Category Archives: Reading/Books

Socialpunk Blog Tour

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Today I have a special guest on the blog! The lovely and talented author Monica Leonelle has just released the first book in her Socialpunk trilogy. I’m so excited to be a part of her blog tour because her novel sounds very interesting and RIGHT up my alley, as it reminds me so much of a bunch of my other favorite dystopian reads. Below you’ll find out more about Monica and much more about her novel, Social Punk! 

First, Monica took some time to answer a few questions in an interview with me about her series, her inspirations, and her career as a writer. Check it out!

1. Why did you start writing, and what inspired you to write the Socialpunk trilogy?

I started a Gen Y blog in 2007 called Twenty Set. It actually gained quite a bit of steam early on, but eventually I moved away from Gen Y topics. The reason I started that blog, though, is because I couldn’t clear my mind! I literally just needed to get things out of my system. So I wrote that blog 4-5 times a week for about six months until my ideas stop churning so quickly. My love for writing as an adult grew out of that experience.

Socialpunk is inspired by Chicago winters, technology and digital media, and the Terminator series.

2. Do you ever use real-life people or moments in your novels? Why/why not?

Almost everything I write is inspired from my personal experiences, so I use a lot of real-life people and moments. You just have to be smart and disguise them, and then never admit to it even if someone questions you 🙂

3. What are some of your favorite books both current and classic?

I love Jane Austen books. And CS Lewis. Favorite books right now are the Hunger Games series. Sometimes I think Socialpunk may be one of my favorite books, but I’ve technically never read it.

4. Which authors inspire you in your writing, and particularly in your book series?

CS Lewis inspired my other book series (the first one, Silver Smoke, is available now). He’s also inspiring my next series, which I hope is a serialized fiction series. James Cameron was my biggest inspiration for Socialpunk, mostly because of the Terminator. Silicon City, with bionics, would have the same color treatments as Avatar if I were to make a movie about it.

5. What is the most important piece of advice you would give to other writers?

Patience! Also, writers should inject their marketing directly into their manuscripts. Writers often think of marketing as this separate thing from writing, but it’s not at all. 80-90% of books are sold through word-of-mouth and most of the marketability of a book is right there in the manuscript. So even if you are going the traditional route, if you are serious about getting published you should hire an editor to go through your book and see how marketable it is. Traditional publishers are looking for marketable books. It’s a business and they need to make money.

Then, you launch your book by asking people to read it. If it’s any good you’ll start getting word-of-mouth for your book. My goal is to give away one thousand copies of the book during its launch. I’m maybe a fifth of the way there so far? It’s a lot of work, more than most people realize. I write about this stuff constantly on my Prose on Fire newsletter, so if these concepts interest you, you can check it out here:proseonfire.com/free-writer-toolkit

6. As a blogger AND a writer, what are some of your must-read blogs?

Penelope Trunk (blog.penelopetrunk.com). We’ve worked together a lot though, so I feel like it’s different because I know her.

7. And finally, what is a day in the life of Monica-the-writer like?

I’m a “burst of energy” type of person rather than a “little every day” type of person. So I will write a whole book in a week or two, then go back and edit it all in a week or two. And then I won’t write as much for the next few weeks. On an average day I probably write a couple thousand words, during a book writing session I write closer to 5000 words a day.

On the breaks, I do a lot of marketing. I work almost every day, unless I’m on vacation. I just prefer it that way.

Here’s what the story is about: 

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.”

You can buy Socialpunk on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Intrigued, but not sure if you want to buy the book yet? Read the excerpt below from the prologue. Not only is it extremely mysterious, but it made ME want to read the book and find out what happens. Which I fully plan on doing, but, you know, school and things have prevented me from doing it so far.  

—–

After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.

A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.

Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.

He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.

But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.”

—–

Thanks for taking the time to read about this new, fun series of books. I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Socialpunk today, and checking out Monica’s personal blog, Prose on Fire.

*Stay tuned for a review of this book in the near future!
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Currently… #3

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Hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend! It kind of seems like a while since I’ve just written about life in general, and I always happen to find this type of post an easy way to play catch up on what’s been going on!

Currently… 

Reading

As I write this, I’m about to finish up an advanced reader’s copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth. It’s the sequel Divergent which came out last May. To be honest, I haven’t been loving it. I had REALLY high expectations for this book, but I set those aside long ago. I think a lot of people will really love it, but I’m kind of feeling like Roth is steering this series into a place that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s not really my style. That being said, it really picked up around page 300 so I’m excited to finish it. 100 more pages to go!

