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  • Brian Boone 2:00 pm on 2017/08/07 Permalink
    Tags: alison lurie, casey lewis, , , dorm room essentials cookbook, , ethan trex, fangirl, , foreign affairs, free stuff guide for everyone, gina meyers, goodnight dorm room: all the advice I wish i got before going to college, harlan cohen, keith riegert, kingsley amix, knack dorm living, , , , on beauty, peter sander, , samuel kaplan, school daze, scott dikkers, , streeter seidell, the big u, the college humor guide to college, the idiot, the naked roommate, the pretty good jim's journal treasury, , , , wonder boys,   

    These 20 Books Are Absolute Dorm Room Essentials 

    So you’re headed off to college in the fall. Congratulations! It’s going to be both a lot of work and a tremendous karmic shift! You’ll be on your own, and also living in a very small dormitory room with a person who is, in all likelihood, a complete stranger. Regardless, books are both an escape and an olive branch—the books you’ll need to best understand, appreciate, and enhance the college-going experience.

    The Pretty Good Jim’s Journal Treasury, by Scott Dikkers
    Everyone who went to college remembers it as an exciting time of self-discovery, new friendships, and working really, really hard. We tend to forget about all of the downtime and boredom of college—class is only a few hours a day, after all. This is where the droll comic strip collection by Scott Dikkers, a founder of The Onion, traffics—a guy named Jim does all the boring, mundane stuff one does in college. Much of Dikkers’ “Jim’s Journal” (which ran in lots of college newspapers in the ’90s) concerned the protagonist’s low-stakes experience with higher education.

    Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
    Countless authors, past and present, have also been college professors and academics. And as the old adage goes, you write what you know. The result is the subgenre of the campus novel, which details the unique experience of being in college, either for a few years or forever, including its unique politics, quirks, challenges, and maddening hypocrisies. Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, published in 1954, is among the first major campus novels, and it’s a rightful classic of the genre, detailing the wryly humorous life of an academic who becomes a lecturer at an English university despite not really wanting the job.

    The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
    There are certain things in Donna Tartt’s breakout novel that are universal college experiences: arguing with professors to allow you to take their classes, finding your tribe of like-minded individuals, and looking up to the most charismatic students on campus.

    White Noise, by Don DeLillo
    Don DeLillo’s classic novel is told through the eyes of a contented professor and patriarch of a large, blended, technology-addicted family who leads a small northeastern college’s Hitler Studies program. While the themes of the novel deal with the omnipresence of chemicals in our food, air, and bodies, DeLillo also nails the day-to-day of college life, as well as how it feels to live in a university town, particularly how it’s both charmingly unchanging and always exciting due to the constant influx and outflux of new students and teachers.

    Free Stuff Guide for Everyone, by Peter Sander
    Almost everyone in college is poor. Tuition, books, and living expenses cost a lot of money, and 18-year-olds don’t have much of that, because they lack earning power due to being 18, not-yet-college-educated, and having to spend the majority of their time going to class and studying. To make it through with your health and happiness intact, you’re going to have to get a little scrappy and a little shameless and seek out deals and bargains wherever you can. A book like this one will clue you in to all sorts of free and discounted necessary items.

    Goodnight Dorm Room: All the Advice I Wish I Got Before Going to College, by Samuel Kaplan and Keith Riegert
    Not a parody of Goodnight, Moon, likely because the book Goodnight, Moon is larger than the average dorm room. Rather, this is a swift and funny advice guide to everything “they” won’t tell you about going to college. And it’s important stuff, too, from how to exploit the goodwill of TAs who want you to succeed, to what stuff you should definitely and not definitely bring with you to fill out your tiny, tiny dorm room.

    Dorm Room Essentials Cookbook, by Gina Meyers
    Man or woman cannot survive on cafeteria food and ramen alone. Also, most college dorms don’t allow hotplates. But you’ve gotta eat, and eat well, so you’ve got to get creative. This cookbook shows you how to use the tools at hand and affordable ingredients to prepare all kinds of snacks, meals, and desserts.

