The Classics Book Tag


Ah, classic literature, I’ve loved it since 9th grade when my beloved English teacher (“Mama B,” we called her) got me hooked. Today is my birthday, so I’m especially grateful to Charley @ BooksAndBakes for giving me this opportunity to walk down Classic Book Memory Lane by tapping me for this Classic Books tag. Here goes. . .

An overhyped classic you didn’t really like:

Anything by Ernest Hemingway (except The Old Man and the Sea). His sparse writing style and  testosterone-fueled navel-gazing just doesn’t suit me.

Favorite time period to read about:

1800s England–thanks in no small part to Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Charles Dickens.

Wuthering Heights

Favorite fairy tale:

I’m having a conniption trying to limit myself to one favorite fairy tale. Fairy tales are life! How to choose? I’ll compromise and say my favorite is any fairy tale with a princess in it. Wait, then there’s Jack and the Beanstalk. But that’s not my favorite. Hansel and Gretel? Rumpelstiltskin? No, how about anything by the Brothers Grimm? Does Peter Pan count as a fairy tale? Alright…I’ll go with Cinderella. Yes, I love the magic and how the good-hearted, mistreated girl gets her comeuppance.

Art by DylanBonner.deviantart.com

What is the most embarrassing classic you haven’t read? 

I am not proud to admit I’ve never read a Shakespearen play in its entirety. I’ve seen Shakespearean plays–does that count?

Top 5 classics you’d like to read soon:

  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Faust by Goethe
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Yes, that is six, which is five in book junkie terms.

Favorite modern book/series based on a classic:

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (a modern retelling of King Lear). Not that I looooved A Thousand Acres, but it’s the only retelling of a classic book I’ve read that comes to mind.

Favorite movie version / TV series based on a classic:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Watching this movie honestly felt like seeing the book come to life.

2. Sense and Sensibility (1995)starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, screenplay by Emma Thompson, directed by Ang Lee. Loved it!

Worst classic to movie adaptation:

A classic novel that made a big impression on me emotionally was The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. Unfortunately, the movie adaptation with Demi Moore (who I’ve liked in other films) didn’t do the story justice.

Favorite edition(s) you would like to collect more classics from:

I’m not gonna lie, I do not understand this question.

An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone:

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. It’s weird in the best way and masterfully written.

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I Nominate:

While I admit I’m really interested in reading your responses to this Classic Books tag, if you’re, y’know, busy getting ready for Valentine’s Day or whatever, feel free to pass. 🙂 –Eve

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories

Beth @ Betwixt-These-Pages

Millie Schmidt

Melanie Noelle Bernard

Whitney @ Brown Books & Green Tea

Brittany @ The Grisha Lieutenant

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January Wrap-Up Plus Random Author Facts #amreading

Here I was thinking I’d read eight books a month throughout 2016–and then started with four books in January. Ah, well c’est la vie (or however you spell that). They were all fun to read.

`the diviners

The Diviners by Libba Bray

With The Diviners, I got to completely immerse myself in a different era and thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven’t read much historical fiction, but I plan to now. The Roaring ’20s was an AWESOME setting for a book about “diviners” (kids with supernatural abilities) chasing down an occult bad guy. Deftly told from multiple points of view, I fell in love with the characters Memphis Campbell and Theta Knight (though Evie was actually the central character). Libba Bray has an excellent writing style, and I look forward to checking out the next book in the series, Lair of Dreams, as well as another Bray book I’ve heard good things about, A Great and Terrible Beauty.

~Random Author Fact ~

Libba Bray is married to her agent, Barry Goldblatt.

magonia

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

I’ll be honest, the first few chapters of Magonia found me skimming a bit, but before long I was thrillingly engaged. What words can I use to describe the world-building? Extraordinary, striking, outlandish, whimsical, hallucinatory . . . and completely believable. It’s so hard to explain without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say I’m grateful to Beth @ betwixt-the-lines for making me read this book. If you’ve read it, too, I’d love to hear your take on it.

~Random Author Fact ~

In 2005, Maria Dahvana Headley wrote a very different kind of book, non-fiction actually, called The Year of Yes. When Shonda Rhimes (of Gray’s Anatomy fame) recently released a book with the same title, Dahvana Headley was, shall we say, miffed and wasn’t afraid to say so. Publicly. On Twitter.

