7 Books I Always Recommend

Today marks the halfway point of 12 Days of Book Lists! I now present the 7 Books I Always Recommend. I’ve just now realized that the majority of these books have been adapted into movies. So if you’ve watched any of these movies, definitely check out the corresponding book. Even if you hated the movie. It’s worth it.

7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books ever. I would recommend it to anyone from middle grade on. If you like sci-fi or psychological thrillers, Ender’s story is one you will enjoy immensely. Or if you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book, READ THE BOOK. The movie was okay, but it doesn’t even come close to the magnificence of the book.

6. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
I actually watched the movie version of Angels and Demons before I read the book. This does not happen to me very often. The movie was great. I might not have thought so if I had read the book first. But that’s because I am super-critical of book-to-movie adaptations. The movie was good, however, it left out huge story arcs. If you enjoyed the movie, or have read any of Dan Brown’s other marvelous books, or like National Treasure-type adventures, I would highly highly recommend this book. I’ve reread it a countless amount of times, and it is still remarkable every time. I have heard that the facts are not completely reliable, but the book is still very entertaining and complex.

5. The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is so so so so so good. I’ve also reread this at least five times. I think every single person should read this.

4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut was a genius. His writing style has a perfect combination of humor and irony and complexity. If you’re looking explore the writings of Kurt Vonnegut, I would start with Slaughterhouse Five. It can be confusing because the protagonist is unstuck in time. So if you get easily confused, this might not be the best book to read. You don’t really get the full picture of the story until you finish it, which is a beautiful writing tactic. It is also a book that everyone should reread once they’ve read it. Once you know the whole story, revisiting it allows you to understand the implications of the characters’ actions on the established future. Definitely read this if you like sci-fi, especially if you enjoy space-time theories such as string theory.

3. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Alas, Babylon was one of the first apocalyptic books. Though it was meant to inform the governments of the Cold War of the possible effects of their actions, Alas, Babylon can be a wake up call to readers of any time. I first read it for school, but once the story started picking up, I read the entire book in a couple of hours. It’s that good. It is one of my most favorite books, so I think everyone should read it.

2. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Since most of the public has been exposed to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, or at least watched the movies (though I do know at least three people that haven’t even watched the movies), I think HPMOR is a great addition to this list. This incredibly popular fan fiction explores how Harry’s first year at Hogwarts would progress if his aunt had married a distinguished professor instead of the brutish Vernon Dursley. They would have treated Harry well and instilled in him the values of education and science. In this epic retelling, Harry is not an idiot first-year, but a genius rational who wants to optimize the universe. It can also be confusing at times, but it is incredibly funny and incredibly wonderous.

1. World War Z by Max Brooks
So…World War Z. This movie sucked. So much. I watched the movie first, and thought it was thrilling, but the logic was screwed up and the production was also screwed up and the story was also screwed up. If the movie was off-putting to you as well, give the book a chance. The movie is nothing like the book at all. The book is written in a really cool way. The narrator is a journalist who is going around the world after the Zombie War has passed to collect stories about the War from its start to its finish. It shows the amazing ways that the human race can come together to fix our problems, and how our thirst for innovation and survival can save us from almost anything.

Which books do you find yourself recommending?


9 Reasons Everyone Should Read

Today is the fourth day of 12 Days of Book Lists. Yay! This list is 9 reasons that everyone should read. Even those who supposedly “don’t read”.

9. To be a better writer
It’s pretty much a fact that good readers make good writers. I can assure you that most of those who write professionally were avid readers even before they considered writing. Even for school writing assignments, those who read often write better work. Readers generally have better grammar and word choice, a stronger vocabulary, and knowledge of whether a work flows well or has effective style.

8. To expand your creativity
Obviously, when you are constantly exploring the creative genius of others, your own creativity grows in response. You can’t just read about a world created by the individual mind of an author and not imagine what kinds of worlds you would create.

7. To understand yourself
Reading lends itself well to introspection. When you get to explore the minds of characters in a book, you learn how to explore your own mind. When you see characters deal with crises, you can’t help but imagine how you would deal with those crises. By finding which characters you relate to the most, you can find which personality traits that you share with them.

6. To appreciate your life
Similarly to watching the news, reading books makes you aware that your life is not that bad compared to that of others. If you read about someone the same age as you trying to overthrow a corrupted, seemingly all-powerful government, you start to realize that you embarrassing yourself in front of your crush is really not going to ruin your life.

5. To relate to others
I, for one, have a hard time relating to others unless they have very similar personalities to me. But reading allows me to learn how to deal with those whose personalities do not necessarily mesh well with mine.

4. To create more goals for yourself
When you read of teenagers who single-handedly defeat the worst possible enemies while still going to school and continuously building their repertoire of skills, you begin to reevaluate your singular goals of getting rich and starting a family. Of course, those are not bad goals to have, but you begin to realize that you could achieve those goals and still do so much more with your life.

3. To grow the multiverse of your mind
I believe that everyone’s mind contains their own personal universe. That is, those who don’t read have minds that contain singular universes, which are the universes in which they exist. However, those who read have multiverses in their minds. Instead of just containing the home universe, a reader’s mind contains all of the universes in each of the books that he or she has read along with the one’s he or she creates through their expanded creativity, which is also a result of reading.

2. To travel to magical places
Who doesn’t want to travel to mystical lands and whole new worlds? Reading allows you to travel the Earth, as well as trillions of other worlds, from the comfort of your own home.

1. To be more productive
I am a firm believer that reading is an act of the productive. Reading undoubtedly increases productivity, if only because of the plethora of productivity and lifestyle books that exist. Reading is a stress-reliever, a relaxation method, a creativity booster, a creativity inlet, as well as many other tools essential to attaining maximum productivity. Reading and productivity also participate in a positive feedback loop. Reading increases productivity, while productivity gives you more time to read.

Why do you (or don’t you) read?

11 Literary Gifts

Today is Day 2 of 12 Days of Book Lists. I now present 11 Literary Themed Gifts. (I sincerely apologize for the graphic. I know it sucks.)

11 days of book lists

1. Finger Pointer Bookmark

For those who can never remember where they are.

2. Harry Potter Necklace
For those who still aren’t over Harry Potter.

3. Prism Glasses
For those who are incredibly lazy.

4. Percy Jackson pencils
For those who want to write like a daughter of Athena.

5. Personal Library Kit 
For those who lend.

6. Writer’s Block book
For those who want to write the next bestseller.

7. Old Books scented candle
For those who want to smell like a library.

8. So Many Books! So Little Time! Bookends
For those who have too many books to read in a lifetime.

9. Fishbowl bookends
For those who need more life in their reading.

10. Talk Wordy To Me tote
For those who need some help carrying home their books.

11. Literary Quotations Calendar
For those who lose track of the date because they get lost in the world of a good book.

What literary gifts would you like to receive?