Top Ten Tuesday: Heart Breaker

This week over at The Broke and the Bookish our Top Ten Tuesday topic is Books that Broke My Heart A Little. A really good and fitting choice for a single on Valentines day! ūüėõ I have been pretty vocal about books that have made me cry, seeing as they are so few and far between due to my cold cold heart! I will give you all a my ten, and try to keep them to relatively quick synopsis so as to keep some suspense and hopefully they will make your heart ache just like they made mine.

1.The Book Thief by Markus Zusack: On almost everyones list, I can assure you. Granted I listened to it on audiobook, but the story and the narator are amazing. Started crying so hard when driving I had to pull over.

2. The Isis Trilogy by Monica Hughes: All three books really spoke to me in different ways. I read them out of order, book 2, then 1, then 3, which made book one feel almost like a prequel to me. Seeing where the characters came from and how they became the heros and monsters I met later on made it powerful. For insight into why book three made me weep check out the About Tab.

3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: I noticed a lot of people mentioned the whole series, and I can feel that. It is, bar none, one of the best YA titles on the market right now, so I can see how it moved people and did some heart breaking. I loved the whole series, dont get me wrong, but it was Mockingjay (book 3) that reduced me to tears on several occasions.

4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman: An amazing title, a little disturbing and more then a little heart breaking. There are two scenes that I think of particularly that had my heart aching in my chest, but I shall leave them for you to discover.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry: I had the distinct pleasure of never reading this in school. I knew a lot of people who had to read it for a novel study in class, and I’m glad I never had to. Its a beautiful, sad, touching and well written story, and I dont think my brain could have caught all the nuances hidden inside. The¬†tragedy of intentional¬†ignorance and the death of innocence make for a moving tale.

6. Room by Emma Donoghue: Wow…. just, wow. A life of captivity and adventure, and shelter and abuse and freedom; as told by a five year old.

7. Identical by Ellen Hopkins: The style through be off, but after a reading Hopkins’ book Burnt on a suggestion from a friend, I figured I would give it a try. And I did, and I was confused, and sad. These two tragic characters, and what they had to endure every day, and then to finally get to the end and find out the even more painful truth.

8. The Snow Queens Shadow by Jim C. Hines: This is the last book in Hines’ Princess series, and like the end of any series there is always a lot of heart break and having to say goodbye to characters you’ve grown to love and get to know. This book was worse then the lot! Mostly because I didn’t know until I was over half way through that it was in fact the last in the series. I had anticipated the end of the book, figured I knew how it would end, there would be some¬†tragedy¬†of course, but I would have other books and would eventually come to terms. Nope…. not the case, so by the time I reached the end I was wrecked, knowing that I would never get to adventure with some of the best characters I’d encountered in a while.

9. The Lights Go On Again by Kit Pearson: Another last book. Sorry!! If your going to try reading any of my picks it looks like i’ve thrown you into a pit of reading!! ūüėÄ Set at the end of WWII our main characters finally have the chance to return home to England, to their home. But after 5 years with another family and in another country, what does home¬†really mean?

10. A Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson: Golly I love her writing. This is a one off though, and its YA so its a quick read. Dont mistake quick for vapid though. Pearson fills this book with one emotional hit after another. Your heart will break as you watch a brave young boy spiral out of control in an attempt to keep his family together.

 

Sorry for getting this out to you all a little late, I’m going to have to get more on top of this. There has been a lot of training and craziness going on lately, leaving little room for writing and reading. Also only a couple covers this week, cause its 2 am and I’m too tired to look them all up!!

Keep your eyes peeled though, I finally finished Dear Fatty, by Dawn French and am eager to fill you all in. If i dont have it out to you by Friday, feel free to flog me.

‚̧ Much love

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Non-Readers

Hey Everyone, sorry for the day late on the Top Ten Tuesday. I cant even comprehend how busy yesterday was. It was great, don’t get me wrong on that one, just zero time to pump this out. I have a little time today so I will throw this at you!

