Auditory only media wasn’t my thing usually. Except of course for Adventures in Odyssey, but then again, that was following my younger sisters’ lead. I still have a hard time thinking audiobooks are “reading” you simply cannot process them the same. But jobs have forced me to learn to appreciate audiobooks and the like.
Because I’m very erratic/moody in my interests, I’ve bounced around between music, podcasts, Audible, sometimes in overall weekly or monthly themes of one of them, sometimes within one day.
I’ve tons in my Audible library now since I’ve bought/earned extra credits and coupons plus done the years membership AND discovered you can return purchases if you don’t like the book. Edited: I’ve discovered returning books once done is considered gaming the system, so I’m not going to do that again, unless I truly disliked the book/quality or something like that.
My first introduction to audiobooks and radio dramas was when I was on audiobooks.com a couple years ago (in order to endure an agonizingly boring temp assignment), I listened to the BBC Jane Austen radio drama, which I adore (and which included Benedict Cumberbatch and I believe Blake Ritson). I’d not heard or understood of radio dramas.
Then I picked up the James Herriot books read by Christopher Timothy, and oh, my what jewels, especially the first two. I’m on, the fifth now I think. I still was wanted to “count as read” the books, so I tried to read the paperback of the second, um no, Christopher Timothy truly brings them alive, I was too spoiled to do anything but listen. Our library only had the first two on audio, so it was then I went to Audible for a trial, and I don’t know that I’ve cancelled although I paused for a while. The audiobooks in the publication order (in U.S. regular book order anyway) are:
All Creatures Great and Small
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All Things Wise and Wonderful
The Lord God Made Them All
Every Living Thing
Once firmly ensconced in the Audible world, I got back on the track of BBC radiodramas. Thus far I’ve listened to Jeeves and Wooster, and I was giggling and gasping with laughter out loud at work multiple times. Highly recommend. Then I listened to The Importance of Being Ernest (I swear between, watching the movie innumerable times, reading it twice, and watching the webseries In Ernest, but mostly watching the movie, I should have this memorized) and An Ideal Husband.
In my library but not listened to yet are multiple more radio dramas: Lord Peter Wimsey, The Barchester Chronicles, My Family and Other Animals, Two sets of Dickens, and the Brontes works. There are many more than this. I think perhaps, I do prefer radio dramas, or bringing to life reading combined with that style of writing that is the James Herriot experience. I do have some regular audiobooks on my list other than Herriot, but Narnia I was trying to read along with because I wanted the experience of the books, and so I got impatient and quit listening. And also, I do think I prefer doing work or something while listening, that is the only way to at least possibly focus.
In addition to the BBC radio dramas and regular audiobooks, Audible also has tons of The Great Courses, which is an AMAZING resource (I would also love to try their streaming service which has audio and video), so I’ve listened to John McWhorter’s The Story of Human Language. This one does require more especial focus, and I’ve had to “rewind” and relisten to catch things I’ve missed, but OH, if you love language and the tantalizing bits of learning the Wired youtube channel has given, you will LOVE this course. I feel like maybe listen once, then listen again with notes? But then I do love making everything complicated. I’ve still not finished this yet because I’ve got even less focus even before all this happened, and I never was great in the first place.
My most recent listen (and one I’m “checking out” as if from the library) is Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality. I’m not a super fan of much of their gross youtube eating tests or whatever. Ok, I rather HATE that sort of thing, but their personalities and backgrounds are so funny and unique plus being Southern, and I really paid more attention to them after they started visiting and talking about their childhoods in North Carolina, they were hysterically crazy boys, and their descriptions of the stuff they did are hilarious. I think funny in the way they are is hard to find. Like it’s just part of them, everything they do, it’s not trying too hard or anything, they are genuinely crazy people who are funny and weird and confident about it, without you know being the “I’m SoO difFerEnt and WeIrD.”
I’ve been listening to some of their podcasts, “Earbiscuits” and have laughed out loud. Some of the book is rather strange to listen to, like it’s better to read, and some of it is boring, at least to me. But they narrate it themselves and still have such funny parts (for some reason, I think I found the section on their hair the funniest thus far, they did try crazy stuff, but it’s the way they describe everything that is just hysterical, like they can’t even do mundane stuff in a mundane way) and often include people that are part of their story, like telling their romances with their wives, who give their versions, in their own voices. Also, its so light, that I do have to have much brain power to listen to, but it’s obviously not a gem I will keep.
Catherine at Based on the Book tagged me with the Liebster Award. I always love any sort of tag, it means someone else did part of the brainwork for a blog post, lol. And continuing with my laziness, I’m not going to think of questions or tag people, but if you want to answer her questions, she included anyone who wanted in her tag.
1. Which book have you re-read the most and why?
I wish I’d kept better track of my rereads. I know I’ve read Pride and Prejudice at least 3 times I think. And HP too. But I’ve also read North and South three times, at least. And that is definitely more of an accomplishment I think. I want to read that one again, it is just so rich and ripe for analysis (I’ve written pages of my impressions of it). Plus its alway interesting to compare books with period drama adaptations (the reward of watching North and South was the catalyst of my first reading and rewatching inspired at least one if not both rereads).
2. Which Hogwarts house would you put yourself in?
Ravenclaw all the way. I’d be wishing for Ravenclaw like Harry wished against Slytherin. But I’d also have to wish against Slytherin as well. I’m not sneaky, but I’m not . . . well nice, good, whatever. I consider it a great accomplishment if I ever attain a neutral, bare minimum level of civility that would probably only be considered so in another unfriendly country.
