Books - bookcase top shelf

From ~Phil Moore on Flickr.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have absolutely LOVED reading. In fact I learned to read before going to Kindergarten because I didn’t want to wait for my parents to read books to me. Every summer while I was in elementary school, we had to read a certain amount of books. I think it was somewhere in the range of 10-15. If we did so, we got free pizzas from Pizza Hut. Needless to say, I usually always met this goal times four or five. I didn’t read books, I devoured them.

My favorites were The Little House on the Prarie series, anything to do with horses (especially Misty of Chincoteague), The Babysitter’s Club and Boxcar Children series and kind of strangely, anything to do with the Holocaust, especially Number the Stars and Night. 

Of course with age comes more responsibility, and people telling you what books you need to read for high school and college classes. For awhile, especially in college, it was hard for me to read for pleasure because I was so saturated with readings for class. But now, I love reading for pleasure. I got a Kindle for Christmas so high Chilean book prices are no longer an obstacle! Here are some books that I’ve recently read (no judging!), followed by a slight review.

1. Help by Kathrynn Stockett. I loved this book. If you haven’t read it, do it. It’s told from the point of view of three women in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, two black maids and one young white woman. It was interesting (and alarming) to find parallels between the book and nanas here in Chile.

2. Blink by Malcom Gladwell. This is non-fiction. A really interesting read about the power of first impressions and split second decision-making. It made me think a lot.

3. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. This is a memoir and kind of “fluffy” reading (good for an airplane or long bus ride). However, I found I could really relate to this book as I started reading it right after a break-up. It provides a good insight into the Mennonite traditions in the U.S. Similar to Eat, Pray, Love but less annoying.

4. The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larson. If you haven’t heard of these books, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Really suspenseful page-turners, not for the faint of heart (lots of violence and gore). I haven’t read the third one in the trilogy yet, but I cheated and saw all the movies, or else I’d probably be shelling out the $11.95 to buy it for my Kindle.

5. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. These are supposedly young-adult novels, but the themes are pretty heavy. Set in a post-apocalyptic future in what used to be the United States. Although it’s noticeable that the writing level is for young adults, these books are addicting and suck you in. I read all three over the course of two weeks, and it only took me so long because I had to work, and put off downloading the second one for about a week so I could actually be productive in other aspects of my life. Maybe I’m just a sucker for future-lit, but I loved these books.

6. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Right after reading The Hunger Games I was itching for more futuristic literature, so I downloaded this book without knowing much about it. I won’t say too much about the plot so as to not give it away, but I really enjoyed it. I will say that at first (because of the author’s name) I thought it was set in Japan, so that caused some confusion at the beginning (it’s set in the U.K.). I think I’ll read The Remains of the Day next (by the same author).

Anyway, what books did you enjoy reading when you were little? What books have you been reading recently?


24 thoughts on “Bookworm

  1. I’ve been on a big reading kick the last few months. It’s my way to unwind when things are stressful… kind of interesting because I used to watch a lot more tv to unwind. Lately I’ve been reading Isabel Allende (Paula and Ines of My Soul) and Stieg Larsson’s trilogy too. Unfortunately I read them out of order! I read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and then the Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest. I took a little break and now I’m in the first part the Girl who Played with Fire. Kind of weird because I’m pretty sure I know what happens! Hehe. But it keeps me entertained.

    • I love Isabel Allende! You have to read “Mi Pais Inventado”….so good. I also recommend Eva Luna. I haven’t finished Paula and couldn’t get into Ines of my Soul but I should give it another try.

      • Do you read them in Spanish? I plan on reading House of the Spirits and Mi Pais Inventado (I’ve read a few small parts) next. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing because I’ve picked up her books before from the library and couldn’t get into them but these last two I couldn’t put down.

      • I have read almost all Isabel Allende books in Spanish, except House of the Spirits which I read for a class in High School. I think her Spanish is really easy to understand, versus authors like García Marquez which I feel I need a dictionary because of all the odd vocabulary!

  2. I loved The Boxcar Children too! My parents read me Anne of Green Gables, which my sister and I loved so much that we went on a family vacation to Prince Edward Island. When I got older, I swooped in on anything with a map on the inside cover or anything having to do with girls who lived in conflict zones or times of political strife. (The Endless Steppe was one of my favorites.)

    Now I’m so excited to be done with finals that I’m reading something as non-academic as possible: Let the Right One in by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It’s a Swedish vampire book, haha.

