5 Favorite Revolutionary Novels

Happy Yesterday-Birthday America.

Honestly I’m not feeling super celebratory this year. Over the top patriotism has bothered me for a while, but this year it feels especially off. We still ate apple pie and hotdogs, and we still went to fireworks (there is no such thing as a bad reason to set off safe, colorful explosives)*, but posting American flags made out of books on Instagram feels icky.

Still, since this year marks the 244th anniversary of signing of the document that started one of the more influential revolutions in history, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of my favorite books about revolutions. These are in no particular order. Half-assed listicles for the win!

*plus outside is apparently VERY low-risk of Covid spread, so I figured this was a good opportunity to get my kids out of the house for the first time in months

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Obviously! A good dystopia needs a good revolution, but my favorite thing about this revolution is how messy it is. Both sides are willing to do pretty terrible things in the name of victory, and in the end Katniss doles out justice on a whim. Nothing is black and white in this series, especially Katniss, which is what I think STILL separates this book from all the other YA dystopias out there. Plus the side-characters are SO COMPELLING!!!


Children of Blood and Bone

God, everything ABOUT this novel! The one-of-a-kind magic system, the dynamic characters, the real-world relevance, the romance, the no-win revolution. Like The Hunger Games, one of my favorite things about this book was how both “sides” seemed to be right about magic. But unlike The Hunger Games, I can’t imagine how this can possibly resolve. I came for the revolution, but I stayed for the magic. I’ve never read anything like it before, I love how deeply grounded it is in African traditions, and everything just fit together like puzzle pieces. THIS BOOK!


Les Misérables

Oooooo, I love a good book about the French Revolution! Les Miserables is probably my favorite romantic-era novel. The characters are what really makes this book worth the read, though certainly the revolutionary setting makes for a FABULOUS story. I love how Victor Hugo isn’t afraid to show how the French Revolution didn’t really make things better for anyone, but how the French people continued to have hope (and continued to have more revolutions!). This book is complex, and heartbreaking, and lovely, and LONG. I highly recommend the Penguin abridged version, lol!


Next Year in Havana

I’m pretty well burnt out of dual-timeline historical fiction, but I just ADORED this book in spite of all of that. It’s sexy, it’s authentically Cuban, it’s exciting, it’s glamorous. I love how strong the women in this book are, and that while they aren’t always in control of their lives they TAKE control where they can. They’re willing to take risks for love. And not just romantic love. Familial love plays a big role in this book. Plus, look at that cover. Doesn’t it just make you SWOON?!?!


Prince Caspian

Full disclosure, this is one of those rare situations where I enjoy the movie more than the book. But Prince Caspian is one of my favorite Narnia novels. This is the complete and utter opposite of EVERY OTHER BOOK on this list because it’s pretty black-and-white. Caspian and friends good, existing government bad, zero complications. But I don’t know, I just love the character development of the Pevensies, how they come slowly over the course of the book to realize that they can’t do it alone. They need Aslan. Also, Reepicheep is the best. EVER. I will fight you to the death on that one.


What are your favorite revolution books? Let me know in the comments!

Favorite Books in Each Genre

The last 365 days or so I’ve made a big effort to read more in a variety of genres. The result is that I’ve read some amazing books that I would never have read before! So I thought I would take some time to share with you all my favorite book from each genre.

Literary Fiction: Bel Canto

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’re probably tired of hearing about Bel Canto. But I’m going to tell you again anyway. In an unnamed South American Country, a group of rich industrialists get together for a birthday dinner/concert. A group of guerrilla terrorists show up to kidnap the president of the country, who isn’t there. Their indecision leads them to being stuck with a hundred hostages when the military shows up. The terrorists and the businessmen get to know each other, form friendships, and even fall in love. It’s beautiful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s just wonderful.

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Harry Potter Superlatives

Greetings Potterheads and book nerds! This is a special day, the start of a special week. The LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL here in the US. In my neighborhood we had a parade for seniors on Friday (they drove around the neighborhood honking their horns), and graduation is ACTUALLY HAPPENING next weekend. Outdoors and in face masks, but actually happening. I’m so happy for seniors that they aren’t going to loose this special moment. (Especially since, let’s be honest, high schoolers around here aren’t social distancing anyway.)

