I'm definitely one of those people who walk into Barnes & Noble and rush to the best seller shelf at the front of the store. What can I say? I'm a sucker for consumerism — books about to become major motion pictures, books I read about in magazines, or books that reach that magic shelf in Barnes & Noble are typically the first to catch my eye. But I figure the books are on that list for a reason and they always wind up being incredible reads.
So as I walked into Barnes & Noble this Friday to find some new reads, I wandered over to that shelf and afterward, found myself purchasing two awesome books: The Perks of Being a Wallflower and On the Island. I'll be adding these books to my summer reading list (the first post on this new blog) as they contribute to my goal of reading at least 20 books this summer (these are books seventeen and eighteen). In bullet style, I'll share some facts about the books as well as things I really liked about them in the hopes that you'll add them to your reading lists!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- Although I know this book used to be super popular, I saw it make its reappearance on the Barnes & Noble best seller shelf a few months ago and from its cover discovered it's about to becoming a "major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson."
- I remember my friend telling me awhile ago that she really liked this book and I typically like books that are about to become movies. However, a few months ago I decided I'd wait on this one because I had some other books in mind. A few days ago a friend said "Did you see that new movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower that's coming out? It looks so funny." As I meandered back to that shelf I saw the book was still sitting there and decided it was time to pick it up.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an easy read as its told in a series of letters written by Charlie to an anonymous friend. We never find out who this friend is, but through Charlie's letters we learn about Charlie's life and his journey through his freshman year of high school.
- Charlie is so observant about everything. I think people who are readers will really enjoy this book because although Charlie is a little strange, we can all relate to him in some way. As his good friend says, "He's a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand."
- The back cover and other readers have compared this book to The Catcher in the Rye. Charlie and his commentary on life did remind me a lot of Holden Caulfield.
- Nothing major happens in the book, but Charlie does meet a new group of friends, fall in love, and experiment with sex, drugs, and alcohol. It is his comical observations that made me want to keep reading without putting the book down.
- By the end of the book you find out why Charlie often needs to see therapists and he tells the friend he is writing to that if he doesn't hear from him it is a good thing because sophomore year Charlie hopes to "participate" more in life as his English teacher suggested, rather than stand on the sidelines.
- I definitely recommend this book for a simple summer read.
On the Island by Tracy Garvis Graves
- Like the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this is the first book Tracy Garvis Graves has written. What really attracted me to this book was both the cover and title.
- What's neat about this novel is that it's a New York Times bestseller, but you find out from the author's letter at the end of the novel that she self-published and that this was "truly a word-of-mouth book."
- I really enjoyed this novel, especially because it is told from two points of view, Anna Emerson's and T.J. Callahan's.
- Anna starts off as a thirty-year old English teacher, while T.J. is a sixteen-year-old boy whose cancer is in remission.
- Anna's relationship with her boyfriend is suffering, so she decides to tutor T.J., who needs to catch up on missed schoolwork from his illness, at his families' summer home on a tropical island in the Maldives.
- When the private plane Anna and T.J. board crashes somewhere in the middle of the ocean, they swim to an uninhabited island and are forced to make a new life there together.
- Nature provides them with a series of dangers such as sharks, jellyfish, bats, mosquitos, lack of rainwater, and coconuts that are hard to crack open until some of their suitcases wash up on shore.
- Although T.J. starts off as a boy, as the novel progresses he becomes a man and the novel follows the relationship that Anna and T.J. build while on the island. I loved the tension between the two characters as they decide between their feelings and social norms.
- This novel is definitely a great beach read and the author's letter made it seem like there was also talk of this one becoming a film.
- Her blog can be found here: http://www.traceygarvisgraves.com/
As always, thank you to my readers; this new blog is growing each day because of you and has just reached 200 page views! I look forward to providing my readers with new opportunities (guest posts, contests, etc) when the blog gets big enough, so if you enjoy some of these posts please feel free to follow my blog at the bottom of the page or recommend it to friends.
I hope you guys add these two to your piles and happy reading :)!
by paul bica