What Book Scarred Me As A Child

Hello, hello! How’s everything going on this wonderful Wednesday? Things here are pretty good. Can’t complain, though I usually do. Anyway, it’s time for another one of those pick a number things. This week is 2, courtesy of the fab Derek! I’ve done 13 (you can find the prompt list there) and 7. Numbers 8, 3, 10, 6, 14, 11, and 1 have all been claimed, but feel free to pick one of the remaining numbers. Today’s prompt is “tell me which book had a profound effect on you as a kid.” Honestly, most of you probably already know the answer.

I don’t remember being much of a reader as a kid. I read what I was told to read for school, but never had much fun with it. There were two “book report” projects I remember from elementary school where we got to pick our own books from the school library. For one, I chose The Séance by Joan Lowery Nixon. I don’t remember the story itself, but it was my first locked door mystery and I vaguely remember loving it. It was a little advanced for my age at the time (it’s recommended for 12 years and up and I was like 8 or 9), but my teacher and parents didn’t say anything, so murder and mysteries kind of became my go-to at an early age. But still, it wasn’t enough to get me hooked on reading.

The other book from elementary school was Ransom by Lois Duncan. It actually had a cripple dude who wasn’t useless or inspo-pornified. Of course, back then, I didn’t know what inspo-porn really was and I didn’t care that he was cripple. I just liked him because he was the angsty loner guy and I already had the beginnings of a type (which eventually transformed into my love of fictional psychopaths). But it was about a busload of kids getting kidnapped. I loved it. And it wasn’t enough to stoke my love of reading either.

It wasn’t until 1999 (I was 13) that I really got into reading. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King had just come out and Dad plopped it down in front of me and said to try it. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried to get me into reading (even The Hobbit had failed to interest me until later), but it was the one that worked. There was creepy stuff and normal stuff and it wasn’t super scary, but it was something that could happen and that made it awesome (yeah, I was a weird kid). I tore through so many Stephen King books after that. I remember sitting in the library/game area one evening during a hospital stay reading the uncut version of The Stand (I brought it from home, it wasn’t actually in a children’s hospital library) and a nurse came in making idle chit-chat while checking on me. The look of horror on her face when I showed her what I was reading (she didn’t like “scary” books) was priceless. It was my first time seeing a grown person get freaked out over a book. She just didn’t understand why I wanted to read scary things. It was hilarious. But yeah. My early reading habits were strange.

Anyway, I still wasn’t a constant reader after that. I’d go through periods where I would read everything until I burnt myself out, then I wouldn’t read for months. It went on like that until Stonecoast, actually. Ever since then, I’ve learned to read a couple of chapters every day so I don’t burn myself out. And I don’t scold myself if I miss a day or two here and there. But if a book grabs me, I don’t deny myself a good binge either. But I digress. This is all just a big ramble about having to find my way into reading. It didn’t come naturally to me. And it took a while to find the right fit. But that’s okay. What about you? What book(s) had the biggest impact on you when you were young? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and comments and questions here or on my social media pages!

Stuck on Repeat

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this Wednesday? Things here are about the same as usual. It’s time for all of those yearly meetings, so people know we’re still alive and I’m still cripple and poor (the government has to check, I guess). But half of those are still virtual, so that’s good. Anyway, if you read last week’s post, you know I’m doing one of those pick a number things. This week’s pick is courtesy of the beautiful Roxie with number 7! I’ve done 13 (you can find the prompt list there). And 2, 8, 3, 10, 6, 14, 11, and 1 have all been claimed. Feel free to pick one of the remaining numbers. But let’s get back on topic. The prompt is “Tell me which book you’ve re-read the most times.” That’s a hard one…

The thing is, I don’t re-read things very often. I don’t have comfort books that I keep returning to time and again. When I do re-read something, it’s usually for a reason. Like, if it’s a series and a new book is coming out after a couple of years. But even then, I’ll try reading the new book first and seeing what I remember. If I can’t remember certain things, Google is my friend. If I remember little to nothing, then I will read the other books again. Don’t get me wrong. I have a huge list of books I want to re-read, but there are just so many new books and books that are new to me. There’s not enough time.

I’ve read the Harry Potter books three times all the way through and Lord of the Rings twice that I remember. I believe I read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon three times as well. But I’m a super slow reader (I get through 35 books a year if I push it), so if I do read things repeatedly, it’s usually short stories or poems. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read “The Yellow Wallpaper” (Gilman) or “A Rose for Emily” (Faulkner). My favorite poetry collections are Cruelty by Ai (which I’ve read at least five times) and The Wild Iris by Louise Glück (also read four or five times). And I won’t list the individual poems I go back to all the time.

Now, if you count manga and the like, I’ve re-read way too much stuff. I go back to Kaori Yuki’s stuff more than I should probably say. Angel Sanctuary and Boy’s Next Door are my favorites. They’re disturbing and entirely fucked up, but I love them. BND was the first story I read that told you from the very beginning what the ending was and still managed to make me an emotional wreck by the time we got to the end. No, I don’t recommend it to everyone because of all of the content warnings it should have, but if you’re already a dark, twisted soul… go find it. Same with Angel Sanctuary, but for very different content warnings. I could also list some more normal things like Sailor Moon and Fullmetal Alchemist, but it probably won’t help you think better of me at this point. I like weird stuff. This is why I don’t include manga and manhwa on my GoodReads profile very often.

There you go. The stuff I re-read. It’s usually weird or would freak people out. Sorry, not sorry. What about you? Do you re-read soft and cuddly comfort books? Or do you prefer re-reading things that rip your heart out and wreak havoc on your soul? Or something in between? As always, feel free to leave your comments or questions here or on my social media pages!

10 Books/Series

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this delightful Wednesday? Things here have been weirdly social lately. The Minion and various members of his family have come over a few times to help Dad with stuff. Another family friend is due to drop by tomorrow. And our neighbors have been weirdly neighborly. So that’s been interesting. Anyway, I can’t think of anything to ramble about and Facebook memories have recently reminded me of that trend of listing 10 books that have stuck with you that went around a few years ago. I thought I had done a post like that on here, but I can’t find it (though I didn’t look that hard), so I’m just going to list 10 books/series that have stuck with me. No explanations. Just books.

1. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

3. Angel Sanctuary by Kaori Yuki.

4. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

6. Ransom by Lois Duncan. The original version, not the crappy modernized version where they completely ruin the plot with mentions of cell phones and email.

7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

8. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss.

9. Cruelty by Ai.

10. The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck.

What books have stuck with you? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or questions here or on my social media pages!

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.

358b742efd397028cf02812dd5c82b23
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.

920

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.

tenor (13)

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.

200px-Girl_Gordon_cover

51kTIlXatRL

51gKAVDyENL

51l3TFMwN6L

51Tt01NOC8L

de1a7622b11b96f55946799c8bf95e05

14497

9435474

goss-alchemistsdaughter

81vitJFji3L

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).

d1797b6431035c4aa1b7910d8d6bba8b
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.

86427b1dfb05822efe64ee84ce9516e0

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.

s-l300

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.

66ce22f264e4003a88a80cff82ec2c6709b1f05ddb5ace0160d9bd350b00b0a9
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.

giphy (15)
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?

tenor (6)
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.

d6de63e8a6f4d617ee170e163589916a
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.

grouppic3
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.

51io310opcl__sx307_bo1204203200_
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.