Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: What is eNotes reading?

When they’re not out trying to catch ’em all, the eNotes staff are an elusive bunch. These fantastic enigmas dwell in the depths of Capitol Hill in the heart of Seattle, and spend their days click-click-clacking away behind bright Mac screens to decipher Shakespeare, answering your homework questions, and digging up free money for students. In between celebrating literary holidays and battling the feels, these majestic beings drink in the words of countless literary beasts, ruthlessly ravaging mountains of text. Whether the fantastic beasts are the eNotes staff or the books they’re reading…well, that’s up to you.

Want to see how you measure up? The eNotes staff have come forth for a limited time to give you a glimpse of the fascinating arrangements of the alphabet that they’ve been consuming. In other words, here are the books that the eNotes staff is currently reading:

alex.jpgAlex Bloomingdale, co-founder

The Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelley

I’m reading the Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelley. They are perfect summer beach reads, but also contain lots of interesting details related to modern policing, with an emphasis on the LAPD and its inner workings. While suspension of disbelief with some of the cases is required, others are straightforward police procedurals chock full of LAPD jargon and well-researched geographical and police tidbits that could be boring for some, but are riveting if you’re a fan of this sub-genre of mystery.

nick_c.jpgNick Cloud, developer

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Why doesn’t the FBI prosecute Hillary? Why does Trump captivate so many voters? Why does your manager get the glory for your accomplishments? Because the Laws of Power–immutable, emergent, and seated squarely in human nature–are always in effect. Robert Greene’s book, The 48 Laws of Power, draws on the stern lessons of history to show us that reality isn’t the romanticized wonderland sold to us in childhood, but rather a complex interleave of human strength and weakness, vice and virtue, wisdom and stupidity, that play off each other in the struggle to make reality as we know it conform to our wishes. The results are often brutal, humorous, and instructive, and we would do well to learn from the past, lest we relive its errors and find ourselves without options, without the power to gain the things we value most.

luis.jpgLuiz Lopes, developer

Liberalism by Ludwig von Mises

A look at the theoretical and practical arguments for classical liberalism. In it, Mises compares classical liberalism with other systems of social organization. I am reading this book because I would like to better understand different forms of social organization, specially because this is an election year.

Os Cem Melhores Contos Brasileiros do Século by Ítalo Moriconi

A collection of stories from the best known and unknown Brazilian writers of the 20th century. A book I purchased on my last trip to Brazil. I don’t get to practice my Portuguese as much, so reading it helps me keep it on my mind. This book shows how much the language has changed in the last century. I particularly enjoy the stories by Machado de Assis, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Sérgio Sant’Anna, and Júlia Lopes de Almeida.

heather.jpgHeather Satoris Daniel, customer service

A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock

What happens when the life we have always lived is not the one we want to have? Set in Manhattan in the 1920s, A Fine Imitation captures privileged socialite Vera Bellington’s desire for something more than the comfortable and predictable life she’s always led. Falling head over heels for a painter, Vera must choose between familiarity and spontaneity.

allie.jpgAllie Draper, assistant editor

How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman

Have you ever looked at pictures and illustrations from the Victorian era and wondered what it would have been like to wear a hoop skirt and a corset? Or how you would have made it to work even close to on time without an alarm clock or a cell phone? Ruth Goodman presents a day in the life of a Victorian, chronicling (often from experience gleaned from personal experiments) the probable trials and tribulations you would have encountered in the Victorian era, whether you were a farmer, a fop, a laundress, or a lady—or anything in between. (Answers: 1. Disturbing, since your abdominal muscles would be atrophying and causing you lower-back pain. 2. You would pay a guy with a pocket watch to come tap on your window with a really long stick.)

wes.pngWes Matlock, curriculum editor

Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins

I’ve just finished reading Tom Robbins’s Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. This wonderful, ridiculous story follows the exploits of (ex-)CIA operative Switters, a self-proclaimed “study in contradictions,” as he deals with a shaman’s curse and a nun’s prophecy. Full of wild and witty language, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates also explores more serious ideas related to life’s Big Questions and what it means to “live consciously,” all while romping across four continents full of comedic shenanigans. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who likes irreverent humor and unconventional storytelling.

samantha.jpgSamantha Burton, Marketing Manager

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I missed the excitement over this book when it first came out, and again when the movie was released in 2013—so I know I’m pretty late in reading and recommending this book (and it’s been done on our blog before). But… it’s so good and, to me, totally holds up to the hype.

The main reason I like this story is that the entire book is narrated by Death, who puts the story into his own words—which are strung together with alliteration and colorful descriptions—along with the help of the Book Thief’s diary. It’s a beautifully somber story focusing on the strength, quirks, and humanity of certain notable characters—like a boxing jew, an accordion-playing painter, and a little girl who treasures books. I personally love a good audiobook (which can be rare), and the narrator Allan Corduner is amazing and Zusak’s writing is wonderful listening. It’s been like having Death himself reading to me… I highly recommend it!