    Knack Dorm Living: Get the Room—and the Experience—You Want at College, by Casey Lewis
    That dorm room is small, but this book just might be a good investment of both limited space and money. Written by Lewis when she was a seen-it-all-in-college, done-it-all-in-college college senior, it’s full of easy-to-follow and crucial tips on what to take to college, what to buy when you get there, and how to effectively and efficiently organize what little time, space, and money you’ve got.

    The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, by Harlan Cohen
    Not only are dorm rooms small, but they have to be shared with another person, who could not only be a stranger, but also literally quite strange. (Hence the title.) Cohen’s book offers pre-emptive advice on all sorts of challenges a naive, inexperienced-to-the-ways-of-the-world college freshman may experience, such as the times when it’s okay to shoot for a C, how to find a campus job, and how to navigate both long-term relationships and more “temporary” ones.

    The College Humor Guide to College, by Ethan Trex and Streeter Seidell
    Nobody these days does college humor better than, uh, College Humor. The comedy website publishes all manner of silly videos and ridiculous articles about the absurd notion of being a young person alive in the world, feeling their way around with almost zero preparation. In many ways, this droll parody of college prep books feels a lot more realistic than the real ones do. This is a good one to have in college if only as a way to share it with others and knowingly laugh at the relatable parts.

    A guidebook about the city where the college is located
    For many, college is the first time to be out there on one’s own. It’s tempting and perfectly acceptable to just kick around campus and the surrounding neighborhoods—there’s certainly plenty for freshmen to do and explore. Or, you can mingle with the townies and check out a bit more of the area that surrounds the college. Getting out there and trying new things is what college is all about, but with a safety net, which is what a guidebook about that college town totally is. It’s a guidebook to fun and adventure!

    Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
    College isn’t all partying and making new BFFs. At least not for everybody. This marvelous novel by the author of Eleanor & Park is about the difficult segue from teenhood to college life. It’s about a University of Nebraska freshman named Cath with social anxiety disorder, which precludes a social butterfly life and encourages her to stay at home writing fan fiction about a boy wizard…until she realizes that college is the best place to exercise and hone her writing skills.

    On Beauty, by Zadie Smith
    Having a Zadie Smith book on your dorm room’s sole shelf is a great conversation starter, and it’s a clue to others about how cool you are, because you’ve read Zadie Smith. The novel itself is an enlightening look at college—it touches on sexual, identity, and class issues, as well as how professors aren’t always the sage geniuses one would assume they are. It’s also a college-level text, as On Beauty was inspired by the structure and some of the plot points of E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End.

    Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon
    It’s set in Pittsburgh, as is usually the case with Chabon’s novels, which is a beautiful and perfect college town. That’s just one of the blessings protagonist Grady Tripp takes for granted. He’s essentially a lost college freshman, but all grown up: He’s an established writer and college professor, he smokes too much marijuana, is having relationship trouble, he’s got writer’s block so bad he can’t finish his next book, and he’s just a little bit jealous of the young talent coming up behind him. Chabon’s prose is crackling, and he’s a great place to start in the world of “grown-up” fiction.

    Joe College, by Tom Perrotta
    Ah, the joys of working your way through college. In this dark and yet surprisingly optimistic book from the author of Election and The Leftovers, a Yale student named Danny doesn’t get to go on a debauched Spring Break trip with his friends: He’s stuck driving his dad’s lunch truck in New Jersey. That’s a plot device to get the reader into Danny’s head, where lots of college issues humorously and dramatically wrestle for attention.

    Foreign Affairs, by Alison Lurie
    Time for the semester abroad! Well, at least it is for the two American professors at the heart of this charming, Pulitzer Prize winning campus novel-meets-fish-out-water tale. Vinnie leaves his Ivy League environs to study playground rhymes and winds up in a family tree-tracing project. Fred, meanwhile, abandons his studies of English poetry to pal around with an esteemed actress.

