Books: The Greatest Things since Sliced Bread

Hey! It looks just like my bedroom! What's that old guy doing in my bedroom...?
Hey! It looks just like my bedroom! What's that old guy doing in my bedroom...?

Don't get me wrong, sliced bread rocks.

I use it to make sandwiches and french toast all the time. But if a person could live off books alone, I would have to give up those lovely PB&J's.

Books are important: they tell stories; they share experiences; they give us knowledge. Books teach us about the world we live in, the people who inhabit it, the way our minds and bodies work. Books give us pleasure, emotions, thoughts, ideas. Yet there are those who claim they do not like books because, "They are a waste of time."

... You're kidding me, right?

Schools use books. Doctors use books. Marketers use books. Fashion artists use books. Social workers use books. Everyone uses books. Without books, where would we be? A television is nice and all, but it can't tell you how to spell hypochondriac or antidisestablishmentarianism or pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. ... Well, it could, but it'd have to repeat it several times because without books, there would be no written word, and thus, you'd have to take about five guesses to spell the medical terminology for Black Lung Disease. Then again, since there would be no written word, you wouldn't have to worry about spelling it. Heck, without the written word, we'd be reduced to grunts and physical gestures in order to get a simple message of "Dude, I have to pee." across to your buddy while in a bar you've never visited before.

Books are everything. For me, they're an escape from reality, a life story I can follow to get away from my own for a little while. While talking with my friends Christoph Reilly, Misha and Spryte, they've made me realize that there aren't a lot of hubs about good books worth reading. So I've compiled a list of some of my favorite books I believe everyone should read, and if you do read them and discover they really are good books, you just might come to the conclusion that yes, indeed, books ARE the greatest thing since sliced bread!

The Twilight Saga

Pardon me while I act my age...

OH MY GOD, THESE HAVE GOT TO BE THE GREATEST YOUNG ADULT/ADULT ROMANCE FICTION NOVELS ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH!

*coughs* Alrighty, moving on.

The Twilightsaga follows the first person POV (point of view) of Isabella Swan. Bella is a rather socially awkward girl of 17 who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington after her mother gets remarried. She lives with her father, Charlie, in the house she was born in and her mother ran away from when she was an infant. There she meets the Cullens, a family of vampires, and falls in love with the youngest boy named Edward. Their romance takes them along numerous twists and turns and physical boundaries, including other vampires, best friends turned werewolves, and finally, a family of their own with a half-vampire daughter named Renesmee. The nice thing is, all of these crazy events are spread out within a 2 year period, so they don't give you the feeling of a super-fast roller coaster that suddenly comes to a dead halt when it's done, but instead spreads the fast bits out with a few slower, calmer moments in-between, with a beautiful ending that makes you cry for more.

The books pull your heartstrings and twist them until you can't put it down, and when you finally do, you discover you've read an entire novel and it is now 4 in the morning and you have to go to school in 3 hours. Trust me when I say that's EXTREMELY annoying. But if you have more self control than me, and would enjoy a new look at the vampire/human romance possibility, I highly suggest the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Stardust

Since this book was made into a movie, a lot of people have taken notice of it. At the same time, a lot of people only saw the movie, and didn't read the book, and thus, they don't know the entire story. So when I go and talk to these people, I tend to yell at them for being ignorant illiterate idiots and tell them that if they do not read the book before getting into a movie debate with me again, I will have to gnaw their faces off then rip out their teeth with a spork.

... What? I'm not allowed to have violent thoughts?

Alright, so that wasn't entirely true. I do get a little irked when I talk to people about books-turned-movies and those people haven't even read the book, but I'm not about to get all physical on their butts. Really, I'm quite the pacifist.

Back to Stardust, before I creep you out any more! ^_^

Stardust is the story of Tristran Thorn, who wanders beyond the wall in the little town of Wall to find a fallen star for his true love, only to discover that, on the other side of that wall is the land of Faerie (though it's called Stormhold in the movie, which is actually the name of a part of Faerie and the large castle that holds its ruling family). Here he finds that his star is actually a young girl named Yvaine who was hit by a large jewel necklace. This necklace is quite essential to the plot, but you don't realize that until the end. The necklace belongs to the King of Stormhold (aren't you glad I mentioned this earlier?), who died after throwing it into the sky. His six sons (actually seven, though one was killed but is now a ghost) are then forced to track the necklace AND kill off each other in order to become king. Not only that, but a trio of witches called the Lilim send their sister out to retrieve the star's heart, for it will keep them immortal and return their youthful beauty to their withering bodies.

