Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Third Time's the Charm: My Junior Year in Books

I've done it once, I've done it twice, and now I've done it once again: I've gotten through another year of college! 

And while the thought of my quick advance towards Senior Year and Adult Life thereafter basically makes me want to keel over and die right now (not like this intense heat we've been getting here in Seattle hasn't already been giving me ideas), I find myself looking forward to enjoying my last year with my girls in Sigma Kappa, completing my stint on Panhellenic, as well as my general collegiate experience... and finally doing all of the stuff I've been afraid to do up to this point because I was worried about literally everything else.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, it's time to reflect on the past year in pages, and talk about some of my absolute favorites.

Best Voice: The Intern's Handbook, Shane Kuhn
I read this all the way back in September, and I'm still recommending it to people. I don't know, spies are kind of something I've always loved, and it's weird how Kingsman: The Secret Service came out so soon after this book did, because I think they'd find fans in very similar audiences.

Best Story: Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
Still left reeling from this one. I'm torn between wanting to immediately pick up another one of Palahniuk's works, and wanting to retain some shreds of my sanity. Still, the story was awesome.

Best Style: The Keep, Jennifer Egan
Literally could wax poetic for days about how much of a girl crush I have on Jennifer Egan. A Visit from the Goon Squad was my Best Style choice from my Freshman Year - I didn't even realize it until I was going to add the link in to this post) and nothing has changed since... I'm still crazy about Egan's versatile, dynamic prose.

Best Cover: Wildwood, Colin Meloy
Oh come on. It's so cute! I love the hand-drawn detailing and the cozy, forest-y feel. If only I could overcome my significant aversion to Portland, maybe I'd buy this in a print or something.

Best Reread: The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
I reread this book my Freshman year, in order to get out of the anxiety block that had already hit me like a ton of bricks come that Winter Quarter, and I reread it again this past Winter, as well, as a sentimental send-off, for my final College Fashion article (it's crazy to think that all came to an end only SIX MONTHS ago!). There will always be plenty of room in my heart for this timeless novel. I am a proud resident of Dictionopolis.

Most Hype: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
This book had a cover that grabbed your attention and a debut that grabbed headlines, but overall I found it to be a little mediocre, though with an intriguing concept. Meh.

Best Nonfiction: The Heroine's Bookshelf, Erin Blakemore
Still in love with the inspiration taken from some of my favorite fearless females in fiction (haha, I love alliteration!). I can't wait to visit some of the characters mentioned in this book on their home turf for the first time.

Best Assigned Material: Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, Faiza Guene
You'll be getting a review on this one soon enough, I promise, because I had an awesome time reading this quick coming-of-age read, set in the city of Paris (it was for that History of Europe class I was telling you all about). What a character, and what a voice. I had not expected this one to come out of such an intense lecture class!

Best New Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Oh my God, I may talk a big game about all of the classics and contemporary NYT bestsellers I read on a yearly basic, but Lord knows my safe zone is always going to be girly YA fluffers. I freaking love Sarah's witty, sarcastic, and unique heroines, as well as all of the shenanigans they find themselves wandering into. If only high school was this sweet.

Best Old Author: Meg Cabot
If Sarah Strohmeyer can make you smile and lift you up like a handful of pretty pink balloons, then Meg Cabot's the house from Up. I was in a funk earlier this year, so what did I do? I went to the library and checked out the entire Airhead series. I love Meg.

Best Overall: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
There hasn't been a conversation about books I've had in the past year where I haven't aggressively tried to insert this book. Not only is it impeccably crafted, but the conversations that arise from goading people into discussing this novel are some of the most interesting ones you can have while in a crowded vehicle on the way to a Retreat. Trust me.

(Looking for rundowns of my Sophomore or Freshman years? Click here, and here, respectively!) 

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