Book Rant

Hello, hello! September is flying by. I can’t believe we’re already a third of the way through it (close enough anyway). I have no idea where the time is going. I’ve mostly been reading. It’s weird. I’ve already read this month’s book for the review and I’m currently working on next month’s book since it’s on the long side. But, since the last time I talked about reading, I’ve also read another book from my “want to read again” list. It’s an old book I read back in elementary school and loved. Well, I picked up the Kindle version via my library’s OverDrive account and apparently they updated the book when it was released as an eBook. Needless to say, I have issues with it.

The cover of the 2012 Kindle version.

Ransom by Lois Duncan is about a group of five kids who live in one of the richer areas of New Mexico getting kidnapped when someone steals their school bus. It’s a story about five completely different people struggling to survive and come to terms not only with what’s happening, but also with each other. Honestly, it’s a little melodramatic and the dialogue is a bit stilted, but it’s a fun read if you come into it with the right mindset.

The book was written in 1966. I read it in the early ’90s. In other words, it was pre-Interwebz and pre-cellphone. That’s what makes the plot believable in the first place. The kidnappers can’t get in touch with one of the families via home phone, which ups the tension. There’s no such thing as email or texts or any of that. People are out of touch with each other for hours on end. Parents can’t track their kids’ phones. No one actually worries until someone isn’t home for dinner. That was the norm back then and it made the story plausible. It made it exciting.

This is how kids used to know it was time to get home, even when I was a kid.

But when I started reading the Kindle version from Open Road Media, I noticed they added things. There were random mentions of cellphones and a lame attempt to explain a daughter writing letters to her dad because he wouldn’t answer her emails. It’s like the editors were trying to make the story more accessible to a modern audience, but all they managed to do was make the story ridiculous. Plus, they didn’t bother updating the speech or coming up with a more modern excuse for the cripple dude. I mean, how many kids have had polio recently? According to the CDC, we haven’t had a case in the U.S. since 1979. In 1966 when the book was published, the idea that an 18-year-old had contracted polio as a child wasn’t far-fetched at all. If you’re going to update a book, at least be consistent. The anachronisms in the version were eye-twitch inducing.

Basically.

In other words, avoid this version of Ransom. Try to find something earlier. I don’t know if other newer versions do the same thing, but if you run across mentions of cellphones or emails in your copy, know that it’s LIES. This is a good book if you can get into the time period. I don’t understand why they felt the need to update it. It wasn’t necessary. It just ticks me off. Anyway, as always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or similar stories here or on my social media pages!

Quarantine TBR

Hello, hello! Welcome to May. How is everyone doing? They’re currently trying to reopen Texas in phases even though we’re beating records for most new cases of Covid-19 just about every day. Because that seems like the smart thing to do? I guess? Whatever. Everyone else can do what they want. I’ll be keeping myself at home until things actually settle down and/or there’s a vaccine or treatment protocols that work. So, that means I need to find ways to entertain myself for a while longer. That means books. Lots of books. And since I have nothing else to ramble about today, I thought I would share my to-be-read list thus far (I add books every day).

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It’s not wrong.

Instead of just listing some books, it’ll be easier if I group them together by genre or whether I’ve already read them. So, here are some of the books on my TBR list.

1. Books I’ve read, but want to read again. This year, I’ve been making my way through the Chronicles of Narnia. I have three left (The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle). I also plan on rereading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King, Ransom by Lois Duncan, and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman at some point before the end of the year. Depending on how my other reads go, I might also try to start Harry Potter again, but I might save that for next year’s reading list.

2. Mysteries (cozies or otherwise). I don’t know how this list ended up being so long, but it is and it’s still growing. I want to read The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill, Bound for Murder by Victoria Gilbert, A Crafter Hooks a Killer by Holly Quinn, and Death in a Budapest Butterfly by Julia Buckley. Also, Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien is due out in August, which I’m looking forward to. And if you look at my GoodReads page, you’ll see a bunch more like these that I probably won’t get to this year.

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3. Fantasy. I’m currently reading Dragon Brothers by L.B. Lillibridge for this month’s book review. I was originally going to read The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, but its publication date got pushed back until February, so while I’m still going to read it this month, the review will wait until closer to February. I also have Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi, The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones, and Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw on my list for this year. The next two books in Danielle Rose’s Darkhaven saga are also due out before the end of the year, so those go on the list too.

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I doubt I’ll be able to make it through all of these books by the end of the year, but since there probably won’t be much progress with Covid-19 in the foreseeable future, maybe I’ll be able to finish them and more before I stop hermitting. Quarantining. I meant quarantining. What are some of the books on your TBR list? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or lists or suggestions or whatever here or on my social media pages!

To Re-Read Or Not To Re-Read…

Howdy, howdy!  First and foremost, I want to thank Lew Andrada one last time for his awesome post last week.  If you haven’t read it, you should go do that after you read and comment on this one!  As for this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff I read as a teenager or in my early 20s.  And there are a lot of books that I would love to read again for various reasons, but I’m afraid it’ll ruin the love I hold for them.  Like, what if they’re actually really bad and I’m just in love with the notion of them?  I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from friends to go ahead and make 2020 (and probably 2021 because I’m a slow reader and would still have to read new books to review) the year(s) of book nostalgia and re-read all the things, but the fear is real.  So, I thought I’d list the 35 books I want to read again and ask everyone for opinions on whether it’s a bad idea in general or which ones would best be left in the past, etc.

