Tag: Reading List

4 Childhood Throwbacks Books

Do you ever look at your bookshelf and wonder what happened to all those books you read as a kid? I do and sometimes I miss reading those books and feeling how excited I was the first time I held them, ready to explore a new world with new fictional friends. I feel the same way when I pick up a book now, but the excitment is different when you’re a kid, and these four books are some that I will always cherish.

  1. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

Image via Amazon

Junie B Jones, is the first book series I remember reading on my own. I remember the first time my second grade teacher read a chapter from one of the books, and after that I had to read the books on my own. I believe I owned all of her books at one point. It’s about a kindergarten girl named Junie B Jones, who gets herself in a lot of mischief. She had very strong opinions and was kind of sassy and very much so her own person. In one book she was very outspoken about becoming a big sister and in another one she cut her own hair. It’s a cute series, and it’s written for kids in first-third grade, but I still wish I had some of the books as a keepsake.

 

2. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

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Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing, is another great series I used to love reading. I remember borrowing them from the library and how funny Fudge was. If you’ve never read this series then you’re missing out because it’s a classic series about a little boy, Peter and his little brother, Fudge. Peter, is fed up with Fudge and all of the attention he gets. All Peter wants is for his parents to pay attention to him sometimes. The dynamic between Fudge and Peter pretty much stays the same throughout the series. They do get a little sister in one of the novels, but regardless Fudge knows how to demand the spotlight. I want to read these books again, they are definitely on my list of books to re-read.

 

3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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A Series of Unfortunate Events, is such a great series that teaches children about having compassion for others. It’s about three orphans, the Baudelaire orphans who lost their parents in a fire. Now they’re being bounced around from different homes because of the evil Count Olaf, who just wants their fortune and is doing everything he can to get it. Even if it means destroying all of their chances at having a home again. I’ve always felt bad for the orphans but now as an adult I amazed at how strong they are at such a young age to deal with everything they’ve dealt with. No one believes them when they say Count Olaf is after them and the people put in charge of them aren’t the best or nicest people. It’s a tragic tale, but it’s a good series, and I already started re-reading this series and I love them just as much as I did the first time I read them.

 

4. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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Captain Underpants, was my first graphic novel and it’s a great series for kids to read. It’s about these two fourth graders who create a comic book called Captain Underpants, they also pull pranks and they mistakenly turn their principal into Captain Underpants! They hypnotize him before he can expose their stunts using a 3D hyno ring. The rest of the adventures are wacky and fun. The adventures are what kept me invested because they get wackier with each book. I highly reccomend it to young kids who don’t like to read much, and considering it’s a graphic novel it won’t be so overwhelming. I love to read so the pictures were just an added bonus for me.

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Five Books to Help You Write That Novel You’re Always Talking About

Is there a killer idea for a novel gnawing at the back of your mind?  Are you stuck inside with some extra time on your hands?  While quarantine isn’t exactly conducive to creativity with all the anxiety and lack of privacy it can bring with it, it is a good time for self-evaluation and getting some extra projects done.  Here are five of the best books on writing from some of the world’s top authors to get you inspired and FINALLY at work on that novel you’re always talking about writing!

 

1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing Book Cover
image via goodreads

Where else could we start than with the King himself?  The master of horror keeps things thoroughly down to earth in this engaging memoir about writing and life.  King’s advice is simple; sit down in the chair every day and do the work. “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world,” he says.  “The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”

 

2. Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

Daemon Voices Book Cover
image via goodreads

Most famous for His Dark Materials, Pullman writes books for children that appeal just as much to adults. This is a rambling book of essays on everything from art and religion to German marionette theatre and fundamental particles, but most of all it is a book about stories that makes you fall in love with them all over again.  Pullman says that writing “feels like discovery not invention.  It feels as if the story I’m writing already exists, in some Platonic way, and that I’m privileged from time to time to gain access to it.  The curtain twitches aside for a while; the moon comes out from behind a cloud, and illuminates a landscape that was previously invisible.”

