It’s been literal years since I’ve done a tag, but when I saw this one on Abi’s blog, I knew it was time to remedy that. And yes, I know that it’s not exactly sweater season anymore unless you live wayyyy up north (or wayyyy down south where they crank up the air conditioning to Antarctic temperatures) but this tag is just irresistible.
By the way, Abi didn’t tag anyone specifically but I still want to give her a shoutout for introducing me to this tag and for having such an awesome blog (seriously, her posts always make me want to cheer. Go check her out.). And of course a huge shoutout to Mary at sunshine and scribblings who created this tag. I love it so much, Mary! It’s brilliant. (Like, polka dot sweater and well-rounded characters? So good.)
I decided to only feature books that I own, which then inspired me to take pictures of all of them, so enjoy these little scenes. Also, taking a brilliant cue from Katie Grace, the titles are linked to goodreads see you can easily add them to your TBR if you so desire. =D
Okay! Don your (real or imaginary) sweaters and let’s start talking about books.
a book that is the epitome of comfort
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
I first read this book over ten years ago while on vacation at the beach. I remember being sprawled on this huge bed with sunlight streaming around me and the sound of seagulls in the distance. *wistful sigh* The beach …
Anyway. Books. Right. This book captured my heart, and I have come back to it many, many times. There’s something so pure and beautiful about it—while having great, realistic characters with hilarious, snort-inducing moments. Whenever I want that warm, happy glow that well-loved books and fond memories give, I turn to this one.
(Also apparently the fifth and last book of the series is coming out next month?? I just found this out recently, and it’s basically made my spring.)
book which you devoured every line of
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
This one was tough. I mean, most of the books on my bookshelf are ones I devoured every line of. I almost chose The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner but I figured you guys are probably sick of hearing about that series so I abstained. (Kind of. I am mentioning it now. ANYWAY.)
But then I saw my Mistborn set sitting there, and there really was no other option. I remember getting a Kindle sample of it to start reading while I waited for the physical copy to come in at the library. I remember getting totally absorbed in it only to be cruelly jerked out of the story when the sample came to an end. It was quite a tragic experience. Fortunately, the book arrived soon after. Whenever I had to stop reading this series because of this annoying thing called life (like, who cares about dinner when Allomancy exists?), it felt like coming up for air after diving deep in the ocean for hours. There are very few, if any, other books that have so engrossed me like these ones. If you can read Brandon Sanderson without becoming obsessed, that’s quite a feat.
Ugly Christmas sweater
book with a weird cover
Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl by N. D. Wilson
Don’t get me wrong: this is an amazing book. I’m slowly making my way through it, trying to savor every word, and N. D. Wilson is just as poetic and insightful as ever. But this cover is just not my favorite. Bright pink is never my thing, and combine that with funky cowboy-ish tight lettering in a weird mauve shade with a strip of a picture showing half of a random person’s head at the bottom … yeah. I’m honestly not super into carnivals and the like, so that may explain it. Plus I feel like it looks gaudy and juvenile while the actual content is profound and beautiful—although that may actually be the point. But still. I think maybe he could have made the point in a more aesthetically pleasing way.
most expensive book you’ve bought
A Poem for Every Day of the Year compiled by Allie Esiri
I’m not 100% sure that this is the most expensive book I’ve bought, but because I got it in England, I figured that the pounds-to-dollars conversion puts it pretty high on the list. This is technically a kid’s book (I got in the kid’s section, at least, which does NOT mean you have to be a kid to enjoy it but that’s a post for another time) but there are some pretty sophisticated poems in it and who says adults can’t enjoy a fun cover and big font? Allie Esiri, the compiler, writes a little introduction to each poem, either explaining why she picked the poem for that day or giving some background on it. There’s a great range of poetry in it, from short limericks to epic classics. I’ve been wanting to read more poetry, and this is a really easy way to do it.
favorite classic book
Middlemarch by George Eliot
AHHHHHHH. This was the hardest question for me. I’m not going to tell you how long I stood in front of the huge bookshelf in our basement that’s dedicated just to classics and agonized over which to pick. I have to throw out the caveat that this is not my absolute favorite classic; such a thing does not exist. It is but one of several favorites.
