I know. I know. I know.
I missed October’s Re(ad)commendations, and the sheer guilt of it has been plaguing me ever since. Seeing as my personal motto is “work smart, not hard”, I’ll make it up to you with this article that has been specially designed to incorporate both last month’s as well as this month’s book recommendations. Two birds one stone and such. Without further delay (because you’ve already waited over a month), let’s get started.
1. The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
By: Kody Keplinger
When to read it: When you’re looking for an easy read, perfect for winter days when it’s way too col for your brain to struggle through something more… academic, per-say.
What it’s about: As an overly cynical teenage girl, Bianca has a plethora of issues, including problems at home she needs a distraction from. Along comes Wesley Rush, a perfectly swoon-worthy, self-entitled asshole. Instead of merely bothering her with his presence, he calls her “The DUFF”, and introduces her to his intricate plan that should end with Wesley hooking up with Bianca’s much more physically attractive friends. However, his plan goes awry, as most plans do. Wesley and Bianca become friends with benefits, and the rest pretty much follows any other story about these types of relationships (refer to the films “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits”). Very typical, very lighthearted, and very “not worth the buy but still worth the read”.
By: Roald Dahl
When to read it: When you want to relive your childhood and question why you ever decided to take your boxed set of Roald Dahl classics off the bookshelf.
What it’s about: Matilda is an extraordinary girl in a not-so-extraordinary family. Despite being raised amongst the sleazy Wormwoods who spend more time in front of the television than the modern teenager, Matilda managed to nurture an intelligence far beyond her years. She taught herself to read, perusing Dickens, Hemingway, and Twain, all by the tender age of four. The story follows Matilda as she uses her intellect for revenge, pulling pranks on her well-deserving parents, as well as her cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Yes I’m aware that this is a “children’s book”, but it’s far better than the 50 Shades of Grey nonsense found on grown-up bookshelves these days anyways.
*Edit: I re-read this Re(ad)commendation, and was unimpressed with how badly it “sold the book”. Quite truthfully, the amazingness of Matilda and the amount of my childhood it embodied cannot be encompassed within my words. Sorry Dahl.
3. The Glass Castle
By: Jeannette Walls
When to read it: Whenever. Seriously, just read it at any time of the day, as long as you read it. I mean, look at the first sentence: “I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.” TELL ME YOU AREN’T CURIOUS. I DARE YOU.
What it’s about: Jeannette Walls and her three siblings were raised by their unusual, and quite frankly, totally irresponsible parents. Their father was brilliant when he wasn’t busy being an alcoholic, and their mother was way too self-absorbed in her art to even bother being a mother. Their family moved from town to town, lived from paycheck to paycheck, and yet they remained impressively loyal to each other. Jeannette narrates the story and spins tales of neglect and poverty that’ll make your heart leap out of your throat and your brain cringe like there’s no tomorrow. Like a car crash, it’s impossible to look away but horrific to keep looking, and I believe that’s what makes this book such a fantastic read.
4. Love & Misadventure
By: Lang Leav
When to read it: When you’re blissfully head over heels in love or freshly broken up with. Either one works.
What it’s about: This collection of short, twitter-length poems are about…Love & Misadventure. That bit was pretty evident in the title. Some might find these poems to be too syrupy sweet and cavity-inducing, but in the end, the 4.18 Goodreads rating speaks for itself. Leav’s poems are relatable solely because they’re about feelings that have been felt by everyone at some point or another, whether they’d like to admit it or not. Also, the poems are catchy and they rhyme. Kind of like writing poems in third-grade English class… but not. Just read the following poem and you’ll see what I mean.
There is nothing more nice,
there is nothing much worser;
than me as your vice
and you as my versa.
Sure, you might argue that it practically has no content whatsoever, but that’s the point. This collection of poems simply serves to vaguely capture feelings in the most whimsical of ways.
BONUS ANTI-RE(AD)COMMENDATION, OR WHATEVER THE OPPOSITE OF “RE(AD)COMMENDATION” IS
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By: Stephen Chbosky
*Disclaimer: I just wanted to insert this “Anti-Re(ad)commendation” because I’ve been feeling rather cynical as of late (what’s new), and also I just really don’t like this book. The rest of the article is just me trying to be witty as I rant about how much I dislike the book, so feel free to stop reading if you believe your time is better wasted elsewhere.
When to read it: Preferably never. Admittedly, I read this book three times (three times too many, if you ask me), each time wondering whether or not I would find it in myself to enjoy it. Evidently, I did not.
What it’s about: This book comes in the form of letters from a boy named Charlie to an anonymous receiver. It’s the 90’s, and Charlie writes about his experience in high school, and through his writing, we the reader are allowed tiny glimpses into his past. Mind you, due to the extreme lack of detail, the glimpses were very tiny. Miniscule, even. To be honest, I didn’t even know what was going on throughout the book. It seemed as if I was punched in the head with a serious case of bad writing and as a result, I was extremely disoriented throughout the reading of it. The book covered everything: abortion, rape, drug use, underage drinking, homosexuality, autism, and a whole ton of references to other pieces of literature. I don’t think “covered” is the appropriate term to use, since the book “covered” the topics like a crop top covers the body: barely so. Now I know this novel has an extremely large fan base that will probably try to hunt me down and murder me, but I’ll stay true to my opinions. Plus I think the fans are only “fans” because (the very attractive) Logan Lerman’s in the movie adaptation, and also because they find some sort of deep, profound meaning in the quote “We accept the love we think we deserve”. Or the other really famous one, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite”, which I don’t think is an actual feeling, but to each his own.
And with that, I metaphorically put my hands in the air and feebly surrender my opinions to the ravenous mob of Chbosky devotees.