In honor of the end of the school year and school yearbooks, this year I’m hosting a Harry Potter superlatives awards. These are based on your votes, and may the best character win. 🙂

Best Smile

This was a close one! But I have to say, I’m happy with your pick. This character doesn’t smile often, but when they do they light up the room, and our hearts.

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Harry Potter Superlatives: Vote

Hey y’all! It’s yearbook time of year! It’s easy for me to feel nostalgic rather than devastated about yearbooks right now, but I know that isn’t the case for high schoolers, especially seniors. But I thought it might be fun to take one of my favorite end-of-year activities from high school and apply it to Harry Potter.

Anyone else love superlatives? I lived for them. They were, hands down, my favorite part of band banquet. I still have my little purple recorder from the third time I was voted the biggest band nerd. I use it as a talking piece at school. Man, I miss those days. *pauses to reflect* If there’s one thing Hogwarts didn’t have but it needed, it’s superlatives.

FRIENDS! I need you to vote!! Pretty please with sugar on top!!!!

I am fighting with twitter, I don’t know why it’s got to show you two dang tweets at a time. Do you best to not vote for things twice while I try fix it. Grr.

Best Smile

Fred Weasley, Albus Dumbledore, Lee Jordan, Luna Lovegood

Oh, all great choices! I don’t know how you’re going to pick, I just it’s a matter of opinion. Good luck to everyone!

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Harry Potter Superlatives: Nominations

Hi there friends! It’s the yearbook time of year. Maybe it’s because so many end of year things have been cancelled and so we’re putting it all online, or maybe I’ve just been on Twitter too much, but I’m seeing so much about prom, graduations, and yearbooks. It’s making me feel nostalgic. Also, heartbroken for seniors, but let’s try for some positivity here!

One of my favorite things in the yearbook were the superlative awards.

Full disclosure, my high school was so gigantic that yearbook superlatives were irrelevant. Superlatives for your extracurricular were everything. I was in band. I was the biggest band nerd three years in a row. It remains my crowning achievement in life.

Okay, okay, so they’re basically a huge popularity contest. But the idea is so fun! Who has the best smile? Who’s most likely to be president? Who is going on American Idol? (A kid I went to high school with was ACTUALLY on The Voice, so that’s cool!) So I thought it might be fun to make bookish superlatives a thing.

And if we’re going to do bookish superlatives, what better place to start than Harry Potter? Because if going to Leaky Con last year taught me anything, it’s that Potterheads are still obsessed and we LOVE dung like this.

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4 Books to Read if You Love Tiger King

Well, it’s official. If Joe Exotic is on this blog, he’s everywhere. Tiger King-fever has swept the globe. Why? What is so fascinating and why is it impossible to look away?

I think it’s because we are all unknowingly obsessed with the very niche sub-genre Nonviolent True Crime. True Crime books are so much fun because they are ABSOLUTELY BANANAS, and they are REAL. But, serial killers are macabre and disturbing. Hence, Joe Exotic. Terrible crimes, low gore, outrageous personality, bingo! Since discovering this genre just over a year ago, I have officially become obsessed. I am always on the lookout for my next true-crime fix.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are some of my favorites.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

If the unending spiral of increasingly heinous crimes is what appealed to you about Tiger King, then Bad Blood is the right book for you! Elizabeth Holmes started out well-intentioned, wanting to bring to the world a machine that could run multiple blood tests on just one drop of blood. She raised a ton of money, had elite silicon valley executives on board, and created a state-of-the-art facility. But the machine never worked. The longer you read the more outrageous the lies, deception, and illicit activities get. By the end it all completely bonkers, and I loved every second of it.

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The Levels of Genre-Snobbery

Since becoming a book blogger it has been impossible for me to ignore the concept of genre-snobbery. It is everywhere. People (including me!) are always talking about it, blogging about it, yada yada yada.

But what is genre-snobbery, really? How does one know if they are a genre snob?

You have come to the right place for questions! Through a series of extremely scientific studies (a.k.a I sat around and thought about it for approximately five minutes) I have determined that everyone fits into one of four levels of genre snobbery. While there may be some variations out there (people who are cool with fantasy but hate on Dan Brown), I think you’ll find that this holds near UNIVERSAL truth.

I have spoken.

Level 1: Non-snob

“I’ll read anything.”

