Guest Picks: Student Volunteer Amrutha Obbineni

Guest Picks: Student Volunteer Amrutha Obbineni

As my parents can most definitely testify, one of my greatest passions is reading. My mom fondly tells everyone, that the reason for my glasses is not video games or excessive TV watching as it may be for other kids, but rather excessive reading. Little six-year-old me who wasn’t willing to put down a book, sneakily reading in the middle of the night with a flashlight is, according to my mom, the culprit behind my less than amazing vision. Let’s face it: she’s probably right (although, when is she not?). Fast forward 10 years, and, as a now 16-year-old, that same anticipation for a good book still exists, and, if anything has been amplified over time. In order to keep up with my admittedly vociferous appetite for books, I can often be found at the library scanning the thousands of books - and trying very hard to not take home every single one.

For the past few years, I’ve been a proud volunteer at Howell Branch. Whether it be my regular hours every week, the MakerLab, or the multitude of special events the library hosts, each and every time I volunteer, I leave smiling. Even as a rather busy high schooler who’s involved in numerous clubs, band, etc., I wouldn’t give up Wednesdays at the library for anything. It is often one of my favorite parts of the week - walking into the library and spending time surrounded by amazing people and doing my part to make the library a better place is truly a wonderful experience. When I’m not at the library or reading, I can be found either doing something school-related, spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the outdoors, or binge-watching Netflix.

Narrowing down the hundreds of books I’ve read and enjoyed to just twelve was a challenge in and of itself. I hope you enjoy them!

I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai - This was such an emotional, raw, unfiltered, and inspiring read. Malala’s journey truly shows how one person can make a world of difference.

Queen of Hearts trilogy, by Colleen Oakes - This series had my heart racing. A darker adaptation of the beloved Alice in Wonderland, this series explores the sinister kingdom of Wonderland and a young princess’ fight to survive the manipulations of her father, the King of Hearts, as well as her quest to become the next queen.

Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling - The magic of this series never fades, no matter how times I reread it, and I’m always finding new details within, be it the second or tenth read. I’m the first to admit that I’m a true Potterhead, and forgetting a piece of Harry Potter trivia is considered a failure in my book.

Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger - Seeing as it’s THE book about angst-ridden teenagers, it makes sense that it resonates with so many teenagers around the world. It’s just great, cringe-worthy fun.

Looking for Alaska, by John Green - No different from any other John Green novel, this book is the perfect combination of mystery, romance, and discovery. On an unrelated note, it’s also worth a mention that I, along with many other high schoolers, would have never passed a single test without his (and his brother’s) Crash Course videos.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak - As a self-confessed lover of historical fiction novels, this one (set during World War II), pulled me in from the very first chapter.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas - From the same author of The Three Musketeers, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (as it was originally known in French), is an amazing blend of mind-blowing plot, as well as amazing writing.

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow - The book behind Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit, Hamilton, is an even more insightful look into the life of one of the Founding Fathers.

We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Most of us have enthusiastically jammed along to Beyoncé’s hit song, ***Flawless, and know Adichie’s part by heart. Her TED talk, based off of this book, is just sheer brilliance.  

The Princess Bride, by William Goldman - My own copy is tattered and worn due to the number of times I’ve read it. The book, as well as the movie, is a timeless classic that I could never get tired of.

A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park - Having read it for the first time in sixth grade, this book is one that has stuck with me for years. The struggles of people in the developing nations of Africa go from being an idea to being something in this beautiful book.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins - This psychological thriller is similar to another favorite mine, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. The completely unanticipated twists and turns made this book almost impossible to put down.

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