 

3. The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman

The View from the Cheap Seats Book Cover
image via goodreads

This one isn’t technically a book on writing but it shows Gaiman’s love for stories and approaches art in a fun, comfortable way. It reveals a lot of the anxiety that comes from sitting in front of a blank page. It’s a motley assortment of articles from various publications and it’s a grab bag of treasures.  Go ahead, reach in.  Did you get a piece on how porn and musicals are basically the same thing? A touching essay on how to deal with pain through making art? A strange, dreamy tale about Gaiman’s future wife dying over and over again? (It’s not as dark as it sounds, I promise.)  Whichever you pick, you will be vastly entertained and hopefully inspired.

 

 

4. Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson

Let Me Tell You Book Cover
image via goodreads

The writing section of this book doesn’t come until page 374 and only lasts for forty-two but those contain enough good advice to fill a library.  The essay ‘Garlic in Fiction’ alone is worth the price of admission.  Jackson is one of my favorite writers of all time and an absolute pro at creating subtle suspense and gut-wrenching twists.   “I cannot find any patience for those people who believe that you start writing when you sit down at your desk and pick up your pen and finish writing when you put down your pen again,” she says. “A writer is always writing, seeing everything through a thin mist of words, fitting swift little descriptions to everything he sees, always noticing.”

 

5. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer

Wonderbook Book Cover
image via goodreads

This one is geared specifically towards speculative fiction though much of the advice applies to all genres.  Entirely illustrated and thoroughly fun, this one is a bit bonkers in the best way possible.  VanderMeer uses other authors plentifully to map out (literally) the process of writing.  Full of writing exercises and ideas that will call out to the child inside you, this is an excellent way to get those creative juices flowing.

 

 

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Feel Trapped? So Do These 6 Literary Characters

Many of us feel trapped these days. For the past several months, it’s been a struggle being unable to interact with our friends and family, and why wouldn’t it? Human are naturally a social animals, interacting with others is integral for our mental heath – even the most introverted of our kind still need to speak with their loved ones every now and again.

In fact, socialization is so paramount to our species that many of the tales we’ve told each other have to do with characters fighting to keep their sanity as they spend months, years, sometimes even decades, separated from human contact. If you’re looking for some cathartic, psychological relief amidst this self-quarantine, here is a list of the top six literary characters that are also trapped.

 

6. Mark watney – the martian

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At least your nearest neighbor isn’t over ninety six million miles away. In The Martian by Andy Weir, the crew of NASA’s Ares 3 mission have arrived at Acidalia Plantia for a planned month-long stay on Mars. After only six sols, an intense dust and wind storm threatens to topple their Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), which would trap them on the planet. During the hurried evacuation, an antenna tears loose and impales astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist and engineer, also disabling his spacesuit radio. He is flung out of sight by the wind and is presumed dead.

As the MAV teeters dangerously, mission commander Melissa Lewis has no choice but to take off without completing the search for Watney, but, of course, he survives the storm (It wouldn’t be much a book if he hadn’t) and has to spend the next eighteen months battling both starvation and isolation as NASA hastily devises a way to rescue him.

 

5. The young woman – The yellow wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and is a collection of journal entries written by an unnamed woman whose physician husband confines her to the upstairs nursery as a cure for her “temporary nervous depression” and “slight hysteric tendencies” after she gives birth to their baby. The story makes striking use of the descriptions of the room to illustrate to the reader just how long the narrator has been imprisoned, and how, slowly but surely, her grasp on what is real unravels.  She begins to see the yellow wallpaper mutate, and eventually sees a figure she believes is trapped behind the changing patterns. It’s a story that tells the terrifying tale of what happens to a person when their mind is starved of stimulation.

 

4. Jessie burlingame – gerald’s game 

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TW: For sexual assault

Once I tell you the plot of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, you’ll probably be wondering why he’d  dedicate this book specifically to his wife and daughters. Jessie Burlingame and her husband Gerald have recently incorporated bondage into their lovemaking, a recent edition to their marriage that both parties find exciting. Until one day when Jessie finds herself reluctant and asks Gerald to stop after he handcuffs her to the bedpost, but he ignores her.

Realizing that her husband is planning to assault her, she kicks him in the chest, causing him to have a fatal heart attack. At first, Jessie is only horrified at her husband’s death and fears the embarrassment of being discovered naked and handcuffed, but then realizes that the situation is far more dire. She’s up at their lakehouse, and the usual residents have gone home for the season. As Jessie desperately considers and rejects plans, a combination of panic and thirst causes her to see hallucinations of three characters, who all force her to confront her dark past.

