The Inside & Out Book Tag

booktag

I saw this one over at Books and Hot Tea, and it looked like a good discussion oriented book tag. So I decided to try it. Let’s get going.

1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough? 

I tend to think of them as just right if done correctly. I have come across books that, once I read them, I realize the summary didn’t properly describe the book. For the most part though summaries are what draw me in. There’s enough there to whet the appetite, I think. I’ve never come across one that had spoilers within the summary itself, so definitely not too much.

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The “I Never” Book Tag

booktag

This tag was created by LizziefayeLovesBooks. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1. “I never read that!” Name a book that you’ve never read, that everyone else has. There is plenty that fits here. I’m going with any book by Jane Austen. I don’t have a particular hate for her or anything. Her work has simply never appealed to me enough for me to want to spend time on it. I’m more of a Bronte girl myself.

2. “I never read anything so awesome!” Name your favorite book. This fluctuates depending on the day. I have a top five that I cycle through. There are a couple I tend to mention often, so let’s go with one I don’t talk about as much. Watership Down by Richard Adams. It’s a fantasy adventure novel starring rabbits. It’s also incredible. Very well-written and exciting throughout. Despite none of the main characters being human, I got really invested in their story. If you’ve ever scoffed at this book, give it a chance.

3. “I never thought I would get through it.” Name a book that you didn’t like, but powered through it anyway. The Woods Are Dark by Richard Laymon. I love horror, but this was some shockingly bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. I could do an entire article ranting about everything that was wrong with this book, starting with the terribly poor writing and ending with the extreme perversion of the whole thing. Yep, I’m kink-shaming a man who is not even here to defend himself any longer. Trust me, if anything deserves it, it was this thing. I finished it mainly because it was a total train wreck. In that way, I suppose it provided some form of entertainment at least.

4. “I will never finish that!” Name a book or a series that you don’t plan on finishing. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I put this one down a long time ago and eventually just got rid of it, because I realized I would never pick it up again. Have you ever read a book that you were enjoying while you read it, but you felt absolutely no need to pick it up again when you put it down? This was that scenario for me. It was a really long, really involved, thoroughly written family drama that I found was fine while I was reading it but actually bored me to tears whenever I tried to think about it in hindsight.

5. “I will never regret reading that.” Name a book you read solely on a recommendation that you ended up really liking. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. While I still desperately need to finish the entire series, The Chronicles of Prydain, that first book ignited something in me that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. Any truly great children’s fantasy series has that power, and I can easily say Prydain does, too. This one passed me by when I was younger, but a close friend of mine was talking them up, and I realized I needed to give this a shot. To hell with being “too old” for it. And I was right to take the chance. You should, too.

6. ” I would never do that!” Name a relatable book character who made choices you didn’t agree with, or did things you would never do. For my part, I think characters can be interesting or relatable and have none of the same values or make any of the same choices as me. I don’t need a character to act as I would in order to enjoy something. I don’t ever find myself reading a story and thinking about how I would’ve navigated it. I’m not there for that. I’m there for the story being told. So while I’m sure there are answers for this question, it’s not the way I read or judge characters, so I can’t answer it well.

7. “I never wanted to admit it.” Name a book that you were embarrassed to say you read or were embarrassed to carry around with you. Well, I’m currently reading Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Mispelled by Harlan Ellison. For obvious reasons, that’s a little uncomfortable in public. Bravely I took it with me for a long sit in a waiting room, only to find myself trying to position the book so the title and the questionable cover couldn’t be seen and getting super paranoid. I swear, I felt confident until I actually got in front of people. Story of my life.

8. “I never read anything so heartwarming.” Name a book or a series that really touched your heart. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Me and heartwarming don’t often mix, but I have to say this book knocked me for a loop. It’s really beautiful, romantic, and tragic, but also unlike anything you’ll ever read. There’s a touch of historical fiction. Portions of it brought to mind Chuck Palahniuk. The ending is the wildest acid-trip of a finish I’ve ever read. It leaves you feeling washed out with the emotions it runs you through. Including one of the best romances around.

9. “I never laughed so hard!” Name a book that made you laugh out loud. Okay. This is going to be a weird one. I’ve never finished Christine by Stephen King, but I started it at one point. It wasn’t for a lack of enjoyment. I just put it down, and by the time I was ready to pick it up again, it had been a very long time. Now I have to start over, and I haven’t found myself ready yet. But! There was a point in the story where the main character, Dennis, is bearing witness to these kids pissing off their dad. It eventually leads to this: “Oh God, what an onomatopoeic family, I thought. For Christ’s sake don’t put a bangshang-a-lang on them, Pops– they might make poopy-kaka in their pants.” Safe to say, I lost it.

