30 Days of Books

I’ve seen this on a couple of different blogs, and lastly on “Because Motherhood Sucks,” so I decided to do it.  I love reading and love books, so I thought it seemed like a neat idea.  Maybe a little narcissistic, but who cares? That’s sort of the point.  Also, I may do a couple of days at once, because I want to.

Note: All pictures are from Bing images. None of them are mine.

Day One: Your Favorite Book

I had a really hard time with this, since as I mentioned in a recent post, I love Stephen King.  There were several front-runners, such as The Stand, The Green Mile, and Lisey’s Story.  But in the end, my old stand-by had to take first place, just because I’ve read it and love it so much.

     I would not even venture to guess how many times I have read this book.  There is just something so fundamental about it–I have to remind myself that those kids aren’t real people.  It scares me and makes me laugh and makes me cry.  I love it. What else can I say?

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Day Two: A Book You Hate

     Well, sorry classic lit lovers, but here it goes:

    I made it all the way to college before I read this, and I still didn’t like it.  I’m sure it’s one of those classics that everyone will say I’m an idiot for hating, but I can’t help it.  It sucked.  Bad.

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Day 3: A Book That Surprised You

     I don’t read a lot of what I consider to be sappy books, and I’m not particularly sentimental or religious, so it never entered my mind to read this book.  Sometimes I really get desperate, though, and I just have to have something to read, and The Grandmother had this book someone had given her.  It was short, and looked a fairly easy read, so I gave it a shot.

     It turned out to be a neat idea and a neat story, and I thought it was well thought out.  It sort of made me think about the people in my life, and the part they play in the paths we take.  Like I said, it’s just sort of a neat book.  I really liked it.

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Day 4: A Book That Reminds You of Home

Ha, ha. Just a little “30 Days of Books” humor, there.  (Sort of.)  This one is hard, because I don’t usually read books that have much to do with reality.  I grew up in a coal camp, and then moved to a rural community at a fairly young age.  There really isn’t a book that makes me think of “home,” per se, so my joke will have to do with this one.  Some days, it’s not so far off the mark. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

 

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Day 5: A Nonfiction Book You Enjoyed

      I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this book the way a person would enjoy, say, a trip to the beach, but it was certainly thought-provoking.  I’ve always been fascinated by cults, and more specifically the people who become involved with them.  How do they allow themselves to become so brainwashed?  Some little dude pops up and tells you if you kill yourself you’re going to catch the comet, and you think, “Hey, that guy might be on to something!”  What is that all about?!?  Anyway, I liked the book.

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Day 6:  A Book That Makes You Cry

     There are lots of choices for this one.  Everyone thinks of Stephen King as this scary horror writer (which he is) but he can punch the heart right out of you, too.  Here’s a quote from a favorite of mine, Lisey’s Story:    She would have thought two years was enough time for the strangeness to rub off, but it wasn’t; time apparently did nothing but blunt grief’s sharpest edge so that it hacked rather than sliced.  Because everything was not the same. Not outside, not inside, not for her.  Lying in the bed that had once held two, Lisey thought alone never felt more lonely than when you woke up and discovered you still had the house to yourself. That you and the mice in the walls were the only ones still breathing.

Or this one, from the same book:  And then sometimes a day would come, a gray one (or a sunny one) when she missed him so fiercely she felt empty, not a woman at all anymore but just a dead tree filled with cold November blow.  She felt like that now, felt like hollering his name and hollering him home, and her heart turned sick with the thought of the years ahead and she wondered what good love was if it came to this, to even ten seconds of feeling like this.

     See what I mean? I could go on all day.  But I thought I’d give Mr. King a break, mostly to prove that I have read other things besides Stephen King, so here’s the tear-jerker that I thought of:

     I don’t know what it was about this book, but it was very emotional to me.  Death is not the only sense of loss and tragedy here, and I think it’s one of the most moving books I’ve ever read.

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Day 7: A Book That is Hard to Read

     Ironic, isn’t it?  I’ve been reading King since I was about twelve, and for some reason this book totally freaked me out.  At times I almost couldn’t read it.  It’s fiction, so it’s not like any of this stuff actually happened, but it’s very graphic, and it got to me somehow. Weird, huh?