Listening

Our Lady Peace. Their new album is pretty good, but I’ve been listening to their Greatest Hits since last Monday when they were in Montreal for a show. I didn’t have the chance to watch their set which is a SHAME because they always put on a fantastic show. I did however get to watch Raine Maida sound check the song “Thief’ and honestly, current favorite song. He is a musical genius. I also had the opportunity to interview Jeremy, the drummer of OLP. He was one of my very first interviews about three years ago when I first started working for CONFRONT, so it kind of felt like my journalist career was coming around full circle. Interviewing the same big-time Canadian artist twice is something that I am VERY fortunate to be able to say that I have done.

The Ting Tings. I reviewed their newest album ‘Sounds From Nowheresville’ on my blog last week & I must admit it’s grown on me even more since then. I also had the chance to interview Katie, half of the musical duo, on Saturday night on the phone. She was SUCH a sweetheart it was an absolute pleasure. She has the most charming British accent, I’ll be honest it kind of felt like I was interviewing a Spice Girl. Plus she loves SG so it worked out well, ha. 🙂

– I’ve actually had a few other albums on repeat this last week or so, and I’ll be doing a little re-cap on the rest of them later in the week, probably! So much amazing music has been popping up in the last month or two, it’s time I start sharing some of it!

Watching

Community. Why am I so late on this show? IT IS HILARIOUS YOU GUYS. I’m well into season 1 now and I am just secretly so happy I have three whole seasons of the funny-ness to watch. It is so weird but so, so fun to watch.

Best Friends Forever. I downloaded the pilot episode a few days ago (the show just started) and I was laughing the entire way through. It’s a new sitcom, and I really hope there are new episodes coming up. It’s so funny!

Needing

– I seem to write this with every ‘Currently’ post I write, but I still find myself needing more time. I’m hoping to resolve this issue with my April goals of tackling procrastination, but so far I haven’t had much luck because I seem to be LOSING time rather than finding more of it. Long story short, I ended up losing 5 prime hours on Saturday morning/afternoon and I could have really used my day off to do homework and chores and things like that.

To book a vacation. I found myself gazing at this cup I keep on my desk where I collect various shells, rocks & coins from my travels around the world. There are a lot of things from all the beaches I visited from Greece as well as the volcano I climbed, and I’m just itching to find new things to add in there. I need to travel!

More days spent with my nephew! It seems like forever since I’ve written about my favorite little boy, but he is still growing and getting more of a personality each time I see him. I wish I had more free days to see him, but with finals that just isn’t possible. Luckily photos like the ones below happen to surface on Facebook and in my e-mail with the heading ‘BAD BOY FOR LIFE’ and that makes it a little bit easier. I can’t wait for the summer to see his cute little face more!

Avoiding

– Homework. Studying. But is that anything new? Not at all. This week though, regardless of my ridiculous work schedule, I’m getting my work done and I’m going to NOT procrastinate. That’s the deal I have with myself & I refuse to take no for an answer. From myself. That sounded less weird in my head…

Loving

– Drinking too much coffee. Why must it be just SO delicious?!

– The fact that classes are over for 5 whole months. WHAT! In 2 exams I am free for 4 months!

MY BRAND NEW HARRY POTTER SCENE IT GAME. Yes. Love. Indulging in my obsession/addiction, needing to find more people to play with!

Now that you’re all caught up… What’s currently going on in your life?! 

The Hunger Games [A Movie Review]

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Now that I’ve seen the movie twice, teared up a fair amount and talked somewhat about the book-to-movie adaptation in real life, I think I’m ready to write a review around here. It was bound to happen, I mean I read Hunger Games about a month after it first came out. It was so unknown back then and I wanted people to read it and love it as much as me SO BADLY.

And now, almost 4 years later? I’m just overwhelmed with love for this franchise. The last time I felt this way was Harry Potter. It’s not the same thing, it’s not Harry Potter, but still. I can’t remember the last time I bought movie merch. I own a Hunger Games t-shirt and a grossly overpriced Mockingjay pin. This is BIG.

So, without further ado, a little movie review from someone who has followed this series from the BEGINNING. I’m going all out with spoilers, so you’ve been warned!

