September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #1 ~ Top 10 Contemporary Books

I've been meaning to join this meme for quite a while now, and today I'm doing it! :) 

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic ~ Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught in Schools
(Clicking on the book titles will take you to Goodreads)

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver 
It's so beautiful and really makes you think about life and what it's all about. Something you need to think about when you're at that high school age but don't typically because you're young and invincible, right? Life is fragile, and the choices you make have consequences as Samantha finds out in this novel. Plus on top of all this, I couldn't stop thinking about this book for ages after I read it. It really stayed with me, and now I own it!! I had read it from the library. :) 

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I haven't read this book yet, but I've never read one negative review. It sounds like the kind of book that needs to be read. I think it would be perfect to be taught in school. I've heard what a phenomenal writing talent Mr. Green is.   

3. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Another book I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading. But I'm dying to get my hands on it, especially the more blog posts I read about it! I don't know if schools would have a problem with introducing this book into the curriculum due to homosexuality, and I'm sure some parent out there would complain about it. 

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Oh my! I've read this book twice so far, and I'll probably read it at least once every 6 months I swear! I think it captures the high school experience in such a way that everyone can relate whether you've been in those same situations or not. A truly well written and spot on novel.  

5. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
I'm not sure if this book would ever be considered a "classic" by English teacher standards, but I think it'd be a great book to teach in school. It's super cute, and the way it's written with each chapter alternating between the two main characters would give students an opportunity to read something fresh and different. 

6. Lucky by Alice Sebold
This book is graphic at times, but I think it'd be really important for high schoolers to read. I hate the idea of this happening period, but it does. That's the unfortunate reality to put it mildly. Rape can happen to anyone, no matter your gender, ethnicity, economic status, etc. It's a brave, bold novel that helped me understand the effects rape has on its victims.   

7. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay 
Haven't read this book, either, but it's waiting for me on my Kindle. It's one of those books that I'm like, Why the hell haven't I read this yet? It needs to be read asap!! It sounds like an emotionally poignant novel that would be interesting for students to read.  

8. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 
I haven't read this book, but I own it. I also have Wintergirls, which I'd love to see taught as well - I own a beautiful copy that's waiting patiently on my bookshelf to be read. I've read about how lyrical and real her writing is, and I'd love to see this taught in schools, not just from a reading standpoint but also from a writing fiction standpoint. 

9. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan 
I own this book and am going to read it fairly soon. It caused me to pick it up because there aren't too many books dealing with homosexuality, the Islamic religion, AND gender reassignment. 

10. Slammed by Colleen Hoover
 I own this book, but haven't read it yet. I've heard how emotionally gut wrenching it is, and I believe it also deals with grief issues. I think this would definitely catch the interest of high school students. 

Here's the thing about all of these books - I think it's important to encourage students to become life long readers, and if we don't offer books that are likely to catch their interest, it may not happen. Reading should be enjoyable, and I think it's fully possible to enjoy while you're reading as well as learn from the piece of literature you're reading. 

I also did last week's topic :) 
Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

1. The Weasley Twins from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling ~ They were hilarious and lightened the mood. I loved the pranks they pulled, and they proved to be loyal friends. 

2. Cinna from The Hunger Games  trilogy by Suzanne Collins ~ I remember not liking him much at first, but then I ended up loving him! When he tells Katniss, "I'm not allowed to bet, but if I could, I'd bet on you," I about melted! It was exactly what she needed to hear before stepping foot into that arena. Though Cinna lives in the Capitol, I think he understands how effed up their society is where they send off kids to die for other people's entertainment. And I loved the moment when he sees the mockingjay pin moment when he looks at Katniss and puts his finger to his lips.

3. Jonas from Intangible (Intangible #1) by J. Meyers ~ He really jumped off the pages for me! He's an incredibly intriguing and complex character, and I must admit I have a crush on him, lol. He even gets his own backstory in Indomitable (Intangible #0.75), which I really loved because I wanted to know more about him. It was as though J. Meyers read my mind when she wrote Indomitable. :)

4. Marmee from Little Women  by Louisa May Alcott ~ Marmee was the epitome of what a mother should be like. She was patient with her girls, strong in raising them while her husband was away at war and kind to those less fortunate than her family. She was so wise and taught her girls valuable lessons to navigate their way through life. I think of her as a very warm and nurturing mother. :) 

5. Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ~ A mysterious character who's slowly revealed with there being more to him than what you see on the outside, he's quite memorable. His very name is memorable! I don't think there are very many people who wouldn't know what you're talking about at the very mention of Boo Radley. 

6. "Mrs. Basil E" from Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan ~ Lily's great aunt, whom she nicknamed "Mrs. Basil E" is an awesome great aunt to have. She's wise and helps Lily out with the whole Dash situation. She stood out to me in the book and was so sweet and cute yet spunky, too. 

7. Jolie's mom from Date with the Dead (Ripsters #1) by Chris Myers ~ She can commune with the dead, yet is against Jolie joining the guild and is very secretive when it comes to Jolie's own powers. I really think she stands out because while she's secretive, she's also supportive of Jolie starting up her ghost hunting business plus she's all about helping spirits cross over into the light. If I had her abilities, I'd want to use them for good, too. 

