious!

Howl & Other Poems | Allen Ginsberg
+ A visionary poet and beat movement icon, Allen Ginsberg broke the boundaries with his fearless verse. The vindication of Howl at an obscenity trial was a pivotal moment in twentieth century history. I'm slowly making my way through this collection and listening to recordings of him performing his work that are available online. Possibly a body of work with the marmite factor, it's one that seems to provoke strong reactions. Marvelous!

The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde
+ Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure his portrait will age instead of him. He retains the features of innocent beauty but the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul.

Things The Grandchildren Should Know | Mark Oliver Everett
+ How does one young man survive the death's of his entire family and make something worthwhile of his life? Everett, front man of The Eels, shares the story of how he survived his crazy upbringing and followed the uneasy path to finding himself. One of my boyfriend's favourite books and one that I started only to put down for a time when I have a day to fully submerge myself within its pages. I can already tell it's going to be a compelling and inspiring read.

Girl, Interrupted | Susanna Kaysen
+ The memoir of Kaysen, who at eighteen was put into a taxi and sent to McLean Psychiatric Hospital where she was to spend the next two years on the ward for teenage girls. An unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

More Than This | Patrick Ness
+ A boy drowns, alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked, bruised and thirsty, but very much alive. How can this be? As he struggles to understand what is happening he dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more than this?

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe | Benjamin Alire Saenz
+ Aristotle is an angry teenager with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all with an unusual way of looking at the world. When they meet they seemingly have nothing in common but as they start spending time together they discover that they share a special friendship. The kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. Through their friendship, Aristotle and Dante learn important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. I just can't resist a good coming of age story!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret | Brian Selznick
+ Not exactly a novel and not quite a picture book. Twelve year old Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station and his survival depends on secrets. When his world suddenly crashes into that of an eccentric girl and her grandfather, his undercover life and precious secret are put in jeopardy. There are over 200 pictures within this 500 page book and it looks utterly wonderful!

The New Ghost | Rob Hunter
+ A 24 page graphic novel that follows a spectral entity on his first day at work. An atmospheric, gentle, poetic and heartwarming tale of the afterlife.

Flowers for Algernon | Daniel Keyes
+ The much-loved story of Charlie, a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. Through diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. The experiment seems to be an important scientific breakthrough until Algernon begins his sudden deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? My only lasting memory of this book is sobbing uncontrollably at the end, one to save for when I need a really good cry I think! 

Are there any books you'd really like to read soon?

- Jennie xo

79 comments:

  1. Aaah those lost MSN hours :( why why why? And all the haste to download the latest LOL or hiya emoticon just to show off how cool and colourful your messages could be! My greatest fear now is that I am going to die in the middle of reading a book (not in the act of, just that when I die, I won't have finished reading it. Nightmare!) It's a shame you couldn't get into those books, I really enjoyed One Day and am anticipating the 100 year old man. Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? Definitely worth it! And that graphic book about the giant beard? Got to get that for my comic-loving, fuzzy-faced man xxx
    La Lingua : Food, Life, Love, Travel, Friends, Italy

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    1. Haha I know, crazy teenagers! I haven't, I keep hearing so much about it so I think I'll have to pick it up soon even though it's not my usual type of read. Haha giant beards are the best! xo

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  2. I really want to find the time to start reading again, being a psychology undergraduate, Girl, Interrupted sounds like something I'd really like to read! I also want to read some more of John Green's novels as I loved The Fault in Our Stars x

    http://whatrachaelwrote.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Ooh definitely one to try for sure! xo

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  3. This post just made me want to grab my credit card, place a huge order on Amazon and then bolt myself inside for days until I've finished reading, haha. All of these sound really interesting, I'm curious to see how you get on with them!

    http://beautifulsmudges.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. So happy to see Oscar Wilde & Ginsberg & Beckett on the list, you do have a marvelous taste in literature! <3 Since I am almost done with my uni degree, I will definitely have more time to read more literature than science books again in Summer :) I can also recommend Sylvia Plath's poetry and her diary collection. I'd think of some other recommendations, but I gotta get going right now - aaah, always too late for my lectures :S take care!

