One of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to talk about books and hope that the habit of reading would someday change another person’s life as it did mine. Today being World Book Day, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the books that have made me who I am today to illustrate the power of literature. This isn’t a recommendations post as such, but if there’s one thing that I want you to take away from this is that stories have the potential to be the catalyst people need to make their lives better. I would urge you all to pick up a book today – any book – and give it a chance. Maybe it could be the one to improve your life the way the books mentioned below helped me.
Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: By W. W. Norton & Company on February 7th, 2017
ISBN13: 9780393609097 (US Hardcover edition)
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Adult science fiction
Published: By Podium Publishing on March 22nd, 2013
ISBN13: 9781785031137 (UK paperback edition)
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.
It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Young adult historical fantasy
Published: By Katherine Tegen Books on June 27th, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
(adapted from Goodreads)
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Young adult historical fiction
Published: By Philomel Books on February 2nd, 2016
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
(adapted from Goodreads)
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA sci-fi
Published: By Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
(adapted from Goodreads)
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.