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Day 8:  An Unpopular Book That Should be a Bestseller

     I know this is a classic literature book, but I don’t think that many people have actually read it.  This is probably cheating a little bit, since it’s not a new book by any means, but I love this book and highly recommend it.

     Charlotte Bronte’s sister got most of the attention as an author, but again, I really love this book.  I think most of the time it is read as an assigned book, and people really don’t know what they are missing.

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Day 9:  A Book You’ve Read More Than Once

     I can’t even pick one here, because most of my books I’ve read more than once.  I’ve read It more than any, probably, but I re-read most books unless they just totally suck.  Some people don’t get this, but I do the same things with movies.  What can I say?  I’m just odd that way.

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Day 10:  The First Novel You Remember Reading

     This was in the book shelf in a classroom, and I picked it out and read it.  I thought it was awesome then, and I still do.

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Day 11:  The Book that made you fall in love with reading

 

     I’ve read this book a thousand times.  When I was a kid, if I couldn’t find something to read, I’d just read this again.  There are lots of books I can remember loving, but this one stands out.  I read it because there was a made-for-tv mini series on PBS made from it, and I actually watched it before I read the book. It made me interested in the book and I read it.  The rest, as they say, is history.

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Day 12: A book so emotionally draining that you either couldn’t finish it or had to set it aside

     I couldn’t come up with anything on this one.  I don’t know if I’ve ever NOT finished a book, even if I didn’t like it.

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Day 13:  Favorite Childhood Book

     I have read this series of books, like, a hillion jillion times.  I used to just read them over and over when I was a kid.

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Day 14:  A book that should be required reading in college and/or high school

     I’m cheating just a tad here, because it’s not so much a book as a collection of poems, but I think everyone should read this:

     Frost is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest poets every to put pen to page.  I think all high schoolers should be required to study him and his work, and not just in an American lit class, either.  Studying Frost is studying the essence of poetry, and the way words are so much more than just words.  My favorite poem of all time is “Reluctance,” and honorable mentions go to “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” “Birches,” and “After Apple Picking.”

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Day 15:  Favorite book dealing with a foreign culture

     This one was sort of tough, because I haven’t read a ton of stuff dealing with other cultures except for England, and I’m not sure that counts.  The fist thing that popped into my mind was The Diary of Anne Frank.

     My son is very interested in history, and especially wars, but I only let him start getting into WWII stuff this year.  I was afraid he would be upset by the subject matter, but he’s done very well.  Even reading this, I can’t fathom what it was like to live through that time–the fear and suffering and loss.

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Day 16:  Favorite Book Turned Movie

     This was a tough one, because in general, I don’t think books adapt to movies all that well.  Ironically, even though I love his books, I especially don’t care for movie versions of Stephen King’s work.  I think it’s because most of his books are so long, and it’s impossible to put all of that effectively into a two hour movie.  All of the detail and subtlety is lost.  The exceptions are “Stand by Me,” based on a short story called The Body, and “The Shawshank Redemption,” based on a short story from the same collection called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.  Notice that they come from short stories, and I think that makes the transition a little easier.  Having said all of that, probably my favorite movie is actually a trio of movies.

     I LOVE the Lord of the Rings movies–all three of them. I’m going to commit Tolkien blasphemy here and say–gulp–in some ways I actually like the movies more than the books.  I know there are a lot of differences, but there is just something about the movies that really got me.  Great effects, great characters, everything.  There.  Despise me if you must.

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Day 17:  A book turned movie and completely desecrated

     There could be several on here (Stephen King’s book Dreamcatchers comes to mind) and so it’s hard to pick just one.  I thought “The Lovely Bones” and “My Sister’s Keeper” were big letdowns.  I think the one that let me down the most was, naturally, based on King.

     The movie wasn’t all that bad compared to some other movies, but compared to the book, it absolutely fits the word in the prompt for today–desecration.  Needful Things is an outstanding book, and it’s one of his longer ones.  So, eight hundred pages in a movie that lasts less than two hours? No. The whole heart and soul of the book is lost. You’ve heard the term “character actor?” Well, King is, to me, a character writer.  That is totally lost in this movie.