 

3. the boys – lord of the flies

image via amazon

Spending too much time with your family and resisting to urge to claw their eyes out? In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British airplane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors of the crash is a group of young boys. In the beginning, the boys work together to survive, even establishing a loose democratic structure, but as the weeks turn to months, order begins to break down. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies  allegorically shows us how our impulse toward civilization fights our impulse for power, but also how sometimes the only thing worse than being stuck by yourself is being stuck with people you can’t cooperate with.

 

2. chief bromden – one flew over the cuckoo’s nest

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Ever sometimes feel all alone even when you’re surrounded by people? Ken Kessey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, shares with us how, sometimes, isolation is more of a mindset rather than a location. Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the book is narrated by Chief Bromden, half-Native American man who pretends that he’s deaf and mute. While Bromden may be the main character, his tale mostly focuses on the rebellious actions of Randle McMurphy, who faked insanity to serve his sentence for battery and gambling in luxury rather than at a work camp, but he soon discovers that the hospital is anything but.

Bromden often retreats into the “fog” when he’s too afraid, a place in the deep recesses of his mind where he can escape from the real world, a place he finds comfortable, yet also a place McMurphy tries to pull him and the other patients out of, so they could confront the cruelty of the hospital staff and live their lives again.

 

1. Jack – room

image via amazon

Jack is a five-year-old boy who lives with his mother in a place he calls “Room”, a secured single-room outbuilding containing a small kitchen, a basic bathroom, a wardrobe, a bed, and a TV set. Because it is all he’s ever known, Jack believes that only Room and the things it contains (including himself and his mother, who he calls “Ma”) are real. Ma, unwilling to disappoint Jack with a life she cannot give him, allows him to believe that the rest of the world exists only on television.

She tries her best to keep Jack healthy and happy via both physical and mental exercises, keeping a healthy diet, limiting TV-watching time, and strict body and oral hygiene. The only other person Jack has ever seen is Old Nick, who visits Room at night while Jack sleeps hidden in a wardrobe. What Jack is unaware of is that Old Nick has kidnapped Ma when she was nineteen years old and has been keeping her imprisoned for the last seven years. This horrifying tale show us how damaging permanent isolation can be, especially to a child.

 

featured image via boston magazine

Celebrate Delhi with These Indian Authors

New Delhi became India’s capital 89 years ago today, so here are five books, some from my own TBR, by Indian authors and set in India. Sorry there aren’t 89. Maybe next year.

 

The Devourers – Indra Das

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Spanning India and its history, this story tells of a race of people reminiscent of werewolves. Don’t take any lore for granted though, because the Devourers are a race all their own, and you, like the main character, might find yourself taking risks for the chance to learn this story’s end.

From my own TBR.

 

The Liar’s Weave – Tashan Mehta

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Zahan is born without a future. This is kind of a problem. It’s more of a problem when he discovers what this means – that any lies he tells can become reality. Every power has a price, and the more lies he tells, the more acute the danger.

 

The Simoquin Prophecies – Samit Basu

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Both a play on and a send up of classic fantasy, read this if you love that vibe but don’t mind sincere irony, or some Monty Python vibes counterbalancing the dyed in the wood fantasy elements. Sure, there’s a prophecy, but that doesn’t mean the book has to be predictable.

 

The Palace of Illusions – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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Following a heroine of the Mahabharata, this is so much more than a retelling. Marriage, magic, war, and fate, appreciate the classic epic through a new lens and learn that navigating love, fate, and the will of the gods is never simple.

From my TBR

 

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

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A story about the descendants of the jinn and the unraveling of reason, Salman Rushdie can always be trusted to write something extraordinary – drawing here from mythology and the modern day both. Wasn’t on my TBR, but it is now.


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Obama Reveals His 2019 Reading List

Every December, former US president Barack Obama reveals his reading list, a compilation of books that stood out to him that year. Obama is known for reading voraciously and widely, so his reading list is always an interesting read in itself. This year Irish author Sally Rooney’s hit novel Normal People appeared alongside Bernadine Evaristo’s Man Book Prize-winning book Girl, Woman, Other as well as non-fiction titles such as Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep and Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino. Check out his full list below!

 

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Image Via CNN

 

 

 

Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.