Maria Dahvana Headley - pissed about copying The Year of Yes title

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The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Let’s see . . . what was my original reason for deciding to read this book? Right, I freaking love time slip stories! (If you have any to recommend, I am all ears–er, eyes?) It’s 1996, and Emma is one of the first kids on her block to get a home computer. Emma’s cute neighbor/former best friend Josh gives her a CD-ROM so she can load email onto her computer and, lo and behold, Emma magically gains access to her FUTURE Facebook account. The story is told through alternating chapters of Emma’s and Josh’s POVs, and I have to admit, the two voices were so similar I sometimes had to check the first page of the chapter to make sure whose POV I was reading. This is a complaint other readers have had, too, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying The Future of Us for what it was: a cute, entertaining, and a pleasantly quick read.

~Random Author Fact ~

The Future of Us came to be because a teen fan asked Carolyn Mackler (a panelist at a book event) what her dream writing project would be, and Mackler decided she really wanted to collaborate with Jay Asher.

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The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner

As I type this review for the last of my January reads, I realize I read all four book exactly in order of how much I ended up liking them. Coincidence. . . or not? Yes, pure coincidence. 🙂 The Door that Led to Where was well-written in terms of descriptions and similes and all that (I especially enjoyed Gardner’s fun anthropomorphisms). I definitely wanted to keep reading ’til the end, but The Door that Led to Where didn’t get in-depth enough into the story it sought to tell. Good-natured 17-year-old AJ Flynn discovers a secret door to the past, which reveals important information about his true identity and puts him on the trail (perhaps in the path) of a murderer. I loved the scenes set in the 1830s (hmm, more historical fiction–I sense a personal trend), but my biggest complaint is that I never felt like I really got to know the characters.

~Random Author Fact ~

Because of undiagnosed dyslexia, Sally Gardner did not learn to read and write until she was fourteen.

 

Upcoming Reads :

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Buddy-reading with Beth @ betwixt-the-pages and Jess @ Gone with the Words.)
  • Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Buddy-reading with Sarah K. @ The YA Book Traveler.)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

 

 

 

Poll: Why Some Books Take Forever to Read #amreading

girl reading book Kerry Ciccaglione Clipartbest
graphic: Kerry Ciccaglione-clipartbest.com

In the golden age of Goodreads, it’s a joy and a badge of honor to be able to list the dozens of books we’ve read and, of course, fangirl over them with fellow book junkies. 😀 We LOVE reading novels! However, sometimes a book feels like it takes forever to read. Why? It might happen with short books or long ones, with books we enjoy and (more often) with books we don’t. When it seems to take an eternity to get through a book, what is the #1 reason?

Seasons of Book Blogging, a Book for Every Month #amreading

“THE SEASONS OF BOOK BLOGGING” TAG

RULES:
Thank the creator and the person who tagged you.
Begin with the month in which you were tagged and move forward from there!
State the best gift you’ve ever been given after you answer the question for your birthday month.
Tag whomever you like when you’re finished… or else you’ll be ‘it’ forever.
Have fun, of course!
The Seasons of Book Blogging Tag was created by Jordyn @ J. Bookish. I really enjoyed this book tag and would like to thank the one and only Beth @ betwixt-these-pages for tagging me. If you’re looking for edgy, well-written, off-the-beaten-path books to read, be sure to check out her blog.

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December is a time when friends and families come together and celebrate. Name one book you would give as a gift.

Lightning by Dean Koontz. I love this story so much. I mean, seriously, just check out this blurb:

In the midst of a raging blizzard, lightning struck on the night Laura Shane was born. And a mysterious blond-haired stranger showed up just in time to save her from dying.

Years later, in the wake of another storm, Laura will be saved again. For someone is watching over her. But just as lightning illuminates, darkness always follows close behind.

lightning by dean koontz

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January begins a new year. Name a resolution you made this year and if you’ve kept it or not!

My resolution this year was to write more novels and to read more books. I did both. 😀

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February is the month for relationships. Name your favorite book relationship: romantic, platonic, or familial, your choice!

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons is so “charmingly” written. I loved the relationships between the three generations of “passionate, willful Southern women.”

Birthday Bonus: The best gift I’ve ever been given was. . . This is a little embarrassing but when I was a little girl I really liked baby dolls. One Christmas I got exactly the one I’d been wishing for and toted her all around with me after that.

baby doll

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March is the month for luck and new beginnings. Name a book or series that you would like to re-experience as if you’d never read it.

 You know how sometimes a book–or, in this case, a series of books– comes along when you’re in exactly the right frame of mind for it? That’s how Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was for me. Those books brought me so much joy that, after reading them, I went on to listen to the BBC radio broadcast, and that was really entertaining, too (definitely better than the movie).

