I didn’t really get many things posted last week, and if you care at all, one way or the other (hopefully you weren’t happy I was gone) I’m truly sorry (but also not really.)
Sometimes that’s how it’s going to go around here – little mini-breaks because I’m an adult and I can do what I want! Maybe next time I’ll post a Gone Fishin’ sign, though.
I don’t really have a good excuse for my inactivity other than I am really trying to get a few books read quickly so I can queue up some more reviews for this month. But also, I binged The Staircase on Netflix really hard.
Like, it was kind of pathetic how hard of a binge I did. I barely moved. My Fitbit thought I was sleeping for 14 hours. No joke.
But I’m back on it for this week! And the lovely Emily over at Wicked Good Reads is even helping me out with some content by tagging me in for this bookish questionnaire.
Is it good? Define ‘good.’ Is it content? You’re damn right it’s content!
- Link back to me so I can see everyone’s answers! Done!
- Name one book for each category; try not to repeat books to make this more fun!
- Tag at least 5 people
A Library Book
Right now I am suffering through In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Yes, SUFFERING.
I am so, so bummed that at the 50% mark I actually don’t like this at all. I’ve always wanted to read it because it is a literary classic crime novel. It’s literally a novel that people worship and gush over and praise. And it’s super disappointing that it doesn’t do anything for me. In fact, I’m kind of dreading picking it up again.
Also, maybe it’s developing an extensional crisis in me. Like, if a novel is a classic, must-read and then I come along and don’t like it all, what does that say about me? No one should trust my reviews?
I’m dead inside? I usually have good taste, what is happening?
Something is seriously wrong with me! I thought my opinions were well-versed but apparently, I know nothing, Jon Snow!
Seriously though, it’s not good. Unless you really love self-masturbatory, superfluous detail.
Omg, it’s been two paragraphs, I think I get what a fucking field of wheat looks like, okay?!
A Book You Got as a Gift
My husband bought me How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran for my birthday a couple of years ago, but I’ve never gotten around to reading it.
I really should.
As I get older, the questions about being a woman – what’s expected vs. what you want – become more prevalent in my life and start to take up more brain power and emotions.
I’m 32 and I get hounded by quite a lot of family and friends and co-workers about having a baby. I asked my dad what he wanted for Christmas last year, he said “a grandchild.” It’s amazing to me that deciding to not give birth to biological children is such a sensitive topic to people, as if my choice to be child-free is somehow an indictment against their own choices to be parents. As if I’m a waste of a uterus.
I’ve also always gotten told “you’re prettier when you smile” or “you should smile more.” And as a young girl, then teenager, it made me uncomfortable and self-conscious. I don’t want to smile more. Am I ugly if I don’t smile? Now, as an adult, there is something inherently empowering in hearing other women say, no I won’t fucking smile, and getting to decide to be a part of that group. To be surrounded by that definitiveness.
I think this is why I gravitate towards feminist lit. Growing up, none of this empowering information was readily available to me. What I had was my mother giving me The Rules (look it up, you’ll cringe) so I could know how to behave in order to get myself a man. I think I was 19. What I would have much preferred was a mother who said: “you don’t need a man, just find yourself and be strong in that.”
So as an adult I seek that out. Other women who are strong in themselves, independent and unapologetic.
And clearly, my husband supports that.
A Childhood Book
I don’t really have any childhood books anymore. If they were children’s books my mother has them in storage somewhere. I do, however, have a couple of books from my teen years that have travelled with me from place to place, bookshelf to bookshelf.
Most notably would be my copy of Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen.
I loved this book. Loved.
I remember doing a grade nine English project on this book, and then my friend, Erin, who was in a different English class, took my project and turned it in as her own because mine was done by a booknerd, and she hates reading. It was a last minute idea of hers.
I remember sitting there, trying to explain to her why this book was so amazing, why it meant so much to me, thinking that I would somehow convince her to love it. Like she would go and present my project with the fangirling it deserved. Of course, she didn’t. At the time the movie was out and she said something to the effect of “I can just explain the movie.”
Sufficed to say, she didn’t give nearly an eighth of the shit I gave about the book and I think she thought I was a crazy person. I can’t remember if she ever got caught as the lazy fucking thief she was. Of course, I was the doormat friend that let her get away with it, so who’s really in the wrong here?
Anyway, I read this book at a very impressionable time in my life. I battled a lot of family issues that caused mental health problems as a teenager, and this book, and the wisdom within, seemed to be written specifically just for me. It’s one book that will always be on my bookshelf.
A Magical Book
I don’t really read magical books very often, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for supernatural stories. I’m very much grounded in reality in my everyday life, so when a good, as-logical-as-can-be-expected supernatural tale comes around I’m usually a fan. Hell, it doesn’t even need to be that logical, just smart enough to believably suspend disbelief.
One of my very favourite movies ever is Practical Magic. And I’ve always wanted to read the book once I learned the movie was actually based on one.
