Tuesday, June 18, 2013

35: The Book I Keep Coming Back To (And Always Will)

So, here we are, at last.

This is the post I was most excited for, because this is the book I am most excited about. I have probably read this book at least ten times--my paperback copy is in tatters and I can quote certain pages line for line--nearly every year since eighth grade, each September, when the new release in the series comes out. Sometimes, when I'm feeling adventurous (or if I'm scared on an adventure), I pretend to be Jacky Faber (when I'm not pretending I'm Indiana Jones, that is). If I could be anyone in literature, I would pick her. No hesitation.

Bloody Jack, by LA Meyer

These are my favorite books in the whole world, and like I've said, I've been reading them for almost ten years...they aren't as well known as they should be, and it's a darn shame. The main character is witty and daring and charming, the plot compelling--and don't think I'm missing those little literary nuggets you're throwing in there, Mr. Meyer! (In this novel she has a run in with the street gang from Oliver Twist and later in the series she meets Ishmael aboard the Pequod very briefly). It's historical, it's educational, it's entertaining, it's literary. It's beautiful.

And with that, this list ends. It's been a heck of a time, folks, and I'll always be on the lookout for more books to post about. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for other exciting creative endeavors and blog posts! Just not, you know, every day...but if you've been following this, don't stop! I'd check back at least once a week if I were y'all! 


Monday, June 17, 2013

34: The Book I Admire from a Distance

...and then suddenly I blinked, and the weekend was over.

We were supposed to be done by now, folks, and I'm sorry to drag it out! Haha. But I hope you guys had a lovely weekend spent off-line, and a great father's day, to boot!

All right, the second to last post about my relationship with books: it's that one I keep gazing at longingly, the one I sometimes hold in a bookstore, but put it down and run off without every time. The book I spy on sometimes, like you would your crush in the hall, watching and admiring but never actually approaching; it's  the book I sometimes flip through but will never, ever read.

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo 

This thing is massive! I tell you, I have Bibles at home smaller than this. So next time you're in a bookstore, find this book. Make sure the copy you're holding isn't the abridged version (it totally doesn't count), take a long look at it, and then decide to read--and finish--it all. Go on, I dare you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

33: The Book I Loved Once, But it Didn't Work Out

Wow, this thing is winding down! I can't believe there are only two more days to go!

To start the countdown, I will be starting with the relationship that failed: Doctor Who books.

Let me make one thing very, very clear: I bloody love Doctor Who.

But seriously. I do. I could go on for hours, so if you want to talk Doctor Who, you know where to find me. It was a few years ago that I was just beginning to really grow obsessed. I had to get my hands on all things Who and fast. (To this day I still have a ton of memorabilia.) And one thing I started in on with a particular relish were the book adventures. My two great loves combined, right? Doctor Who and books could not equal a greater love.

And it is true that the stories are not bad, or even poorly written. They're decently told and actually quite entertaining, but don't let the fact that it comes bound in proper book format and is sold in proper bookstores fool you: all it is is glorified fanfiction. (Which, as a girl who got her start in writing in Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings fanfiction, I will never condone or mock fanfiction--it's the heart of every fandom.)

It's just that, well, there are infinite Doctor Who books out there and it's hard to stop once you've started (I had to have read thirty or more; they're quick reads, too). The reason these are "the books I loved once" (because, oh, how I loved them--I'd go to the library and check out each one I'd never heard of, have a stack a foot high, work my way through them, go to the bookstore and buy all the new ones, every time I bought more, I just couldn't stop) "but it didn't work out" is because eventually I got sick of them. One day I thought, "you know what? I haven't read a real book in awhile" and picked up something else and never looked back. Months later I still had maybe two or three straggler Doctor Who books leftover that never got read, and I realized then they never would be. I simply wasn't interested anymore. I had burnt myself out on them.

I certainly haven't been burned out on the television series, of course--but there's where Doctor Who is staying, at least for me. Inside my TV, and from there, through all of time and space. But between the pages of a book he will never again appear, because every time I remember all the ones I've read (though it's hard to remember them; they're easily forgettable!), all I can do is lament all the time wasted that I could have spent reading...anything else.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

32: The Book I Ran From

This sounds odd. Let me explain.

Have you ever known a book you hated...without having ever read it? Without, even, having a reason at all? I certainly have!
 To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

This is one I disliked but without explanation why; one that, furthermore, I point-blank refused to read. Unlike most of my friends, I was never required to read it for school. And even though they all loved it, I still maintained that it was dumb and stupid and lame (perhaps like all required books are supposed to be? although that's certainly not true!). I never had a reason. I didn't even know what it was about. It was eighth grade and I didn't like the title; don't ask me what I was thinking because I probably didn't even know back then.

But, it is this stubborn, blind refusal that I am referring to when I say that I "ran from" this book. I didn't like it, I didn't know why, and I didn't want to know about it, so I turned tail and headed the other way and never looked back.

Until the day I did.

Just like I have no idea why I hated it in the first place, I can't say exactly when I decided to change my mind and give it a try--but the day I picked it up on a long bus ride was a great day. And you know what--I finished it on that bus ride! I devoured every word with a relish like I couldn't believe. Sometimes I could hear all my eighth grade buddies in my head saying finally and I told you so over and over again. But mostly I just heard the sweet, sweet music of a mockingbird.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

31: The Book that Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Books like this about women like this never fail to amuse me. Ever.

Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella

It's been ages since I've read this, so I can't recall a single joke or excerpt that made me laugh--but I know it did, because I still remember sitting on my couch with it after a long, horrible day and laughing out loud so much, I forgot everything but being happy. So, thank you for that, book. I owe you one big time. 

The best part is--this is a series! I've read the second (also ages ago) and just bought the third. I'm feeling a reread coming on. ;)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

30: The Book that Made Me Cry the Hardest

I can't even be ashamed.

