10 Book Recommendations for Beginners

I have been asked to recommend books for beginners on various occassions by people who wish to start reading. There are so many good and easy reads to begin with that I was confused what books to suggest.

Here’s a few that I think many can sit through as a starting book. 😀 😀

1. Any book from the famous five series by Enid Blyton

the-famous-five-and-the-secret-of-the-caves

Childrens’ Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery

I have only read one and it was literally the first novel that I ever read. It is a series of children’s adventure novels. It features a group of 4 young children- Julian, Dick, Anne, and Georgina aka George and their dog, Timmy.

Why read? There are 21 books in the series to choose from, you can have your pick based on the setting, as they aren’t dependent on each other you can read any book from the 21 books. The books fall roughly between 200-300 pages so they are not too much or too less for a beginner.

 

2. Chocolate Guitar Momos by Kenny Deori Basumatary

choc gui momosContemporary Romance

This book starts with Joseph who is a young aspiring musician, getting kicked out of a relationship by his third girlfriend. He believes that relationships won’t work unless they are destined to be. So, he decides to track down a girl who smiled at him from across a bus stop eight years ago. The only thing that he remembers is that she was wearing a grey skirt. He knows nothing, not her name, not her address, he doesn’t even remember her face.

Why read? There are so many funny moments in this book, the writing style is raw, it will keep you hooked in, the ending is sad which perfectly balances the light-heartedness going on. It has some really creative insults that will leave you giggling like a kid saying a curse word for the first time. 😛

3. Diary of a young girl- Anne Frank

anne frank

Non- Fiction

Most of us either had a chapter based on this book or on Anne’s father Otto Frank in our English books. In the back of our minds we already have our interests sparked because we are a little familiar with this book, thanks to our academics. It shows a simplistic, individualistic account of a part of the Nazi period of history, not the political, public view but a glimpse in lives of humans who were the most affected by it.

Why read? Because it is in the form of a diary (addressed as Dear Kitty) it is much easier to read as beginners than other books and much meaningful to experience.

4. The fault in our stars by John Green

tfiosYoung Adult, Fiction

The story is narrated by Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old girl with cancer. Her parents force her to attend a cancer patient support group where she meets and falls in love with 17 year old Augustus Waters, who lost his right leg to cancer and wears a prosthetic. There is an emphasis on metaphors in this book that became a representing feature of the book.

Why read? This book is a beautiful journey, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, The ending is totally unexpected, it took a really sad turn. (Ofcourse) The first book that made me cry. 😛 😛

5. A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini

1000 splendid sunsFiction

This, despite being fiction, feels real when you read it, maybe because it was somewhere inspired by reality. This book focuses on 2 female characters- Mariam and Laila and their lives and struggles in Afghanistan when taliban was in power.

Why read? This again is an individualistic take on a mass affecting circumstance and event. This book touches various aspects of reality and dynamics of various relations written in a way that keeps a reader reading.

6. Between the lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

between the linesFairy Tale, Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

A 15 year old teenager, Delilah finds this fairy tale in a library and becomes obsessed with it. She is a bookworm and kind of an introvert. The fairy tale is called “Between the lines” and is about Prince Oliver. She has a punky, rock bff who is fun to read about.

Her dad divorced her mom when she was a baby, being lonely she confides her worries to Prince Oliver and guess what… he talks back. To cut a long story short, they fall in love.

Why read? A fairy tale inside a fairy tale. A fresh concept, it is an interesting read and fairy tales are fairly easy to read, most of us have read or been read to.

7. What happened to goodbye by Sarah Dessen

what happened to goodbyeFiction, Young Adult, Contemporary

This book is about the self discovery of a 17 year old girl, named Mclean Sweet. She hates the fact that her parents divorced and her mom married her dad’s favorite basketball team’s new coach, Peter Hamilton. Her dad’s job makes them move a lot, she decides to take on a different persona each time, creating a new name for herself, a new personality, a new Ume page. (similar to a Facebook profile)
On the 4th move, she somehow ends up being herself, she makes a lot of friends and is truly happy but then her secret is revealed and everything starts going downhill.

