5 Books Being Released in 2016 that You Should Get Excited About

5 Books Being Released in 2016 that You Should Get Excited About

Because reading is so 'in' right now.

There are so many amazing things about the month of January (besides just my birthday, wink wink!). New year, new you! New fitness fads to obsess over, new friends to be made, new internships to apply to, new fashion trends to become a slave to... and perhaps best of all... *drumroll*... new books to be read! Even if you're not the reading type, here are five books being released in 2016 that you should get excited about!

1. "Zero K" by Don DeLillo

Cue Ross, an older billionaire. His younger wife, Artis, is dying. Ross has invested in an enigmatic compound at which death is controlled; the human bodies are then preserved until advances in the fields of biomedicine and technology can bring them back to live a better life. Ross's son, Jeff, goes to this compound with Ross and Artis to send Artis's body off to this intriguing, sci-fi world.

If this book sounds interesting to you, you’d probably also like: "White Noise" by Don DeLillo

2. "Black Deutschland" by Darryl Pinckney

A gay, black man name Jed who is now out of rehab for alcoholism leaves his hometown of Chicago behind in favor of Berlin, Germany. However, not even running away to a new country can keep the haunting of his past at bay. In the age of Reagan and AIDS, he gets caught up in passionate romances, battles with his ever-present feelings of being an outsider, and coming to terms with his disenchantment with the city of Berlin. Jed discovers his self-identity, with all of the complexities that come along with that. Somewhere between the melancholy of the past and the excitement of the future, does the protagonist find himself.

If this book sounds interesting to you, you’d probably also like: "High Cotton" by Darryl Pinckney

3. "The Association of Small Bombs" by Karan Mahajan

This is a story of the aftermath of terrorism, not only on the victims, but also on the perpetrators, themselves. Two brothers in Delhi, Tushar and Nakul Khurana, go with their friend Manor Ahmed to pick up the brothers' family television that had just been repaired. The year is 1996, and a small bomb detonates while they are in the marketplace, killing the brothers—but Mansoor survives. Mansoor later attends a university in America, but then returns to Delhi, where he falls in love with a young activist named Ayub. Throughout this story, we are also shown the effects of the terrorism for not only both the Khurana and Ahmed families, but also for Shockie, a bomb maker who has offered up his life to seek independence for his homeland.

If this book sounds interesting to you, you’d probably also like: "Family Planning" by Karan Mahajan

4. "The Portable Veblen" by Elizabeth McKenzie

This humorous novel stems around a young engaged couple who find their relationship falling apart. While Veblen is not really doing much with her life at the moment, her husband is advancing in the field of neurology. He becomes involved with developing a way to minimize battlefield brain trauma which would lead to a great deal of fame, while Veblen tries to keep everyone—and everything—together. Between coping with romantic attention from other suitors and dealing with dysfunctional families, the world is not an easy place to live for our protagonists. Themes such as what we really desire from a love relationship, and what the true definition of family is, are woven throughout the novel.

If this book sounds interesting to you, you’d probably also like: "MacGregor Tells the World" by Elizabeth McKenzie

5. "All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation" by Rebecca Traister

This feminist book follows the history of unmarried women in America who have highly influenced our country in a wide variety of ways. Even if it appears to be a new trend that women are marrying later, or perhaps even never at all, Traister has uncovered that this is nothing new. Class, sexual orientation, race, and other factors—and what these aspects in combination with lack of marriage mean for America—are examined in great detail.

If this book sounds interesting to you, you’d probably also like: "Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" by Rebecca Traister

Happy reading!

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I Stalked The Carells Around UMich Campus, And I'd Do It Again

Elisabeth Carell, you should DEFINITELY go blue.

Last Monday, I was sitting in lecture with three of my friends when we first heard the rumor: "Somebody just told me that they heard Steve Carell is coming to campus tomorrow." What?? No, way. I could not stop thinking about how cool it would be if I met him.

Unsure of why he was coming, we asked the girl, and she then told us that he was apparently touring the school with his daughter. She heard it from someone who heard it from a tour guide. We were aware that the Carells were touring University of Wisconsin that day, so it made perfect sense that they were coming to Michigan next.

I got home from class and did what any Steve Carell fan would do: binge-watch The Office. After doing so, I was even more determined to make it my mission to meet him. My two friends, Grace and Katherine, were just as determined as I, and the three of us started to devise a plan.

"What if we sign up for the tour?!" suggested Grace. We decided to go with this genius idea. We logged on and realized there were still open spots on the tour, so the three of us used our high school emails, fake names, and signed ourselves up!

The next morning we woke up at the crack of dawn, the eager Steve Carell fan girls that we were, and headed to the Student Activities Building where the pre-tour presentation was. We sit down in a room with about 60 people and listen to a woman go on and on about how to apply to the school we already got into, and statistics about the school that we already attend.

I wasn't paying any attention, for I was looking around the room for Steve! That's when my friend Katherine leaned into my ear and said "Steve is sitting DIRECTLY behind us." My jaw dropped, my heart started beating faster with excitement, and I caught a glimpse of Steve Carell out of my peripheral vision when turning to look at her.

OH.MY.GOD. I could not believe I was sitting ten inches in front of a legend. It was the best 45 minutes long presentation of my life, and I simply could not wait to hop on his tour.

But then....a plot twist. Steve, Nancy, and their two kids left the presentation a few minutes early, and we soon realized they were going on a PRIVATE TOUR!!

