Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mandy's Book List: Volume 1

"And we danced too wild, and we sang too long, and we hugged too hard, and kissed too sweet, and threw back our heads and howled just as loud as we wanted to howl, because by now we were all old enough to know that what looks like crazy on an ordinary day looks a lot like love if you catch it in the moonlight."

- Pearl Cleage

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I just finished my 20th book in the Peace Corps. I have never read this much. Thank you J.K. Rowling for helping to show me that reading can be fun. It doesn't matter that I figured this out as a 17-year-old while reading Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone for the very first time. Ronald Weasley, you still have my heart. Out of the 20 books I have read, here are my top 5. I think you should check them out if you haven't read them already.

Mandy's Top 5 Books (September 1, 2012 - January 24, 2013):

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: This is the true story of how Cheryl hiked the Pacific Crest Trail all by herself (and with zero experience). It's not only about the interesting people she met, but what she learned from the experience. Aside from Josephine March (in Little Women), I have never felt more connected to a character in a story. I have added seeing the Pacific Crest Trail to my list of "things Mandy needs to do before she dies".

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage This is a story of Ava Johnson who moves back to her hometown in Michigan after being diagnosed with HIV. She is hoping to spend a quiet summer with her family, when she realizes that all of the problems that she tried to run away from are alive and well in the sleepy Michigan town. On top of this, she is beginning to fall in love.

3. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer This is the true story of an adventure into the wilderness of Alaska. If you have seen the movie, I actually recommend the book more. Krakauer is a literary genius and I love the way he writes.

4. Vagabonding: An uncommon guide to the art of long-term world travel by Rolf Potts "Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life- from six weeks to four months to two years - to discover and experience the world on your own terms." This book gives you the necessary information to: finance your travel, determine your destination, adjust to life on the road, work and volunteer overseas, handling traveling adversity, and re-assimilating back to ordinary life." It's just awesome and makes me want to spend every summer or break from here until I retire traveling.

5. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman One of my (many) dreams in life is to live near or on the ocean. I have a huge love of sailboats and lighthouses. This is the story of a man whose job is to tend to a lighthouse out on a rocky island off the coast of Australia. It's a lonely job, as he is not allowed to go back to the mainland and supplies are brought to him every few months by a little boat (weather permitting). He thinks he will never fall in love, but then ends up doing just that. One night a boat washes ashore and inside of it he finds a man (who is dead) and a baby (who is not)... he and his bride are then faced with a huge decision that ultimately effects the rest of their lives.

Honorable Mention:
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness This is not your typical witch/vampire book. It is also not a true story. Though I sort of wish it was. The main character is a decendent of one of the witches from the Salem witch trials. She does not want to be a witch, but cannot deny her power. She works at a university and one day when she recalls a book from the library she gets more than what she bargained for. It's also a love story. I love love love stories.

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