Now, I would tell you more, but it would completely ruin the story for you, and that would seriously make me sad. I guess you'll just have to go and read Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, for yourself! I promise it's a book worth reading over and over again, and if, for any reason, you don't believe me, I will buy your copy from you. Seriously.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy

I will warn you now, if you're not into following different POV's and perspectives, these are not the books for you. But if you don't mind reading the ramblings of an extremely sarcastic djinn and following the roller coaster ride story of a young boy trying to become a man in a magician's world, and a rebellious girl who just wants equality, then you really should pick these up.

The world is ruled by the English, which is ruled by the magician Magistrate. Magicians call on djinn (pronounced gin) to perform magical tasks and feats for them in order to control the "commoners" who cannot see them, giving in to the belief that the magicians are the ones doing the magic. Apprentices are given up at the age of 4 or 5 to a magician family (since the families cannot have children of their own due to the problem of feuding magical families) who then trains the boy or girl to become a magician themselves.

Nathaniel is an extremely smart boy, and is well aware of his gifted abilities. In an attempt to prove himself, he summons Bartimaeus, a djinn of the third level (there are five levels, all explained in the book). What Nathaniel doesn't expect is Bartimaeus's giant mouth and his annoying way of getting under Nat's skin. As the story progresses, their relationship grows, wanes, and grows again. Through a series of severely life-altering events, they run into a girl named Kitty, a member of the Resistance; an organization bent on destroying the Magician's Rule of the modern world and establishing a shared rule with the commoners, who are basically used as cattle. They uncover a huge conspiracy to overthrow the Prime Minister, are nearly killed several times, and battle their way through mischievous and murderous djinn, old nemises, and two-faced friends.

These books make me laugh every time I read them, and the final ending nearly brings me to tears. I highly recommend The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud, to anyone who liked the Harry Potter books or anything by Diana Wynne Jones.

Wicked

If you haven't heard of Wicked, you lead a very sheltered life, and I seriously pity you.

Wicked has become one of today's most popular books, and has been made into a best-selling musical that is still circulating the nation's greatest stages. And for good reason; the book pwns!

Remember The Wizard of Oz? ... Okay, seriously, who hasn't seen the movie? Dorothy flies through a tornado and lands in Oz, and to get back home, she has to confront the Wizard and kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Well, folks, Gregory Maguire decided he'd give that green Witch her own version of how things went down in Oz-town.

Wicked is the full life story of the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba was born green. Her father was a Munchkin minister, and her mother was a stay-at-home mother who ended up drinking herself silly because she couldn't handle her daughter's disformity. She goes to school, becomes enemies with Galinda, an uptown snooty prep of a girl from the northern lands of Oz, then later establishes a friendship with the polar opposite personality that is Galinda. Galinda later changes her name to Glinda after the tragic death of an Animal professor who couldn't pronounce her name right, no matter how many times she corrected him. They later go to the Wizard in hopes of working with him. Elphaba discovers what the Wizard has been doing in the land of Oz, and is not exactly happy with what she finds. She then decides to become an outcast and a rebel, while Glinda stays on the straight and narrow path of life, serving the Wizard. Elphaba becomes romantically involved with a former classmate named Fiero, a prince from the west who's in an arranged marriage. When their romance is discovered, Fiero is persecuted, and in an attempt to save him from death, Elphaba casts a spell on him, though she doesn't entirely know what she's doing. Elphaba's sister, Nessa Rose, ends up becoming the governer of Munchkinland, and rules with a very tight fist. She winds up casting a spell on a boy she fell in love with because he didn't love her, and in her rage, she'd nearly killed him herself. At the end of the book, Elphaba doesn't actually die by the hand of Dorothy, but stages her death to escape the Wizard's constant scrutiny and death threats, even after his horrible secret is revealed to her and she discovers where she truly came from.

The best part about Wicked is that there's a sequal, called Son of a Witch. I only had the chance to read it once, sadly, since my copy was stolen from me when I lent it to a fellow castmember in a play I was in. I personally wasn't a ginormous fan of it, but I will say I did enjoy it.

Whether or not you're into twists on our favorite fairy tales and classic stories, you're bound to love Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, for it's eccentric view of our favorite land over the rainbow.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Another must-have-on-your-bookshelf series. For a while, these books were actually banned from schools, along with the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, because some parents believed they would "corrupt" their children. Why they thought that is beyond me; I mean, seriously, they're a work of fiction. Unless you're kid's a true critical thinker (which our public education system seems to think isn't a necessary thing for our children to be), he's not going to take the books for anything above face value. And at face value, they are way too hard to put down because the story is so enthralling you can't help but be sucked up into Narnia and keep going back for more adventures.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a very hard series to explain, since there are seven books in all, and they're not all the same. My best suggestion is to go to the Wikipedia page (found here) and read about them yourself. There is no way I can even begin to divulge the amount of information Wikipedia has lovingly supplied for you.