This weeks topic is¬†Top 10 Books I’d Hand to Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read¬†and is one near and dear to my heart. I’m a reader, I LOVE to read, always have. So I find it strange when people say they don’t like to read, or that they find it boring. If they’re bored, then they obviously arn’t reading the right thing. You should read what interests you!

I had a foster sister years go who wasn’t a huge reader, she simply wasn’t interested. I took it upon my self to get her interested, that is when I found out that there was a Mary-kate and Ashley Olson series of books. At this time (oh 90’s you¬†precocious¬†decade) the Olson twins were everywhere and were a current obsession of said foster sister. It took one book and we were off. She eventually grew to love reading and branched off into other books and interests. Now she has a college degree in Library Technology and is a Librarian… Who is awesome… I am awesome. Now with my new foster brothers it was the same process, finding something they’d like to read about, and with all the action heroes, spies and demi-gods gracing the pages of kids books it wasn’t hard. Now the youngest brother who we were told was excessively delayed by teachers is reading books two and three years above his class level. Take that teach.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that there really isn’t a set of blanket books you can throw at anyone and expect them to suddenly love reading. You have to meet them where they are at and find there interests. Therefore I am going to do 10 books and their target audience.

1. Action Adventure Teen: Unwind by Neal Shusterman РCall me crazy but growing up I loved books about girls my age doing whatever it was they were doing. I assume it is the same for everyone. This book therefore is suitable for any teenager. There is a male and female character both in their mid-teens. In a future where abortion is outlawed parents have the right to have their unwanted children unwound between the ages of 13 Р18. A five year stretch in which for any reason you parents can have you essentially farmed out for parts because, in their skewed logic, you never die, you continue to live just in a divided state. Full of action, thought provoking ideas, and little romance its a treat to read.

2. Action Adventure Adult: World War Z by Max Brooks – I really don’y like action books in general, adventure books yes. Too much shooting I think, and how can reading about people shooting off guns be exciting… I picked up this book on a whim via a suggestion from a friend and her knowledge of a¬†pre-existing zombie love. ¬†It was fantastic! Just enough suspense to keep me reading, but so so much as to scare me away. Plus the multiple and interweaving storylines with a cast of interesting and¬†believable characters.

3. History Buff Adult:¬†The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ¬†by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – I mention this books really quick last week, barely gave a description. Its an amazing story that is very good with its facts. It focuses on a famous British comedic author and her¬†correspondence with the people on the Island of¬†Guernsey shortly after the end of the Second World War. The writing is both elegant and witty, the characters beautiful and three¬†dimensional.¬†¬†I’ve never had a book that made me fall in love with a character you never actually get to meet. So spectacular and amazing for the history buff and romantic alike.


4. History Buff Preteen/Teen: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
– This is such a strong book, I would honestly recommend it to just about anyone. I would love for even younger kids to read it, but the language can be kind of strong. Gives a detailed and heart breaking account of small town Germanic life during WWII.

5. Those Twilight People….: Forest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan – I know I rag on the Twilight people, I can’t complain I read 2 1/2 of the books in the series before I ran away. I can never go back though. I saw the light, and then found this series. Its brain crack too, I will maintain that it is better written and the characters are infinitely more developed, but it is a lie to call it a literary masterpiece. ¬†The premise though is what grabbed me, a world over run by zombie like creatures and the civilization living on whatever land they can fence off. Throw in a little romance (or a lot)here and there and you’ve got a winning combo! ūüėÄ

6. People Who Liked the Show Lost (a good brainf***): Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner РThis series was fantastic, and like it always happens, I stumbled into it when only the first book had been released, which meant annoyed anticipation between titles. This is technically a YA series but provided enough thrills, chills and nightmare fuel to keep me engaged. Teen boys locked in the centre of a maze, sent supplies and  new person by a box that lifts out of the ground. They strive to find a way out of the maze using only the best to run the maze, and only during daylight hours, heaven help you if you are in the maze once the sun sets. This book pushes to the line of insanity in the number of loops that are thrown your way, but is careful not to turn into a jumbled mess of writing you cant follow. A favorite.

