My 2016 Year in Books Survey

The 7th annual End-of-Year Book Survey is hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. (I love that blog name!) The questions made me curious, so I figured I would share my results with all of you. 2016 Reading Stats Number of … Continue reading

The Literary Canon and Being a True Book Lover?

Last Tuesday marked the first day of my semester’s literature course. I consider myself to be a bit of a voracious reader, seeing as I spend a large chunk of my time in the library, reading or finding books, and then talking about them. Totally excited for the class, I sat down and waited for the rest of my classmates to trickle in.

I was sandwiched between two people, both book enthusiasts like me, of course. But as I overheard their conversations, my heart started to sink. They were throwing around names of novels I’d never read, fervently discussed exactly which Kurt Vonnegut novel was his best, and I found myself completely left out of the conversation because I had not read even two of the books they were discussing. I’d read one of them, in high school, but I couldn’t quote what was on page 15 and say it changed my life like they could. For a minute, I felt like a “bad” book nerd. What was my favorite book? It wasn’t written by Geoffrey Chaucer or Shakespeare. It was a YA novel, and is probably the same favorite book as throngs of other teenagers.

Later as I sat in the library and browsed, I started to think about what truly made someone a book nerd or a voracious reader or a book lover. And that’s when I decided upon my personal definition- someone who enjoys reading books.

It’s that simple!

You don’t need to memorize Shakespeare and read elevated literary fiction and have pretentious discussions on the use of allusions in Hemingway’s works in order to be a book enthusiast. You don’t need to feel bad about reading YA or comic books; whatever you read is awesome! Reading is awesome. If you read books, we’re best friends. Besides, you should enjoy what you read. Don’t read because someone else makes you- find a book YOU enjoy, and read it. Have a good time!

One good thing I did get out of this experience, though, was exposure to books I’d never considered reading before. For a while I’ve been waffling about trying more adult fiction, but I didn’t know where to start. I think when I was younger I told myself that I couldn’t relate to older, married characters with children in novels so I shouldn’t read books about them, but really, you can read whatever it is you want. This got me to start a book called The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which I currently adore.

It was wildly popular when it came out a few years ago, so I imagine many of you are nodding your heads and going, Yeah! I know that book! There’s a reason so many people bought and read this book; it’s moving and beautifully written, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you once I complete it and get all my emotions in order.

This post is all serving as an announcement of sorts that I will be beginning to review some more “literary” fiction in addition to the usual YA on this blog. We read quite a bit for my literature course, and I figure why not tell you guys about some of those in addition to what I’m reading for leisure?

Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject down in the comments below! Also, be sure to give me any recommendations you have because I am truly lost in terms of where to start with Vonnegut (besides Slaughterhouse Five) and other popular adult authors of our day.

Books I want to Buy and a rant on Bookstores

You’ve heard me say it only a million times; I’m kind of a library fanatic. If I’m reading a book, I probably got it from the library.

However, being the breed of bookworm that I am merits people getting the idea that I must spent years of my time in my local Barnes and Noble. Hence, I tend to accrue several bookstore gift cards on just about every occasion there is. (My high school even gave me a small Barnes and Noble gift card as an award. I was grateful, but you know, do I really read THAT much?) Don’t get me wrong; Barnes and Noble is a glorious wonderland, and so are my favorite independent bookshops and comic stores, but if I’m going to spend money on a book, I better have reason.

I don’t reread books very often, which is why the library is always a great idea for me. Why buy something I’m going to read once? However, after reading Looking for Alaska by John Green at my library, I went out and got the collector’s edition from Barnes and Noble. I definitely plan to reread that book in the future, it’s that good. And maybe get a tattoo, move to Alaska, and name my firstborn HankJohn..

I’m totally kidding here.

About the tattoo.

OK. Fine, I’m bluffing about the first born. JohnHank is a far superior title for a 21st century human (*if you would like some FABULOUS name suggestions, I’m totally your girl! #sarcasm*)

So, here are a few books I want to buy/own at some point in the future:

1. S by JJ Abrams

Yes, you read that right. If you hadn’t already heard, THE JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Fringe, and a whole lot of other shows and films) created the concept for this book. I myself was pretty darn shocked, and excited, when I found out it was a thing a few days ago on Booktube.

I haven’t read this yet, so my desire to own it isn’t based on knowing I want to reread it. I want to own S because I know that inside it, along with the text, are lots of inserts. I think this is such a cool idea, and I don’t know that the experience of the book would be the same at a library. Mine does not own this book yet, so my question would be; are we going to lend it out sans inserts, or not own it at all?