The most predominant Human characters in the Narnia books are the Pevensie children: Peter, the oldest and head of the children; Susan, the second oldest and motherly one; Edmund, the second youngest and trouble-maker; and Lucy, the youngest and most naïve/sweet. They are joined by their cousin, Eustace Scrubb, and his classmate, Jill Pole. Preceding these six are the two children who witnessed the birth of Narnia, Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, along with Digory's uncle, the eccentricly mad scientist who forced Digory and Polly into another dimension that lead to even more dimensions.

Depending on how you like to read series books, you can either follow Narnia's stories in chronological Narnia order or chronological publishing order, both of which I will list here.

This is actually the same box set I own. Sorry, folks, but there is no way in Hades I'm even bothering to put all 7 book cover pictures up. Do you have any idea how much space that would take up? Yeah, too much.
This is actually the same box set I own. Sorry, folks, but there is no way in Hades I'm even bothering to put all 7 book cover pictures up. Do you have any idea how much space that would take up? Yeah, too much.

Chrono-Published

  1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  2. Prince Caspian
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  4. The Silver Chair
  5. The Horse and His Boy
  6. The Magician's Nephew
  7. The Last Battle

Chrono-Narnia

  1. The Magician's Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  3. The Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian
  5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

You can read them in any order you please, though I personally prefer the Chrono-Narnia order to the Chrono-Published order, just because I like chronology to fit right in the story I'm reading. I'm kind of crazy OCD that way.

These books are believed to have Christian foundations, which is great, fine and dandy to those who choose to believe that. C. S. Lewis himself stated that he didn't intentionally write the books to fit in a Christian theme, but that they just sort of fell into that category after he wrote them. Whether you get into Narnia for the Christian benefits or the amazing story lines and plots, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis is quite literally the absolute must-have for any human being that gives a darn about reading. Period.

Oh, trust me, I have a TON of amazing books I could list here. But I feel this smaller tidbit of my library will do for now. I don't want to go and overload your brains or anything. That wouldn't be very nice of me.

Then again, neither is what I just said. ^_^ Ah well! I sincerely hope you take the time to read all of these beautiful works of literature, and share with me your experiences in them. Maybe you've got some great books I should read! That would be lovely; my already overflowing bookshelves need more friends!

... Okay, seriously, I need to go book shopping again. I've read everytihng I own, and could go for some new material. *makes a sad puppy-eyed face* So please, throw out your suggestions! Toss me your lines! Help my boredom be eased! I beg of you!

Oh, one last thing; don't read for really long-ass periods of time. It will mess with your eyeballs so bad, you'll have trouble seeing 10 feet in front of your face. On that note, happy reading, and don't run into any walls!

Comments 17 comments

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

My idea of a perfect holiday is lazying on the hammock tied between two coconut trees shade on a beach and reading P. G. Wodehouse novels. Books are the best friends a person can have.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota Author

If only palm trees could grow in Minnesota, I would totally join you. Though, I've never heard of P. G. Wodehouse. What kind of author is he/she?


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 7 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

Great hub, thanks for the info on some of what you are reading. Keep up the writing as your style is very refreshing.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you for the comment, Rodney! These are actually books I've already read. I just finished a book called The Summoning by some random person I'd never heard of. The only reason I picked up the book was because the dust cover looked cool. xD I tend to do that a lot.

Like I said, though, I'm completely open to suggestions on new books! I desperately need new books! I've got money and a credit card and tips from delivering pizzas burning a hole in my pocket, and my own books need new friends, even though they're so spread out in my bedroom I'd be hard pressed to tell you where half my books have run off to! I'm willing to bet there's a whole stack or 10 hiding under my bed, and another 5-20 stacks sneaking around my dresser drawers... Which is sad, because that's where my clothes are SUPPOSED to go, but instead they are strewn across my floor like a bomb went off...


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Ahhh....so many books, so little time! How can anyone live without books?


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Hi Kika,

I share your passion for books.  I've never counted but I'm willing to bet that I have well over 1000.  I have a dozen or so boxes still unopened that I moved here with, and they'll have to stay there since my house is now filled with even more books.

I can tell you some of my favorite authors.  I just discovered an author I adore named Robyn Carr.  Her style is wonderful and her writing grabs me from page one.  She writes about people living in off the beaten path of large cities and towns, and engages you in these peoples' lives.  What I particularly love about her is she has approximately 5 to 10 characters in her books, which for me is a plus.  It's easy to keep track of who's who.