7. Fairytale Freak: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire – I definitely fall under this category. ¬†There is just something so¬†delicious¬†about them. We are fed them as children to teach us morals, or as a way to make a tv babysit. They are ingrained. So when we grow up what better way to pay homage then to twist them or reinterpret¬†them. Its an engaging retelling of Cinderella from the point of view of those girls we’ve grown to hate, the ugly stepsisters. This is one of his tamer titles, so beware when venturing into his other titles as he has a¬†tendency¬†to include graphic (and completely unneeded) scenes out of no where.

8. Desperate TV Reality Addict:¬†Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren – We all know someone, or are someone who is addicted to our raunchy reality tv. Those people who are famous for no reason who we cant take our eyes off of!! This book is for you, or them… or whomever. The nitty gritty of a working girl drafted into the harem of a foreign prince along with dozens of other women from all over the world. The ins and outs, jealousy and mayhem play out like a night of Jersey Shore, but in then our heroine learns her lesson and smartens up.

I’d normally add a couple for Science Fictions Nerds but myself but the only books I have in my head right now are Wyndham novels, and while they are amazing the writing style can be really hard to push through the first couple of times. So sadly I leave you with only 8 titles this time around!

Much Love ‚̧

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books for Book Clubs

This weeks topic over at Top Ten Tuesday is the top ten books that would make great book club picks. Its a neat topic, it¬†intrinsically asks for books that can be talked about, that can spark conversation, and so those at the books I’m going to aim for

1. Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley РThis is an amazing re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. It takes a story we know and love and weaves so many new layers in. Gives rise to discussions on changes to the original story, deemed both good and bad; as well as her interpretation of familiar and loved characters.

2. With the Light by¬†Keiko Tobe – Some of you will know what manga is, others wont. Manga is the Japanese equivalent to a comic, vastly different then the Archie’s you might be imagining, manga spans a huge range of content and emotions, from the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon you grew up on, to this amazing title. With the Light follows the autistic boy Hikaru and his mother and their struggles to make their way in modern Japan. This book has made me cry, and laugh, and yell. The stigmas that we¬†associate with autism here in North America are already pretty harsh, pile on top of that the culture of perfection and conformity that is Japan and your in for an emotional roller coaster. The topics of discussion are vast, and views varied, and make an amazing read for both book clubs and individuals. The mangaka (author and writer) did an amazing amount of¬†research¬†and¬†¬†paints a accurate, beautiful, and sad picture for us.

3. The Guests of War Trilogy by Kit Pearson – Technically a young readers title but has a great amount of detail. Evacuated from England to Canada during the second World War, Norah and Gavin must adjust to living in a foreign environment without their family. The trilogy covers the five years they live in Canada and slowly adjust, and by the last book its time for them to return home. Norah who was 10 when they left is eager to see her family and childhood home, Gavin, 5 when he left, has little memory and is¬†hard-pressed¬†to leave the land he’s grown to love. Differences in culture, adjusting to new surroundings, the impact of the war on children and Canadian families are all great conversations to strike up.


4. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by ¬†J. Randy Taraborrelli – Marilyn was an icon. Whether you love her or hate her, if there’s one thing you can credit her with its never being boring. What I loved about this biography is the writers keen eye for detail and not being afraid to shock us with the truth and shine light on some of the oldest¬†rumours, all while giving us sources and documentation along the way. Speculating on how the various influences in her life pushed her one way or another, and speculating on what could have happened if someone had just¬†stepped in.

5. The Gurnsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer – I know this is already a book club read, but common. Just read it, WWII, letters, an author, a book club, a lovable cast, everyone read this book¬†and talk about it. Its amazing… That is all.

