Tag: recommendations

Here are Bookstr’s Self-Development Recommendations!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most—just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new self-development picks that can improve your quality of life! Dig in!

 

 

5. ‘No happy endings’ by Nora McInerny 

 

image via amazon

 

No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings—but there will be new beginnings.

 

4. ‘Range’ by David Epstein

 

image via Amazon

 

Range by David Epstein is all about learning from failure. This book makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.

 

3. ‘How to do nothing’ by jenny Odell

 

image via amazon

 

How to To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell argues the case of doing nothing, especially in the digital age of distraction and people vying for your attention. This is is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent.

 

 

2. ‘The Life Changing magic of tidying up’ by Marie Kondo

 

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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is a detailed book about how to declutter your house from its infernal mess. With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

 

1. ‘Belong’ by Radha Agrawal

 

image via Amazon

 

Belong by Radha Agrawal is about building a community with like minded people in the digital age when people feel more isolated than ever. A book that’s equal parts inspiring and interactive, and packed with prompts, charts, quizzes, and full-color illustrations, Belong takes readers on a two-part journey. Part one is Going IN—a gentle but intentional process of self-discovery and finding out your true energy levels and VIA (values, interests, and abilities). Part two is Going OUT—building on all that you’ve learned about yourself to find those few special people who feed your soul, and discovering, or creating, the ever-widening groups that align with your aims and desires.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

The Top Ten Best Dragon Books in Fantasy Literature!

They’re big and terrible. They’re small and cute. They’re at once terrifying and majestic. Dragons have been an enduring fixation of literature pretty much ever since storytelling was invented. They can take many forms in narrative, from simple monsters to evil but intelligent villains to helpful allies to god-like divine beings. But one thing is clear: dragons are awesome and they’re extremely fun to read about. Here are the top 10 best books featuring these fire-breathing behemoths, showcasing dragons of every shape and size in all their glory for your viewing pleasure.

10. ‘Tea with the Black Dragon’ by R.A. MacAvoy

 

image via Amazon

Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy is a Hugo nominated fantasy novel that has a classic premise: girl meets boy and boy turns about to be a dragon. Martha’s daughter, Elizabeth, is in trouble in San Francisco and Martha hurries into the strange city to help her missing child. But when she arrives, the only person who knows where Elizabeth might be is the mysterious stranger Mayland Long. Did we mention Mr. Long can transform into a dragon? Its up to these two to find Elizabeth, even as Martha begins to feel romantic feelings for her newfound dragon companion.

 

9. ‘Three hearts and three lions’ by Poul Anderson

Image via Amazon

Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson tells of a man transported into a world of fantasy. Holger Carlsten is a Resistance fighter fighting against the Nazis during World War II but when he’s wounded in battle, the luckless engineer finds himself transported to another world. Against a medieval backdrop, he finds himself in a battle where the forces of Law fight against Chaos. Monsters abound this land, including werewolves, giants, trolls, faeries, and yes: dragons. Revered as a Champion, Holger must take up arms and join the brave knights, ready to slay some dragons (alongside other fearsome beasts) as the leader of the forces of Law.

8. ‘His Majesty’s Dragon’ by Naomi Novik 

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His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik tells a historically accurate account of the Napoleonic Wars, with an added twist: dragons! Yes, this is an alternate history novel where dragons are used as the main force of combat, adding a thrilling new element to the tides of war sweeping Europe. When Captain Will Laurence finds an unhatched dragon egg, his life is turned upside down when the dragon hatches and imprints on him. Joining the Aerial Corps, Laurence and his dragon, Temeraine, must take to the skies to defend Britain from France’s own dragon armies.

 

7. ‘The Great Zoo of China’ by Matthew Reilly 

Image via Amazon 

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly is basically Jurassic Park but with dragons! For years, China has been keeping the existence of live dragons a secret but is preparing to unveil them to the world is the first ever dragon zoo. A small group of V.I.P.s are brought into the zoo to see the beasts first hand and inspect the safety of the place. Because, surely, nothing can go wrong? Right? Just kidding. Get ready for tons of action and lots of dragon destruction when things spiral out of control.

6. ‘Tooth and Claw’ by Jo Walton

Image via Amazon

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton is a unique twist on dragon literature. Told from the point of view of dragons themselves, this is a world of politics, family, and relationships but instead of humans, everyone is a dragon. In a society where the weak are literally eaten and the strong thrive as tyrants, this is a story like no other, as it showcases what the reality of a dragon’s world is truly like.

 

5. ‘The Hero and the crown’ by Robin McKinely 

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The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinely is a rich young adult novel full of feminist themes and a terrifying dragon as the main antagonist. Aerin is an outcast in her own kingdom, a woman looked down upon for being rumored to be the spawn of a witch. Determined to earn her birthright, she decides to slay a dragon but modern dragons are a far cry from the terrible beasts of old. They’re just vermin and although certainly formidable, they’re nothing but pests. Until the day a knight rides into the castle and reports the return of a great dragon from the old days. Maur, said to be as big as a mountain, has returned and is ransacking the kingdom. Seeing her chance, Aerin rides off with only her horse as a companion to face Maur and slay him.