Plus, it just sounds freaking awesome.

2. Armada by Ernest Cline
Again, haven’t read this book yet, but I do have high hopes for it. I already stand behind Cline’s work because of the pure amazingness that was/is Ready Player One. I know Armada isn’t RPO, and you shouldn’t expect it to be RPO, but I know I will enjoy it. Plus, instead of a gazillion 80’s pop culture references I don’t understand, Armada is all about video games, which I can totally be thrilled about.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I just reviewed this one last night, and in my review I mentioned the collector’s edition. I like the idea of reliving Fangirl all over again, because of all the emotions that went on while I read it. I actually had a bunch of overdue fines on this one from not wanting to let it go.

(Oh god, I spent all afternoon with my Frozen-loving cousin and does that song ever end??)

And of course, comics.

Now, I’m not going to list all the comics and graphic novels I want to read in the future. I’ve already spammed my Goodreads friends with Green Lantern volumes. However, I adore some ongoing series like Ms. Marvel, and I’d love to start picking up more of the individual issues. Waiting for trades is an absolute PAIN, especially when some series you are interested in are not even in Trade form yet. *cough* Spider Gwen *cough* I also want to continue on with Saga; Volume 1 had me hooked.

That’s it for today, friends! What books are you looking forward to purchasing/receiving from your super nice pals in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone- first time reader discussion!

Friends, the day has come. I have finally (FINALLY!) read the first Harry Potter book. I know, I know. It’s insane. Hold your tears and applause until the end please, we have much to discuss.

In case there are other people reading this who like me (well, like the previous me) have not yet dipped their toes into the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I’m going to keep this discussion spoiler-free and to the book.

The Characters
I’ve seen several of the Harry Potter movies over the years. I knew Ron was the redhead, Hermione was played by Emma Watson, Harry Potter by Daniel Radcliffe. I knew that Voldemort was not someone to invite to your child’s birthday party, no matter how cool of a talent show he might be able to put on. There are still some Harry Potter characters I have yet to meet, though- a coworker was trying to show me a little girl who apparently looks exactly like a younger version of Luna Lovegood and until she begged me to look at a photo I had no idea who she was talking about.

This basic knowledge was enough to carry me into the book. I remember loving Hermione in the movies, but I was really rooting for her in the book. She’s “goals” really, wicked smart, friendly, and loyal to her friends. And of course there’s Harry, who you can’t help but pity as he lives in a cupboard. I’m incredibly thankful my parents are not the Dursleys and I promise my future children will not be named Dudley. Sorry guys, it’s just not happening. Yes, I know it’s a FANTASTIC name. (And if your real name is Dudley then I apologize for Dudley Dursley’s correlation to you. You are much cooler than he!)

Reading the book also instilled in me a love for both Hagrid and Dumbledore. I just love how each and every character in this book is distinct and memorable; there are no characters that are just carbon copies of one another and totally useless to the plot of the story.

The Plot
Great plot twist. Seriously, Ms. Rowling, that came out of nowhere. I feel almost foolish for not expecting it, but I was so enthralled with the world of the book that it just never occurred to me that you might be tricky and pull something on me.

As for the rest of the plot, the world unfolded so nicely. You can almost picture the map of Hogwarts in your head; you know why you shouldn’t have a picnic on the third floor. Every plot point helped sew this world together, whether characters played Quidditch, did some exploring, or feasted in the dining hall. (Speaking of Quidditch, I am much wishing my college had a Quidditch team. My friend is going to try out for hers, and given I didn’t know Quidditch, sans levitating brooms of course, was an actual, playable sport nowadays.)

HP #1 is the first juvenile/children ‘s book I’ve read since, well, I was a child. At first, the language took a little getting used to (younger audience means slightly less difficult sentences) but there is absolutely no reason a teenager or adult can’t enjoy a book like Harry Potter. I’ve heard some shaming of people who read YA or kid’s lit, and it’s sickening. (“Blah blah doesn’t read, they just read comics and Harry Potter!”) I’m sure reading Pride and Prejudice would expand your vocabulary and challenge your mind, but reading shouldn’t be about challenging yourself. Reading can be and should be FUN. Why don’t all kids like to read? Perhaps because they are being taught it isn’t fun. Comics and graphic novels ARE reading. If you want to read YA or Harry Potter, go right ahead. Don’t let people tell you what you like to read doesn’t matter or is worthless. It all counts for something, and you can be incredibly proud of that.

In closing, when did you first read Harry Potter, if at all? Did you read the books before the movies? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”