Staff picks: top four favorite books

Emily BurkeVanguard Reporter

As I sit here trying to think of what my favorite book is, I have come to realize that I used to be an avid reader, but now I’m not.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book for fun, rather than it being assigned for a class.

Since my memory on things I’ve read in the past is not the keenest, I am going to pick my favorite assigned book.

I used SparkNotes for the books I’ve had to read in college, so I have to take it back to AP Literature class.

The book I ended up enjoying the most was “Pride and Prejudice.”

I’m usually not one for non-modern books, but this one kept me intrigued. I liked the idea of a strong female lead who doesn’t swoon for the desirable male character (right away).

Elizabeth does not base her worth off the men who want her, although in society at the time, most other women did. Mr. Darcy is a hot commodity, pun fully intended, who shows disinterest in every woman except Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is the “average” sister in the family, and I believe this story of an average girl getting the popular guy has influenced other books and shows that I enjoy.

“Twilight,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Bridgerton,” and “After” all play off the idea that an attractive bad-boy or highly sought after man ends up with the average girl.

As your friendly neighborhood average girl, I’m a sucker for these pieces. Thus, I must give the original piece credit for creating that trope.

Rebekah WilliamsVanguard Reporter

There are so many great books out there and choosing a favorite is no simple task.

However, one of my current favorites is “Educated” by Tara Westover.

This memoir characterizes what it’s like for someone to grow up in a very censored environment where education is not valued.

The author’s family pushed alternate types of medicine and having a “head for the hills bag.”

This book captures the hardships that Tara Westover went through in this environment and how she overcame those obstacles, teaching herself math and eventually graduating with her PhD from Trinity College.

This is my favorite book because not only does Tara write about the bad things she encountered, but how she overcomes them.

It’s inspiring for readers to see that there is a way to leave a situation and find our own.

Even if that place is your home and family so you can pursue good things like, in Tara’s case, education.

She proved that teaching herself things like high school math are possible all on your own.

I was homeschooled until the end of my freshman year of high school and a lot of times people would ask me how I even learned anything just by reading a textbook.

Tara has encountered the same types of situations and showed educating yourself can be done and done well. Overall, this book is truly inspiring and tells a true story which makes it even more compelling.

Audrey BergeyPhoto and Design Editor

Books are a great way to pass time and allow you to relax. I personally love the book “The Courage to Live” by Deborah Kent, recommended by my mother when I was younger.

“The Courage to Live” is the first book of a series called “Why Me?”

This book, along with other books and authors is based on tragic, real-life situations, many dealing with illness, which is why I enjoy reading them.

I read many of these as teen and still like to revisit them once in a while. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in an inspiring, edge-of-your-seat, heart-warming type of book. You can find this book online and in-store for a very low price.

“The Courage to Live” focuses on a happy, young teenager named Chloe Peterson who was like any other busy teen in high school.

She volunteered at a vet’s office, did well in school, and even prepared to audition for The Sound of Music. Little did she know her life was to change to an underlying illness.

Chloe experienced fatigue – headaches, fevers, aches, and stiffness – which made her quite tired and weak.

At this time, her father had been laid off leaving her mother to work overtime. With so much going on in her life, her doctor believed she was this way due to stress, until she collapsed. Like any young adult book, a male love interest is inserted – Todd Bowers.

He knew beforehand that something was not right. He tried to help her. Chloe ends up in the hospital and that is when everything changes.

This book is a story of how Chloe learns be more courageous and more brave, even with her unique illness.

Alyssa McMillanNews Editor

I remember being forced to read books in high school and absolutely hating it. I love to read but I never wanted to be forced to read books I didn’t find interesting. I would do everything I could to avoid actually reading them. SparkNotes became my best friend.

However, there’s one book that really stood out to me. I remember starting it and instantly being drawn in. The symbolism and how relevant it still was to our time was astounding. I couldn’t put it down and was actually excited to get to write a paper about it. That book was “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The book was written in 1925 but still is relevant and interesting for readers today. There’s something about Gatsby that is both intriguing and concerning.

He spent his whole life in love with a woman he could never have. No matter how hard he works, he can’t achieve his dreams.

The book takes place in a time when the American dream was at its height. People were coming from all over the world to achieve their dreams. Gatsby’s life shows how no amount of money can bring true happiness and how, at the end of the day, the American dream is nothing more than a broken promise.

The book is one that really makes you contemplate everything going on in your own life and if you’re on a path that will truly make you happy. It leaves readers with a lot to consider at the end. It brings up many emotions and thoughts that might not have been previously considered.

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