3. What is your favourite fictional friendship?
I’m sure I have more but Sarah Jane and Mabel from Grandma’s Attic popped into mind, since their friendship was the main focus of those stories. Childhood best friends who get into scrapes together from tiny children to adults is always a fun plot.
4. If you could bring back one TV show/series what would it be?
Well, I think most shows need to end well before they do. And I don’t mean just are long US shows, Sherlock crashed and burned after two seasons, imho. So I’d prefer to go back in time and redo That 70’s Show, putting Jackie and Hyde together sooner. Cutting out lazy shock plotlines. Keeping Eric and Donna as good characters and sucking all the creepyness out of Fez and working in the truly good bits from the older seasons (there were some good burns). And fitting everything in 4 or 5 seasons.
5. Which historical figure would you like to read a book about?
I’m FAR more interested in time periods than individual people. Probably someone who had a mysterious end, I’d want to know what actually happened?
6. Who was the last fictional character you fell in love with?
I was in a little in love with the leading men in my some of my favorite Mary Stewart and M.M. Kaye books, but I think Max from This Rough Magic was my favorite.
7. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Can’t sing and have never done karaoke.
8. Which Disney princess/character was your childhood favourite?
I watched Lion King, Pocahontes, Jungle Book, and Cinderella, were I think major features in my childhood. I know we owned Beauty and the Beast, at least I think we did. But for some reason, I don’t remember that one being watched as much. Maybe it was. But I think the first three made a bigger impression, which is funny, since I was already afraid of my own shadow as a child, perhaps that was the fascination.
9. Listening to any good podcasts lately?
Yes, sort of, I’m picky and moody. I have a podcast post in the works.
10. Have you read any Charles Dickens and do you have any recommendations? (I feel like it’s time I read one.)
I’ve read most of them. They do feel like a lot of work because they were serials and you definitely feel it. They are also very glum in setting, tone, etc. And well, it’s hard to like/relate to a lot of the heroines (usually the love interests of the heroes), namby-pamby or goody-goody Victorian as portrayed by a Victorian man.
I also feel like everyone is very opinionated about their individual favorites, I mean it’s highly individual. You could always start with the more famous. Tale of Two Cities is a fav for many (I haven’t read it in years) and it’s short. But I personally think Nicholas Nickleby is a more fun one plus it has at least two recent adaptations one of which features a baby Hiddleston as a minor character. I think that Little Dorrit is also a good one with a wonderful adaptation, and less stereotyped, more full whole person characters including the heroine.
I feel like I’m due a reread. I’m more of a Trollope person myself since starting the Barchester chronicles. I wonder why he’s not as famous? He is definitely more, refined I guess? More dry sarcasm, more realism in the gentry and nobility in the country rather than lowerclasses in London Less caricature and more foible based.
11. Any fun websites you like to waste time on?
Besides Youtube (probably could make a favorite youtubes page and post) which is a weak substitute for good old-fashioned blogs and my few favorite blogs (I need to update my list), and Instagram which is an excellent substitute for facebook, Pinterest, and ah, the WHO and CDC for obvious reasons . . . I resorted to my history which gave me shopping sites (from crafts and historical fashion to shoes and Amazon), banking and cc sites, and following my random interests/trains of thoughts on Google, apparently nothing very interesting. Oh, wait, Spotify (for podcasts mostly at the moment) and Audible (I should do a post on that soon too), have saved my sanity at work for most of my time there although I can’t focus on much at the moment).
I should (I get to, I was listening to a podcast that said to reframe in grateful terms, I get to work, I get to learn, etc., especially apropos now) use:
Seterra (that excellent geography site I keep forgetting about even though I have it bookmarked)
Bluprint (formerly Craftsy, I have tons of purchased classes)
Creativebug (I have few purchased glasses)
Duolingo (I’m currently making Duo very sad)
CodeAcademy (no time like the present to learn to new tech skills).
Any suggestions? I know lots of services/sites/apps are offering free trials during this social distancing/quarantine period (and oh, it WILL be much longer, my sister keeps saying, “when I graduate” and “when I go back to school” her senior year is ruined). I’d like to make a list of those too.
Thinking about this after Katie’s comment on this post. But I’m due for rereads, so I may have to revisit this post. I know my top two. Also, movie portrayals matter, I watched many of the movies before reading and have watched the films many times sense. I think with many of the characters, the book leaves some openness in interpreting the characters (not all of them), actually, to me the some of the most famous (Darcy, Knightley, and Brandon) are that way. Because they are older/more reserved maybe?
- Captain Wentworth. Decisive, military, passionate, I do have to wonder though, how well this would work in reality. I mean does a Marianne-type character work with admittedly something of the male-equivalent in intensity.
Henry Tilney funny, kind, honorable. This I know would work for me in reality.
Now for the others. I do think I’d pick Mr. Knightley next (or would I?), but I’d prefer John Knightley from the 2008 Emma. That smart-aleck and family loyal character is absolutely my style. I’m not sure what I think of Knightly, I’m not sure he’s as clearly defined, all the movie versions are sort of accurate in a way, but also not. He can seem a bit too, puppy-dog, like trailing after Emma which I don’t like. So maybe I would pick Bingley next although. Bingley and Edward Ferrars I kind of group together. I have difficulty respecting them, and I’m afraid I’d steam role right over them, but I’d pick them over the melancholy Brandon, or the boring (!) Darcy.
