Library Loot #8

  • Library LootLibrary Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I feel like every time I get an open slot of free time — time I’d like to snatch up and use for this blog — something happens. Something always happens, and I’m found sidetracked and busy or sitting down somewhere with a terrible headache and dumbfounded brain.

My clinical last weekend was canceled! Because I have Fridays off, I had a three-day weekend of nothing do except study for one test, but things happened. (I did, however, accomplish a massive spring cleaning, and it feels good. Very good. No one tells me I can’t spring clean in winter.) I had hoped to write my review for Markus Zusak’s I am the Messenger, but that obviously did not occur. (It also doesn’t help that no words come whenever I try to review it. My brain becomes stupid and blank.) This weekend I have a five days off, and let me tell you: I will be upset at myself if there’s no review by the time February 20th rolls around. I challenge myself to review I am the Messenger and Teeth by then, all right. Until then, here are my latest library borrowings:

Library Loot 1

In past Edward Gorey encounters, I generally find that I’m not as taken by his work as other people. I do enjoy his rhymes, I enjoy his illustrations perhaps more, and I like the oddball presentations and twisted mind of his. So what is it about Gorey that doesn’t work for me? I can’t say, because I can’t pin it down. Although I continue to dig around in his work without anything more than a three-star result, I still enjoy checking his books out every now and again.

As for Marciuliano’s book: I have intended to check this out for months, and why wouldn’t I? To keep honest, I did have doubts — especially after reading several incredibly dull or disappointing cat-related poetry books — but I Could Pee on This is everything it should be and more. It proved funny and truthful to the cat stereotype, which I must say as a cat-lover myself, is a stereotype that does describe a lot of our loveable domestics.

Suetdhe8defdisjas
I just typed a poem
Chsothekstevdswdj
I just typed a joke in your email
Nosyd76mhdlwdag

Next along the list are a couple of young adult novels I snatched:

Library Loot 2

I felt almost as excited for Stasse’s The Forsaken release before the publication date as I felt for Hartman’s Seraphina. The latter,  let me say, is the one to get worked up for. Once negative reviews started to flood and pile and drag the average rating down, my excitement dulled. Don’t let the fancy cover and interesting summary dupe you like it did me, because the unfortunate hope I had for The Forsaken to still kick ass was just that: unfortunate. It’s unfortunate because if I had not had any hope in the first place, I never would have wasted time reading this disaster. Most likely I will not review this — I think my GoodReads updates, in summary, do that for me. Enough said. On to better books!

I am also a bit glum to report that I will return Forman’s Just One Day without so much as flipping the pages. Curiosity squirms all about me ever since I came across Forman’s name a couple of months ago. Another day, Gayle Forman. Another day. Right now I’m much too interested in books I own, and I will never get through them so long as I have a library stack that towers in my bedroom. (Not that I would dare call this tiny tripping hazard a tower. It’s when the books hit 15+ that I grow concerned.)

Lastly, here, I have a few graphic novels:

  • Library Loot 3We3 by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely

(Pause this post. Time out. Take a couple minutes — a few, if you must — to appreciate Frank’s name. Frank Quitely. I have to wonder if that is self-constructed or parent-made. Google check: Good morning, Vincent Deighan. Thank you.

Resume.)

Sorry, I can’t hear you over the loud injured cries that sound a lot like whale noises. Those whale noises are my whale noises, because my heart still hurts. We3 played with my feelings, and I think I nearly cried (and no, it was not 4 AM. It was the respectable hour of 10/11 PM-ish). I will never trust a cover with animal cyborgs again, but here: take it and read it, because I highly recommend itNothing can beat the feeling of having a book scoop your heart up only to stab, crush, and light it on fire.

I will recover eventually. When the memory of reading We3 becomes a distant speck of vague recollection, I will be okay. Until another book comes along with a pickax and hammer, that is.

Happy Friday, everyone! Grab a book and cry yourself inside out.

