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Summer Reading List Part 2, or More Books I’m Embarrassed to Not Have Read Yet.

26 Mar

Thanks for all of the feedback you guys gave on my last summer reading list post! It’s been wonderful to hear your recommendations and suggestions, so keep’em coming! I thought of a few more I’d like to share with you all, even more books I’m just so embarrassed that I haven’t gotten to yet. I hope to have a productive summer full of reading.

Do feel free to comment below on all of them/laugh at my limited literary knowledge!

1) Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

You’re probably thinking, doesn’t everyone have to read that in high school? How has she not read that? I’m with you there. I suspect I never got around to it because this was the book all the snobby guys were into, and I really need to be over that now. The fact is, Vonnegut is so important, especially for  fiction today. Vonnegut is an important short story and satire writer, and it’s high time I read this classic.

2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hear me out. These books are flying off the shelves like hotcakes (I’m pretty sure the phenomenon around this YA series is pretty much the definition of hotcakes), and you all know I love a good book with a strong heroine in it. Seriously though, this seems like the sort of series I would have loved to have had as a teenager. Dystopian future, strong heroine with a bow and arrow, strategy games, the works. It’s the first new YA series I’ve been excited about since I was about fifteen, which I think says a lot. So I’m going to read the series, and I’m really looking forward to it.

3) Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Better Know a Book veterans will note that I do love the modernists. I love modernism, I love the 1920s, and I love the writers who made it happen, as well as the crazy group of people they all hung around with. One of the modernists I’ve read the least of, however, is Fitzgerald. I read The Great Gatsby, of course, but nothing else. This seemed like an interesting next step, and it was inspired by his difficult, turbulent-at-best relationship with his eccentric wife, Zelda (eccentric is a euphemism there, for the record). Hence, I hope to curl up with this tome on a beach somewhere real, real soon.

4) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another book I’m embarrassed to never have read. Atwood is a writer that I greatly admire, and am constantly wishing I was reading more of. I saw her speak at my college’s commencement a few years ago, and that just cemented my adoration for her. The Handmaid’s Tale seems like a book I’d greatly admire, and would actually be great to juxtapose alongside The Hunger Games–both dystopian novels heavily featuring female leads. I’m excited to finally pull this one off the shelf this summer, for sure.


Where would you be without your library?

21 Mar

I, for one, am indebted to my public library system. I was always going to events at the library as a kid–I took classes in comic book drawing, I went to readings, I did arts and crafts. I played in their playroom that was also the kid’s books room, strewn with books and toys and babies. Some of the first books I read came from the library too, covered in those heavy plastic dust jacket wrappers, crinkly and smelling like the library itself. In the summertime I’d participate in their program where the more books you read, the more little rewards you would get.

As I got older, I left the kid’s section and moved to the young adult section, where I routinely read up to 50 books a year (oh yes, I kept track too), and from there on to the adult section.

I used to go every week with my dad, a tradition in my family that, whenever I’m home, still holds up. We still go together. It means a lot to me. Libraries mean a lot to me. And as time  and technology move onwards, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to these wonderful local institutions. I have a hard time believing they’ll go anywhere, but it worries me nonetheless.

The tiny town of Shutesbury, MA (population 1,800) has a very tiny library in need of a ton of restoration. They made this viral video recently to try to raise money. If they can raise 40% of the funds necessary to properly renovate ($1.4 million), the state will match them with the rest of the 60%. Look at the adorable video they’ve made. This little town that loves to read has warmed my heart as they ask us “What would you be without your library?”

Tell me your library stories in the comments. What are you first memories in a library? Do you remember what your library meant to your town? What does it mean to you now?

BetterKnowABook is now on Twitter!

19 Mar

A little bird told me it’s about time to get on twitter. So please! Follow this blog @BetterKnowABook for more news, links, and posts from Better Know a Book! You can use the widget on the bottom right sidebar for easy following.

I may love older books, but that doesn’t mean I can’t embrace new technology!

Mark Your (Literary) Calendars

22 Jan

I figure why not let you guys in on fun book-related articles I find elsewhere from now on? The book profiles will keep coming in, but Flavorwire has complied “10 Cult Literary Traditions for Truly Die-Hard Fans,” and I thought you all might enjoy a peek.

Anyone who actually goes and drinks some cognac for Poe on his birthday is my new favorite.