10 Books To Keep Your Mind Going Over Spring Break

10 Books To Keep Your Brain Going Over Spring Break (And Beyond)

Because even though we're on break, we like to stay stimulated, right?

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With spring break just around the corner, our brains are ready to be turned off for a while. We'll go home, see some friends, but then what? When you're winding down for the night, settle in with one of these easy reads to keep your brain working!

1. "Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You" by Lin Manuel Miranda.

"NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the creator and star of 'Hamilton,' with beautiful illustrations by Jonny Sun, comes a book of affirmations to inspire readers at the beginning and end of each day." - Amazon.com, buy it here.

An easy, quick read that will leave you happy and reassured. I suggest listening to Lin Manuel-Miranda read it himself on YouTube.

2. "Along for the Ride" by Sarah Dessen.

"Nights have always been Auden's time, her chance to escape everything that's going on around her.

Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide. Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen..." - Amazon, get it here.

Although this takes place during summer, it's a fun, adventurous love story to get you ready for Spring and Summer!

P.S. - This is one of my favorite books to read every year.

3. "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell.

"In Rainbow Rowell's 'Fangirl,' Cath is a Simon Snow fan. OK, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving." - Barnes and Noble, get it here.

In my book (get it, haha ) this is a classic. We're in college... this book is about college, and it's light-hearted enough not to give you flashbacks to finals week.

4. "Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins.

"Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of the romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?" - Amazon, get it here.

Another light and fluffy read that will leave you weeping and wanting to go to college in Paris to meet a dreamy boy and fall in love.

5. "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck" by Mark Manson.

"...There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k' is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives." - Amazon, get it here.

Did you have a rough winter? Did you care too much about things that were going on, did you have trouble accepting things that you can't change? Mark Manson lays everything out flat in this self-help book.

6. "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" by Robin Sloan.

I read this a while ago, and if you like adult adventure books, check this one out. It takes place in a mysterious bookstore, and that's all I'm going to tell you. Go into it blind and you'll enjoy it much more.

Get it here.

7. "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight" by Jennifer E Smith.

"Quirks of timing feature in this romantic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver find that true love can be unexpected." - Amazon, get it here.

This isn't a personal favorite of mine, but it's just cheesy enough that it's enjoyable as a quick one-off. Jennifer E. Smith writes a lot of cutesy novels perfect for when you're trying to wind down.

8. "The Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes.

"...With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake-up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her." - Amazon, get it here.

From the absolute legend that brought us Grey's Anatomy comes "The Year of Yes," a book all about becoming the person that says 'yes' instead of 'no' to everything.

9. "The Sun is Also a Star" by Nicola Yoon.

"Natasha: I'm a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I'm definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won't be my story.

Daniel: I've always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents' high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?" - Barnes and Noble, get it here.

Nicola Yoon, author of "Everything, Everything" (now a major motion film starring Amandla Stenberg), tells a great story set of love but also the struggle of race and ethnicity in America, in the span of 24 hours. I can always read Yoon's books in a day or less, and this was no exception. A truly stunning novel.

10. "On the Come Up" by Angie Thomas (author of The Hate You Give).

"...Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri's got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri's life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it." - Goodreads, get it here.

I personally have never read a book of Thomas' but they've received rave reviews. They're not exactly light-hearted, but they tell stories that need to be told.

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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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11 Of The Most Influential Books Ever, According To My Friends

I asked my friends for one book that changed their lives. Here are their responses.

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With it finally being summer, I decided to compile a reading list that tops all other reading lists. This is no ordinary list of books. I asked some of my dearest friends and most important people in my life for one book that changed their lives and why. I'm no expert but behold, the most powerful list of books on the face of the planet.

Disclaimer: participants in this survey were put on the spot and these are their raw, unedited, some serious, and some funny responses.

1. "The Summer I Turned Pretty" trilogy by Jenny Han

the summer i turned pretty trilogy

"'The Summer I Turned Pretty' trilogy made me realize that my perception of myself does not necessarily match the perception of others who know me or meet me. The books helped me understand that not only is my opinion of myself extremely important but that I need to be kind to everyone I meet because I can't possibly know what is going on in their lives."

2. "I'll Give You The Sun" by Jandy Nelson

i'll give you the sun

"It genuinely changed my life, not in some big impactful way, but I think about it almost every day and have read it probably five or six times. Plus, it's 300-400 pages, so not a light read. It's about twins, boy and girl, told from each perspective, once when they're 12-years-old from the boy and 16-years-old from the girl. The boy is super into art and the girl used to be popular, but then became the quirky girl that loves ghosts. I'm super passionate about art and spirits have always been cool to me so the topics are perfect. It's just about their life in the rocky beaches of Northern California and it's just soooo cool. The writing is beautiful and I can easily depict all of it. It just fits my vibe as a person and I can read it a million times and never get bored because the plot is so good and the writing is just WOW!"

"I also have a strong personal connection to the sun, so the name really sticks out to me and makes me so genuinely happy. I'm so in love with this book that I want to name my children after it, want twins because of it, and may even get a tattoo because of it. I'm considering ordering a second copy of it to write and draw in because I cannot taint the original one I read. This book is like a bible to me and I love it more than anything and recommend it 100000%."

"It also gave me a strong connection to family, nature, art, dead relatives/ghosts, and myself. Like, wow, thank you, Jandy for changing my life."

3. "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis

the screwtape letters

"In high school, I read 'The Screwtape Letters' for an assignment, but ended up reading the book again in college. It altered the way I thought and perceived things and from a completely opposite point of view. It made me realize or think about how the things I was doing could possibly not even be my choice, but whatever I was influenced by."

4. "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls

where the red fern grows

"I read 'Where the Red Fern Grows' in 6th grade and I finished it within a week. I had always been a big reader in elementary school, but it was mostly for the ever-cool AR points. This book was the first one that ever made me feel something. So much that I cried in the middle of class."

5. "After" by Anna Todd

after

"'After' is the best book because it taught me true love, blah, blah, blah. It taught me to be myself, and that it's okay to be who you really are. Wait 'til you find the right person, and they'll absolutely love everything about you."

6. The Bible

the bible

"It keeps me focused."

"Well, no matter the situation, God is always the answer. Everything happens for a reason and God has a plan for every step you take."

7. "The Reapers are the Angels" by Alden Bell

the reapers are the angels

"It showed me that relationships are complex and shape our entire life, relationships with other people, and ourselves."

8. "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë

wuthering heights

"'Wuthering Heights' because it's very dark and twisted, and the characters are evil but you can't help but root for true love despite how despicable the characters are."

9. "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket and "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton

a series of unfortunate events

"Read them my 7th-grade year. First 'real' books I ever read. Reading them brought me to the realization I don't need a screen to experience a story. 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' brought me to an imaginary world through pages for the first time. 'The Outsiders' made me feel real emotion and ties to a world that could have been real. Those books sparked my love for reading and still remain ingrained in my memory, and I'm sure they always will."

10. "Allegiant" by Veronica Roth

allegiant

"The only book that ever made me cry was 'Allegiant.' I don't know, when Tris died and just Four's reaction afterward. It was really just a shock, like, I did NOT expect her to die because most books usually don't kill their main character, especially young adult books like that."

11. "My Dog Skip" by Willie Morris

Skip: June 5, 1997-September 24, 2014

Grant Pride

"'My Dog Skip' because I had a Jack Russell terrier named Skip too, and it felt too real reading it as a kid."

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