6. The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield – I love this book. I will be completely honest, when I first bought this book it was entirely because of how it looks… The dark beautiful cover art, the rough cut page edges. And then the story leaped out and grabbed me and never let me go. The dark and twisting tale lead me left, right and left again, ending in a way that is beautiful, subtle and completely unexpected. I’d love to book club this in parts, have everyone read half and speculate on it, then read the last half and react…


7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -I am 90% sure this book is already a book club pick too, but it deserves love none-the-less. This book takes a unflinching look at a childhood spent in Germany. It introduces us to a cast of characters that you fall in love with, and a setting that is unparalleled. Not to mention a narrator like no other. This book was the second book to ever make me cry. I bawled like a baby. I think it would be interesting to see how other people react to a group of people we are told we are supposed to hate for the things they’ve done, when they find out¬†many of them were just like us.

8. Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham – I have a huge love and respect for every title John Wyndham title I’ve read. He does science fiction in such a subtle way. I think this one would be the best of his titles for a book club as it has the strongest questions to pose. Should anyone live forever? Who has the right to share or hide such a revelation? Should only certain people be allowed ? The implications raise in this book are¬†fascinating. Layer that on top of ¬†Wyndham’s complex and dynamic characters and you have a recipe for success.¬†


9. Some Girls: My Life In a Harem by Jillian Lauren – The title jumps out at you doesn’t it? I picked up the book for just that reason. Read the back, read the first few pages and was transported. When I think of a harem, my mind goes straight to the musical The King and I¬†and the King of Siam and his big brood. Its not a concept that had any footing in reality. So reading the book was surreal following this woman into a world of jealousy,¬†intrigue¬†and money. Perfect for a book club, discussing her steps leading to where she got, the relationships between the people present, all interesting topics to explore.

Hmmm, seems I can only crack out 9 for this week. I have lots of books I’d recommend in ¬†general, and would love someone to read and squeal with, but these are really best for group discussion.

Please chime in everyone! Get on board and let me know what your Top Ten are! ūüėÄ
‚̧ Much Love!

More or Less: Top Ten Tuesday

Good day everyone! ūüėÄ

I found this nifty little blog meme/challenge type thing while meandering around online. I had been hoping to find some sort of ¬†activity like this to fill in the gaps in between my review posts. Low and behold I found Top Ten Tuesdays¬†¬†hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. So far the topics all seem very interesting and¬†relate-able and there are so many other people who are participating, it will make for good reading. Swing by and check it out! ūüėÄ

This week is a freebie, which means I can make my own list about anything. I figured I would go back and pick from their huge list of topics and go from there! The topic I picked was:

Top Ten Trends You Would Like to See More or Less of


1. More: Dystopia
I absolutely adore dystopian novels. The sense of what might happen, what could happen, even more so then science fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good sci-fi too, I just find in general it focuses much more on the technology and less on the human interactions that I’m really after. Also just the the idea of a world gone wrong, when all along they thought they were right. ‚̧

2.More: Recognition for Canadian Young Reader’s Author
Growing up I was absolutely obsessed with Canadian children writers like Kit Pearson, and Monica Hughes. On top of being amazing writers, they brought a sense of wonder to the world around me. Just hearing my province named was a huge thrill. People should be just as familiar with names of these novelists as they are with Margaret Atwood and Robert Munsch.

3. More: Fairytale Retellings
¬†Oh man, don’t even get me started about how much I love fairy tale retellings!! I mean obviously Gregory Maguire with this retelling of Snow White, and Cinderella. His retelling of Oz is amazing too, not strictly a fairytale but it might as well be. Robin McKinley’s Beauty, and Rose Daughter. Jim C. Hines Princess series. Even Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crime¬†Division series is spectacular.¬†Just the idea of taking ¬†a story we all know and love, characters we thought we knew finding out something new. Seeing a whole new prospective. Just fantastic! ‚̧ ‚̧

4. More: Strong Female Lead Characters
I know this shouldn’t even be a trend, but after the wave of sub standard¬†, spineless, and useless female leads running around in my fiction, ¬†I’ve been in dire need of a great ¬†strong lead heroine! There is something simply inspiring about cracking open a book and getting punched in the face with ¬†a characters bravery and work ethic. To see them stop at nothing to reach their goal, to survive. To have ¬†women (and girls) like Katniss from Hunger Games, Tris from Divergent, ¬†Mary from ¬†The Forest of Hands and Teeth, all characters that were strong and willing to fight.

