8 Funny Books That Are Guaranteed to Make You Smile

Of course, we have room for sweeping epics and heart-wrenching dramas. But we also love books that just make us smile. Need a laugh? Keep reading to discover some of our favorite funny books:

1. Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

Books to Make You Smile: Yellow Cover of Dear Mrs. Bird with a Retro Lady Walking

In A J Pearce’s novel, Dear Mrs. Bird, the plot gets rolling with a goofy misunderstanding. Young Emmy Lake tries to become a war correspondent in WWII London, but ends up getting a job assisting on an advice column.

Assisting Mrs. Bird means opening her mail, and throwing away anything with “inappropriate” content. This ensues that only the blandest, mildest queries are read by Mrs. Bird and publicly answered in the women’s magazine. As Emmy starts to read–and secretly answer some of the rejected letters–warm laughs will follow.

 

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by FC Yee

Book to Make You Smile: Blue Cover of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

In the Chinese-American YA adventure, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, author FC Yee blends college prep, teen angst, overbearing relatives, and mythological battles for a rollicking adventure.

High-school student Genie and her annoying new classmate Quentin find themselves with surprising alternate identities. Suddenly, they’re battling ancient supernatural enemies. The blend of myth and high school makes for a funny, entertaining read.

 

A Short History of Drunkenness by Mark Forsyth

Book to Make You Smile: A Short History of Drunkenness book cover

Want a non-fiction laugh? This one’s for you. A Short History of Drunkenness will take readers through alcohol enjoyment, use, and overuse in different civilizations throughout the world.

Not only will you connect with drinkers from all walks of life… you’ll get a kick out of the history behind many drinking customs in this readable, hilarious drunken history.

 

My Not-So-Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Books to Make You Smile: Green Cover of My Not-so-Perfect Life

For likeable heroines falling into and out of ridiculous situations, try a Sophie Kinsella novel. Everyone knows the Shopaholic series, but have you tried My Not-So-Perfect Life?

In this novel, our protagonist Emily’s main hobby is cleverly faking Instagram photos to seem more successful and stylish online. And in Twenties Girl, our heroine finds herself hearing from the spirit of her great-aunt, who gives fashion advice and makes ghostly demands.

Surprise Me, a newer novel about a long-married couple trying to inject more passion and spontaneity into their lives, has plenty of silly situations. Sure, the road to the neat happily-ever-afters can feel a bit predictable, but sometimes an uplifting ending can be another reason to smile.

 

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

Abbi Waxman’s ensemble novel Other People’s Houses tells the story of four interconnected neighboring families. Blending big and small secrets with daily family life, the story gets moving when an affair (and the accidental, ridiculous discovery of that affair) causes ripples through the neighborhood.

With laugh-inducing interior monologues, silly situations, and messy relationships–there are plenty of giggles. But there are also moving moments of friendship and family.

 

Evergreen Tidings From The Baumgarnters by Gretchen Anthony

It may be a bit early for the Christmas themes in Evergreen Tidings From The Baumgarnters, but there are some real laughs in this family drama about keeping up appearances in a decidedly imperfect family.

Self-important, appearance-obsessed, well-meaning meddler Violet Baumgartner is a hilarious character, and at times it’s hard to tell if we’re laughing at or laughing with her.

What about you? What books always make you laugh? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

7 Best Summer Beach Reads to Take on Your Next Vacation

Man reading a book in water: 6 Best Summer Beach Reads to Take on Your Next Vacation

It’s time for a break, right?

Summer is finally here. Whether you’re headed to the beach, relaxing by the poolside, or hanging out in your background—nothing beats relaxing with a captivating beach read.

Stay tuned to find your next beach read, as we share our favorite summer fiction novels of 2019!

Honolulu by Alan Brennert

A wild adventure or engrossing family saga is just what we want in a summer read, isn’t it? Alan Brennert’s Honolulu blends both with the story of Korean picture-bride Jin’s life in Hawaii.

The ups and down of her years in Hawaii—combined with the lush setting of old Honolulu—make this novel perfect escapism for your summer reading list. Plus, if your summer vacation is more kiddie pool than tropical island? You’ll enjoy the scenes of Hawaiian life.

 

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah’s absorbing tales of female friendship are perfect for relaxing summer days. Firefly Lane spans years of friendship between Tully and Kate, and shows how their friendship evolves as they take very different paths.

Between Sisters is another engrossing, character driven story from this author. Both novels invite readers to meet realistic and complex characters.