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In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I showed off my last book splurge six days ago, and yes: I have acquired more since then. Whoops. If you want to skip my side-rant, scroll right down to the photo below.

The purchases I made are nowhere near the book count from my last IMM post, but… I can’t stop myself. These last few weeks have tired and stressed me out to the point where I’ve felt like calling it quits on this nursing assistant training. I love this class, I do, but it drains, and I  sometimes find it nerve-wracking (especially for us beginners) and an occasional downer to my day.

(I mean: “I slept for two hours. I want to go home, not sit through an additional four hours of class,” or “I slept for two hours. I want to sleep, not get up at 5 AM and stand all day, jet around, and tend to people for the next eight hours.” Praise for those who can do this every day without much complaint, because those are the ones with real passion. Me? I look at these residents and I care and empathize, but: do I really want to do this? I don’t know, and it sucks to put yourself through some tough work only to discover in the end that you hate it.)

Books, however, have the opposite effect. I love weaving through aisles and flipping through curious books, and even returning to the same old books that a deep part of me desperately wishes to own (but I somehow convince myself to put them down anyway). I am down for a library raid any day (and even have some library loot to share soon), and just like borrowing books, buying and hoarding books are a pick-me-up. “This day has been tough,” I say to myself. “I deserve this!”

So what did I get? Ahem:

Siddhartha and Teeth

  • Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

For months I have heard and read wonderful reviews about Teeth, and I have eyed it for probably just as long. I’d walk into the book store and make a beeline for one of my favorite sections (YA fiction), and ogle and grab and carry this book all around the store. Never did I buy it, though. I’d find another book — or, as is often the case — a set of books I decided I’d for-sure read and enjoy over Moskowitz’s novel.

Like anyone, I feel utterly disappointed to buy a book — so full of hope believing that I will like or even adore it — only to discover it’s a flop. Let me tell you: Teeth is anything but. I am told the prose is a wonderful match for an original story, and thank goodness I agree. Teeth, I learned, is nothing like I thought it would be, which is neither necessarily bad or good, but oh! This book is good. Very, very good. It has been far too long since I’ve felt truly hooked into a story that I can’t put down. Lucky for me that I typically have free Fridays, because I stayed up well into normal waking hours — nearly finished reading — before I decided sleep is a beautiful, beautiful thing. This book and its main characters latched on quickly and have now left me with a lingering bittersweet sensation.

  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Translated by Hilda Rosner)

This is the story of how I finally came to own Siddhartha and simultaneously made myself feel a teeny bit happier in the process.

Consider this a “feel better now” present to and from myself for having a not-so-great first-day clinical experience yesterday, because I do. I could turn the ordeal into a long, whiny rant, but to keep it “short”: I should have been up and getting ready at 5 AM, and I was. Or did. …Or tried. I physically removed myself from the bed only to lie back down to sleep for another half hour. A half hour became 6:26 AM, and: Oh my holy heavens I have to be there BEFORE 7!

It's smashing

Needless to say: I was 20 minutes late, had a ridiculous time finding available parking, became confused and lost once inside this facility (Where are my classmates?! Where is my instructor?! WHERE IS THIS HIDDEN ROOM LOCATED?!), I most likely annoyed the heck out of several staff members, and I nearly broke down in pathetic tears because I’m extremely ridiculous and I’m late, I’m late! The rest of the day was rough, and I will leave it at that.

What better way to make myself feel better than by driving to the nearest bookstore? Yes, there are other delicious things out in life like chocolate-gorging that send me straight into pure bliss… followed by a free-fall drop into self-loathing. Books don’t have calories I want to stab, so yeah. The bookstore it is.

Siddhartha is just one of hundreds upon hundreds of titles I want to read, and I do hope to read it this year. I made an attempt last year and failed (it’s embarrassingly easy for me to become distracted sometimes), but I know this book is not particularly long. “Great choice,” the cashier told me — he appears awfully fond of this classic, and I hope to appreciate it as well.