12806118_10205665110242853_4983399318958422037_n.jpgKat Draney, intern

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

I’m currently reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. As a big sci-fi fan, I was very excited to get my hands on this novel. Since the Jurassic Park movie series is one of my favorites, I held high expectations; so far, I have not been disappointed. As most movie adaptations go, the book is by far the better choice. The beginning of the novel has incredible backstory woven with research and modern references that give the descriptions a sense of credibility. Crichton’s writing style is both appealing and provoking. I have trouble setting the book down. In fact, during a particularly gruesome dinosaur scene, I was so captivated that I kept on reading while sitting in a moving car (which normally makes me carsick). I seldom discover novels that have foreshadowing that is as effective as Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and the moments of reveal are truly breathtaking and horrifying. I predicted that the novel would be yet another cliched and predictable horror extravaganza, but it has blown my speculations out of the water. I would highly recommend that you read this book if you enjoyed the movie, or if you have an interest in dinosaurs or science fiction.

IMG_0488.JPGJules Cordry, intern

Radiance: A Novel by Catherynne M. Valente

I’m halfway through Radiance, the new novel by one of my favorite sci fi and fantasy writers, Catherynne M. Valente. It’s an incredibly imaginative, witty, delightful, and rather terrifying romp through a version of the solar system in which humans started colonizing other planets in the Victorian Era, and movies are made on the Moon. The story revolves around Severin Unck, a famous female director who mysteriously disappeared while shooting a documentary on Venus. Told in fragments from fictional film scripts, interviews, gossip columns, and hardboiled detective narratives (among others), I’ve found Radiance to be the kind of book that’s best read at four in the morning with a cup of strong tea.

nick_t.jpgNick Teal, intern

The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition by Gary D. Chapman

I am currently reading The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition by Gary D. Chapman. This book is based off the popular 5 Love Languages but it is directed towards single people. This book covers the five Love Languages and gives examples of displaying them while in dating scenarios. There are also chapters focused on how to interact with single parents, friends, co workers, widows, etc. It is an interesting read. I have learned a lot about myself, and why it is tough to love me. I hope to make strides towards becoming less single once I finish this book and apply its knowledge. Please love me. Please.

1003818_672113556147735_1234814568_n.jpgAnthony Pepe, intern

Of Wolves and Men by Barry Lopez

Discover the complex history that America has had with one of the most revered animals of the wild. Bringing them to near extinction over fears from ranchers, the ethically questionable sport of aerial wolf gunning (chasing and shooting down wolves with helicopters), and the loss of habitat. Now wolves are starting to come back into the states and restarting the debate on wolf population control. Barry Lopez’s book goes through the entire history of wolf control in America and asks the question, “Do wolves really need to be managed?” Of Wolves and Men provides facts and research to suggest wolves may not be the fearsome monsters that stalk the wilderness and attack sheep in the night after all, but just want to be left alone and want to leave humans alone.

1387693_1104915292859037_1852488958_o.jpgMarisa Iliakis, intern

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

I’m reading this book called Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (no relation to the 50 Shades). It’s about this sort of odd dystopian world where people’s social status is defined by the color that they can perceive best. For instance, if you can see purple, you’re very high ranking while if you see grey, you’re basically a peasant. The main character is named Eddie Russet (he can see red, hence the last name), and he wants to get ahead in life but is sort of hapless. The book has the best dry British humor, and it takes a while to really understand what is going on because it can be a bit surreal. I mean, for some reason it’s illegal to manufacture spoons in this world and no one really explains why. It’s a really fun book though, and I would highly recommend it!

mara.JPGMara Childs, intern

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’m currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Set in the year 2044, it follows teenaged Wade Watts in his journey to find a video game easter egg. Hidden in the depths of this massive online virtual reality game OASIS is this secret thing that grants its finder the entire multi-billion dollar fortune left by the recently deceased OASIS creator. Enthralling and quirky, there’s something fantastic and familiar about Wade’s adventure that allows me to get lost in it. The beginning starts with a substantial backstory about the general state of the world and how this massive hunt for the easter egg came to be. While it might seem that this book is geared towards people who are avid gamers and fans of lore, it can easily suit a wide audience. It’s a dystopian novel that deals with different personal valuations of life and material objects, as well as personal relationships. I’d recommend this for people who enjoy Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and other quests/adventures. I would also recommend listening to the audiobook read by Wil Wheaton!

FullSizeRender (3).jpgCaroline Engle, intern

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Right now, I’m reading Catch-22.It’s one of those books I always thought I would end up reading for school, but never did, so now I’m reading it in part to understand why it’s so famous. So far, I love how funny and satirical it is. Some books are unintentionally ridiculous, so it’s nice to read one that knows how outlandish its characters are.


eleanor.jpgEleanor, obligatory canine & happiness ambassador

Bacon by Bacon