Anyone a fan of Entertainment Weekly out there? Anyone? Bueller….Bueller?
(Please appreciate the 80’s movie reference)
I love the questions EW (and can I just say that I love that their initials are “ew”?) asks authors and musicians right before their next work comes out. They’re published under “Books of My Life” and “Music of My Life.” I love reading them, because knowing what an author you like, likes themselves, helps you maybe discover a new author or two, and understand where your author is coming from. And not that I’m an author (yet), let alone a bestselling one, but I really like some of the questions. So I’m going to answer a few!
My favorite childhood books:
I remember most clearly the books my parents read to my brother and I before we went to sleep. I associate Wishbone novels with my Dad, as we’d go to the bookstore together and pick out the next one and he’d read it to me over the course of a month or two. My mom read us the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass, The Amber Spyglass, and The Subtle Knife), of course, most of the mature themes and blatantly obvious religious connotations flew completely over my head. Which is probably for the best 😛
The books I enjoyed most in high school:
I didn’t enjoy most of the classic literature that was curriculum for my classes, although Shelley’s Frankenstein was one I found genuinely interesting and accessible. But I clearly remember the weekly contests my AP Literature teacher had, where if your number was pulled, you received that week’s book, which would be one acceptable to analyze on the big test at the end of the year (they were books of “literary merit” as the committee deemed). The one I received, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, became one of my favorite books of all time. It took my breath away. My teacher, sensing that I was a voracious reader, gifted me a copy of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I read it that summer and loved it as well.
My favorite movie versions of great novels:
I’m terrible about watching movies of books I’ve read and really enjoyed. I still haven’t seen The Cider House Rules or Chocolat, both movie versions of books I really enjoyed. I’ve been assured by others that both are great, but I still balk at it. The recent movie franchises, and attempt at franchises, are take it or leave it for me. I midnight premiere-d it with the best of them for Harry Potter and will continue to do so for the rest of The Hunger Games films (although I HATE the trend of splitting the final book into two films. Just…WHY?), but there have been some obvious copycats that just haven’t been as successful (I’m looking at you, City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures…
The classic I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read:
Okay, confession time. I’m AWFUL at reading the classics. I cannot honestly recall the last “classic” (or “book of literary merit,” as the Advanced Placement people might call it) that I read after high school. A book has to grab me! It has to take me in with it’s language, it’s characters. It has to not have me skimming, rolling my eyes, or exasperatedly mumbling about why do people like this? So I’m severely lacking in the classic-reading category. You name it, I’ll be embarrassed to say I haven’t read it…
A book I consider grossly overrated:
Most recently? Life After Life (Kate Atkinson). I’m not one for historical fiction to begin with, but this one intrigued me, with it’s sort-of-sci-fi/time-travel twist (the protagonist lives her life over and over again, with all the memories of her past lives every time she starts anew), and I could. Not. Finish. It. And it was almost universally LOVED. People went crazy over it! While I found it tedious, repetitive, and boring. And I’m cringing to say it, but I’m slogging my way through The Goldfinch right now. I find the protagonist too much of a cardboard pushover (that is to say, flat), and I cannot tell what the plot is about! What is the end goal? It’s a fresh Pulitzer prize winner, but I’m not seeing it so far.
The last book that made me cry…and the last one that made me laugh:
I cried at the end of The Forever Watch (and wrote a review about it/that here!) most recently. Before that, Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson, about a young woman whose new husband dies during a tour of deployment. But the latter is because I’m currently seeing someone who is about to be deployed in a couple of weeks (so really starting to read that one in the first place was a huge mistake to begin with! :P) Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent, is a collection of humorous essays having to do with the struggles of getting out of college and into this thing we call The Real World. I giggled to myself in public, and people stared.
A book I read in secret:
I stole away my mom’s Harlequin Romance series books for a while, before she found out and just said I could take them whenever I wanted 😛
What I’m reading right now:
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia, one I borrowed from work. It’s a creepy murder mystery and ode to band and singing/theater geeks everywhere, at the same time. I LOVE it so far!
The book I’ve read over and over:
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. It’s a favorite of mine, and I just love the way it’s written, the characters, the premise, everything 🙂 And of course, the Harry Potter series!
What’s the last book you bought?
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I bought the physical copy because I can’t quite finagle footnotes on my eReader, and this book uses them a lot! It’s supposed to be funny/light reading – perfect for a vacation I have coming up!
The books people might be surprised to learn that I loved:
Fluffy, romantic books. Although I have a special dislike for Nicolas Sparks (he has zero respect for reader’s feelings and expectations, and I fully believe he chooses and crafts characters just to throw daggers in people’s hearts when he kills them off. True story. I really don’t like this guy), I love the tried and true storyline of guy meets girl, they overcome obstacles together, and then they go off into the sunset together. My mom and I read the new Jodi Picoult books every year, even though others I know accuse them of being too formulaic. Sometimes you need a writer you know will be solid, a book you might know the endgame, but you’ll still enjoy the time it takes to read it and get there.