Friday, August 12, 2022

22 Spartan to Spartan book recommendations

December 28, 2021
<p>Two separate photos of a book combined into one taken on Nov. 2, 2021. </p>

Two separate photos of a book combined into one taken on Nov. 2, 2021.

Photo by Jillian Felton | The State News

Literature is a form of art that has guided souls for ages.

It is studied by scholars across the globe and connects individuals who share nothing but a love for it. Contrary to popular belief, reading is not simply a thing of the past.

Although entertainment has vastly grown this century, people still enjoy opening a book (or turning on their device) and living through the words on the printed or digital page under their noses.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 77 percent of adults have read a book in whole or in part in 2020.

For avid readers, knowing which text to pick up next can present a challenge. Likewise, those who believe they are not interested in reading have difficulty knowing where to begin.

To help out with these struggles, 13 MSU students shared 22 of their favorite books, ranging from age-old originals to modern classics to hidden gems. Whether you are somebody who reads before bed every night or someone who has not held a book in a while, let this list navigate you.

  1. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

  2. “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess

  3. “Music for Chameleons” by Truman Capote

  4. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

  5. “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn

  6. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

  7. “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton

  8. “Trylle” series by Amanda Hocking

  9. anything by Colleen Hoover

  10. “I Hunt Killers” by Barry Lyga

  11. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty

  12. “Dance of Thieves” by Mary E. Pearson

  13. “ONCE GONE” by Blake Pierce

  14. “False Memory” by Meli Raine

  15. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  16. “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan

  17. “Normal People” by Sally Rooney

  18. “My Dark Vanessa” by Kate Elizabeth Russell

  19. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger

  20. “Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín

  21. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

  22. “The Program” series by Suzanne Young

1. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

“Little Women” is a coming-of-age novel set in the 1860s that follows the lives of four sisters, who live with their mother as their dad is fighting in the war, and they navigate the world around them. 

“It is a feel-good novel that you won’t be able to put down,” political science and English junior Caila Coleman said via text. “It will make you laugh, make you cry, and will make you feel warm and excited about living your own life—independent from anyone or anything that could possibly hold you back.”

2. “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess

“A Clockwork Orange” is a satirical dark comedy novel set in a dystopian world. Its teenage protagonist narrates his violent experiences with society and law enforcement until he is taken by the state to reform him of his violent ways.

“It puts our humanity into question,” English education freshman Ella Paul said via text. “It’s kind of like a ‘What would you do?’ type of question. It’s really great if you want a challenge. It’s definitely more for experienced readers however it is a concept to last a lifetime. The theme is immaculate and the plot is very thorough.”

3. “Music for Chameleons” by Truman Capote

“Music for Chameleons” is a collection of both nonfiction and fiction short stories that share a theme of the human experience. It is split up into three parts, and the second part consists of one novella-length true crime story.

“I found it in a thrift store, and the way it’s written does a really amazing job of saying a lot without using a lot of words,” English freshman Nathan Nichols said via text. "It’s beautiful … you should read this book if you enjoy objective yet elaborate writing, and if you don’t feel like committing to reading an entire book, you can pick it up and put it down at your leisure because it’s full of short stories.”

4. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

“The Hunger Games” is the first novel of a best-selling dystopian series that is set in a world where each year, two teenagers from each district are randomly selected to fight to the death in that year’s Hunger Games. When Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute after her younger sister’s name is drawn, she faces rigorous physical, mental and emotional challenges in the Games.

“It spoke to me on how great the divide between social classes is in this world and how it affects our day to day lives—job interviews, getting into certain schools, goods and services, etc,” neuroscience junior Ashrith Akkaraju said via text. “If you are someone who loves the genre of battle royale in video games and movies, you will enjoy reading about one that tells a very human story about a post-apocalyptic world where it seems all hope is lost.”