Listen, I was 12 when the movie came out, give me a break for not realizing it was a novel first.
I still haven’t read it, it’s been on my TBR list forever. But I swear I’ll get around to it one day. I mean just look at that cover – the font, the colours, the style. It’s fucking perfect.
A Romantic Book
I avoid romance novels at all costs, but I’ve been recommended Colleen Hoover books so many times that I cracked and put one on my TBR.
People literally flip out for her books, I have to know what all the hype is about. The curious nature of me can’t help it.
I’m honestly not even 100% sure what It Ends With Us is about. Maybe some kind of love triangle (barf), perhaps some domestic violence, learning to trust again with a new love? Something like that, maybe.
Not my favourite themes, to be honest, but a large majority of my Goodreads friends have given it between 4 and 5 stars, swear it broke their heart into a million pieces and blah blah blah. Challenge accepted, Ms. Hoover.
A Steamy Book
An Old Book
How old is old? Like I can’t bring myself to pick anything written after 1985, because that would be saying that I’m old, and I’m not fucking old.
And then I can’t really pick anything written after 1977 either, because that would be saying that my husband is “old” too. And I’m not an old person married to an old person.
It’s just not a thing we’re going to imply, ok?
That being said, I have read Hell House by Richard Matheson, written in 1971, and I think I’m safe to call that an “older” book without offending my husband too much.
He doesn’t even read this blog though, guys. He’s so not interested in my book hobby. But just for my own emotional health, I can’t say he’s old.
Anyway, I didn’t like Hell House very much. It wasn’t scary, it was a little bit silly in its abruptness and lack of character depth. But it was a different time when it was written, and you have to respect that it’s a classic horror novel for a reason – it inspired so many authors, brought something new and exciting to the genre in that decade, and made horror a little more mainstream.
I think my mission this year, in between getting my NetGalley shelves cleaned up, is going to be reading a little bit more of these classic horror and mystery novels. Really go back to my roots, so to speak.
A book that Makes You Happy and/or Laugh
I’m going to be honest, Sophie Kinsella novels always get me. I haven’t read anything from her in a while, but I was all in for the Shopaholic series in its hay-day. The movie was a travesty, by the way.
I think the book of hers that I found the funniest though, was Can You Keep a Secret?
It’s a pretty typical story line: girl and guy meet randomly, have an anonymous encounter, thinking they’ll never see each other again, until of course they’re working together or something like that and things are awkward but really they’re meant to fall in love and be together happily ever after.
There’s nothing particularly innovative about this book. It comes down to the characters and Kinsella’s personal brand of humour. She literally makes me laugh out loud while reading, and that doesn’t really happen very often. In most situations really. I’m dead inside.
A Book that Makes You Emotional
All books make me emotional in some way. It could get me hype, piss me off, disappoint me, but if the context of the question is reading books that have the goal to make me sad or cry? Then…
A Book Whose Ending You Dislike
Most recently the ending that pissed me off the most was Lie to Me by JT Ellison. And it pains me to say that because her Taylor Jackson series is one of my all-time favourites.
But Lie to Me was a pretty disappointing read. The first half of the novel was fire. Total fire. The second half of the novel felt disjointed, it slowed down all the momentum that had been built before. And then the ending was the killing blow.
Not to be spoiler-y, but what it comes down to is, everything you’ve read, everything good and thrilling and exciting thing that happened that you liked about the book, turned out to have happened for no fucking reason at all.
One of my least favourite literary devices that author sometimes use is when a simple conversation or question shared between characters could have cleared everything up and avoided all the issues. I hate miscommunication as a plot device. And this whole novel relies on it, and then some. In the end, the villain might as well have said, “Oh, sorry, my bad.”
A Book You Wish Had Illustrations
Wayward Pines is one of my favourite trilogies.
It’s so rich in setting and creatures and character, that it would be have been interesting to see an author’s artistic vision of what those things looked like.
But in general, I’m not really into illustrated books. Half the joy of reading is painting the picture in your mind. The author gives you the outline, the direction, and the reader puts their own personal experience and imagination into it.
It reminds me of a quote by Samuel Johnson: “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”
A Book or Genre You Love Reading When It’s Raining
Rain creates mood. Clouds, fog. That feeling of gloom that only a prolonged absence of sun can provide.
That weather is perfect for character-driven psychological-suspense; where the characters are dark and you are dragged through their minds. Their secrets, their scheming, their unreliable views.
A perfect example of a book for this would be The Woman in the Window. I fucking loveddddd this book. The concept of someone who is agoraphobic, stuck inside her house, but also her mind, is perfectly suited to the reader being inside, under a dark sky, lightning flashing, low clouds closing in; covered in blankets and quiet as you try to work through the madness of this book’s narrator.
Sounds like a perfect day inside, to me.
Okay, that’s it! I’ve officially finished this tag!
Anyone else up for the challenge?
Until next time, Booknerds…