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    1. I'll definitely put those on my to-read list too! xo

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  5. Ahhhh Rebecca and Orlando were two of my favourite books as a teenager!! Every time I read them they take me back to the mornings on the school bus. And The New Ghost is such a beautiful book, I've loved Nobrow Press for a very long time, everything they bring out is fantastic. I actually didn't know Ned Vizzini wrote a book but I saw him in a lecture a couple years back and he was a pretty inspiring speaker so can imagine the book was good. (I'm wondering if I did know this and I'd just forgotten?) P.s sorry for leaving such a crazy long comment on your post and sounding like a crazy, I think I was just in a very enthusiastic mood. XXXX

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    1. I'm really looking forward to reading them, I'm not quite sure how they passed me by for all these years! xo

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  6. Sobbing uncontrollably is definitely the main reaction to reading Flowers for Algernon. I've just finished my final university exams and getting back into reading without taking notes or stress is something I'm enjoying so much. Good luck with your list!

    www.theharpy.co.uk

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    1. Definitely, I'll save it for a day when I really need to have a good cry at something! xo

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  7. I'm book marking this list to look at next time I go to the library, I read through some of the descriptions of the books and they sound so interesting. I also didn't realise that Ned Vizzini committed suicide, so so sad :( xxx

    Verity | Life of Verity

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  8. This is such a lovely list Jennie, there's quite a few on here I'd love to read!
    I couldn't get into The Picture of Dorian Grey but keep meaning to try again, and I really want to read It's Kind of A Funny Story.

    Jess xo

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    1. I've had that with a few classics, sometimes it takes so many attempts to get into them, but it always seems to be worth it! xo

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  9. I really want to read '"it's kind of a funny story" after seeing it here on your post and in a few bookstores it has always sparked my interest. I started reading Rebecca a while ago but didn't get around to finishing it, so thanks for reminding me :). xo

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  10. I already have a pile of unread books sitting on my shelf but I now have a whole new wishlist! xxx

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  11. I really need to join goodreads! Such lovely picks! I'm reading 'The Mists of Avalon' currently and trying to take time every day to have a read! x

    SophiesMakeupBlog

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    1. Yes! It's one of those websites I wish I had joined sooner! xo

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  12. Love this list! I'll add a couple of these to my list and I'm so glad to see The Five People You Meet in Heaven on here. I'm currently reading that book and I have read it before.. It's a book to read over and over. Probably my favorite and I'm not even sure why :)

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    1. I'm really looking forward to it, it sounds wonderful! xo

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  13. Rebecca is such an amazing book, especially if you are in a spooky mood! I would definitely recommend! xxx

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    1. I'm so excited for it, hoping the postman hurries up hehe xo

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  14. so so many books i want to read, these all have beautiful covers!! xx

    em @ afternoonbookery.blogspot.com x

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  15. Flowers for Algernon sounds beautiful and also so sad. I'll have to add it to my already enormous 'to read' list! xx

    A Sunday Smile

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    1. I'm glad your to read list is long too hehe! xo

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  16. This is such a wonderful idea for a post!

    I cannot recommend the Five People You Meet in Heaven enough - it is just the most beautiful book. It's so well written and a wonderful, wonderful story.

    Rebecca is also amazing!

    Beccy Bluebell & Bumpkin

    PS - completely agree about msn - I shudder about the hours I lost there!

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    1. I'm really looking forward it, I've heard some incredible things! xo

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  17. I adore reading. It's definitely been put on the back burner since having my son back in January but now that we're falling into more of a routine I'm hoping to read a lot more.

    Over the past 3 years I've been reading 50 books a year which has felt amazing. Though I know I wont hit that target this year I don't mind because I'm really enjoying being me right now. I love falling into the worlds of others but I think when you're enjoying where you are right now, then it's ok to step back for a little bit. I never thought I'd say that but it's definitely the way I feel right now.

    Out of the books your wanting to read I've only actually read one which is More Than This by Patrick Ness. I adore Patrick Ness' writting style and devoured this book. Definitely one of my favourites right now.

    Katie | http://grazingpagesthefamily.blogspot.co.uk/

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  18. I love the list! Only wish I had time to read. -Hanna Lei

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  19. I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven once for a class - it was interesting, but a little confusing at the same time. I really liked The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, and now that I mention it I might give that a go again. It's just too bad that I don't read as much as I used to, anymore.

    xx becky / star-violet.com

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    1. It can be difficult to find the time, but it's totally worth it! xo

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  20. I'm always so fascinated by what other people read, as I find my own taste quite restrictive. Modern novels is where I lack but I'm trying to improve this. It's Kind of a Funny Story, Flowers for Algernon, and Five People You Meet in Heaven sound like books I need to read.

