Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Ramblings (7): Book Search Galore

Before our Christmas vacation, our professor in Literature had given us an assignment: Find and read the book of our choice for our book thesis. With our measly 2-week-long break,  everybody is frantic to find a book and a lot of people have been asking me about book recommendations. But it's hard to just recommend books knowing that our Lit professor has a very different "book preference" than I. Nevertheless, I did search through the 896 books (o_0) in my Goodreads shelf and came up with 20 books that might interest you. 

So, as far as I know all of these are stand-alone novels. Publishing years are also posted and all are qualified in the 70's to present category. I will not guarantee that they are available locally but fret not Book Depository, Amazon and Barnes and Nobles are well-available online bookstores.  I also advise you to read the synopsis and reviews first to see if the book suits your taste thus, narrowing down your options.

Note: By clicking on the title, you can read the whole blurb and read some reviews on Goodreads. 

Looking for Alaska:
221 pages
1) Looking for Alaska by John Green
Genre/s: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Year: 2005

- You can never go wrong with John Green. You can also check some of his other works: Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns.

Short Blurb: "Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction."

Never Let Me Go:
263 pages
2) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Genre/s: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Adult Fiction
Publication Year: 2005

-I've read this already and all I could say is, it was quite the book. So quiet and eerie, it'd get under your skin. This book has also been adapted on the silver screens, so you could all watch it but I recommend reading it first. 

Short Blurb: "Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date"

How To Save A Life:
341 pages
3) How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Year: 2011

-I've yet to read this but I heard it's really good.

Short Blurb: Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.

A Monster Calls:
215 pages
4) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Year: 2011

-I'm currently reading this and all I could say is it's a beautifully written novel. Highly recommended.

Short Blurb: "Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults."

Howl's Moving Castle
329 pages
5) Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Year: 1986

- This has also been made into a movie, an animated film to be exact. And I just found out that there are sequels to this book namely, Castle In The Air and House of Many Ways. I know this disqualifies the book as a stand-alone but Howl's Moving Castle is just too good to be passed up.

Short Blurb: "Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place."

Hold Still:
230 pages
6) Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Genre/s: Young Adut, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Year: 2009

-Haven't read this yet, too. Just click the title, read the reviews(beware of spoilers!) and see for yourself. 

Short Blurb: "An arresting story about starting over after a friend's suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction" 

Going Bovine:
480 pages
7) Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Humor
Publication Year: 2009

-I don't know what to say because I haven't read this yet but they said it's hilarious + weird. Great combination, no?

Short Blurb: "All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most. "

On The Jellicoe Road:
300 pages
8) On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Year: 2007

-Even if for the love of whatever that loves you don't choose this, you've got to read this. Heard me? You just have to. Enough said.

Short Blurb: "My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die. I counted.

It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, 'What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?' and my father said, 'Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,' and that was the last thing he ever said.

Extremely Loud and
Incredibly Close:
326 pages
9) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Genre/s: Contemporary, Literature, Adult Fiction
Publication Year: 2005

-I heard this one and I thought I'd include it here. It fared well based on reviews and also well-recommended. 

Short Blurb: "Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey."

The Giver:
179 pages
10) The Giver by Lois Lowry
Genre/s: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Year: 1993

-This is classified as a classic so I think Sir would like this. That could also mean that this could be unfathomable or mind-numbing or weird. Just kidding.

Short Blurb: "Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back."

292 pages
11) Stick by Andrew Smith 
Genre/s: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Publication Year: 2011

-I've read Smith's The Marbury Lens and it screwed my mind. I don't know if Stick is on the same level as TML in terms of brain-shattering story but you should at least prepare. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Short Blurb:  "Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he’s tall and thin) is bullied for being “deformed” – he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can’t defend one another from their abusive parents. 

When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father's anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love – and his brother."

The Kite Runner:
324 pages
12) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini  
Genre/s: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction, Literature, Contemporary
Publication Year: 2003

- This has also been adapted into a movie. I know it's tempting but if you're planning to watch the film, it's better to read the book first.

Short Blurb: "A novel set mostly in Afghanistan. The introverted and insecure afghan narrator, Amir, grows up in Afghanistan in the closing years of the monarchy and the first years of the short-lived republic. His best and most faithful friend, Hassan, is the son of a servant. Amir feels he betrays Hassan by not coming to his aid when Hassan is set on by bullies and furthermore forces Hassan and his father Ali to leave his father´s service. Amir´s relatively priviledged life in Kaboul comes to an end when the communist regime comes to power and his extrovert father, Baba emigrates with him to the U.S. There Amir meets his future, afghan wife and marries her. Amir´s father dies in the U.S. and Amir receives a letter from his father´s most trusted business partner and, for a time, Amir´s surrogate father, which makes Amir return, alone, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in search of the truth about himself and his family, and finally, a sort of redemption."