8. Third from Barbie Girl (Baby Doll #1)  by Heidi Acosta ~ The friendship that struck up between Barbie and Third was so sweet and natural and made up for Dylan's jerkiness. Third is the comic relief and had me laughing throughout much of the book. He's a true and loyal friend to Barbie, and I love him for it!   

9. Amaliya's grandmother from the Pretty When She Dies series  by Rhiannon Frater ~ She's an unforgettable character who immediately knows Amaliya has been transformed into a vampire, and while she remains cautious, she doesn't abandon her granddaughter for anything. She's tough and a fighter, and I absolutely adore her. 

10. Joey from Speak Easy (Speak Easy #1)  by Melanie Harlow ~ I'm not really sure if you can consider him a secondary character, but since he didn't have a huge role in this first book (I suspect he'll appear in the second book prominently) I'm including him. He sounds super attractive, and it's so obvious he has a huge crush on Tiny. She's kind of pulled in two directions between him and Enzo. I can't decide whether I'm Team Joey or Team Enzo honestly. Enzo is dangerous and sexy, but Joey seems more stable and gets along so well with Tiny's sisters. When Joey made pancakes one morning, that was just adorable! Gotta love a guy who can cook. :)    


  1. Ooh nice picks all around! Haven't read these books. Saw a lot of these characters last week as well!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  2. Good list, I love Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in our Stars.

    1. Thanks! I can't wait to read The Fault in Our Stars - I haven't read any John Green books, and I am ashamed of myself, lol.

  3. I like that you chose a mix of books you've read and loved and books you can't wait to read. Enjoying reading isn't fostered enough in school. And I love the twins from Harry Potter and Cinna has to be my favorite character from The Hunger Games. Oh Cinna.

    1. I agree - I can't tell you how many of my friends plus my sister were turned off of reading by being forced to read books they had no interest in when they were in school. Wouldn't it be better to teach about books that kids find more relevant to today's society? I think so at least. :)

      I even developed a soft spot for Haymitch. ;)

    2. I saw a 6th grader carrying City of Bones with her at assembly today. I wanted to slap the table and talk books with her. Future book blogger. Maybe reading is a popular thing now and the teachers will have to work hard at making it suck.

      I was back and forth and back with Haymitch, but I love mentor characters and he was such a broken one that I loved him.

    3. That's awesome! It makes me so happy that a 6th grader was carrying it around. :)

      I didn't even like Haymitch at all at first. But he really grew on me when you see his vulnerable side and how obviously broken he is. You said it perfectly - he's broken.

  4. *coughs* Over-achiever! ;) I love all your choices for both lists, Jennifer. Okay, there were some I don't know on your list of secondary characters...3, 7 and 9. But otherwise, awesome choices! LOL Congrats on joining this meme. I always think I'll join too, but never find the time. :)

    1. LOL Brandee! It took me a week to write up this post, no lie! It was some work to think of the answers but a lot of fun at the same time. I can relate with trouble finding time, too. I'm starting to realize I'd probably just read and blog all day 24/7 if I could! ;D

  5. I love what you said about giving students books that will make them enjoy reading. A lot of my friends hated required reading in school because classics were the majority of the curriculum (and while I love classics, they don't work for everyone). They would have liked reading a lot more, I think, if there had been a balance.

    Boy Meets Boy and TFIOS would both be excellent books!! (And in regards to BMB, the fact that it features a homosexual protagonist would be all the more important- get something in the curriculum that doesn't feature the usual straight white male MC.) Speak and Perks were taught to some classes in my HS but not all- they're really fantastic books!

    Great list!!

    Sara at The Page Sage

    1. Same here - my sister and a bunch of my friends didn't like what we were required to read. Some of them, including me, found books we adored such as Flowers for Algernon, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I don't like all of the classics I've read so far, but a few of them were good to me.

      I agree totally about Boy Meets Boy. I think it would be really important to read a story from the point of view of a homosexual protagonist. Not only that, but I thought if there are any students struggling with coming out or figuring out their sexuality, maybe this book would give them courage and help them realize they aren't alone.

      Perks came out the year after I graduated from high school. I graduated in '99, and I think it came out in 2000? Maybe 2001? I have Speak, and it's high up there on my TBR list.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sara! :D

  6. Last week's list
    1.- My heart can't it, it's too soon to talk about them TT^TT
    2.- Cinna, YES!!
    6.- I loved Lilly's great aunt she is the type of quirky guides that give stories that extra something (at least for me)
    Sadly I can't talk about the other books because I haven't read them :(

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lil Berry! Aw, now I'm wondering what's happened with you and the Weasley twins. Oh Cinna, love him. :) I agree with you about giving stories that extra something, and Lily's great aunt definitely does. I recommend the other books - they're pretty good. :)

  7. I love that we get to pick your next read. You Rock! I hope you choose mine...


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