June's RecommendationsMy mom is a teacher and avid reader so growing up, I spent a lot of time in the library or curled up in her lap while she read to me or I read to her. To this day, nostalgia + stubbornness compel me to refuse to "update" to e-reading books and I purchase a paper copy of everything I read (even via audiobook) because I love the old book smell. I am one of those people who make notes to myself in the margins and highlight my favorite lines so I can see what I was thinking every time I re-read a book. Good fiction has a direct affect on my heartstrings and little makes me cry more than one of my OTP's ending up together and this next book, is the perfect example (the pages of my copy and permanently tear-stained haha.)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is truly magical. I've picked up dozens of books since I finished reading TNC trying to match the momentum I was left with and have been completely unable to do so. Erin Morgenstern is such a talented author and has such a knack for description that if you close your eyes you FEEL like you're in her stories and can imagine the sites, sounds and smells she describes. This is Erin's only book and I find myself reading her short stories, Flax Golden Tales, every week when she updates them, regardless of how busy I am to get my fill of her writing.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their instructors. Little do they know, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance."
Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S.G. Browne is a dark comedic love story about, you guessed it, zombies! I've read all of S.G. Browne's books and every single one of them is FANTASTIC! This book is sort of like a swiss army knife because Browne's writing still utilizes satire, romance, the repetition of phrases reminiscent of Palahniuk and of course, enough gore to please the typical zombie novel reader.
This story follows Andy Warner's death... or rather "undeath." Andy was killed in a car wreck, but like a small percentage of the population, he reanimates as a decaying zombie. These aren't the kind of zombie's needlessly shuffling around moaning about brains, either. Andy is having trouble adjusting to the whole "zombie thing: his parents are disgusted and begrudgingly dealing with him, society finds him revolting and society doesn't acknowledge him as "living" or "human.'
All that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and meets Rita, a bombshell recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a car crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. "When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere."
Amelia's RecommendationsMy relationship with literature is my longest relationship to date. I was the nerdy 7 year old with glasses reading every book she could get her hands on, while simultaneously trading Pokemon cards and talking about wrestling. Reading was always my first love though, but that's because it was in my blood. My grandmother was an English teacher and librarian, and as soon as I learned to read she made sure my hands always had a book in them. From science fiction to graphic novels to non-fiction I'll love and read it all.
I've never met a book with more mixed reviews than The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. In my opinion, the people who don't like The Bell Jar are the people who cannot relate to it. When I first read The Bell Jar I was at a point in my life where I related to Esther. The novel focuses on so many issues that women faced at the time, and that women today still face...but less so because electro-shock therapy is generally frowned upon now.
Esther is a teenager in the early 1950s who has won a summer internship in New York, but it's less of what Esther is doing and more of what she is going through. Esther is discovering who she is evolving into as a person, while falling into a depression that no one understands. The events of The Bell Jar closely resemble the life of Sylvia Plath, which adds another layer of depth to the novel. The Bell Jar is a novel I suggest to any 17/18 year old who is finding out who she is, and who might relate to Esther's struggles.
One of my other favorite novels that just so happens to have been published in the same year as The Bell Jar is Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Cat's Cradle is a satirical novel that delves into the world of science fiction...or is it a science fiction novel that dabbles in satire? That is up for you to decide!
Cat's Cradle starts off with the narrator, Jonah, intending to write a novel about what people were doing on the day that Hiroshima was bombed. This leads him to the Hoenikker household where he learns about an interesting substance--Ice-Nine. Ice-Nine is what sci-fi dreams are made of. When a crystal of ice-nine hits liquid it turns it into a solid.
From there the novel progresses to a small island where the religion Bokononism rules. The events on the island San Lorenzo are at time dark, at times hilarious and always interesting.