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Probably stupid.

1. The Harry Potter series (7 books).  I’ve only read the series all the way through once.  Yeah, I’m a bad fan.  Whatever.  But I’ve been getting the itch to go through it all again.  I’m not too worried about ruining this one, though.  It’s the series I remember the best.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books).  I blew through this series in my mid-teens and can only vaguely remember it, which is why I want to read it again.  Granted, the memories are fond ones, but I still worry that maybe it wasn’t that good.  It has a decent sized fan base, but I often dislike books everyone else seems to love.  It’s worrisome.

3. The Anne of Green Gables series (9 books).  Normally, I hate slice-of-life (not sure if that’s an actual genre, but it’s what I’ve always called things like this series) books.  It makes me curious as to why I enjoyed this series as a teenager.  It’s one of the few that I’m most afraid of ruining for myself.

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Will it, though?

4. His Dark Materials (3 books).  This was a series I read in my early 20s.  I remember a bit of it, but not enough to read the Book of Dust series or any of the stories connected to His Dark Materials.  This is the usual predicament that forces me to re-read things.

5. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (4 books).  I’ve actually read these twice already, but I wouldn’t mind going back to them.  Just because.  There are some books that call to you.  It happens.

6. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and The Talisman (2 books).  It’s not often that I feel the desire to re-read Stephen King stuff, but these are two I’m feeling drawn back to.  Will they stand up against the test of time?  I don’t know.  Am I willing to risk it?  Don’t know that either.

7. Neverwhere (1 book).  So, I have a love/hate relationship with Gaiman.  I absolutely love his work, but there’s always something I hate about his stories.  Neverwhere started my love of his work.  The problem is that I can’t remember hating anything about it.  That worries me, because what if it’s truly horrible and I’ve blocked it out?

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So many worries…

8. Ransom (1 book).  This one I actually read back in 4th or 5th grade.  I’ve never read anything else by Lois Duncan, but this one stuck with me.  It’s the first book I read that had someone with a disability who played a major role.  Granted, he wasn’t disabled like I am, but it was cool.  I’m afraid that connection was the only actual good thing about the book.

9. The Wild Iris (1 book).  I fully admit that I re-read poetry more than anything else.  This is a collection I’ve been meaning to read again for years.

So, what are your thoughts on reading things more than once?  Is it a worthwhile endeavor or would you stick with new books?  Anything on this list that isn’t worth a second look?  What’s on your list?  Feel free to share your comments or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Ten Books (Or Series) That Have Stuck With Me

Hello, hello!  I haven’t been feeling 100% the last couple of days, so I thought I would make today’s post short and simple.  We all have books or movies or songs or works of art or whatever that stick with us.  You know the ones.  Those things that we randomly think of even though we haven’t seen or thought of them in years.  The things that pop up in our lives at the most unexpected of moments.  They helped shape who we are today, for better or worse.  That’s what I’m going to talk about today.  Namely, the books or series that have stuck with me.

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It’s kind of like that.

1. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.  It was the first book I remember reading that I didn’t actually have to read.  Pretty much everything by King sticks with me, though.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I don’t think there’s anyone around my age who wasn’t at least exposed to Harry Potter.  It’s one of those series that keeps surprising you, even after you’ve read it for the third time.

3. Angel Sanctuary by Kaori Yuki.  I know it’s a manga (Japanese graphic novel) series, but it taught me so much growing up.  I learned that, sometimes, the cruelest of demons comes packaged as an angel, and vice versa.

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From Angel Sanctuary.

 4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  I honestly don’t even remember liking this book, but I find myself thinking about it quite often.  It’s one of those books that I’m afraid to read again, in case it ruins the nostalgia.

5. The Seance by Joan Lowery Nixon.  This is another of those books that I haven’t read since I was small (it was my first “pick your own book” book report in elementary school).  It was my first foray into the whole spooky mystery thing.

6. Ransom by Lois Duncan.  Again, this was something I read in elementary school.  It was the first book I remember reading that had a disabled kid.  He wasn’t in a wheelchair or anything, but he was different from everyone else and it was strange to see someone else deal with that kind of stuff.

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  I fell in love with Gaiman’s writing because of this book.  It will always hold a special place in my heart, even if some of his other stuff was less than impressive.

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I should read it again.

 8. Anne of Green Gables and most of the other Anne Shirley books by L.M. Montgomery.  Yes, I went through a stage where reading about the everyday antics of Anne entertained me.  I still think of her fondly every once in a while.

9. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.  This is another series that forced me to ask questions.  It makes me think.  I come back to it a lot when I’m thinking of religion and all that.

10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been exposed to this title thanks to the movies, but that’s not how I know it.  For me, it will always be that short, fun read that opened up the fantasy door.

What about you?  What are some of the books that have stayed with you over the years?  Feel free to list them here or on my social media accounts.