The Non-Snob is much like myself prior to book blogging and exists in a happy bubble where they don’t know even know genre-snobbery is a thing. While they may have preferred genres and genres they don’t read, it’s purely a preference thing. Likewise, they throw judgement on nobody for their reading habits. The Non-Snob is open to new reading experiences and is always ready to try something different.

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5 Classics for Beginners

It’s no secret that I am a great lover of Classic Literature. Anything before about 1940 and I’m sold. Except for Dickens, don’t know why. *shrug* And when you are a lover of the classics, it comes up a lot. Especially on Instagram, for some reason. So a lot of the time I get asked the question:

“I want to read more/some classic literature, but I’ve never really read any. Do you have a recommendation of where to start?”

Why is it so hard for people to find a classic they think they’re interested in? My theory is because so many of them are SOOOOOO long, and people are intimidated by the length, and that they may have a preconceived notion that classics are slow or dull. Well, I’m not going to lie friends, many of them are long. And if your main source of literature is 21st century YA, then yeah, the pace is going to be a lot slower than you are used to. But I think they are worth reading anyway. Once you get used to the slower pace, you’re going to find some amazing stories.

Which brings me to my first recommendation. Don’t stop after one. If you find you don’t enjoy your first classic, don’t give up. Like I said, if you’re mostly used to YA, the different pace is going to take some getting used to. And, therefore, my second suggestion. Don’t read the one you’re most interested in first. I would hate for you to have a bad experience with Pride and Prejudice because you didn’t understand it, or because you were bored. Start out with one that you’re willing to not be in love with.

So, with no further ado, here are my suggestions for first classics.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel is always my go-to suggestion for a first classic. Set in the era of the French Revolution, the daring Scarlet Pimpernel is an English spy who rescues the fleeing French nobility from the very jaws of Madame le Guillotine. French actress Marguerite, who has married into the very British nobility in the thick of these plots, must discover the identity of thy mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, but will doing so forever estrange her from her doting husband?

I always recommend this book for a couple of reasons. The writing style is fairly quick and exciting for most of the book. It opens with a bang, a deception and a chase sequence sure to hook the reader in. By the end of the book I was turning pages so fast I don’t know if I was reading even half the words on the page, so desperate was I to find out what would become of Marguerite. The second reason is that this book has a really nice blend of a great spy story (with all the twists, disguises, and surprises) with a swoon-worthy love story. I think modern readers will really connect with the content of this book, and the writing style is very accessible. It is one of my all-time favorites.

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Bookish March Madness: Championship

Here it is! The round to end all rounds! Which book from The Great American Read will be crowned as my all-time one-and-only champion?!?!

In the first corner, one of history’s most beloved novels, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! Written by Jane Austen, this book is the basis for one of history’s greatest romance tropes, enemies to lovers. It has sparked countless remakes, adaptations, and inspired-bys. Readers continue to fall in love with Mr. Darcy (and Colin Firth) and see themselves reflected in the quick wit and dry humor of Elizabeth Bennett.

In the other corner, HARRY POTTER! It is impossible, friends, to overstate the impact Harry Potter has had on my generation. When I was in fifth grade kids who had never finished a book were clamoring to read my teacher’s copy. It made a generation of readers. And as adults we are having the chance to read this series to our kids. Its message of friendship, love, and magic is timeless, and its humor and emotions still ring true. We will always be re-reading this book.

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Bookish March Madness 2020: Final Four

Is it in bad taste to continue this series after the actual March Madness tournament has been cancelled due to Covid-19? Or is it comforting to have something goofy and light? I hope the second, because here I am.

For those of you just tuning in, this March I’m celebrating my apathy for basketball but my love for brackets with a “tournament” pitting the top 16 books from The Great American Read against each other. What is the point? 1) To declare the ULTIMATE WINNER of the BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME 2) Because I really like brackets. Making a buzzfeed bracket (or whatever the current favorite site is…) didn’t appeal to me, so here we are.

These are my Final Four favorite books. There was some heartbreak last round (saying goodbye to The Lord of the Rings and Little Women), but this round will bring in some VERY difficult choices. All the books remaining are books I truly love, and they are all quite different from one another. It’ll be like comparing apples and oranges, but I will suffer through it. (For the record, apples are better.)

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