Literary Heartbreakers…or Literally Heartbreaking?

I’m a sucker for a happy ending.  Unfortunately, some of my favorite literary characters don’t get that happy ending, whether it’s because they themselves are heartbreakers or because the story they have been written into is literally heartbreaking (sometimes, it’s a little bit of both).  But whether it’s the character or the author that breaks our heart, we have to admit they are impossible to forget.

Here are five heartbreakers and five heartbreaking stories that we can’t seem to quit.

Heartbreakers

prideandprejudice_19George Wickham from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—He may have all the appearance of goodness, but looks can be deceiving.

giphyRhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind—Heartbreaker or heartbroken? He may be a little of both, but he don’t give a damn.

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4 Things You May Not Know About Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s most loved novel. With more than 20 million copies sold worldwide, this book has never been out of print since it was first published on January 28, 1813. Movies, mini-series, books and even a Broadway musical have been created based on the story.  So, there is no denying that most people have read, seen or at least know the basic storyline of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but here are a few interesting facts that you may not know about this classic piece of literature

1.) The original title of Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Pride and Prejudice, the title the novel was eventually published under, was in common usage during Austen’s day, being found in two important works of the late-1700s, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. More than likely, however Austen took the title from Fanny Burney’s novel Cecilia, in which that phrase is used three times in succession and in all caps.

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5 Fun Facts for Winnie-the-Pooh Day

“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.”

                 –from Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne

January 18 is the birthday of A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie-the-Pooh, and is commonly known as Winnie-the-Pooh Day! What better way to celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh Day than to learn some new and interesting things about our favorite bear as well as look at some of the wonderful Pooh-isms that we love so much?

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“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

Do you know where Winnie-the-Pooh got his name?
As Milne explains in his introduction of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin has a swan (or the swan had Christopher Robin) that he called Pooh. After the swan was gone, Christopher Robin went to the zoo and saw a bear named Winnipeg, or Winnie. So when Edward Bear needed a new name, Christopher Robin called him Winnie-the-Pooh. Continue reading

Resolve to Read: 105 Books You’ve Always Wanted to Read

105booksEvery year one of my New Year’s resolutions is to read a book I have always wanted to read but haven’t, whether it was a classic or just a few years old.  One year I read Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; another year I read Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, and just last year I read Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. This year I’m Resolving to Read Dickens’ Great Expectations. However, I wondered what books other people were Resolving to Read in 2017. So, I asked our HPB bibliomaniacs what books they have always wanted to read that they are Resolving to Read this year. Here are their answers. Continue reading

New Reads with a Holiday Twist

When you think of holiday stories,certain must-read classics come to mind, such as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and more recently Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express. These are stories that make their way off my shelf and into my hands every holiday season.  However, sometimes I crave a new holiday story and go looking for touching, romantic or even mysterious holiday books to devour.  If you are looking for something new this holiday, here are a few suggestions of holiday-themed stories that have been published in the past few years.

whatlight-coverWhat Light, by Jay Asher—Released in 2016, this moving Young Adult novel follows the story of Sierra and Caleb. Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon and every year she has to pack up and move to California to sell trees in their Christmas tree lot. This Christmas she meets Caleb, a boy with a troubled past. This story is about finding forgiveness, redemption and love, and it just may break your heart.  This book is featured in our Holiday Gift Guide.

a-baxter-family-christmas-9781471143311_hrA Baxter Family Christmas, by Karen Kingsbury—Released in 2016, Kingsbury brought back the Baxter family for an all-new holiday story, as John Baxter invites the transplant recipient who now has his deceased daughter’s heart to share Christmas Eve dinner with the family, a dinner that just might change all of them. Continue reading

Books I Am Thankful For

I love books, but there are certain books that have had such an impact on my life that I couldn’t imagine the world without them.  Here is a list of five books for which I am truly thankful and the reasons why.

c67cf2f90ca165077b59c29f2c9ef7f5A Dog Called Kitty by Bill Wallace
I first read this book when I was in third grade. The book is about a young boy who is afraid of dogs until he meets a dog who answers to nothing but the word “kitty.”  A Dog Called Kitty is the first book that made me both laugh and cry.  I proceeded to loan it to all my friends.  I even read a portion of it over the phone to try to get one of them interested in reading it.  Now that I have a nephew in fourth grade, I have given him a copy to read and can only hope that he will love it as much as I did.