In My Mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

That’s right. I decided, finally, to participate in the In My Mailbox meme, and it’s about time. If any of my regular visitors recall, I resolved to buy books if and only if I intend to read them shortly after the purchase. Well. I haven’t been very good at keeping this promise to myself, but you know what? Buying books feels good. It feels really, really good to walk into a bookstore and leave with what I hope are fantastic books. I know it will be months, possibly even years, before I ever get around to reading them, but the fact remains: I own them, and ownership feels awesome.

I know I haven’t been good at updating Midnight Coffee Monster on a consistent basis, so it is fair to assume that I don’t time-manage well. At all. (Especially when classes are in session.) I do have posts planned, including reviews! It is only a matter of when I can find decent time, and I have to thank each and every one of my subscribers for sticking with me through hiatus periods. Meanwhile, I would love to share my recent books buys. It’s like I said: I didn’t keep my resolve. I neglected and ignored it, or pretended like I never made such a challenge. In fact, I’ve been pretty naughty about it all. But hey! What’s bought is bought, and I am most certainly not returning a single book.

Dystopia

I started The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) last year, and I forcibly sat the book down to remind myself of a nasty giant thing called “studying.” School, as always, shoved its bad self in between me and a good book. I wasn’t too happy, but what could I do? I swore to read it “later,” and “later” I have decided, is this year. I would not say that I read too far into the book, but I covered at least a quarter, and oh my what a fantastic chunk of story I read! I’d fallen for this book before I ever started to read it, which is why I went ahead and purchased the last two books in the Maze Runner series.

And now… Patrick Ness. Whoa-ho, I told myself, “Yeah, you shouldn’t buy The Knife of Never Letting Go until you have, in the very least, finished Dashner’s Maze Runner series.” Yeah, okay. That did not go as planned. I bought the book, and I have zero regrets.

But wait! Look at this…

Railsea and The Ask and the Answer I bought the second book in the Chaos Walking series!

Let it be known that I would buy Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3), but it’s currently out of stock in-store (and has been for the last three weeks). It is much easier not to buy something if it’s not staring me in eyes. Otherwise, I also made my second Miéville purchase! I still have not read my copy of Un Lun Dun, but I just may start it after I finish Railsea. The cashier had nothing but praise for the latter, and I find that I agree with her as I slowly chug along on Sham’s journey — the world-building and use of language is a blast of refreshing delight!

Classics Of course, I find it nearly impossible to pass up a good book deal when I see it, so when I finally — after dropping into B&N several times a week for who knows how long — I noticed one of the classics stands. (This is probably because I tend to revisit the same shelves repeatedly.) Buy 2, get 1 free! Yes, please. My problem here was figuring out which classics I wanted most, but I eventually left with:

I own and have read The Importance of Being Earnest, which I full-heartedly adore, and I can’t wait to finish reading the other plays. Oscar Wilde, may I say, is on a high level of perfection that no one can touch. He’s glorious. His writing is glorious. I would marry his books if I could, and no one is allowed to insult him in my presence. (Why would you even?)

Berlin Boxing + Peregrine

Well, well. It’s about time I bought Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! I read this last year, and it quickly found its way to the top of my 2012 favorite reads. This was a library check-out originally, so I’m pleased to finally have my own copy.

But please: let the second Miss Peregrine installment come out this year! If only for the sake of my sanity, because I’m already going bonkers over the discrepancy of Dracomachia‘s expected publication. I need something, here. Come on, Riggs. Please. Please please please.

Lotsa books

On with the classics! I could not ignore Austen, as I found both of these novels marked as 75% off. As a result, each book cost less than $2. Not bad, right? I have already read Northanger Abbey, as well as It’s Kind of a Funny Story (before I knew a movie was to be made), and greatly enjoyed both. Let me say that if you think Vizzini’s book is anything like its film adaption, you’re mistaken. I am still in shock that such a boring and almost uneventful movie was inspired by this humorous yet honest story about a boy and his depression.