    The Idiot, by Elif Batuman
    This almost stream-of-consciousness novel is told from the point-of-view of a Turkish-American freshman from New Jersey who is extremely happy to be away from her dull home life and attending the glorious Harvard University. This one shows how overwhelming college and all of its assorted social and academic entanglements can be. But, you know, in a good way.

    The Big U, by Neal Stephenson
    No matter how complicated and overwhelming college life gets, it could always be worse. This first novel from sci-fi icon Neal Stephenson demonstrates that. It’s about a Remote Sensing professor named Bud who works at American Megaversity, an eight-tower complex which pretty much makes the college a bubbled world unto itself. Hey, that’s like real college, only real college has way fewer electromagnetic weapons and radioactive rats.

    A second copy of what you’re currently reading
    Talk about an icebreaker. “Hey, what’s that you’re reading,” a roommate, hallmate, classmate, or random person in “the Quad” asks. You tell them, you show them, you lend them your copy because it’s so good. Boom, friends for life.

    A copy of your favorite book from childhood
    For when you’re homesick.

    What books should every college student read?

    The post These 20 Books Are Absolute Dorm Room Essentials appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 1:48 pm on 2015/05/04 Permalink
    Tags: , fangirl, , jenny han, , , , , , , sarah dessen,   

    May’s Top Picks in Teen Fiction 

    This month’s most exciting teen books include dishy love stories, sequels we’ve been dying to get our hands on, and an edgy subculture mystery you’ll want to read in one go.

    The Heir, by Kiera Cass
    The Selection trilogy traced the love story between America Singer and Prince Maxon—she one of 35 candidates chosen to take part in the selection process of the royal bride, he the leader of post-dystopian kingdom Illéa. Now, in fourth installment The Heir, America and Maxon’s daughter, Eadlyn, is getting ready for a selection of her own. But does her love story have any chance of rivaling that of her parents?

    Off the Page, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
    In Between the Lines, a romance between a reader and her favorite fictional character blooms when a real-world boy agrees to take the character’s place in a book. Now, in follow-up Off the Page, once-fictional Prince Oliver and his real-world girlfriend, Delilah, find that three-dimensional romance comes with unexpected complications. The book from which Oliver sprung demands more than just a simple swap, and begins meddling with both its own story and that of Oliver and Delilah.

    Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen
    Despite his rebellious behavior, Sydney’s older brother, Peyton, has always been the apple of his parents’ eyes. But when he cripples another teen in a drunk driving accident, resulting in Peyton’s imprisonment, the family starts to unravel. While seeking an escape from her stifling home life, Sydney meets Layla, the daughter of local pizza shop owners. Layla’s family embraces Sydney, who finds herself increasingly drawn to their imperfect but loving household—and to Layla’s brother, Mac.

    I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest
    When May and her best friend, Libby, were kids, they created Princess X, a badass comic-book heroine drawn by Libby and given words by May. But after Libby died in an accident, May believed Princess X die along with her—until the day she sees a sticker of the princess in a store window. She follows a trail of digital breadcrumbs to discover who’s behind it, first to a Princess X webcomic, then to stranger corners of the internet. With the help of a cute hacker, May continues her hunt both on and offline, believing she may find her friend, alive and well, at the end of it. Two-tone illustrations of Princess X and company add extra verve to this exciting modern mystery.

    Fangirl (B&N Exclusive Collector’s Edition), by Rainbow Rowell
    Cath is bad with change, and she isn’t going to let a little thing like college get in the way of the thing she loves best: writing her hugely popular Simon Snow fanfic, based on the Harry Potter-esque invented book series she adores. As her twin sister, Wren, dives into keggers, dorm friendships, and self-reinvention, Cath hides out in Snow’s world, refusing to assimilate to campus life. But eventually she discovers there are upsides to leaving her laptop: chief among them, Levi, a perfectly imperfect boy, and the opportunity to find her own writing voice without the help of Simon Snow.