10. “I never could have made it through childhood without it.” Name a favorite childhood book or book series. Goosebumps. Just the whole series by R.L. Stine. It became my gateway into adult horror. It also became an obsession that I collected dutifully. I have incredibly fond memories of these books. Through all kind of adversity I went through at school, these stories were a comfort. I could get lost in them. They ignited a love of reading that I still have to this day.

Thank you for reading, and I encourage all of you to try this tag for yourself. As always, happy geeking!

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The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

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Everyone and their brother has done this tag, so I’m late to the game here, but it’s just such a good tag. I had to play, too. This was created by TheBookArcher over on YouTube. Before I get started, keep in mind that it’s only my opinion. You’re not stupid for liking anything that you like. I’m not superior. If we disagree, that’s okay. It’s what makes the world go round. Now let’s get opinionated!

A popular book or series that you didn’t like. Probably the one I would get lynched for is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I expected it to be more science fiction and less fantasy, and it was definitely more fantasy. I didn’t care for the characters or the romance. I thought the world-building was incredibly weak. Therefore I only read the first book and didn’t pursue any of the others, and I’ve watched people devour this series while just asking myself… why? I don’t see the appeal.

A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love. The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. I see a lot of disappointed reviews with this one. Even people who loved the first book seemed to turn against the series with the second one. Whereas I loved every second of it. I have no complaints. I realize the second book was a shift in tone, but I feel like I understood what VanderMeer was trying to accomplish with it. Plus, Control. How can you not love Control?

A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn for spoilers) OR an OTP that you don’t like. Here’s an entirely different opinion that people won’t like: this is a very young-adult-centric question. I do read some young adult, but no book that I read is with the intention of biting my fingernails over who the girl will pick. I like character-driven stories, and secondarily I like good plots. If I care about whether or not two characters hook up, the author usually has set it up that they will. That’s why I care, because the author has given me the impetus to care. So generally that author’s romantic choices don’t piss me off, and if they do, then the whole book pisses me off, because they’re bad at conveying what their characters want or need.

A popular book genre that you hardly reach for. Well, I think I just answered that. Any YA with a heavy slant toward romance. It can be any genre, and if the summary describes a special girl with “and she meets a boy” somewhere a beat later, I don’t want it.

A popular or beloved character that you do not like. Davos and Jorah from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Davos, because for some reason he is deeply beloved and I found him to be boring. The interesting parts of his chapters belong to Stannis, and it really felt like he was just a vehicle to give Stannis a voice when Martin could’ve just given Stannis his own chapters.

Jorah seems to be someone fans of the show have embraced, but he always struck me as smarmy in the books. So that when there’s a reveal about his character, I wasn’t surprised. I felt vindicated if anything. I see people defend him, and it always makes me wince. It might have something to do with the fact that the younger characters are very young in the books, whereas they aged them up in the show. That does make a difference.

A popular author that you can’t seem to get into. Robert Heinlein. He’s considered the father of so many science fiction tropes that we take for granted, but his writing was nothing special and his characters, especially the way he portrays women, leave a lot to be desired. I’ve concluded that just because someone did it first doesn’t mean they did it best, and I’m sorry that I can’t forgive him his quirks more.

A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. Stuffed Into The Fridge. Women, men, children, pets, anything that gets abused or murdered for the sake of giving a character “reasons to fight”. It’s usually a character we’re told is going to retire in a couple of days or that we see just long enough to established the main hero really cares about them deeply. We don’t feel that; we’re told it. Telling and not showing is bad enough, but then before we’re even fully invested, this person or animal is kicked to death in front of us so that the story can begin. It’s considered a misogynist trope, but I’ve seen the reverse done, too. Because apparently that’s progress? It’s so lazy. Please stop doing this, writers.

A popular series that you have no interest in reading. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I know you probably made a face and said to yourself, “of course, you don’t want to read that.” Listen, there was a time when everyone was reading this, and it was very popular. It was the series to read or you were a total square. I knew then I didn’t want to read it, because it seemed too twee for me. Then suddenly everything reversed, and it was the popular thing to hate. You weren’t one of the cool kids unless you hated this series, and people were reading it so they could accurately hate it. And I realized I didn’t want to read it for that reason either. I don’t hate Twilight. I don’t love it. I don’t really have an opinion other than it’s not my type of book. I’m content with that.