I am not sure what to expect from Irving’s collection, as I’m unfamiliar with his writing style (I’m nearly ashamed to admit), but do look forward to Persuasion! While I’ve made several unsuccessful attempt to finish Pride & Prejudice (not because I dislike it, but because I’m always distracted!), I surprisingly took a fondness for Northanger Abbey. Likewise, I hope to enjoy Barrie’s classic just as much, and I am most eager to start it.

That’s a wrap, everyone! Quite a bit of books, am I right? I swear, oh God do I swear, that I will not purchase anymore. …For this month. Ahem. This amounts to what — 15 books? I refuse to acknowledge the price these total out to, but, oh. It was worth every penny.

Top Ten Tuesday #7

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT prompt is: Top 10 books I resolve to read in 2013. Considering all the books I own yet never read — while I continually purchase more — has, on occasion, motivated me to read a select few off my shelves. Last year I challenged myself to read at least 10 dusty bunnies and failed miserably, which is why I’m daring myself to read only 5 in 2013. Out of all the books I do own, however, here at the top ten I am most eager to read (which was a difficult decision in the first place… I want to read them all):

1. Crown DuelCrown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king…” Okay, Smith, you had my attention by the second word, and you had me hooked by the synopsis’ end. Just give me some extra time to tear my eyes away from the pretty cover, and I think this book and I will get along just fine.

I have pined for this book and flirted with its pages for months, but I have yet to read one page. I’d love to pick this book up next… I haven’t the slightest clue as to why I haven’t read it yet.

2. When I was Five I Killed MyselfWhen I was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Buten
This is the kind of book I can read in one sitting. Just me, a cup of good tea, and this book. I especially like the idea of wrapping myself in a warm blanket at my favorite reading spot as the soft patter of rain hits the windows. (I’d rather have snow, but my faith in this happening has all but died.)

From the summary: “This is Burt’s story as written in pencil on the walls of Quiet Room in the Children’s Trust Residence Center, where he lands after expressing his ardent feelings for a classmate.” I’m disappointed that I did not make room for Buten’s novel over break, although I’m almost afraid to learn what Burt did to his classmate as I am curious to find out.

3. FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Shelley
No book on this list gets me quite as excited as this classic. Naturally, because it is the oldest literary work of the bunch, it is therefore the one book I’ve wished to read for the longest amount of time. With classes quickly approaching, I’d rather hold off and include Frankenstein as part of my summer reading instead — a less hectic time of year when I can lose myself in a book without thoughts of assignment due dates bearing their weight on my shoulders. Everyone I know who has read Shelley’s masterpiece highly regards it, and I hope to value it just as much.

4. Battle RoyaleBattle Royale by Koushun Takami
As far as I am concerned, whisperings of Battle Royale seemed to come straight out from nowhere and grew louder. Before I knew it, people were discussing it. Everywhere. “Silence your ignorance, fool. Collins CLEARLY ripped of the much sexier, more violent and better Battle Royale!”

…Well, I quite enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy, and while I am not interested in doing a Battle Royale vs. THG comparison, I am hooked on Takami’s premise and fancy the idea of reading it (preferably this year or so help me).

5. Un Lun DunUn Lun Dun by China Miéville
I just want to read this book already. Period. The end.

Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

…Yes, I want to read it. Soon. Decidedly soon.

6. StormdancerStormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Oh, the ARC reviews on this one! I’d say the pre-release hype hit an extreme high. Reviewers rained Kristoff’s debut in so much praise that all I could do was soak it in like a dehydrated sponge, and I desperately needed to read this, too! Unfortunely the book hit stores shortly before classes began. I knew there was no way time would allow me to read Stormdancer and top the experience with a thoughtful review. So: reluctantly, I sat the book down and returned it to the library from whence it came. Now I own the book (I oogle at the cover frequently) and can only hope I enjoy it as I know many other readers do.

