I Ch-Ch-Choose You!

It’s no secret that I read a lot. For school this quarter, I have read Moby Dick, Sheppard Lee, Ruth Hall, Clotel or The President’s Daughter, The Colonizer and The Colonized, Discourse on Colonialism, A Small Place, Black Shack Halley, So Long a Letter, Lesson Plans for Teaching Writing, Going with the Flow: How to Engage Boys (and Girls) in Their Literacy Learning, Teaching Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools: Theory, Research, and Practice, and, last but not least, Hong Kong Nights. I still have three weeks and about six books left of this quarter.

I, like many other English majors, have finally conquered the white whale. And by conquered I mean read and by white whale I mean Moby Dick, the book.
(Credit: Dovga.com)

While I enjoy my field of study and the work that I do in classes (a majority of these books have gotten 4 or 5 star ratings from me on Goodreads), I also like to read for pleasure. Recently, Goodreads had a poll asking users to identify how they pick out the books that they read for fun.

I’ve decided to explore the question in a post and look over the last three books I’ve read, outside of school, and how I came across them.

1. High-Rise by J.G. Ballard

If you love books with commentary on the current political climate with religious undertones, this book is for you!

If you love books with commentary on the current political climate with religious undertones, this book is for you!

My friend Nick recommended this book to me. He actually handed it to me, along with a stack of other books, for me to read through. Genre-wise, I think J.G. Ballard is a British author that usually writes science fiction, and I’m a huge fan of both British literature and science fiction. Through multiple conversations, Nick found that out and, being the awesome dude that he is, lent me books (Warning: if you lend an English major a good book, they will forever be around to pester you. It’s like that story If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, only better because it involves books). I read this book in an afternoon, and I really enjoyed it.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I'm noticing a trend here with my book choices. This, again, is a book filled with political and religious commentary set in a dystopian future.

I’m noticing a trend here with my book choices. This, again, is a book filled with political and religious commentary set in a dystopian future.

Melanie Figueroa, co-creator of this blog, as well as my friend, author Jack Foster, have been recommending Margaret Atwood to me for a while. Mel actually handed me a stack of her Atwood books before she went off to Portland for college, but of course, I didn’t start with any of the books she’s let me babysit. Instead, I went for The Handmaid’s Tale and talked the book club I’m apart of at school into reading it along with me. I really like Atwood’s writing style and subject matter so those books I’m babysitting will get looked at and read through, sooner than later (hopefully).

3. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

This book explores the social question of gender and the construct of family. It's a little different from the others two books I've read, but just as enjoyable.

This book explores the social question of gender and the construct of family. It’s a little different from the others two books I’ve read, but just as enjoyable.

I’ve read Chuck Palahniuk books before, specifically Fight Club because I enjoyed the movie so much. Over winter break, I downloaded a few Chuck Palahniuk books onto my Kindle so I could read them and become better immersed in the fucked up world that is Chuck Palahniuk’s mind. I really enjoy him, as an author, and his stories that I’ve read so far. I think Invisible Monsters has become one of my favorite books (I’ve reread it since my first reading) because it explores family relationships as one of its main themes. I’m close with my sister so the family aspect of this tale really appealed to me.

So, tell Goodreads and us how you choose your books—do you read based on friend recommendations, like me? Or because you enjoyed another work by the author? Or do you read books that are on the best-sellers list of Amazon? Click here to take the poll.

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About ThePandaBard

Amanda is the Managing Editor at The Poetics Project and of The Socialist, the national magazine of The Socialist Party USA. She graduated with a BA in English Education and a minor in Political Science. She is currently enrolled in an English MA program with an emphasis in Literature. During her free time, Amanda enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling, crocheting, watching entire seasons of campy shows on Netflix, and, of course, writing blogs. You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.
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