Hitchhiker's Guide.jpg

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April is a spectacularly ordinary month. Name a book that was so over-hyped that it just could not live up to your expectations.
Well, I had high hopes for 17 & Gone, but I’m sorry to say it didn’t live up to my expectations.

17 & gone copy.jpg

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May is the month when the flowers start to bloom. Name a book that was a pleasant surprise to you.

I’ve never really jumped at stories about dragons, but Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina presented dragons in such an interesting, unique way that by the end I thought they were pretty glorious. It didn’t hurt that the story was really well written with an element of music running through it.

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June is the time to take a break. Name a book or genre that you like to read when you just need to check out.

I’ll just say right now that I am not a re-reader. However, a book that completely transported me to a different world was Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Knife of Never Letting Go copy.jpg

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July is the time to celebrate your independence! Name a book that made you see fireworks. (Figuratively. Please don’t light books on fire.)

In concept and execution, Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall is the perfect book for me. If Before I Fall were a person, I would marry it.

bookcover_home_before_i_fall

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August is the hottest month of the year. Pick an up-and-coming author that you think will be the next hottest thing.

I have a lot more 2015 debut YA authors’ books to read before I can decide who’s the hottest up-and-comer, but for now my guess is the talented and gorgeous Sabaa Tahir.

sabaa tahir copy.jpg

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September is time for students to go back to school! Pick a book you read for school that you actually enjoyed.

I found something to love about pretty much every book I read for school, but if I have to pick a favorite I’ll say Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (which has, in my humble opinion, the truest-to-the-book movie adaptation ever made.)

To Kill a Mockingbird copy.jpg

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October is time to celebrate Halloween! Pick one character that you would love to dress up as for Halloween.

Who wouldn’t love to dress as the baddest assassin in town, Calaena Sardothien from Sara J. Maas’ Throne of Glass?

Throne of Glass copy.jpg

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November is the month when we’re reminded of how much we have to be thankful for. Choose one book you’re grateful for having read and give a shout-out to the person who recommended it!

I am so glad I read Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda . I don’t remember how I stumbled across it, so I’m not sure who to thank, but Simon vs. the HSA was one of my favorite reads of 2015. I loved Simon’s voice and am puzzled by how this heartwarming book is not on more people’s favorites lists.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda cover

If this book tag is something you’d like to try, consider yourself tagged!

New Writing/Publishing Terms – What Do They Mean?

women's fiction
To further my mission to become a successful published author, I’ve been delving more deeply into the online world of writing and publishing (mostly through blogs and Twitter), and have learned a lot, especially about agents, query letters, and great new books to read. Along the way, I stumble across unfamiliar terms, so I decided to post some of them here for the edification of newbies like me and for the amusement of pros who’ve probably known them for years.

Agent/publisher time – This always means U.S. East Coast time, as in, if an agent tweets, “We’ll be answering questions on #askagent at 2pm,” s/he means 11am PST. (I learned this the hard way.)

ARC – Advanced Readers Copy. (By the way, I recently and happily won my first free ARC, Hide and Seek, by Jane Casey.)

#askagent – highly informative twitter hashtag for writers wishing to ask agents questions in real time

HEA – Happily Ever After

Klout score – the reach and engagement of your social media platforms

OTP – One True Pairing. Yeah, it’s a romance thing.

PB – picture book

SimSubs – simultaneous submissions, as in when a literary magazine allows writers to submit stories also being shopped to other publications.

TBR – to be read (as in, “I’m really excited to read the books on my TBR list.”)

TSTL – Too Stupid to Live (in regards to the characters that are just, well, stupid, or weak)– added by blogger Michelle 

Upmarket – literary fiction with commercial potential.

WF – women’s fiction. 

Okay, tangent alert: what is it about the label WF that is so wtf? While I’m usually one who blindly grab books off fiction shelves regardless of genre, I do appreciate the need for genre classification and have been known to look up genre tags to see if a book is something I might be interested in.  However, “women’s fiction?” Really? Human conditions portrayed in literature by men are never categorized as male fiction, so why the sweeping label on women’s fiction that does the same?

I find the sweeping genre classification of the last term, WF, somewhat troubling, so I explore that here a bit beyond a simple definition. I’d be interested to hear your views on it, too. Feel free to share any other writing/publishing acronyms you’ve run across.

Author Randy Susan Meyers intelligently explores this question in ‘Women’s Fiction?’ ‘Men’s Fiction?’ ‘Human Fiction?’ I highly recommend it.