    Paper Townsby John Green
    When dreamy girl-next-door Margo Roth Spiegelman shows up at his bedroom window late one night, Quentin’s sure everything’s about to change. The two embark on a moonlit revenge mission on Margo’s enemies before sneaking back into their bedrooms after dawn. Quentin’s ecstatic…until Margo doesn’t show up for school. After her parents report her missing, he becomes convinced she’s left a trail of clues leading to her whereabouts, and that she might be in danger. Armed only with a hunch, he and his friends race across the country to find Margo, never considering the fact that she may not want to be found. This is a must-read (or a must-reread) before the book hits the big screen next month.

    Maximum Ride Forever, by James Patterson
    This addictive fantasy series follows the trials of Maximum Ride and her makeshift family, all of them winged, partly avian refugees from a horrible human-experimentation facility called The School. The series wrapped up in 2012 with eighth installment Nevermore…then Patterson thrilled fans by announcing ninth book Maximum Ride Forever. Read it to learn more about tortured survivor Max, her misfit band, and what comes after the end of the world.

    P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han
    In this follow-up to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, in which Lara Jean’s love letters to her crushes somehow find their way from a hidden box and into the hands of the boys in question, our letter-writing heroine finds herself caught between two love interests. When her affection for the boy who’s been right in front of her is tested by the reappearance of a boy from her past, she starts to wonder whether it’s possible to fall for more than one person.

    Shop All Teen Books >
     
  • Joel Cunningham 10:30 pm on 2014/12/10 Permalink
    Tags: , fan fiction, fangirl, , , , , ,   

    6 Fictional Books We Wish We Could Read 

    Rainbow Rowell's FangirlWe’ve all had the experience of falling into a fictional world and finding ourselves unable to climb back out—and it seems that’s a problem for the writers who create those worlds, too. Today, Rainbow Rowell (she of Eleanor & Park, the best ’80s teen movie never to be transported through time and published as a novel) announced her next book, Carry On, about the adventures of a boy wizard named Simon Snow. It sounds like a total left turn from her romance wheelhouse, unless you read her 2013 book Fangirl, about Cath, a young writer obsessed with a fictional Harry Potter-esque character named…Simon Snow.

    Fangirl included substantial excerpts from the imaginary Simon Snow novels, not to mention Cath’s rather racier fan fiction, including a love affair between Simon and Draco Malfoy stand-in (and vampire) Baz. Cath’s mega-popular work of fan fiction was called Carry On, which I’d say provides a pretty substantial hint as to what we can expect from Rowell’s new book.

    Rowell isn’t the first author to turn a fictional book into reality. Catherynne M. Valente imagined a whimsical children’s tale within the pages of her twisty adult fantasy Palimpsest, and later turned it into an Andre Norton Award–winning standalone, The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. And J.K. Rowling has turned the practice into a cottage industry, pulling Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard from the shelves of the Hogwarts library into our world.

    I fully support this practice. There’s nothing worse than reading about a really fantastic book you’ll never get to experience, because it doesn’t exist. Here are 6 more fictional books I’m dying to read.

    Hogwarts: A History, by Bathilda Bagshot (from the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
    Hermione quoted from this one so often, I feel like I’ve read it already, but I’d cast a few Unforgivable Curses for a chance to read the complete text of this history of Harry Potter’s alma mater. The story of the school’s founding (and the rivalry between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin) could be a series unto itself.

    The Amazing Amy books, by Rand and Marybeth-Elliot, Ph.d (from Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn)
    No spoilers, but anyone who has read Gone Girl will wonder how a character as…complicated as the missing Amy could ever inspire a series of whimsical children’s picture books. I’d love to read them and see the authors’ (married psychiatrists, and Amy’s parents!) twisted psychology at work.