And the best part?

They deliver satisfying conclusions to make them solid beach reads.

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner’s latest novel, Mrs. Everything, introduces two very different sisters and develops both of them as full, complex characters.

The story follows Bethie and Jo from when they’re teenagers in Detroit in the fifties through grandchildren today. It’s almost a family saga, with scenes showing the sisters’ mom and grandmother, and setting the girls on their paths.

But it’s also a slice-of-life novel, covering decades. Experience another time with these vibrant, multi-faceted characters.

 

Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

The girls in Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s Sarong Party Girls make plans to land rich, foreign husbands, before they’re on the shelf by their late twenties.

Narrator Jazeline will pull you in with her Singlish banter as she describes nights out, friendships, and schemes… but she also reveals the a darker side of life for Singaporean women.

This novel is great fun, with a distant, lively setting and an unforgettable heroine, but also points to dark systems of privilege and entitlement. You’ll think about Jazzy and her friends long after finishing the book!

 

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Another memorable heroine for your summer reading list is Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams.

When we first meet her, Jamaican-British Queenie is facing a breakup, work stress, an overbearing (but well meaning) family. Not to mention, the depressing gentrification of the old neighborhood.

The novel pops with clever—but realistic—dialogue, including some scenes of group texts (which usually feel like lazy writing, but work so well here to develop relationships and advance the storyline).

Carty-Williams brings readers to care for Queenie even when she does self-destructive things, and we can’t help but cheer her on.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Sometimes a chilling suspense novel pairs well with summer sun. So, try Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game. In this novel, old school friends revisit decades-old secrets, with layers of lies, half-truths and suspicions.

We know The Woman In Cabin 10 is getting more spotlight, but personally thought The Lying Game had the same brilliant suspense. Not only that, The Lying Game had more developed characters, fuller interpersonal relationships, and an even twistier story.

What Newly Released Books Are Trending in 2019? Don’t Miss This Must-Read Novel!

Lining up your next summer read? Lisa See’s newest novel, The Island of Sea Women, is a sweeping saga of friendship and family loyalty. Not to mention, it’s one of our favorite new releases.

So what’s it all about?

If you’re familiar with the bestselling New York Times author, See’s previous novels take place in China or in Chinese communities in the US. But The Island of Sea Women is set on Korea’s Jeju Island.

Like her other novels, though, See explores complex connections and loyalties between friends—and the bond between mothers and daughters.

On Jeju Island, women divers, called haenyeo, were their families’ primary earners. Older haenyeo teach the young girls to freedive, harvest shellfish, catch sealife, and survive in the changeable ocean.

The imaginative setting here is completely engaging. As a reader, you’ll be introduced to a unique Jeju lifestyle of specific skills and customs… and a dangerously appealing undersea world. The haenyeo survive in difficult times by relying on their community, their skills, and the sea’s resources.

Throughout the book, we return to this theme of hardworking women, gaining personal agency, and family security in challenging times.

Let’s talk about the characters. When the story begins, Young-sook, and her friend Mi-ja, are some of the youngest trainees. Beyond that, the story follows their relationship for decades.

Young-sook is the daughter of a skilled diver. When her mother agrees to take Mi-Ja into their collective and train her as well, it seems like they’ll work side-by-side. Just as previous generations of Jeju women have done.

But the Japanese occupation of Korea disrupts their lives and relationships on Jeju. As Japanese-Korean relationships twist and turn, having family connections to the occupiers is alternately a blessing and a curse.

The novel shows how Mi-ja tries to navigate her family background and then her husband’s background in a shifting political situation.

Without giving any spoilers, the novel tells of historically accurate, but brutal exploitation.

What’s more, you’ll learn about a horrific conflict between Japanese soldiers and starving Korean civilians. The war changes the patterns of Korean life—for both women—long after the conflict is over.

As always, Lisa See introduces vibrant, complex characters, with ties of loyalty and friends. What makes this novel such a page-turner is how See’s story introduces them into situations without clear solutions.

All in all, readers will enjoy seeing Mi-ja and Young-sook evolve over decades and generations. Click here to check out the book!

Netflix Novels: 7 Books That Inspired TV Shows We Love

Netflix Novels: 7 Books Based on Popular TV Shows

Prefer reading to watching TV?

Or maybe you love them both, but you need something to tide you over while you wait for the next season of your favorite show.