Here’s what I loved about the movie

1. I thought the narration through Caesar Flickerman/Seneca Crane/Claudius Templesmith was awesome. The book never explained the actual arena the way the movie does with the “game center” where they develop all the disasters and mutations. I thought it was a really neat addition to the movie and I didn’t mind AT all that it didn’t exist in the books. For people who haven’t read the books, it’ll make the whole thing make sense to them. Without Katniss’ narration (or any narration) it would have made no sense whatsoever.

2. In the end, I really liked the casting. I didn’t think I would at all- when Katniss/Peeta/Gale were first announced I was SO upset. But after seeing the movie it makes a ton of sense. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta literally made no sense to me but he was quite charming in the way that I imagined Peeta to be. I think there were a few moments that I didn’t like him, but overall he really portrayed the Peeta charm well. Same thing for Liam Hemsworth as Gale… Although let’s be honest, that grew on me really fast. He is gorgeous. I wasn’t convinced about Jennifer Lawrence until I actually saw the movie. I thought she did a great job as Katniss and although she wasn’t who I pictured for the role AT all, now I couldn’t picture it as anyone else!

I could basically go on about the whole cast because I thought they were all really well thought out. All the tributes and the main Capitol members. Don’t even get me STARTED on my love for Caesar Flickerman. His little smile at the beginning of his show? I giggled EVERY TIME.

Also… EFFIE. She was AWESOME. I mean, obviously, it’s Elizabeth Banks. Can’t go wrong!

3. There was an appropriate reduction on the gore. When I first read the book I was like “WHY DO I LIKE THIS” because gory things are not my style. I was worried for the movie. A bunch of kids killing each other? It’s traumatizing. I think the movie was adequately gory. I mean, a lot of the excess pain and suffering was cut out, which wasn’t bad at all (especially considering it got a G rating). There’s something about seeing teenagers act so violently that really had my stomach churning. The opening scene in the arena where 12 tributes die? That was enough for me.

And of course, what I wasn’t so crazy about in the movie

1. THE FILMING. What the heck was wrong with the cameramen? BOTH times I left the theater with a headache. I mean, I understand following the action and showing the character’s emotions up close, but sometimes you just need to relax with the zoom. As much as I like staring at people’s foreheads and shoulders, it did not come off as artistic whatsoever. It was annoying. Please change this for the second movie, thank you.

2. The underlying “tension” between so many of the characters. Maybe it’s been a while since I read the books, but did Glimmer and Cato really have a weird flirty thing going on? Why was she sleeping curled up with him? It was SO weird. Not to mention Cinna and Katniss. Thankfully I’ve read the book and I know he just adores her and is watching out for her because from the perspective of someone just going to see the movie? Cinna was a BIT much at times. And finally, I hate that as a movie-watcher I have no idea that Katniss and Peeta are originally a whole ruse. Their affections in the arena look VERY legit and they never show any kind of struggle in the way that she had emotional struggles in the book. I like Peeta as much as the next girl, but Suzanne Collins did not write Katniss as a girl who understands love. She’s too busy saving the world for that!

This picture comes from THIS review. Check it out, it’s great! Lots of great moment recaps. 

3. Even though the movie was almost 2 and a half hours long, it still felt very rushed. I thought 2.5 hours would be plenty of time to cover all the important stuff, but I still found it to be just a *little* too fast paced for me. It’s a good thing I saw it twice because I didn’t have enough time to take it all in when I watched it the first time. Ideally there would have been more time for the ending, which I thought was very abrupt, as well as a tiny bit more time to develop Katniss and Rue’s relationship which was a lot MORE in the book.

Overall, I really did love the movie. I know a lot of die hard fans don’t agree, but honestly? It was overall easy to follow along the storyline and all the big moments were there. The writers even kept some fun silly little things like a moment with Prim’s cat at the beginning. If you’re wondering, here’s a LIST of the changes that were made. I think all in all they weren’t so bad at all.

What did you think of the movie? What were your favorite/least favorite moments?

The YA challenge & some recent YA reads

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In January when I blogged about my 2012 Goals, I briefly mentioned I wanted to take part in something called the YA Challenge, and try to read 40 teen-lit books this year. In January and February I had a lot of trouble getting into books and finishing them at my usual quick speed, but since coming home from Florida I’ve been doing SO much better. I’m getting out of my reading rut and I’m excited to get back on track to read not only 40 YA novels, but hit my goal of 60 for the year. Time to catch up!

So far, I’ve read 6 YA books, one of which got a full review last month. I thought it would be fun to take some time to write about a few of the other ones I’ve read because you guys? They’ve been AMAZING. All of them. I have high hopes for the rest of the teen novels I plan on reading this year & can’t wait to share them with you all.