7. The Maze RunnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner
A new fact I learned about myself in 2012: I love dystopian novels, and the only thing I love more than a dystopian novel is a really good dystopian novel. I started Dashner’s The Maze Runner last year, yet schoolwork and exams once again got in my way. This book reeled me in so quickly, and I instantly found myself smitten with everything I was reading. I had no trouble trying to force the book onto friends, though I had little success. I’m eager to start once again from the beginning and finally finish to the end this time, however.

8. Harry Potter & the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
It’s only proper that I finish the last Harry Potter installment. It isn’t right, otherwise. How can someone work her way up through all the books and abandon the final book midway? Harry Potter defines a period of my life like nothing else, and it was the best part of my childhood. The disappointment I feel towards myself for not finishing off book 7 is tremendous.

Of course, I will re-read books 1 through 6… and at last: book 7. Fist pump!

9. Tales of the Madman UndergroundTales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes
I have ten fingers and ten toes to count on, but there are too many ways a moody, “dysfunctional” teen narrator can create a disaster of a novel. That is why I absolutely love it when such a novel proves itself a worthwhile read. One-star reviewers can say whatever they like about Tales of the Madman Underground, because I can’t be dissuaded. Karl Shoemaker sounds disturbed, all right, but this story sounds right up my alley.

Karl has decided that senior year is going to be different. He is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act – and be – Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative.

10. The PostmortalThe Postmortal (a.k.a. The End Specialist) by Drew Magary
The year 2019: “Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and-after much political and moral debate-made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems…” This is like sci-fi / dystpian-ish post-apocalyptic awesome blossom come at me End Specialist, I wanna read you.

I had checked this out in particular from the library over the summer, but the book’s due date beat me to it. Maybe this year will be the year?

 

Share if you care: Which books do hope to finally knock off your TBR list?

Top Ten Tuesday #6

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

How people manage to run their book blogs when school’s in session is something I haven’t figured out. Obviously. The last time a TTT post was spotted here was back in early September, before classes started and statistics temporarily ruined me. And book reviews? I didn’t have proper time to read, let alone review — and let me not forgot about keeping update on memes and other blogs. At the very least, I had hoped to rejoin the weekly TTT several weeks ago. I unfortunately did not foresee that multiple tests a week plus life with the bonus of I AM NOT SLEEPING?!? equals REJECT EVERYTHING THAT IS ADULTHOOD AND RESPONSIBILITY. But thank goodness finals week is done! I mean: I can blog? I can blog and read and LIVE without cramming for exams. I am undergoing this wonderful sensation, and I think it’s called “not feeling [as] stressed.”

Now, without further procrastination, I move to the real point of this post: Top 10 books that I read in 2012. Here I go!

1. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
SeraphinaIf I am tired of hearing myself rave about Hartman’s debut YA fantasy novel, I know everyone else must be as well. But honestly, can anyone not expect me to shower this book in a thunderstorm of more praise? Lightning bolts are at the ready — they shoot out from eyes like killer beams and electrify anyone’s anti-Seraphina commentary to the death. (Just kidding, or not.) In short, the reason I am still very much in love with Seraphina comes from the lasting impression. It’s first-class. Top notch. Superior to everything. (Well, maybe not everything.) You get the idea, I am sure.

Hit me over the head with another YA title that not only tops Hartman’s world-building craft, but her all-around pure talent and ability. Do it. I haven’t encountered another book this year — except Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief — that has won my entire devotion quite like this. I am prepared to sell my soul for even a snippet of Dracomachia‘s draft.

2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Between Shades of GrayWhoa, there, grab a tissue! What did you do to me, Sepetys? There is watery substance dripping down my cheeks. My eyes are leaky, broken faucets. Fix this. I think I have… tears? But I can’t stop reading.