    Dying Earth, by Martin Silenus (from Hyperion, by Dan Simmons)
    In Simmons’ epic Hyperion books, Earth is but a memory, destroyed by a scientific experiment gone terribly wrong. The poet Martin Silenus, one of the last people to leave the dying planet, wrote a tortured epic about its waning days, which went on to sell billions of copies. Billions! Must be a hell of a good poem.

    The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, by Hawthrone Abendsen (from The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick)
    In The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick imagines a world in which the Allies lost World War II and the U.S. is controlled by Germany and Japan. Within this alternate history exists another book, a pulp novel called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, about a different end to the war—one in which the Axis powers lost. Are you confused yet? Welcome to the mind of Philip K. Dick. I’d devour the complete Grasshopper, if only because, in Dick’s alternate U.S., reading it has been made a crime, and I’m a sucker for supporting banned books.

    The Princess Bride, by S. Morgenstern (from The Princess Bride, by William Goldman)
    Sure, we can read William Goldman’s abridged “good parts” version of S. Morgenstern’s story of heroes, sword fights, romance, and Rodents of Unusual Size, but I’d like a peek at the whole thing. It’s like when I listen to an audiobook and they cut out the footnotes. Maybe I want to read the boring parts!

    The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax (from The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón)
    In Zafón’s fantastical, metafictional work, a young boy is tasked with protecting the title volume from nefarious forces trying to erase all of the fictional author’s work from the face of the earth. Throughout, we get hints of what secrets lie within its pages, but it would be fascinating to read it at a remove (though once you know the twist of Zafón’s book, it’s arguable that’s actually impossible).

    What fictional book do you wish you could read?

     
  • Dahlia Adler 5:30 pm on 2014/08/29 Permalink
    Tags: alicia thompson, , fangirl, , lauren kunze, , , sara zarr, , , , YA: the college years   

    Go Back to School With These 6 YAs Set in College 

    A Little Something DifferentIt’s the end of summer, which means falling leaves, knee-high boots, and pumpkin-spice everything are just around the corner. It also means (gulp!) it’s back-to-school time. While there are plenty of books that take place on the first day of school, and plenty that take place in college (thanks to New Adult), there are precious few that combine the voice of the YAs we still feel we are in those first few post-high school months, with the collegiate setting that says, “Okay, go be adults now.” Here are five of the best:

    Roomies, by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
    This co-authored contemporary isn’t actually set in college, but rather over the summer leading up to it. However, it does encapsulate a quintessential part of the college experience—the process of getting to know the stranger with whom you’ll be sharing your new cell…er, dorm room. Probably one of the most nerveracking parts of the process, this is the place to start if you’re looking for a YA How To Do the College Thing reading list.

    Love Story, by Jennifer Echols
    Erin and Hunter are new freshmen with an old shared past—one that unfolds throughout the book as their writing assignments turn into passive-aggressive jabs at each other and the secrets they keep. Echols is nothing if not a master of YA swoon (you may as well add Going Too Far to your cart; you won’t be sorry), and the romance is among her steamy best, but, for this creative writing minor, it’s the painfully accurate depiction of the critique circles that make this one of my college-set faves.

    A Little Something Different, by Sandy Hall
    I was already intrigued by this book for being the first to be released from Macmillan’s new crowdsourcing imprint, Swoon Reads, and hearing that it has fourteen different points of view. Then an employee at Barnes & Noble said the Magic Buzz Sentences to me when I was book shopping there: “It’s set in college,” and “It has some LGBT characters.” Fastest I have ever grabbed a book off a shelf. As in the above-mentioned Love Story, the characters are thrown together via freshman creative writing, but this sounds like a sweeter, lighter ride I can’t wait to crack open.

    Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
    Rowell’s second book might be best known for its homage to fandom, but there’s plenty to be gleaned about the college freshman experience. From being ditched by the twin she assumed would be her support system to worrying about the father they left alone at home, this nails the part of starting college that makes us feel like little kids at heart—not just parties and hooking up, but the very basic struggle to find an identity in your comfort zone.

