I saw this tag on Keep Reading Forward (see original post here) and thought it sounded like fun, so I decided to give it a try.
Which book did you most recently DNF?
The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
To be honest, I gave this a good, fair chance to draw me in. The novel opens with an interesting premise as the main character returns to hurricane-torn Louisiana after attending school in France. Then it dives head first into mystery guys/bad boys, forbidden attraction, yada, yada, yada, and a slew of other YA tropes. It became so predictable and contrived that I just had to stop. But at least I liked the cover.
What book is your guilty pleasure?
Disney’s Descendants novels by Melissa de la Cruz
Admittedly, I don’t feel super guilty for reading (and liking) these books and the Descendants movies, but it’s fairly obvious – without telling my age – that I’m not exactly in their chief demographic. That being said, I still think these are fun adventure stories with clever spins on classic Disney characters.
Which book do you love to hate?
Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen by Candice Watters
*Cue evil laughter* Well, technically, I would say Fifty Shades of Gray, but seeing as I’ve never read that – and nor will I – I’m going to reserve my choice for a book I actually did read. And regrettably so. I covered all of my issues with this book in my lengthy review (which you can read here). But in short, I dislike this book and its message of what I would call relationship legalism where Watters’ chief thesis seems to be that the end result of marriage rests entirely on our shoulders and God is a mildly interested bystander. Granted, she never openly says these things, but that’s the book’s undercurrent. Overall, while her advice to women in their 20s is full of hope and encouragement, her advice to women in their 30s and beyond is more along the lines of “encouraging” you to grit your teeth and accept a state of unwanted lifelong singleness. That’s not helpful; instead, it’s discouraging, dismissive, and disrespectful.
Which book would you throw into the sea?
The End by Lemony Snicket
No doubt, this has to be the worst final novel in a series I have ever read (and hopefully will ever read). This final book in the expansive Series of Unfortunate Events was, to date, the first book I’ve ever read that made me want to literally heave it across the room (but only because I don’t live near an ocean). Talk about a book not only not worth reading in and of itself, but also not worth reading the previous twelve books to get to it. It gives the three lead characters no breaks even though they rightfully deserved some kind of reprieve. I get that the Series of Unfortunate Events was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek depressing but, for me, something has to make up for that. This final novel most certainly did not accomplish that and made me feel like I had eaten a giant box of mildly tolerable cereal only to discover there was no toy at the bottom.
Which book have you read the most?
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I tried my best to calculate how many times I’ve read each book since I started perusing the series in 2005. To the best of my mathematical capabilities, I’ve figured that I’ve read Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets 24 times (as I started out with just those two books first); Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Half-Blood Prince 23 times; and Deathly Hallows 21 times. Therefore, I’ve read the series in its entirety over 20 times. So, yes, I am an official Potter-head and proud of it! 😀
Which book would you hate to receive as a present?
Anything in the realm of erotica. I like any romance in the books I read to be driven by love and respect, not lust, cheapened sex, and anything goes. No thanks.
Which book could you not live without?
I have many favorites – can I just list them all? 😀 Hands down, I would be lost in a literary sense without the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, The Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and many others.
Which book made you the angriest?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
In short, I hated this book and the characters made me feel like doing this:
The characters are reprehensible, the writing tries too hard to be literary, and the mystery element has no rhyme or reason for why characters do what they do. Furthermore, there are no heroes here, not even antiheroes, and no underlying sense of hope, forgiveness, redemption, or just plain ol’ common sense. Characters commit horrible acts and never face the consequences. Combine that with language and sex scenes befitting a trashy grocery store checkout line paperback and you’ve got one book that I simply could not get invested in on any level. Truly a waste of time and money if ever there was one.
Which book made you cry the most?
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
True confession time – I’m not a crier. It’s not that I have a heart of stone, it’s just that not many things move me to tears and/or tears aren’t my go-to reaction. If something does move me to tears, then it was – for me – truly impactful and touching. This book I remember my mom and I checked out of the library when I was little. While I didn’t cry then, I can now because the central poem in the book is a simple but touching declaration of love, not to mention the caregiver/cared-for roles end up getting reversed. Out of all the books I had read to me as a child, this one definitely stands out.
Which book cover do you hate the most?
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
I try not to be too picky when comes it cover art because it is, after all, art, which is subjective. However, what I look for in a good cover is one that is tasteful and fits the story and its world, tone, and characters, whether that includes symbolism or not. But covers that go off into the proverbial left field and try to be too deep or clever earn no points from me. That being said, my least favorite cover art would have to be the chess-inspired image for Breaking Dawn. Not only does this image not make much sense in terms of its chess imagery in relation to the story itself, it also has nothing to do with the setting, characters, or anything else other than it retains the same black, white, and red motif from the previous three covers of the Twilight series.
I know the “formal” explanation is that the white queen is Bella, who finally comes into her own (whatever that means) in this novel . But a chess image? In chess, the queen is the most powerful piece because she can move in any direction (rank, file, or diagonally) and can capture any single opponent piece in her way; but she’s not the most valuable piece (that would be the king). The red chess piece in the background is a pawn, the least valuable piece in that it is the most restricted in mobility and ability to capture (pawns can move one or two squares to start, then one square after that and can only attack on the forward diagonal).
Thus, when I try to apply the symbolism here to the characters, I feel befuddled. I get that Bella, as the lead, becomes powerful thanks to her transformation. I get that she becomes less of a protected character and more of a protector. But there’s the underlying aspect that the queen is not the most valuable piece, so does that mean that while Bella is powerful she’s somehow lacking in value? And who, or what, is the pawn? The pawn is red (rather than white), meaning it’s an opponent’s piece, so I presume this represents someone not aligned with Bella. But who could that be? If that’s meant to stand for Jacob, that’s kind of cold to call him a pawn as it implies he’s weak and expendable (though Bella did play him early on). If it’s the Volturi, I’m not sure they qualify as weak or expendable (though their inclusion here is certainly disposable). If the image is symbolic of Bella’s old life, that could work as she’s certainly in opposition to it now and she did cast it aside. But again, why a pawn? How does that symbolize her old life? Did Bella view herself as a pawn before, as in weak and powerless? Not to mention the queen here isn’t in an immediate position to capture the pawn, so this isn’t intended to be an image of combat. Furthermore, pawns can be promoted to the status of rook, knight, bishop, or queen if you can get them across the board to the opponent’s side. So is that what this elusive pawn is trying to do, get across the board and past Queen Bella so it can be promoted to a more powerful status?