Why read?  It’s a journey of self discovery written in a very engaging manner. The flow of the story is good, the stories of the supporting characters make Mclean’s story more enjoyable.

8. P.S. I love you by Cecelia Ahern

ps i love youFiction, Romance

This story revolves around Holly and Gerry, a married couple. They are deeply in love but they fight occassionally. Gerry dies suddenly of a brain tumor and Holly realizes how much he means to her and how insignificant their arguments were.
Holly is grief stricken and she withdraws from her friends and family. She loses herself. Then the letters start to arrive. They are from Gerry, each signed at the end with p.s. I love you.

Why read? This is a touching story about love and the strength of true love. This is about being there for the people you love even when the circumstances are not favorable. The curiosity of what each letter contains will keep you reading. You will feel the emotions that Holly goes through and even though this book is 500 pages, I think it is an easy read.
Romances are generally easy reads and the anticipation of Gerry’s next letter will keep you going.

9. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

amy rogerFiction, Young Adult, Contemporary

The story is about Amy Curry, who is not happy with her life. Her dad died in a car accident and now she has to take a cross-country drive, because her mom decided to move from California to amy roger playlistConnecticut, with Roger who is her mom’s friend’s son. Amy hasn’t seem him in years but the road trip develops a bond between them.

Why read? The story is written in a very nice and visually pleasing format, the narrative is accompanied with scraps from the road such as bills, tickets, playlists, etc.
The book is not just filled with words but as relative visuals too so it will hold a beginner’s attention.

10. Asylum- 13 tales of terror by Matt Drabble

asylumHorror, Fiction

This is a collection of 13 short stories about the residents of Blackwater Heights, a mental health hospital. These 13 tales tie into a single main story regarding Martin Parcell, who is an ex-journalist and wanted to be an author, after a car crash’s injury he is forced to take a custodian’s position is Blackwater Heights.
Martin is deeply troubled as the tales unfold before him and is worried about his own sanity.

Why read? It’s a really well written book, the author knows how to make you feel his words. This book gave me real chills. Being written as short stories, it mentally prepares a beginner to read one more and one more and when all the stories tie into a single story you get the sense of reading a complete novel without the pressure of reading a full fledged novel. I feel like rereading it right now. 😛


These are my recommendations as of now. If you would life to watch it in video format click on the pictures. ( I divided it in 2 parts because I explained it all a bit more aka going on rambling. 😛 )

10 rec p110 rec p2

 

Review | Gift of Darkness:Growing Up in Occupied Amsterdam by Craig K. Comstock

Gift of Darkness: Growing Up in Occupied Amsterdam

 

Title: Gift of Darkness:Growing Up in Occupied Amsterdam
Author: Craig K. Comstock
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography
Publisher: Willow Press

Publishing date: 25th November, 2015
Pages: 206

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

*e-ARC received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Gift of Darkness” tells the story of a boy who, like Anne Frank, lived in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Unlike Anne, he was not taken into early hiding, but was able to move around the city, even to help serve its Jewish community, and observe first-hand the ominous things that were happening. Robbert Van Santen lived each day not knowing how or when the war would end, not being sure that he would survive, not imagining that as an elder he would articulate his experiences to an American author. To put one of Mary Oliver’s poetic phrases in a new context, his story is “a box full of darkness,” but in the telling he offers the author and the reader the gift of stepping into his shoes and thus the satisfaction of coming to understand a teenager’s challenging life. What did Robbert do afterward? He sought “to find joy in life despite what happened. Not instead of the memories, but as a response to them.


My Take:

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If you only look at Robbert’s  experiences and focus on the events of the time then this is a good book but overall this is not that of an interesting read.

When you think of someone going through all this, it obviously tears your heart apart. Using present tense can make a person experience the ordeal while they read it but it gets exhausting at times. I don’t actually like present tense narration in fiction either, it takes out the story telling element which is what makes a book more enjoyable, atleast to me.

