Thursday, February 10, 2011

Live to read, read to live

My good friend Sarah recently posted on her blog about the uplifting power of good books, especially in low times. She asked for recommendations of what to read next, and I started to comment with my ideas, but decided to share them with the world instead.

So here's my list! These are some of my favorite "cold-weather reads"...books that have the power to just sweep you into their world and lift up your winter heart. Some I read regularly, some I've read only once. A lot of them are feminine, young adult novels, but not the cotton-candy kind. May you find something to combat the cold weather with here.


Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (third book in the Anne of Green Gables series, and by far my favorite)

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (along the same vein as Ella Enchanted, although maybe not quite as brilliant)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (a classic)

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (wonderful if you're looking for a laugh...this book is hilarious!)

Abarat by Clive Barker (much more adventurous...this book is Alice in Wonderland meets some version of Alice in Wonderland that has a scary bad guy that's always after Alice)

The Whistling Toilets by Randy Powell (similar to An Abundance of Katherines, this book is hilarious and delightful and I have a crush on the narrator)

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (written during the late 1800's, the writing style is a little bit more demanding, but the prose and the story are BRILLIANT...about a group of pirates who somehow get stuck with a handful of British children, and it's based on a true story)

Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (all y'all can judge all you want, and I'll agree that the writing isn't perfect, but these books really can cast a spell)

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (the ole stand-by)

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (a little heavier of a read, but I'm still always inspired by this young girl's spirit and courage)

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (there are very few books out there that celebrate the female spirit in such a holistic and non-confrontational way)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (lovely lovely, always)

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (an episodic novella about a cantankerous ole grandma who does a lot of good in the world)

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit (very short read but full of some GORGEOUS writing)

Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (a little on the heavier side, but this book is one of the most intriguing and wonderful books I've ever read)

Anything by Ray Bradbury
Anything by E.L. Konisburg

Happy reading!

Isn't it lovely that in only a few more months, reading can look like this?

Keep your eye on the goal, dear readers. Winter can't last forever.

all images via weheartit


Jules said...

Oh goodness now I have to copy you and do a book post too!

France is said...
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Camilla said...

Liz Liz LIIIIZZZZZ- I just read your comment on Sarah's post, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that you couldn't get through the Hunger Games series!!!! What happened? Were they too dark for you? (I admit the premise is sickening, but the point of it all is so important.)
Now, I know it's really annoying when someone attacks you for not reading/liking their favorite book, so I'll stop with all the exclamation points and dumbfoundedness already. But I am curious... what turned you off?

Oh and, P.S., I think you will really enjoy The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was a hoot (and deep at the same time, which is always lovely).

Great book list!

Jaggers Brain said...

Liz!!! I love that you love books so much. I think you will love the Guernsey Literary.... book. It is fantastic. I will go to the library and try to find a good book from some of the ones you suggested. Maybe Little Women!

Liz-a-nator said...

@ Camilla - I plan on picking up the Hunger Games again when I'm emotionally ready for it. It's not that I was turned off by's that it was TOO POWERFUL! I tend to get so sucked into books, and it was just too much for me the first time I gave it a go. The actress within me tends to make the book such a reality, and with something like the Hunger Games, I had a hard time keeping the hope of my own reality alive while trying to entertain the darkness of the fiction. I thought the first was incredible, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series sometime, but I'm not quite ready at this point in my life. I have nothing against the books...I'm just an emotional reader!

Brandilyn said...

aaah ray bradbury. aaaah book posts...aaah i love you.

Camilla said...

WHEW! But I know what you mean I think, although maybe not to the extent you're talking about. I remember feeling physically ill while reading the first one (and I think maybe the third as well), which really intrigued me (when I stopped and thought about it) because for once I was horrified but felt alright about being a spectator. I am a person who simply cannot stand serial killer type shows on TV (or Hulu, in my case), because I feel like most of them are a mockery of real people who go through horrific things in real life. I mean, if I, or someone I loved, were a victim of a horrible crime, how would I feel about the fact that some screenwriter somewhere is getting rich off of coming up with funky new serial killer ideas for his hit TV show? I just think that's glorifying violence in a most especially perverted way. Grrr!
Okay, as usual I'm getting a little dramatic here, but my real point was that I felt that, for once, Hunger Games wasn't trying to get me to, in essence, "enjoy" the sickness of what was happening to the kids in the book. In fact, I think Suzanne Collins means for us to think about maybe not continuing to read, because it's so horrifying, but then her ideas are so riveting, at the same time, that you know you've got to finish (in your case, some day) and when you do, the point of it all is so important that you're glad you did.

Some day, when you finish them, we'll have to have a chitty chat about what you thought about the ending...

Mrs. Pingel said...

HP is getting me through the winter. I just finished book 3, and NOW I'm hooked. :)

Laura said...

Laura wants a reading hammock.

kate said...
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kate said...

that was me^

kate said...

printing this off and heading to the library!

winter can't last forever! i'm going to keep saying that in the hopes that it will come true!

Guy Mayhem said...

I do have a hard time ignoring book posts. Winter reading is a good question. There are certainly frosty doldrums to overcome at the moment. This has been a hard winter.

I would like to read Little Women. I'm going to give that a go.

I do believe in the value of a good popcorn book here and there but I'm wary of any 'book club' books. You know the ones. Guernsey sounds interesting but the cover smacks of that genre and I'll have to hear a hard argument for reading it.

Instant happiness? I suggest Kay Ryan's book of poems - Niagara River. I'd bet my right hand on it. (Also, all I've been reading is poetry for the last three months so that's what is on my mind.)

Also, for an intriguing read, I just finished Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Fascinating and maddening. It's a russian nesting doll of a book.

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