Fiction that Revives: Books to Live for

I have recently taken strides to revive my personal journal writing. It’s hella cheap therapy and can be really revealing and healing to just do stream of conscious on a question that at first seems simple–“What is happiness to you? Do you consider yourself a happy person or an unhappy and stressed person? Describe a time when you felt happy and when you made someone else happy.”–but can actually reveal depths you never knew your soul was capable of unveiling. It’s kind of like an onion. For example I journaled on that question today and realized how hard it was to describe happiness in my life. But for me, happiness is kind of akin to feeling exuberance and an almost cosmic connection to life energy. I thought about the things that make me feel alive, and I thought about books that have made me feel that way. Books that I’ve put down profoundly changed. Here’s a list of earth shattering fiction. (Also, I’ve combined some books that are related.) To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Hours by Michael Cunningham I took an independent study in Virginia Woolf my senior year of college. I got a research grant to...

Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food & Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook Reviews

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I have been struggling with anxiety lately. One of the things that has always helped me “calm down” is throwing myself into an elaborate recipe. To that end, I have been cooking and baking up a storm in the last month. It helps that my roommates gave me carte blanche to cook whatever I want. You can see on my Pinterest page that I find almost all my recipes through Pinterest. However, for my recent birthday I purchased three cookbooks for myself. Indulge for sure. I have been using two of them quite extensively and felt it was time for my first ever cookbook reviews. How many recipes do you need to make from a cookbook before you can judge it? I’d say at least three, preferably four or five. But I feel like I can adequately review… Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook (2014) by Jamie Oliver And the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook (2012) by Griffith and Cheryl Day First, the Jamie Oliver cookbook. I have cooked two recipes to-the-letter (almost) from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: German Coffee Cake, Amazing Apple Pie, and Ultimate Cornbread. Otherwise, I have used the dough from...

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas | Book Review

Okay…my Rx Romance kick has continued and shows no signs of stopping. I have some non-romance reviews coming up but for now, strap in ladies and gentlemen as I devour some romance! My most recent read is Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. This book is it. I could not put it down. Every moment I was reading it I thought about how badly I could ignore my other obligations so I could read it some more. It was a page turner. I am really starting to come around to the 350-375 page novel. Both with the last two by Kleypas and with some I read at the end of December, I’m starting to see the light. Before I was convinced that everything I read had to be 600-800 pages to be good. Well, no longer. Without further ado, read on past the page break for my review…(btw this review contains a lot of spoilers)


“Through the Woods” by Emily Carroll | Book Review

Carroll, Emily. Through the Woods. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Genre: Graphic Novel, Short Stories Intended Audience: 14 and up Personal reaction This graphic novel was scary, but delightfully so. Through the Woods collects five or six short vignettes that could be classified in the horror genre. All the vignettes (I suppose you could call them short stories) were related to the theme that creepy, haunted, scary, predatory, etc things lurk in forests. The vignettes were entertaining and thoroughly creepy. The style kind of reminded me of those Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books by Alvin Schwartz combined with vintage Tim Burton and a little bit Neil Gaiman with some Stephen King thrown in for good measure.


“Dramarama” by E. Lockhart | Book Review

Lockhart, E. Dramarama. New York: Hyperion, 2007. Genre: Contemporary Intended Audience: 14 and up Personal reaction This was the second book by E. Lockhart that I’ve read this fall, and I adored it. This novel recounts the friendship of Demi, a gay, African American teenage boy, and Sarah aka “Sadye,” a straight, white teen girl concentrating especially on the summer they were away at a boarding school for theatre arts. Sadye (the narrator) and Demi originally come to Wildwood Academy with only each other as friends. They have met the winter before and saved each other from a life of mainstream “vanilla” boredom in their small town in Ohio.


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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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