Tag Archives: 30 Days of Books

30 Days of Books: Day 15

30 Days of Books: Day #15

A book that changed your opinion on something…

Okay, so I really like this topic today! Ready… start tangent!

I’m choosing a couple books that changed my opinion on school-assigned books and/or classic-type novels.

All thoughout my academic reading career, I never liked the books they chose for us to read. Summer reading was particularly DULL. I chose to take Honors English my freshman and sophomore year of high school and the books I got to choose from just weren’t my cup of tea…. Lord of the Flies, Frankenstein, The Scarlet Letter… All great classics with great messages – But for some reason, I just wasn’t getting it. I always loved reading so it wasn’t like I’d rather be outside playing or something. I just couldn’t comprehend with the writing style most of the time. It was old. It was dull. But most of all, it just wasn’t for me.

I know I may get criticized for “hating” on classic books, but I’ve just always felt like a contemporary kind of person. The only classics I’ve really found I’ve liked so far were Sherlock Holmes (and I think that’s because they’re mysteries!), so I did what I had to do in school to get by, but I rarely enjoyed our reading assignments.

That was, until my senior year (go figure, the last year of school I finally found something I liked!), my sister suggested I take 20th Century British Writers as my English elective course in hopes that I got her favorite teacher in all of high school. Well, I didn’t. I got one of the hardest and (rumored) kind of meanest teachers there was.

How can you not be mean – Look at the place! It doesn’t even have windows…

And then I started his class – Mr. Waddington was not mean. He just wanted his students to try hard, focus, and do their best to really get into the books. He was actually pretty fun! He chose some really nice books for the curriculum which actually enlightened me that 1) Not all the books Glenbard South chooses for their students to read are boring and 2) Hey, classic books can be fun too! So here are my top 3 choices (and yes, I picked three, because it was the combination that really opened my eyes to what kind of literature is out there):

1. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: This is definitely the book that stands out the most to me. It’s historical fiction, it’s creepy, it’s mysterious, and for the first time, I found myself readingaheadof the assigned chapters instead of just what I had to read. I was finally interested in something! I also think having my teacher as a guide definitely helped us all get through the book – We got further explanations and breakdowns, but for once, it kept my interest and I was actually looking forward to reading more.

2. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers: Now, I can’t actually remember if this was from my class or if I read it because we had it on our shelves still from my sister’s class, but this is what actually spurred my love for mysteries. Of course I’d read some here and there, but it wasn’t until high school and college that I actually started going to the library in search of a mystery series to latch onto, so I give this book partial credit for that!

3. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh: This is a satire that actually got me laughing out loud. What? They never give you funny books in school! It was nice to have something to break up all the seriousness (maybe that’s why I love cozy mysteries so much…) and it was nice to see that some great classic books don’t always have to have such a serious tone!

30 Days of Books: Day 14

Okay, so the problem I’m noticing after being about halfway in is that there are too many quesitons about favorites. Since I’m a person who has very defined favorites so I feel like too many of my answers are the same or very similar and it’s starting to get boring. As much as the next person likes Harry Potter or Stephanie Plum, I’m sure they don’t want to see 20 posts about the same books over and over again. The whole point of doing the 30 Days of Books was to get OUT of the usual comfort zones and favorites and get creative with this. I might have to start mixing these topics up a bit in my own way…

30 Days of Books: Day #14

Favorite book from your favorite author…

I’m throwing in a few of my favorites from a few of my favorites….

  • From JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (HP #6)
  • From JD Robb: Vengeance in Death (In Death #6)
  • From Lauren Oliver: Delirium (Delirium #1)
  • From Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4)
  • From Lisa Lutz: Curse of the Spellmans (Spellmans #2)
  • From Janet Evanovich: Seven Up (Stephanie Plum #7)
  • From Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games #1)
  • From Meg Cabot: Size 12 is Not Fat (Heather Wells #1)

For ALL favorites, check out this page

30 Days of Books: Day 13

Woot it’s Wednesday! Halfway through the week already 🙂

30 Days of Books: Day #13

A book that you’ve read countless times…

This should come as no surprise…

Harry Potter! Whaaat?

But specifically #4 (HP & the Goblet of Fire), #5 (Order of the Phoenix), and # 6 (Half Blood Prince) since those are my favorites. Before I started adventuring into other books, I constantly reread Harry Potter whenever I needed something to read. And I’ve read the last book a few times too since there is SO much info that I keep forgetting it all!

And although I don’t talk about it a lot, I’ve actually read the Twilight series a few times. I actually currently have bookmarks in 2, maybe 3 of the books since I started them before the movies came out and never went back to finish. Oops. But they’ve been read more times than once.

I usually swap or sell my books as soon as I’m done reading them, but these two are probably 2 out of 5 series that I’ve actually kept on my shelves so I can keep for rereads later 🙂

30 Days of Books: Day 12

First things first (before I get to Top Ten Tuesday!)

