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Last year, my spring-summer reading challenge of 2016 was mildly unsuccessful. I had read a total of 1 book of 10 on my reading list. Since then, I have now read 3 out of the 10 books I wanted to read last summer (Catching Fire, 1984, and To Kill a Mockingbird).  Sometimes things don’t always go to plan. This year when I gave myself the challenge of reading all the books that I want to read before I go back to university in the fall, I was left with a list of 20 books. I wish I were kidding! With considerable deliberation, I have grudgingly narrowed my list down to ten books. Without further adieu, here is my list:

  1. Outlander – Diana Gabaldonscotland-1761292_1920

How did I not know about this book and television series before?! It’s a mystery that will never be solved. This book is everything I could ever want in a piece of fiction. Outlander is about a young woman who gets transported back in time from 1945 to Scotland in the 1740s. I am currently 5% of the way through an ebook copy, and I am on episode 6 in the first season of the series. I have decided that I wont watch any more of the series until I have finished the first book. This will take a lot of willpower.

  1. The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte – Daphne du Maurierfire-836635_1920

When I first heard of the book, all I could think of was… “that title is ah-mazing!” Even if I weren’t a massive fan of the Brontes already, I probably would have read this book anyway just for its enticing title. This is a biography of the elusive Branwell Bronte, the Bronte sisters’ brother who had a lot of potential as a writer, but his addictions led him to an early demise. Even though this du Maurier’s “flop” that didn’t sell very well, I absolutely must read this book!

  1. Ni d’Eve ni d’Adam – Amelie Nothombmt-fuji-732541_1280

I made a promise to myself that I would read more books in French in order to improve my reading comprehension and vocabulary in French. Last year I read two of Nothomb’s books: Antechrista, and Journal d’Hirondelle. I fell in love with her writing style and unique narrative voice. This book Ni d’Eve ni d’Adam is a partially biographical novel about a young French woman’s romance with a Japanese businessman.

  1. Night Magic – Charlotte Vale Allencropped-rose-572757_1280.jpg

I cannot say that I know a great deal about this book. However, I read that it is a cross between The Phantom of the Opera, and Beauty and the Beast. What more can I ask for in a novel! This novel combines two of my favorite stories into one. It is widely out of print in most places, so I will have to find a battered copy at my local library or order it used on Amazon.

  1. The Life of Charlotte Bronte – Elizabeth Gaskellcharlotte_bronte_coloured_drawing

Recently I watched To Walk Invisible, which is a biopic on the Bronte sisters. Seeing the three Bronte sisters come to life on screen gave me a profound desire to learn more about their lives. Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Bronte is rather unique as Gaskell knew Charlotte Bronte before her death. Gaskell also has her own motives for writing Charlotte’s biography, and I read that she often twisted some facts in order to garner sympathy for Charlotte and her sisters, and to protect her reputation from the strictness of Victorian society.

  1. The Light Between Oceans – M. L. Stedmansea-1641781_1920

I began watching the movie based on this book a few days ago (I rarely watch a movie from start to finish in one sitting). It is about a young couple who live on a nearly deserted island in order to take care of a lighthouse. The couple tries to have children, but after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the couple is left in despair. One day, they hear the cries of a baby coming from an abandoned boat. They decide to raise the child on their own, but this decision comes with deadly consequences.

I decided to buy the book because the main characters seem as if they have a lot of character depth. The Light Between Oceans is also a New York Times bestseller, so it is probably decently written.

  1. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaimanautumn-2182008_1920

For the past, few months I have been going through a Neil Gaiman phase. I began reading Stardust in the fall, and I fell in love with his writing. Then I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I am still haunted by its beautiful prose. I am currently reading The Graveyard Book, which is supposedly a children’s story. For a children’s story, it is rather macabre. It is about a young boy named Nobody Owens who lives in a graveyard. Although I wouldn’t read this book to my children (if I had any), I am currently enjoying this fantastic novel.

  1. Me Before You – Jojo Moyeshighcliffe-castle-1098069_1920

In the middle of midterms, I just had to make my way to my local bookstore and spend over an hour looking at books. I had already watched the movie Me Before You, and I cried a lot at the end. This lovely tearjerker is about a young man named Will Trainor who is left paralyzed after a tragic accident. Will’s parents hire a bubbly caretaker in order to improve Will’s decaying quality of life. Anyway, it is a sappy love story that will surely have you in tears at the end (as with most love stories – why do I love them so much!). Anyway, it also has a beautiful cover, and it has been resting on my bookshelf (taunting me) for two months.

  1. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeraytavern-398712_1280

There’s nothing like a good ol’ Victorian classic novel. This is one of the books that I will have to read for one of my English courses in the fall. I am overly excited about this course that I will read all of the books on the reading list before university begins again next September. I chose Vanity Fair as a part of my reading list because after reading two chapters, I am ecstatic to read this book. Vanity Fair is a satirical novel about a young social climber in Victorian England.

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggszombies

I began reading this book as an ebook in the fall. Then suddenly… lo and behold, I had required reading to do. It seems as if the reason why I don’t finish most books is not because I dislike it in any way. It is because I usually have to read something else for university in its place. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is very self explanatory when looking at the title. It is about a home for peculiar children with very peculiar gifts. The story has the same amount of quirkiness as a Tim Burton film, which coincidentally Burton directed the film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Until next time,

-Alice

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