Stories continue to inspire Hollywood on the big screen, but they’re also the source of many famous TV programs. Note that not all of these shows on currently running on Netflix, but it’s become the biggest library of TV series.

For more, check out these books that inspired popular TV shows:

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Netflix Novels: Game of Thrones book cover with sword

Everyone knows that the hit TV show Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels. There are five fantasy novels out, and Martin is currently at work on the sixth, The Winds of Winter.

The books cover the battle for control of Westeros, and even readers who don’t think they like fantasy have fallen into this dramatic saga.  But the TV show diverges from the novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, in some pretty major ways. (Without spoiling either one, let’s just say certain characters are alive in one, and dead in the other.)

 

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Netflix Novels: Call the Midwife cover image of four children walking down the street in the 1950s

The BBC hit Call the Midwife was inspired by Jennifer Worth’s memoirs of working as a midwife in London’s East End in the fifties. The first season is directly inspired by the challenges of her job, with familiar characters from her memoirs.

By the current season, the TV show has long passed Worth’s memoirs and is now an independent story about the mothers, midwives, nuns, and newborns of Poplar.  If you can’t wait for season 8 to make it to the US, check out Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, and Farewell to the East End.

The real-life nurse Jenny eventually left midwifery for end-of-life care, and wrote the fourth memoir, In The Midst of Life, about this stage of her career. Her fourth book has the same no-nonsense style and sharp observations, but with far fewer adorable babies.

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Netflix Novels: Big Little Lies abstract book cover

Liane Moriarty’s novel Big Little Lies is full of snark and secrets. If you enjoy the way one small event at school drop-off sets so many others into motion — and you like the dark secrets simmering in a quiet, suburban town, you’ll also like The Husband’s Secret by the same author.

There’s a second of the TV show in the works, but it’ll need to depart pretty significantly from the book since the first season ended at the conclusion of the novel.

 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Netflix Novels: Cover image from Pretty Little Liars of 4 stylish female dolls

For more page-turning revelations, Pretty Little Liars, now an entire series by Sara Shepard, begins with the mysterious A, who seems to know everyone’s darkest secrets.

The books take readers through endless lies, blackmail, twists, and reversals. Pretty much everyone in Rosewood has something to hide. Because the high-school friends (or frenemies…) at the heart of the story are developed, readers will easily find a favorite character and be pulled into the drama.

 

Stephen King and J.J. Abrams

Promotional image for Castle Rock from Hulu: Castle in Dark Clouds

Castle Rock, on Hulu, is inspired by the work of horror novelist Stephen King. The TV show isn’t directly based on one novel, although there are elements found in his work. Dedicated King readers may find the TV show feels more than a pastiche than an addition to the King library.

That’s because it retreads King’s familiar themes of secrets in a silent Maine town, isolation, the moral ambiguity of prison guards, and dark supernatural others. (Conversely, if you enjoyed Castle Rock, you’ll like pretty much any Stephen King novel.)

 

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Netflix Novels: Sweetbitter cover with a broken wine glass

Stephanie Danler’s coming-of-age novel Sweetbitter is about young Tess’ first year in New York. Tess grabs restaurant life with both hands, discovering gourmet tastes, fine wines, emotional encounters with her coworkers, and drama with customers.

There’s a romantic entanglement with unique complications, but it’s the scenes of backwater and kitchen life that really sparkle. The book inspired a Starz TV show, with the same name.

 

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

Netflix Novels: Gossip Girl #1 Cover Images of 3 teenage girls gossiping

Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl novels inspired the TV series, and it may be a rare time when the TV version is even better than the books. Yeah, the books have Manhattan snobbery, high fashion, backstabbing…

And of course, the secretive Gossip Girl blog, creating a frothy, gossipy read, but the TV show has a bit more character development. In the show, Blaire and Serena have a complicated friendship, while in the books, I had no idea why B and S even spoke to each other.

There’s also a Korean-style graphic novel version of the Gossip Girl storyline (with all-new outfits to enjoy).

 

The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons

Netflix Novels: The Deceiver Cover of 3 Young Women

It’s not a TV show yet, but Kristin Simmons’ YA pageturner The Deceivers has all the makings of a television version. Double-crossings and surprises abound in this story about a secret academy for teens with talents for theft and deception.

What else are you reading that would be perfect for TV? 

