EW's 100 New Classics

It's interesting how many of these have been made into movies. I wonder if that's the only reason they are on the list, or if the books themselves are worth being classics. Some of these I definitely agree with and some I wonder if it's just the fact that they have movie recognition. As far as the ones I've read, the only one I'm not sure about being a "classic" is The Ruins. It was a good book, but I wouldn't have thought about putting it on a New Classics list myself.

I've read 11 out of 100:

Harry Potter
The Handmaid's Tale
Love in the Time of Cholera
His Dark Materials
The Glass Castle
The Giver
The Kite Runner
The Remains of the Day
The Ruins
The Da Vinci Code

How many and which ones have you read?

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Poison Study

Poison Study by: Maria V. Snyder

Published: 2005

# of pages: 361

Series: Book #1

Quote: "'What could you possibly offer me? I have a job, color-coordinated uniforms and a boss to die for. What more could I need?'" -Yelena p. 137

This is the second time I've read this book. The first time I read it I fell in love with it. Then I immediately read the second book in the series, Magic Study. While I didn't enjoy that book as much, Poison Study has remained one of my favorite books and was even included in my Favorite Books of 2007. The reason I read it again was because I just read Fire Study, the third and final book in the series. It pulled me back into Yelena's world and made me really want to read the first two books again.

The second time of reading this wasn't the same, but I still found myself staying up late to read and having a hard time putting the book down. This is still my favorite book in the series. It's unique and who could not love the characters Yelena, Valek, Ari, and Janco?

The story begins with Yelena being let out of the Commander's dungeons where she is being held until execution and given a second chance at a food taster for the Commander of Ixia. If that isn't enough stress for a young woman whose life has been turned upside down, all kinds of other trouble follow her everywhere.

Yelena perseveres through her study of poisons, being exposed to political intrigues, and having to be constantly on guard as she expects soldiers, assassins, and magicians to kill her at any moment. She also struggles to accept her past and move on with life, as hard as that is. Yelena is a neat character, she's graceful, flexible, strong, can kick butt, and is smart to top it all off.

People of the Book

People of the Book by: Geraldine Brooks

Published: 2008

# of pages: 372

Quote: "'It was here to test us, to see if there were people who could see that what united us was more than what divided us. That to be a human being matters more than to be a Jew or a Muslim, Catholic or Orthodox.'" -Ozren p. 361

This is Brooks' third novel, written after Year of Wonders and March. I liked People of the Book more than March, but not as much as Year of Wonders. Her latest novel is rich in history and culture. It's fascinating how much information Brooks was able to convey throughout the novel without overloading the reader.

The story is anchored by Hanna, a modern bookbinder/conservator. She is offered a job to work on an ancient Hebrew book, a job that changes her life when she accepts. Hanna finds several clues on the pages of the book which she then investigates to learn more about where and when the book has traveled. She unfolds many stories for the reader, although she is often left in the dark about the details. Stories are told about Jews, Christians, and Muslims who have all had an impact on the priceless book.

The Hebrew manuscript, the Sarajevo Haggadah, is a real book, but Brooks does an amazing job filling in the gaps with fictional details. I enjoyed learning about the true historical events that took place during the book's lifetime and the fictional characters and their lives kept me even more interested. The book was very fast paced, switching from Hanna's life to the lives of historical characters. In a way, this enabled me to stay interested, but it also prevented me from truly caring about the characters. I found that I wasn't hooked into any of the stories, but I still enjoyed reading them.

I found it very interesting that all of the characters had similar qualities through sins. Obviously everyone sins, but I wonder why Brooks concentrated so much on pointing that out when she only had a limited time to tell each character's story. It made me respect the characters even more, because even though they were hiding their sins, they still cared enough about a religious document to protect it. Also, perhaps hiding their sins allowed them to be able to hide the book. It did link all of the characters. No matter what religion each character was associated with, they were all the same underneath.

I recommend this book to all adults who enjoy history, a mystery, science investigations, or a good read. There were adult situations in this book so I don't recommend it to young adults.

Other Reviews:
Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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Stardust by: Neil Gaiman

Published: 1999

# of pages: 248

Quote: "'There, now,' she said, and she passed him his snowdrop. He took it with hands that suddenly seemed to him to be huge and clumsy and not at all small and in every way perfect like the hands of the faerie girl." -Slave Girl & Dunstan pg. 22

This is the first book I've read by Gaiman and it won't be the last. Stardust was also made into a movie last year which I watched before reading the novel. The movie is very similar to the book except for some minor changes. If you enjoyed the movie you will definitely enjoy the book, it has even more details and background info.

The novel is about Tristran Thorn, a 17 year old young man who lives in the village of Wall. He's in love with Victoria and in order to win her love he promises to find and bring her a star they see falling...into the land of Faerie. His adventure begins as he crosses the wall bordering his village and Faerie. He encounters many strange people, witnesses many strange things, has many odd experiences, and has many death defying adventures. And interestingly enough, he feels right at home.

This is a beautiful love story with enough adventure and unique aspects to make it very much worth reading. I was surprised to find out that the book isn't appropriate for young readers. It gets a little too romantic in one part. However, it isn't crude and the book isn't filled with similar scenes. The movie is appropriate for children and adults alike. Overall, I recommend this to all adults, especially those who enjoy fantasy and liked the movie.

The Host

The Host by: Stephenie Meyer

# of pages: 619

Published: 2008

Quote: "I realized, with some surprise, that I was in a truly bad mood." -Wanderer pg. 349

Wanderer's parasite alien species come to Earth and use humans as their hosts, taking over the entire world. The aliens continue to function as humans, with a few differences. Wanderer is put into Melanie's body. Melanie is one of the few remaining "wild" humans, humans who aren't functioning as hosts for the aliens. Wanderer's and Melanie's lives are changed forever as they struggle to share the same body.

When I first read about the plot I expected this book to be pretty hokey. I thought that there was no way that Meyer could write another book as good as the Twilight books. I was wrong! This book was excellent. It's pretty amazing when an author can write an alien book that readers can really become involved in. I loved the characters and the original plot. Meyer is an amazing author with the ability to write such great books in such a short time.

It took me several chapters to get into this book, but after the first 8 or 9 chapters I was hooked and couldn't put the book down. The adventure, romance, and likeable characters really drew me in and I think everyone else who reads this will feel the same!

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