5. “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn

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“The Woman in the Window,” tells the story of Anna Fox, who struggles with agoraphobia, the fear of entering crowded spaces or leaving home, following a car accident. One day, Anna is looking out her window and sees her neighbor, Jane, being stabbed. The catch is, Jane appears fine, so nobody believes Anna—even when she tells them the lady they are talking to is not the real Jane.

“(It) is a thriller book that also keeps you on your toes,” elementary education freshman Berlin Diana said via text. “There’s a ton of life lessons in that book that you wouldn’t even expect to find but I think it’s also one that totally opens your eyes to this new way of thinking and seeing things.”

6. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

“The Fault in Our Stars” follows two teenage cancer patients as they navigate their own fates as well as the fate of what they are becoming. It takes readers through an emotional rollercoaster of laughter, joy, tears and heartbreak.

“It’s more than just a sad book to me,” psychology and English sophomore Sydney Savage said via text. “Augustus Waters is such a likable character. I love his sense of humor and energy, and there are so many quotes that just make me feel so many things from that book. I have them on my wall.”

7. “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton

“The Outsiders” tells the story of a teenage gang called 'the Greasers' who are at odds with another gang, 'the Socials.' After an opening fight leads to the death of a Social member, the Greasers are left to navigate their violent lifestyles. 

“The characters are lovable because they are flawed,” creative advertising junior Kelly Branigan said via text. “They are kids who have been dealt a bad hand and have to survive in a rough city. The writing is simple and straightforward which makes the story easy to follow and fall in love with.”

8. “Trylle” trilogy by Amanda Hocking

The “Trylle” trilogy consists of novels "Switched," "Torn" and "Ascend." A paranormal series, the books follow the story of a teenage protagonist as she unintentionally uncovers her true identity in a different world.

“It’s kind of juvenile, but I feel required to give a PG-13 rated title,” English junior Katherine Franklin said via text. “It was a cute series with some romance, suspense, and otherworldly aspects. It’s useful to kind of just escape this world for a little bit.”

9. Anything by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is a New York Times bestselling author of 11 novels and five novellas. She has risen to popularity in the last five years in the young adult community. Her most sold novel, "It Ends with Us," tells the story of relationships fierce with passion, pain and domestic violence.

“Hoover knows how to engage with her audience, and every book feels so real,” human biology sophomore Genesis Garcia said via text. “You know when people say 'Don’t just tell me your story, show me?' That’s how I feel when reading anything by Hoover.”

10. “I Hunt Killers” by Barry Lyga

“I Hunt Killers” is about the child of a notorious serial killer. Throughout his childhood, his father taught him about his ways with the goal that he would follow in his killing footsteps. Instead, the boy uses what his father taught him to hunt serial killers like him.

“I think it was super interesting to me due to my major being criminal justice and my love of all things crime,” criminal justice sophomore Tyler Soule said via text. “The way the book was written also made you feel on the edge of your seat at every turn and you don’t always get those feelings from certain books.”

11. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty

“Big Little Lies,” tells the story of a young single mother, Jane, who befriends another two mothers, Madeline and Celeste, after moving to their town. Though from immensely different backgrounds, these three end up at the same place after somebody is found dead. 

"(It) was honestly just a very intriguing book,” Diana said via text. “It was a mystery book that I couldn’t put down, it had tons of plot twists and it was fun trying to figure out what was going on as the characters were trying to figure it out as well."

12. “Dance of Thieves” by Mary E. Pearson

“Dance of Thieves” is a young adult fantasy novel that follows the quest of a street thief and a prince to save the kingdom they both reside in. The two characters, incredibly different at first glance, are more similar than they themselves realize. Another thing they do not realize is that they are both keeping their secrets and their grief from each other.

“They are polar opposites who are forced to be together and they eventually find out they are not so different from each other,” Branigan said via text.