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month: Young Lady Standing in Front of a Bookshelf

Black History Month honors the diversity and history of African-American culture. This selection of books is a mix of historical fiction, literary fiction, and biographies to kick off a month of celebration and legacy. Let’s dive into the titles.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month

If you haven’t had a chance to read this bestselling YA novel yet, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy. This novel is packed with heartbreaking references that feel thoughtful and strangely familiar. In fact, The Hate U Give was just made into a movie that was released in October 2018 to critical acclaim.

The Hate U Give is a fiction story — but it’s a timely one and the book feels like was based on real events. The story follows a 16-year-old named Starr Carter, who becomes a young activist after witnessing a cop murder her childhood friend, Kahlil.

 

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month: Roots by Alex Haley Cover

Roots was first published in the 1970s, and the wildly successful novel soon transformed into a very famous television miniseries in 1977. Beyond that, the final episode of the miniseries still holds the record for the third-highest-rated episode in TV history.

Why did it become such a phenomenon? Well, Roots was not only popular, but it was a monumental story.

Alex Haley grew up in Tennessee, where his grandmother told him stories about his family. In this case, her stories went back generations, all the way to Colonial America when Haley’s family was captured and forced over here from West Africa on a slave ship.

So Haley decided to embark on a decade-long detective search to trace the origin of his heritage, and this is the haunting story of his family.

 

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America by Ibi Zoboi

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month: Cover of Black Enough

This anthology is a collection of short stories about black teenagers growing up in the US, but everyone can gain something out of reading it. These incredible stories share events that were shaped by many different upbringings and experiences growing up black.

You’ll find tales from the perspective of being biracial, gay, wealthy, and creative. There are struggles with mental health. Some are difficult to read because of the subject matter, while other stories are heartwarming. All of them are important.

 

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month: Hidden Figures Cover

I saw the movie before I read the book, but I was eager to read this one and learn more about the untold stories of these women. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Hidden Figures is the true story of four black female mathematicians who worked for NASA during the Space Race and WWII.

These women did their calculations by hand as they were segregated from their white coworkers. And their contributions were largely ignored for over fifty years, until the release of this book.

 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month: Born a Crime Cover

Are you a fan of Trevor Noah from The Daily Show? This New York Times bestseller is a collection of eighteen personal essays that share his upbringing in apartheid South Africa to how he landed his role on The Daily Show today.

Born to a white father and a black mother in the midst of apartheid, Trevor Noah was considered a criminal act in South Africa. And his powerful memoir is a story you just can’t put down. It’s funny, moving, and surprising. There are moments that will horrify you… and moments that will touch your heart.

 

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

6 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Black History Month: Sing, Unburied, Sing Cover

This haunting fiction novel takes place in the soul of Mississippi, where 13-year-old Jojo and his little sister have been raised by their grandparents.

Their mother, Leonie, weaves in and out of their lives due to her drug addiction. She’s haunted by the ghost of her brother who was murdered 15 years earlier — he appears when she uses. You get a glimpse into both of their minds, as the book shifts back and forth between the perspective of both Leonie and Jojo during a particular road trip.

25 Inspiring Quotes from Books to Motivate You

String Lights on Book - 25 Quotes from Books to Motivate You

Ever noticed how some books stay with you long after you’ve read them?

Remarkable books are enchanting. Think about the last captivating book that you read. What made it so unforgettable?

These are books that draw you and let you escape into another world. You can’t bring yourself to put it down. They have the power to entertain, teach, and inspire us.

Sometimes a sentence jumps out at you because it sheds insight into your life. Here are 25 memorable quotes from books about life — for the times when you need a little extra inspiration and motivation.

 

25 Quotes from Books to Motivate and Inspire You

1. People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

Harper Lee from To Kill a Mockingbird

 

2. “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.”

Mindy Kaling from Why Not Me?

 

3. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

Chuck Palahniuk from Diary

 

4. “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.”

Daniel Kahneman from Thinking, Fast and Slow

 

5. All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
Mitch Albom from The Five People You Meet In Heaven

 

6. Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.
Dan Brown from Digital Fortress

 

7. “Our words have power, but our actions shape our lives.”

Rachel Hollis from Girl, Wash Your Face

 

8. “Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'”


Jodi Picoult from The Storyteller

 

9. “No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

Victor E. Frankl from Man’s Search for Meaning

 

10. “No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.”

Stephen King from The Stand

 

11. “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”

Kate Douglas Wiggin from New Chronicles of Rebecca

 

12. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

John Steinbeck from East Of Eden

 

13. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist

 

14. “We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we imagine.”