0446310786To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
No one will find it surprising that I first read this book for my high school freshman English class.  When we started reading it, I had just finished The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss. So when Scout’s teacher comments that she doesn’t understand how Hitler could treat Jews the way he does because they are such nice people, all the while the town she lives in is condemning Tom Robinson for a crime they know he didn’t commit just because he’s black, I became so upset with that character I threw the book across my room. Thus, To Kill a Mockingbird became the first book in which I acted out one of my favorite Dorothy Parker quotes, “This isn’t a book to be tossed aside lightly. It must be thrown with great force.”  It was the first book that I was forced to read in school that I actually enjoyed. Continue reading

If You Liked The Girl on the Train, You Might Also Like…

trainIf you’re a part of the HPB Book Club, you are currently reading or perhaps just finished The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller is told through the perspective of three different women who have one very dangerous thing in common—they are all living a lie. In the book, Megan Hipwell is found dead and Rachel, who has secretly watched Megan’s life from the safety of the passing commuter train, believes she can solve Megan’s murder. From the moment The Girl on the Train was released, people have compared it to Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and with its suspenseful plot and surprise ending, they are not wrong. However, if you have already read Gone Girl and are looking for other books like The Girl on the Train, you may like some of these.

1. The Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll 2. The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica 3. Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris 4. The Silent Wife, by A.S.A. Harrison 5. Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty 6. Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson 7. Truly, Madly, Guilty, by Liane Moriarty 8. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware 9. The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena 10. Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey

I’ve already snapped up two of these books. What about you? What are you reading next?

Julie is Traffic Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

I Love YA—YALSA Teen’s Top Ten Books

On Saturday, October 15 the polls closed for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teen’s Top Ten books of 2016. This top ten list is chosen from teens all around the country who nominate and then vote for their favorite books of the previous year. A big YA reader myself but unable to vote, each year I review the books nominated and choose my own top ten. Then, when the list comes out, I like to compare my choices with the ones the teens have chosen.  Last year, I only got four correct.  Let’s see how I did this year.

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Vocabulary Booster: Convivial, Defenestrate & 5 Other Words I Learned From Books I Read This Year

October 16 is the birthday of American teacher and lexicographer, Noah Webster, which consequentially makes it Dictionary Day.  Now, I will admit that looking up words in the dictionary is a great way to improve your vocabulary. Unfortunately, the dictionary can make for some dry reading, which is why most of the words I’ve learned have come from novels I have read.  Sometimes I can figure them out from context clues, but others require some help from Mr. Webster.  Here is a list of words I have learned from reading.

Impunity | /imˈpyo͞onədē/ | noun
I learned this word from Edgar Alan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, which I remember reading in the 7th Mr. Webster would define impunity as “freedom from punishment, harm or loss.” Though, I wonder if we asked Montresor if he truly punished Fortunato with impunity what he would say.

Copse | /käps/ | noun
I’m embarrassed to say that I learned this word not that long ago when reading The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss. A co-worker told me it was their favorite book growing up, so I decided to read it.  I had seen the word in other books and glanced over it, always confusing it with the word corpse and so thought it meant a small graveyard.  However, Mr. Webster would define copse as “a thicket of small trees or shrubs,” which makes more sense, especially when I read it in Tami Hoag’s Cold Cold Heart later that same month. Continue reading

10 Most Recently Challenged Books

This week we celebrate Banned Books Awareness Week, which pays tribute to the freedom to read and draws attention to books that have been banned or challenged.  Though we’d like to imagine that the censorship of literature is a thing of the past, books get banned and challenged every year for various reasons.  Here is a list of ten of the most frequently challenged books in the last few years and the reasons they have been challenged.

1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green, was challenged because of offensive language and being sexually explicit.

2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, was challenged for being poorly written and sexually explicit with concerns that “a group of teenagers will want to try it.”

3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings, was challenged for homosexual content and being inaccurate.

4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin, was challenged for being “anti-family,” having offensive language and homosexual themes.

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, was challenged for “profanity and atheism.” Continue reading