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

In Book One of the Chaos Walking series, readers are introduced to young Todd & his very peculiar life in Prentisstown. In Todd’s world, women have died from disease & men can hear all of each other’s thoughts through something they simply call NOISE. Todd is just one month away from being the last boy to become a ‘man’ in his town, but when his guardians force him out of the house for fear of his life, Todd learns that the world he’s grown up in is not all that it seems.

It took me a good chunk of this book to really get into it, but by the second half of the book I was rooting for Todd, his faithful dog Manchee and his new found companion that he meets along the way. Todd goes on a life changing adventure and I was there with him right up to the explosive ending that left me wanting to read Book Two ASAP! The major downside for me was how LONG the book was and how long it took me to get really interested, but I do understand that Ness was setting up his characters for the rest of his trilogy. I’ve heard amazing things about it, so I’m anxious to pick up The Ask and the Answer soon and see where Todd goes next!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

In Oliver’s second book following the acclaimed ‘Delirium‘, readers are reunited with heroine Lena, who has just escaped into the Wilds on her own. Lena must not only learn to survive in a new place without Alex, who she lost at the border of her city, but she has to reinvent herself & decide which side she is on. You follow her adventures as she joins a group of teenagers who also live freely and as they infiltrate New York City in the hopes of figuring out how to break apart a government that has taken away peoples’ freedom by taking away their ability to love.

I think that in all of the series I’ve read and followed, this is the second time that I adore the second book even MORE than the first. The last time this happened is when I read Catching fire almost 3 years ago- and that book is still one of my top 5 all time favorite novels EVER. Pandemonium started off pretty good, but it quickly became one of those books that I was frantically reading to find out what happens. I was on the edge of my seat right up until the ending when it basically exploded with crazyness. I legitimately do not know what I’m going to do while I wait for the final book in this trilogy in a year. I finished Pandemonium last week and have still thought about it every single day. What an ending!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy gets you from page one. In a world where genetic engineering has cut women’s life span at 20 years and men’s at 25, young girls are constantly kidnapped and forced into polygamous weddings to have children, continue the population, and hope that a future generation will be able to find an antidote. Rhine is a sixteen year old girl who is kidnapped from her home where she lives with her twin brother & forced into marriage to the incredibly wealthy Linden Ashby. You follow her adventure with her two sister wives Jenna & Cecily, as well as her nightmarish father-in-law Vaughn as she attempts to survive in this new world.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up Wither. From Chapter One I was COMPLETELY in love with this book. I actually heard lots of mixed reviews about it but honestly? It was, in one word, unputdownable. Yes, I made that word up just for Wither. All of the characters are beautifully written and Rhine’s world is so incredibly believable, it’s almost haunting to think of a future existing like this one. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you love good dystopian novels. I plan on reading book two, Fever, by next week!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What great books have you read recently? Any good YA to recommend?!

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Book: The Fault in our Stars

Author: John Green

Type: YA Contemporary

Release Date: January 10th 2012

Publisher: Penguin Group USA

The Fault in our Stars is a story about many, many things. First, it is the story of a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster and a boy named Augustus Waters. The two meet at cancer support group- Hazel’s tumors have shrunk considerably and are kept at bay with a ton of medication, while Augustus is currently in remission from a very rare form of the disease.

Together, they examine the very meaning of life and how it is possible to do great things when you don’t know how much longer you have left in the world. It is a story about love, loss, life, death, and everything in between.

I’d love to say more about the story, but even 4 days after reading it, I’m still having trouble coming up with the right words (and not saying TOO much)

What I think about the book

I don’t even know where to start with this one. I mean, I’ve been following the progress of it’s publication since John Green announced that he was coming out with a new book. I was so incredibly attached to everything this story was and would become, I just couldn’t help it. Because of that, I was worried about being let down or paying too much attention to the hype and letting it get to me.

Let me assure you all… That was not the case in the LEAST. Even though I was expecting great things from this story, it STILL blew me away in ways I don’t know how to describe. You may have noticed this if you follow me on Twitter, because I tweeted incessantly things like this:

While I reading this book I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed some more. Then I cried some more. John Green is not only incredibly witty, but you can sense the importance that exists in each and every single word that is in this novel. Every sentence is weighted, every conversation makes you stop and think.