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Day 18:  A book you love that you can’t fnd on shelves anymore

     I couldn’t come up with anything for this one, either.  With the Internet, what can’t you find?   A lot of the stuff like Poe and Frost obviously isn’t in the book section at Wal-Mart, and some of the titles aren’t available on my Kindle, but other than that, I’m stuck.

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Day 19:  A book that changed your mind about a particular subject

     There are two books that came to mind right away on two completely different subjects.

     The Well Trained Mind is a book about homeschooling your children.  I never thought of homeschooling, but as our local school situation began to deteriorate, I started reconsidering.  I started working with my son after school, but we were both getting frustrated with that situation.  I read this book, and it gave me both the information and the confidence to home school.

     This book, along with a great blog called “Waking Up Vegan,” written by a friend of mine, convinced me to try going vegan for a four week test run.  That was on April 18th, and I’m still going strong!  I feel healthier, and I feel good about making responsible choices in my life and about the world.  My husband it trying it along with me, but so far, every one else in my life thinks I’m crazy.  Oh well.  It isn’t the first (or last!) time they’ve thought that, I’m sure.

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Day 20:  A book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/close-minded person

     There are a few books that came to mind here.  I thought of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and even Common Sense.  I think a good read, though, for someone who thinks being a dumbass is okay is Schindler’s List.

     It was originally printed as Schindler’s Ark in western Europe, but printed in eastern Europe and then the US as Schindler’s List.  Tons of people have seen the movie, but not too many have read the book.  I recommend it.  I think it makes a powerful statement.  If you think this is an odd choice, get over it.  This is my list.

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Day 21:  A guilty pleasure

    Oh yeah, baby.

     Who doesn’t want to be swept away by their knight in shining armor, be beautiful, and have unbelievable sex for all eternity? ‘Nuff said.

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Day 22:  Favorite Series

    I am a fan of series books, like the books of Narnia, the Little House books, Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings books.  Probably my favorite, though, is a little more obscure.

     I LOVE all of James Herriot’s writing.  They detail his life as a veterinary surgeon in rural England.  I love animals, and so did he.  These are great books–great writing, great stories, and great characters.  Those are the most important things in anything I read. 

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Day 23:  Favorite Romance Novel

     I don’t read romance as a rule, because to me they are just like soap operas in writing.  Same old stuff, different day.  Lots of the books I read have romance in them–more than that, they have stories of true love and real relationships–but I guess I’ll try to stay on topic here.  I always browse the free books that are available on my Kindle, and one of the ones I got recently was a romance novel.  I have to always have something to read, and I was in a rut….okay, I won’t make any more excuses.  I read it, and I liked it.  It’s fluff, but fun fluff.  It’s called Compromising Positions by Jenna Bayley-Burke.  I couldn’t find an image, but thank God Fabio isn’t on the front cover!

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Day 24:  A book you thought was laugh out loud funny

     First of all, let me say I think one of the funniest authors ever is Dave Barry.  I’ve read all of his books.  He is freakin’ hysterical.  I couldn’t pick a favorite book of his.  However, for a more recent pick, one jumped into my mind right away.

     I literally almost fell out of my chair reading this.  I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud. 

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Day 25:  Favorite biographical/autobiographical book

     For this one, it’s a pretty easy choice.

     Ian and I are big fans of the whole Discovery Channel family, and we watched “The Crocodile Hunter” faithfully.  A lot of people made fun of him, but I enjoyed his positive attitude, and especially his passion for what he did.  When Steve Irwin died, I mourned like I had lost a member of my family.  Really.  We’re animal lovers around here, and the animal kingdom lost a great champion on that day.  This book just further tore my heart out, showing him not just as a great advocate for animal conservation, but also a husband, son, father and friend.  It’s a great book.

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Day 26: Book you wish would be written

     Well, I could give you a bunch of crap about how I wish a good book would be written about some socially or politically relevant topic that means something to the book snobs out there, but the truth is, I’m only hungry for one book at this moment in time.  Can you guess?