5. More: Zombies
Don’t ask… After having read Carrie Ryan’s forest of Hands and Teeth I was hooked!! Its not the gore (I hate gore.) Its not the scare (I get terrified so easily.) Its just the idea of an enemy that can’t be stopped, of an enemy that you become if you don’t watch your footing? Its just¬†fascinating.

6. Less: Terrible Supernatural Fiction
This one almost makes me sad. I really like stories with witches and¬†werewolves,¬†¬†the occasional vampire and ghoul, but with all the tripe that’s been thrown around lately I’m scared to pick up anything even¬†remotely¬†related. Too many bad burns of ¬†terrible writing, terrible plots and terrible characters. If one more love triangle between a girl, a werewolf and a vampire shows up in fiction I think I’m going to explode. Think your characters through, give them proper motivation, back story and dimension. aksdljfask… just… No…

7. Less: Vague, Dark Cover Art
I remember when I could pick up a book, look at the cover and have a general idea of what that book was about, or even if was a little cryptic, I could look at it and was intrigued by the concept of what could possibly be hidden in the pages. We don’t get that any more. Its all black, with shadowed figures, swirls of two primary colours… what the crap? What is this book about? I don’t even want to know. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but how can I judge a book if I can’t even stand to flip to the first page.

8. Less: Stories About Abuse
I’m not even going to post any cover art for this one. I love a good biography, its true that so many times truth is stranger then fiction. And in the case of this wave of abuse tales its even more terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are people who have gone through a lot, who have endured incredible pain and abuse, but I have no desire to read about it. Its different if its part of a greater picture, someone who was abused who grew up and founded a home for abused children, a politician or actor who overcame their circumstances to be more then a victim. Its the books that sit there and say here is all the crap I went through, I didn’t grow, I didn’t break out and use my experiences to help people, ¬†I’m just writing this books so you can know. I ¬†mean no disrespect to these people, I get that sometimes just leading a normal life is a huge accomplishment for them, and that writing out your experiences can be incredibly helpful, but that is stuff to be shared with therapists, and other survivors, not the entire world.

9. Less: Diaries of Socially Awkward Kids
Oh my goodness… this is more a pet peeve then anything. If there is one thing I get, its being made fun of as a kid. Its not fun, it pretty much sucks. I love a good underdog story, root for him til the very end. You can do it buddy! But for real people? The endless stream of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries… Ok I get it, not popular children putting their thoughts down, 90% of the time in rude, sarcastic and just plain mean ways. Why are we teaching kids that its ok to be mean and hateful, so long as your not one of the popular ones?


10. More: Books That Make Me Laugh Out Loud
Wanted to end this on a happy note after those last four entries of ranting! I don’t know one person who doesn’t love to laugh. Laughing makes a person feel all over amazing, to giggle and just feel silly for a moment is the most amazing thing! I wish there were more books out there that could make me laugh. I’m currently ¬†reading Dear Fatty, by Dawn French and there hasn’t been a chapter yet that hasn’t at least made me snicker somewhere in it. Most of the time I have to find my laughs from the awkward romance found in my Manga, so its nice to read a good wordy book and still get that good chuckle!

Well, I really enjoyed that!! I¬†sincerely¬†hope you did too!! I encourage all my blogging friends to take this one, I’d love to get your prospective too!

‚̧ Much Love

The First of Many, The End of an Era

I’ve been waffling back and forth about what to write about for the first official entry. I’ve mentally skimmed my bookshelf, mulling over this title and that. Its like trying to pick who will be your best friend for the day, it will make the others angry. And if there is one thing we¬†mustn’t¬†do, its make the books angry. I lovingly stroke their spines and come back to reality. I am at work, listening to the Wailin’ Jenny’s, the hustle and bustle of the rest of the workplace moving around me. I look to Doctor Pink the Dinosaur, he is no help, he is an idiot. I turn to my army of Cyber men, nothing there either, that’s the problem with a hive mind. I twirl my very cool sonic screwdriver between my fingers, and obviously stop typing for a time as twirling and typing are incompatible.