Bingley, precious and sweet but too easily led. But he doesn’t do anything wrong, and he does come back without prompting, I think, although with some hints maybe, or encouragement after seeing Lizzie. My understanding was Darcy said something to him after he came back, but like I said I’m due for a reread.
Edward Ferrars. Grow a spine dude. It’s not honorable to love another and stay engaged, sorry, that isn’t actual faithfulness. However, he is funny.
Edmund Bertram. Ah, Edmund, I loved you so much until I despised you so much. And yet, I still think I’d want him before Colonel Brandon. I mean if Edmund hadn’t fallen for Mary, or at least for that long and so hard. Early Edmund would be closer to the top.
Darcy. I belong to the Darcy is overrated club.
Colonel Brandon. I’m afraid the unfairly ancient and/or slimy casting of Colonel Brandon has forever tainted him to me. If Matthew McFadyen had played him (ala Arthur Clennam) as I think would have been ideal. I think he needed to be brought to life in such a way as too make him appealing. He’s too melancholy a person for me ideally.
I’m rather burned out and unmotivated. I barely read, watched a few Hallmarks (not really in the mood for many of these this year thankfully, but really read for old favorites for Christmas).
The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman. Uninspiring kids’ book.
The Queen’s Secret by Jessica Day George. A middle-grade book that as I was reading caused me to feel like I picked up a middle book . . . I had. I’m interested to a least skim the next whenever it comes out, but not really super inspired to read the first one though.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Middle-grade, okay, reminded me of the much more interesting How to Steal a Million.
Clueless. So, way raunchier than I was expecting (I guess I didn’t realize it was 90’s or think much further about that). I could have done without that. All the 90’s Valley Girl talk was hilarious though, at least I assume that is what some of it was anyway. Everyone’s accent sounded Northeastern though. The driving part is funny. Cher is funny. Cher’s friend’s boyfriend who is trying to be all ganster but has braces, that was a hilarious. The “Mr. Martin” and “Harriet” are adorbs. I generally find the modern version cuter, apparently since I loved Martin and Harriet in Emma Approved, better even than Knightley and Emma.
I wanted to like it, but between skipping because of the scratches on the dvd and my boredom, my trying to do a million things at the same time and finish the movie before family and guests got home from church (Sunday, what a great day to watch a movie like this . . .) and the changes in the plot and far too fast plot, I was disappointed. I will try it again, but yeah. Not near as much “Mr. Knightley” as there was in the book, plus making “Frank” gay completely changed the plot. In Emma, Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank before anyone meet him, Emma is building him up as the perfect man, there is tons of flirtation, and he generally is the cause of Mr. Knightley realizing he loves Emma, going away to try to get over it, the ultimate avowal of love etc. Yeah, that falls terrible flat in the movie. The “Mr. Elton” guy has more of a point than the “Frank” while I think that Frank holds a slightly bigger role in the book. All that contributed to the flat, rushed ending.
So many bloggers I follow did this tag and had such interesting questions, I answered in the comments and then as I found more questions, I decided I’d might as well put all my answers here.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I feel like my favorites don’t necessarily have a “genre” always. I’m more drawn to authors, meaning, if I like an author, I will try all their works, but that doesn’t mean I will like any other author in the same genre. I do like many mystery authors though, but I wouldn’t say, I’d read any mystery book simply because it’s mysteries.
What was the best book you read for the first time last year?
I listened to the audiobook All Creatures Great and Small narrated by Christopher Timothy, best decision ever. I’m still not sold on audiobooks overall, but this is the type of book and narrator that brings out the work far better than merely reading it would. I’m currently on the 3rd of the series.
Do you remember when you first began to read? What drew you to it?
I apparently struggled to read, but my parents read aloud to us. I remember my dad reading the American girls books. Also, Mom used the 5 in A Row homeschooling curriculum which focuses on the Charlotte Mason method, using books to learn, so we had lots of lovely illustrated books.
How do you arrange your books? By color? By title? By author? By series? By something else altogether?
I keep my Barnes and Noble leather and Penguin clothbound editions separate and try to group them by color. Everything else has been divided between nonfiction and fiction, then fiction by author. But I’m going to be redoing my room plus have some newer paper backs and hardbacks that I might keep separate because they are pretty.
New books or used books?
New or like new, yet then I’m afraid to touch them, and might just end up reading a library version instead.
What tends to send you into a reading slump?
A lack of interest to try anything in my current library horde because I don’t know if I’ll like it or not. A determination to plow through a book I’m not enjoying but have disinclination to read. It’s better for me to put such a book down for a time and pick up another. Occasionally, an addiction to another form of entertainment. Usually that seems to come during the reading slump, but sometimes it’s before.
What tends to pull you out of a reading slump?
A easy read or an old favorite, this year thus far it’s been majorly Georgette Heyer, M.M. Kaye, and Mary Stewart
What’s the first book you can remember reading?
I, apparently, struggled to read. I can’t remember a first. I do remember getting the American girl books, and for some reason, I thought Kirsten was read to me, but I managed Felicity on my own? Or maybe I’m dreaming, those were advanced for someone who couldn’t really read.
First person or third person POV?
3rd all the way. First person only rarely.
