Happy February! To celebrate this new month – because everything deserves a celebration – we’ve added a brand new category just for you. It’s small now, but we’ll watch it grow as the year goes on! Just click (or tap!) “Book Lovers” in the category menu.
Just as I promised, here’s six books you should totally read this year. I’m ordering them from oldest to newest, so please don’t be thrown off by the oldies at the top! 😉
1. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (1811)
I had to read the book for school, right after having read P&P. It was slow at first – I was forcing myself to continue reading. But about halfway through, I couldn’t put it down! The plot twists, the scandals, the characters . . . oh my goodness, I loved it.
Not sold on it just yet? Here’s the description from Amazon:
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love – and its threatened loss – the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
I personally don’t believe that thus description is wholly fitting to the story, however . . . so you’ll just have to trust me when I say the book is worth a try. 😉
2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare (1958)
I was first attracted to the book by its genre: historical fiction. And it takes place in 17th century New England, a time and place I had yet to explore! Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
To anyone wondering – no, there is not a literal witch in the story. (As far as I can remember – correct me if I’m wrong.) This book takes place during a time when people were often (falsely) accused of witchcraft, which is the main premise of the story. That, and the protagonist’s inner conflict with herself.
Here’s a description from Amazon:
Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.
3. The Miracle Worker – William Gibson (1959)
The Miracle Worker is the fictitious tale based on the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. There were a lot of things I loved about the book – the characters were wonderful, the story itself was inspirational, and the southern setting was refreshing and, for me personally, relatable.
Description from Amazon:
Young Helen Keller, blind, deaf, and mute since infancy, is in danger of being sent to an institution because her inability to communicate has left her frustrated and violent. In desperation, her parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, which sends them a “half-blind Yankee schoolgirl” named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. Despite the Kellers’ resistance and the belief that Helen “is like a little safe, locked, that no one can open,” Annie suspects that within Helen lies the potential for more, if only she can reach her. Through persistence, love, and sheer stubbornness, Annie breaks through Helen’s walls of silence and darkness and teaches her to communicate, bringing her into the world at last.
4. The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom (1971)
Despite having been published in 1971, this story dates back to the Second World War. I don’t often read nonfiction, but there were three things about this autobiography that caught my attention: the time period, the location (the Netherlands), and the fact that the author is a Christian. So, as a Christian who is very interested in WWII and has a lot of Dutch heritage, this book seemed perfect for me.
And it was!
The Hiding Place is about Corrie Ten Boom and the affect the war had on her family, as Christians. The book is heartbreaking at times, but it’s a true inspiration. The pages practically scream hope as you’re reading it, even when the characters are at their worst.
Here’s your Amazon description:
Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.
Here is the riveting account of how Corrie and her family were able to save many of God’s chosen people. For 35 years millions have seen that there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. Now The Hiding Place, repackaged for a new generation of readers, continues to declare that God’s love will overcome, heal, and restore.
5. The Giver – Lois Lowry (1993)
Though often dismissed as a “children’s book,” The Giver is suitable for anyone and everyone. It’s the first book in a quartet (the others being: Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son) , so even when this (relatively) brief book is over, you can continue the story! It’s imaginative and inspired, but with deep themes that draw the reader right in.
Truth be told, I stayed up way too late a few times reading this book.
As expected, here is your Amazon description:
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
6. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (2005)
Like I said earlier in this post, I love historical fiction. By extension, I love those that take place during World War II. But this book isn’t your usual historical fiction. The Book Thief takes place in Nazi Germany as we follow the story of a young German girl’s growing up during the war, as told by the most unlikely of narrators.
What can I say? I fell in love with this book the second it came in the mail. It’s probably among the most unique of books out there right now, and it even affected the way I write my own stories!
Here’s yet another Amazon description:
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
[Warning: this book’s themes are very dark, and its content isn’t always clean.]
7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs (2011)
Since the trilogy was adapted to a movie, the books’ popularity has reached new heights, for which I’m very grateful, even if the movie wasn’t all that great (from what I’ve heard and seen). Because the books are some of the best I’ve ever read.
(Speaking for the first book) Part of the book takes place in Florida, U.S.A, present day; while the majority takes place in Wales, 1940s. Follow protagonist Jacob Portman, a young American boy who gets roped into the secret world of the peculiars.
To prove my love for these books: I moved to Seattle on August 21st, 2015. I’d never been anywhere near WA before then; and not only that, I had just flown on my first plane and was experiencing a lot of jet lag and culture shock! But the very next day, on August 22nd, the final installment of the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy was released. My mom and I left our apartment late at night to find a Barnes and Noble, just to get the book the day it was released. 🙂 So there you go.
And here is my final Amazon description (for the first book):
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
[Warning: the book(s) includes scary themes and colorful language.]
Have you read any of these already? What were your thoughts? Share below! 🙂 Happy reading!
(Note: I’ve been messing around with images and etc. on my blog, so please don’t be alarmed if anything suddenly changes!)