Monday, May 13, 2013

Asking a Librarian for book recommendations??

Hello girls, it's Monday, and I have significantly less hair than I did the last time I spoke to you, but that's neither here nor there.

So, I'm not sure if you all are aware just how bad I've become at movies lately. Like, I didn't see Brave or The Avengers until they were out on DVD and had been for a while. Like, I saw Brave for the first time about a month and a half ago. And I still haven't seen Wreck It, Ralph or The Dark Knight Rises. I'm bad at movies. I can guarantee that I have no movies to recommend to you that you haven't seen. The Hobbit is top notch. Is that news to anyone?

TV falls similarly. I'm bad at TV, too (though that's largely because I don't have cable). Let's not talk about Once Upon a Time. I stopped watching about six episodes into the second season not because I lost interest but because I didn't have time to watch and's backlog of episodes is stupid. If anything with TV, I'm finally catching up on some shows. I've seen Doctor Who now (though, not the latest half of this season) and Sherlock, which I've become obsessed with, but again, I'm sure you all got there first.

Closest I can come to a TV recommendation is to tell you all to go to YouTube and watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Yes, it's like eight hours long altogether. I don't care. You like Pride and Prejudice? You like Hank Green? You want some incredibly attractive guys to swoon over and some kick-ass females to cheer on? Do it. Do it now.

So that leaves us with books. Books I can do. I am, after all, a children's librarian. So you may be sorry you asked. :)

My gut reaction is to ask, "Well, have you read Wonder?" because as I mentioned last week, that's the BG Youth Community Reads novel of 2013, and May is Wonder Month, and I'm supposed to be recommending it to every person who walks through the door, but for this discussion, I'm not recommending that book.

I guess my recommendations come down to how you want to feel at the end of the story: motivated and inspired, thought-provoked, full of warm fuzzes, or emotionally devastated? Because I've got a book for each category.

Motivated and Inspired: Return to Me by Justina Chen. The teen lit blog I contribute to read this one a couple months ago, and it was wonderful. It's about a girl, Reb, getting ready to start college when her whole life seems to implode. Her family suddenly decides to move the 3000 miles with her and relocate to the east coast where she's attending school, and then her father announces he's been having an affair and moves out. Reb's two best friends are on the other side of the country, her mom and brother are now stuck with her in an unfamiliar city, Reb can't figure out which of her parents to blame or be mad at, and she's pushing her boyfriend away rather than drag him through all this insanity long-distance. It sounds crazy, but this is a marvelous look at what defines happiness and what we have to go through to find ourselves. It's wonderful and uplifting, I promise.

Thought-Provoked: Two titles for this category. The first is Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell, which is exactly what the title declares. Now, I've never read Tarzan, and before reading this book, I never had a desire to. But now, I'll admit, I kind of do. This is the story of Jane, a woman entirely out of place and time, scientifically minded, incredibly intelligent, who finds more of a home in the wilderness of Africa than in the civilization of England. This book is gritty and detailed and intense and just not the kind of thing I usually read at all, but I'm really glad I picked it up.

Second title is Room by Emma Donaghue, which is unsettling and disturbing in a brilliant way. This is the story of a woman who was kidnaped from her college campus and held captive for seven years in a 9x9 shed in this guy's backyard -- but the novel is told from the perspective of her five-year-old son, for whom Room is the only world he has ever known. This book is fascinating, and again, not usually the kind of thing I read.

Warm-Fuzzies: I'll be honest; I haven't read a lot of warm fuzzies books this year, or at least, not ones that you haven't already heard me talk about. So I'm pulling from the backlog for this one, and I'm gonna recommend Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn, which I don't think I've talked about with you all. It follows four souls from caveman times through modern day as they weave in and out of reincarnations, trying to find one another in the right configuration. A bit head-twisty, but ultimately very satisfying.

Emotionally Devastating: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, but for a bit less 'of course Cassie's gonna recommend it,' Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I just finished this book two days ago, guys, and I read it in one sitting, which was unintentional, and while it's not 'leave you a sodden mass of despair on the carpet' kind of devastating (unlike TFiOS, thank you John Green), it will play with every emotion inside of you and leave you drained and aching for these two amazing characters. Read at your own risk, though, because this book has one of the most frustratingly ambiguous endings of all time. It's wonderful, though.

Also, if you're not reading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, you need to reconsider that life choice. It's futuristic sci-fi fairy tale retellings with cyborgs and androids and an evil Queen of the moon. What's not to love?

Okay, keep me here much longer and I'm just going to start listing every book I've read this year. I'm gonna wrap this up. Let me know if you've picked up any of these, and if so, what did you think??

Tori: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I've been getting a lot of those, and they do help, and I appreciate all of them. I was so excited to hear how close to debt-free you are -- that's got to be an amazing feeling! Let us know how the application to the outreach goes.

Heidi: Congrats on graduating! I hope job-hunting et al works out for the both of us, too!

Anne: Congrats on grad school! And I completely agree with wanting to skip ahead to the part where you've worked everything out and everything settled and you're getting on with your life already. Wouldn't it be amazing if it worked like that?

Katie: Ah, ghost shows. Another flashback to dorm life. :)

Maggie: Where you be, lovely??

I gotta go move Jeffrey out of an apartment. See you all later! :)


  1. Holy canolis! I'm going to get out a pen and paper and write down ALL of the books you recommended, Cassie <3 Because there's no way I could remember them on my own =P

    1. If you want a specific title to start with, I think you would really like the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. First book is Cinder, second is Scarlet.