What’s the longest series you’ve ever read? (It can be in terms of page numbers, amount of books in the series, or any other method of calculating.)
I’m pretty sure it’s Harry Potter, I feel I looked up word counts of books and that came up on top.
What book world would you least like to enter?
Well, the Hunger Games seems kind of cliche, but yeah, any dystopia (I loathe that genre overall).
Do you own any autographed-by-the-author books?
A book about regency times, it’s packed away and I can’t find it easily on Goodreads, so I don’t have the title.
What is your favorite place at which to buy books?
Currently, Barnes and Noble, ordering I mean, I usually buy giftcards at a huge discount (discount #1) and then wait for a discount from my membership card (discount #1).
Who is your favorite sibling duo/trio/etc in literature?
The Penderwicks are all I can think of from a quite scan of my Goodreads favorite books, I’m sure I have others though.
What’s one genre you used to avoid, but now love?
I’m not sure I really have this, classics is too broad, I didn’t read many classics as a teen, well, I didn’t read much as a teen as I struggled with it, but I don’t uniformly love all classics. And I can’t really think of any genre that I love that I hated. I’m more likely to be surprised by liking one book out of the genre. For example, I don’t tend to enjoy biographies because of the tone and the not so great historical accuracy (of perspectives, of comparison, of relative importance etc.), but I seriously enjoyed Tolkien’s bio, but that one book doesn’t convert me to the genre, but to the author.
Have you ever liked a movie adaptation better than the book? Which book? Why?
Eva mentioned this in one of her posts, I pretty sure everyone who has ever read the book and watched the movie prefer the movie for Alcott’s The Inheritance. I think sometimes I enjoy versions of Emma (movie or webseries) to book, because I can’t stand Emma herself, and the while not written in first person (I’m opposite to you on that, I can struggle with first person a lot) it is effectively written in her point of view, which is an obnoxious one.
Name one thing about your favorite genre that you absolutely can’t stand. Something you wish you could change.
That there aren’t enough well-written books in it? I always feel that I’m running out of authors I can respect whose books I can also enjoy.
When was the last time you shipped a non-canon book couple?
I don’t think I usually do, because 1) I generally read books where the author fits the characters together well 2) Most of the books I read don’t have true love triangles. Most rivals are either a bad guy or a boring guy, etc. 3) If I don’t like the way the book is going, I won’t finish it, and 4) I don’t really care to put couples who wouldn’t work in the actual story world together. I’m more likely to not like a couple or not like how one character ends up being bad, than actually having another couple in mind.
Jo and Laurie are the main couple I can think of, because it SHOULD be canon. I feel like there may be some smaller side characters couples I’d like together (like Luna and Dean), but nobody I’m really crying about.
How often do you write ‘rant reviews’? Or do you prefer to keep quiet if you didn’t like a book?
I’m better at criticism than elucidating why I like something, so yes to the ranting.
Thoughts on Charles Dickens? Love him, hate him, in-between him?
In-between. I loved much about his writing and conception, but the VERBOSITY, my stars, it’s hard to get through the books. Also, I do prefer a bit more character development, and his females are usually the worst in that department, they often lean toward only one characteristic. I haven’t read him in awhile though (because of all. the. words.).
Paperback covers: glossy or matte?
Matte, more elegant.
What was your favorite series as a child?
I had lots, but I’m going to go with Little House. I was definitely in a “Pioneer” phase, loved the books, sewed many sunbonnets from the sewing book, played “Pioneer,” played the Oregon Trail over and over.
What classic book do you feel most obligated to read?
Well, I have started War and Peace on Serial Reader ages ago, so I really want to finish it.
If you could run away with any fictional character, who would it be?
The first that popped into my mind was Martin from Faery Rebels trilogy and the Swift duology. I don’t know though, I think a Rosemary Sutcliff hero would be lovely, escaping would be the accurate term for that escapade though.
What is your true opinion of Agatha Christie?
She’s WAY overrated from an artistic standpoint. But I do like her books (not all) for an escapist read. I think I’m often disappointed though, or at least lately.
What’s the last book you read that made you see red?
I’ll TBR any book that makes me see red. The last I can think of was Prairie Fires an alleged biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d already read Pioneer Girl so found the information about Laura redundant. But that wasn’t the main issue, the tone was absolutely condescending and demeaning to everyone, Laura, the reader, etc. And I can’t stand when non-historians touch history, this is usually the result.
What book would you most like to see turned into an ACCURATE movie?
I’m always afraid of my favorites being touched, also, I don’t think movies can accurately bring out what I love if I love the good-writing. I think a good series of Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries would be awesome. Plenty of the wit is verbal in those, so not too much would be lost.
If you could recommend any book, what would it be?
Well the Faery Rebels (middle-grade blends the ancient celtic faeries, the origin of Tolkien’s elves, not Disney fairies in modern Britain) trilogy and the connected Swift Nomad duology by RJ Anderson, they do not get enough love. I was lent them by and acquaintance (only the first two are available in the US) and the bought them on Amazon.uk.
So Georgette Heyer has a few varieties of leading men:
- Her favorite who comes in two styles, the middle-age rake who may be flagrantly and/or offensively still a rake (I can’t STAND these) or have that more in the background or past history (the above two feature the latter). Not always (maybe not even usually handsome, but almost always “distinguished,” often Corinthian, always the sportsman, always careless of everyone’s opinion. Always wealthy and titled, I think.