My favorite things about the book:

I think the character development was spot on. Hazel and Augustus continue to grow and evolve from the first page to the very last. They have quirks, life stories, and such incredibly distinct personalities- you just can’t help but get attached. The secondary characters play a fair role in the story as well: Augustus’ best friend Isaac is a great supporting character that provides a different perspective on living the life that’s given to you. The one character I wasn’t *sure* about was Hazel’s friend, Kaitlyn. I thought she was really funny and interesting, and I understand that she was really just playing the role of the necessary “high school friend that Hazel can’t relate to anymore” but I still wondered why she was the ONLY friend that was ever mentioned on Hazel’s side when she states that she can only handle her in small doses.

John Green tackles life issues that are at once controversial but SO necessary to discuss. This is the kind of story that anyone can read and relate to. Everyone knows someone who knows someone that’s affected by cancer. Not only does he really get into the mind of cancer patients, but he gives readers this completely different view of what life is like when you’re not privileged to breathe on your own or have your five senses. He writes about teenagers who are STRUGGLING to get through every single DAY and still manage to think of people other than themselves. It’s SO hard to get into the mind of teenagers- I mean really, who knows what they’re thinking?! But he does it so well. Hazel is brilliant and strong for herself AND her parents, but she is still a sixteen year old battling a disease that will one day take her life. She is this completely multi-faceted character who encompasses the very essence of what this story is about. How do you come to terms at just 16 with the idea that you may not live to see another day?

The story between Augustus and Hazel is incredibly well developed. This isn’t one of those books that plays games with romance. It is an honest and truthful portrayal of two kids whose lives become intertwined because of this fate that was handed down to them. Their relationship has its ups and downs, and in my opinion is probably something that a lot of teenagers- despite their health- can relate to in one way or another.

My absolute favorite part?

I don’t think I could pick just one to be honest, but I think a big part of this book for me was the very way it was written. It’s so rare for me to have to STOP after reading a particular sentence to just let it sink in and to just actually understand it. I even wrote sentences DOWN. I never do that. I’m already ready to re-read the book (as you may have seen above in my tweets) and that is so completely unlike me.

I don’t want to over-hype this book or anything, but if you’re reading this review you need to read the book too. It’s so worth it and the amount of work that was put into it is immediately noticeable. Literally, the very first chapter you’re like “wow, how amazing is this?”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Holocaust Literature

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I’ve mentioned a few times that I took a Holocaust literature class this semester and was really excited about my (fairly long) book list that came long with it. Now that the class is finished I thought I’d just re-cap all the books I read really quick for anyone who’s interested in learning more about it but isn’t sure where to start! All in all, the class was incredibly educational but to be honest I often started my days off more depressed than anything. I don’t regret taking the course at all though, I’ve always wanted to learn more about what happened during the Holocaust and I feel much more knowledgeable about the subject as well as the literature involved in it now.

1. Night by Elie Wiesel. If you haven’t read this book, you just have to. It won a Nobel Peace Prize for a reason, people. Truly amazing story and a very interesting background too. Wiesel wrote the book originally in his native language, Yiddish, where it was basically a huge book hating on the Germans. Over time and translation, it became the slim paperback that you now purchase in stores. Very sad, but very powerful.

Possibly the most haunting author image in a book I’ve ever seen. [Wiesel]

2. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. I learned a LOT from Primo’s autobiography. He was actually an Italian who survived the war and actually walked from Poland all the way back home afterwards (he writes about it in his second book to the one I read). This one is a very straightforward narration of his time in Auschwitz and his liberation, although also very powerful in its own way.

3. This Way For The Gas, Ladies & Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski. This book was… Interesting. I have to admit there were some parts that I read completely captivated (the two first chapters/stories among the best) and at other points I was really confused. Borowski writes about a guy called Tadek and *his* imprisonment in Auschwitz, although it’s assumed that he IS Tadek and just uses that name for his writing. His story is incredibly sad and moving- he was imprisoned because his girlfriend at the time (a rebel) was caught and put in Auschwitz and he couldn’t bear to be apart from her, so he purposely got caught and also imprisoned. They kept contact throughout their time in the camp & after the liberation they found each other again and got married. Unfortunately Borowski went a little crazy after the war and soon after the birth of his first child he committed suicide by inhaling gas from a stove. UGH. So depressing, I know. But definitely worth a read, if you’re interested in the Holocaust.

