58 Books To Ring In the New Year

58 Book Recommendations To Kick Off The New Year

Included are all of the books I read this year that you should check out before your next trip to the bookstore

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I made it an unofficial goal for 2018 to read 52 books. To jumpstart this, my mom and I started a competition with each other to see who could read the most books in 2018. My end count ended up being 58, but my mom won with a little over 70. I attribute my loss to being a full-time student and part-time employee, but it could also be that my mom is just a faster reader than I am. Anyhow, I thought I would include the entirety of the books I read along with my rating out of 5 stars so that perhaps you can kickstart your 2019 reading list.

"Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel; 4/5

"Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink" by Anthony McCarten; 5/5

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini; 5/5

"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield; 4/5

"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins; 5/5

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury; 5/5

"The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls; 5/5

"Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn; 5/5

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn; 4/5

"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood; 3/5

"Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut; 3/5

"The Bhagavad Gita"; 4/5

"The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World" by Joni Seager; 4/5

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini; 5/5

"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart; 4/5

"Salem Falls" by Jodi Picoult; 5/5

"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty; 5/5

"The Basic Eight" by Daniel Handler; 4/5

"More Than This" by Patrick Ness; 3/5

"Mosquitoland" by David Arnold; 4/5

"Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters; 2/5

"Never Let Me Go" by Kazoo Ishiguro; 4/5

"I'm Thinking of Ending Things" by Iain Reid; 3/5

"Turn of Mind" by Alice LePlante; 4/5

"Being Peace" by Thich Naht Hanh; 5/5

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck; 4/5

"Paper Towns" by John Green; 5/5

"Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief" by James Alexander Thom; 3/5

"Turtles All the Way Down" by John Green; 5/5

"This is Where it Ends" by Marieke Niijkamp; 4/5

"Niki's Honor" by Laila Anwarzai Ayoubi; 4/5

"Passover Haggadah"; 3/5

"Girl in Pieces" by Kathleen Glasgow; 4/5

"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed; 5/5

"The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath; 4/5

"Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng; 5/5

"The Sun and Her Flowers" by Rupi Kaur; 5/5

"Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster" by Jon Krakauer; 5/5

"Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer; 5/5

"Someday, Someday Maybe" by Lauren Graham; 4/5

"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware; 3/5

"Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman; 5/5

"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler; 4/5

"Uglies" by Scott Westerfield; 4/5

"The Color Purple" by Alice Walker; 5/5

"Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert; 5/5

"The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman; 4/5

"The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology" by Thich Naht Hanh; 5/5

"Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell; 5/5

"The Knife of Never Letting Go" by Patrick Ness; 5/5

"The Ask and the Answer" by Patrick Ness; 5/5

"All the Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven; 4/5

"The Alice Network" by Kate Quinn; 5/5

"I Was Here" by Gayle Forman; 4/5

"Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare; 5/5

"Anatomy of a Misfit" by Andrea Portes; 3/5

"It's Kind of a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini; 5/5

"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell; 5/5

I know I have a lot of 4 and 5 stars here, but most of the books I read this year were really good. My favorite ended up being a tie between "The Alice Network" and "Fangirl." So if you're looking to read some excellent books this coming year but don't know where to start, check out some of the books on my list and go from there. Happy reading!

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The Horrible Tale of Medusa

Medusa is known as a monster, but what led a beautiful and faithful servant girl to turn into a snake monster?
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One of the most popular beings from Greek mythology is not even a god or a monster; she is actually a cursed woman who is a victim to a horrendous crime. Her name meant "guardian" and "protectress." Her tale shows the cruelty of the Greek gods and how mankind is nothing but items to the gods. Medusa is known as a woman with snakes for hair and a gaze that turns men into stone. But who knows the truth behind this woman? This is her story.

Medusa was a priestess to the goddess Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom and battle. One requirement to be a priestess for Athena is that the young woman must be a virgin and give her life to the goddess. One day, Poseidon, the god of the Sea and rival to Athena, saw Medusa and decided to humiliate Athena by raping the priestess on the steps of Athena's temple. Poseidon vanished after he was done and left Medusa vulnerable and weak.