30 Days of Books: Day #12

A book that disappointed you…

Well, I’ve made a few mentions which are now my “go-to” books that I’ve been disappointed with (Wicked, Shatter Me, Murder Is Binding), but I’m going to go with something new today. Since I read so much, there are the times when I’m not happy with a book. Hey, it’s gonna happen. Not everyone will like everything as we all know.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

After seeing such great ratings for this book, and back in the day when GoodReads bookswap was still open and countless people were requesting it, when I finally snagged a copy I was like, “Yes! I can finally read this book that so many people have been going nuts over!”

So in the beginning I was like, “Okay, interesting concept. I can follow” and then little by little, interest started to wane. I felt like the story wasn’t really moving. There were plenty of characters and little side stories, anecdotes, etc. Somehow it just wasn’t keeping my attention. I was over 250 pages in and the end was no where in sight. I don’t have a problem with reading long books, but for me, this one wasn’t going anywhere.

One day I got another book that I was really excited about so I put The Book Thief down and read that one instead… And I never picked it up again. I just couldn’t bring myself to keep pushing through over half a book left when I wasn’t enjoying it. So to the bookswap it went. I gave it two stars for what I did read and left it at DNF. What a bummer!

30 Days of Books: Day 10 & 11

The weekend completely wore me out so I skipped yesterday’s 30 Days of Books topic and pushed it back to today. Even still, I’m having a hard time with day 10!

30 Days of Books: Day #10

Best scene ever…

You’d think this should be an easy one – The best scene from any book! But I’ve been thinking ever since I checked on this topic last night and for the life of me, I just can’t come up with one! Everything that keeps popping into my head is sad. To me, “best” means something good, something positive, something to root for. I guess it doesn’t have to be positive – Just meaningful. I could pick something as monumental as Harry killing Voldemort, everyone’s favorite Snape confesses to loving Lily scene, etc (why do all of these come from HP? I guess that’s just where my mind goes), but for some reason, nothing seems right. I don’t want to completely cop out and not answer at all. But why is this so hard for me? Sigh. I guess I really am going to skip it for now. I feel like such an awful reader 🙁

30 Days of Books: Day #11

A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving…

I’d definitely have to say the Vampire Academy series! I borrowed the first book from my friend Lisa (my reading partner in crime!) and she really liked it. Considering we usually have similar tastes, I gave it a shot. Since I’ve been jumping off the vampire bandwagon recently, I was pretty skeptical.

When I first finished book 1 – Vampire Academy – I was like, “Whoa, that was way better than I expected!” So I decided to pick up a copy of book 2 – Frostbite. In case you have seen the recent review (here), I just finished Frostbite and at the end of that book, my reaction was the same “Whooaaaa” – Except I loved this one even more! Seriously extremely impressed and so wanting more. I can’t wait to read more of the series!!

30 Days of Books: Day 9

Day number 9 of the “30 Days of Books” challenge…

30 Days of Books: Day #9

A book everyone should read at least once

So I really just don’t even know where to go here. I think I’m stumped for once. Of course the obvious go-to for me here would be Harry Potter, but so many people have read it already and as much as I’d like to think of it as a “must-read”, I really wanted to choose something like a classic or a book that I read in school that I actually took a great lesson out of it… But in all honesty, I didn’t like most of the books from school and most of them I can barely even remember what they were about anymore. I wracked my brain, I scoured all of the books I’ve read, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – probably any book. I don’t think you’d even need to read in order.

With all the hype of the movies coming out the past few years, I decided to actually pick up a book and I was terribly impressed. I loved the logic, deduction, reasoning, and observance that Holmes employs to solve the mysteries that are presented to him. I would hope that would be as enjoyable for other people as well, but since I’m a mystery-lover, the whole concept really appealed to me and I was amazed at how everyone else (reader included) except for Sherlock Holmes was practically in the dark the whole time and then once he does his reveal, it’s almost like, Oh why didn’t I see that? There’s also a nice bit of humor in the books as well so they stay light and moving forward, and unlike usual, I didn’t feel bogged down by older writing styles and vocabulary. I think it’s worth a shot for everyone to try!

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is the only classic that I read in school that I actually found myself enjoying (with the exception of a couple books from my 20th Century British Writers class, but I wouldn’t say any of those qualify as “must-reads”). Although it’s been a long time since I’ve actually read it, I still remember many lessons as well as characters and specific scenes from the book which, let’s face it, I’m not the best person to retain specifics from books – I always get exciting reading books and then I read quickly and then I forgot half of the things I read. It’s kind of terrible, but that’s just how I’ve always been. So to remember so much from a book I’ve read once and to have actually enjoyed a classic, I think this is one definitely worth recommending. I’m sure most people have read this in school by now, but if you haven’t, it’s definitely one worth trying out!

