10 Classic Books I Want to Read

There were some books that slipped through the cracks of my English class education and I would like to go through them now, especially with a pair of more mature eyes. I've been fortunate to read many classics like Cather in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and Invisible Man, but I feel like the older I get, the more capable I am to appreciate this literature.
    1. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
    2. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    3. Les Miserables (abridged) by Victor Hugo
    4. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
    6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
    8. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
    9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    10. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

One of these days when my head isn't stuck in a non-fiction textbook I hope to dive into these timeless pieces. I have found out one of my classes intends to read Hamlet this semester so that helps!


New Releases in Fall

As much as I love autumn, I hate to see summer come to an end.  I think it stems back to having to give my children up to the school year.  This year I am consoling myself by looking at the great list of books due to be released this fall.  I read The Last Dragonslayer (Chronicles of Kazam) by Jasper Fforde in an advanced-reading copy, but I can’t wait to buy a hardcover copy.  It will be released October 2, 2012. 

I like Jasper Fforde’s  Thursday Next series, which this world of fiction is policed by literary detectives working for the Jurisfiction.  Fforde conveys the concept that what we read in a book is just one small view of an ongoing, larger story that continues beyond the pages.

The Nursery Crimes series takes that idea one step further. Jack Sprat, his associate Mary Mary police, the Nursery Crimes division of the Jurisfiction and the characters from nursery rhymes you haven’t considered since you were five come alive.  In Jasper Fforde’s work for young adults and upper middle-grade readers, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is running an agency for underemployed magicians in a world where magic is fading from lack of use.  Jasper Fforde is an astute, clever and laugh-out-loud fun author similar to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  While you wait for The Last Dragonslayer, take time to pick up The Eyre Affair or The Big Over Easy.

Book three, The Hunter of John Flanagan’s Brotherband Chronicles will be released October 30, 2012.  John Flanagan writes “guy books” that girls like.  Starting with Ruins Of Gorlan, book one of Ranger’s Apprentice series, you will find fighting, strategy, bravery and loyalty.

Utah is spilling over with writing talent.  August 28 will bring a new, multiple-author series headed by James Dashner of Maze Runner fame.  Infinity Ring is the series name.  A Mutiny in Time is the first title.  Carrie Ryan will follow with the second book, Divide and Conquer.  James Dashner created the story arc for all of the books and will write the first and last.  Two other Utah authors will be involved, Matthew Kirby (author of Clockwork Three and Icefall) writing the fifth book and Jennifer Nielsen (author of False Prince) writing book six.   The second volume of Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans is just out and seems to be hitting the mark with fans as well as the first book.  If you are a Roland Smith fan, as I am, his contribution to the 39 Clues: Cahills Vs Vespers series, Shatterproof is scheduled for release September 4.  While you are waiting, catch up on the 39 Clues Series or read some of Smith’s extreme weather fiction: Storm Runners, The Surge or Eruption.

Writing this makes me just want to go read.  Respond with you favorites and check back for more fall releases.


Education Week at BYU

It's that time of year when fresh paper and pencils have a new kind of charm, when relaxing on the porch reading a book is overdone, when we start looking at jeans and coats at stores rather than swimsuits, and when buying new books and notepads become more exciting than they had in the past.

Yep, the Fall back-to-school fever has hit. The anticipation of new, exciting things to learn and see becomes more interesting than ever before.

Whether you're a student or not, the fresh, cool breeze can strike with an urge to learn something new. Every year BYU invites those who aren't current students to attend a week of learning with professors on campus.

Classes taught include education, religion, marriage, family relations, health, history, genealogy, science, youth interests, etc... according to their website.

If you're looking for new books to read and wanting to learn more even if you can't make Education Week, or you wish Education Week was a week longer, the BYU Bookstore is celebrating learning and reading by having authors come to share their works and sign copies.

We have authors like mystery-story novelists Liz Adair and  Josi Killpack,  LDS Authors such as Dennis Gaunt and Kristin Hodson & Alisha Worthington, as well as many others who cover all manner of genres and topics.

See our full list in the image below:
We welcome the authors and visitors of Education Week. Happy learning and reading!

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein poems keep showing up in unexpected places, like Pinterest, and I never realized before how deep they are until I read them with a pair of adult eyes. What a fantastic writer! And not to mention the artwork in his books are very charming.

Famous for books like "The Giving Tree," Shel Silverstein may have passed away over a decade ago, but the messages of his work speak classic principles and counsel. Here's just a few I enjoyed:

And of course, I read a few others that put a smile on my face:
Do you have a favorite Shel Silverstein poem, story, or book? Which one is it?


Shel Silverstein's book, "Where the Sidewalk Ends" can be found at byubookstore.com.

Angela's Ashes

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”
- Frank McCourt

Have you ever had a book that took you on an emotional roller coaster every time you turned a page?

Frank McCourt’s Angela's Ashes is a memoir about his experiences growing up as a poor, Catholic child in Ireland. I remember wiping the tears from my eyes at one paragraph followed by laughing at the next. I couldn’t believe how much power an author had to make me become an emotional mess.

A Washington Post review said about Angela’s Ashes:

“For if the physical conditions of Frank McCourt's Limerick childhood were appalling -- fleas, rats, a single malodorous toilet for 11 families, TB, typhoid fever, diphtheria and the deadly damp from the River Shannon -- and the emotional conditions were impoverished by his family's inability to express love, he emerged with at least one great inheritance: the Irish gift for, and love of, language and music.

Angela's Ashes confirms the worst old stereotypes about the Irish, portraying them as drunken, sentimental, bigoted, bloody-minded dreamers, repressed sexually and oppressed politically, nursing ancient grievances while their children (their far-too-many children) go hungry. It confirms the stereotypes at the same time that it transcends them through the sharpness and precision of McCourt's observation and the wit and beauty of his prose.”

McCourt uses his words to describe such a terrible living circumstances in often a humorous and optimistic light. What I liked about this book was that after I finished it I didn’t feel incredibly depressed. With other books that discuss the human condition, I have to go eat some ice cream or watch a happy movie to carry on with life. But with Angela’s Ashes, McCourt is able to leave a sense of hope as well as a new, poignant insight. 

This Pulitzer-prize winning book is an excellent addition to a reading list, and definitely one needed to be read at least once.

Have you read the book? What did you think of it?