That Explains A Lot

Hello, hello! It’s already August and I have no idea where the time is going or what I’ve done while it was passing. I admit that I’ve been majorly slacking on writing. It’s not that I’m feeling burnt out or anything, but I still can’t find the motivation. The slew of rejections doesn’t exactly help get me pumped to write, but I was expecting them, so I’m not super depressed by them either. I’d just rather be reading or watching TV with Dad or something. Other than the actual writing, I’m still doing everything else I should be doing. Including reading. I thought I’d take a chance to ramble a bit about the books I’ve been rereading from years ago.

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Accurate.

Along with my books for review and other new-to-me stories, I’ve been working my way through a list of things I’ve been wanting to read again. So far, I’ve made it through C.S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia and am currently working on The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. Other books I eventually want to get to include Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, the Anne of Green Gables series, His Dark Materials, and some other standalones. If you’re interested, the full list (minus the things I’ve already reread) can be found on my GoodReads profile.

Anyway, I’ve definitely had some thoughts while rereading these things. First, the Chronicles of Narnia. I knew they were on the misogynistic and racist side because C.S. Lewis was a man of his time, but I really didn’t remember them being as bad about it as they are. All of the girls do amazing things, but they’re constantly written off as doing the best they can for a girl. Then there’s the whole thing with the Calormenes being stereotypical heathens that basically need Aslan (Jesus) in order to become good people. There were also some slurs that I didn’t remember being in there. But I’m not too sensitive to these things, so I still found the stories entertaining and fun. Misogyny and racism existed. They still exist. They show up in literature, especially in certain time periods. I understand that and accept that if I read stuff from back then, I’ll run across these kinds of things. I’m just saying it’s interesting how my younger mind glanced over this stuff.

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The other thing I noticed with the Chronicles of Narnia was the religious aspect. I know there were things that always made me uncomfortable with this series as a kid, but I never quite put my finger on it. Rereading it now, I realize it was probably the same things that makes me uncomfortable about religion in general. Aslan abducts kids, forces them to do his bidding before he’ll send them home, and for some reason they love him for it. It’s all a little brainwashy and super creepy. Not to mention the whole Aslan versus Tash thing. It comes down to “my god’s better than yours” and Aslan literally explains that no matter who people worship, good things are done for Aslan while bad things are done for Tash. No other god can be good, I guess. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind that the Chronicles of Narnia are pretty much just Bible retellings, but the creepiness of it all still shows through.

That’s enough about C.S. Lewis. The book I’m currently reading, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King, is the one that got me into reading and that explains a lot about me. There are blood and guts and a mean voice in Trisha’s head and curse words and all of the fun stuff I still enjoy. There’s a decapitated deer (head first, body later). A disemboweled fawn. Butterflies that turn into creepy hooded people who claim to be sent by various gods. The signs of a “special thing” lurking just out of sight. Not to mention all of the regular scary things in forests like snakes and bugs. And I’m not even finished with it yet. I remember some of this stuff, but at other points I have no recollection of it. The joys of gore. I still love it.

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It’s weird to look back at things and see what the mind has retained versus what it has purged over the years. Makes me wonder exactly which tidbits helped shape my mind. Anyway, what are some books from your earlier years that you’ve reread recently? Did they surprise you? Did you notice anything about yourself? Do you still like them? As always, feel free to comment here or on my social media pages!

Slacking Off…

Hello, hello! I have nothing to ramble about this week and I just can’t find the motivation to force something. Since my last post, I’ve prepared everything I need to start my agent hunt (query letter, a full synopsis, a partial synopsis, and one last round of quick edits). All I need to do to get ready for PitDark is write a couple of Twitter pitches and schedule the posts for Thursday (which I will be doing today). Otherwise, life is the same. Nothing exciting is going on, so I’m going to slack off on today’s post. A friend tagged me on Facebook to post the covers of ten books I love (one book a day with no explanation) to ward off the Covid-19 quarantine boredom with something positive. Or something like that. Anyway, I’ve already forgotten to post for two days, so I figured I’d just post them all here.

So, here are the covers of ten books I love in no particular order.

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There you go. Ten books that I love for whatever reasons. I tried to include some I haven’t mentioned before, but a bunch of the ones you know about snuck in anyway. As usual, feel free to comment or post your own lists 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.