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Winter Reading Challenge : Past WRC Book Reviews

Book Reviews from WRC 2021-22

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Such a powerful book and watching the movie helps picture everything better.  -- Nichole Lewis, C'22


The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans

Takes place in Peru!  -- Rebekah Balick, C'22


Walden by Henry David Thoreau

10/10, in a society where times can be troubling it can be very interesting to look back to someone who felt similar feelings and resorted to a more simplified way of living to reflect on society.  -- Jack Bauer, C'23


The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans

Reread of my favorite Christmas romance novel. Just as sappy as ever.  -- Rebekah Balick, C'22


Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculée Ilibagiza

Absolutely astounding. A must read.  -- Rebekah Balick, C'22


Nazi Wives by James Wyllie

This book showed me that Nazi Wives supported their husbands. This is something the entire world didn't want to believe likely. I wanted to better understand exactly what was going on in the Nazi era. If people knew Hitler had bad ideas, why did he gain so much support? I wanted to learn about this part of history since my mother's side of the family has origins in Hungary and my father in Austria. Of course, these would have been descendants that lived before the United States came to world power. However, I wanted to see how European thinking was affected by the holocaust. This was an eye-opening book. I would recommend this as a read for someone interested in history. It's wild to see how the leaders almost lived second lives and husbands, artist, and movie goers.  -- Andrew Jackson, C'22


Green: A Novel by Sam Graham-Felsen

This story transported me back to middle school. There were plenty of emotional ups and downs and the main character, Dave, had the reader with him and against him at different points throughout the book. I picked this book up at Goodwill randomly, but would totally recommend it to someone looking to be immersed in a story of friendship and coming of age.  -- Paige Roberts, C'21 GA


Words We Don't Say by K.J. Reilly

A heartfelt, coming-of-age novel that does a wonderful job opening your eyes to the realities in this world and the untold possibilities. I cried.  -- Emma Ward, C'22


The Fellowship of the Ring : Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Everyone should read it. A classic.  -- Rebekah Balick, C'22

Book Reviews from WRC 2020-21

Naked by David Sedaris

10/10 very funny most of the time. The audiobook is read by David Sedaris himself and his sister, Amy Sedaris. -- Joanna Kreke, C'22


Journey to the West, Volume 1 by Anthony C. Yu (editor & translator)

If you're feeling like something fantastical, funny, philosophical, and unique, this is the book for you. "Journey to the West" is the tale of a motley group of heroes, including a kind but weak human monk and a ridiculously overpowered and mischievous talking monkey, make a long and perilous journey from China to India to find enlightenment and bring Buddhist scriptures back to their homeland. Along the way, they encounter demons, monsters, immortals, and gods. Part religious allegory and part satire, this book is thought-provoking and fun, but requires dedication, as it is not only long, but just the first of four volumes. The scholarly introduction in particular is not for the faint of heart, but the story itself is fast-paced and exciting. -- Eleanor Fisher, C'23


Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Great book with how they foreshadowed during the book to who the killer was and yet kept it a mystery to keep the edge on the reader to make them want to finish it -- Nichole Lewis, C'22


The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

This series started off a bit rocky for me. The beginning of the first book, “The Cruel Prince,” felt a little rushed and unorganized; but then things sped up and from there I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I’m glad I chose to keep reading and finish the series, rather than stop in the middle of the first book. If anyone loves stories with faeries and magic, I’d suggest picking up this series. Just remember to get through the first half of “The Cruel Prince” and wait for the exciting parts!  -- Kayla Jones, C'24


The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

It is atypical of me to leave book reviews mostly because everyone has a subjective perspective on a piece of literature. However, if I were to encourage you to read a book that would surely have an impact on your life, it would be this one! Happy reading :)  -- Michael Chipi, C'24


Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

"Dealing With Dragons" is one of my childhood favorites. It is an easy read, but for me the creative story and the fractured fairytale style makes rereading it as an adult enjoyable. It has delightfully well-written female characters, playfully spoofs common fairytale tropes, and is an all-around light, easy read for people interested in fantastical fun.  -- Eleanor Fisher, C'23


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of the most interesting and practicable books that I have ever read. I have applied this book's golden rules, and I have experienced my life has changed a lot.   -- Thi Diem Nguyen, C'21


Crush by Tracy Wolff

This is the second book in the Crave Series. A thrilling sequel to Tracys first book, Crave. There are many new twists and turns she takes the audience on as the female lead discovers her new abilities and learns about her heritage. We also get to meet a deviously handsome and hilariously witty British vampire. I mean what could be better? *swoon*   -- Emma Ward, C'21