13. “Once Gone” by Blake Pierce

“Once Gone” begins with the murders of multiple women in a Virginia town. A stumped FBI team calls in Special Agent Riley Paige—the only one who might be able to crack the case. The one problem? She is still fighting demons from her last encounter with a killer.

“(It’s) very intense and captivating,” Franklin said via text. “I couldn’t put it down.”

14. “False Memory” by Meli Raine

“False Memory” follows the recovery of a protagonist who becomes an amnesiac after a homicide attempt as well as her journey to find her almost-killer.

“It really kept me on my toes, and I was so invested that I read the whole thing in one day and even bought the next book to read the following day,” Franklin said via text.

15. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a historical fiction novel that tells the tale of a 60s Hollywood star, Evelyn. In the book, Evelyn chooses a small journalist to write about her life story—and she led a glamorous and scandalous life.

“It’s a glamorous story about a movie actress in the 60s, and there’s an undercurrent of mystery and intrigue throughout the story that makes it a page-turner,” packaging junior Natalie Liening said via text.

16. “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan

“Percy Jackson & the Olympians” is a five-novel fantasy adventure series. In the first book, "The Lightning Thief," a troubled boy learns that his father is the god of the sea. He sets out on a journey to end the war between the gods and find the entrance to the Underworld.

“A little young for us I know, but it’s due to what it did for me,” Soule said via text. “It’s honestly the first book series that made me really fall in love with the luxury of (being) able to read books. I’d finish them, reread them, etc. Just the way that I was sucked in at such an early age due to that series is the reason I’d label it my number one.”

17. “Normal People” by Sally Rooney

“Normal People,” tells the tale of two individuals who cannot be more different yet have an undeniable connection. Throughout their college years, they try hard to stay away from one another—until they realize they need to save one another.

“They both struggle with these ideas about what is normal and abnormal in society,” Garcia said via text. “They’re relationship is a secret, until it’s not. I recommend this book to anyone, even the non-readers. It is refreshingly real, and draws you in from every corner.”

18. “My Dark Vanessa” by Kate Elizabeth Russell

“My Dark Vanessa” is an essay that accounts and analyzes the relationship between a naive teenage girl and her manipulative teacher. Almost two decades following their affair, the now-adult woman has to face the reality of that past when her former teacher is accused of assaulting another student.

“This book literally changed my life and how I view the world,” integrative biology freshman Braylon Arsenault said via text. “It’s a story about abuse, so it’s super hard to read, but the writing was beautiful and it was very hard-hitting.”

19. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger

“The Catcher in the Rye,” tells the tale of an adolescent boy who explores the phoniness of the world after his expulsion from school. He becomes unstable and ends up in a sanatorium, where he relays his story.

“I read it once every year and every year it means something different to me,” Coleman said via text.

20. “Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín

“Brooklyn” follows the story of Ellis Lacey, who lived in Ireland in the 1950s. When she is offered a position working in a Brooklyn neighborhood, she cannot decline—even if it means leaving her family behind. When she arrives in Brooklyn, she meets and begins to fall in love with somebody. Just as this is happening, she receives devastating news about Ireland, her home.

“I think it’s such an amazing story about carving your own path and doing what’s right for yourself, not just what’s expected of you,” English education sophomore Annalyn Bagin said via text.

21. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a philosophical novel that tells the story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and external beauty, thinking that his appearance is of high significance compared to his inner self.

“It was the book that made me fall in love with classics, and the writing is super lyrical,” Arsenault said via text. “I also love the message of how beauty can corrupt people, and that there’s more to life than just looks.”

22. “The Program” series by Suzanne Young

“The Program” is a series that is set in a world where teenage suicide is an epidemic—but one that has a cure. Protagonist Sloane knows she cannot show her emotion and succumb to her depression. If she does, The Program will come for her, and she will return an empty body.

“They really open up a door to the world of mental health and how important it is,” Diana said via text. “It’s kind of more like a surreal world they’re living in but it still feels as if it could relate to the world we are in now and the stigma around mental health.”

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