- The young-rake (I think I’ve come across him once, Sherry in Friday’s Child).
- The not-rake (a couple times), vary in type (may be a decent gentlemen, may be a bit of a dandy, may be a soldier everyone thinks is low-class but isn’t).
- The good boy (I’ve come across him once, Charles in The Grand Sophy). Usually the good boys are sententious prigs who stay sententious prigs. Charles doesn’t and between him and Sophy (one of the best heroines) this book is one of the best.
- The (always) beautiful (usually) bland teenage (almost always) idiot heroine. Sometimes Heyer starts out misleading you to think “strong-willed” and with a brain only to disappoint later, usually this is a bland “innocent” or just a fool (think These Old Shades). This type is always paired with a rake. Often with the worst one. Usually these pairings make my least favorite stories, with the exception of Friday’s Child because the plot is good and the young rake and his friends are hilarious.
- The young one (usually early twenties?) with a brain and personality. Usually these get the not-rake or good boy. Almost always or always have one of the more unique plots.
- The slightly older young ones are are “on the shelf,” they could be mid-to late twenties. They are always possessing of a brain, and usually of a personality, but not always. May have one of the more unique plots, or more likely they may have the chaperone of a silly girl meets some rake connected to silly girl or girl’s lover plot-line variation or some version of responsible older sibling narrative.
I’m joining the It’s So Classic Blog Party here at Rebellious Writing.
I saw posts about this party, but wasn’t super interested (I really don’t have tons of mental energy right now, not really reading much) until I saw all the posts with this tag which were fun to read. I’m not going to tag anyway since a) I’m lazy and unmotivated, b) I’m just linking up to the source and c) Almost everyone whose blog I read and who still posts regularly about books has already been tagged.
What is one classic that hasn’t been made into a movie yet, but really needs to?
I’m scared when filmmakers get their hands on my favorites. I think I’m more wanting re-do’s at the moment.
What draws you to classics?
The feeling of erudition? The quality of timelessness in perception, prose, etc.
What is an underrated classic?
I think that the Charlotte Brontë’s less discussed books are better written than Jane Eyre. I adore Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and KNOW they are far higher quality of books than the insanely popular Agatha Christie novels.
What is one classic that you didn’t expect to love, but ended up loving anyway?
I don’t know, maybe the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, I went in with total ignorance. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a book I was going to dislike or hate, just loved books I didn’t know much about. I enjoyed Dickens more than I thought, but I’m not sure “love” is appropriate, they are so long, and they don’t tend to be relaxing which is what I most want.
What is your most favorite and least favorite classics?
My favorites are many L.M. Montgomery novels. So many are just balm to my soul.
Frankenstein is an example of trash that is made famous when an untalented upper-class teen girl hangs around a group of famous actually talented rakes.
What is your favorite character from a classic? Or if that is too hard, one is your favorite classic character trope (e.g. strong and silent, quiet sidekick, etc.)
I’m a sucker for really snarky, witty, confident men (e.g. Lord Peter Wimsey).
What’s a popular classic that you felt wasn’t actually that great?
Other than Frankenstein which is the worst, Les Mis, Rebecca, and The Great Gatsby are WAY overrated.
Who is your favorite classic author?
In your opinion, what makes a classic a classic?
Brilliant writing (prose, insight, characterization, wit) and lasting through the ages. Unfortunately, I think that the latter is based on circumstances, not always on worth to talent ratio, meaning, I wonder if many books are lost that would be just as good if not better, simply because they didn’t catch the public’s whim at the right moment.
Relating to newer books, what attributes does a book need to have in order to be worthy of the title “classic”?
I think it should only be writing quality and not popularity but popularity can ensure that something will last.
I’m not going to do all the illustrated books (I think I might do that for a freebie). I’m picking books (mostly series) from when I was strongly reading on my own. I’m going with favorites then that I’d want my kids to read.
I guess my age was maybe 9 to early teens or maybe 9-12 for most of these? (And yeah, that’s childhood for me. I was a kid until maybe 14-15). Lot’s of historical fiction (although not the Historical Diaries or whatever they were called that my sisters and others loved, I think those were a little too realistic for me to handle then based on my memories of my unsuccessful attempts). My introduction to Rosemary Sutcliff came right on the heels of these age.
- The American Girls. Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Molly at first, then later Kit, I was growing out of them a bit when Kaya arrived (and she’s the last of the quality ones in my opinion).
- The Little House books and the Caroline books (and the Charlotte ones I read when I was a bit older).
- Boxcar children (we were all obsessed with these).
- The Borrowers (The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged) by Mary Norton.
- Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels (In Grandma’s Attic; More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Treasures from Grandma; Sixteen and Away from Home; Eighteen and on Her Own; Nineteen and Wedding Bells Ahead; At Home in North Branch; New Faces, New Friends) by Arleta Richardson. Our friends read these allowed while we sewed or whatever (I think I was bit older maybe preteens to early teens?).
- Narnia. My dad read these aloud to us twice.
- Sarah’s Journey Series (Home on Stoney Creek, Stranger in Williamsburg, Reunion in Kentucky, Whispers in Williamsburg, Shadows on Stoney Creek) by Wandra Luttrell (so, apparently these are middle-grade Christian fiction but I remember these being good, granted they were favorites).
- Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution (Annie Henry and the Secret Mission, Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty, Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger, Annie Henry and the Redcoats) by Susan Olasky
- Calico Bush by Rachel Field (Hitty is waaay more famous but this was the first one we read, and I’m not sure if I read Hitty at all, if so it was recently).
- Bobbsey twins (to round out the list, these were books I read at my grandparents). For some reason, I never got into the Nancy Drew books or the Hardy boys. I did look at Trixie Beldon, I think those are probably more interesting. I wish I’d read all these when I was younger, some books you can love only if you start young.
I don’t know if all of these are unpopular, they are just opinions/arguments (not the same thing) I rarely see expressed or are expressed and then scorned. But I have a limited exposure.
A lot of these are my ideals. I’m SUCH a mood reader. I feel like I need some escapist reading. I don’t read near enough deep books. But I do think that I should, I just have to have a lot of easy (but still quality) reading on hand, plus ways of planning and motivating myself.
- Show, don’t tell. If I feel like the author is telling me something, forcing something, rather than displaying it, then they’ve failed to convince me (ahem, Jo and Laurie). Books aren’t mere explanations, they are story, art (perfection, okay, maybe an exaggeration). A reason, I think for my avoidance of contemporary fiction.
- Prose, description, characterization, interpersonal relationships, wit, etc. are more important than plot to me, and, (I think) in terms of literary merit at least equal to plot. I feel that this is also why I dislike so much of contemporary writing.
- I dislike the didactic in all forms, and obvious preaching isn’t art, even though some obviously gifted people squeeze it into their books. This goes back to showing, not telling. Y’all, I could find a preacher for anything, but I don’t want preaching, thanks, there is far too much of it already. And I’ve had far too much of it already (and probably done too much of it . . . like now, lol). Again, another reason I tend to avoid contemporary fiction.
- I like my realism idealized (I’m wanting to explore this more later). Basically, when I’m reading a “real” life setting, I’d like it to be idealized, not perfect, just not sordid or mundane or petty.
- Gritty “true to life” isn’t an asset (and isn’t necessarily true to life). Dark doesn’t equal deep. “Realism” can be vicarious reading or voyeurism. I want to escape reality and/or have my mind, ideals, etc. uplifted.
- I like my fantasy realistic. I don’t even know how to describe what I mean about that, but maybe I just mean well-written? I guess I want believable circumstances in a fantasy world, exciting, fanciful, yes, but still “human” I guess? Actually, now that I’m thinking of it, I generally prefer, low fantasy, and this is probably part of why.
- Quality over quality. All books are NOT equally good, well-written, etc. Taste and comprehension are two different things. You can like different genres from other people. But sometimes one genre may be notorious for being shallow and silly.
- Reading is not a hobby. Everyone who can read is a reader. People who don’t regularly read are still readers. Everyone should read as a form of mental exercise, to learn, to be inspired, I think reading for entertainment is good, but that is not the sole purpose of reading, rather an additional purpose.
- Interpretation isn’t up to the readers. Reading comprehension matters, like listening matters. The author chose specific words, for specific reasons. Obviously, we are going to disagree, not understand, view things through our own lenses. But we should try to understand what the author is saying. And then form opinions on what is said, described, etc. Not the actual meanings.
- Reading well matters. Our brains are muscles, reading well is important to our personal development, to our knowledge, to our comprehension, to our families, to our culture, to society, to life. And I don’t mean “current” event copy+paste type reading. I mean read just a tad beyond your comprehension, and then when you get comfortable, a tad more beyond that.
Continuing on from earlier this year in children’s lighter classics that I didn’t read as a child.
Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager. I read Half-Magic ages ago but forgot everything about it. This is fun, I’m reading more of the series, but it’s not the most thrilling middle-grade lit for adults.
All-of-a-Kind Family, All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown, More All-of-a-Kind Family, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor. These are okay, not the most interesting in tone and description, rather didactic, definitely a lower reading level than middle grade. I ended up DNF-ing the last book, a juvenile tone and writing style doesn’t work with adult life.
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. This is far closer to the sweet spot for excellent children’s literature, and I think I want to get more of these for vacation reading.
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. This is below middle-grade, definitely want future kids to read or to read aloud with them but just not inspiring enough/high enough grade level for an adult although I’d still like to try Ramona Quimby because I’ve heard those are more popular.
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I saw a gorgeously illustrated set of this series on a British Instagrammer’s page, it turns out they are American but for some reason I got the impression that they were less popular here, the reprint has a note from a British lady. I guess I thought that was odd, it feels like its usually the other way around usually? Also this kinda has that classic American North moralizing (the Northern authors moralize; the Southern authors write about crazy, and I mean CRAZY, people; and the Midwest authors manage to make everything banal, despairing, and demoralizing in my little, ironically, exposure to the grown-up American Classic scene) without the charm of better authors (think Alcott). At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to read more, but those covers! Maybe the others are better?