    I tried watching the film adaptation of It's Kind of a Funny Story but I'd rather read books first.

    Waiting for Godot is rather good!

    x

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  21. I've read It's Kind of a Funny Story and Girl Interrupted and honestly they're so much better than the film adaptations. They're both excellent reads.

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  22. Oh man, you've picked some seriously amazing books! The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Flowers for Algernon will make you cry like a baby, and Rebecca is just the most beautiful book.x

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  23. There are so many great books in this list that I've read and the rest are ones that I now want to read! And can't agree more with your MSN comment - it's so weird when you look back at it! x

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

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    1. I know, so many lost hours! xo

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  24. I am bookmarking this for reading inspiration! x

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  25. I feel so ill read - I've not read a single one. Reading has all but dropped off the list these days, I don't make time any more and that makes me sad :( x

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    1. It can be difficult to find the time, but it's so worth it! xo

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  26. Amazon sent an email with a list of 100 books to read in your lifetime the other day and I noticed a few of these on here! It made me want to expand my horizons a little more <3 hope you get through lots of these choices! xxx

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  27. wow you have a pretty fantastic list over here! I couldn't agree more, reading is absolutely essential in my life!
    -
    Ester @ Drawing Dreaming

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  28. Oh gosh< I HATED One Day and although I made myself finish it, I dno't think it got any better. I also really was not a fan of "The Hundred Year Old Man...". I'd like to read Fangirl. x

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    1. I can't get into them at the moment! xo

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  29. I love these book posts Jennie, I've stopped reading for a few months but I definitely need to get back into it! I always look forward to your book recommendations.

    Tara xo

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  30. I've heard good things about The Five People You Meet in Heaven but haven't gotten to it myself yet. I've heard mixed things about The Hundred Year Old Man... and to be honest I didn't like One Day I found it to be a bit of a kill joy and was left with a 'huh and meh' feeling at the end of it. But I like happy endings to books so...
    Added this post to my Weekend Reads post going up tomorrow. Hope that's ok :) Have a lovely weekend Jenny!

    Ally Swept Away Again

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  31. Good and long list! I enjoyed the five people you meet in heaven. Need to start my next book club book

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  32. There are some seriously awesome books in that picture and list! Many I have read and others I haven't. My favourite I would have to say would be The Catcher in the Rye and I would love to read Dash & Lily's!

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    1. Love the catcher in the rye <3

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  33. Your words are so true Jennie, reading is so important and you summed it up perfectly; there's nothing better than submerging yourself in another world for a while. Reading is so vital, so important. I can't count how many times I've heard someone say they've never read a book, not one! Often those people say it's boring, and all I can think is 'what a waste'-- reading is amazing, and this post proves that!

    Sophie | soinspo xo

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    1. A good story is never boring! xo

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  34. SO many good books here, and you're right reading is so important and so much fun as well.

    Rebecca is one of my all time favourite books - I hope you enjoy/ed reading it!

    Hmm maybe...

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  35. you have some of my favs and some of my must reads here too. i've seen the movie rebecca but would like to read some of her books.
    Jenn
    A Beautiful Zen

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  36. I've got so many books that I need to read but I can't read them until my exams have finished. Hopefully I'll finally get around to reading The Fault In Our Stars which I've had since Christmas but just haven't had time to read yet. x

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    1. The Fault in Our Stars is so good, I've read it twice. Cried both times!

      xoxo Britt
      www.thenotebookeffect.com
      My Life In and Out of Boston

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  37. LOVE this sort of post. I need to do one, I keep buying books but can't seem to keep up with reading them. Maybe that will help! I'm currently reading "A Hundred Summers" which seems to be the ultimate New England girl's summer read--luxe locations, gorgeous-sounding boys, typical gossip, and a great romance. You should at it to your list!

    xoxo Britt
    www.thenotebookeffect.com
    My Life In and Out of Boston

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    1. I definitely will, it sounds fun! xo

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  38. I love book posts, especially as I have such a huge love for books and reading! But sharing book favourites allows others to try something new and discover new authors. This has inspired me to look more into my bookshelf! xo

    Hannah | Glitter and Sparkle

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Thank you so much for reading! I love when you leave your thoughts so I would love if you left me a little comment, I read every single one, they mean so much and I try my very best to reply to each one!

You are very welcome to leave a link to your blog in your comment, but please just leave one link and I ask you not to promote giveaways. Thank you for understanding. With love, Jennie May xo