Crave by Tracy Wolff

If you love a good slightly cliché young adult fantasy novel this book is for you. It has everything from an awesome female lead to references from current pop culture. vampires, werewolves, dragons, oh my!   -- Emma Ward, C'21


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Excellent book, finished very well and I loved the epilogue, helped tie it in all together   -- Nichole Lewis, C'22

Such a great series! I just read them all for the first time and Deathly Hallows was so great! It was filled with so much action and the plot is unlike anything else. 10/10 Would read again! :)  -- Shelby Aguilar, C'23


Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

One of the best books I have read in awhile, I am also a parent and it is about a new single father that goes out of his way and risks everything to start a new business for his daughter. -- Morgann Meekins, C'22


House of Earth and Blood: A Crescent City Novel by Sarah J. Maas

This is my favorite book! Sarah J. Maas does a beautiful job at depicting how depression and anxiety can affect us after going through a terrible ordeal and losing the people we love the most. Mixing mystery with romance, magic with modern technology, Maas’s newest story kept me on the edge of my seat every step of the way and I simply couldn’t read the pages fast enough. This was my second time reading it and each emotion Maas managed to invoke within me the during my first read through was only amplified this time around. If you like fantasy and romance, if you enjoy anything by Sarah J. Maas, then you’re sure to love this emotional rollercoaster! -- Kayla Jones, C'24


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

I recommend this book to those who are fine with reading essays by a man about his family, partner, and unusual events that occur in life like a 9-year-old named Brandy calling him a slur or a Dutch tourist asking for directions while he was trying to drown a mice. One essay completely revolves around cultural differences between Western countries and their Christmas traditions. What's great about reading Sedaris stories are that you can listen to them as audiobooks and do anything without feeling like you missed important dialogue or the introduction of a new character. -- Joanna Kreke, C'22


The Catholic Faith Explained by Michel Therrien

This book gives a basic overview of the tenants for Catholicism. I would recommend it for those interested in learning about Catholicism or those seeking to convert. -- Chris Diaz, C'22


The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today by David Stasavage

This book talks about the origins of Democracy and its history up until the modern world. -- Chris Diaz, C'22


The Economics of Discontent: From Failing Elites to the Rise of Populism by Jean-Michel Paul

This book examines numerous social and economic problems in our modern political climate, such as why college and health care is so expensive. This book focuses more on why these problems occur. The author then gives his opinion on how to fix these problems but the book is also written for open discussion as well.   -- Chris Diaz, C'22


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted takes the stereotypical fairy tale about the girl trapped in a tower and flips it on its head. I didn't know how much I'd missed books about witches and enchanted forests until I read this one.  -- Betsy Busch, C'22


Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge

Every woman should read this book! It describes femininity in a way I have never seen done before and it gives you a deeper insight into the female mind.   -- Emmy Jansen, C'22


A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by Hazel Gaynor

Really good book! Sweet historical fiction with multiple timelines at once, a cute romance, and a sort of mystery! Highly recommend, definitely a very feminine book.   -- Sydney Kelly, C'22


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

The book was better than the movie since it gave those little details and yes it does end slightly abruptly and makes you want to keep reading but having the final book on hand makes it easier to not be left on a cliff hanger. Great read love this series.   -- Nichole Lewis, C'22


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

A telling of the Trojan war from the perspective of Patroclus.   -- Haley Bodner, C'22


The Poppy War by R F Kuang

A fantasy world with politics and conflict paralleling mid-20th century China and the second Sino-Japanese War. The book Follows a war orphan named Rin in her journey to escape her village and rewrite her destiny. The book does not spare the reader from the horrors and atrocities of war.   -- Haley Bodner, C'22


The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This book traverses the long and complicated history of cancer. It is an excellent and informative read, sprinkled with heartfelt anecdotes. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to feed their science brain!   -- Lauren Gray, C'21


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowing

Definitely my favorite book out of the series thus far, definitely recommend if you are looking for a new series to read or reread, I am late to the HP books but am so happy to be reading them now. This one is so different from the movies and so much better. 10/10!!!!  -- Skylar Guthre, C'23


Christian Monism: Meditations on Christian Truths in the Language of Modern Thought by Erich Wasmann

This book, by Eric Wasmann, examines various logical and reason-filled points made by Christian Monism . In short, the contents of this book are incredibly critical to ones growth in faith and in relationship to God.  – Sewa Michael Gunn, C’21

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