The New, The Old, and The Insanely Nostalgic: My Three Favorite Books (and a swap!??!)

So apparently, I'm a writing major? Which means I read? Which means...I have favorite books? Whaaa?

Anyway, I get asked the "favorite book" question a lot, and I usually do the "oh, uh, I mean, I have a lot..." answer, which is lame. So here are my three (current) favorites:

lemoncakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: Aimee Bender

This is something I haven't even finished yet, but know will go down as one of my all-time favorites. I always appreciate a writer who has a style and way with prose that's hard for me to forget, in addition to a great plot and characters. Bender also integrates magical realism into her stories, which is one of my favorites genres (and she pulls it off, like, amazingly). In her book, a young girl named Rose all of a sudden starts tasting feelings in food - she can identify what emotions the person that made it was having and where exactly every ingredient came from. Bender weaves all of this into plot full of complicated family life and dynamics. Read this book.

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Grey: Pete Wentz

Pure nostalgia here, people. I heard he was writing a book about two years ago, preordered it, and read it in under 24 hours. Yes, he's the bassist for Fall Out Boy. Yes, I have approximately 74 posters of his face on my bedroom wall back home. And that means that whatever his book was like, I knew I was going to love it. It's basically autobiographical (though shrouded in ""fiction"") and details his life just when Fall Out Boy were starting out as a tiny band in 2004. He writes very lyrically and honestly, and I appreciated the book if only because it brought me back to my days in middle school when my life revolved around his band.

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The Slide: Kyle Beachy
Okay. If you thought the last one was fangirling. Hoo boy.

So, when I went to the Iowa Young Writer's Studio* they had nightly guests come in and do a reading of their work. Most were pretty high-up in their industry, were sort of sniffy, and had amazing writing that was delivered with a bit of snark. Then in comes this kid: 23, unshaven, looks like the sort of guy that would help you out at Barnes and Noble. He smiled, sat down, and casually read out of his book in the most straightforward manner. The incredible images and metaphors floated to the surface, the characters came to life in his calm voice, and I might've cried a little in my plastic fold out chair. In short, I nabbed the book the next day (A SIGNED COPY NO BIG DEAL) and locked myself in my room the day after camp, reveling in every word. It was one of those books that you never want to end because the writing is so strong and so perfectly fitting into what you want to sound like that you're afraid you'll never find it again.

I'm not even being overdramatic, I just really like this book. It's about a kid graduating college and having to go back home and face all his old demons.


*best writing program I have ever attended. If you know someone in high school that has a passion for words, send them to this camp. I learned more there in three weeks than I had in all my previous years of being a writer.


Oh, by the way, I guess I'm doing a swap now? I stumbled upon it the night before registration closed and said to myself "Z YOU SHOULD NOT LOCK YOURSELF AWAY IN BLOGGER-DOM. MAKE SOME FRIENDS." So I chose a nerdy swap about books. Hoooooorah.

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