Lina’s story punched me in the heart at every turn of every page, and it hurt. Lord, did it hurt, because I cried. Crying, I note, is not something that too many authors can make happen. Sepetys’ style flows from one sentence to the next, packed with such details, emotional sentiment, and stark pain that it all came at me in swift blows. By then it was too late to set the book down. (How could I? I have feelings for this whole story.) Every atom of me was invested in Lina’s life, her journey, and her story, so it is no surprise that I found myself reading until morning light peeped through the blinds and drowned my room. What is sleep?

I recommend that anyone read this, especially if you love young adult literature and/or historical fiction, because this is one tragic yet beautifully written book.

3. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
How to Say Goodbye in RobotYou might say Bea is my fictional twin — teen-version me, except a thousand times cooler than I’ll ever be — and Jonah is the best friend I wish I had. The friendship these two share appears controversial based on what I’ve read by other reviewers. I observe a great deal of baffled readers who view Jonah as a ‘territorial (boy)friend,’ despite that Bea and Jonah’s relationship is strictly platonic. Sitting opposite is me, because rarely — never, actually — have I encountered something special like what these main characters share.

Boyfriend is such a stupid word. No, I’m not your boyfriend. I thought we were way beyond that. What we are cannot be described with trivial words like boyfriend and girlfriend. Even friend doesn’t come close to describing it.

But who cares about fitting into labels when you have a good, quirky book like this? It’s one book I would love to read again and find time to review, if only to share my thoughts — I certainly do have quite an attachment to it.

(If the library had not put Standiford’s novel on special display, there is an uncomfortably high chance that I would have gone the rest of my life and never learned of its existence. This likelihood disturbs me, because I first read How to Say Goodby in Robot at the very beginning of 2012, and yet… Amazingly, I still feel strong affection for both the characters and storyline. I adore every part of this book, flaws and all. The only thing I find upsetting is that I cannot convince another  human being to read this book. Why?! I am more than willing to make a surprise attack and buy it for someone.)

4. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and BoneWoooo, everyone, it’s the Darkling! Whose real name, as Leigh Bardugo has informed via her Tumblr account, will be revealed in the final book. I pray it resembles nothing generic, like, say… Fred. I once had a terrible, fleeting crush on a boy at the ice skating rink when I was ten. That is, until I discovered his name. Hence “fleeting crush,” and yes: you are free to call me shallow, but I’d built up a full 30 minutes imagining him as a Charlie. Fred ruined everything.

Thankfully I trust Bardugo enough not to disappoint, however.

But in other Shadow & Bone news: Wow, did I ever have trouble setting this book down, and it had everything to do with characters more so than plot itself. I say this because I find the plot settles more on the predictable side — it is not difficult to see where the story ultimately leads, but I still enjoyed becoming an instant Genya fangirl (no matter where her loyalty lies) and the chemistry between characters. As a plus: Bardugo wraps the first of a trilogy well, patching the story together like a complete book. At the same time, she leaves just enough dangling details to rope us into Grisha Installment #2 —  another book of many that I am excited to read next year.

5. The Last Musketeer by Jason
The Last MusketeerWhatever it is that you are doing: STOP. Pause all current activities and find a graphic novel by Jason. (That is “Jason,” simply Jason, the pseudonym of John Arne Sæterøy.) Request it at the library, buy it from a bookseller, steal it from a friend — I do not care about your book-obtaining methods. All I care is that someone else on this planet gives this artist and his books a chance.

While I have only read a measly three graphic novels from him (the first being I Killed Adolph Hitler, which has less to do with Hitler than you’d think — that is not a bad thing!), The Last Musketeer is my favorite by far. A subtle and fair dose of good-natured humor greeted me on every page with charm. It’s impossible not to smile, at the very least.

