In between all those fancy times I've been having, I've also been doing a little reading! Here are my most recent four:
Jessica Darling series by Meg McCafferty
One of my best friends, Rachel, got me hooked on the Jessica Darling series. The first book, Sloppy Firsts, is set in Jessica's junior year of high school, so it's a little bit more mature (okay, lots more mature) than your normal YA fare. The books are written journal style, all from Jessica's biting, sarcastic, painfully honest perspective, and the result is pure hilarity. It will more than just remind you of high school; it will remind you exactly what it felt like to be in high school. Second Helpings follows Jessica through her senior year (in which McCafferty literally perfectly captures into words the tangle of feelings you had upon high school graduation). The third through fifth books in the series follow Jessica through college and into the "real world" - Charmed Thirds is up next for me! P.S. Extra points for these books' swoon factor: there's a mysterious loner hottie you will obsess over.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Oh the down and dirty charms of the early 20th century traveling circus. This book has been super popular for a few years now, though I just now got around to hopping on the bandwagon. Narrated by Jacob Jankowski, our main character, it alternates between his current status as a 90-or-93-year-old nursing home patient and his memories from 70 years before when he first ran away with the circus. This book is just a great example of good storytelling. It draws you in, keeps your attention, makes you care about the characters, and comes to a completely satisfying full circle in the end. Added bonus: circus performers! The movie (starring your man crush Rob Pattison and your girl crush Reese Witherspoon) comes out this Friday, so read it quick, folks!
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
This classic German novella describing the demise of a famous author is somewhat autobiographical to Thomas Mann himself. While this certainly wouldn't be considered a "beach read" and was slightly laborious to get through, we had some great discussions about it at book club, just last night. It's a creepily foreboding story of a normally disciplined and controlled man slipping into passionate abandon, all set in the romantically mysterious city of Venice, peppered with about 100 allusions to Greek mythology: in other words, an English major's dream. Added bonus: vocabulary booster! I didn't know what about 20% of the words used in this book even meant!
My previous book recommendations found here.