Book Haul: Mid-July Buys

Books from Housing Works* & Strand**

Alternate title to this haul: The One Where I Try to Find Books Similar to Aristotle And Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

*Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

  • Summary of the Summary: Walt Whitman, revered American writer, writes poems about sex and transcendentalism. (This is a copy of the first edition, so it’s only a little over 100 pages long, compared to the whooping 600-page final edition.)

Every time someone mentions Walt Whitman, I think of my sophomore year English teacher, who said that if she were to teach a senior English elective on Walt Whitman, no one in the school would take it. Well, this one’s for you, Mrs. Brown.

**The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

  • Summary of the Summary: Blue gets caught up in the antics of four private school boys. Mystery and adventure and ghosts ensue, and Blue tries not to fall in love because she’s always been told that she’ll cause her first love to die.

I’ve actually already read the first two books of The Raven Cycle. Well, according to Goodreads, I read them like two years ago. I can’t seem to remember anything about the series, which is usually the case when I read books on eReaders. (One of the reasons I stopped using my Kindle. I really don’t know why, but without having a physical copy of a book, I have a significantly harder time focusing. Something about reading off a screen, I guess.)

But I’ve been hearing a lot about this series again, probably because the last book was just published earlier this year. From what I remember, I liked it enough, but not enough to read the third book when it came out. But I’m ready to read it again—really read it this time. And there’s nothing like a complete series I can binge-read through.

**Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

  • Summary of the Summary: Closeted drama student Simon is being blackmailed into being a wingman for a classmate, or else his sexual identity will be revealed. Also, he’s in love with a boy he’s emailing.

Ah, a YA book with a queer protagonist. Make them a POC and that’s my ideal book. (Don’t know if Simon’s a POC yet since I haven’t read it, but regardless.)

I’ve been on the hunt for something to fill my heart after finishing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and hopefully, this does it. I found this book in the LGBT YA section of Strand, read the blurb, and knew that this was the book I was looking for. I’ve heard a lot of hype about it, and it seems like the lighthearted, high school drama filled, LGBT YA book I needed.

*Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

  • Summary of the Summary: Three boarding school students were constantly reminded that they were special, but when they grew up, they realized just how special they were.

A contemporary classic that I’ve spent years hearing about. I never thought about picking it up myself though—it never seemed like my type of book—until I found it tucked in one of the fiction shelves of Housing Works.

I’m ready to finally start reading this, especially having just found out it’s a dystopian novel. It’s been a while since I’ve read dystopian fiction (maybe over two years?), because it’s so hard to find books that deviate from the norm of teenagers trying to save the world from The Man. Maybe this’ll get me out of my dystopian slump.

*Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

  • Summary of the Summary: Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in Nigeria, but are separated when Ifemelu goes to America and Obinze goes to London. Both are forced to come to terms with their identities and relationship.

I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I think she’s one of the strongest speakers of our generation and is such a powerful force in the feminist and black community.

I’ve read and watched We Should All Be Feminists (highly recommend it), but this is my first actual novel that I’ve picked up by her. Really excited to get into this, since I’ve heard many good things and it’s not the type of book I usually read.

*Room by Emma Donoghue

  • Summary of the Summary: Five year old Jack and his mom have been trapped in Room, an 11-by-11 foot space, for years, and struggle to assimilate back to reality when they escape.

I mainly bought this after hearing rave reviews about the movie based off the novel, and of course, me being me, I have to read the book before watching the movie. (This is the same reason why I read Gone Girl in the first place, though I still haven’t actually watched the movie.)

It’s a shocking premise, and a heartbreaking reminder that these events actually happen in real life. But what’s focused on in real life is usually the perpetrator, not the victims. So I’m interested to read about their point-of-views and wonder how the mother-son relationship evolves.

*City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

  • Summary of the Summary: Clary + crew are at it again, trying to save the world from demons, but this time, Jace, her love interest, is ~evil~ and being controlled by his demon counterpart. They try to save him and the world.

After such a struggle finding this book (detailed in the last book haul), I finally found it in Housing Works! I could not contain my excitement of finally being able to continue reading the series, since I spent weeks looking for it after finishing book four.

I actually already finished this book, having read it immediately after buying it (full review of the series here). I did hype it up in my head after spending forever finding it, so I’m disappointed to say that this is one of the books I enjoyed least in the series. It isn’t a bad book, just not as good as the other ones. I definitely recommend the series as a whole though, if you’re into YA supernatural books and don’t mind that they may drag on for a tad too long.

**I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

  • Summary of the Summary: Twins Noah and Jude tell the story from two point-of-views, Noah’s side three years earlier, when they were still friends, and Jude’s side three years later, when they aren’t speaking at all. But they each only have half of the story and need to find their way back to each other.

Another book I picked up because I needed to fill the lack of Aristotle and Dante in my life. People on Goodreads recommended it, one of those If you liked “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” then you’ll love “I’ll Give You The Sun.” So, of course, I had to buy it.

This is actually another book I already finished (a full review should be up next week), and though it wasn’t as good as Aristotle and Dante—they’re actually pretty different books come to think of it, but both YA with queer characters—I blew through it and finished it in a good three days. It was definitely an interesting and captivating read, though a little frustrating, but would recommend.

(Psst, friend me on Goodreads for more book updates. Currently taking forever to read Dark Places.)


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