Welcome to the penultimate month of our challenge. We’re in the final stretch now; check out how close we are to finishing. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway and win some cool stuff this month! This time we’re giving away two books: The Whispering Skull, a YA fantasy mystery by Jonathon Stroud and Unhinged, part of an Alice in Wonderland inspired series by A. G. Howard. Read through to the bottom to find out how to enter!
A book that became a movie — Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan — This is not the best collaboration they’ve ever done. In this book, two best friends get in their first serious fight. Naomi is in love with Ely. Ely likes Naomi’s boyfriend. Naomi’s boyfriend likes Ely back. Chaos ensues. The writing was fine, but the characters were very two dimensional.
A book set in the future — Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro — This was so good. See Lexi’s review.
This month I decided to get a little creative with how I was defining the categories, because otherwise nothing I read would have fit them. I also decided to up my personal reading goal for the year to 42 books (from 36) and now it looks like I might even surpass that new goal.
A book you started but never finished — Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles — A brief history of the institution of libraries which focuses on the major turning points in the history of the library as an institution, as opposed to every last detail of the history. This is actually the second history of libraries that I’ve read, and it was an interesting and a different enough approach that it didn’t feel repetitive. I started this book all the way back in September (hence the category) but stopped about halfway through, and it wasn’t until this month that I got back into it.
A book you own but have never read — You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day — Okay technically I don’t own this book–I just own a signed copy of the chapter that they gave out at Book Expo America. But I was so anxious to read the whole book that I didn’t want to deal with reading one chapter and then having to wait, so I never actually read the excerpt. Felicia Day’s memoir is just as funny and entertaining as you would expect, and I appreciated her honesty in sharing about her experiences with video game addiction and anxiety.
A book based on a true story — These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly — I’m only saying this is based on a true story in the way that the main character, the young wealthy society lady Jo Montfort, is inspired by the trailblazing journalist Nellie Bly to start investigating the mysterious death of her own father (okay, this category is probably the biggest stretch, I will admit). Despite not really fitting any of my remaining categories, I loved These Shallow Graves. When I first started I was a little concerned about the main character, Jo, possibly being a bit of a Mary Sue, but the story was so engaging that I found myself staying up late reading multiple nights in a row. While it’s hard not to see some of the inspiration for Jo Montfort in classic characters like Jo March, I admired her growth over the course of the story, which made her seem less a compilation of existing characters and more like an original creation.
A book at the bottom of your to-read list — Every Day by David Levithan — I admit that I used to read a lot of David Levithan’s work when I was in high school, but I haven’t kept up with his newer work in recent years. When I got a copy of Another Day, the sequel to Every Day at Book Expo America, I hadn’t even heard of the first book, or read any reviews of it. I found Every Day had a bit of a slow start for me–A didn’t immediately feel like a compelling narrator to me, but eventually I found myself sucked into the story of A waking up in a different body every morning, and now I am curious to hear the other side of the story in Another Day.
A book more than 100 years old — The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett — First published in 1911, this book barely makes the cut off for this category. It tells the story of a couple of spoiled, disagreeable children who are utterly transformed by the magic of playing together in a secret garden and letting other people into their hearts. It is an uplifting, lovely story and a must-read for anyone with a romantic view of the beauty of nature and laughter and the magic that is inside even the most everyday of occurrences, if only we open our eyes.
A book that made you cry — Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham — I had a surprisingly hard time meeting this category this year. Normally I tear up at the slightest provocation. I still remember turning the blank pages of New Moon with silent tears streaming down my face, and crying in gasps as Sirius’ death in HP hit me pages later while Harry raged at Dumbledore. Every time a character cries on TV, I unintentionally join them no matter their predicament. But this year not a single book tore a tear from my eye. The one that came closest was Hanging Mary, a work of historical fiction about Mary Surratt, the first woman executed by the U.S. government for her treasonous involvement in the Lincoln assassination. As the premise and title make plain, the protagonist Mary dies at the end of the book. As I read about her goodbye to her daughter and the possible injustice of her punishment, my eyes welled up but did not spill over. It was, however, a moving story and you can look forward to my full review in February, closer to its release date.
Only one category left! Stay tuned next month for my grand finale!
Sarah has nothing to add this month.
Don’t forget to click on the link below to win a copy of The Whispering Skull and Unhinged. Good luck and happy reading!