Yuval Noah Harari from Sapiens

 

15. “Maybe life doesn’t get any better than this, or any worse, and what we get is just what we’re willing to find: small wonders where they grow.”

Barbara Kingsolver from Small Wonder

 

16. “The opposite of fear is love – love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.”

Steven Pressfield from Do the Work

 

17. “You may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships. Some you’ll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk.”

Adam Silvera from They Both Die At The End

 

18. “It was impossible to feel alone in a room full of favorite books. I had the sense that they knew me personally, that they’d read me cover to cover as I’d read them.”

Riley Redgate from Noteworthy

 

19. “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”

Amy Poehler from Yes, Please

 

20. “Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from Flow

 

21. “And it occurred to him that there were two parts to being a better person. One part was thinking about other people. The other part was not giving a toss what other people thought.”

Mark Haddon from A Spot of Bother

 

22. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Dale Carnegie from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

 

23. “What you do for yourself dies with you when you leave this world, what you do for others lives on forever.”

Ken Robinson from The Element

 

24.“Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.”

Joan Didion from The Year of Magical Thinking

 

25. “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

Angie Thomas from The Hate U Give

 

Becoming Michelle Obama: 5 Details Revealed in Her Memoir

Becoming Michelle Obama: 5 Details Revealed in her Memoir - Book Cover

Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming just dropped onto bookshelves a couple of days ago, but it’s already become a #1 national bestseller. In fact, the highly anticipated book grabbed the most pre-order sales of any new release since 2015.

So, what will you discover in the former first lady’s intimate book?

Let’s take a peek inside the pages. Here are five personal details from Michelle Obama’s life before and after her time in the White House — all revealed inside Becoming.

 

1. Michelle once snuck out of the White House.

With her daughter Malia by her side, Michelle snuck out of their presidential home after the Supreme Court made the decision to legalize gay marriage. Why? They wanted to see the White House displayed in rainbow lights. The only problem was they couldn’t get past the locked doors until some staff members helped them find an exit.

 

2. She has some opinions about President Donald Trump.

Michelle shares several thoughts on Donald Trump, including the one thing she’ll never excuse: questioning Barack Obama’s birth certificate.  “Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him,” she explains.

 

3. What wearing that custom-made Jason Wu gown to the inaugural ball meant to her:

“The dress resurrected the dreaminess of my family’s metamorphosis, the promise of this entire experience, transforming me if not into a full-blown ballroom princess, then at least into a woman capable of climbing onto another stage. I was now FLOTUS — First Lady of the United States — to Barack’s POTUS. It was time to celebrate.”

 

4. Michelle opens up about her painful struggle to have children.

In her memoir, Michelle writes about the difficulty she faced in becoming pregnant and the IVF process that followed.

“We were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well. We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.”

 

5. Her marriage takes work too.

Even though they might look like the perfect couple from afar, the Obamas are proof that every marriage has its ups and down. Michelle digs into the details about how she attended marriage counseling with her husband to work through some of their issues. Initially, he was against seeing a therapist and thought it seemed dramatic.

But as Michelle tell us, it later turned out to be an incredible turning point in their relationship.

It turns out they’re more like us than we thought.

You might be wondering if the former first lady addresses her future in politics. Will Michelle ever run for the presidency? Well, if you’ve been waiting for a Michelle in 2020 campaign, we have some bad news to tell you.

According to the Washington Post, “I’ve never been a fan of politics, and my experience over the last ten years has done little to change that. I continue to be put off by the nastiness,” she stated.

In the meantime, you can pick up a copy of Michelle Obama’s memoir right here at Textbook Nova.

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once)

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once): Stepping In Leaves

Why should we read memoirs in the first place?

Because they connect us. Hearing the true experiences of people and cultures–many are vastly different from what we know in our lives–broadens our perspective.

Memoirs are gritty, messy, and don’t always come with a happy ending. But they can help us understand each other better. Here are five memoirs to check out the next time you need to flip your outlook on life.

 

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once): I Am Malala cover

This is the autobiography of Malala Yousafzi, and what happened after her hometown of Swat Valley, Pakistan, was taken over by the Taliban. The youngest person to ever win a Nobel Peace Prize, Malala risked her life for the right to be educated.

She was shot in the head at point-blank range by a terrorist on her way home from school one afternoon. No one expected the 15-year old to survive the brain injuries sustained from the attack. Malala’s story is eye-opening but full of hope and insight.

