if you like… TECHNOLOGY

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not much of a techie person. I’d much rather write essays by hand then type them on a computer, and creating posters and projects with craft supplies is so much more enjoyable for me than typing up a presentation. But I do know that there are a lot of people out there that love technology and all the amazing things it can do. If you’re one of those people, then this is the post for you!

These guys know technology.

These guys know technology.

Here are some books that will satisfy your techie appetites!

bzrk coverBZRK by Michael Grant.

Fast-paced and full of action, this novel focuses on nanobots and the possibilities for tiny armies. Definitely worth a read!

 

 

these broken stars coverThese Broken Stars by Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman.

Super spaceships and advanced gadgets- this book has it all!

 

 

 

city of bones coverCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

This book may not be science fiction, but there’s a whole bunch of awesome Shadowhunter technology in here!

 

I hope you like these recommendations! Which books would you recommend for people who like technology? Let me know in the comments below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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on banned books.

banned books week 2014 graphicIn honor of Banned Books Week, I thought I would dedicate an entire post to the important topic of bookish censorship.

Personally, I do not think that books should be banned at all, particularly from schools. I understand that some adults support censorship to protect young readers from mature content, but I think that by the time students get to middle and high school they should be able to choose which books they want to read on their own. Perhaps the solution to this problem would be to put age ranges or warnings on books that contain more graphic or mature content. That way, young readers could heed the warnings if they so desired.

I also do not think that classics should be banned from schools. One controversial example is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, which is often banned in schools due to its frequent use of racial slurs. Supporters of banning this novel claim that it promotes the use of racial slurs among teenagers, but I think the effect is quite the opposite. I believe that learning the root of these derogatory names will make students realize how wrong it is to use them. There is a lot history attached to our language that we often don’t understand. By learning that these racial slurs are connected to slavery, it makes them much more serious and therefore students will be less apt to throw them around willy-nilly. In regard to the topic of slavery itself, I think it is extremely important for students to read literature about this tragic and horrific time in the history of the United States. If we ignore this terrible part of our past, then we will never fully address the problems that plague this nation today because of it.

Overall, I think that young readers should be able to choose what they read. Without this freedom of choice they will not experience discovering new ideas, perspectives, and themes that they might otherwise very much enjoy reading about.

What is your opinion on banning books and censorship in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

if you like… INTERTWINING STORIES

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

One of my favorite things is when novels have intertwining plot lines. There’s just so much going on at once and it never gets dull or boring. This takes a excellent writer to pull it off well, and fortunately I have had the pleasure of reading many of these fantastic books. Here are some of my favorites:

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumbJellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

I couldn’t make this post without mentioning this book at least once. This is possibly my favorite book of all time- like, EVER. The main plot line takes place in modern day Australia, while the second plot line occurs a few decades earlier in the exact same place. Marchetta is an amazing writer, and I love these characters and this story to pieces.

 

 

pathfinder coverPathfinder by Orson Scott Card.

I read this book over the summer and I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. It’s pretty long (over 600 pages, I think) but it’s so intricate and detailed that there’s never a dull moment. The main plot line takes place in a world similar to ours (but with several fantastical differences) and the second plot line occurs in a ship flying through outer space. If you’re a fan of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series or science fiction/fantasy in general I definitely recommend this book!

 

where things come back coverWhere Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.

It’s hard to believe that this is JCW’s debut novel- it’s written so incredibly well! The main plot line follows a high school senior during an unusual summer, while the second plot line starts off by following a young missionary. This young adult contemporary novel is quirky, unique, thought-provoking, and just overall a great read.

 

I hope you enjoy these recommendations! What are your favorite books with intertwining stories? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

how to read more during the school year.

Let’s face it: once school comes around- be it university, high school, or any other form of education- our priorities tend to change. As the assignments pour in and the work piles up, it can be challenging to find time to simply sit down and read for fun. Here are some tips that I find work for me once classes are back in session:

tumblr_mxpvdowvKx1qmfo31o1_250

Choose books you really want to read.

If you’re not looking forward to reading a certain book, you’ll be a lot less likely to find time to pick it up. This is not the time to read those books on your TBR you don’t have a lot of interest in anymore. Go and read those books you’ve been dying to read!

Read before bed.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s true: reading before bed is awesome. If you’re tired enough to begin with then it will help you fall asleep, and it’s a great, quiet time to unwind and focus on the world inside the novel. Even just ten minutes before bed is better than not reading at all!

Find a reading buddy.

Reading a book with someone else will make you more apt to find more time to read. Or start a reading group or book club- the more the merrier! Not only will it be more fun, but you’ll get more out of the story because you’ll be discussing it with other people.

Listen to audiobooks.

Often times we don’t read because we can’t physically hold a book in our hands. You might not be able to walk and read a physical book at the same time, but you can certainly walk and listen to an audiobook! Download one onto your phone or other device to listen to while you’re walking to class, waiting in line, jogging- anytime!