Medusa prayed to Athena for guidance and forgiveness. After all, in those days, the gods claimed their mates as their partner forever, and Medusa was now Poseidon's wife. Athena looked down in anger and cursed Medusa for betraying her. Medusa was sent to a faraway island and was cursed so that no man would want her. She was given chicken legs, giant metal wings, cracked skin, madness, and her signature snake hair and stone eyes. Medusa was now a monster woman.

Medusa was banished from civilization to an island by herself. She was alone and only saw men chase her, trying to kill her. She looked at them in fear and saw them turn to stone in front of them. She was scared of her powers and angry at the gods for cursing her. She took her revenge on the men that were sent to kill her. Anybody who took one step on her island were marked now for death at the hands of the Gorgon Medusa.

Years later and many men later, Perseus came to the island with a shield from Athena, flying shoes from Hermes and a sword and crown from Zeus. He outsmarted Medusa and cut off her head to take back with him to save his mother from marrying a jerk. From Medusa's body came a winged horse, Pegasus, and a golden warrior named Chrysaor. Many years later, Perseus presented the head of Medusa to Athena, who took the severed head and turned it into an ultimate shield with a metal head of Medusa terrifying many enemies with a single look.

Medusa was a loyal woman who spent her youth training to become a priestess to a goddess she worshiped and believed was the strongest of all the Olympians. Athena also liked Medusa because Medusa was a beautiful woman who chose the goddess instead of any man. However, the immortal feud between Athena and Poseidon affects much more than just those two; it splits Olympus and ruins many lives.

Their feud has 3 main spikes: the representative of Athens, the events with Odysseus, and the claiming of Medusa. Medusa, after being raped, was cursed for betraying her goddess. Medusa's destiny was a harsh one she had no control over. However, she does spend all her life with Athena, as she protects her goddess against many foes. So, in a twisted series of events, Medusa fulfills her role of protecting Athena. However, it also led to snakes hating mankind for worshiping the Olympians. This is one story that shows the cruelty of the Greek Gods.

Cover Image Credit: Movie Fanatic

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The Worst Book Covers Ever Made

I have a bone to pick with the people at "Wordsworth Classics".

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Generally, once an author has been dead for over 70 years, his or her work becomes public domain. You might think about it like a sitcom getting syndication. When a book becomes public domain, it may be sold by any publishing house in need of some extra cash. This is why, for example, you can find a copy of the Great Gatsby from Penguin, Random House, and Harper Collins, even though it was originally published through Scribner.

This has lead to an enormous amount of creative freedom cover-wise. We've had more than a few mishaps.


I mean, what the hell even is that? This looks like a "Big Eyes" painting if it got left in the sun for too long.

Of all the sins I've witnessed in the name of literacy, I never thought I'd stumble upon something so laughably God-awful, so lazily slapped together as this:


If you're thinking, "something's off here," you're not alone. Say hello to "Wordsworth Classics", a division of a minor British publishing house whose main goal seems to be getting the original authors to roll over in their graves (70+ years on). I've compiled the worst of their collection for your viewing (dis)pleasure.

This is bad. I mean, I don't know what they were going for here, but thank God for that conveniently placed smoke.

I have a hard time believing Tom's Disney channel haircut was all too common back in the 1800s.


Man. 300 looks worse than I remember.

treasure.jpg

Everything about this is bad. The borderline copyright infringement Cheshire Cat, Alice's "Victorian" getup, not to mention the Mad Hatter, who is clearly the first man in Wonderland to receive a face transplant via photoshop.

Ah, yes. Moby Dick. Origin of the proverbial "White Whale", who apparently, was not actually white.

Why does "Dorian Gray" look like he's about to lecture me on how to brew the perfect IPA?

Robinson Cru-NO! This looks more like a bad porno than classic english lit...

Little known fact: when this book cover was sent into the publishers, Notre Dame spontaneously burst into flames.

This is not Dracula. Clearly, this is a photo of Oscar Wilde, who, after smoking an enormous quantity of marijuana at a Halloween party, believes that he is Dracula.

Even Harlequin Romance wouldn't sink to this level. Look how they're leaning against the fence! Is that even physically possible?

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