that semester I read a billion books.

by shelbyisrad

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This stack of books (2 not pictured) greeted me in the mail at the beginning of the semester and I had a moment of: holy crap how am I going to read all of these in just 3 months?

Well I did, I kinda had too. Though I’ll readily admit a few I didn’t do more than skim/speed read just to get the basics and get them over with.

The entire list:

Feed by M.T. Anderson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
What It Is by Lynda Barry
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Death With Interruptions by José Saramago
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis
Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Rolling Nowhere by Ted Conover
Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
No Easy Day by Kevin Maurer
(Plus two textbooks and at least 50 shorter texts online)

I’m not going to give my opinions about all the books, because that’d take too long and some I just didn’t enjoy at all. So instead of bashing them, I want to lift up the best (in my opinion).

My top 5 favorites were:

5. Feed by M. T. Anderson. This was a very very fast read, but really good. It was for my young adult lit class and really opened my eyes to how invasive technology is in our lives. Its a dystopian future novel, which was written in 2001 and its a little creepy how some of the things in the book happen or are close to happening now. It really made me appreciate the beauty of paper, hand writing, and actual books.

4. Weetzie Bat by Fransesca Lia Block. Being totally honest I did not like this book at first, but I quickly got swept up into the 1980’s LA world. It’s very dreamy and fairy-tale like with a lot of magical realism that seems to come out of no where. Another young adult lit book, I’m hoping to read the rest of this series.

3. Death With Interruptions by José Saramago. More honesty, I also really didn’t like this book at first. The style is VERY different, punctuation is strange and it takes some getting used to. The premise of the book is what happens when Death takes a break and stops what she’s doing? More magical realism, the second half of the book is almost completely different from the first half but you could not have one half without the other. It just works so well. Definitely takes some getting used to, but is very much worth it.

2. Just Kids by Patti Smith. I read Just Kids last semester in a memoir class and loved it so much then. I could’ve easily not read it and still passed all the quizzes and assignments but I adored the book so much I loved an excuse to read it again. It’s a memoir of the godmother of punk rock Patti Smith and her relationship with Robert Maplethorpe. Incredible read

1. What it Is by Lynda Berry. I could write an entire blog series about just how incredible this book is. It’s part illustrated memoir, part writing manual, part activity book. It’s full of collage, big questions, and secret messages. It is probably one of my favorite books of all time, and thats a big claim from a girl who hates playing favorites when it comes to books. I can’t even describe it fully and give it justice. What it Is is an experience, and a book that you can come to over and over again with fresh eyes and new discoveries. I gushed about this book when we discussed it in class, I enjoyed it more than anything else this semester. (And I had to restrain myself from shaking the people who didn’t get it). If you’re going to get anything from this list, I encourage you to experience What it Is. It’s magnificent.

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