The Book Thief:
550 pages
13) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Genre/s: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Year: 2006

- An incredible, breathtaking story. It's a good choice, this one. I would pick this if I still don't have a book.

Short Blurb: "It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . 

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul."

The Immortal Life of
Henrietta Lacks:
382 pages

Genre/s: Non-Fiction, Medicine
Publication Year: 2010

- I am not sure if nonfiction is allowed but this would be a fine choice seeing that it concerns the medical profession.

Short Blurb: "Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences."

454 pages
15) Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Genre/s:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publication Year: 2011

-Oh! I've been dying to read this but I just can't seem to find a copy. If ever someone pick this book, will you please let me borrow it? Pretty please?

Short Blurb: "Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending."

370 pages
16) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 
Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure
Publication Year: 1996

-They said you could either have a love or hate relationship with Gaiman so I'm leaving it up to you to find out.

Short Blurb: "When Richard Mayhew stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternative reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere."

The Alchemist:
167 pages
17) The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
Genre/s: Adult Fiction, Philosophy, Literature
Publication Year: 1993

- I've read this back in High School. It was my first Paolo Coelho and I was pleasantly surprised. There's just something about this book that makes for a compulsive reading. 

Short Blurb: "Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts."

Water for Elephants:
335 pages
18) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Genre/s: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction, Romance
Publication Year: 2006

-This has recently been made into a movie, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. I know watching the movie is more convenient and will make all our lives easier but it's not all about Edwar--I mean the actors, it's about the book first. 

Short Blurb: "Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell."

Every Soul A Star:
322 pages
19) Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass
Genre/s: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Year: 2008

- Can't say much because I haven't read it yet but the reviews about this book were pretty great.

Short Blurb: "Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at the one place the Great Eclipse can be seen in totality, each carrying the burden of their own problems, which become dim when compared to the task they embark upon and the friendship they find."

Schindler's List:
397 pages
20) Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
Genre/s: Nonfiction, Historical Nonfiction, Literature
Publication Year: 1982

-Another book-made-into movie starring Liam Neeson(Zeus, Aslan) and Ralph Fiennes(Voldemort). For some reason, Ralph in another role just cracks me up. Anyway, like I said books first before movies. PS. The movie was amazing.

Short Blurb: "It is the story of Schindler's unlikely heroism and of one man's attempt to do good in the midst of outrageous evil. The book explores the complex nature of virtue, the importance of individual human life, the role of witnesses to the Holocaust and the attention to rules and details that sustained the Nazi system of terror."

Do you have any books you'd like to share? Any book recommendations are welcome and would surely help. Enjoy reading and Happy Christmas Break to everyone!


  1. I've read some of these but not all. Great list. I'm a new follower from Book Blogs. I hope you'll check out my blog.

  2. I did not realize the movie Never Let Me Go was adapted from a book. I loved that movie, I will have to go out and get the book now and read it because I know books are usually so much better than the movies. I read Forbidden earlier this year..such a powerful book. Thanks for visiting my blog and following,I have done likewise, I love your blog! =o)

  3. This is a great list of books! Looking for Alaska is really exceptional

  4. nice!!!! very overwhelming list of great books for a reading-books-isn't-really-my-thing like me :D i'll look for some of the books you have listed. miss you teh!!!! -camz

  5. @Tee: you have to read Never Let Me Go and it's a good novel.

    And thank you for the comments everyone! :)

  6. This list is fantastic! And it made me so happy to see Jellicoe Road on it; it's one of my favorite books. I see a lot on here that I haven't read before, so I'm adding them to my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. I highly recommend How to Save a Life, A Monster Calls, Forbidden, and The Giver. :)

  8. Glad that you visited and liked my blog and left comments. I love your site, especially this post! Very useful and great recommendations! :)

    Merry Christmas!x
    Komz@The Review Girl

  9. @Wendy: Yeah, I'm dying to read Forbidden!

    @Komz: Thank you for visiting as well :) Merry Christmas!

  10. Yo! Thanks for the book list, but I kinda have a new problem, now I don't know what to get:| It would be dandy if you could help with that as well:) Anyways great job on the blog!

  11. @Rachelle Abuda

    If I'm gonna pick from all those books, I'd really choose A Monster Calls or How To Save A Life. :)

  12. hi sarah ;) nice list, thank you! :) i hope to read all of these books in the future! :D also, good job on your blog! more power! God bless :)

  13. @enyahs10

    Aww, thank you Shayne! You made my day. :) Thanks for stopping by. Balik ka a!

  14. The Book Thief and Water for Elephants are the only 2 of that amazing list that I have read yet. I absolutely adored them, too. So, I really must read more of these books!


Thank you for the comments. I really appreciate and lovelovelove them and will try to reply as fast as I can. Have a blog? Post your blog URL along with your comments below. I would love to visit.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...