The Last Musketeer by Jason

The Last Musketeer by Jason

6. I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly (illustrated by J.M. Ken Niimura)
I Kill Giants

I find giants. I hunt giants. I kill giants. So you’ll forgive me if ‘motivating’ a room full of losers with no self-esteem out of their hard earned money doesn’t hold much interest.

If there is one type of story I love, it is a good coming of age story and the elements that accompany it. How these stories are told — whether they stand out among the heap or blend in — depends on how the writer chooses to use those elements, to plant twists and spin originality.

I Kill Giants is another graphic novel I read and almost instantly adored. Barbara Thorson is your average Queen Misfit Extraordinaire, which may as well translate into The Greatest Giant Slayer to Exist. Defending the world from dangerous giants is a full-time job — an occupation, I add, that leaves little room for to cope with personal demons. This battle is beyond Thorson vs. Giant, as the story delves into the imagination of a troubled girl who struggles to accept what reality has in store. Bonus points: I could stare at the illustrations all day and still not get enough. (I fancy the idea of an IKG anime…)

Written  by Joe Kelly & illustrated by J.M. Ken Niimura

Written by Joe Kelly & illustrated by J.M. Ken Niimura

7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowd’s idea, and illustrated by Jim Kay

A Monster CallsThis quickly earned a rightful spot on my favorites list, and whenever I can possibly order my thoughts in a coherent manner, I swear I will review this brilliant book. Until then, I am happy to have read it — period. Jim Kay’s illustrations are quite catching, and I’d pay for poster-size versions of his A Monster Calls artwork simply to hang on my walls! It is not only the story, however, that I can love and connect to on a person level, but I find that honesty is something to appreciate. However different the circumstances my situation are from Connor O’Malley’s, comfort lives inside these pages. This is just one example of why no one should let the “children’s book” label stop you from reading. This book is not only for children. It’s a book for anyone, of any age, who knows the grief of losing a loved one.

Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book ThiefZusak did something much worse than rip my heart out and stomp all over my emotions. No. He first staked me over and over, slowly, and willed pain waves upon my soul with every jab. Then he stitched a time bomb inside me and watched emotions explode.

Beat me all you like, Zusak. I’m an empty piñata now. (So why do I love you so much for it? I can’t wait to read I am the Messenger, which a certain lovely gal gifted me — a dozen thank yous!) The Book Thief, for me, is one of those books that genuinely leaves me speechless, because I have no idea where to begin. How do I explain what makes this book wonderful? Or why I adore it? Every speck of this book is a fantastic, and often at times emotional, experience. The reasoning? Just because it is.

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenI think I articulated my feelings on this book quite well when I said:

Here’s the thing: my favorite books are almost as precious to me as my cat. They’re like my adopted children, only more endearing because they aren’t germ-spewing factories that shout, cry, and scream. It’s like when someone declares the smallest of a semi-but-not-really-insult about your mother.

Oh, no, protective mother hen! I kid, though. This book is not for everyone, and I can understand why. But for whatever and all reasons, which I discuss in my disgustingly long review, I clicked with Jacob.

10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger AbbeyI have adored just about every Austen-based movie and mini-series I’ve watched. What is not surprising is that I have read very little of Austen’s novels. As part of the “Austen in August” reading challenge this summer, I got my hands on a few Austen classics: Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, and finally: Northanger Abbey. The latter, unfortunately, is the only Austen novel I could fit into my August reading. While I do plan to read Austen’s other works, I am happy to have read and enjoyed Catherine Morland’s story. Mostly, I think I felt surprised to find myself so quickly engrossed in this “love story” for the first half of the novel. Catherine, you Tilney-infatuated book nerd! That girl has a wild imagination.

So tell me: what are your favorite books read in 2012?

Library Loot #7

  • Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

About a month has gone by since I last shared my library hoard, but that doesn’t mean I put a halt to weekly drop-ins — I have items on hold every week, alas. This week’s loot, mixed with some of last week’s books, was picked up on Tuesday only to have 10 more items pile in the next day. What happened? I was doing so well, working to cut down the stack… Well, I don’t know how it happened (yes I do: I am simply incapable of restraint), but this book-explosion will clash horribly when classes begin. It’s only a matter of time, and in my case — to be specific — it’s a matter of how many books I can manage before September 27th.

