Random Facts About Books!

As of 2010, there are 129 million books in existence: Google had released the number of books existing in the world to be exactly 129,864,880. The amount of books now since a decade had passed must be larger. I can’t find a more recent number of books in the world which isn’t surprising since I don’t think anyone wants to count all of the books in the entirety of the world. But you never know how bored people can get 🙂

The most popular book genre at the moment is Romance: Book sales has exposed the fan-favorite of all genres being romance. This could be since there are a lot of subgenres to romance and can be combined with another genre in many other cases. Another one to mention here would be that the most popular romance trope at the moment is enemies-to-lovers. Everyone loves a little bit of tension, especially Booktok based on the books they recommend with their very heart and soul. They have also really turned the tide against friends-against-lovers and honestly, I would like to see them proceed.

Bill Gates bought the most expensive book, sold for 30.8 million dollars: Come on, this is Bill Gates we are talking about. He probably earns that type of money in 10 minutes. But anyway, the book he bought was by Leonardo Da Vinci called Codex Leicester. This book is basically a collection of scientific writings named after Thomas Cooke who became the Earl of Leicester. Bill Gates said he bought it to share the same wonder and curiosity that Leandro Da Vinci had himself. And it was done on the 500th anniversary of his death!

Like the smell of books? Well, there is a word for it now: Those who liked the smell of books are known to be called Bibliosmia. Finally, a word that can finally describe my thought process as I first lay eyes on a book I newly purchased. Hopefully, I am not alone in this. I;m probably not. But you never know.

The longest sentence ever written contained 823 words: Victor Hugo really wants to torture his readers by having them follow along with this long sentence. But nevertheless, this occurs in one of his more famous books Les Miserables. I don’t know in what scene or act (I haven’t read the book) but even if I did, I think I would have skipped that entire sentence.

Authors’ names weren’t written on the book cover at first: This may seem like a normal sentence but the reason behind why may shock some (It shocked me). Back in the days, only the wealthy could read and purchase books because they were educated. And because the book covers could have been made with leather and actual gold so they would be able to afford it. To be honest, if I ever get a golden book, I think I will still find a way to break the spine (I don’t want to, though)

Well, I have exhausted all of crazy book facts I know from my friend’s deep dive into random facts she researched during International Read a Book Day. She got most of them from this website: https://www.yahoo.com/news/11-random-facts-books-weirdly-192533509.html. Let me know in the comments if you guys know any random book facts that I didn’t mention.

-Saanvi V.

Top 5 Books w/ Quick Summaries

I thought I’d share a few books that’ll keep you inspired throughout the school year! 📚

  1. Stoner (John Williams): academic/campus genre; follows and explores William Stoner, a farmer’s boy who sacrifices his familial relationship in pursuit of literature. Throughout, he must face the failures within his career, workplace, and marriage, along with his losses as father to his daughter, whom he’s grown distant from. (10/10)
  2. 1984 (George Orwell): dystopian genre; follows and explores Winston Smith, a member of “the Party” who begins to retaliate (in quiet secrecy) against the totalitarian regime and its ruler, Big Brother. In this manner, Orwell examines the manipulation of truth (and thus facts) within politics, and how it impacts public opinion. (10/10)
  3. The Miniaturist (Jessie Burton): historical genre; filled with suspense, this novel follows and explores Nella Oortman, a young village woman who must face the challenges of love and obsession, twists and retributions, illusions and truth. For in Amsterdam, many secrets lie within. (10/10)
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee): bildungsroman genre; Atticus (a Maycomb resident and lawyer), is tasked to defend Tom Robinson, an African American who is accused of raping a white woman. He takes on the case despite the public’s certitude (that) he won’t win. (10/10)
  5. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho): fantasy/allegorical genre; Santiago, a young shepherd, goes on an adventure to discover an unimaginable treasure. Throughout, he learns to listen and follow his heart’s path, and that his dreams/passions are in fact a part of a larger whole: the universe. (9/10)

Honorable Mentions: Book Series Edition! 

