Book Recommendations

5 Insanely Entertaining Books To Get You Back Into Reading

Time to get out of your reading slump.

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Whether you're an avid reader or you can't even remember the last time you finished a book, we all struggle to find the motivation to read sometimes. But don't worry, because here's your solution: these books will grab and hold your attention. You won't want to put them down! If you're a frequent reader who needs help getting out of a reading slump, here's your solution. And if you're someone who wants to start reading for fun but can't find a book that excites you, look no further than these suggestions!

1. Mosquitoland by David Arnold

A great adventure book is always a necessity, and there is no better adventure book than Mosquitoland. Main character Mim sets out on a cross-country trip to visit her sick mother and gets into plenty of sticky situations along the way. David Arnold's debut novel is clever, funny, and heartbreaking all at once, and Mim is one of the most compelling and real protagonists you'll ever read about.

2. Here We Lie by Paula Trieck DeBoard

Extremely relevant amidst the ongoing Me Too movement, Here We Lie is sure to both tug at your heartstrings and make you think. The story follows two college roommates from vastly different backgrounds. In the early 2000s, the two friends are spending a summer together on a private island when something unspeakable happens that ruins their friendship forever. In 2016, the truth finally comes out. If you're looking to read a book that tackles some heavier subject matter, go for this one.

3. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This might be the only book I've ever read that continuously had me laughing out loud. In this bestselling novel, 15-year-old Bee tells a hilarious story through compiled emails, letters, and other documents in efforts to find her eccentric mother, who ran away from home just before Christmas. This book will make you smile, laugh, cry, so prepare for an emotional roller coaster!

4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

If you prefer something a little darker, this is the way to go. We Were Liars is the gripping story of a teenage girl whose life is turned upside-down following a mysterious accident that caused her to lose her memory. Follow her as she spends a summer on her wealthy family's private island where the accident took place in hopes to recover her memory and piece the story together.

5. Paper Towns by John Green

If you haven't read this one yet, you should definitely get on that! In this John Green book, the main character Quentin is obsessed with his enigmatic childhood friend Margot. When she mysteriously disappears and leaves behind a trail of clues, he goes on a wild adventure to find her.

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The Burning Of Notre Dame Has Actually Strengthened My Catholic Faith

Corinthians 5:17 says, "Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

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Every year, Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week in the Christian faith. As the most sacred time of the year, those who believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins hold these days dear in our hearts. 2019's Palm Sunday, however, is now held in infamy. The very next day, the precious Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris started to burn.

As the world now knows, the famed and historic Notre-Dame de Paris was spontaneously engulfed in flames on April 15, 2019. The cause has not yet been identified precisely but is most likely due to complications during the $6.8 million renovations the cathedral is currently under. Completed back in 1345, the nearly 800-year-old church has withstood the test of time relatively well.

Until now.

The modern world watched as one of the biggest treasures of the past burned away before our eyes, Twitter even erupted in an unprecedented coverage of this world-wide tragedy as many took to social media to pour their condolences and share memories of this French icon. Religion, race and personal beliefs aside, the world collectively grieved and lent support.

While this is truly a loss on a global scale, the blow comes as a particularly harsh one to the Catholic community after a particularly difficult season of Lent. From the Pope addressing allegations of sexual assault, to backlash over the controversial theatrical release of the film "Unplanned", this latest development seemed like a cruel joke in the days leading up to Easter Sunday. I myself felt affected by this fire hundred of thousand miles away in North Carolina. One of our most beloved holy churches was ebbing away in front of us and all God could do was watch.

However, despite all that, we must look forward.

Despite much of the church being reduced to ash, some of the priceless artifacts and objects that were hidden away in the cathedral have been able to survive the ordeal; such as the crown of thorns, numerous pieces of art, the rose windows, the altar cross shown above and the iconic bells of Notre Dame. Once news of this broke out, I was strengthed to my core knowing God was indeed there.

It seems like such an oxymoron to see such a tragedy as a sign of hope, yet the Bible itself is full of those. The 7 plagues that tormented Eygpt, the Great Flood, and even the death of Christ as examples.

As children of Christ, we are told at a very young age to never question his plan. He is all knowing and has a way of making everything fall into place. God sensed that Catholics were in the midst of a troubling time and brought us this opportunity of a new beginning. The burning taking place during Holy Week can also be taken as perfect timing.

The whole premise of this week revolves around the death of Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate, yet miraculously returned three days later before joining Our Father in Heaven, the cathedral can very well do the same and return better than before.

It is a devastating loss but already we are seeing evidence of joyous aftermath. As I noted before, people from all walks of life are offering support and condolences to a faith they were scorning just a week prior. Priceless artifacts have miraculously been recovered and plans for rebuilding have already started. This is a sign of a new beginning, that God is backing us through it all.

Do not question His plan, just have faith. The rest will fall into place.

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How I Found My Voice Through Storytelling

"I have always been captivated by the power of good stories because they connect people to one another and enrich our experience of life. For this reason, I write my story every day."

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Storytelling is an art that is at the core of our humanity and it has been a passion of mine from a young age. Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the narratives of my family. The practicality of my dad's voice rings in my ears when he shares the lessons he learned from my grandfather. I can still visualize the vivid tales conjured up by my grandmother, whose words had a magical essence that made them seem surreal. These distinct moments are like video clips that are ingrained in my memory to this day.

My parents and grandparents always took pride in sharing their stories with me, and I was eager to learn about the traditions of our family history. Growing up in this environment completely influenced the person that I am today. It had finally occurred to me when I was a little bit older that not everyone had the same relationship to their ancestral past that I did. Not everyone had insight of into the life shaping experiences that affected their loved ones. Not everyone knew their story.

I thought that was the worst thing in the world. I tried to imagine a life in which I didn't know my story or where I came from. Without this information, it was difficult for me to identify a purpose. From the perspective of my life, my story is attached to my drive to succeed. These components of my identity are entwined like fibers of the common thread that ties humanity together. I have always been captivated by the power of good stories because they connect people to one another and enrich our experience of life. For this reason, I write my story every day.

To the people who haven't discovered where they want to go in life or how they plan on getting there, start writing your story. Even if you have no where to start, just pick up the pen and start writing about where you envision your future. Create your purpose, manifest your ideas, and you will begin to become your narrative. Above all, be prepared to use your voice because the best way to add meaning to your work is to share it with others.

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