The Changeling, The Truce Of The Games, Shifting Sands by Rosemary Sutcliff. And now for the taste of genius. I’ve exhausted most of the best novels of Sutcliff and had been getting some of her less inspiring reads. But these short stories that are part of an older children’s collection, are the true Sutcliff storytelling magic. I think that she wrote more of these (they are published by or part of Antelope books and feature woodcut illustrations, I believe), but I’ve had to get them a few at a time through interlibrary loans.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. This, thanks to my more capable reading abilities plus age, is much shorter than my memory of it. Also, Puritan stereotypes are still annoying as heck. This is sheer historical ignorance, for example black was a GOOD color, a wealthy color for Puritans. Per David Hackett Fisher in my beloved Albion’s Seed Puritans were far more egalitarian (second to the Quakers who were the most) in gender roles and economics than the two Southern cultures (he divides early developing U.S. into four basic cultures coming from four in England) which would’ve have been more similar to Kit’s, I’d imagine, and she’s just used to being on the top too. So, a lot of this story is just nonsense. A lot of this just feels like modern projecting based on some dramatic events without any understanding of the overall times. Nat’s still awesome though.
My Escapist Reads
False Colours, Arabella by Georgette Heyer. These were both 3 stars for me, the first featured identical twins as hero and side character, one normal, one a rake. The second featured a girl with a brain . . . and a rake for a hero. Well you, know, that’s her favorite “hero.” I decided to take a break to keep any other Heyers in reserve.
So then, I started on Mary Stewart and MM Kaye and found another therapeutic reads, of course I’ve mostly exhausted Kaye as she didn’t write very many.
Death in Cyprus by MM Kaye and The Moon-Spinners and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart which I read in that order and fairly close together (followed up by Death in Zanzibar), and I kind of started blending the author’s styles a bit, they are both British, suspense for the former, mystery for the latter; have a lot of similarity in the hero-types; and hilariously, were each set on an Island in the the eastern Mediterrean starting with a “c”: Cyprus (no, really?), Crete, and Corfu, respectively. I greatly enjoyed all three. I’m so glad I started both authors like this and read these books in this order, it just fit so well, and I highly recommended anyone new to these authors to do this.
The Ivy Tree (My least favorite Stewart, I preferred the villain, I kept hoping against hope he wasn’t the villain, I hate the inclusion of infidelity, that was the love story, also, just not a great love story, period, rather sickening.)
Wildfire at Midnight (Not super crazy about this one, also has a bit freaky stuff, again, cheaters. And the women are just supposed to ignore and forgive the not-truly-repentant cheaters to “keep” them. NO.)
Nine Coaches Waiting (I think my expectations were too high as I adore the first two I read, and this is the most famous and didn’t match those first two in tone for me.)
My Brother Michael (I really enjoyed parts, but kind of felt choppy in quality, also, be careful with this one, I feel like trigger warnings are needed, there is a psychopath here and some sexual stuff, one part is pretty awful, not rape although I thought for a bit it was implied in different episode which without the first I wouldn’t have thought at all, but then Simon and Camilla were too calm in their response, but it doesn’t stretch to the imagination that the villain would; anyhow, this is darker than the others.)
Madam Will You Talk? (This one was thrilling, for more overall evenly intriguing but still doesn’t come close to my original favs.)
Thunder on the Right (Eh, far more buildup than delivery.)
The Wind off the Small Isles (This was an enjoyable short story.)
All by Mary Stewart. A lot of my liking of these novels involves her evocative settings, so if I didn’t like the settings/her descriptions just didn’t match the atmosphere of previous ones, that fact was also mixed with any dislike of the story.
Death in Zanzibar, Death in Kashmir by MM Kaye. The former is up there with Death in Cyprus, the latter is enjoyable. I DNFed Death in Kenya. I think there is two that I have ordered/will order via interlibrary loan.
True Grit by Charles Portis. Eh.
Shane by Jack. Eh, but in the hands of a better author could’ve been awesome.
I’m going to keep trying, albeit slowly, on Westerns, though.
Arthur by Stephen R Lawhead. I have Pendragon (the 4th book), but I think I’m done with this series for now. I felt so lost and felt that the author was as well.
Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin. This isn’t really a book, rather a collection of organizational/personal environment ideas. I felt it “spoke my language,” others may not feel so. I think motivational/self-help books are VERY specific to each person, I mean within the exact same topic, if one author doesn’t work for you, find another.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink. Eh, considerably overstretched the “scientific” aspect, if you could even call it that; books like this and The Happiness Advantage (I DNF’ed for this reason, the lack of new concepts, and the tone) tend to stick “scientific” in quite too often and, I think, not very accurately. Sorry, not every scholarly study, undertaking, etc. is scientific. Also, protesting too much.
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. Overall, great basic money advice. As with everything can be tailored to personal situation (something I didn’t realize in my foolish youth with his first book). Don’t agree about no credit cards, nor about super specific budgets all the time, ain’t gonna happen for this girl. But all the way there for the emergency fund!!!
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. He speaks my language, and I find him hilarious. He also writes more for my age and situation. I want to get the newer copy of this book for myself. I agree with more of what he had to say/the way he said it than Ramsey although, truly, the overall advice isn’t wildly different (no helpful financial advice is at bare bones). But I found Sethi’s breakdown extremely helpful to me.
5 Things You’ll Find in My Purse
I don’t think I have anything unusual in my purse, also, I have a smallish, crossbody since that seems to work best for my current situation, so not much will fit in, although I’ve managed to squeeze in a paperback before.
