The 10 Best Books I Read as Required Reading

Ever since I was a teen, I’ve been fiercely against mandatory reading. I was opposed about summer reading for high school since I knew the choices were often political rather than based on literary merit. The summer before senior year, I just refused to read the assigned books entirely. I believe in the beautiful freedom to read whatever I want rather than whatever someone else wants. Over the years, though, I’ve been introduced to some amazing books that I wouldn’t have read if they weren’t compulsory to read. And thus, for my first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book blog meme started by the Broke and the Bookish blog (no relation to Broke by Books!), here is my answer to the September 12, 2017 prompt: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want! I’m also adding a back to school bookish element to it. This list is unranked and in no particular order. Enjoy! PS: Some of the covers I selected do not match up with the links to...

Take Another Piece of My Heart | Book Review of “Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home” by Nicole J. Georges

So many people I know who love graphic novels describe being able to finish them in one sitting as part of their appeal. I like that feature, too, which is why I regularly recommend graphic novels and comics as good choices for readathons, quickly adding some “Read” books to your Goodreads Challenge, and overcoming a reading slump. Certainly it’s true for some graphic novels, but not all. Some should be savored, like Nicole J. Georges’ Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home (2017).You know what is going to happen to Beija, the idiosyncratic and high maintenance but absolutely loyal canine companion of Nicole J. Georges, a cartoonist (Calling Dr. Laura) and professor. You know she will have passed on to pet heaven by the end of the memoir. To read Georges’ graphic memoir is to commit to confronting devastating loss. But it is also a celebration of how pets help us find a purpose to live anyway, to stare down the existential crisis where the one certainty is an ending—because first, you get a beginning, with an animal companion, a furry familiar. This book review of “Fetch” will explore Georges’ relationship with Beija through the lens of my experiences as...

The Enduring American Dream | Book Review of “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui

There is a moment during my family’s Thanksgiving dinner where we go around the table and identify something we are grateful for in our lives. However hokey, however contrived this little tradition might seem, I appreciate that it helps us remember the root of this most American holiday: gratitude for sanctuary. Hundreds of years ago, people sailed across the ocean and risked their lives to come here. It’s not a cliche. They tossed their dead children who didn’t survive the journey overboard in makeshift coffins. They drank dirty water for weeks. They exposed themselves to the elements, to disease, with no guarantee but the land they walked on when they dropped anchor. And they walked on the some of the same ground I walk on, here in Pennsylvania. Some of the trees I see in my town’s arboretum of a college campus might be those that earlier Americans saw, too. I walk through the streets of Philadelphia, my city, and I can almost imagine the pages of my AP US prep book flipping back and back further still to the beginning. The black-and-white footage falls away as past and present blur into one. I see the Liberty Bell, walk past...

Burn Your English Textbooks: Read to Keep Your Heart Beating

It wasn’t until recently that I thought there might be something wrong with my impulse to read widely. Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel like you just woke up and everything you know is different? I had a chill come over me in the last month when I started paying more attention to what books I was buying and borrowing and realized you could say absolutely nothing concrete about the person who was reading them. I have a pretty elaborate system wherein I determine whether or not to read a book, and from there, to borrow it from the library vs. request a review copy vs. purchase new at a bookstore or used bookstore vs. buy from Amazon. And then there’s the second or two when I can’t remember if I’ve already purchased the books. Ultimately, however, it’s hard to say what kind of reader I really am. This revelation has made me rethink the supposed merits and drawbacks of reading widely and of reading narrowly, of having tightly constrained “canon” vs. a free for all, and what is best when using reader’s advisory to help readers find their next favorite reads.   To give...

July 2017 Reading Recap – My Month in Reading

My July 2017 reading recap has to start with how this crazy month both ate into my reading practice and made me love reading again. At the end of June, I started a new job that had very specific and brutal hours that ultimately I could not adjust to since I am so sensitive to losing sleep. But there were a few weeks there where I was working about 20 hours there and still had all my regular freelance work, so it was 15 hour days for enough days to wear me down. Anyway, I decided to pursue other opportunities, and now reading (and writing) have come back into my life. When that happens, an intense crush of reading deprivation, it makes me love reading even more, crave it even more. Which is a good thing because for those days when I was chained to my MacBook for 13 hours straight, I sought out the quiet peace of a book rather than watch TV. Can I just say, it is so nice to unplug and read? Even though I have been reading on my Kindle more, there is a beauty to shutting down your computer, turning off your phone, and just losing...

Greetings Fellow Reader!

Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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