 

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once): The Year of Less Cover

What happens when one twenty-something woman decides to stop shopping for an entire year? This is the story of Cait Flanders, who threw out half of her belongings and vowed to quit spending money for 12 months.

During this year-long challenge, Cait discovers what creating a meaningful life is really about. She runs into lessons about toxic relationships, the cycle of Netflix binges, and finding joy in our careers.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once): Mindy Kaling cover

Looking for a book you can’t put down? Mindy Kaling’s memoir is full of laughs and authenticity. Her charismatic story makes you feel like you’re sitting down with an old friend, no matter what age you are.

Even if you don’t know of Mindy’s work or you’re not a fan of her tv shows, this book is worth a read. She tells things like it is, with an inconvenient (but relatable) tendency to blurt out whatever is on her mind at any given moment.

 

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once): Men We Reaped Cover

Jesmyn Ward’s intensely personal story of race, poverty, and growing up in rural Mississippi is unforgettable. She wrote this memoir while grieving the death of five men in her life in less than five years.

She weaves the stories of this five men in between her own. The result is raw, heartbreaking, and more timely than ever during the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

5 Famous Memoir Books Worth Reading (At Least Once): Wave cover

December 26, 2004, would change Sonali’s life forever. That’s when Sri Lanka was struck by an earthquake and tsunami so devastating, it’s still named one of the top-ten deadliest natural disasters in history.

This memoir is not an easy read by any means. It’s downright painful to get through many parts of the book. Sonali lost her parents, her husbands, and her two children in the tsunami. Somehow, she survived.

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

College midterms are right around the corner. Cue all the panic.

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, midterms can bring on intense amounts of pressure. Here are our three favorite pieces of advice for acing your college midterms (without heaps of stress).

Take Study Breaks with This Simple Trick

Are you cramming a ton of material into a weekend study session?

It might sound simple, but make sure to factor in plenty of breaks if you want to retain the material better. Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a time management method that can help you get the most out of your study session.

Here’s how it works. You break your study material down into smaller, more manageable chunks (and it really works). The Pomodoro Technique is easy:

  • You pick a task, like a few chapters you need to read or an outline you plan to write. 
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes. During the next 25 minutes, you have to promise yourself that you won’t do anything BUT that task. 
  • Work on the task without any interruptions until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, take a quick break. Spend 5 minutes doing anything but work, whether it’s stretching or grabbing some more coffee. 
  • After your 5-minute break, start the timer again for the next task. Rinse and repeat. Once you’ve done this 4 times, take a longer break for 20 or 30 minutes.

It works because our brain needs rest in order to concentrate. It’s also easy to get sidetracked by our phone, Netflix, or stress. Using the Pomodoro method helps eliminate some of those distractions.

You can manually set a timer on your phone. I personally use a free app called BeFocused so I don’t have to mess with a timer, but either way works! BeFocused is an iPhone app, but if you have an Android use you can use something like Pomodoro Timer.

 

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Is breathing something you consciously think about? It can save you from stress.

We’re slammed during midterm season. When we’re hit with the overwhelm of studying for everything at once and our to-do list is packed with endless tasks, we forget how to take deep breaths.

Not only can meditation help you remember your material better, but you also don’t need to spend a ton of time doing it to reap the benefits. I was terrible at meditating when I first tried it. I use the free version of the app Headspace to help (available via iPhone and Android). All it takes is three minutes and you instantly feel better!

Even if you’re not interested in meditation, focus on deep breathing when insane amounts of stress begin to hit you. Here’s how you do it:

  • Place your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through your nose until you feel your stomach begin to rise. Note: you want the air to enter all the way into your belly instead of just your chest.  
  • Breathe out through your nose. But make sure your exhale is even longer than your inhale (this is essential). If you inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. 
  • Repeat for 3-5 minutes! Try it out; you’re guaranteed to instantly feel calmer and less stressed.

3 Effective Study Methods for Acing Your College Midterms

 

Start Your Study Plan Now

Don’t wait to get started! Figure out your study plan a couple weeks in advance.

It seems like professors all schedule their midterms at the same time, right? Enter panic mode.

If you want to avoid major anxiety this semester, get your study schedule nailed down now.

Planning out what days you’ll study, creating your own study guides, and organizing the material will help you prioritize every class. This way you’re not devoting all of your time and energy to just one class.

Your personal study guides can be a simple outline of key topics and ideas you plan to study. Getting a game plan together now will help clear your head.