30 Day Book Challenge: Part 1

I have been completing this 30 Day Book Challenge on tumblr (as each day's entry is too insubstantial to make a real blog entry) with the idea that I would post the summary here.  However, as it is getting pretty long, I am going to post the first half now and the rest at the end of the month.  I am sure you will all be waiting on tenterhooks of suspense. I have changed a few answers after thinking about them more.

Best book you read in the last year -- Chaos Walking Trilogy/ Monsters of Men
Really the whole series is just mind-blowing, amazing, and oh-this-part-*sob*-ing. In all seriousness it is one of the best written books I have read in years. I never would have expected that "American History in Space" would be a usable trope beyond "Firefly", but it turns out to be really interesting (This series involves really transparent parallels with the settling of North America). I listened to the audio-books, which included some intensely good voice-acting.

A book that you’ve read more than 3 times: Well, there are a few books that fit this, all of the Bunnicula books, the first Few Harry Potters (I started the series after book four came out then re-read before each new book), a few others, but the book I have read the most times is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Your favorite series: A Series of Unfortunate Events is my favorite for being dark, whimsical, funny, and deep all at once. It teaches children that life is complex and messy, mysteries don’t always have tidy, straight-forward solutions, and that one should always consult the library.  I have actually decided (after not being able to find a tattooist locally whose art style I really like) that my graduating-from-library-school tattoo will be a quote from the series: "All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk."
The movies, though, the movies……

Favorite book of your favorite series: Honestly I really don’t have a favorite. Each book has some things I love so whenever I pick a favorite I think “oh, but what about the tooth-sword fight in the miserable mill” or”Dewey Decimal!!11!”, or “that time Sunny did something completely amazing” (every time).
[spoiler alert]
However, I suppose if I had to pick it would be The End, because that is when you realize that no, these mysteries are not going to be tied up in a neat little bow and then we can all go out for sundaes, that, no, life doesn’t work like that. It is that message that in my mind makes the books so f-ing amazing.

A book that makes you happy: Wee Free Men. With it's heady mix of obscure references to traditional British folklore, adorable Pictsies, good vocabulary words, and a protagonist who decides she wants to be a witch because people in her village have an irrational fear of them and so she wants to understand them, this book is a good time.

A book that makes you sad: The Book Thief - Mind it’s one of the best books I have ever read, but also the only book that has made me sob uncontrollably for a solid fifteen minutes. Even on a scale of books about the holocaust it’s affecting, but that’s really just a testament to how amazingly written it is.

Most underrated book: This one was difficult, because I mostly don’t pay much attention to what others think of books, and ultimately I think there are many, many books that deserve to be more widely read than they are. However, as a minor Austenite I am constantly annoyed by how many people swoon over Pride and Prejudice (which I do really love) and make five bajillion movie adaptations out of it while ignoring what I consider to be Austen’s greatest love story: Persuasion. Maybe I love it because it reveals a deep romanticism buried in Austen’s cynical heart, but also, Elizabeth Bennet’s happy ending is true love and getting a fancy house, Anne Elliot gets true love and to sail around the world in a tall ship (much more awesome).

Most overrated book:Now, there are a lot of overrated books out there, so this should really be considered the most overrated one I could think of at the moment which is: On the Road. If I wanted to listen to some middle class white guy talk about how amazingly counter-cultural he is and how awesome it is to flout societie's rules, live like poor people have to, and treat women like fuck-bags I would just go hang out at the local hipster bar (except hipsters are usually less misogynistic).

A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving: Ender's Game - This was the first real Sci-Fi book I ever read because I used to be a horrible genre snob. I only read “Literature” and assumed that sci-fi was a bunch of ridiculous crap with jet packs and banging alien babes. However, my best friend in high school would not shut up about this book, so I finally read it, and it was amazing. Now I happily read sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books all the time, and have learned that some of the stuff in every genre is amazing and some of it, even in “proper literature” is total crap.

Favorite classic book: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, because I love me some Victor Hugo for dark tales of moral complexity and corruption.  Also, while I enjoy the Disney movie, it really only shares character names and a setting with the book.

A book you hated: Heart of Darkness - I have come to firmly believe that no one, no one has much of an idea what the hell is going on in this book, but it was labelled one of those “great”, “meaningful” works and so everyone pretends in an attempt to seem intelligent and well-read. When we read it in AP English my teacher went on and on about how you could use this book to answer any essay the AP test ever had, because it means so many different things. Much like everyone being special means nobody is, a book meaning everything, I posit, suggest it doesn’t really mean anything.

A book you used to love but don’t anymore:I couldn’t think of anything. When I think of all the books I have ever loved,I still love them because they remind me of the time in my life when I did. Even if I were to pick them up today and read them for the first time and not care for them at all. You know?

Your favorite writer: Neil Gaiman. I enjoy his work more consistently than any other and I love how he weaves myth and folklore into his stories.

Favorite book of your favorite writer: Stardust - This one is a bit unusual for Gaiman, but it is my favorite. It is magical and romantic and I love the ending for turning the traditional fairy tale ending a bit on it’s head.

Favorite Quote from that Book: “Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us.”
So, anyone who wasn’t read the book will have no idea why that is my favorite quote, and it would spoil it to explain [so stop reading now and don’t say I didn’t warn you], but for those who have read it: this is the moment that solidifies this book as my favorite, because it subverts the implication that the awesome adventures in a fairy tale are, well, not awesome, and the happily ever only comes when the the adventure is over.
Category: 2 comments


Anonymous said...

Great list. I've been meaning to tell you that I picked up the latest issue of Fables. I really enjoyed it.

Sabayon said...

I'm really glad to here [my evil plan for book-ish world domination is working] you liked it!

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