And oh, it is so good. If you haven’t read it yet, take the plunge. I know it’s big and wordy and kind of has that negative association with school, but it’s beautiful. The way she portrays people and community, her insights into human nature and relationships and art and work … agh. ❤ It’s hard to describe or summarize it, but if you give it a chance, it will move and change you. And also, I mean, it’s a good story. There is excitement and suspense and tragedy and all that. *vigorous nodding*
book that you bought on impulse
Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah
I have to say, I don’t buy many things on impulse (I’m a Judger in the Myers Briggs system, yo). I rarely buy books I haven’t read yet, much less books I haven’t heard of at all. I saw this one on a rack outside a used book store in London (Charing Cross Road, anyone?). It was only one pound (the monetary unit, not weight XD) and it looked intriguing, so I grabbed it. And it was intriguing, although rather depressing too. It’s the memoir of a woman who grew up in an emotionally abusive home in China during the tumult of Mao’s Revolution. I’m ashamed to say I know so little about China, both its history and its culture. One book won’t change that, but it was a good peek into world I want to learn more about. At the same time, Adeline is a person just like any of us, and I ached for the pain she went through (although it’s always hard to tell exactly how fair or honest someone is being when looking back on their life and telling their own side of the story).
book from your childhood
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
Allllll the nostalgia and memories that come with this question. *dances happily down Memory Lane* Whenever people talk about books from my childhood, I immediately think of my dad reading Narnia to me. But I wanted to do something different this time, so I chose Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. My mom read this one to me when I was probably eight. It’s one of the first books that I really loved. I was so inspired by Nate, all the obstacles he overcame, his natural intelligence, how he saved the lives of so many people through his books on navigation. I think it’s also one of the first books I read with real tragedy in it. But there was real joy and hope too, and that’s an important combination for a kid’s book (or any book, for that matter).
Homemade knitted sweater
book that is Indie-published
Pendragon’s Heir by Suzannah Rowntree
So I googled the difference between being self-published and indie-published, and it left me still a little confused and still unsure whether I actually own a book that is indie-published. Can anyone help me here? In the absence of a concrete definition, I went with this one. If it is in fact self-published I deeply apologize. No offense was intended.
In all seriousness, though, I love this book. It has a legend/lore/timeless feel to it, if you know what I mean. The prose is lovely, the themes are powerful, and the plot was complex and intriguing. It’s an original retelling of the story of King Arthur, and I think anyone who enjoys high fantasy would love it.
book that did not meet your expectations
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
I went into this book with expectations that might dwarf a skyscraper. It came highly praised by both The Read Aloud Revival and WORLD magazine, two of my most trusted resources for book recommendations (among other things). And it was good. I didn’t hate it. Not by a long shot. I love stories of families and multiple siblings, and the theme of having to move is one near to my heart (although I have to admit, at times I thought they were rather wimpy—they weren’t even going to leave the state! Good grief, they have nothing to complain about!). Plus, it’s set in New York City. That automatically grants it big points in my book (no pun intended).
But I don’t know, guys, it just didn’t have that indescribable element that really moved and changed me. It was a sweet, interesting story, but that was it. It’s missing something that I can’t put my finger on. I heard some people comparing to The Penderwicks or All-of-a-Kind Family, but for me, it didn’t have the same magic or charm or long-lasting impact. It might just be me, and it’s most likely a result of my exorbitant expectations, but there you have it.
book with a unique format
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
I’m going with the interpretation of format that Mary used: story format versus layout/visual format. Out of Africa isn’t even really a story in the fictional sense––it’s the nonfiction memoir of an European woman who owned a coffee plantation in Africa in the 1900s. But it’s not just your typical memoir, going chapter by chapter through her life or centered around one theme. Instead, she breaks it into five parts that have no related chronology. One part centers around a specific event that took place over a couple of weeks, while another describes various people she met over the course of her whole time in Africa. One section is a collection of notes on African wildlife and short, random anecdotes about life on her farm. It’s like reading five mini books in one. It’s quite fascinating, and her prose is lovely, but it’s an unusual layout. Hence its inclusion here.
Polka dot sweater
a book with well-rounded characters
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
Surprisingly, I had trouble thinking of books for this one. I think it’s because I overanalyzed what “well-rounded” means. (Episode #1,986 in Abby’s Overly Analytic Adventures). Anywho, once I spotted this book on the shelf, I knew it was perfect. I first read it probably ten years ago, and every so often I come back to it. It’s one of those books that I can’t forget, primarily because of the characters. Ally, Jack, and Bree are so different but Mass manages to make each compelling and sympathetic. I love watching how they each change and mature and the unlikely friendships that form between them. They’re just, ugh, so relatable and realistic and special and beautiful and I wish they were my friends. I know this is a contemporary children’s/ya book written by a popular author, and I don’t tend to read a lot of those. But I’m so glad I picked up this one. You all should too. *pokes* (Plus, who doesn’t love eclipses??)