World Book Day Recommendations

In honor of World Book Day I want to give my top five book recommendations. I could recommend a long list of books but these are five that I find to be great reads for anyone. I realized just the other day that I ask people for book recommendations a lot and I’m always grateful for whatever gets recommended so I might as well return the favor out into the universe. I’m definitely not a genre-specific reader, I generally like most out there and will pretty much read anything.

Here are five of my top book recommendations:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This classic is by far one of my favorite reads. I just love the story and the writing style of Fitzgerald. I read the book in high school for the first time and then had to read it again when I was in college for my comparative literature class. When I was in high school I definitely didn’t appreciate the story and the poetic depiction of the 1920s. When I read it again I just couldn’t believe how dense and unappreciative I was the first time reading it. Needless to say I still pick it up from time to time to read just for fun.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
This is the newest addition to my favorites list. I just read it a few months ago from a recommendation and after struggling just a little to get into the story I quickly fell into the lives of the characters and couldn’t put the book down. I just loved the way it was written with historical accuracy and true emotion. I will be writing a book review for The Nightingale soon so stay tuned for that post.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Another read from when I was younger that I actually enjoyed and appreciated at the time. If I remember correctly I actually read this book when I was probably too young to understand it completely but read it again when I was in high school right before the movie adaptation came out. It’s just one of those books that I really enjoyed because of the seemingly normal story that isn’t as normal as you think in the beginning. The story definitely parallels modern ideology and I think that’s what I liked about it most. It’s the similarities in stories that reflect the story of modern life in unconventional ways that make them relatable and hard to put down.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
One of my favorite books and surprisingly also one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations. I love a good mystery/drama and this one just tops my list. It’s a great twist and turn type of novel that certainly keeps you on your toes chapter after chapter. It’s a suspenseful story that you can’t stop reading.

The Poet by Michael Connelly
I absolutely love Michael Connelly’s writing and his large collection of novels. My first taste of Connelly’s books was The Poet. I think I first picked it up at the library and read it and really, really enjoyed it. I knew I liked crime novels because there’s a mystery that as a reader, I always try to figure out before I finish the book. Connelly’s writing usually keeps me guessing until the very end. I specifically resonated with this novel because it’s the introduction of a new character to Connelly’s world of crime. Instead of the original perspective of detective Bosch, it’s from the perspective of a reporter that covers the local beat in Denver. Always a great read and I hope he keeps writing so I can keep reading.

Of course there are many more books that I could recommend and a fair few series *cough, cough Harry Potter*. I’m also always open to recommendations. I find myself gravitating more towards fiction crime/suspense and then fantasy which can arguably be placed at two ends of the spectrum but alas, I still like reading any type of genre. There are more than 130 million published novels in this world and it’s honestly a shame there isn’t enough time in a life to read them all.

As always, stay tuned for more posts and more book reviews.

Book Recommendations from the Boyfriend

If you haven’t figured it out, I love to read. I might be a bit behind on my reading challenge, but I’m always down for a good book recommendation. My boyfriend is the same. He loves to read and usually gets through a book fairly quickly. I can’t read that fast or I feel like I’ve missed key elements to the story.

This past weekend while he was visiting I asked him about some of his favorite books and what he’d recommend to avid readers such as ourselves. He had to think about it a bit, most likely because he’s read so many books and doesn’t necessarily remember them all, but in the end he gave me five book recommendations and talked about one of his all time favorites.

Book 1: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

George Orwell writes about the years he spent in Spain during the 30s participating in the Spanish Civil War. The Nazi backed Franco Regime had an oppressive hold on the country and what we saw in Spain during the mid to late 30s was basically a small scale preview of WWII. Tyler read Homage to Catalonia while in Barcelona, and seeing the landmarks that George experienced while he was there really made the book come to life for him. Among Tyler’s other suggestions that are mostly fantasy and science fiction, this is a stand out read for anyone interested in history and nonfiction.

Book 2: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Tyler describes this book as the epitome of the science fiction genre. In a future where human consciousness can be transferred into new, weaponized bodies and humanity has been exploring the farthest reaches of the galaxy, how does a regular guy fit in? The best part of this book is that it is the first in a series which Tyler enjoys reading and it even spawned a prequel series and a tangentially related series from one of the secondary characters, so you will never be left wishing there was another book. Series are convenient for the avid reader as it keeps the story, the fantasy or the foreign world alive for more than one book. Tyler enjoys series, as do I, because it’s even more books to read.

Book 3: A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

“This is a pretty cliche response I’m sure, but noteworthy all the same,” started Tyler. For many of you who may be a fan of the TV series you’re in for treat according to Tyler if you dare to pick up one of George R.R. Martin’s books. As Tyler says if you’ve only watched the show and never read any of the books, you’re really only getting a small fraction of the story. “You are not a real GOT fan if you have only watched the tv show.” Now this I have to slightly disagree with as I as well, have not yet read the large series. “The story in the book is bigger, has waaaaaaaay more plot lines, characters, and many of the items they do share actually pan out totally differently,” says Tyler. One of the best fantasy series he’s ever read, and he claims it’s worth the time it takes to get through the roughly 1000 pages in each book. I hope to one day get through the books as the TV series has come to an end.

Book 4: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson

Neil starts his book in the earliest measurable moments in the universe and explains how a tiny pinpoint of matter could become the complex universe we live in now. Tyler says the book is incredibly accessible, even for people with no math or science background and he loves the book because all of the material is presented in an interesting way that really makes learning, what in reality is some of the most advanced and challenging material from one of the newest, cutting edge fields of science, an enjoyable experience. “Neil has been bringing science to the masses through a variety of different mediums for years now, and this is yet another triumph for him.”

Book 5: Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

Ranger’s Apprentice is set in a fictional medieval kingdom where there is a ranger, an elite warrior, charged by the king to live in and protect his fief (basically a state). The books follow a young orphan named Will as he is assigned to be the new apprentice ranger in his fief. Tyler especially likes these books because of the different perspective they give to the often-overused medieval setting. He explains that Rangers are not knights in shining armor protecting the honor of their citizens in all the traditional ways a medieval knight would, but rather smaller men, experts with bows and knives, who favor stealth to open combat. “It is a fresh and exciting look at the world, and the main character Will is someone who I connected with easily, and I suspect that many young men would feel the same way.” Despite the fantastical setting, many of Flanagan’s characters are incredibly detailed and real, which makes the story that much more enjoyable.

Bonus: An all-time favorite of Tylers: Origin by Dan Brown

Dan Brown’s latest novel takes the basic outline of many of his other most popular stories. We see the return of Robert Langdon from Angels and Demons, the DaVinci Code, and Inferno. Tyler describes Origin as, “by far, is his most ambition Langdon plot to date”, and he mixes the tantalizing technological future that we are on the precipice of reaching today with one of the most ancient questions that humanity has faced: how did life begin? You will see a pattern emerge in Tyler’s reading here, as one of the main setting of the book is, you guessed it, Barcelona. This was another book tha he read while visiting Barcelona a few summers ago, and again, reading it while he was there really enhanced the story. Tyler says the book is a good balance between nonfictional and fictional elements and a good read for people who may not be into the fantasy and science fiction genres.

Tyler’s taste in books is similar to my own and I’ve read a few that he’s recommended to me before. I hopefully will be able to take these recommendations as well and add them to my “To Read” list.

What book recommendations do you have for this summer?