- Timecard for my temp job
- Various papers, cards, etc. related to my (will remain unnamed) side gig
- New sunglasses
- Tiny notepad
5 Things You’ll Find in My Bedroom
- A hoarder’s supply of yarn
- A hoarder’s supply of fabric
- A hoarder’s supply of toiletries
- Books including some of the 52 (the two interlibrary loans were allowed past the 50 limit) library books I have out. The rest are with me at my grandparents
- A budding collector’s supply of pens and markers (this is what happens when you watch bullet journal videos)
5 Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do
- Make a full regency outfit for the Jane Austen festival (I’m hoping I will manage that for this year)
- Go to England and Ireland (at least, I theoretically want to travel, but I can’t seem to make myself drive out of my city, or even really into it)
- Be fit
- Sew a considerable portion of my wardrobe (part of the hang-up here relates to 3)
- Be proficient in a multitude of art mediums and handicrafts (I’m learning to streamline this)
5 Things That Make Me Feel Happy
- Watching tv with my grandparents
- Holding my precious, baby niece
- Cuddling my sister’s precious mini cat (she looks like a kitten, courtesy of being a runt, but she’s grown)
- I have to steal Olivia’s because this is especially true for me this year, finishing a book and updating my Goodreads to reflect that. I then look at how I’m (currently) crushing my reading goals
- Similarly, using my mildliners to fill out the squares of my habit chart
5 Things I’m Currently/Was Recently Into (I feel like I’m in between things)
- Mary Stewart romantic suspense novels. I know I’ve not ranked some of them high, but that is because I didn’t like the romance part of these particular ones. When thinking over this, I realized I kind of have three separate rating systems/points: morality, quality, and likeability. I usually focus on the first two and usually the first two are what affects my liking or finishing the book or not. But occasionally I find book that meet these standards but not the last.
- M.M. Kaye mysteries (she only wrote a few, and I think I’ve exhausted all of them except the one I skipped and one our library doesn’t have). I was reading these few with the Mary Stewart novels and kind of got them mixed up although they are different genres. They both often have such exotic (to me) settings (Cyprus, Crete, Corfu).
- Watching Monk with my grandparents. Well, I was until Sharona was replaced. Everything changed. I would’ve been okay if no one was substituted in or a totally different side character (this woman is a caricature of Sharona’s role), but now I’m done. I want to watch the later ones (that round up the show) when she returns.
- Taylor Swift songs again. I don’t know how to explain how little of a music person I am. Everyone seems to have Spotify or Pandora, but to me it’s huge that I installed Spotify on my phone. And I really don’t like much music, and what I do like I really have to in the mood for. Taylor Swift seems to have a song for everything or that fits any period of life? I was trying to figure out why I liked her stuff overall while with other pop singers I only like a song or two. I think it’s because the music is important, I mean the instrumentals. It’s not just a stripped background accompaniment. And her vocals go well with the music, they fit in but don’t drown (as opposed to the songs that ARE the vocals, I don’t like those). I think the lack of this is part of why I tend to prefer instrumentals (I love the Piano Guys versions of everything), soundtracks, and more tradition/folk music (and Peter Hollen’s covers!). I just think pop is not really good, and now I think I’ve indentified (for a non-musical person), why I really don’t care for it. I prefer not to HAVE to focus on the lyrics. Her lyrics are less inane too. They are also quite . . . psychologically interesting? I can’t agree with much of the overall tendency, but yet it’s all sort of hilarious?
- Backing up my TBR list. I can place any orders I want directly from the library lists, so I’ve tried to clear up any other collections of books. I’ve never found the Goodreads TBR list particularly useful for me. I use it occasionally, but I’m trying to immediately add any books I read about straight to my library lists, so I’ve cleared out most of my Goodreads list (a couple times over the years). I also had a bad habit of just bookmarking blog posts and such instead of directly adding them to shelves. I cleared out that folder. I previously had a list on Amazon for interlibrary loans but transferred that a while back to an Excel workbook. I then realized that if anything happened to the library site or if I moved, I’d lose years worth of TBR collecting. So, I’ve been backing that up on a separate sheet of the Excel workbook. I will have to put items on both the library lists and the Excel one from now on, but I think it is worth it. I just need to brush up my lists (make the formatting match, clear out any duplicates, etc.). I’ve included all reference books, cookbooks, etc. on the list as well, anything I want to look at. The total of the interlibrary loan possibilities plus the regular list currently stands at 1960. I know I do have a few duplicates to clear out. Possibly also books I’ve read and haven’t removed or kept on the list to reread (not usual). Bear in mind that TBR to me means that to-possibly-read. So TPR, I guess.
5 Things on My To-Do List
- Find second job or a different one entirely
- Finish my second associate’s degree in about a year (possibly two)
- Get fit
- Complete my Regency/Federal outfit for Jane Austen festival
- Complete the art project I have in mind for a (very) late Mother’s Day present. In the interim I made her a smeared (as much as I’d love to blame being a leftie, I’m sure most of the blame is my impatience and carelessness) doodled calligraphy card. I used AmandaRachLee’s doodling tutorials for lavender and for butterflies (the tutorial starts at about 4:36).
I’m going to go mostly with what causes me to pick up a book I’ve borrowed from the library, not so much with what causes me to choose what book to add to my hundreds of titles long (I’ll have a better estimate eventually, I don’t think it’s 1000, but I might be wrong) TBR list or what causes me to choose which books off my TBR list.
- To get and stay off the web
- Comfort (escapism, avoidance)
- I know I will likely enjoy it (I’ve read other books by the same author)
- Contrariness (avoiding other books I think I *should* be reading)
- Determination (those books I *should* be reading)
- To learn/stay motivated
- Because I’ve exhausted my other book options
- Because I fell for the hype