30 Days of Books: Day 8

Day number 8 of the “30 Days of Books” challenge… You know the drill, now it’s time to spill! Okay, that was lame. I won’t say things like that anymore!!

30 Days of Books: Day #8

Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise…

Okay, I guess it’s not really a “plot device” so to speak, but I hate it when I read books where it seems like the author is (what I believe is) trying too hard. There are many ways that I’ve seen this happen in books and it’s just such a shame because it ruins a perfectly good story for me.

The one that comes to mind the most is Shatter Me by Taherh Mafi – I know there are a TON of people out there who really loved this book and thought Mafi’s prose was beautiful, expressive, and creative. I, however, felt like I was reading one long poem with metaphors and similes that didn’t quite make sense and the excessive use of strikethrough was really distracting for me. I actually chose not to keep reading the book because it was so distracting and took away from a plot I was actually really interested in reading.

Another book that comes to mind is Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett – I felt like the ending was overly dramatic and it kind of came out of nowhere. Along with a weird twin story, an overly eccentric sister, and complete personality change in a male lead, it was all just too much for me. It didn’t completely ruin the story for me, but it was enough to leave me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Sometimes cozy mysteries get really carried away with some of the characters or situations because they’re supposed to be a little silly – But taking it to the extreme really ruins a good book for me! I’m expecting it to get a little goofy, but I still like stories to be believable.

I really don’t want to slander books, especially when I know other people are out there enjoying them, but those are just two examples that come to mind immediately. Oh well. Happy Friday, all!

30 Days of Books: Day 7

Day number 7 of the “30 Days of Books” challenge… You know what it is already.. Let’s go!

30 Days of Books: Day #7

Favorite female character in a book and why…

Okay, so this isn’t going to be nearly as thoughtful as my favorite male character. I already know who it’s gonna be and it’s hands down Stephanie Plum.

I talk to my boyfriend’s mom about the series a lot because she pretty much grew up in almost exactly this neighborhood – I think she was maybe a town or two away – and her family is pretty Italian as well (as is mine, but not to that extent) so it’s just funny with all the similarities.

That and I want Stephanie to be my friend and/or partner in crime. Oh, Stephanie. You and your crazy bounty hunting antics. She’s brave, but I think most of it is stubborn… And she’s flat out hilarious along with the rest of her wacky crew and family. And she’s got two smokin’ hot guys competing for her affections. What more could you ask for? I always get a kick out of every story, every mystery, every anecdote – It’s always an enjoyable read!

30 Days of Books: Day 6

Day number 6 of the “30 Days of Books” challenge… I had this whole thing written out and then my stupid computer wouldn’t update what I wrote andall I needed to do was add in my nice little picture and then all of a sudden, that’s ALL that was there. YAR! It didnt’ even save a draft. Really kind of upset right now. Starting over…

30 Days of Books: Day #6

Favorite male character in a book and why…

Jonas from The Giver

The Giver has always been one of my favorite books. I first read it in 7th or 8th grade and then re-read it last year and I still love it! We first get to see Jonas as a happy-go-lucky kid, doesn’t question society or the rules… Then when he starts his apprenticeship with The Giver, he’s responsible for any and all memories that are left in the world that The Giver has to pass on to him.  On the bright side, he gets to see some really great things from the world before him like holidays and snow – But he also has the responsibility of taking on the bad memories: pain, suffering, sorrow, loss, war. In addition to the memories, he learns some secrets about what really goes on in his village and not all of the things are pleasant to know.

What I like the most is how much we get to see Jonas grow. It’s a beautiful transition from care-free kid to a young man who has more wisdom and more passion than most of the adults. He learns how to decide things for himself, even breaks the rules once he figures out the stories behind some of them. It’s really nice to see such growth in a character and I think the whole process was executed exquisitely.

The story of Jonas is definitely one of my favorites and I think it always will be!

30 Days of Books: Day 5

Well it’s Day 5 of “30 Days of Books” challenge (thanks to Vyki @ On The Shelf, which she got from For Those Who Live to Read) – Each day there is a different book-related topic or question to post about (ie. best/worst/favorite-type deals), the list of which I’m linking back to On The Shelf. Onto day number three!

30 Days of Books: Day #5

A book or series you hate…

The Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire

When the musical Wicked first came out, I caught a glimpse of a performance on the Tonys and then I got the CD and then my sister finally took me to go see it in Chicago. I was in love! I loved the music and the characters and the new spin on The Wizard of Oz. Then I found out it was based on a book. Hey, I love reading! This has got to be so entertaining! Wrong. So wrong. It was obnoxious. It was drawn out. It was weirdly raunchy? Why is the story of the Wicked Witch weirdy sexual? Long story short, I stopped reading and swapped it to someone who wanted to read it way more than I did. I just was not enjoying it and no need to push myself through 300 more pages for nothing. Never finished, never will!