4. The Black Seasons by Michal Glowinski. You can’t find this book in any bookstore because it’s independently published, but I don’t particularly recommend this one unless you’re taking a course on the Holocaust. Although pretty interested by the time I got to it, I had a lot of trouble finishing the story. Glowinski was only 7-9 years old during the war and writes only from his memory as a 50 year old scholar. Interesting point of view, although not really an informative text. He is a phenomenal writer though.

5. MAUS by Art Spiegelman. This two-part graphic novel is, in one word, AMAZING. 100% must read for anyone. I breezed through both of them in two days, I was completely captivated by the story, the characters, the imagery… Basically everything. I highly recommend reading them both as they’re quite small books and a relatively fast read for anyone. Not only are they packed with information, but Spiegelman does an amazing job of portraying his life and his father’s. He writes about his mother and father’s imprisonment at Auschwitz through images, and he associates all of the difference races with a different animal. I love the way his illustrations complement the story he chose to write, and to anyone who’s confused about exactly what happened in the 1940’s to the Jewish race, this is the perfect set of two books to learn from.

Spiegelman’s author picture in the jacket of his graphic novels! 

Along with these 6 books, I also read a full 200 page course kit that was filled with excerpts from various other books written by survivors. One in particular that I’m interested in hunting down is by a female survivor called Charlotte Delbo. Her writing completely fascinated and haunted me, and I’d love to see what her book is like.

So, to re-cap if you skipped to this paragraph: you need to read Night, Survival in Auschwitz, This Way For The Gas & Complete MAUS. All amazing books about this time period and I genuinely feel like I learned a LOT because of them. I’m going to take a small break from all this super depressing reading to get back to some of the stuff that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, but I definitely plan on picking up a few more titles in the New Year.

If you’re interested in other (less real and gruesome) stories about the Holocaust, here are some of my fiction recommends:

1. Sarah’s Key by Tatianna De Rosnay

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

3. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

4. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

What books do you recommend on the subject? Which ones have you read and liked or disliked? 

October Books

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This month there have been a LOT of new releases in books that I’m super excited about. I thought that with all of these new books that have hit the shelves I’d write a post on the top books that I’m excited to read & some recent favorites. If you want more information about any of the books you can always leave me questions in the comments, check the books out on Goodreads, or just pick one of them up… Because I know they’re all going to be amazing.

Most excited to read that came out in October [or will be]:

1. Death Cure by James Dashner
– If you’re not reading The Maze Runner trilogy you’re missing out on a seriously amazing teen dystopian series. This is the final book in the trilogy & I’m hearing only amazing things about it!

2. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
– This is one of my guilty pleasure teen series. I enjoyed the first two books enough to pick this one up- I’m excited to see what Fitzpatrick does after her mediocre second book.

3. Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson
– One of my 23 Before 23 goals is to read 10 biographies of people who changed the world. If Steve Jobs doesn’t fit in that category I don’t know who does.

4. Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
– Because I love Ellen and I need a good funny book. I know she won’t disappoint!

5.  Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
– I’m a big fan of Lauren Oliver (after reading only one book) and I’ve heard SUCH amazing things about this young readers book. I’m definitely going to pick this up when I get the chance.

A few other titles that I’m really excited to pick up [that came out before October]: 

1. Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
– YA thriller

2. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
-YA dystopian

3. Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
-YA dystopian

4. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
-YA fantasy

5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
-YA fantasy

The books I’m most excited about currently on my to-read shelf: 

1. The Reinvention of Love by Helen Humphreys
– Adult literature

2. This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
– YA adventure/mystery

3. Variant by Robison Wells
-YA dystopian

4. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
-YA dystopian

5. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
– YA fantasy/adventure

6. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
– YA dystopian

7. Call Me Russell by Russell Peters
– Biography

8. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
-Young adult fantasy/adventure

9. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
– Young reader I don’t even know what to classify this as.

10. Matched by Ally Condie
– YA dystopian

What I’m currently reading: 

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
– I’m a newly converted Maureen fan and this book is not a disappointment. I’m about 50 pages from the end, so probably by the time you’re reading this I’ll be done the book & probably raving about it!

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
– This is one of the books for my Holocaust Literature class. I’m about 100 pages in and it is a TOUGH read. Not because it’s boring- it’s anything but boring- but it is incredibly detailed and gruesome.

The Death Note series
– My very first manga series and I am ADDICTED. I’m 6 books through the 13 book series. They each take about 2 hours to get through and I need to finish this very, very soon. If you’re not sure about mangas I highly suggest picking up the first book, just for fun. They’re not expensive and they are REALLY good and twisted and just yeah. Go get it.