Authors I Love: John Green

Good morning readers, it’s Tuesday!

I decided to start a little series about authors I love so I can promote the good vibes. Books are totally a word of mouth business and I am anxious to get the word out on some great writers that people might be missing out on. Also, this is a great opportunity for me to gush about people I love. And I’m a gusher.

The first author will come as no surprise to those who know me well. I’m mildly obsessed with John Green. I stumbled upon Green’s work via his YouTube channel. I had just graduated from Xavier and wanted to be a writer, but felt like the whole writing thing was unaccessible until I saw his work with his brother Hank on vlogbrothers. He brings a hilarious, zany energy to his videos that range from silly things like giraffe sex to serious things like Thoughts from Places or educational things like helping me understand the sequester. Also, he’s an engaged author and interacts with people via his Twitter, Tumblr, and Ustream often.

But it’s the books that really made me fall in love with him. His first three that came out I all really enjoyed, especially Looking for Alaska which has one of my favorite lines in fiction. He won the Printz award for the book and it’s held in a high esteem. His other two books, An Abundance of Katherines  and Paper Towns have the trademark Green hilarity and intelligence. I recommend all of them. The YA genre gets a bad rap sometimes because it’s too emo or too flighty, but his work does not fit that stereotype in the least.

Then came The Fault in Our Stars. It currently sits on my ‘favorites’ shelf in my room. It’s a beautiful book, and I’m apparently not the only one who thought that, seeing as it made numerous top 10 lists and was named Time’s best book of the year. The story of Hazel, who has terminal cancer, and the boy she meets, Augustus, is one I still think about often (always the sign of a good book). Hazel is a charming narrator and you can’t help but love her, but there’s a twinge of pain to that love because you know her time is limited. That’s what makes this story so beautiful and so full of light despite the depressing subject matter.

I feel like every rave review I give the book does not do it justice. I simply put it in the hands of my friends and have them read it. I’ve recommended the book to loads of people and none of them were disappointed.

So what are you doing reading this post? Go pick up some of Green’s work. You’ll breeze through it and at the end be thankful you did.

A finished draft and fun links

It’s been kinda quiet here in my little corner of cyberspace, but I’m emerging from my writer cave to say that I am finished with my draft! Holla!

dave grohl

It’s a pretty good feeling to be done, I won’t lie. If I can toot my own horn here for a second, this is my sixth ‘first draft’ of a novel. That’s an encouraging number. Realistically though, lot of stuff gets abandoned after first drafts, at least for me. Now the real challenge comes in making the subsequent drafts better. This is where I stumble.

So I’ll be taking a break from my draft in order to come back to it with fresh eyes. I should give it a cutesy little nickname based of it’s title but I am terrible at titling my own things, so for now I’m just going to call it A. And no, it’s not a reference to one of my favorite guilty pleasures, Pretty Little Liars (the tv show). In the mean time, I might edit some other things or start something new. I haven’t decided. I’ll go back to it soon though because my next workshop starts in a month. AHHH.

Anyways, I thought I’d link to some other cool book things. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

June Reads

It’s July 1st! The year is halfway over! It’s also Big East Day! HOORAY.

So far in my infant blog I’ve written a lot about writing, but not so much about reading, the other all important component to being a writer. Since June is over, I thought I would update with the four books I read this month. First, the two fiction books.

My friend Cassie gave me this book last fall and she completely raved about it. She’s got wonderful taste, but I didn’t dive in right away. The size was a little intimidating. It’s like one of those books you have to prepare for. Slowly, I began reading it, taking my time with it, soaking it all in. Verghese’s prose is beautiful, even when he’s throwing down medical terminology left and right. The most captivating thing is the story— how epic it is, how it sweeps over multiple years, multiple continents, and multiple lives. The ending though, oh my goodness. My emotions were all over the place. At times I could predict part of the plot, and other times it threw me for a loop. Verghese doesn’t shy away from the reality of life and the reality of medicine. Also, I learned a lot about Ethiopia, which was super interesting.

Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

Here we go again with authors toying with my emotions. This book was incredibly sad throughout. I should really know better by now, too, because Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner which is not exactly a pick-me-up sort of book. And he’s not writing about people living in the best of circumstances, either.

Despite the fact that I was so saddened by some of these stories, I really liked the book. I loved the rotating perspectives, and of course the brother and sister story woven through the novel was my favorite. And though the ending was not all sunshine and rainbows, there was a beautiful sense of satisfaction to it.

Hosseini is kind of a blockbuster author, and while that’s good for him because his stories are moving and wonderful, I think his talents as a writer are overlooked. He does such a wonderful job of evoking the tone of a story, of making the setting spring from the pages, and of making you feel.

Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

After all the depressing reading, I decided to switch gears and read some nonfiction for a change.

Klosterman is an old standby for me, getting me to laugh and getting me to think. Eating the Dinosaur is another collection of essays delivered in a unique format that touches on all sorts of pop culture and sports subjects. Even if I’m not always interested in the topic at hand, I’ll still read that particular piece. Klosterman is so smart and so wildly opinionated (and in a few instances a little out there, which I love). This provided the perfect break from all the emotional reading.

Goodreads review: 4/5 stars, I liked it, but Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is still my favorite. It made me excited for his new collection of essays!

This was the first book I read on my iPad. I know, I know, I myself am shocked, especially since I’ve been so hesitant to try eReaders. Well, I have no excuse now. It really was so incredibly simple. I decided I wanted to read it, I downloaded the preview on my iPad, liked it, then bought it and read it in three days. I have a feeling this might be bad for my compulsive book buying habit.

Anyways, back to the book itself. I’ve read Jacobs’ other books (Drop Dead Healthy and The Year of Living Biblically which I highly recommend even if you are not religiously inclined) and decided to finally learn about his time reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. I’m so glad I did, too. Jacobs is self-depricating, but also charming, even when he’s being obnoxious in his real life endeavors to test his knowledge. Where the book really shines is when he connects it to his real life, such as his relationship with his father, and where he can draw conclusions about our world from the encyclopedia, which are both deep and irreverent.

Goodreads rating: 4/5, though if I could give half stars, I would have gone 4.5. It was the perfect escapist read without being a dumb read.

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That’s all for this month. What have you been reading? Anything you’d recommend?