    The Ivy, by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
    This series has been on my to-read list forever. Fun times on campus? Check. Boy drama? Check. Reviewer comparisons made to two of my favorite dramedy series, Gossip Girl and The A-List? Checkity check check check.

    Psych Major Syndrome, by Alicia Thompson
    Leigh is neurotic, analytical, curious, nervous…basically everything that makes for a perfect psych major. She’s also got a (seriously terrible) high school sweetheart who’s only further confusing her about sex, and she hasn’t exactly lucked into the best study group. Fortunately, she also has a pretty great roommate, a hilarious sense of humor, an eye-opening mentoring project (which Thompson manages not to make remotely cheesy), and…Nathan. Heyyyy, Nathan. Call me.

    What is your favorite YA set in college?

     
  • Dahlia Adler 5:30 pm on 2014/08/29 Permalink
    Tags: college, fangirl, , rina onur, , , ,   

    Go Back to School With These 6 YAs Set in College 

    A Little Something DifferentIt’s the end of summer, which means falling leaves, knee-high boots, and pumpkin-spice everything are just around the corner. It also means (gulp!) it’s back-to-school time. While there are plenty of books that take place on the first day of school, and plenty that take place in college (thanks to New Adult), there are precious few that combine the voice of the YAs we still feel we are in those first few post-high school months, with the collegiate setting that says, “Okay, go be adults now.” Here are five of the best:

    Roomies, by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
    This co-authored contemporary isn’t actually set in college, but rather over the summer leading up to it. However, it does encapsulate a quintessential part of the college experience—the process of getting to know the stranger with whom you’ll be sharing your new cell…er, dorm room. Probably one of the most nerveracking parts of the process, this is the place to start if you’re looking for a YA How To Do the College Thing reading list.

    Love Story, by Jennifer Echols
    Erin and Hunter are new freshmen with an old shared past—one that unfolds throughout the book as their writing assignments turn into passive-aggressive jabs at each other and the secrets they keep. Echols is nothing if not a master of YA swoon (you may as well add Going Too Far to your cart; you won’t be sorry), and the romance is among her steamy best, but, for this creative writing minor, it’s the painfully accurate depiction of the critique circles that make this one of my college-set faves.

    A Little Something Different, by Sandy Hall
    I was already intrigued by this book for being the first to be released from Macmillan’s new crowdsourcing imprint, Swoon Reads, and hearing that it has fourteen different points of view. Then an employee at Barnes & Noble said the Magic Buzz Sentences to me when I was book shopping there: “It’s set in college,” and “It has some LGBT characters.” Fastest I have ever grabbed a book off a shelf. As in the above-mentioned Love Story, the characters are thrown together via freshman creative writing, but this sounds like a sweeter, lighter ride I can’t wait to crack open.

    Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
    Rowell’s second book might be best known for its homage to fandom, but there’s plenty to be gleaned about the college freshman experience. From being ditched by the twin she assumed would be her support system to worrying about the father they left alone at home, this nails the part of starting college that makes us feel like little kids at heart—not just parties and hooking up, but the very basic struggle to find an identity in your comfort zone.

    The Ivy, by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
    This series has been on my to-read list forever. Fun times on campus? Check. Boy drama? Check. Reviewer comparisons made to two of my favorite dramedy series, Gossip Girl and The A-List? Checkity check check check.

    Psych Major Syndrome, by Alicia Thompson
    Leigh is neurotic, analytical, curious, nervous…basically everything that makes for a perfect psych major. She’s also got a (seriously terrible) high school sweetheart who’s only further confusing her about sex, and she hasn’t exactly lucked into the best study group. Fortunately, she also has a pretty great roommate, a hilarious sense of humor, an eye-opening mentoring project (which Thompson manages not to make remotely cheesy), and…Nathan. Heyyyy, Nathan. Call me.

    What is your favorite YA set in college?

     
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