1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
In the book market, there is an emerging trend called New Adult literature. Rainbow Rowell is leading the charge it seems. Rowell creates her own homage to Harry Potter called Simon Snow. While mentioning that, Cath and Wren are twins going to college. Cath writes her own fanfiction to the Simon Snow series. She is also a little socially awkward which is great to see in fiction that not everyone is gifted in socializing. You also get to see Cath and Wren drift apart which is something that sometimes happens. Rowell also published Eleanor and Park this year. I would also recommend that.
2. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher (2013)
Yes, it is as gimmicky as it sounds. It takes Star Wars and translates it to Early Modern English (not Old English). Doescher uses a Chorus. Shakespeare does use this in Henry V, and I cannot think of a better play to use. In addition to the Chorus, Doescher takes some of the famous speeches and intertwines them into the Star Wars story. Shakespeare might have even written Star Wars in this way if he lived in a galaxy far, far away. Oh and, R2-D2 has several asides and is given depth as a character thus fulfilling his and C-3PO’s roles as clowns. Just wait for my wonderful production of this play.
3. The Divergent series by Veronica Roth (2011, 2012, 2013)
I am including the three books into one slot. I know it sounds like a cop-out. Roth invited us to imagine Chicago in the future. Now, this was one of two controlled societies that I read this year. The other one was Matched and the first two chapters of Crossed. Roth had the better of the two. I really want to give away spoilers. But, I won’t. People are always looking for lessons within books to justify reading them. Consistently, Divergent and its sequels give the lesson of self-sacrifice starting in the first book. And, that is all I can say without getting too much into the plot.
4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (2013)
Yes, I really liked the feminist propaganda by a privileged white woman. I was even planning on writing a post about women in college student government. Yet, Sandberg gives readers an inside look to women in major companies. One thing that really stuck with me was the mentoring of people with less experience. It really does not matter where you are working. Everyone needs encouragement when starting something new. I did realize that this was needed. I knew that people needed other people for support. Women should be the ones supporting women. The age of the queen bee should be a thing of the past.
5. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (1598/1599)
I actually did not read the play. I watched it. That is the only way to really experience a play. I actually watched two versions of the play. The first was the David Tennant/Catherine Tate version, and the second was the Joss Whedon version. I love Shakespeare in general and have used this play to against Bard haters. Beatrice is a strong speaker along with Rosalind and Viola. Nothing is as it seems throughout the play. There is a masque in the play. This is only a foreshadow of things to come. Shakespeare uses illusions to make the entire play a masque of sorts.
6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005)
I read this book for a Contemporary Literature class earlier this year. So, I read half of the book for the first week and then, the second half. I, then, reread the book to remember everything. It is the story about the aftermath of 9/11. The protagonist is a 10 year old boy whose father died in the attacks. Yet, there was a subplot involving the grandmother who was from Dresden (yes, this Dresden). This book made it on the list because of what I did during the rereading. It includes a letter from the grandmother which ends with the grandmother asking herself if she should tell her sister that she loves her. I, then, Facebooked messaged everyone in my immediate family “I love you.” This was also the book that I was studying when I found out my grandfather had died. So, it is very important to me.