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While the approach might be different and the reason logical to an extent it takes out the pleasure of reading. This approach might better suit a documentary because reading the past in past tense actually makes the story seem real. I don’t know if it’s just me but the tenses make or break the book. The message, the story might be good but the writing style is not well suited.

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I kind of feel that narrating his life story in present tense might have been more painful for Robert.

I think it would’ve worked better as “as told to.”

 

 

I really liked the foreword of the book, it is written by Francis Weller, he explains the decision of writing the book in the particular way better than the author himself.
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Now, if Robbert could talk about the facts detaching the feelings then he was already dealing with his grief. If you can separate the facts from the feelings it means you have come to terms with that experience to a certain extent. I get the, “to enter the grief and allow the full weight of sorrow to be felt and expressed,” this makes sense for using the present tense but then again if it was in first person it would’ve made more sense. When the story is being told in third person it automatically becomes  “as told to” and the present tense seems irrelevant.

“The whole story must be told, reuniting the facts with the feelings.” Robbert wanted to delve out only facts so to get the feelings out this method might have been helpful in the interview but in the book, not so much.

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Image result for old man reading animated gifThis is the actual story I wanted the most focus on. This was the part I wanted to read when I started reading this book. The story of Robbert. The author’s thoughts, psychoanalysis, historic facts, information are all necessary but should’ve been secondary to the actual story but all of these stuff seem to push towards being the primary aspect of the book. I think in making this book worthy the author lost focus from the main element of the book. Yes, they decided to skip some parts, in a joking manner, but some of the things required more attention and details that was not provided to the parts. Some places it felt rushed when it came to Robbert’s story and some places it felt dragged when it was the author recounting the experiences he had with Robbert.

Yes, Anne’s story is heartbreaking but you don’t actually get to know about the state of the Jews, in this book you are amidst all the disaster. To get a glimpse of how life was for the people who couldn’t go into hiding, this book is a good start. 🙂 🙂


Why would I pick it up?

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For Robbert! 🙂

Review | The Happiness Effect by Donna Freitas

The Happiness Effect: How Social Media Is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost

 

Title: The Happiness Effect
Author: Donna Freitas
Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Publishing date: 1st February, 2017
Pages: 368

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Sexting. Cyberbullying. Narcissism. Social media has become the dominant force in young people’s lives, and each day seems to bring another shocking tale of private pictures getting into the wrong hands, or a lament that young people feel compelled to share their each and every thought with the entire world.

Have smartphones and social media created a generation of self-obsessed egomaniacs?

Absolutely not, Donna Freitas argues in this provocative book. And, she says, these alarmist fears are drawing attention away from the real issues that young adults are facing.

Drawing on a large-scale survey and interviews with students on thirteen college campuses, Freitas finds that what young people are overwhelmingly concerned with–what they really want to talk about–is happiness. They face enormous pressure to look perfect online–not just happy, but blissful, ecstatic, and fabulously successful. Unable to achieve this impossible standard, they are anxious about letting the less-than-perfect parts of themselves become public. Far from wanting to share everything, they are brutally selective when it comes to curating their personal profiles, and worry obsessively that they might unwittingly post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Through candid conversations with young people from diverse backgrounds, Freitas reveals how even the most well-adjusted individuals can be stricken by self-doubt when they compare their experiences with the vast collective utopia that they see online. And sometimes, as on anonymous platforms like Yik Yak, what they see instead is a depressing cesspool of racism and misogyny. Yet young people are also extremely attached to their smartphones and apps, which sometimes bring them great pleasure. It is very much a love-hate relationship.

While much of the public’s attention has been focused on headline-grabbing stories, the everyday struggles and joys of young people have remained under the radar. Freitas brings their feelings to the fore, in the words of young people themselves. The Happiness Effect is an eye-opening window into their first-hand experiences of social media and its impact on them.


My Take:

The synopsis already talks a lot about what’s in the book, so I am going to skip that part and focus on how this book turned out.