It really is a debate in my mind over whether I should start with an old favourite like the one I spoke about briefly in the opening, or if I should turn my hand at a new gem. At the same time I wonder at the excessive amount of time its taken me to¬†conjure¬†the will (patience, guts, vocabulary) to finally put pen to paper, or rather fingers to key board, and get my passion on the page,¬†figuratively. It really is a busy and jumbled place in my head, I do apologize for going on. And since I cannot locate a new read that I think will be stimulating enough to take an entry, I will choose an old friend and get the two of you thoroughly¬†acquainted. (Though keep your eyes peeled, I’ve started the hilarious memoirs of Dawn French. I cant wait to finish so I can share the hilarity!!)

And so I bring¬†to you one of my first loves, Awake and Dreaming. It marked the first time I picked up and enjoyed something other then the sugar and lolipop everything is going to be ok, childhood brain candy I’d been munching on. Ironic actually now that I look back it. A book about breaking away from the fantasies of perfection, with a main character who also read sugar and lolipop books, who steps up and faces reality.

Awake and Dreaming is written by Kit Pearson, and it was through her that I grew to love and adore literature. It was also the first time I took any stock of who was writing my books, I flipped to the back and was astounded to find out that she was not only Canadian, but had spent part of her time growing up in Edmonton. This fuelled by passion for Canadian authors, and lead me eventually to hunt down Monica Hughes, who became another favourite, but I digress. I had found a book, its cover beautiful and mysterious to me, its author local, its pages new. I cracked it open and fell in head first. Here was little Theodora, living in run down Vancouver apartment with her neglectful mother, being ignored and mistreated by her classmates because of it, and escaping into books filled with perfect families. It is not a perfect existence but one that Theo knows, one she is familiar with. This is all thrown into the wind when her mother tells her she is being sent to live with her Aunt in Vancouver.

On the ferry to Victoria, Theo encounters the Kaldor family. They seem as perfect as the families she has spent so much time reading about and imagining. She follows them and befriends them, they spend their time running back and forth across the deck making games and adventures out of the air. Then as they see the new moon rise they each make a wish, Theo closes her eyes and wishes with all her heart, ¬†I want to be part of this family.¬†She opens her eyes to see her mother pounding angrily down the deck towards her. She utters her ¬†wish out loud in desperation, “Please! I wish I belonged to this family right now!”

Next thing we know our darling Theo wakes up surrounded by a dream world, a dream very specific to her. A cozy warm bed set, a floor littered with toys and clothes and bags, shelves filled with books and photos and treasure. Surely this cant be real, it must be a dream, but here she is, living happily with the Kaldor’s. Eating breakfast, going shopping, attending school, learning to ride a bike, going on adventures on their mountain, and lazy afternoons in the grave yard. It is perfect, everything she ever wanted, ever expected from a perfect family. She is, for the first time, happy. And then she starts to fade away… Slowly at first, they cant hear her voice, forget that she’s there, until she’s invisible all together. In a tantrum of pain and confusion, Theo’s head begins to throb, and the world slips into darkness.

Cruel reality wrenches her back, she is on the ferry, the world bustling around her just as though it never changed. No time had passed, her weeks with the Kaldor’s evaporated, and yet there were the memories. They arrive in Victoria with little pomp, and Theo is given over to her Aunts care. School starts, and a new life unfolds. School is awkward, and Theo slowly begins to make friends and take stock of her surroundings. In a fit of whimsy and determination Theo sets out in a search for the Kaldor’s, and finds them living in the same home, with the same pets, and same children, only with none of the gloss of dreams.¬†What follows is a beautiful story, filled with new expectations, friendships, tears and a ghost.