  1. Witchlands (Susan Dennard): though the series is not quite complete (just books one through four are out; book five has yet to be given a release date), it’s worth the wait! Check them out on goodreads for more information; https://www.goodreads.com/series/124183-the-witchlands  (5/5)
  2. The Book Thief/I am the Messenger (Markus Zusak): though they’re not a series (but rather two books from the same author), they’re good enough to earn a spot as honorable mentions! Check them out on goodreads for more information; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19063.The_Book_Thief & https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19057.I_Am_the_Messenger  (5/5)
  3. Ash Princess (Laura Sebastian): good news; all three books from the trilogy have been released! Check them out on goodreads for more information; https://www.goodreads.com/series/191507-ash-princess-trilogy (4.5/5)
  4. The Renegades (Marissa Meyer): more good news; all three books from the trilogy have been released! Check them out on goodreads for more information; https://www.goodreads.com/series/208653-renegades (4.5/5)
  5. The Poppy War (R. F. Kuang): extra good news; all three books from the trilogy have been released (+ an added collection of short stories that can be read here: https://rfkuang.com/2020/12/01/the-drowning-faith/). Check them out on goodreads for more information; https://www.goodreads.com/series/243623-the-poppy-war (4/5)

-Emilia D.

Favorite Book Quotes from 2021

I read 78 books in 2021 and here are some quotes that stuck with me.

In, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab wrote, “Being forgotten, she thinks, is a bit like going mad. You begin to wonder what is real, if you are real. After all, how can a thing be real if it cannot be remembered?” This book had so many moments that just made you think about life and what it truly means to have people you love. Addie had to live her life without those meaningful relationships, battling the thought that she isn’t good enough to be remembered.

“She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.” ― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows. Kaz and Inej have battled their demons throughout this book and had to learn how to love again. Inej and him have had such a complicated but incredible partnership for the ages. Their love goes farther than just words.

Leigh Bardugo wrote in her book, Crooked Kingdom, “I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way.” If there was one word you had to use to describe how I felt while reading this scene it would be devastated. Matthias and Nina’s love for each other will forever stay, even after death. They are the definition of soulmates.

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”― Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us. This book was an emotional rollercoaster taking us through the pain Lily survived. She was so strong, surviving an abusive relationship that shattered anyone who read this book into a million pieces.

“We’re more than our mistakes. We’re more than what people expect of us.”― Marieke Nijkamp, This Is Where It Ends. Mistakes don’t define who we are. We grow from them and become a better version of ourselves. People expect you to be perfect when in reality no one is. We are the only ones allowed to define ourselves and who we are on the inside.

“But there’s comfort in knowing that when your plans fall apart, you can survive. That the worst thing imaginable can happen, but you can get through it.”― Jenn Bennett, Starry Eyes. This quote hit me hard because I am a planner and I don’t like to leave things up to fate. But, it made me realize that I can get through it and survive even if all your plans fall apart.

“For so many years I lived in constant terror of myself. Doubt had married my fear and moved into my mind, where it built castles and ruled kingdoms and reigned over me, bowing my will to its whispers until I was little more than an acquiescing peon, too terrified to disobey, too terrified to disagree. I had been shackled, a prisoner in my own mind. But finally, finally, I have learned to break free.”― Tahereh Mafi, Ignite Me. Juliette found herself throughout this series and learned how to truly be herself without the doubt of not being enough.

Holly Black in, The Queen of Nothing, wrote, “Maybe it isn’t the worst thing to want to be loved, even if you’re not. Even if it hurts. Maybe being human isn’t always being weak.” Jude battled her thoughts of hating being human. She grew to know that being human doesn’t mean you’re weak and that you’re allowed to love.

“I’m starting to wonder if this is what being in love is. Being okay with ripping yourself to shreds, so the other person can stay whole.”― Ali Hazelwood, The Love Hypothesis. Love means sacrifice. Sacrificing yourself for someone else, someone you love.

“The difference between the ugly side of love and the beautiful side of love is that the beautiful side is much lighter. It makes you feel like you’re floating. It lifts you up. Carries you.” ― Colleen Hoover, Ugly Love. Some parts of love are beautiful but some are ugly. The beautiful side can consume you and make you feel like it’s worth it to get through the ugly side to find the beautiful side.

In November 9, Colleen Hoover wrote, “One of the things I always try to remind myself of is that everyone has scars,” she says. “A lot of them are even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t.” Some scars are visible and show other people the pain that you’ve survived. The scars that aren’t visible are shown when people open up to another person they trust. Both kinds of scars show how strong each person is to survive and get to this moment.

She wasn’t a robot or a disabled autistic girl. She was herself. She was enough. She could be anything. She could make herself into anything. She could prove everyone wrong.” ― Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient. Stella doesn’t let autism define her. She alone knows that she is enough and can do anything she dreams of.

