Comforting your sick, lazy self + Twitter

What a fancy seeing me here! I’ve kept quiet for almost the entirety of July, I am well aware. Blogging sat in the back of mind for a couple of weeks, and then it invaded my conscience and found a voice. It said things like, “Post!” and “Review!” and I said, “No.” After leaving one of the more stressful school years behind this spring, I felt I deserved a break. I was done. Kaput. Out of energy. I wanted a vacation from cramped schedules and due dates and ARC reading. Well, I cannot do anything about the books I’ve received for review, but I did–clearly–go away for a short while. It wasn’t all fun: I first came down with a two-week bug followed by a bout of laziness, or you might say my two-week bug was laziness followed by more laziness.

medical conditional called laziness

During this great period of Doing Nothing, I read a bit of this book and that book, watched a show here and there… Which made me think: I love comfort books. But not only that. I also love TV shows and movies for comfort, especially ones I can watch on repeat a hundred times. In every sense of the word, I am a book nerd, though I’d be lying if I said I don’t love sitting in front of the screen for hours just a bit more than reading.

comfort reading

If I feel flu-ish or like a couch potato, I become drawn to certain books that meet certain criteria. When sick, there is no chance I’ll seek a book weighted in politics, intricate plots, and complex storylines. All of these qualities, when brought to life by good writing, can make an excellent piece of literature, but who wants that with a fogged brain? I demand light and simple yet interesting. I don’t want a book whose plot flies ten feet above my ability to grasp it, but I don’t want a book that puts me to sleep either. To name some personal favorites, I compiled a few lists…

1. I love a book that can wow me. A book that’s unique, emotionally compelling, and intelligent. My reading, however, should never be restricted to “smart” or “impressive” novels–reading should be fun, and that entails rehashed plots or predictability equally as much as it entails originality. So long as the reader enjoys the book, who cares?  Straight-forward books that offer non-complex world-building often become some of my favorite comfort material, and here are only a select number of preferred light reading:

anna

*Anna & The French Kiss and I didn’t get off on good footing the first time around, but now–well, yes. I understand the book’s appeal. I understood it the first time I read it, but that understanding is now on par with zealous fans. I’m not a zealous fan–just to be clear–but I like this novel for how simple and light it proves to be. It’s predictable with the perfect about of fluff and drama, and once you accept Anna & the French Kiss for it is, you just might like it, too

2. One word: manga!

Ladies & Gentlemen: Mikasa Ackerman of Shingeki no Kyojin & why she's top BAMF. You are welcome.

Ladies & Gentlemen: Mikasa Ackerman of Shingeki no Kyojin & why she’s top BAMF. You are welcome.

I stand before you at the cusp of entering a manga obsession. I’ve never been a manga person, as I can count on one hand the number of manga I’ve read before this week (two). Having finished EVERYTHING that is currently available of Shingeki no Kyojin (SNK/Attack on Titan), I died. Then, upon realizing that SNK is not the only manga out there, I undied and began my search. I’m brand new at this–a beginner. I can’t provide a decent recommendation list, but I will say that–just like any novel–manga storylines are either complex or simple.  Not all are mind-blowing or likable, but the added bonus of a good manga artist and writer (not to forget: a good translator) make even the sophisticated plots fairly comprehensible. I appreciate this.

e7: blue mondaySo on that note:

*The Eureka 7 manga is an adaption of the original anime show of the same name. Between the two, I highly recommend the anime.

3. Those books I will re-read and re-read and… re-read…

When it comes to reading, my biggest problem is allowing myself to get swept up in one book only to be distracted by three more. I don’t accomplish too many re-reads for this reason, but the aforementioned titles are books I will re-read in an instant. They remain as some of my personal favorites, and I give high praise to each. Whenever I’m down with a cold, this is a handful of what I reach for on my shelf.