    • Oh I might have to try the Endless Steppe. I had a book (forget the title) about a girl in war-torn Bosnia. Loved it. I might have to try Let the Right One In too if you and Luisa are recommending it!

  3. Abby,
    Have you read any of Madeline L’Engle? She has some fascinating “youth” books along with her adult books. She is my favorite author! We recently read (for Bethany book group (not Brownbag)) – it was a total inspiration for me!! I am now making my own yogurt and mozz. cheese – and my garden for this year has grown to 3 beds!! Another read was .

    • Hey Liz! Thanks for commenting 🙂 I have read A Wrinkle In Time, but probably when I was in 3rd grade, so maybe I should re-visit her. Thanks for the tip and your yogurt and mozzarella cheese sound delicious!

  4. I have to say I am quite a bookworm myself. I am after ordering my own kindle, and I am so excited! I am starting a new job in a few weeks and the bus ride will be about 45 minutes, so, I think I will make a good use of it! I read all kind of books when I was little, but I remember loving The neverending story and Momo, by Michael Ende, The little vampire series, all Roald Dahl books, etc..Leigh, I loved Let the right one in…the film is pretty good too!!

  5. I didn’t really enjoy reading The Remains of the Day in college so I avoided the book of Never Let Me Go but watched the film. I actually quite liked the film so I’m thinking of picking up the book now. 🙂

    I’m thinking of buying a Kindle for when I move over. I can’t imagine carting all my books with me so it’s probably the easiest option. 🙂

    Loved the Babysitter’s Club series when I was a child. 😀 Sweet Valley Kids/High and Little Sister books were also a big favourite.

  6. The third in the girl trilogy was the best and way better than the movie— granted, I loved the movie too. But the books and the movie were different. Great list.:)

  7. Number the Stars was one of my favorite books too. So was Stepping on the Cracks and one more book about the Holocaust that I can’t remember right now (but two sisters lived in the attic of Nazi-sympathizers and one day went out to be in the sun and got really sun burned). Hehe, obviously more happened but I remember that part the best. Weird how young kids get so into the Holocaust. I was obsessed with reading about it.

    Of all your recs, I’d read The Hunger Games first because I aboslutely love young adult books…more now than I was actually a young adult. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress sounds fun, too.

    I just read A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. I absolutely love her short stories but this novel was just OK. It’s a quick read, though.

    • Ohh I don’t think I’ve read Stepping on Cracks! The one you’re thinking of kind of sounds like The Diary of Anne Frank, but I don’t remember if the attic they lived in was of Nazi-sympathizers or not. A warning: only read The Hunger Games when you don’t want to do anything else but read! So addicting.

  8. I remember those personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut! Kind of weird though, rewarding children for reading by stuffing them with greasy pizza? Hm….
    I hate to admit it, but I was really obessesed with Sweet Valley Twins…I even read all the Sweet Valley High and University series…I assure you my tastes have matured since 🙂

  9. I think we have really similar taste in books, because you just named 5 of my favorites. However, I haven’t read Mennonite in a LIttle Black Dress. I’m going to download it for the plane on Monday, thanks!

    Never Let Me Go = Amazing.

    The Hunger Games = MY FAVORITES EVER. I read all three in a day and a half. I Could. Not. Stop. They are noticeably young adult like you said, but far better written than Twilight.

    I’m currently reading Bossypants by Tina Fey and it’s actually hilarious. Obviously a really easy read, but laugh out loud funny.

    If you do like YA and vampires, I’d recommend the Vampire Academy series. I really enjoyed them and Seba actually read and enjoyed them too.

    House Rules by Jodi Picoult was super interesting as was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Another good one was Left Neglected.

    The reason I’m giving you so many recommendations is because I think we seriously have the exact same taste in books. My childhood favorites were definitely Little House on the Prairie books too 🙂

    • Kyle we ARE book twins! I’ve read many Jodi Picoult books, but not the two you mentioned, I’ll have to check them out (or maybe wait til I go home because my mom has quite a collection and she probably has them). I want to read Bossypants, but I’ve already reached my monthly limit of Kindle spending so it will have to wait until next month, haha. And thanks for the Vampire Academy recommendation!

  10. Your post sounds exactly like me as a kid! Especially what you wrote about reading tons over the summer. I remember they would always ask us to keep a list of the books we read and I’d write down like half of what I read and it would be several pages long. I loved the Little House on the Prairie books too!

    My current favorite is Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland – it’s about a painting possibly by Vermeer and how it affects different people over several centuries. Kind of in short stories that all come together as a novel – really interesting to read!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s