Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summing Up Sophomore Year

Alright, yes, I realize that today - the first day of summer, officially - almost marks the two-week mark for how long I've been out of school and, yes, not posting, but will you all really begrudge me a blissful mental vacation/recovery period from the hard and unforgiving slog that was Finals Week? I beg forgiveness for my brief lapse in posting... I was too busy doing things like reading to even think about the things I've read in the past year. 

But that's quite enough boo-hooing for now. Gathered here, are some of my top reads for Sophomore Year! 

Best Voice: Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison
If there was ever a real-life situation that required an understanding shoulder to cry on, it's reading this absolutely brutal, no-holds-barred glimpse into the life of an underprivileged girl growing up in racist, rural North Carolina. But the voice carries through the novel so perfectly, and even into your mind after you've closed it for the day, that it would be an absolute crime not to mention how important I think this book is. Read for my "Contemporary Classics: Centers and Margins" class, alongside our high school counterparts.

Best Cover: The Line (Witching Savannah #1) by J.D. Horn
Just look at it. Just look. There were plenty of reasons why I loved this book, and plenty more as to why I'm excited to read the second, but damn, that cover is awesome.

Most Feels: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by S.J. Maas
It was the Titanic all over again, as I watched one of my most beloved ships sink into the icy, biting, incredibly-well-written depths of Maas' fluid prose (see what I did there?), and I didn't recover easily. In fact, I'm pretty sure that at this moment, I still haven't recovered at all. And I read it while Sorority Recruitment was going on in September... can you spell "emotionally vulnerable"?

Most Hype: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
After hearing my two youngers sisters raving and ranting about this particular work, I finally returned to the works of John Green to catch up to the rest of my generation for this particular read, and while time has lead me to believe some other things about this specific material, I have to admit, at the time I read it, I was pretty swept up.

Favorite New Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder and Scarlet) by Marissa Meyer
Honestly, I was in the mood for some good sci fi and some good YA this year, and this series seriously delivered on both fronts. And the author lives in my hometown??? Lord help me.

Best Nonfiction: Odd Type Writers, by Celia Blue Johnson
Yet another foray into the inner lives of some of literature's most celebrated authors. Who kept rotten apples in their desk? Who liked to write while sitting in the front seat of their car, even while driving? Impress your friends and ostracize those not equipped to handle your trivia knowledge with minutae taken directly from the likes of Dickens, Poe, and many more.

(It honestly almost hurts to type this, because I just finished Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, and I'm just so pumped to talk about nonfiction forever and ever... but that has to wait!)

Best Assigned Material: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Yes, I considered myself a bit of a Woolf fangirl already due to a general obsession with the feminist essays penned by her, studied in Junior-level AP classes in high school, but my world was completely flipped by Mrs. Dalloway. I'm not saying it's my new favorite book... but I am saying it was definitely in the running for the best book I read this year.

Best New Author: Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park, Fangirl) 
I'd say something cute and quaint, like "someone get this girl an award," but I'm about one million percent sure she's already equipped. The one-two punch of the slamming introductions into the world of YA, E&P and Fangirl have both garnered rave reviews from me already, as well as their own College Fashion posts.

Best Old Author: Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Emma)
Sophomore year opened with an English Lit class the likes of which could only be constructed by someone who wanted all ostracized old-book-sniffers and literary fangirls of the city of Seattle to unite in one classroom. Through this wonderment, I was blessed with such friends as Halley and Megan, who not only joined me in celebration of all of Austen's works, but who still keep me up to date with what our good friends at Pemberley Digital are doing on Twitter. (Miss you, guys!)

Best Overall Book of Sophomore Year: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.
Yeah, yeah, call me a basic English Lit kid, but in ye olde aforementioned English Lit class, the only book on the list I hadn't read prior to the class itself was this monumental Dickensian effort. Homeboy may have had his own problems, but from one aspiring workaholic to a quite accomplished one, good job.

What books did you enjoy this past school year?
{Check out my summary of Freshman Year, as well!}

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