 

4. ‘Dragonsbane’ by Barbara Hambly 

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Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly focuses on a young prince who must join forces with a retired dragon slayer and a witch who can’t use her magic quite right. Joining forces to form a ragtag dragon slaying “crew”, the trio must journey forth to slay the terrible beast or die trying.

 

3. ‘Dragon Keeper’ by Robin Hobb


Image via Amazon

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb tells of a resurgence of dragons into a world that hates and fears them, yet might need them to save it. Telling of a young boy who travels up river to find a dragon egg in order to breed more dragons to defend his land, they find a set of newly hatched but injured baby dragons. With the help of quirky companions, the boy must ferry these dragons their new home across the wilds, with no hope of return but everything riding on his journey back.

 

2. ‘Earthsea’ by Ursula K. Le Guin 

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Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin needs no introduction. Some of the most acclaimed works in fantasy literature, the world of Earthsea features a unique setting (an island archipelago) and people of color as the protagonists. Dragons are a huge component of the setting, from fearsome Western style monsters to more refined, almost Eastern style of creatures. This is one series that is a classic for a reason and you should dig into for certain, especially as a dragon lover.

1. ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien 

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien began many a person’s love of dragons and fantasy. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit who enjoys a comfortable life when he finds himself yanked from his sleepy little town by the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves. Together, they set across Middle-earth to seal the great dragon Smaug’s treasure from his lair in the Lonely Mountain. Smaug himself is an inspired creation and the highlight of the book but the rest is a classic adventure tale and one that will surely please any fantasy lover even today!

Featured Image Via LOTR Wiki 

Netflix’s ‘Tall Girl’ Falls Short. Watch ‘Life As A Zuccini’

Tall Girl is the newest teen “dramedy” on Netflix. It was released to less than stellar reviews. There are many complaints about the movie but the biggest is that being 6ft 1 isn’t the end of the world.

 

Image Via Netflix

The main character of the movie, Jodi, is a junior in high school and towers over everyone. She is very insecure about her height, her dad is weirdly obsessed with figuring out how to to stop her from growing and she is into the hot exchange student who is with the mean girl. 

There is a lot to unpack there but my review of this movie is literally, Jodi you are just tall. Of course, someone being tall can be a point of insecurity and she gets constantly bullied by her classmates which in no way helps her self-esteem. But the movie tries to convey this message in such a clunky way that it seems completely unbelievable. 

Jodi conventionally attractive, rich, and talented. But she acts like her being a normal height of a little over 6ft is oppressive. Looking at the criticism for this movie, people are upset because people are dying and starving while Jodi acts self-centered rather than being grateful for what she has. It’s not her fault, she’s a character written this way. She has friends, one of whom is love with her, both of her parents in her life, a sister and the only thing “wrong” is that she’s a tall girl. 

 

 

While My Life as a Zucchini or Ma Vie de Courgette is on the same platform it does an amazing job at showcasing worse situations and how they are overcome. My Life as a Zucchini is a french animated film which follows a nine-year old boy, Icare who likes to be called Courgette because his mom always did. He gets sent to live in an orphanage with other kids and his life is genuinely worse then Jodi’s but he doesn’t complain about his situation. It takes him some time to adjust but he gets used to his new life. And figures out how to make the most of it. 

 

Image Via Rotten Tomatoes

Again, Jodi is a junior, in reality, if there was a 6ft 1 girl in your school, you would notice for maybe freshman year but then you go about your business. The way the filmmaker presented this seems so unrealistic. Did none of her classmates have anything better to do, then ask ‘How’s the weather up there?’ for three years? And the exaggerated shots they take and how they leave so much room above her head tries to trick us into thinking that she is taller than she actually is. Like she’s actually a giant If these were only done from her perspective to show how she sees people and not how other people see her the point would’ve been driven home better. 

Instead of trying to date the hot guy who is also tall by the way, the story should’ve been about Jodi working on Jodi. Oh and for some reason, Stig, the hot foreign guy in question, is literally the only other tall person in the entire school. Are we supposed to believe that there isn’t a basketball team? Even in the well off-school, she attends?  

 

 

And at the end, Jodi pulls a Mean Girls and speaks on stage at homecoming about how she accepts herself and how no one should be ashamed for being different. These are great lessons and in a better movie it could have worked but Jodi doesn’t earn this ending.  She practically stumbles through the plot because quirky girls and girls who are so different from other girls get plot armor and barely learn anything, then she comes to this life-changing realization much to the surprise of the audience because of plot. It was unearned and shallow. I don’t mean to hate on this movie but it had some good bones and it could have been better. 

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, we watch as Courgette grows. He meets the other children, his caretakers, teacher and even gets bullied by one of the boys in the home. But he learns how to stand up for himself and has some genuine character development, unlike Ms. thirteen men’s Nikes.

