Category Archives: books worth reading

eleanor & park…

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eleanor

I absolutely, positively loved Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I felt like I was 16 again! The author did a great job of bringing both Eleanor and Park to life.  As the reader, you can put yourself into those kid’s shoes and feel everything they were feeling.  I bought this book for my teenage daughter (again, just like the Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) and ending up reading it myself.  Great book for teens and parents alike!

Goodreads describes the book:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

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the wolf of wall street…

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wolf

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort was actually a great book.  I have yet to see the movie, but the book was available at the library… so I borrowed it.  I started reading it right before I had to return it (online public library) and I did not realize how LONG the book is (519 pages!).  My loan expired, so I had to get back on the waiting list to finish reading it!  In short, it took a lot of effort to get the book, keep the book, and finally finish the book, but it was worth it!!  Jordan Belfort was everything you’d expect a sleazy stock broker to be… and then some!  He has more than you can imagine (more everything) and it was never enough.  He was an awful human and therefore he thinks the entire world is against him because he just can’t imagine someone being good.  That said, it was really fun to read.  I kept telling everyone about the book… “Can you believe this?  Can you believe that?”  He is very, very open about all his short-comings… his drug use, his cheating, his stock fixing and his shocking spending habits.  This book reads like a work of ridiculous fiction, yet it’s a true story.  I can absolutely see how it was made in to a Hollywood movie.  Read this book… you too can walk around saying, “Can you believe this guy!?!?!” 

Goodreads describes the book:

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king, here, in Jordan Belfort’s own words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called the Wolf of Wall Street. In the 1990s, Belfort became one of the most infamous kingpins in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. It’s an extraordinary story of greed, power, and excess that no one could invent: the tale of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices to making hundreds of millions—until it all came crashing down.

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me talk pretty one day…

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me talk

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was HILARIOUS!!!!!!  (Yes, lots of exclamation points!!!)  I laughed out loud so many times!  I did not read the back of the book and actually thought I was borrowing a totally different type of book, perhaps about someone new to America?   My mind went everywhere but where the book went!  This is a memoir, of sorts, about David’s life.  They way he describes himself (very self deprecating), his family (beyond funny) and friends was so humorous!  This was a quick and funny read and I would totally recommend reading it.  If you do, let me know what you think!

Goodreads describes the book:

David Sedaris’ move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including the title essay, about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section. His family is another inspiration. You Can’t Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.

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behind the beautiful forevers…

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beautiful

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo was such a sad book.  There is a tile wall at the Mumbai airport that says “forever beautiful forever beautiful forever beautiful” and this is the story of what is BEHIND the beautiful forevers wall, literally.  It is a true story of several different families that live in the slums on the other side of this wall.  The book was heartbreaking.  The book reads like a novel, it was hard to imagine that this was real life, real families, real tragedies.  It was so heart wrenching to read about the families and how they survived behind this wall and on the “privileged” side of the wall.  I would highly recommend reading this, it’s a book that makes you think… and keeping thinking.

Goodreads describes the book:

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter — Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” — will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

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beloved…

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belovedI read two books by Toni Morrison in a row.  This was a good book, but I did not like it as much as I liked The Bluest Eye.  This was such a sad and disturbing book.  It was a horrible time in history and all of the characters were so very, very damaged.  It was hard to read, but Beloved is definitely worth reading.

Goodreads describes the book:

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

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the bluest eye…

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bluest eyeThe Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was such a sad book.  It was about an abused little girl that was hurt by her family and disliked by her classmates.  She was sure that if she had blue eyes that everything would be better.  It was a good book, but so depressing to read.  That said, I would still recommend reading the book.

Goodreads describes the book:

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.  What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

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divergent, insurgent, and allegiant…

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divergent

I LOVED THESE BOOKS!  I bought the series for my daughter and ended up reading them myself.  I would recommend reading all three and THEN seeing the movie(s).  The first two books were my favorite.  I did not like the ending of the third book, so that was my least favorite.  I wish there was a fourth…. great books!

Goodreads describes the book:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

InsurgentGoodreads describes the book:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

 

AllegiantGoodreads describes the book:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.