Fact: Something Strange & Deadly is my favorite comfort book to re-read. At four read-throughs, it’s my second-most read book (only topped by A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness).

film preview

Maybe it’s because I’m a nostalgic person–or perhaps it’s because I loved my mother’s pampering when I was little–but when I’m sick or avoiding chores, I seek things which define my childhood: Spice Girls, Harry Potter, Disney, and well…

1. “Family-fun movies”

2. Shows that know a good time…

Unless you’re my grandmother who solely lives for Lifetime movies, there is a high chance you will enjoy these shows. I will watch every single episode back-to-back–recycle and repeat; no rinse.

*Now, bumping into people who refuse to watch ATLA is almost as frustrating as discovering people who deny watching it. If you think you’re too old for ATLA and LOK, if you think you’re too old for anything animated, then get out of my face or prepare to be agni kai’d off this planet. I will burn you into ashes of shame and humiliation from which you will never rise. Insulting these shows is outrageous. It’s blasphemous. You don’t stomp over a sacred creation without consequence. Thank and bless Michael Dimartino and Bryan Konietzko, amen.

atla water tribe

Speaking of, Korra’s second season is coming this September! Who else feels excited?

3. Re-visiting a few more childhood favorites…

I am sorry? You don’t like Pokémon or Sailor Moon? We cannot be friends.

twitterYes, I am now on Twitter. Maybe? I am here! But, uh, not tweeting. I am intelligent enough to create a Twitter account, but I am not intelligent enough to tweet. Standby as I finish Twitter for Dummies. In the meantime, drop me a comment, because feed is superbly boring when there’s no one to spam it.

Tell me: What are your favorite shows and books to revisit?

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Top Ten Tuesday #3

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 to list your 10 favorite books during your blog’s lifespan. Is this a joke? No one can make me choose only 10 favorites. There are too many books, and too many I’d love to share with everyone! This list — which I wrote in no particular order — has undergone countless changes. Even now, I continue to make mental changes by switching and swapping titles. I want to list every book I’ve read and loved since — and even before — my WordPress blog forced itself upon the Internet.

Without further delay (because at this rate, I will keep my list under scrutiny and the post will never see publication), here are my top 10:

1. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Here is a book I recommend everyone of any age read. In a wordless graphic novel, Tan artistically expresses — and with dazzling cinematic beauty — an immigrant’s tale. Most of us are familiar with this story: a foreigner makes a long journey to new lands, and all in hope to establish a better life. No matter how old and rehashed one might believe this story to be, Shaun Tan’s work is a refreshing gust of air that also took my breath away. I think many can appreciate the chronicle of a man braving a new world, while all (particularly children) will feel enthralled by the drawings and curious creatures. Overall, The Arrival is an imaginative piece of well-executed craft, and I can always go back and expect to feel same amazing enchantment.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green hit my radar in late 2009 — a Nerdfighter enthusiast was ecstatic about an upcoming book (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), and even that was not enough to entice me. It sounds pathetic, but I needed a push and many reminders before I would step foot into the crazy realm of John Green hysteria. I waited a few years until I read Will Grayson, which — seeing as how I enjoyed the read — piqued my curiosity. Jeez, finally. After a so-so experience with Paper Towns, someone highly recommended I try LFA, and I am happy I went along with the suggestion. An Abundance of Katherines remains the only Green novel I haven’t finished, but I suggest LFA to those who haven’t encountered his books before. To this day, it remains my personal favorite of his work.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I cried. This book made me cry, which isn’t an easy task to accomplish. I’m more easily impacted, emotionally speaking, by cinema rather than literature. And yet: two rivers ran their course down my cheeks, and I found myself carrying out that whole stiffing-my-tears business. I try to regulate breathing until it steadies, and then I repeat some mental incantation, like, “It’s just a book; stop it. It’s just a book. …Stop it.” (I’m not a public crier, alas.) Death amused me, Rudy’s end crushed all my joy, but I will always look at Liesel’s relationship with Hans — as well as with Max — with sentiment. The Book Thief deserves attention for its sweet but wrenching coming-of-age story, and I hope you all should attempt it at least once — especially with a film in the works! (Yay or nay? I stand on uneasy but expectant ground.)

4. Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés)
I can’t say I will later look at this list and regret making Manbach’s picture book a part of it, but I think of other books I’ve read. Books with more sustenance, you can say. The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, is a classic I love, and I could list Suzanne Collins’s THG series as well. THG, in fact, would be rather fitting since the DVD and Blu-ray were released this weekend. In the end, I love all of these books, and although Go the Fuck to Sleep is quick to read, it’s also entertaining. This book is worth a smile and a laugh, and I’d read it again for the sake of amusement. Samuel L. Jackson’s audio, however, wins my favor.

5. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
A laugh-out-loud satiric observation of the aristocratic life, The Importance of Being Earnest oozes formidable wit and illustrates why Oscar Wilde is perfection. No, Dorian Gray did not make my list despite how much I love that story — and don’t get the wrong impression. I nearly added Mr. Gray, but what it comes down to is mood and how Wilde effortlessly makes me laugh. I will certainly visit more of Wilde’s writing in the future, but I am just as likely to revisit this play time and time again. Even though I am past the wonderful first read of The Importance of Being Earnest — an experience I can never re-create (lest amnesiac misfortune befalls me) — I love how I can still return and get the same kick.

6. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
It’s no secret: I’m a YA book junkie, and this happened to land a spot on my YA favorites shelf. Second to Hartman’s Seraphina, I look forward to this book’s sequel. Prior to decking bookstores and libraries, hype that surrounded Shadow & Bone hooked my curiosity and raised expectations. Disappointment typically follows once I set a piece of literature to higher standards, but I find that Bardugo’s style owns an attractive quality that engaged me from the get-go.  Absorbed into the text — sitting there, reading — I hated life for butting in. When I had some place to go, I’d sit up from my comfy reading nook and walk with my faced still crammed inside the book. I wanted to carry on reading, but I didn’t wish the story to end, either. Emptiness replaced eagerness once I reached the end, so… Come on, 2013.

7. We Thought You Would Be Prettier by Laurie Notaro
Laurie Notaro, particularly her older and non-fictional work, hardly disappoint when I feel in need for a mood-boost. If Laurie’s humor suits you, I recommend the humorous essay collection of We Thought You Would Be Prettier. Laurie puts ridicule on display, exaggerating and poking fun at her own faults and everyday life. What sounds like an embarrassing and hectic life make priceless stories that are perfect for sharing. I think her latest book fails to match the humor in her previous work, but I can always count on her to tell relatable stories that put a smile on my face.

 

8. What the Living Do by Marie Howe
Because I chiefly read YA literature and review little else, I don’t believe many people know that my love for poetry dates beyond my YA obsession. 50 percent of my first few top 10 lists consisted of poetry, in fact: Umberto Saba, Rilke, Komunyakaa, Hilda Morley, and Kevin Young (to give some names). I wound up removing them all save for Marie Howe’s What the Living Do. This collection moves me, as I still see it as powerful with the great ability to bear itself raw through artistic, gentle appeal. From a childhood marked by sexual abuse, then growing up to see death (especially that of Howe’s brother), love and more, Howe explores relationships among the living and dying. Her language is plain but never dull; rather, it’s all at once striking, conversational, and effective.

9. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
I’m surprised I still feel affection for Standiford’s book, because it has lasted such a long time! (Which is to say that it’s been months.) There are books I read, and although I enjoy and continue to adore them, the exact feeling of adoration returns like a weak tide, growing fainter every time they cross my mind. The laughter at the similarity between Bea and I, the frustration toward Jonah, and my upset over the bittersweet ending for  How to Say Goodbye in Robot remains fresh. Compared to other YA contemporaries, this is one of few I claim holds a unique trait. Where else do you find a friendship like Bea’s and Jonah’s?

 

10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Please. As if no one saw this coming. I would feel genuine shock if even a single person thought Seraphina wouldn’t make the list. Likewise, I imagine the people who are familiar with me skimming my top ten, chanting, “Where is it? Where is it?” And here it is! Gosh, have I tired anyone from my Seraphina-related banter yet? I fell in love with this book. As I normally do with something I love, I share and obsess and gush until I meet a new fascination. I just haven’t found a new fascination, but I am very eager to read Stormdancer