Every single one of these books have really changed me and the way I look at love and life.

-Kaitlyn D.

Diverse Books by POC and LGBTQ Authors

As much as I love the representation presented in Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Lunar Chronicles, and Six of Crows, I have learned while reading these books that they are written by white, heterosexual women. There is nothing wrong with this and should be a common occurrence among white writers but sometimes, these authors tend to overshadow queer authors and authors of color. Their stories are less likely to be heard, though these stories relate to their personal struggles and identities. So here are some that I would like to recommend some books by authors in the POC and LGBTQ communities.

  1. Casey McQuiston: This author has been known for writing Red, White, and Royal Blue and One Last Stop, two stories with both LGBTQ and POC representation. In Red, White, and Royal Blue, the main character is biracial and bisexual while his love interest is gay. In One Last Stop, the main character is a lesbian as well as her Chinese American love interest. Casey McQuiston themself is bisexual and nonbinary, using all pronouns. They are publishing a book in 2022 called I kissed Shara Wheeler, another book you could check out!
  2. Adiba Jaigirdar: This author has written 2 books called The Henna Wars and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. These books are sapphic and show representation in the Muslim, Afro-Brazilian, Bengali, and Korean community. The author herself is Bangladeshi and lives in Ireland. She identifies as queer. Go check her books out!
  3. Hafsah Faizal: This author is known for writing We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars. Hafsah Faizal grew up in a household where Islam was an important practice in their life. She is of Arabian and Sri Lankan descent. The books stated above portray Arabian terminology that is normal in Arabia. We love to see it!
  4. Angie Thomas: This author has written many books but the ones people mostly recognize her for is The Hate U Give and On the Come Up. These two books are about how racism hinders and traumatizes young black people and how they live in a society that is constantly against them. But, nonetheless, they fight against them with all of the strength they have. Angie Thomas is also one of six authors who wrote Blackout, a collection of love stories between black people during a power outage in their city. Definitely check it out!
  5. Tomi Adeyemi: This author has written the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy: Children of Blood and Bone, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, and another untitled book she is working on. These books are inspired West African elements with Yoruba mythology. Though it is a fantasy book, it show many ideologies in our world (like racism) discreetly.

If you would like to expand the types of authors you read, please check these ones out!

-Saanvi V.

7 Books to Read

There are a lot of amazing books to read, but these are some of my favorites. The books are not listed in order.

  1. Little Women

I enjoyed reading this book because of the wide variety of characters and their different personalities. It is a great novel and an amazing classic. The main characters include Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March. This book explores a part of the lives of these 4 sisters. There are several sequels to this classic, including Little Men and Jo’s Boys. There is also a movie based on Little Women.

  1. The Hobbit

This is a great book. It is one of my all time favorites and I would highly recommend you to read it. It is about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who goes on an adventure to help the dwarves. Their home has been taken over by a dragon named Smaug, and Gandalf thinks Bilbo is a good fit for the journey. However, Bilbo does not like adventures or going outside his hometown Shire at all. During this journey, he faces lots of obstacles and challenges. Will he survive the adventure and return to the Shire, or will he fail in his quest? This novel has been made into a trilogy of 3 movies named An Unexpected Journey, the Desolation of Smaug, and the Battle of the Five Armies. I would recommend you to read the book first before watching the movies so you will be able to visualize the story instead of thinking about what took place in the movie.

  1. Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile is a great book. It was intriguing and kept me wanting to read until the ending throughout the whole book. This book is about a cruise down the Nile, enjoyable until a murder happens. Additionally, there are several other crimes Hercule Poirot must try to solve! Everything in this book was interesting, and I would definitely recommend you to read this amazing story.

  1. Book Love

This book is a graphic novel about books and love for books. The book is very funny and it has a lot of amazing stories. I really liked reading it and if you enjoy reading graphic novels and/or are a bookworm, this book is for you!  It is definitely a great read.

  1. Heidi

Heidi lives in the mountains with her grumpy grandfather until one day her aunt takes her to Frankfurt to befriend the daughter of the family she is working for. Heidi accompanies the young girl throughout a part of her life. The story is about Heidi’s adventures and the journeys she takes. I liked this classic, and I would highly recommend you to read this book.

