Hitting the Books For Fun

Over the break I tried to read as many for-fun books as I could. When I was a kid I didn’t read much because I always felt I was being forced into reading something I didn’t care about. When you can choose a book of your own volition it makes a world of difference.

My Life in France by Julia Child – My friend picked up a used copy of this book for me at a library sale. (If you like books at all, library sales are awesome places to shop. If you wait for the last day of the sale you can usually get an entire grocery bag of books for two bucks!) I studied in Italy this summer and reading this book brought back many memories of adjusting to life in Europe, which is more different than you’d expect. It also made me want to go to France even more than I already did. Maybe some day. Le sigh.
Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan – You may know Riordan from his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. (You may also be wondering what a college student, and 31 year old, like me is doing reading books from the kids section. I love taking a break from “grown up” academic books by cleansing my palette with lighter fare. Also, it’s fun to sit down and polish off a book in a few hours every now and then.) I loved the Percy Jackson books! (The movie? Not so much.) When I found out Riordan was writing a new series involving ancient Egyptian myths I was thrilled because Egypt has always been fascinating to me. Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow are the second and third books in the Kane Chronicles. I was disappointed that they are the last in this series. I can only hope for a spinoff series like Riordan has done with the Heroes of Olympus series.
How to be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell – This is the second book in the How to Train Your Dragon series and it’s just as humorous as the first. If you like the Diary of a Whimpy Kid series (don’t be ashamed to admit it!) then you’ll like the series as well.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – I try to read this book at Christmas time every year. This is only the third time I’ve succeeded, despite the fact that the book is very short. This year I downloaded the free iBook version and read it on my phone whenever I could spare a few minutes during the busy holiday season. The formatting wasn’t the best, but it was free so I shouldn’t complain. (I’m shocked how many classic books are in iBook format for free. If you have an iPhone or iPad you must check them out!)

Avalon High by Meg Cabot – This book takes a modern look at the King Arthur legend through the perspective of a mysterious high school in Maryland. I was halfway through when I realized I had read it before, but that didn’t stop me from finishing it. I’m a big fan of Meg Cabot’s light-hearted writing style. (You may know Meg Cabot from the Princess Diaries series. If you’re looking for more light-and-fun reading I would highly recommend the series. Don’t judge the books based on the movies. There are some significant differences.)

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznik – Don’t be fooled by this book’s high picture-to-word ratio; the story is very complex and moving. If you are at all artistically inclined (I wish I was), the illustrations in this book will make you want to break out the sketch pad and pencils. If you enjoy this book, check out The Invention of Hugo Cabretalso by Selznik.

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron – I enjoy nonfiction as much as fiction and, contrary to the trend of the previously mentioned titles, I can read books meant for adults! This book was a quick read and made me laugh out loud more than a few times. (If you’re looking for even more humor, check out Tina Fey’s Bossypants. But be prepared for awkward looks from strangers as you LOL if you read it in public.) It was also a library book sale find and I’ve passed it along to my mother who will no doubt enjoy the “getting older sucks” theme and witty observations about life in general. This book, along with Julia Child’s, has really made me want to do something big and exciting with my life. Too bad I can’t quite figure out what that is.

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