Saturday, December 20, 2014

Books That Changed My Life 2014

 Yay!!! Finals are finished, and I really should have written a post earlier, but I was busy, ahem... reading. XD Judge me if you will, I had to wait a whole week to read some of the beautiful books I bought Black Friday shopping at Barnes and Nobles and I refused to be restrained any longer. So I read These Broken Stars and Cinder, and now Fahrenheit 451. (I found it in the for sale pile at our library and eagerly snatched it up) Let's just say, my brain has been overwhelmed with the awesomeness of all these books for the past couple of days, and I've hardly done anything besides surf the Internet, eat to much (especially sugar cookies), and read.  And speaking of reading, let's move onto the actual subject of the post shall we?

  I've read over 80 books this year. (I don't think I'm going to make it to my goodreads goal of 100, but that's okay) Perhaps saying that they changed my life is a little strong, but quite a few of those books made a strong impact on me. I doubt I'll have time to talk about all of them right now, but here are some of the best books I've read this year.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
   I got this amazing book for Christmas last year, and I already want to re-read it. For those of you who haven't read it or seen the movie, it is a touching story about a German girl during WWII who will do anything to get a book. The book is narrated by Death, (who is actually much less grim than you'd expect) as he goes about his duties. He sees Liesel often as he makes his rounds, and watches with interest as her love of books changes her life. Not too many books make me cry, but this one did.

Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
   I found Between Shades of Gray at the library after someone mentioned it being a very good book. I wasn't disappointed. It tells the story of a young Lithuanian artist, Lina, and her family when they are forced to leave their home and survive the terrible conditions of Soviet work camps. Despite the danger of being found out, she draws the story of their hardships, and buries it, in hopes that someday, someone will find it. It was also a tear-jerker, and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
   It wasn't until months later that an other blogger recommended Out of the Easy, yet an other great story. It's about Josie, a girl who wants to leave her past as the daughter of a prostitute behind in New Orleans and go to a prestigious women's college. She's practically lived and worked at a bookshop for half of her life and it's her dream to go to a prestigious college in the East, but she is caught between loyalties, and her decisions could change her life forever. It was a great book (though I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 13 for some topic matters). I may or may not have teared up... The characters were incredibly convincing and realistic.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

   This was definitely one of the longer reads this year. I read it over summer, and, wow, Charles Dickens incredible talent always gets me. His plots are always so complex and there are millions of important parts to the plot. But I can't tell you much, or I would ruin it for you. So, basically, it's about this poor orphaned girl (or young woman), Esther, who's fortune changes for the better when she is taken as a companion for two young people. She enters a world of unusual people, a never ending inheritance case, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, and the mysterious Lady Dedlock. I'm not explaining it very well, but then how does one describe one of Dickens' intricate plots? Oh, I loved it, even though I got a little lost in places, but in the end, it was all very satisfying, but somewhat sad. 


The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
   This summer I picked up The Giver at a bookstore in Portland, OR. I'd heard good things about it, and I had money to spend, so I though, why not? Probably one of my best buys on my entire trip. If you haven't heard about it, it's about this young boy, Jonas, who lives in a sort of Utopian community. Pain, love, war, in general, the real world, is unknown to them. One man, the Giver, has memory of such things, and Jonas is chosen by the community to know these things so they will not be entirely forgotten. Oh my gosh, guys! I had a hard time putting this book down. I can't tell you everything, because, spoilers, but it was amazing. There are so many things we take for granted in everyday life that didn't exist in Jonas' world. The ending is kind of a cliffhanger and left me watery-eyed. It's a beautiful book, and three other books are awesome as well. I was able to read them all this year, and you'll see how all of the characters' stories intertwine in the end. One thing though, don't read spoilers. Just read all of the books, and your questions will be answered, eventually. 

Divergent by Veronica Roth
   I decided to read Divergent this summer because I thought I should be more knowledgeable about YA literature. Yeah, I'm a few years behind track... Anyhow, I was expecting it to be too much like the Hunger Games, but I was pleasantly surprised. (It's not that I don't like the Hunger Games, it's just that I hate it when people copy each other too much.) Tris was a strong character, and I liked her ability to hang on despite being hated by so many people. I think I may have liked her a little better than Katniss.(!) The reason that I'm putting this on the 'Books That Changed My Life' list is because it kind of opened up a whole new world of teen fiction. After that I decided to expand more. I had thought that, The Hunger Games' excepted, I wouldn't really be a fan of futuristic novels. After reading this one, I decided to give a few others a chance, and I'm really enjoying them. They aren't always the best written, but they're interesting, exciting, and just fun to read in general. Anyhow, this book also had a sad ending and was a cliffhanger. If you love Dystopian teen fiction, then this is for you.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

   Let me collect my thoughts. Okay, first off, I didn't expect this book to be so amazing. So, it practically the story of the friendship of two young women during WWII. Verity, let's call her that for now, Verity has been captured by the Nazis after she and her friend (code name, Kittyhawk) crash-land in France on a mission trip. The book starts off with the line. "I am a coward." Yes, Verity is 'fessing up about their mission. However, there are some very incredible plot twists, and the ending crushed my heart like a grape. No, it doesn't end in any way that you expect, I'll just say that. And yes, there were some tears involved. The characters are incredible, and even when Verity was betraying her country, I felt empathy for her. This book is just, wow, just incredible. You must read it!!! 
Honorable Mentions
   I would also like to mention a few more awesome books that were highlights of my year. Okay, practically, I'm too lazy to write about all of their awesomeness, and it would be an incredibly long post if I did, so let me just say. These books were fantastic and beautiful and and interesting and (insert several other positive adjectives.) Just add them to your TBR pile.
Cyborgs in New Bejing? Yes, please.
This wins the best cover of the year!
Yes, I do judge books by their covers.
And I wasn't wrong about the amount of awesome.