Other authors I love include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Belva Plain, Sidney Sheldon, and Barbara Taylor Bradford.  I have many other books I have yet to read by John Grisham, James Patterson and a host of others.  I also have a nice collection of books from the late 1800s that have the most amazing covers, usually Victorian women.  They are works of art and I've considered framing the entire book, they are that pretty.  The one book that I loved was by Belva Plain, called Evergreen.  It was a multi-generational story and it had me captivated.

Anyway, this was a great hub and I identify with everything you said.  Anywhere you go in my home you will find books :)

Thanks for sharing.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota Author

I wish I had my own place so I would have more space for more books...

*ponders this mental image for a minute, then starts to drool*

Ahhh... That would be so perfect...

Anywho! Hello Feline Prophet! It's impossible to live without books, whether you enjoy reading or not. They're too wide spread and essential in every aspect of life to go without. Thank you for the comment!

Hi Trish! I'm desperately afraid of counting my books, because I'm sure if I did, I'd be extremely overwhelmed by the number. Kind of like when I go all the way down to the cities and walk past a big clothing boutique, and I happen to glance at the price tag... I go into total sticker shock. My only problem with really old books is the English in them. I can't get into them as easily because they're not in a format I'm used to. Oh, and I like King, too. :) I have to admit, I really screamed out loud while in a library when I read Cujo. I also cried when he died (I'm a huge dog lover, and I almost cry every time I see an overly aggressive or sick dog). For the life of me, though, I couldn't get into Tommyknockers. It was just too confusing for me to follow, even after my sister tried to explain it and made me watch the movie. Honestly, the movie made it worse! >.< And I've been told I need to get into Koontz. No where around here sells his books, and I really don't feel like driving all the way to the cities to read a book by an author I've gotten mixed reviews on. I haven't heard of the other authors, though I did hear something about Patterson the other day. Thank you for the brilliant comment! Got anything super-awesome for an 18-year-old to read in your gargantuan collection?


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Well Plummie or P.G.Wodehouse writes a lot of situational comedy about British Elite system. You would just be a fan with the first book you ever read. I do love other books but he is my favorite. In comics Archies,Tintin & Asterix are my favorites for relaxation. I am not into deep philosophical stuff but do read it some times. In my teens read ayn rand but now not into all that. Nowadays I just pick a magazine or read occasionally some novels.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Hi Kika,

I'm sorry to say I can't think of what an 18 year old would like. I will inquire however and let you know if I come up with anything. I don't have any frame of reference as I am a grandma, and I think my 7 year old granddaughter's books would be a bit too young for you :)

My coworker, in her 30s, has read the Twilight series 20 or more times, she loves it. I too have a hard time getting into Stephen King's books, I think I've read one of his from cover to cover. Supposedly, The Stand is said to be one of his best works, and I've tried to read it 3x, but wasn't able to get into it. That is, until recently. I picked it up again with the thought in my head, ok, you can do this. So I started reading, and lo and behold, I'm finding I can get past the first chapter lol. As far as Koontz goes, I don't scare easily from fiction, however, his book Coma was his best as far as I'm concerned. If he's not in local bookstores you can find him online very easily. Go to Borders.com, or Amazon.com, even Ebay in their book category. Ebay is where I purchased the majority of my books. As far as the late 1800 books I own, they are not written in old English, and are actually very easy reads.

My dream house would have to include a library with shelves from floor to ceiling complete with the ladder that stands against it. My daughter used to love to read but has gotten away from it, so much so that when I say, I want to stop in Barnes & Noble, she says you're on your own lol. She won't buy me a book either because she said she figures I've already read it, and she's right. I told her ok, a gift certificate is just fine. The other thing I love to read are true crime books. Must be my 'darker' side lol.

So, if I can find out what's popular in your age bracket, I'll let you know.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Keep reading! I buy most of my books in dusty old second hand bookstores. Partly because they're cheaper but mostly because the choice is often wider and less predictable. There's a sameness about big name high street stores. What to recommend for you? Well, if you like quality writing and are happy to read something older for a change, go for anything by Thomas Hardy. They're not always cheerful but the humanity shines through.

I've written a few hubs about some great books, but only in philosophy. I don't know if that would appeal or not.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota Author

countrywomen: I like comics. Archie was one of my favorites, especially the Halloween ones. :) I'm not a big magazine person. I tend to flip through most of the articles so I can look at the pretty advertisements. xD

Trish: Yeah, 7-year-old books might not be my cup of tea. :-P I get WAY into my books when I'm reading; it's literally like having my own movie theater in my head. I can picture everything, from the scenery to the characters, to the way their voices sound. Strangely, though, all the movies are cartoons. lol. It's hard to picture real people in some of the things I read.