Read during the cracks in your schedule.

Everyone is busy, but there are always those little slivers of daylight during which nothing is really going on. Sitting in your desk waiting for class to begin. Waiting for your friends to get to your table in the cafeteria during lunch. Trying to pass the time while so-and-so is meeting with a teacher after school. Any time you’re waiting for something is the perfect time to read- just be sure to always carry a book with you!

And there you have it! I hope these tips are helpful! What advice do you have for reading more during the school year? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

if you like… TRAVEL

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

Do you like to travel to different places and experience new things, or is it something you’ve always dreamed of doing? If the answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place!

airplane

With foreign settings, exciting adventures, and new perspectives, these books are sure to satisfy your inner wanderer!

eat, pray, love coverEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This fantastically written memoir transports you to three distinct locations: Italy, India, and Indonesia. Not only are Gilbert’s experiences thoroughly entertaining, but they also make you think about what you value in life and how you view the world.

 

 

are we there yet coverAre We There Yet? by David Levithan.

This heart-warming novel tells the tale of two brothers as they journey to Italy for a bonding getaway. Overflowing with Italian culture and family dynamics, Are We There Yet? is a great read for anyone in the mood for a quick little vacation of their own.

 

 

13 little blue envelopes cover13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Take a journey around Europe with this quirky novel about a girl who finds mysterious instructions in a series of envelopes. You’ll want to embark on a trip of your own after reading this lighthearted, exciting story.

 

I hope you enjoy these recommendations! What books would you recommend to people who like to travel? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

back-to-school books.

tumblr_m7os6o9Iwi1qm5bjko2_500It’s September, and you all know what that means: back-to-school season has arrived!

The excitement of going back to school does not last forever, though. I’ve only been back for around two weeks and I’m already feeling the monotony of routine take over. If you’re bored like my friend Sherlock there (and yes, he is my friend) then you should check out some of these books that remind me of this time of year. For some reason I always associate these books with going back to school- maybe it’s just me, or maybe there’s some logic to it. I’ll let you decide!

perks coverThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Everything about this book makes me think of going back to school- the story itself, the movie, and even the soundtrack. It’s such a great coming-of-age story that I just can’t help but love it.

 

 

will grayson, will grayson coverWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

This novel follows the adventures of an eclectic group of friends who experience so many unlikely coincidences that you start to wonder if it’s actually meant to be. And, of course, a lot of it takes place during school.

 

 

crunch time coverCrunch Time by Mariah Fredericks.

Crazy stuff happens when these four teens take the SAT for the first time- and someone is accused of cheating! This one is sure to remind you of your test-taking days.

 

 

paper covers rock coverPaper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard.

You all know how much I love a good boarding school book- and that’s exactly what this novel is! A bittersweet mixture of tragedy and hope, this story is seeping with school-days nostalgia.

 

 

the raven boysThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

For some strange reason, I always think of school when I think of this book. Regardless, I definitely recommend it!

 

 

I hope you enjoy these recommendations! With any luck they’ll keep the back-to-school blues at bay for at least a little while longer!

What books remind you of school? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

why I love boarding school books.

Stories set in boarding schools have always fascinated and enthralled me. It all started when I was younger and first read a certain fantasy series that would literally change my life by instilling a love of reading in me.

tumblr_n1gwd3azdu1ttj3t7o1_500That’s right. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling was the first boarding school book I ever read, and I instantly fell in love. There’s just something about being stuck at school all the time that makes for the most interesting adventures. I think it’s the fact that the characters live together and therefore are never really apart. With books set in normal schools, the action tends to only happen during the span of the school day. But with boarding school books, the story never has to pause with the ringing of the end-of-the-day bell.

I also love the great traditions that boarding schools always seem to have. Each year at Hogwarts you can count on the first-years being sorted by the Sorting Hat, making trips to Hogsmeade, and watching exciting Quidditch games. My own school in real life has some loose traditions that we try to maintain each year, but nothing as rich, permanent, or fun as the ones I’ve read about it boarding school books. I think that part of my love of these books has to do with wanting to experience these traditions for myself.

And the teachers. My word, the teachers in these boarding school stories! There’s always one that I love, that I wish was my wise grandparent that I could go to for advice and general words of wisdom. There’s Dumbledore in Harry Potter, Dr. Hyde in Looking for Alaska by John Green, Hannah (not really a teacher, but still an adult at the school) in Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- the list goes on and on! I really appreciate dedicated and enthusiastic teachers, and all of these people hold special places in my literary heart.

To be honest, that all I’ve really gleaned so far about my love of boarding school books. I’ve always loved them and will continue to love them, and I guess that’s that.

Do you love boarding school books? If so, what are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

libraries: Netflix for books?