  1. And Then There Were None

This book is about 10 people who have gone to an island, invited for different reasons. Everything seems normal, until those guests start to be murdered, one by one. However, there is a terrible storm and they can’t leave the island, or get any help to the island. The remaining people do not know who shall be killed next, but they do know it could be them. They must all find out who the killer is before they are all killed. 

  1. The Lord of the Rings

A sequel to The Hobbit, this trilogy is also a great series to read. It takes place many years after the Hobbit. Frodo is given an extremely powerful Ring, but he soon finds out he must destroy it, or the world may be ravaged. He sets out on a journey to Mordor to demolish the Ring in Mount Doom. Mordor, however, is the location of his enemy. This trilogy consists of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. It has also been made into 3 movies based on the trilogy of books.

-Peri A.

Authors We Love: Jean Craighead George

Jean Craighead George is a naturalist, illustrator, and author.  Born in 1919 in Washington DC, George developed her love of nature from her family.  All being naturalists, together they’d hike mountains, climb trees to study owls, and make their own fish hooks out of twigs.  

This love of nature carried over to her writing as George eventually graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Science and English.  She is known for uniquely combining her careers into engaging fictional stories that take place in real, vividly described ecosystems. 

One of her most famous books, My Side of the Mountain, takes place in the Catskill mountains and involves a boy, named Sam, who attempts to make a home for himself in the wild.  The novel details the day to day life of Sam and features illustrations of some of his creations, including shelters, traps, and whistles.  While the book is an amazing read for nature lovers due to its setting, the trials of surviving in the snow, finding food, and the mystery of an unstable environment makes it a tale of suspense that is perfect for adventure-lovers too.  

Other novels by Jean Craighead George include:

  • Julie of the Wolves (Newberry Prize Winning) 
  • The Fire Bug Connection
  • There’s an Owl in the Shower
  • Water Sky
  • Charlie’s Raven 
  • Shark Beneath the Reef 
  • On the Far Side of the Mountain (Sequel to My Side of the Mountain)

-Giselle F. 

The works of Jean Craighead George are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

2021 Summer Reading: Book Recommendations

I am a bibliophile, and I am proud to admit it. I look forward to the summer as it gives me the time to spend more time with my books. Though I always look for new books to read, sometimes I just simply reread the books which has left a mark on me. Here is a list of my favorite books, not in any particular order. All of them are the ones which I have truly enjoyed and would recommend to my fellow bibliophiles:

  1. Wonder by R J Palacio: An awe-inspiring story about the journey of a boy with a craniofacial difference, who starts school for the first time after being home schooled for years.
  2. Auggie and me by R J Palacio: Stories about different characters from Wonder
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl: A story of a bright little girl, who finds her inner powers to outwit those who don’t understand her.
  4. Where the Red Fern grows by Wilson Rawls: A novel about a friendship between a boy and two hunting dogs.
  5. Hoot by Carl Hiassen: A suspense novel where a newcomer makes two new friends and one enemy, and joins an effort to stop an activity which would destroy certain wildlife colony.
  6. Scat by Carl Hiassen: A mystery novel about a missing teacher and panthers
  7. The Giver by Lois Lowry: A story written from the point of view of an 11 year old boy, living in a futuristic society.
  8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: A teen dystopian science fiction.
  9. The Outsiders by S E Hinton: A novel which details the conflicts between groups divided by socio economic status.
  10. Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: A novel about journey through space and time, from universe to universe.
  11. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan: A series of five fantasy adventure novels based on a boy who discovers he is a demi-god
  12. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth: A powerful story about a futuristic dystopian world in which society is divided into factions
  13. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling: Series of 7 fantasy novels chronicling the life of young wizards and witches
  14. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins: Series of three young adult dystopian novels that take place in a futuristic society which used to be North America
  15. The Hobbit Series and The Lord of the Rings Series by JRR Tolkien: A children’s fantasy novel of a boy on a journey through treacherous lands filled with dangerous creatures

-Anya P.

Summer Book and Movie Recommendations

As an avid reader, I’m always looking for new books to read. Here is a list of books, many of which I consider my all-time favorites, but some are simply ones that enjoyed and would recommend to anyone in search of a good read:

  1. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Hunger Games Series (and its newly-released prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) by Suzanne Collins
  3. When, by Victoria Laurie
  4. Dessert First, by Dean Gloster
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl
  6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  7. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  8. The Raft, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  9. If I Should Speak, by Umm Zakiyyah
  10. Night, by Ellie Weisel

As for a few movie recommendations, I once again have to include Harry Potter and Hunger Games! But I’ll also be adding others, once again, either more of my all-time favorites or just all-around good movies.

