i know it's been awhile since i posted about a book i've read, but it's not because i haven't been reading books...i've just been lazy. but i've read some great books recently too great not to share! i've read quite a few this semester for my American Novel class that I probably would have never read or even heard of otherwise. so here's what i've had my nose in since i last made a book post (plus a favorite quote from some of the novels):

+ my heroes ask wallflowers to dance: this book was written by a mormon and talks quite a bit about our religion. but even if you feel like you don't have a spiritual bone in your body, this book is an incredible, inspiring story of human will that is worth reading. it will probably be the saddest but most uplifting book you'll ever read. the author shares the true story of her and her siblings suffering from cystic fibrosis and how they were able to maintain any sort of hope and optimism even though they are plagued with this deadly disease.

+ anthem: if you're into futuristic type books like the giver or the hunger games, then this is a must read. it follows the story of a man living in a society where individualism doesn't exist. it's short, sweet, to the point and leaves you feeling pretty grateful about our rights and freedoms.

"my happiness is not the means to any end. it is the end. it is its own goal. it is its own purpose."

+ the coquette: the basic translation for a "coquette" is a "flirt." this book was written in the late 1700's about the scandalous life of a socialite woman. it was pretty interesting to compare how horribly the main character was treated for doing things that are deemed totally normal in today's society.

+ the awakening: this was another novel highlighting the inequalities between men and women a few centuries ago. it was a bit much and a bit too depressing to read right after the coquette as many themes were repeated. if i was going to re-read any of these dramatic women-centered novels, anna karenina would still be my number one. but the awakening did made a lot of great points and i was amazed that it was even allowed to be published in 1899.

“she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”

+ wieland: creepy. if i could describe this book in one word it would be creepy. i was not expecting it to be this way, but i soon learned that this was not to be read by myself or in the dark. it explores dysfunctional families in early america and it really was just creepy enough to get some real points across.

+ absalom, absalom: this was my first time attempting a william faulkner novel and it was quite the experience. i got about halfway through before midterms got in the way and i resorted to sparknotes. and as soon as i did that everything started making a lot more sense. but the story was a pretty fascinating one all about racism, deceit and southern life  in the 1830's. faulkner's style of writing was just as fascinating and now i am determined to read it from start to finish.

“i am older at twenty than a lot of people who have died.”

+ the rise of silas lapham: this book was refreshingly straightforward after tackling faulkner. it had underlying, perfectly subtle humor throughout the whole story of the laphams starting at the bottom of the social classes and attempting to climb to the top because of the wealth they've obtained. if you like pride and prejudice or any novel of that sort, then you definitely need to read this one.

“each of us must suffer long to himself before he can learn that he is but one in a great community of wretchedness, which has been pitilessly repeating itself from the foundation of the world.” 

+ martin dressler: this book is one of the saddest ones i've ever read. not because of any sort of physical or monetary trial, but rather the protagonist's mindset. he's just greedy and egotistical. i found his attitude so frustrating, but still loved the book because i felt like it was just one big warning on how not to live your life.

+ my antonia: such a beautiful book. it follows the story of people with real (not self-inflicted like in martin dressler) trials and how they still find the beauty and happiness in the simple joys of life. it's told by a boy who moves to a farm to live with his grandparents when both of his parents die and the experiences they have with an immigrant family from bohemia that live on the neighboring farm.

“now i understood that the same road was to bring us together again. whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.” 

+ under the feet of jesus: i loved this book. it humanizes illegal immigrants. i could go on for days about why i thought it was amazing, but i'll spare you and go write my 12 page conference paper on immigration instead :)

hope you all have some time over the holidays to get some quality reading in! and i know i still want to make a post all about this project i've been helping out on, but the book my mom wrote is now available to purchase at this site! it's definitely been keeping things exciting and busy around here :)

and to close, a very favorite quote of mine:

"a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. the man who never reads lives only one." -george r.r. martin