Saturday, December 28, 2013

Whenever we suddenly miss our student days in the library, we love heading to a café with a novel or wandering around a used bookstore in search of a hidden gem. Once you’re appropriately decked out for a literary afternoon with a cute satchel for toting books and a comfortable outfit, might we suggest one of these must-read classics to bring along?

1. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
This novel follows Hadley Hemingway, the writer Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, during their tumultuous years in Paris in the 1920’s, as she struggles with her roles as wife, lover, muse, and mother. "It is so interesting to read about a couple that isn't perfect, that struggles in a less-than-poetic way. The time period is also very exciting. People lived differently, they took holidays, they loved without demands, and they made due with very little. It's refreshing." -- Laura, Product Manager

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Perhaps the height of the marriage plot, the love story of Darcy and Elizabeth, in which they must both overcome their own first impressions, is one of the most beloved in English literature. "The heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, may be my favorite literary character. She is smart, headstrong, and courageous in a relatable way. I also love how Jane Austen constructs her plots, the way people and events can change and surprise you. You just can't find writing like this anymore. It’s a must read for all women." -- Laura, Product Manager

3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Catherine and Heathcliff’s destructive passion, their intense kinship, and the wild moors where they roamed as children create a dark, atmospheric tragedy. "So heart-wrenching and dramatic! I don’t think people love like this anymore. It will possess you, haunt you, and change you." -- Sam, Marketing Coordinator

4. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
While the novel is ostensibly about the Ramsay’s family vacations on the Isle of Skye, the true preoccupation of this modernist novel is that of perception and introspection. “One of my best friends recommended this to me. She said that Woolf’s writing transports her to another realm, and that this is her favorite Woolf novel. I already have this on my shelf and will be reading it soon!” -- Julia, Copywriter

5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
A little boy whose father died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center finds a key in a vase. Believing that it belonged to his father, he searches all over New York City for clues to its meaning. “One of my favorite books of all time. Foer is so creative with his use of language and even how he chooses to display words on the page. I don’t like to reread books all that much, but this is one I reread sections of regularly. Side note: do NOT see the movie. It can’t even begin to capture this book in any way!” -- Tara, Customer Service Supervisor

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
As coming of age stories go, you couldn’t find a more modern story, one that focuses on fan fiction, family, and first love. “Lighthearted young adult fiction based on the concept of fan fiction and leading a second life on the Internet. It’s cute and entertaining, especially if you can relate to being part of a fandom or have a Tumblr account.” -- Julia, Copywriter

7. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Gus and Hazel, two funny, smart, book-loving teenagers fall in love. Only these two teenagers have terminal cancer. It’s a devastating, stunning love story with lots of heart. “This is not a love story- it is THE love story. I will simply say that this is a book that I recommend tirelessly and that remains one of my favorite books by my favorite writer.” -- Athena, Marketing Assistant

8. Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
15 year old Bree Branch has to put together a collage of documents, e-mails, liveblogs, and FBI reports to try and solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. “If you a looking for a light-hearted and quick read, this novel of family and mystery is perfect. Weird in all the right ways, this satirical novel is an at home vacation for when you need a mental break.” -- Shelley, Intern

9. The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith
What happens if both your parents are diagnosed with cancer when you are just 14? Smith’s memoir tells the story of how she dealt with grief and loss, how her life was shaped by the unthinkable. “Memoirs are typically associated with the cheesy ghost-written celebrity tales of Hollywood, but if you look past all of the photo shopped book covers, you can find little pieces of literary gold. That is exactly what happened when I found a copy of The Rules of Inheritance. This is the most gripping, heart-wrenching memoir that I have ever read. Claire Bidwell Smith chronicles her journey through grief and acceptance in a way that I’ve never before read.” -- Shelley, Intern

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The unreliable narration and suspense that builds in this thriller makes it a page-turner impossible to put down. When Amy disappears, the only question that matters is, did her husband kill her? “A grown up version of classic 'choose you own adventure books'. This is the definition of suspense and mystery and it is impossible to put down. A thriller full of so many twists and turns that even the most well-read mystery readers will find themselves guessing (most likely incorrectly) until the end.” -- Beth, Brand Relations Manager

11. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Considered by many literary critics to be the greatest novel ever written, this famous Russian work explores faith, fidelity, marriage, family, passion, and society. "This book is quite simply the greatest novel ever written. I still remember a heated debate I had with my best friend, which centered on: is Anna a sympathetic character or not? I was on the side of yes." -- Nikki, Copywriter

12. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jay Gatsby stares at the green light at the end of his dock, hoping that Daisy will love him again. In hopes of winning her back, what does he do? Throw the most lavish Roaring Twenties parties imaginable. "To know the depth of human longing and desire, one has to read The Great Gatsby." -- Nikki, Copywriter

13. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Isabel Archer sets off for Europe full of idealistic hopes, dreaming of love and freedom, inspiring marriage offers everywhere she goes. But will she accept the right one? "Henry James writes what had to be the most perfect prose in all of English literature. Isabel's life, which seems so full of possibility at the beginning, narrows with each choice she makes. I recommend it to everyone I know." -- Leanne, Project Coordinator

14. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Passionate, independent, orphan Jane Eyre goes to Thornfield Hall to become a governess, where she falls in love with her employer Edward Rochester…but this is no straightforward love story, for there is a dark secret in the attic. "I love this book for so many reasons! But mostly because who doesn't know what it's like to search for love and belonging?" -- Maya, Advertising Coordinator

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Comments (1)
  • This is so cute! Thanks for the recommendations! Fangirl is next on my ever-growing list of books to read.

    Posted on January 18, 2014