A Novel Idea: My book beginnings 

0
24


Most of what I read (for enjoyment, anyways) is in the young adult (YA) genre, but recently, I’ve been trying to branch out and expand my horizons to classics, adult fiction and nonfiction.   Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.com

Most of what I read (for enjoyment, anyways) is in the young adult (YA) genre, but recently, I’ve been trying to branch out and expand my horizons to classics, adult fiction and nonfiction. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.com

I realized that I never truly gave this column or myself a proper introduction, so hopefully this week makes up for that as I feature some of my favorite books as of right now. Key word: Some, because I’m indecisive, and I’m not given enough words to truly capture all that I would want to. Most of what I read (for enjoyment, anyways) is in the young adult (YA) genre, but recently, I’ve been trying to branch out and expand my horizons to classics, adult fiction and nonfiction. 

Beginner Books: “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins 

I’m putting these two books together because I consider both of them as pivotal in developing my love for reading but for different reasons. Like any book nerd, Hogwarts and the Golden Trio’s adventures have a special place in my heart. I only wish that I had read the series when I was older, so as to appreciate all the aspects of the story at the level they deserve. As enchanting as the stories were when I was six years old, a lot of finer details flew right over my head, and it was only until reading many analyses on Tumblr and rereading the series multiple times that I could understand all it had to offer. In short, “Harry Potter” is what ignited my reading obsession and I am forever grateful. 

In comparison, “The Hunger Games” is what I consider to be the book that elevated my love of reading from that of enjoyment to that of more in-depth understanding and analysis. It was the first book that I literally had to put down because I was so impacted by the themes and underlying narrative, and I knew that I actually had the capacity to understand them. I know some people think the trilogy is overrated, but there truly is merit in the series’ intellectual themes. 

Jack of All Trades: “Six of Crows” series by Leigh Bardugo 

Bardugo’s YA fantasy heist novel checks off all of the boxes for me: It’s got a brilliantly intricate and well-executed plot, prose that is alluring yet uncomplicated, wonderfully colorful characterization and character relationships and a fantastical story world. Moreover the print copies are gorgeous. I can find no fault with the series, except that I wish that there were more of them. Thank goodness there’s going to be a Netflix series about the books. In all seriousness, I did like the Grisha trilogy, but Bardugo only improved upon her writing style and skills to create this masterpiece. At this point, anything she releases is on my must-read list. 

Poignant Prose: “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” trilogy by Laini Taylor and “The Winner’s Curse” trilogy by Marie Rutkoski 

If “The Hunger Games” was my gateway book into a higher understanding of the literary world, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” an urban fantasy about angels and demons, was my key to truly appreciating words as, well, words. Taylor is a master storyteller, can string together the most lyrical collection of words and interweave the most obscure story details (blue hair, teeth that grant wishes) into a work of art. 

“The Winner’s Curse” contains equally exquisite prose with two equally introspective and complex protagonists, as well as a very well-developed story world. Each book in the series is better than the last, and trying to compile all the quotes that I like is fruitless because I would end up writing full passages. 

Cream of the Character Crop: “The Lunar Chronicles” by Marissa Meyer and “The Raven Cycle” by Maggie Stiefvater 

These series offer some of the most wholesome and well-developed characters. If you asked me to rank my favorite characters from these books, I certainly would not be able to choose. Meyer and Stiefvater flesh out their main cast and supporting characters with scarily realistic characterization, even in their fantastical settings. In the same vein, the authors create very realistic and comprehensive relationships between the characters. They don’t just relegate the relationships to that of a romantic nature but make sure that the characters have developed and meaningful connections with the whole cast. 

Honorable Mentions (because I could write pages about more books): “Fire” and “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore, “Vicious” and “Vengeful” by V.E. Schwab, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Circe” and “Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller.


Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hollianne.lao@uconn.edu.

Leave a Reply