Recently I came across an intriguing article on Book Riot that I thought I would share with you lovely people in the hope of starting some sort of discussion. The article was written by Kelly Jensen and is titled: “Libraries Are Not a ‘Netflix’ for Books.” 

It is clear what stance the article takes on this subject- it argues that libraries are not the book equivalent of Netflix. The primary objective of Netflix is to make money because it is a business and that’s what businesses do. Libraries, on the other hand, exist to spread the love of literature, to act as a resource for knowledge and education, and to serve the community in general. Everyone is treated equally at libraries, whereas on Netflix those who can pay more money have access to more options and features than those who can’t afford to do so. Numerous other arguments to support this idea are explained in the article, but the very last line actually sums it up best: “Libraries reach out where Netflix reaches in.”

Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with the opinion emphasized in the article. I currently work as a page in my local library, and I know from my own experiences that the atmosphere there is not one that would be found at a business. Libraries are not there to make a profit, nor are they there to persuade prospective customers into buying their goods. Library staff members are there to be friendly and helpful- can Netflix say that of its service? Libraries provide patrons with an environment that fosters reading, learning, and a sense of community, which is a statement that Netflix cannot even come close to.

What is your opinion on this topic? Do you agree with the article or are you against it? Or maybe you’re even on the fence? Let me know in the comments section below- I’d love to hear what you think!

Yours,

HOLLY

if you like… HISTORICAL FICTION

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

This week I’m focusing on a genre that I think is not given enough credit- historical fiction. Much of the time it is viewed as more educational and therefore not as entertaining, but I would definitely argue against it! Yes, you do learn a lot about other time periods, societies, and cultures, but it is also intriguing, enthralling, and thought-provoking. Like a time machine bound within pages!

tardis in vortex

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include a TARDIS gif, now, would it??

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the historical fiction genre, then you’ve come to the right place!

tamar coverTamar by Mal Peet.

Set in WWII, this book is a tangled web of story lines, relationships, and secrets. The perspective switches back and forth between today’s time and WWII, which really helps the reader to see the bigger picture of the war in its context. Mixed with a little bit of mystery, this novel will keep you glued to the pages!

 

the help coverThe Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Set in Mississippi in 1962, this book focuses on themes of racial issues, friendship, and women in society. It’s a heart-wrenching story, but it’s also insightful and even funny. The movie is great as well, so if you don’t have time to read this book at least watch the film adaptation!

 

 

revolution coverRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

Set partly in modern-day Brooklyn and partly in revolutionary Paris, this masterpiece of a novel is incredibly fascinating and captivating. There are intertwining story lines, complex characters, and amazing settings that seem to come alive around you as you’re reading. This book is definitely worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of French history!

I hope you enjoy these recommendations! What books would you recommend for people looking to read more historical fiction? What are your thoughts on the books I’ve recommended? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

read-a-thon dos and don’ts

I recently participated in my first ever read-a-thon. At first I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but once I started reading I realized what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. Today I thought I’d share with you some of the things I learned!

Do’s:

  • Do set realistic goals. It sure feels great to have a huge stack of books that you can read. But do you really have time for them all? I found that making smaller reading goals worked better in the long run because they were much easier to accomplish. It’s more fun to check off little goals along the way than to stress out about one huge, unattainable one.
  • Do take breaks from reading when you need to. Reading as much as possible is of course the goal of the read-a-thon, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be reading every second of every day! It’s important to give your eyes and mind a rest when you feel tired, and don’t forget to eat and sleep as well.
  • Do reach out to others also participating in the read-a-thon. The internet is a great way to get encouragement and to have fun during read-a-thons. Join some Twitter sprints or read some posts by your favorite book bloggers. You’re sure to feel inspired and ready to read!

Don’ts:

  • Don’t plan every single book you’re going to read ahead of time. If you’re anything like me, what you read it mostly based off your mood. There might be some books that you just don’t feel like reading when you’re actually in the read-a-thon. I found that it’s best to set aside a few specific books, but also to leave some spots open for whatever you feel like reading later on.
  • Don’t worry if you stray from your TBR list. I’m a repeat offender of this one. TBR lists never seem to work for me, but it’s nothing to stress out about! If you don’t read a certain book in this read-a-thon, you can always read it in the next one. It’s more beneficial- and more enjoyable- to read a book you actually feel like reading at the moment than one you only read because you feel like you have to.
  • Don’t compare how much you’ve read with how much other people have read. It’s easy to look on Twitter and book blogs to see how much other people have read. But don’t let yourself feel bad if your page count isn’t as high as theirs. Everyone reads different books at different paces, so you it’s unfair to yourself to judge your success on a simple page count. Instead, be happy with the reading that you have accomplished! As long as you’ve read something, your read-a-thon has been a success.

I hope these tips are helpful! If you have any advice for read-a-thons I’d love to hear it! Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY