books

Books To Read In 2015

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We know you’re busy writing essays, taking final exams and dreaming about summer break but if you get a craving for a good book, check out some of these popular titles that you need to read in 2015!

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Paper Towns by John Green

Written by popular young adult author John Green, Paper Towns is the story of Quentin who has loved Margo since elementary school. Unfortunately, Margo has ignored Quentin for the majority of their high school years. That is, until she shows up at his window just weeks before their high school graduation and they spend the entire night together pulling off a series of revenge-fueled pranks. Margo disappears the next day and Quentin, along with his two best friends, are determined to follow the clues Margo left behind.

While the book Paper Towns was first published in 2009, it tops our list of Books You Have to Read in 2015 because Paper Towns is coming to the big screen soon! Paper Towns is coming to theaters July 24th, 2015! Watch the trailer here.

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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Described as “hauntingly beautiful” by The New York Times and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, All The Light We Cannot See tells the story of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy whose paths cross in occupied France during World War II. Werner, the young boy, is incredibly gifted at mathematics and earns himself a spot at an elite Nazi training school. Marie-Laure, blinded at the age of six, has fled from Paris with her father and a highly sought after sapphire from the Museum of Natural History in tow. The story that Anthony Doerr has created is far too complex to explain in a few short sentences so to find out the fates of Werner and Marie-Laure you are going to have to read this book for yourself!

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Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Critics are buzzing about Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s earliest known work. Believed to have been lost, the manuscript for Go Set A Watchman was re-discovered in late 2014. The story follows up with many of the original characters from Harper Lee’s well-known classic To Kill A Mockingbird 20 years after the story ends. Go Set A Watchman is scheduled to be released on July 14th, 2015.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

If you loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, you will love this book! This psychological thriller follows our main character Rachel as she rides the commuter train each and every day into London, even after she is fired from her job. Through the train window, Rachel sees the same houses and the same people in their yards every day and begins to feel like she actually knows them. She gives the people names and imagines what their jobs and lives are like. While looking out the window one day, Rachel thinks that she sees something happen to the girl she has named “Jess”. When news stories about a missing girl named Megan (who turns out to be “Jess”) start surfacing Rachel decides to tell the police everything she has seen from the train window. Did I mention that Rachel is drunk for most of this book? That puts an interesting spin on things when an unreliable drunk shows up at the police station with information on Megan’s disappearance. The twists and turns of this story keep you guessing not only “Who did it?” but “What actually happened?” right up to the last page.

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The Residence: Inside the Private World of The White House by Kate Andersen Brower

Being the President of the United States is a tough and very public job, but what do we really know about the on-goings of the first family when the cameras are off and the world isn’t watching? In this 2015 release, we hear from employees at the White House that have been there day in and day out through ten different administrations over a span of fifty years. Written after hundreds of hours of interviews with butlers, chefs, florists, maids and other White House staffers, we catch an inside glimpse of what life was really like at the White House from the Kennedy Administration, through the days of Nixon and Reagan and the scandal-filled Clinton years, all the way up to the current first family, the Obama’s.

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Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling

Bestselling author J.K. Rowling, best known for her Harry Potter series, gave a very moving speech during commencement at Harvard University in 2008. Now available in written form, this speech doles out words of wisdom for anyone who has come to a crossroads in their life. The perfect graduation gift or perfect for when you need a boost of inspiration and motivation, Very Good Lives does not disappoint. Proceeds from the book will be donated to J.K. Rowling’s foundation Lumos, which focuses on ending the institutionalization of children worldwide. Find more information on Lumos here.

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Redeployment by Phil Klay

Redeployment, winner of the 2014 National Book Award, describes the unseen lives of an American soldier on the frontlines. Author Phil Klay is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and uses his experience in Iraq to tell a story that civilians cannot even begin to imagine as truth. This book is sure to leave you with an undying gratitude for those fighting overseas as well as a new found outlook on exactly what it takes to fight for your country.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Readers have been patiently waiting for this debut fantasy novel from author Sabaa Tahir to be released and the wait is finally over! This novel, just released on April 28th, has been described by early reviewers as having “the addictive quality of The Hunger Games, the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones.” We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

What books are on your list to read this year? Let us know in the comments!

Be Yourself

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College is a fantastic time to explore new fields of study and new extracurricular activities. It’s a time when you can become a better, braver version of yourself. However, while you are trying so many new things and meeting so many new people, it’s easy to get wrapped up in your new life and fall into a stream of students that are doing and saying things that you may not agree with. Trying new things is great until you begin to compromise your own values in the name of exploration.

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Make sure that while you are trying new things you are only doing them because you want to, not because someone else expects you to be a certain way. For example, if you choose a certain major because you are passionate about it and would like to enter the field, do not switch majors simply because one of your friends (or even professors!) tells you to. Be sure that you are making decisions for yourself.beyourself2

Similarly, if you are against the use of drugs or alcohol, do not feel that you need to explore these things simply because it is what everyone else is doing. You are an adult now (officially…yikes!) and you are more than capable of making your own  decisions. If you want to study on Friday night instead of going to that frat party, feel free to. If you’d rather hang out in the library than the bar, that’s your choice as well. Don’t let the actions of others dictate your lifestyle.beyourself3

Whether it’s the way you dress, your hair color, your religion, your major, or your study habits, don’t let anyone else tell you how to live your life. After all, it’s yours and yours alone. We all have one life to live so we might as well make it one we love.

eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

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eTextbook or Physical Textbook?

Today everyone uses their laptops, cell phones and tablets for everything including textbook readings for class. It may seem that the only duty our paper textbooks have, is to collect dust on the book self. This isn’t as true as you might think. There are several pros and cons for both an eTextbook and a physical textbook. I’m here to enlighten the public on which to choose, an eTextbook or a physical textbook.

According to Cynthia Boris of NBCNews.com there are various categories of comparison that can be viewed when weighing the pros and cons of an eTextbook and a physical textbook. In her opinion, ease of use, portability and cost are among the most important aspects to consider when making your book decision.

Ease of use: Although an eTextbook encourages you to explore the world of knowledge at the drop of your fingertips, does it make it harder to retain the information you are looking for? Some eTextbooks allow you to make notes and highlight for memorizing purposes but according to a study performed by Survey Monkey, nearly 40% of students preferred to use a print book to study with. An eTextbook might be easier to use sometimes while other times there is nothing better than being able to feel the pages of a physical textbook.

Portability: At times, textbooks can put a large strain on your back when walking to class. The weight of some textbooks can be several pounds each versus a few ounces for only one tablet to store thousands of e-textbooks on. When taking this into consideration, your back might thank you in a few years.

Cost: Textbooks are expensive, it’s true. Today, there are several ways to save money on buying textbooks, like renting! Not to mention some great coupon deals. When comparing costs to eTextbooks on a tablet, they are extremely cost effective. Although you have to take into consideration the cost of the actual device, as Boris says, “It could take a year of schooling before it pays for itself.”

In the end an eTextbook works for some and not for others, no worries though, there will always be physical textbooks to go around. Happy textbook shopping!

Six Must Read Books Under Six Dollars

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As college students, we spend a good majority of our time reading: reading textbooks, reading academic journals, reading online articles. But what about the books we actually enjoy reading? I know for me, one of my favorite pastimes is curling up with a good book and letting the words work their magic. Here are just a few must read books that you have to check out for yourself!

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: This one is an obvious classic. Full of old time charm and elegance, The Great Gatsby is one of my all-time favorite novels. The movie is great, but the book is better. The thing I love the most about this American classic is that you can read it over and over, yet find something new to love about it each time.

2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: Once again, this is a book where the movie just can’t do it justice. Sara Gruen knew what she was doing when she wrote this piece of enticing literature. The adventurous, romantic storyline will keep anyone wanting for more.

3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: Of all the memoirs I have read, this is hands down my favorite. I repeat, this book is a must read! I have never gotten as caught up in a book as I did while reading The Glass Castle. The novel is a true story about a troubled family that will have your eyes wide the entire time you read it.

4. The Shining by Stephen King: What better book to read at Halloween time than Stephen King’s classic, The Shining? This suspense filled novel will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time you are reading. Full of sinister twists and turns, the Shining is worth reading again and again.

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: There are few books that can warm your heart, make you laugh and make you cry all within the same page. The Help is not only a classic because of its excellent writing, but also because it educates readers on America’s history while keeping them enthralled in an excellent storyline.

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Okay, hear me out on this one. I, like most students, was required to read this book in high school and felt like I was going to die of boredom. However, I reread the classic Jane Austen novel as a more educated, open minded college student, and absolutely fell in love!

I highly suggest picking up one or all of these must read books at eCampus.com. But if these don’t fit your fancy, check out our other popular fiction titles that are on sale now!

Books To Read This Summer

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Aside from the Hunger Games series, which is a book series I am all for by the way, there are tons of books that should be on your list to read while on the beach (or commuting to an internship or work).

Ever have that social awkwardness where a book in referenced and everyone laughs or adds their opinion and you are just left nodding along?  Reading some classics can prevent that.  If Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth are a little too high school for you, Homers The Odyssey may not be the best choice for you.  Head to the library or bookstore (yes, some of those still exist) and pick up a few different classics.  Look for authors Charlotte Brontë, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway.  See if any of their styles appeal to you.  Each of them have multiple books that have become classics, thus if you find an author you like, you can continue reading classics by that author.

If not, check out some of these classics:

Now when someone says “Big Brother is watching” or “who are you, Holden Caulfield?” you will understand what they are saying. If you’re looking to go for titles that are recently popular, you could go mainstream and keep track of The New York Time’s Best Seller List. Right now, Fifty Shakes of Grey by E. L. James seems to be what everyone is reading.

Just like music, there are classics, mainstream, and your specific taste that may take time to figure out, but when you find an author you like, it is worth it.  It is just like music in this sense.  You may have to listen to some things you’re not really a fan of, but just like you know within a minute or two of listening to a band, you know if you like them or not.  Try to head to an updated library or a bookstore and browse.  Ask someone who works there to recommend an author based on an author or two you know you like.

If you have a Nook or other eReader, in most cases, you can read a sample of a book before buying it.  You can also browse and check out the books they recommend for you.

Happy reading!

– TravelBug