23 August 2014

5 Books I Couldn't Live Without

All around us are books. (That's a good thing.)

And, all around us are people. (Also a good thing, even for an introvert like me.)

The best part is, every person has a favourite book, regardless of how often they read or whether they enjoy reading. (For more information on the enjoyment of reading, refer to yesterday's post.)

And remember:

Every person you see has read a book which you have not read yet.

If that's not enough motivation to continue reading forever, then I'm not certain what is. Bear in mind that the operative word in that above sentence is "yet."

Here are the top five books I couldn't live without:

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

"A small fact: You are going to die....does this worry you?"

Genre: historical fiction
When I read it: spring of 2014
How long it took me to read it: approx. 3 weeks
My summary: When a young adolescent living in Nazi-era Germany loses all of her relatives, she is adopted by a foster family. Things get complicated when the foster family also takes in a young Jewish man.
My thoughts/advice: Warning: you'll fall in love with a certain blond-haired boy. If you find yourself slightly bored by the middle of this book, give it a chance; personally, I was interested the whole way through, but it wasn't until the final chapters that my emotions began to twist in a direction that is irreversible to this day. The narrator is implied, but once you realize who it is, you will be enthralled. If you don't speak German yet, you might after finishing this story, or you'll at least have been taught the basic German swear words and insults. This book is perfect for anybody who absolutely loves words or languages, because the protagonist learns how to read over the course of the story.
How would I describe it?: Absolutely captivating.

See this book? See it? This book is the reason why it's so difficult for me to breathe sometimes.
Image via Look Between the Lines.

4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

"Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly."

Genre: thriller, realistic fiction
When I read it: January of 2013
How long it took me to read it: approx. 1 week
My summary: Five teenaged sisters, beginning with the youngest, gradually kill themselves, adding drama and suspense to an otherwise quiet suburban neighbourhood.
My thoughts/advice: As odd as it might sound to someone who just read my summary, I actually found this book quite relatable: these teenagers, after all, are learning how to deal with their adolescence and other people. The book was a quick and intriguing read, and I liked it even more after I watched the 1999 film adaptation.
How would I describe it?: Stimulating.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

"I just want you to know that you're very special…and the only reason I'm telling you is that I don't know if anyone else ever has."

Genre: realistic fiction, coming-of-age
When I read it: September of 2012
How long it took me to read it: 2 days
My summary: In an epistolary format, the protagonist, Charlie, tells the story of his freshman year of high school. This includes the good parts and the bad: the friends he makes, the friends he loses, the way his outlook changes, and how he comes to terms with his past.
My thoughts/advice: I read this about a week before the 2012 film adaptation was released, for the simple reason that I desperately wanted to watch the movie. (Yes, I am the kind of person who hates seeing a film without reading the book first.) Charlie's writing style is perfectly suited to a boy his age--short, straightforward sentences that provide a point and a perspective. The things he learns about friendship are crucial, universal, and unforgettable.
How would I describe it?: Entirely relatable.

This book will probably break your heart, but also make it go all a-flutter.
Image via Phantasticmusic.wordpress.com.

2. Maximum Ride by James Patterson

"I don't damsel well. Distress, I can do. Damseling? Not so much."

Genre: science fiction, action
When I read it: I read the first book in November of 2008
How long it took me to read it: I read the first book in approx. 3 weeks, but because I had to wait for successive books to be released, it has taken about six years for me to read from the first book to the seventh. (I recently learned that a ninth and probably final book will be released next January.)
My summary: Max lives with her friends as fugitives who are hiding from a laboratory called "the School," which is where they lived out their early childhood, and is also where their DNA was mixed with avian DNA--so, they're part bird. They have wings.
My thoughts/advice: This was the first series I truly fell in love with. I've been pretty faithful to it since then, although in the latest books, the Maximum Ride fanbase has criticized the possibility that Max is becoming too focused on romance and not focused enough on her responsibility to save the world. (There are a couple of love triangles here and there. She's a teenager, people!) Humour is obviously widespread throughout the stories, and Patterson does a nice job with incorporating plenty of other elements like action (lots of fight scenes) and romance (as previously stated). You'll adore the "family" that Max has formed for herself, because they're also her best friends and lifelong teammates.
How would I describe it?: Intense.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

"You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it."

Genre: fantasy, coming-of-age, adventure
When I read it: I read the first book in May of 2012.
How long it took me to read it: I read the first book in approx. 2 weeks. I finished the series by August of 2012.
My summary: Orphaned preteen Harry Potter is living with his abusive extended family until he is rescued by a large man on a motorbike and abducted to a gorgeous castle of a school. (If I went to Hogwarts, I would be too distracted to get any schoolwork done.) Then, oh no, there's a bad guy trying to kill people. That's not good. So it's up to Harry and his BFFs, Ron and Hermione, to save the Wizarding World!
My thoughts/advice: If you haven't read it yet, you need to. You must. See, when I was seven years old I had a friend who discovered these books. She quickly fell in love with them and urged me to read them. By this time, Harry Potter had begun to grow in popularity, and I refused to read it because I honestly thought that it was overrated. Years later, when I was thirteen, I succumbed to the hype and decided to read the series. And, I realized what I had been missing. To this day, it is one of my most painful regrets that I procrastinated reading Harry Potter: I wasn't there to celebrate each book's release, and I'll never be able to watch a midnight premiere of one of the films. So, please read it if you haven't yet.
How would I describe it?: Heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and moving.

These bad boys will make you hate yourself and love yourself at the same time.
Image via Side B Magazine.

Which book could you never live without? What books have you read that I haven't read yet? Leave me a comment!

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