Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Nostalgia, Favorite Books Part Deux

This post is a continuation of the last post: Nostalgia Part 1: Teen Favorites Over 4th of July weekend, I visited my parents, and my dearest mother sent me home with a lot of books. Most of them were from my teen and college years. The next week my library was closed for renovation (Post about that coming soon!) so I had a chance to go through all of the books and make room for them on my shelves. Happily this did not mean I had to get rid of any book, just do some rearranging! So, in the spirit of going through things, I'm writing this two part post on some of my favorite books. So here's Part Deux (bonus points if you can name where that's from) (again in no particular order) the Top Twelve Titles from my College Years! Reminder: I was an English Lit major. 

Three Sisters Island
Three women discover that they all have magical powers because they are the descendants of three gifted witches. Together they must defeat a centuries old curse and become like sisters themselves. This series changed my life and showed me that I wanted to become a librarian.

Kite Runner
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Jane Eyre
With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers

The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.
The Awakening
A beautifully written tale of an unhappy wife and mother, who no longer wants her life. She's one of the first real cougars in literature, as she starts an affair with a younger man and avoids her true responsibilities. Written in 1899, this is considered one of the first feminist pieces of literature and conveys poetically the plight of an unloved woman looking for adventure.

To the Lighthouse
This Virginia Woolf novel is made up of three powerfully charged visions into the life of one family living in a summer house off the rocky coast of Scotland. As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and it greatest triumph--the human capacity for change. A portrait in miniature of family life, it also has universal implications, giving language to the silent space that separates people and the space that they transgress to reach each other.

The End of the Affair
A struggle with faith, fate, obsession and love. -As Maurice Bendrix begins to write about his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles, he asserts to readers that "this is a record of hate far more than of love." Now a year after her death, Bendrix retraces their affair in an attempt to prove his hate. As he delves further into his emotional outlook, Bendrix's hatred shifts to the God he feels has broken his life, but whose existence at last comes to recognize.

The Stranger
My first encounter with existentialism! Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

The Yellow Wallpaper
This is a short story about a slow descent  into madness. A woman and her husband move into a summer home in order to ease her depression. They move into an old nursery with yellow wallpaper. The woman becomes obsessed with the patterns in the wallpaper and begins to imagine that it is attacking her. This brilliant story shows the effects of mental health and psychotic diagnosis of women in the early 20th century. It's only 6,000 words, so read it!

Looking for Alaska
You may have heard of this one-my first John Green read. Pudge's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

My English professor exclaimed, "I saw Harry Potter naked, and there wasn't much to look at if you know what I mean!" Yes, Daniel Radcliffe played Alan, the main character, in London. But Equus is much more than a naked buy riding a horse. Peter Shaffer depicts the story of a deranged youth who blinds six horses with a spike. Through a psychiatrist's analysis of the events, Shaffer creates a chilling portrait of how materialism and convenience have killed our capacity for worship and passion and, consequently, our capacity for pain. 

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child.

I just found out they're making Room into a movie. Check out the trailer below!


I had to do a little Show and Tell for our Reference Department meeting this week, but since I was home sick I sent out a link to the John Green Ted Talk. 

This is a TED Talk done in Indianapolis by my favorite author (and many of yours) John Green. He begins the talk by introducing us to Agloe, New York, the “paper town” that inspired his novel of the same name. But what I find most fascinating about his talk is the idea of learning communities. When he quit his job at Booklist (What?!) to be a full time writer, what he found that he missed the most was being part of a learning community. He found another in the world of the internet, specifically YouTube.

But what really stuck with me was this idea of how we are surrounded by learning communities – people who not only have to learn, but people who truly want to learn and enjoy it. (Especially when he talks about people discussing Calculus formulas on Tumblr. That’s mind blowing) 

Part of what I love about my library is that we have a wonderful learning community around us: Our various book clubs, craft programs, CPR, mechanics, and loan classes. And I think that we really embrace this idea of being a learning community as a library and as a workplace.

Also if you haven’t watched Hank (John’s brother) and John’s Vlogbrothers and/or Crash Course videos or any of the other amazing things they do (they have a Podcast now too which I listen to weekly), you need to. 


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