Our plan was officially ruined. We had thought out conversations to have with his daughter to become friends with her, and jokes to drop on the tour that we thought Steve would appreciate, but all of that was out the window now. We had no chance of getting on his tour and we only had one option left.

We had to stalk him.

We immediately ditched our tour group (which we never had any real interest of going on anyway) to follow the Carell family. We kept a distance, for we didn't want them to know they were being followed.

For a while, it was just Katherine, Grace and I following them everywhere they went. We felt like true spies. We even asked Steve if we could get a photo with him, but he was deeply focused on the tour guide, and respectfully declined.

We continued to follow the Carells for about another hour, but more and more students began to catch on and, as the news of them being on campus spread, our posse grew.

We finally decided to leave the Carells alone once the tour ended, and they had hundreds of students following them. Part of me felt bad that there were so many people stalking them, but I'm sure they are used to it by now.

I can honestly say that it was one of the most exciting and adventurous days I've had at Michigan so far, and I can only hope that Elisabeth chooses to be a Wolverine so I can do it all again on Parents Weekend.

Cover Image Credit: Flannery O'Donnell

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Without R2D2, The Events Of Star Wars Would Never Have Happened

R2D2 is the unsung hero of the Star Wars franchise.

To say I'm a Star Wars fan is an understatement. My parents grew up on Star Wars and implemented their love for the franchise into my brother and me at a very young age. Movie nights in my family consisted of a wood burning fire, buttered popcorn. and binge-watching the original Star Wars trilogy, until my younger brother and I inevitably fell asleep on the couch. That night, I'd dream of becoming a Jedi like Luke Skywalker, flying around in space like Han Solo and being a badass woman like Leia.

Recently, while driving in the car with my boyfriend (who is also an avid Star Wars fanatic), he mentioned that although R2D2, Luke's robotic companion, is wonderful comedic relief, he didn't add much functionality to the overall plotline of the trilogy. I thought it over and realized that although my boyfriend is wonderful, on this front he is absolutely and irrevocably wrong.

My argument is this: Without R2D2, the entire Star Wars trilogy would never have happened.

Now, this sounds pretty weird, but bear with me, and I can tell you exactly why.

The backstory for R2D2 is pretty generic, which is why his capabilities within the movies are so amazing. R2D2 was manufactured as a maintenance droid for Queen Amadala's ship, a droid with basic capabilities When Queen Amadala and Anakin Skywalker were married, Amadala gave R2D2 to Anakin as a gift to keep him company on his adventures during the Clone Wars.

Later, after Anakin becomes Darth Vader, R2D2 stays on the light side, working alongside Senator Organa, and then with the resistance as a droid on Princess Leia's ship. This is the beginning of the original Star Wars movie, "A New Hope," and where everything important really happens.

At the beginning of "A New Hope," we watch Princess Leia try to deliver her message to Obi-Wan Kenobi by way of the droid. Although this is a valiant effort by the princess, there are a few problems with this plan.

1. The resistance has no idea if Obi-Wan Kenobi is even alive, let alone where he is

2. There are millions upon millions of miles of the galaxy to search in order to find Obi-Wan

and 3. Princess Leia's whole plan is based on relying on two droids to find an ancient Jedi Master, and convincing him to take on The Empire singlehandedly.

By the grace of the Force (and the magic of cinematic writing), R2D2 and C3PO miraculously land on the planet of Tatooine, a desolate, sand-covered planet home to Banthas, Jawas, and many other species, including humans. Once landing on Tatooine, R2 and C3PO are bought by Luke Skywalker to help with the harvest on his Uncle Owen's farm. This leads to one of the pivotal moments in the movie, when Luke Skywalker discovers Leia's hidden message to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Intrigued by the message, and the beautiful girl crying for help, Luke goes to his family for advice on what his next steps should be, only to be told to wipe the droid's memory by his Uncle Owen. And so, like the clueless teenager he is, Luke goes to comply, only to find that the little blue droid is missing from the workshop. R2D2 has set out on his own to find the missing Jedi.

Although this may not seem like that big of a deal, we have to keep in mind R2D2's history, and specifically, his purpose during his creation. He was originally intended to be a maintenance droid, and therefore, is mainly focused on fixing things that are broken around him. Namely, the resistance against the tyrannous Empire.

The resistance is falling apart. Princess Leia has just been abducted by Darth Vader, the Jedi Order has all but disappeared, and the Rebels' last hope lies in the memory of a maintenance droid they have sent out into the galaxy. R2D2 realizes how dire their situation is, and sets off to complete his mission, and find Obi-Wan Kenobi. He rolls off into the desert of Tatooine, determined to find Obi-Wan, and fix the broken rebellion.

Eventually, R2D2 finds Obi-Wan with a little help from Luke Skywalker and sets the events of the rest of the series in motion. Luke realizes his destiny, and sets out to help Obi-Wan save the rebellion. But without the initiative of one little maintenance droid, the resistance would have been all but destroyed. Because of the utter incompetence of the humans around him, R2 realizes that he must take matters into his own hands, so to speak, and ensure that hope can be restored to the resistance.

Although Luke, Leia, and Han Solo may be the heroic faces of this epic franchise, their stories would never have been put into motion without the initiative of a little droid trying to do what he does best: fix what's broken, and effectively, save a revolution.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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