Looking back I can see why this book appealed to me so much. It was the first book that carried real emotions. I remember the anger I felt at Theo’s mom for treating her so bad. The tightening of fear and sorrow in my chest when Theo started to slip away. The joy and the triumph of Theo finally standing up for herself. It was a book that taught me that while dreams are worth chasing, the world is still very real. This book was the first of many books that would follow me into adulthood, and marked the end of an era. The end of using books just to hide, and using them to learn.

I hope that if you pick up this book it will look into you as much as it did into me, and that it would spark a new interest in all the amazing authors Canada has to offer.

‚̧ Much Love

A Little Thing About Books

I¬†want this blog to be about books. Simply that, books I’ve read and loved, and books I’ve read and hated. Books I’ve read and been entirely indifferent about.


I’m pretty sure this is the fourth or fifth time I’ve tried to write this opening, and every time I write it and reread it I’m never happy with it. For a blog about books it feels like this needs to be¬†eloquently written, with¬†impeccable grammar and the utmost grace, but truth be told, I’m no author and I always hated my literary¬†analysis classes. To pump out a critical and detached report on the books I’ve read is the total opposite of my goal. I want to write these “reviews”, for lack of a better word, with all the emotion the book gave me. A summery without personal opinion is not one I want to read.

Books and I have had a lengthy relationship. First as an escape from childhood bullies, seeking¬†out beautifully¬†illustrated tomes that would draw me in visually then transport me with words as I¬†cowered among the shelves. Then as I grew older, as ¬†an¬†escape from the every day¬†doldrums that¬†inevitably follow¬†each of us as we fall into routine. Slowly at first, and then more rapidly, these magical vessels for¬†the imagination have made their way into my home and into¬†my heart. My¬†small collection has turned¬†into something akin to a library. I¬†smile every time I move, friends and family heaving and¬†huffing, asking me breathlessly, “What are in these rubbermaids?”, I grin and huff right back, “Just some of my books.” They take up the most space, have absorbed more of my money and occupy more of my time then any other pursuit I have. Which is why I want to dedicate a blog to the adventures I encounter between the pages.

The name of the blog may mean nothing to most people, but it means the world to me. It is a line from one¬†favorite books, from one of my favorite authors, and it marks the first time a book ever made me cry. I had read the first and second book in the series when I was in junior high (out of order I might add), and was very excited when I found the two of them being sold in my local grocery store years later. Low and behold there lay a third book, not new by any means, simply ignored by the ignorance of youth, passed by because I simply hadn’t known to check for more books in a series. Needless to say I snatched all three up and went home to¬†immerse¬†myself. I felt no need to read the first two books, the characters were as familiar to me as if I had read them only hours before. I was disappointed as I read. Where were my characters? Where was the familiar landscape? The messa? The valley and its ring of impassable mountains? But knowing my author, and trusting her love for own creation I kept on. Slowly the old palet returned, new names, new faces, but the same world.

And as we wandered out of the valley, an old friend; but an old friend alone. Mechanical, and¬†immortal, we see¬†Guardian stoic among the bamboo, frozen in time. We pass him, move among the stalks, only to hear a voice creaky and disused “Olwen, is that you?”, we reply in fear ” Who spoke? Where are you?” The voice answers back, full of rust and utter sorrow “You¬†are not Olwen. You are not¬†Olwen!” Not alone in the forest of bamboo, we pan to a grave. The grave of the only thing that gave him meaning, the child grown into a woman, aged unto death, Olwen Pendennis. And inscribed in the stone, words to break a heart, “Where you go I may not follow” That simple passage, the mixture of memory and emotion mingled so delicately together moved me to tears. I couldn’t put it to words, couldn’t even properly understand why, but my heart broke and melted right out my eyes.

Thats what a good book should do, it should move you. It doesn’t have to make you cry, its only happend to me twice, it just has to make you feel something. I’ve yelled at books and had to put them down for a time. I’ve laughed and books and startled friends, family and pets. I’ve been scared by books and needed to leave the light on to sleep. And its these movements, these moments that I want to call into existence here.

Please join me for the journey.

Much love ‚̧