Monday, December 26, 2016

What am I going to read for the Read My Shelves Challenge?

I love making lists! To-do lists, grocery lists, lists of projects I want to do in my house, all kinds of lists. But I'm the type of person who writes out a grocery list a mile long and leaves it on the kitchen counter, then comes home with a car load of Oreo's and fruit snacks. I'm really bad at following through on lists, or plans in general, really. For this exact reason I'm not going to make a list of books to read in the next year. I don't want to feel like I have to read a book if I don't feel like it, and I don't want to be disappointed if I don't read all the books I had on the list. So there's no list.

I read a little bit of everything. From Historical Biographies to Romance, Young adult to Epic Fantasies, Mystery to Contemporary Fiction, there is very little you won't find represented on my bookshelves. I suppose the best way to get to know a reader is to look at their favorite books so here are a few of mine, in no particular order;

1. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory; I have loved this book for a very long time. I've been through several copies since I first picked it up in 2004 and every time I read it I seem to find some new way to relate to one or more of the characters. I've been intrigued by Anne, by her ambition and her intelligence, for years, but her sister Mary speaks to my soul, at least through Ms. Gregory's writing she does. When I had to choose a book for my book club this month (my first book club pick! YAY!) this was the first book that popped into my head and I can't see loving it any less for a very long time, if ever.

2. Talking to Dragons, Patricia C. Wrede; I first read this book in high school. I picked it up from the public library without realizing it was the fourth book in a series (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles). But you know what, reading this one first was the best thing! Because the main character of this book is different from the other three books and he has no idea what he's doing, so I got to learn about this world and all these people right along with him and I loved it. Once you read the other books you know all the backstory, you know what he's walking into the middle of, but by reading this one first I got to experience it all right along with him and I'd recommend reading them out of order, at least the first time, because it's just too much fun this way.

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling; All the HP books are good, but this one I read over and over and over and over. It's a turning point for the whole story, this is where it gets dark, shit gets real, there's no going back after GoF. Harry grows up, his childhood is over, it's taken from him the night Cedric dies. I won't go on about it too much because there's not a whole lot left to be said about Harry Potter but I will love these books ALWAYS.

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith; I read this book in sixth grade, the school librarian and the guy that sat behind me in English class both tried to talk me out of it. The librarian said it was 'beyond my reading level' and Phil said it was too long for anybody to read. They were both wrong. I loved it. I loved Francie and her mother, and her bother, and her crazy aunt, and even her drunk father, because I was like Francie. Her father died and so did mine. The circumstances were different but just reading that someone else was going through what I was, even if it was set along time ago and fictional, it made me feel like I wasn't alone.

5. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline; The first time I read this book I was not impressed. It had me right up until the ending, which I found to be too happy for my tastes, a bit corny even. But I found myself still thinking about it for weeks. So I reread it, and reread it again. And basically I can forgive Cline for the ending because the rest of it is awesome. I love all the 80's pop culture references, I love that it's set, for the most part, in an online game where anything can happen, I love the melding of the characters online personalities vs how they really are, and the way they change as the egg hunt goes on and their relationships evolve. I also love that Cline's idea of our future is entirely plausible, although I sincerely hope the world doesn't get that bad.

Those are not my only favorites, just a few. I could make this list go on for quite a while but I'll stop here for now. I keep thinking of books I should add but if I keep doing that I'll be writing this post for another week (yes, it took me a week to write this,).

Five days till the Read My Shelves Challenge begins! I'm ready to do this!

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