Have you read The Skeleton Crew? That's a good SK book. I love his short stories a lot more than his full-length novels. There's another one I read, but I can't remember the name of it; I'd borrowed it from the school library, and I always have a hard time remembering which books I've read when I borrow books from libraries. Not only that, but because I usually reread my books, I can't stand borrowing them from a library. You have to return them! And then reborrow them! And then rereturn them! And that's just too much hassle for me. :-P

We used to have a second hand bookstore in town, but it closed down and was turned into a head shop (claiming it was a tobacco shop, the place didn't sell any tobacco except for shisha, which is what you use in a hooka. Everything else in the store was for pot, though the owners told me that wasn't their intended purpose), which just recently closed down, too, so now the building's empty. I miss my bookstore... :( I used to go in there all the time and read the Nancy Drew books and order Diana Wynne Jones books and stuff. I never bought anything from there, though. Just sat all day and read. ^_^ The owner was this really old guy, and he was really nice and let me read whatever I wanted, as long as I didn't hurt the books.

The first thing I think of when I picture 1800 books is Pride & Prejudice, and for the life of me, I couldn't get into it. Even the movie lost my interest quickly. Too much girly blahdeblah for me. What ones of yours would you suggest? :D Also; true crime dramas are fun, but they're not really my thing, either. I love fantasy fiction, or realistic fantasy fiction. Stuff that seems like it could almost be true, but you know it couldn't. Oh, and have you heard of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld? Those are extremely good, and are set in the future with an extremely realistic feel to them, like they could possibly come true. The story itself, when taken at face value, is the generic teen girl saves the day type of story, but the underlying details about society and the way we're headed with wars and machines really helps to play a part in things. I love that kind of stuff. :D

Paraglider: I've never heard of Thomas Hardy. What kind of books does he write? Maybe I'll check him out on my next B&N run! I like philosophy and theology, but not as the predominant subject matter of a book. If it reads like a text book, I'm going to get bored easily. I'm sure you've heard of Dante's Divine Comedy, right? Have you read them? I'm currently on Purgatory, though I've put the book down for a long time and now can't seem to find it in the cluttered, mangled mess that is my bedroom floor... Inferno was my favorite, especially with all the people he despised being in there. It's like writing a death threat to someone without writing a death threat, and it made me laugh. :-P I can't wait to get to Paradise, though. I want to see what Beatrice looks like!


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

WOW,

I wish I had the time for the great feast of books. thanks for the great hub and the very interesting pictures too.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota Author

Benson: You're welcome! Google Images loves me. ^_^ If I decide to write another book hub, I think I'll just take my own pictures. Maybe I'll even include a picture of my bookshelves, just to show you how bad they really are. ... Well, maybe I won't, because not all of my books are on my shelves. There isn't enough space on them anymore. xD


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

{{Paraglider: I've never heard of Thomas Hardy. What kind of books does he write? Maybe I'll check him out on my next B&N run!}}

He's dead, but he wrote some of the best novels in early 20th Century. His poetry is among the best too.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Paraglider,

I read a while ago Thomas Hardy and felt it was a bit depressing. I can't remember the name but I didn't finish it.


WHoArtNow profile image

WHoArtNow 7 years ago from Leicester, UK

Hey Kika, another great hub, you really do love books! 1 thing I'd like to point out, and it may be a little anal but here goes, Books were around a lot longer than sliced bread!

:P


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 7 years ago from Minnesota Author

I have come to the conclusion that I am officially the BIGGEST BIBLIOMANIAC I have ever known. o.o

So, Sunday I went book shopping at B&N's. It was great. I spent way too much time in there. I was all by myself (never a good thing when I'm book shopping), and just plucked whatever I thought might be interesting right off the shelves. By the end of my endeavor, I'd had a pile so big, I had to use my chin and lean back in order to hold the heavy load. I got all the way up to the counter, had the nice cashier ring up my books, and discover my total was over $130! I nearly died! But, luckily for me, I was able to sign up for a B&N's membership thing, so I saved 40%, bringing my total down to $117. The membership costs $25, though, so technically my books were under $100. ... Technically.

And that is where I have been since Sunday; I have been on my couch or in my car or sitting at a table at Domino's reading my heart out. I bought ten books, and I've just finished number 7. >.< I read too fast...

So, if y'all've been wondering where on earth I've been, that's where I've been. Now, on to book number 8! Yay Scott Westerfeld!

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