  1. The Harry Potter Series
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. The Aeronauts
  4. The Hunger Games Series
  5. The Lord of the Rings series
  6. The Rise of Skywalker
  7. Inception
  8. Little Women
  9. Interstellar
  10. Collateral Beauty

The Top Five Books to Escape Isolation

The top five books that I think would make isolation move by faster are The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Kira-Kira, Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone, and Once.

The Hunger Games is my number one choice because it is one of the most well-written books that I have ever read. The book’s main character is Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old girl, that is chosen for the reaping. She has to compete against twenty-four other opponents to be able to live in peace. Her one problem though is that she has to kill everyone to win. This book is very descriptive and paints a vivid picture inside your head.

Next, my second book choice would be The Maze Runner. This is because the book has so many twists and turns that it just compels you to read more. The Maze Runner is about a boy named Thomas whose memory has been wiped clean. He is surrounded by boys whose memories have also been wiped and their main goal is to find a way out. The main problem though is that they have to make it past the grievers. Grievers are big metal machines that kill mercilessly.

Kira-Kira is a heartwarming book about a girl and her family. This book is about a Japanese girl named Kate whose moving to Iowa because her father’s store shut down. Now she is forced to live in a small apartment in Georgia while her parents work in a Japanese power plant. This story demonstrates family virtues, kindness, and friendship. I highly recommend this book.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone is a novel about a boy named Harry who lives with a rude and unkind family named the Dursley’s. Then, Harry finds out that he is a wizard and joins a school of witchcraft and wizardry named Hogwarts. Harry makes friends and foes along his way. I recommend this book because the book takes your mind to a whole different world that shows that everything is possible.

My last and final book is Once. This book is a thrilling and nerve-racking story about a boy named Felix who is escaping the Nazis. As he is on the run, he makes a friend named Zelda, a four-year-old girl. Morris Gleitzman writes this story in a way that makes you feel as if you are in the book with them. In conclusion, this book is also highly recommended.

In conclusion, if you want to escape your boring days of isolation I highly recommend these five books. They will not only exercise your brain, but they will transport you to a whole new world.

-Veronica S.

Authors We Love: Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is the author of many fictional books for children.  Most of his books were illustrated by Quentin Blake.  I have always enjoyed these books as well as the illustrations.  Dahl uses very inventive language, including interesting words such as “gnazzle,” “knid” and “snozzcumber.”  His books are very funny and full of entertaining nonsense.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a boy named Charlie who lives in a small home with his poor family.  Willy Wonka, the owner of a famous chocolate factory, announces that five lucky children will be invited to tour his factory.  The children would be selected by finding one of five golden tickets hidden inside the wrappers of chocolate bars.  By sheer luck, Charlie receives one of the five golden tickets.  As the story unfolds, we discover the wild and zany rooms in Willy Wonka’s factory, and finally we learn the real reason why Mr. Wonka invited the children to his factory.

The BFG tells of a little girl named Sophie who lives in an orphanage.  Sophie is captured by a twenty-four-feet-tall giant, who takes her to a cave in a faraway land called “Giant Country.”  There she learns that the giant’s name is the “Big Friendly Giant,” or the “BFG,” for short.  The BFG is actually the runt of nine other giants, who are about fifty feet tall and are very wicked, unlike the BFG.  The other nine giants like to gallop off to different countries to gobble up about two to six people at a time.  Sophie and the BFG come up with a plan to put a stop to the other giants’ evil deeds.

In Matilda, a girl named Matilda learns how to read at a very young age, but her parents mistreat her and hardly even notice her talents.  When she starts school, Matilda encounters the giant, nasty headmistress named Miss Trunchbull.  The headmistress terrorizes the entire school until Matilda discovers special powers within herself.  This is my favorite of Roald Dahl’s books because of the charming characters and wonderful story.

Most of Roald Dahl’s books are about ordinary children who discover extraordinary things.  Dahl usually includes fantastical characters, such as man-sized insects and little people known as “Oompa Loompas.”  It is for good reason that his books are very popular and are considered classics for young readers.  I highly recommend these books to people of all ages.

-Oliver H.

The works of Roald Dahl are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.