The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book? Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. But even Palahniuk himself thinks this is true. It wasn’t a bad book, but it was a pretty phenomenal movie that’s remained a favorite for me. It outshines its source material. Also, it was his first novel, and those are always going to be slightly shaky and imperfect.

If you liked this article and want to support this blog, check out my Redbubble Shop. As always, happy geeking!

The New York Times By The Book Tag

booktag

I’m going to try my hand at a book tag. I really liked the sound of this one. It was created by Marie Berg on YouTube. Let’s get started.

1. What book is on your nightstand now?

Recently I was having the problem of being in the middle of too many books. It was all part of a slump I was going through, and I would start things and not finish them. I’ve narrowed it down though, and I’m focusing my efforts on The Secret Books of Paradys I and II by Tanith Lee. I did order My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix yesterday, so when that arrives, it’ll probably replace it. But generally that is what I’m reading.

2. What was the last truly great book that you read?

I actually just finished a truly great book that has become a new favorite. Swan Song by Robert McCammon. I get that “truly great” is meant to invoke this idea of classics and literature, which I also have a lot of love for, but I’m not afraid to say that this genre novel has greatness in it. Structure, plot, character development, theme, pace… It’s fantastic. I have zero complaints.

3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Kurt Vonnegut. I can’t say I’d want to know anything in particular. In reading his books I’ve learned so much already about who he was and how he viewed the world. Also general life lessons, because he was cool like that. It’s more that I’d want to hang out with him and talk. Let the conversation go where it will, because he was a very wise man. Chances are just by talking and sharing I’ll learn a lot.

4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

I have struggled with this question. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised at all by the eclectic nature of my shelves. That there’s pulp SF and classics and horror and literature and Star Trek books and Salvador Dali art books and a huge Stephen King collection and graphics novels and kitschy books “researching” dragons and time travel. If you know what a proud weirdo I am, it will all make perfect sense.

5. How do you organize your personal library?

“Does that fit there? All right.” I wish I could say it was by author or alphabetical or even by color (which I don’t really get, since it seems more confusing, but to each their own). But I have a very limited space, so it’s mostly about maximum storage.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

I don’t think anyone should ever feel embarrassed about not reading certain books. Getting that out of the way first thing. Because we all have different tastes, and if a book doesn’t interest you, there’s no reason for you to feel obligated to read it. “Embarrassment” is not the word I’d use, though there are books I want to get to and I’m not happy with myself that I keep putting them off. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has to be the biggest one. And it’s fear. Not of tackling it or that it’ll be hard. All my friends love this book so much. What if I don’t? I don’t want to face having a different opinion on this one. It’s a silly thing, and I’ll get over it, but I think it’s what’s holding me back.

7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. A very ambitious piece of work that was absolute hell to read. I love McCarthy. I hated this book. And I definitely feel I should’ve loved it, which makes it more disappointing.

The last book I put down was Wool by Hugh Howey. I wasn’t impressed enough with it to keep going. The writing style was serviceable, the characters were serviceable, and the story was serviceable. It was a chunker of a book for it to be only meh, so I stopped. It’s actually taken me years to be comfortable with not finishing a book. I’m the sort that doesn’t like leaving things unfinished, but there are too many books in the world for me to read a super long one that I don’t even like.

8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I like the weird stuff. If it sounds like something off-the-wall that I’ve never encountered before, then I’ll be pulled in. On the flip side, if it sounds like the same old, warmed-over stories and characters we’ve all seen again and again, I steer clear.

9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

It’s safe to say that Obama is a much more well-read individual than I am. I doubt seriously that there is anything I could recommend that he hasn’t already read. In fact, I think I read somewhere that he recommended everyone read Sula by Toni Morrison, and if I were going to nudge a book on anyone because of how important I feel it is, it would be that one. So Obama and I would like you all to read that book, please.

10. What do you plan to read next?

My TBR pile is immense, so it’s hard to say. Aside from what I mentioned being on my nightstand, there’s City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled by Harlan Ellison. I have a lot of things calling my name right now, and the hard part is going to be settling for just one.

Try out this tag for yourself, as it’s a good one to get the brain gears turning. If you liked this article, check out my Redbubble shop. There are tons of designs, some of them bookish, to be found there. And as always, happy geeking!