Creepy, but cool. Like the cover.
A wonderful children's book. It left me with
watery eyes.

I liked the first one best, but this one
was very memorable.
The book in two words. Mythical, and
magical. 
Omg, I didn't know Stevenson
could write such creepy stuff!
   Looking over all mini reviews, I realized that I chose books that made me cry. Let me explain, I'm not a drama queen, these books are just so good that the characters felt alive, and I cared about them. when a book makes me feel that way, I know it's good.
   What were your favorite books this year? What books do you want for Christmas? Which Divergent faction do you think would suit you best? (That last question wasn't really fair. I think I'd do best in Erudite or Abnegation, but I hate following guidelines about personality, so I'd probably end up as one of the factionless!) 
I missed you guys!
~Lizzy

16 comments:

  1. Ooh, good choices! I love all of your Historical Fiction picks. :)

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    1. I know! Such great books, right? XD I think I have a small obsession with WWII fiction.

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  2. A few of these I'm yearning to look into, particularly Cinder. Must remember to look at it next time I'm in a bookstore.
    And it's so nice to know I'm not the only person who judges books on their covers. xD
    ~Adi

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    1. Yes, I would definitely recommend them all! Cinder is fabulously unusual. I'm looking forward to reading Scarlet! XD Yes! Maybe you can call me shallow, but you can usually tell something about books by looking at their exteriors. I mean, come on, Sherlock Holmes deduced things about people by merely looking at them, so can't we do the same with books? (-; At least that's the way I look at it...(-:
      ~Lizzy

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    2. I will hunt it down as soon as I can. It sounds intriguing.
      And yes! I think in the same way. That, and I tend to think along the lines of,"They worked to have such a tremendous cover, the book must be as glorious as it." xD
      ~Adi

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  3. Such good books. All the ones you posted that I had read before fall into my favorite list. So now I'm going to have to add all the ones that I haven't read yet into my delciously ginormous TBR pile. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Good! I hope you get to read them soon, they're quite fabulous.(-: I know exactly what you mean about ginormous TBR piles! Mine is large and ever growing... For every book I read there are at least two more books I add to my list. It's a good kind of dilemma though.

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  4. Good job on reading over 80 books - that's awesome! I've read and loved many of these books on your list, too. The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray are two favorites of mine!

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    1. Thanks, Hannah, it's what comes of procrastinating from schoolwork too much... XD Aren't they amazing books!? Have you read Code Name Verity? I'm currently obsessing a little about it. I read it about a month ago, but I'm still thinking about it, it's so good. (-:

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  5. Woah! 80!? way to go! I've never even gotten to 50... The Book Thief, Between Shades of Gray, Code Name Verity, Divergent, Cinder. Ahhh, some of my most favorite books of all time. And you should let me know how These Broken Stars and Fahrenheit 451 are, I really would like to read them someday, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on them. Books are amazing, aren't they?

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    1. XD Well, reading 80 books was sort of my method of procrastinating from doing school work, so I definitely wouldn't recommend it if you're busy with school! YES!!! Books are practically what make my life interesting. I honestly have a hard time imagining life without them. Okay, so These Broken Stars was awesome. It's about the richest girl in the galaxy, and a famous young major who survive the crash of their spaceship on an uninhabited island. It practically tells about them trying to survive in hopes that the girl's father will find them. It's a romance/adventure book and it's really cool. Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books that makes you think. It's kind of weird because it's a futuristic book written in the 60s (I think) but it's really good. It's about this fireman whose job it is to burn books, rather than put out fires. He meets a young girl who makes him think about life and everyday things like he's never thought about them before, and his curiosity about books puts his life in danger. Yeah, you'll just have to read these books, they're fantastic. (-:
      ~Lizzy

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  6. I have so many thoughts about this post that I don't really know where to start.

    1. I've read a lot of these books too! And we had a lot of the same feelings, which always makes me feel really validated and smart and everything, so thanks for that.
    2. I need to read a lot of the books you recommended, which is yet another nudge to actually get online and send my library feelers out.
    3. This is so organized and it makes my heart happy.

    (also, I'm almost 100% sure I'd choose Amity.)

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    1. It is so lovely to find kindred spirits when it comes to literature! Which books did you like the best?
      I hope you enjoy them, and when you read them tell me what you think so we can fangirl together. (-;
      Awww, and thanks so much. I'm always a little unsure about my posts since I'm not an organized person in real life, and I'm not always sure if they're comprehensible. (-:
      Oh, Amity is a great choice. Each faction has it's pros and cons, so I have a hard time deciding... (-:

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  7. The Book Thief and Bleak House! I feel the feels.

    Cool post! Books ARE definitely life-changing:D

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Please share your thoughts with me! I LOVE to connect with my readers, and I promise I don't bite.

xoxo Lizzy

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