This book is a result of a lot of research and with that the author has done a good job of presenting us with her research.I loved reading the interview parts because you can see from where the author is coming from, what actually she focused on. She talks about the conclusion she drew from the research.

Image result for reading social media gif animated

One of my problems with research based books that focus on a single topic is that there is a lot of repetitiveness and this book is no exception. Reading the same thing again and again in different forms can be boring and that’s what I found some parts to be.

It sure is insightful on how some of the kids these day feel, focus on “some” because the large percentage of people I know in person don’t resonate with the idea of this book because these things like being jealous of other people’s life, wanting to appear happy and successful, wanting to appear perfect, etc has been a part of many people’s emotions prior to the existence of social media, social media is just another way for them to be all out about how they feel. With social media it just gets easy for them to detect it. It’s nothing that I haven’t read about before, so it was an okay read for me.


Why would I pick it up?

Image result for reading social media gif animated

For the social media approval cravers, to make them read and understand.

Review | Anything for a Vote by Joseph Cummins

Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential Campaigns

Title: Anything for a Vote
Author: Joseph Cummins
Genre: Non Fiction, Politics
Publisher: Quirk Books

Publishing date: 27th October, 2015
Pages: 304

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

A History of Mud-Slinging, Character Assassination, And Other Election Strategies
Â
Today’s political pundits express shock and disappointment when candidates resort to negative campaigning. But history reveals that smear campaigns are as American as apple pie. Anything for a Vote is an illustrated look at 200-plus years of dirty tricks and bad behavior in presidential elections, from George Washington to Barack Obama and John McCain. Let the name-calling begin!
Â
     •Â  1836: Congressman Davy Crockett accuses candidate Martin Van Buren of secretly wearing women’s clothing: “He is laced up in corsets!”
     •Â  1864: Presidential candidate George McClellan describes his opponent, Abraham Lincoln, as “nothing more than a well-meaning baboon!”
     •Â  1960: Former president Harry Truman advises voters that “if you vote for Richard Nixon, you ought to go to hell!”
Â
Full of sleazy anecdotes from every presidential election in United States history, Anything for a Vote is a valuable reminder that history does repeat itself, that lessons can be learned from the past (though they usually aren’t), and that our most famous presidents are not above reproach when it comes to the dirtiest game of all—political campaigning.


My Take:

Screenshot_2016-11-06-12-08-01-1

I am not into politics, this isn’t even about my country’s politics, the only reason I picked this book up was to diversify my reading. It’s safe to say that I do not regret my decision. Phew… what a relief! 😛

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This book bode well with me because of the light weight writing, the information wasn’t just dumped on you, it was molded into quite summarized chapters. The flow of the book was easy going and each chapter was thoroughly thought out. It was presented in kind of a story fashion which made it an easy read for me.

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All the details were simplified in order to be understood by everyone. I feel like this is an unbiased writing when it comes to politics. If you read this book, you will get a fair idea of the election scene in the US upto 2012, though many of us believe it’s the same around the globe.

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Screenshot_2016-11-06-12-08-21-1Screenshot_2016-11-06-12-08-51-1

 

 

 

 

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It’s not exactly the best source material for any one election in particular but will provide you with a fair idea of what happened. The illustrations, quotes, and the writing style added to the politics made for an interesting read.

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Why would I pick it up?

Image result for reading sad gif animated

For an easy political read.

 

Review | A Naturalist Goes Fishing by James McClintock

A Naturalist Goes Fishing: Casting in Fragile Waters from the Gulf of Mexico to New Zealand's South Island

 

Title: A Naturalist Goes Fishing
Author: James McClintock
Genre: Non Fiction, Sports
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publishing date: 27th October, 2015
Pages: 272

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

In the tradition of fishing classics, A Naturalist Goes Fishing combines elements of the triumph between fisher and fish, humor and wit, and a passionate concern for the natural environment.