The Yearling, by Marjorie Rawlings

As you would have already learned from my previous post, The Book that Broke My Heart (and Left it that Way), I am a sucker for stories about animals and their bonds with people. I am also a sucker for falling for them every time and daring to love it, because they always hurt me in the end.

Monday, June 10, 2013

29: The Book that was My First Love

Easy. You never forget your first.

Phantom Stallion, by Terri Farley

I found the third book in this series in a Big Lots in a mall that is now closed--probably ten or twelve years ago now. Like most little girls, I fancied horses, and the main character had my name. It was love at first sight, and opened the gateway to my very first dream (moving to Nevada and owning a horse ranch, since discarded). 

I still remember the emails from then on, informing me when a new book was released, and on every release date for 24 books, I'd be begging my mom to take me to Borders. I recall the aisle where I would find them, the exact spot on the shelf where they sat waiting--in a bookstore that has now since closed as well.

Once, I emailed the author and she emailed me back. I printed the email and still have it, just like I still have the books in the series on my shelf, never to be boxed up like the remainder of my childhood books (I'm looking at you, Animal Ark series). No, these guys sit side by side, loud and proud with the big kid books. No shame.

Friday, June 7, 2013

28: The Book that's Been Waiting

I see you over there, Don Quixote. I know.
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes

Poor thing, it's been waiting so long for me to read it. And I keep telling it, someday, someday; soon, soon. But I have owned this book for years--I'd hate to count how many. And it's been waiting the whole time. It sits at the bottom of my "to read" pile, patiently waiting its turn, except each time the pile gets low and its time draws nigh, I'll make a Half Price run and all of a sudden there's eight books on top of it again. 

I can't help it; it's large and intimidating looking. And I'm afraid to start it because then I will feel pressured to finish it, and if I don't like it, that could be a problem. Not that I am anticipating disliking it; I am familiar enough with the story, having studied it and even read a children's abridged version of it in Spanish (plus I've seen the movie a couple times), and it's very good--delightful, even. But have I mentioned it's large and intimidating looking?

So, please, just keeping waiting a little bit longer, my lovely knight errant.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

27: The Book that Saved My Life

...or rather, the book that helped me make peace? That healed a broken heart? That's quite like saving, I think.

If You Could See Me Now, Cecelia Ahern
This book--its contents, combined with the point in my life when I read it--could not have come at a time when I needed it more. It was a hard time, and this book was very relevant.  I owe it a lot. Books have the best timing, don't you think so? And timing is everything.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

26: The Book I Knew for Just One Day

It's not often I finish a book in  a day. I can think of many I finished in two, that could have been done in one, but for whatever reason, I (usually intentionally) drew it out. But not this one. I woke up and started it, and by the time I went to bed that same night, I had read every word.

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am not sure why or how I managed to do this in one day, on a school day, in the middle of a semester--but somehow I did. Perhaps I didn't have a lot of homework that night (or perhaps I neglected my homework). Perhaps I need to find more friends, or more interesting hobbies. But either way, between classes and work and probably dinner, I found time to read this in its entirety. I was halfway through before I realized it after lunch, and by the evening, I was shocked to find it done with, and at a decent hour, too!

This is not overly impressive, as it is not a very long book--I forget the page count, but it wasn't too high, and they flew by. So this should say less about my awesome book-reading abilities and more about the awesome asborbing power of this book. It was so easy to get into, and I would read fifty or so pages without even coming up for air. But trust me, just because it was a "quick" read didn't mean it was an "easy" one. There's a lot going on thematically and literarilly (I think I just made that word up) in this novel, and a lot to ponder--which meant that just because I finished it in one day, did not mean that I forgot it in one day.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

25: The Book I Judged (Incorrectly) by its Cover

There's not much to judge this book by, since it's not got much of a cover. But somehow I still managed to do it. I thought the book looked, to be frank, dreadfully boring. There seemed to be little plot and little excitement to be taken from this novel, especially considering its dull cover.
The Road, Cormac McCarthy

I was so wrong. So, so wrong. About everything--it wasn't boring, there was a plot, there was excitement, and so much more: terror, heartache, love. Don't let the drab cover fool you, too--there is so much more than there appears to be within these pages, that by the end you'll wonder how that cover could even manage to hide it. It was a great book, and one I'm glad I got the chance to read.

That'll teach me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

24: The Book I Judged (Correctly) by its Cover

This was assigned in high school, and when it was, I took one look at it and said, "You are going to hate this."

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller

And you know what? I really, really hated this.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

23: The Book I Want to Give a Second Chance

Well, I say I want to, and truly I do; but I probably won't.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott-Fitzgerald

I read this book the summer I was a freshman in high school. First of all, I think for once I may have just read a book "too soon" to really get into it, and second of all, reading it over the summer meant  I was on my own, with no help from a teacher or classroom to break it down and discuss it. I didn't understand it, I couldn't get interested, and I really hated it.

Had I read it during the school year, I think it would have gone over better--I can think of several books I enjoyed because they were read and experienced as a class that I would have loathed had I attempted them on my own; however, since I didn't, I actually really liked them (Moby Dick is a book like that that comes to mind!). I think this one would have been like that too, but who knows?

I know that a lot of people really love this book, and would say that I was missing out; but, to them, I say--you hated Watership Down and that book rocks, so agree to disagree. However, since I first met this book, it has been referenced and analyzed in my presence quite frequently, and while I recognize now its literary merit, I have never gone back to experience it for myself. Were I to, I should think (or maybe just hope) that I would enjoy it more, but then I saw the trailer for the movie...and, well, even that looks boring.

So, while I don't deny Mr. Gatsby probably deserves a second chance, I can't help feeling the poor lad's just not going to get one. Again.