I won’t spoil these movies but I highly suggest that you check them out if you want to see what I mean. I can’t give a more glowing review of  My Life as a Zucchini. I watched it over the weekend, not knowing what it was and I was pleasantly surprised.  And I think you guys will be too. It’s a beautiful movie so get your tissues ready. But if you want to read before you watch, the original book written by Gilles Paris , Autobiographie d’une Courgette is on amazon for you to buy. 

 

 

Featured Images Via What’s On Netflix and Flixwatch

Be Inspired By Our Nonfiction Biography Picks!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new biographies for you to dig into and be inspired! Dig in and enjoy!

 

5. ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ by Bob Iger 

 

image via amazon

 

The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger is a biography by the CEO of Disney, offering tips and life advice from Iger’s fifteen years of service to the company. When Bob Iger became CEO, the Disney company was a shallow parody of itself. But Bob Iger committed to the fixing the company with his new ideas. Ten years later, Disney is the most respected and powerful media entertainment corporation in the world. Sharing stories about Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney behind the scenes, this is a must read for Disney fans.

 

4. ‘Accidental president’ by A.J. Baime

 

image via Amazon

 

The Accidental President by A.J. Baime tells the biography of the man who didn’t sign up to be President but got the job anyway: Harry S. Truman. Selected as FDR’s fourth term Vice President, he was an ordinary man until FDR’s sudden and shocking death. This biography follows Harry S. Truman in the one-hundred-twenty days he was president, during which he was forced to preside over some of the toughest moments the nation ever faced: the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings in Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. This is a fascinating look into the man who never was supposed to be President but became one of our strongest for the brief period he was in office.

 

3. ‘Madame Fourcade’s Secret War’ by Lynne Olson

 

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Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson is the true tale of a young woman who led a spy network against Hitler’s Nazi Germany. In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog: a tough little animal, unthreatening in appearance, that, as a colleague of hers put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite.” Now, in this dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.

 

2. ‘Every Man a Hero’ by Ray lambert 

 

Image via Amazon

 

Every Man A Hero by Ray Lambert is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.

 

1. ‘Mind and Matter’ by John Urscel 

 

image via Amazon

 

Mind and Matter by John Urschel is a memoir by the former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, giving him the opportunity to tell his story. John Urschel developed an appetite for mathematics when he was young, devouring math contests, exams, and textbooks by the truckload. But when he reached his older years, football challenged him in a new way and he became thrilled by the physical contact of the sport. With his two loves competing for his attention, his football and love of math, he shares pivotal moments from his life to inspire others.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

 

 

5 Autumn-Themed Books For You to Fall in Love With

Its the first day of fall! The leaves are beginning to change color and fall from the trees, as the cool breeze of winter’s beginning overtakes the hot weather of summer. As you begin to settle in for the chillier season and enjoy the crunching of leaves beneath your feet, its time to get cozy with some new reading material. And what better way to welcome fall than reading some fall themed books? Here are some top 5 choices to celebrate the end of summer!

 

 

5. ‘Leaf Man’ by Lois Ehlert

 

Leaf Man

Image via Amazon

 

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a relaxing and immersive read. With illustrations made from actual fall read and gorgeous landscape vistas, this is a playful and imaginative read that calls to the imaginations of young children. Read it out loud to some of your kids and appreciate the wonderful, detailed drawings inside that evoke the natural world at its best.

 

4. ‘The Cider House Rules’ by John Irving 

 

The Cider House Rules

Image via Amazon

 

The Cider House Rules by John Irving is a literary classic that’s perfect for a cozy fall read. Its title calling to the best drink for the fall, this tale tells a story about orphans in rural Maine at the start of the 20th century. Full of humor, warmth, and a little terror, this is a great read to curl up by the fire toward.

 

 

3. ‘We have Always lived in the Castle’ by Shirley Jackson

 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle 

Image via AMazon

 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a perfect spooky fall read. Merricat lives in a giant estate, with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. There used to be more to the Blackwood family. But somehow, a fatal dose of arsenic wound up in their sugar bowl. Constance was acquitted for the murders, but the people in town have never looked at them the same. And, their troubles might just be beginning. The perfectly creepy book to set the tone for the season, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the perfect short read.

 

2. ‘Anya’s ghost’ by Vera Brosgol 

 

Anya Ghost

image via Amazon

 

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol is a funny and hilarious read, again perfect for the spooky fall season. Anya is a lovely, lonely girl who could really use a friend. But instead of a normal friend, she gets a ghost pal instead, which is to say NOT what she expected. Together, she and the ghost bond, helping each other through life (and death). Its really quite sweet.

 

1. ‘The OCean at the end of the lane’ by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean At the End of the Lane

image via Amazon

 

The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a bewitching fairy tale that serves up another spooky and maybe even scary read for the fall season. Neil Gaiman crafts a scary piece of work that is full of chills, thrills, and commentary on the power of stories themselves. Grab it and try not to get scared as the season sets in.

 

 

Featured Image Via Wikipedia