James McClintock takes us to some of the most breathtaking waters the world has to offer while capturing the drama and serendipity in the beloved sport of fishing. We follow him and his fishing buddies and professional guides, as he fishes off the marshy barrier islands of Louisiana, teeming with life but also ravaged by recent disasters like the Deepwater Horizon spill. We travel to the remote waters of New Zealand’s Stewart Island, where the commercial fishing industry is fast disappearing; fish for gigantic Antarctic toothfish through a drilled ice hole at McMurdo Station; and scout for spotted bass on Alabama’s Cahaba River, which has the highest diversity of fresh water fish in North America. As we take this global journey, we see how sea level rise, erosion, pollution, water acidification, and overfishing each cause damage.

This strikingly beautiful narrative is a must read for anglers and nature lovers alike.


My Take:

This book makes the “reading takes you places” come true. 😀 This one book will take you to 9 fishing trips in 9 different places, if you are anything like me and haven’t been to even one, this is the book for you. 😛 😛

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It has a lot of ecological and conservation information like description of the fish species, characteristics of their natural habitat, the problems arising from the change of the ecosystem, etc . An informative read is always a YES!

All the information can seem overwhelming at times but it is still enjoyable if you don’t stress over it. Not only does the author provide you with information about the fishes and their habitat, he also explains the effects of climate changes and other problems, and has dedicated a complete chapter to inform about the conservation of fishes and their habitats.

I loved the little touch of fish pictures! ❤ ❤ Screenshot_2017-06-12-21-43-52-1


Why would I pick it up?

Image result for fish reading gif animated

For a virtual fishing trip. 😛

Review | Compassion is the Key to Everything by Alexandra Chauran

Compassion Is the Key to Everything: Find Your Own Path

 

Title: Compassion is the Key to Everything
Author: Alexandra Chauran
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Publishing date: 8th January, 2016
Pages: 240

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Transform the way you interact with the world around you using Compassion is the Key to Everything, a practical, nondenominational book on discovering and exemplifying your own idea of what it means to be a compassionate person. Alexandra Chauran provides a guide to creating your personal code of ethics and integrating compassion into your life and community.

Explore your life’s purpose, nurture a peaceful existence, and strengthen your relationships with this book’s guidance on finding your own path. And unlike other books or spiritual programs that espouse specific diets or purchasing choices, Compassion is the Key to Everything provides insights that are adaptable to any lifestyle. Through exercises, meditations, and more, you’ll learn to stop judging yourself and others and start making the world a better place.


My Take:

Look how soothing the cover is. ❤ One of the reasons why I was drawn to the book. 😛 😛

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Screenshot_2017-06-12-22-00-23-1One of the things that I liked about this book was that that it places equal importance of showing compassion to others as well as oneself. People stress over how we conduct ourselves with others but how we conduct ourselves is often overlooked. The author emphasis enough about understanding oneself, being compassionate and staying away from self harm.

This book is divided into 5 main chapters that cover all that is to cover with respect to compassion.

Image result for clenching fist gif animated

Screenshot_2017-06-12-22-12-45-1This book delves into how compassion, empathy, sympathy, kindness are all important virtues. In a broader sense they are one and the same, if there’s one of these qualities in you, the other finds the way. The exact definitions make them different and that is what is talked about in the book and how to achieve is delved into.

This book talks about how to get along with others while not being hard on yourselves. It includes suggestions, exercises, helpful tips, along with the understanding of the topic.

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It talks about the importance of finding your life’s purpose and how you should find it. It takes about Karma and Will, exercises for them, their effects and meaning.

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It talks about creating your own game plan for a thoughtful lifestyle. It talks about what morality means to us and how it is defined by our culture and our upbringing. It talks about how striking a balance in life is hard and how to deal with unintentional harm.

Everyone wants peace in their lives. This book covers the steps along the path to a peaceful existence. Surrendering pride is one of the big steps. Kindness is a virtue and becoming a beacon of kindness for others is also covered in this book.

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The book covers the topic in detail with a lot of sub topics, studies, quotes, mnemonics, exercises, meditation exercises, etc. It is a good read and will keep you thinking about life and your conduct towards life. 😀


Why would I pick it up?

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For a thoughtful read. 😀