Regardless, I do have several books to share at the moment. If you’ve read or heard of any of the books in this post, I would love you hear your thoughts. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday #4

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s top 10 are bookish confessions. As a fairly honest bookish person, listing 10 confessions proved difficult — I didn’t think I would list that many, but with a little extra thought and searching…

1. I never finished Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which I’ve only recently begun to admit this year. I had left off at the moment Harry wakes up to see Hermione’s and Ron’s hands outstretched toward each other, feeling lonely. At some point shortly after I called it quits, and the decision had nothing to do disinterest. I stopped for a few reasons:

  • Any and all HP 7 spoilers went flying out from a friend’s mouth. This did play a role in some disinterest (though only a small amount!), but…
  • My memory is shoddy with just about everything. In fact, I’d say it’s only good for retaining English lessons from years ago and past reads. It’s therefore unusual for me to forget something so direly important to a book’s plot, such as, “What is a horcrux?”  But it happened.
  • I did not want Harry Potter’s adventure to end for me, and I could not find courage in me to face Dobby’s death scene.

Until I finish Deathly Hallows, I refuse to see the second half of the film. Book before film, always. At least for Harry.

2. One day a pile of library books were stacked at my bedside on the floor, which is located no more than a foot away from my desk. At the desk’s edge sat another book stack — rather wobbly — topped with my coffee mug. The wobbly stack didn’t support the mug’s weight, and coffee spilled everywhere. Philip Levine’s Breath collection mopped up a bunch of large stains. I never said anything, and I was never charged damage fees.

3. It’s easier to feel excited by adding new books to my collection than by reading them.

4. One bookish secret I have never told a soul until now is that I never finished Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times. I felt far too anxious to start the next book in my to-read pile, so I read about quarter of Taylor’s third story at most. It’s not as though I felt bored by Taylor’s stories, because I liked the first one and enjoyed the second with enthusiasm pumping through my system. I liked the second story so much that the third felt disappointing, I suppose.

Notes found in Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems

5. I love finding other people’s annotations inside previously read books, but besides annotations? That depends. I have found an old receipt for cigarettes, bookmarks, students’ tardy notes for school, and library check-out receipts. I like finding check-out receipts, because I see which books were borrowed and discover new reads.

6. As for me, you can find annotations in just about every book I read — even library books. I used to erase my pencil markings for the library, but then I grew tired of it. (And by “annotations,” I mean: yes, I write notes, but I more frequently mark quotable lines.) I feel like I am marring books, but I also like it when I find that someone else also found the same sentence as interesting as I do.

7. I chose to write a book report on Mein Kampf, which I checked out from the library. I guess you can say that, technically, I didn’t finish the giant second half of the book. Before going ahead on my decision to read Hitler’s book, I wish I had looked at the translator’s note. It acknowledged that Mein Kampf offers no insight on the reasons I picked it up. Not only that, but it racked up a library fee worth $20+.

8. Luckily I never had  to pay the $20 fee. The library system somehow kicked me out, so a librarian told me I could create a new account. “That’s good news,” she said. “It means you didn’t have any library fees!” Shhh.

9. Reading slumps plague me the most when my work load is light, and all the fun gets sucked out of my favorite hobby. I want to read, but the slump says, “No!” So I then force books upon myself and feel even worse.

10. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, but I’m worried that I won’t enjoy it. I want to enjoy it. I want to love it almost as much as I love her Harry Potter series, if only because this is J.K. Rowling: the woman who first got me to stay up until 4 AM, reading, entering a magical realm and refusing to leave. Up until that point, I don’t think I’d ever felt attached to a book before.

These are my top 10 bookish confessions! What are yours?
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