Top Ten of the Most Unique Books I’ve Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten of the most unique books you’ve read.” Whether it’s in terms of plot, characterization, or narration, there were a lot of books that stood out when I was compiling this list. Here are just a few of them:

1. The Book Thief
Death is not exactly the most traditional choice of a narrator, however Markus Zusak pulls it off with aplomb. It’s such a beautiful yet heartbreaking read, and I often find myself wondering if it would have been as powerful if told from Liesel’s perspective.

2. Shadow and Bone
Ravka is such an intriguing world, steeped in Russian folklore, magic, and fantastic characters (like the Darkling). I haven’t read anything quite like this series, which helps place it even further up on my favourites list.

3. Shatter Me
Although I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, there’s  no denying that it’s very uniquely written. Littered with so many beautiful (and strange) similes, metaphors, and crossouts, Juliette’s thoughts are portrayed in a very interesting style.

4. Cinder
Cinder doesn’t fit the typical Cinderella story to a T and involves a lot of creative liberties, such as the inclusion of aliens and cyborgs, making for a very engaging fairytale retelling.

5. The Night Circus
This is such a beautiful, breathtaking, and magical read. The circus, the tents, the characters, and the plot are all so mesmerizing and different, making it one of my absolute favourite books.

6. Every Day
Every Day has both a unique premise and an unusual choice of narrator: every day, A wakes up in a different body – male, female, old, young, all are possibilities. A’s gender is never established, and it was strange talking about this book and not being able to refer to A as “him” or “her.”

7. Two Boys Kissing
Like Every Day, Two Boys Kissing has an unexpected narrator – this time, in the form of a Greek Chorus of gay men who have lost their lives to AIDS. The use of the inclusive “we” made the story that much more poignant, touching, and memorable.

8. The Knife of Never Letting Go
I didn’t expect to like this book (or series) as much as I did. The spelling and grammar varies between characters, giving them their own distinct voices – and, to further add to that, different fonts, sizes, and italics are used to distinguish between the Noise of the men from each town. The noise itself was such a neat inclusion, making for an unforgettable read.

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The inclusion of found black and white photographs adds to the creepy atmosphere of this read. I’m also still not quite sure what to classify this as: supernatural horror, perhaps?

10. Angelfall
This book restored my faith in YA books that involve angels. A post-apocalyptic setting, cannibalism, angels that certainly aren’t cherubic, and a wonderful female lead make Angelfall a far cry from the “fallen angel falls in love with a human” story that I’ve read far too often.

+ Honourable Mentions
Because I’m awful and can’t choose just ten, here are a few of the others I would include: Harry Potter, The Archived, anything by Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

What are some of the most unique books you’ve read? Leave me a list or a link to your list in the comments below.

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Top Ten Books That Should Be Required Readings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week she posts an idea for relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own “top ten” list.

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This week, we had a choice between “top ten books that you’d pair with a required reading” or “top ten books that should be required readings.” I decided to do the latter, so here are the books that you’d have to read if you were in my high school English class:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak / Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
These books are thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and honest accounts of World War II. They may be works of fiction, but they’re just as impactful as The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Paper Towns by John Green / Every Day by David Levithan
Paper Towns reminds us that loving the idea of a person can be dangerous; we should love people for who they truly are, not for who we envision them to be, which is a lesson that everyone could benefit from learning.

Every Day teaches a very similar lesson: we shouldn’t judge people based on their appearance; instead, it’s what’s on the inside that truly counts. I’m not sure if it would appeal to the guys very much… so if not, they can always just read Paper Towns.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins / Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
These books are more accessible to students than Brave New World or 1984, but they still contain many of the same important ideas as the dystopian classics.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Many high school students face the same problems as Charlie and his friends, making it a book that’s easy to relate to and easy to learn from.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson / A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
These books hold so many important lessons about life and loss. They’re both so different from one another, which is good; after all, the grieving process is different for everyone and there’s no “right” way to do it.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Before I Fall shows the power that our actions and our words truly hold. It caused me to reevaluate some of my life choices, so hopefully it would remind students that they should think before they act – after all, we aren’t all lucky enough to get a second chance.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick / The Bully Book by Erik Kahn Gale
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is heartbreaking and deals with heavy subjects, but is a story that everyone needs to hear. Bullying is a problem that a lot of people ignore until it’s too late — until someone is pushed over the edge like Leonard is. I’d also hand out copies in the staff room, since the well-meaning Herr Silverman, who actively takes an interest in his students’ lives, is the kind of teacher that every teacher should have as a role model.

I know that it’s a middle grade read, but The Bully Book is incredibly important. It examines why the “grunts” are chosen to be bullied, the effect of bullying on the victims, the bystander effect, and peer pressure. Since bullying is (unfortunately) a reality in many schools, the powerful and thought-provoking message that The Bully Book holds would hopefully make a difference in at least one student’s life.

Extra Credit: read more books! I’d be happy to provide a list of my favourites in hopes that it would inspire more students to read for pleasure. Of course, this list would include the Harry Potter series, Shadow and Bone, and Throne of Glass, so there’s really no excuse for them not to become voracious readers.

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Which books would be on your required reading lists?3

Top Ten Beginnings/Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week she posts an idea for relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own “top ten” list.

This week’s topic is top ten beginnings/endings in books. Both of these are incredibly important: one is the first impression that you’re given of a story, the other is what will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. There have been so many times when a book has failed to capture my attention at the beginning or has let me down in terms of the ending, whether it was rushed, there was no resolution, or it just wasn’t as well-written as the rest of the book. Here are some of the books that got it absolutely right:

Best Beginnings

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“The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

3b“To say I’d been kept prisoner my entire life in an attic wasn’t quite true. It was only fifteen years out of eighteen, and I was allowed to walk in the gardens for a half-hour some days.”

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“Once upon a time, there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were as blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful, with deft fingers, a quick mind and a charm that impressed everyone she met. Her parents adored her, her teachers praised her, and her schoolmates admired her many talents…

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.”

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“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.”

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“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time.”

Best Endings

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“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”

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“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”

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“For the living and the dead, she would make herself a reckoning.

She would rise.”

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“I do, Augustus.

I do.”

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“And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes full circle, they kept their silence.”

What are some of your favourites? Leave a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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