Favorite Books

Hey guys!

I decided that I wanted to share some of my favorite books with you all!  These definitely aren’t all of the books that I love.  I have several books that I adore that aren’t on this list for one reason or another (the reason most likely being that I don’t actually own a copy of the book; I have a tendency to get books from the library, borrow books, or sell/donate them even if I really liked them).  Also, these books aren’t in any specific order.  Trying to rank them would be too difficult for my indecisive mind.

Some of these books are old favorites and some I have read recently.  Most of them are well known books, but, just for the sake of it, I decided to include whatever description I could find that’s on the back/inside the cover of the book.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite books!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties in West Egg, Long Island, at a time when, The New York Times remarked, “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth.  A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

I read this book last year in the fall, and I fell head over heels in love with it.  I think the characters are amazing.  They’re so complicated, and it really made me stop and think about who I was as a person.   The writing is great, it’s filled with so many metaphors that add so much to the story.  Gatsby and Daisy’s love story is one of my favorites for how tricky (not really the right word, but I couldn’t think of a better one) it is.

The Anne of Green Gables Novels by L.M. Montgomery

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As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage?  Anne knows she’s not what they expected – a skinny girl with decidedly red hair and a temper to match.  If only she could convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt out the very first thing she had to say.  Anne was not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables agreed; she was special – a girl with an enormous imagination.  This orphan girl dreamed of the day when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.

When I was little, my aunt gave me this entire series in a boxed set.  They have definitely stood the test of time and are still some of my most loved books. This entire series is great, but the two in this picture are my favorites.  They’re the first and third ones.  In the interest of not giving away any spoilers I just included the description for the first book.

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

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From the moment young Arthur pulls the sword from the anvil, fulfilling a magical prophecy and sealing his fate, you will be spellbound by the saga of the king and his exalted Knights of the Round Table.  Enter the world of Camelot, a mystical land of beautiful damsels, golden-haired boys, and milk-white steeds, where the knights wear sable-coated armor and enchanted caps and wield jewel-encrusted weapons.  Marvel at the wizardry, daring acts of courage, and passionate romance that mark Arthur’s illustrious reign.

The stories of King Arthur are truly legendary.  Filled with mystery, adventure, and raging battles, they also tell the more intimate tales of friendship and family, love and betrayal.  Surrounding Arthur are some of the most memorable characters in literature.  At the heart of his circle is the wizard Merlin, who uses – and misuses- his bountiful powers in service of the king.  Then there is Guinevere, Arthur’s beautiful, high-spirited queen, and Morgana le Fay, Arthur’s half-sister.  And always, there are the members of the Round Table.

Follow the exploits of these fearless knights and remarkable ladies as they live, love, and battle their way across medieval forests and enchanted islands.

First off, my copy of this book has a few pictures which makes my heart so happy.  Also, I really love the cover.  I think I was in middle school when I read this for the first time.  And, yes, I know most kids in middle school don’t spend their time reading about King Arthur, but I was an unusual child.  I’m not quite sure why, but these stories always make me so happy when I think about/read them, and they truly are classic.

A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

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In this intimate memoir of life beyond the camera, Connor Franta shares the lessons he has learned – so far – on his journey from small-town boy to Internet sensation.  Here, Connor offers a look at his midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the house and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his flourishing career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and tastemaker.

Exploring his past with insight and humor, his present with humility, and his future with hope, Connor reveals his private struggles while pondering heartfelt words of wisdom for young adults.  His words will resonate with anyone coming of age in the digital era, but the core is a timeless message: don’t be afraid to be yourself and to go after what you truly want.

Beautifully designed and including photography and childhood clippings provided by Connor, this is a must-have for those seeking inspiration on their own journeys.

I don’t usually read memoirs.  But I’m a fan of Connor Franta’s YouTube channel, and when I heard about it I decided it was definitely worth a read.  It’s such a beautiful book, both physically and in the words it contains.  It’s full of stories from Connor’s life, and reading them inspires me to make my life a better one.  It’s also filled with Connor’s beautiful photography which is a great bonus.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy.  The four March sisters couldn’t be more different.  But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support their family, they have to rely on one another.  Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

This book is one of my all-time favorite stories ever.  It’s such a great classic.  The characters are so easy to fall in love with, and the story is beautiful.  It has the perfect combination of happy moments, heartbreaking moments, and beautifully romantic moments.  My copy has pictures in it, as well, which is very pleasing to my inner five year old.  (Also, my copy is pretty old and doesn’t have a description of the story anywhere so the description above is from Amazon.)

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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Independent and spirited, Bathsheba Everdene owns the hearts of three men.  Striving to win her love in different ways, their relationships with Bathsheba complicate her life in idyllic Wessex – and cast shadows over their own.  With the morals and expectations of rural society weighing heavily upon her, Bathsheba experiences the torture of unrequited love and betrayal, and discovers how random acts of chance and tragedy can alter life’s course dramatically.

I love this book.  I didn’t read it that long ago, I think it was last fall, but I know that it’s going to be a story that I remember for a really long time.  I did find Bathsheba to be a little infuriating at times, mostly because I didn’t agree with some of her decisions.  But, despite that, it’s still wonderful.  The characters are great.  The story is really interesting.  And, it’s surprisingly dramatic.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black.  Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well.  And the Azkaban gurads heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts…he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends.  Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

The entire Harry Potter series is great, but this one is my favorite.  Sirius Black is one of my favorite characters.  Also it has the Marauder’s Map, which is one of my favorite magical items, and it has Buckbeak who is one of my favorite magical creatures.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again.  And that’s the least of his troubles.  Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life.  And worse, he’s angered a few of them.  Zeus’s master lightening bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.  But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I honestly think that Rick Riordan could write a grocery list and I would think that it’s the most hilarious thing that I’ve ever read.  I’ve read most of his books and loved all of them, but this series holds a special place in my heart.  This book was beyond good.  I loved slowly learning about Camp Half-Blood, the gods, and who Percy’s father was.  Not to mention the story itself is addicting, and Rick Riordan’s writing is incredibly funny.

The Martian by Andy Weir

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When a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, completely alone.  Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills – and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength- Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive.  But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

First, I laughed so hard while reading this book.  I wasn’t expecting a book about someone trying to survive on Mars to be funny, but it was utterly hilarious.  Mark Watney has the greatest sense of humor ever.  Second, the story was filled with action.  It’s the kind of book that you can’t put down because you have to find out what happens.  And, right when you think things are finally going to be okay, something else happens to make life even harder for Mark.  This book does have a lot of science-related passages where Andy Weir goes into detail about what’s happening and what Mark is trying to do, etc.  They can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you’re like me and science isn’t your strong suit.  But, even if you just skim those passages you can get the general idea of what’s happening.  If you don’t completely understand the details it’s fine, I didn’t feel like I was missing a lot of information about the plot or anything.

And that is it!  I realize that despite by best intentions, this has turned out to be quite a long post.  Sorry about that!  I hope you enjoyed it, though.

Leave a comment telling me if any of these books are some of your favorites, whether they’re old or new favorites, and let me know what some of your favorite books are!

Thanks so much for reading!

~Katherine Cole

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