  

      Of course this is a fake cover, since the book doesn’t really exist, but it’s still pretty cool.  Normally, I wouldn’t care about this book so much one way or the other, but something terrible happened to me.  Stephenie Myer posted the rough draft of the first several chapters of this book because someone leaked it on the Internet before it was finished.  So she said f*ck it and quit writing it and posted the draft.  Like a total dumbass, I read it.  Now, for those of who don’t know (and possibly don’t care) this is a repeat of the first book in the Twilight series, only written from Edward’s perspective.  Ultimately not that big of a deal, but still, I read some of it.  As I mentioned way back yonder in this little project, I don’t think I’ve ever not finished a book, even a sucky one, just because I can’t stand to do that.  For better or worse, I have to see how it ends.  Even though I know how this particular story ends, it is still a great big thorn in my mental flesh that I will probably never see the rest of this book.  Stephenie Myer, if you’re reading this (unlikely), please accept my apology on behalf of the asshole who leaked your story, and please please please please puh-lease finish writing this book.  If necessary, you can finish it and show it only to me.  I swear I won’t tell.

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Day 27:  A book you would write if you had unlimited resources

     I wish I could write a book that made people laugh, cry, and just generally that people loved and couldn’t put down, plus they’d be willing to buy multiple copies at inflated prices.  Otherwise, it’s hard to say what kind of book I’d write if I had unlimited resources.  I think having unlimited resources would greatly change all of my perspectives and ideas.  Having extremely limited resources makes me the wonderful person I am today.

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Day 28:  A book you wish you had never read

     Well, I already said I wish I had never read that partail draft of “Midnight Sun,” but I have another one that I can say, with no hesitation, that I would be happier person if I had never laid eyes on it.

     There are quite a few celebrities that irritate me, but really there are only a couple that I despise with the firey hatred of ten thousand white hot suns.  Howard Stern is at the top of the list.  The Shock Jock doesn’t do a thing for me, and he never did.  He’s not a genius, he’s soft-core, mainstream porn.  Shock value is not the same thing as talent.  No doubt he pushed through boundaries and all of that, but I can’t stand him and never could.  Don’t be mistaken–he doesn’t offend me, he annoys me.  Do NOT ask me why I read the book, because I honestly don’t know the answer to that.  In fact, I didn’t just read it, I bought it, and it sits still in the book shelf upstairs even as I write.  Incidentally, the only other person who comes close to irritating me worse than Howard Stern is Nancy Grace.  Barf.

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Day 29:  An author you hate or just won’t read

     Well, I’m not even sure if she qualifies as an author, but here you go:

          I remember back in the day when Mary Hart was at her peak (think Entertainment Tonight) all of the late night TV guys were making jokes about a woman trying to sue Mary.  The woman said just hearing Mary Hart’s voice caused her to have a sort of epileptic-type fit.  Well, Nancy Grace’s face has that effect on me.  I may have caved in and read Private Parts, but I’m older and much wiser now.

     Also, there is one more, and while I don’t have any particular animosity for the woman, I will hopefully never have to read any of her work.  It just isn’t my genre, and she is the queen.

     Sorry, Danielle Steele. Nothing personal.  And the sight of your face doesn’t bother me at all–just your books make me want to throw up a little, that’s all.

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Day 30:  An author you’ll read, whatever they put out

     I feel sure  I don’t need to tell you this, but obviously I would read Stephen King’s shopping list if he published it.

     I’m not much of a gusher, but I will gush for a moment.  I make jokes about King is a god, and how I would worship him given the chance, but in truth, I believe him to be one of the greatest authors of all time, and not just in his genre.  Actually, I think King transcends genre altogether, but I suppose most people think of him as a horror writer.  To some degree that’s true, but it’s all in there.  It’s not just his stories that are so good (though they are), and it’s not just that the characters are so rich and well-defined (again, they are.) He is simply a brilliant writer.  His use of language surpasses everyone I have read.  After I read King, reading other authors is kind of like vacationing in Hawaii one year, then going to the little swimmer’s beach at the lake the following year.  Sure, you have a ton of fun at the lake, and it’s nice, but it’s so far apart from the other experience that you can’t even really compare the two.  I really, really enjoy other authors.  There are books that I adore that are written by people other than King, but at the end of the day, there is no one else but him.  Everyone dims in comparison. 

     I feel I should at least make an honorable mention here (again) to Dave Barry.  I like humor writing a lot, and Dave Barry is my favorite.  I have read all of his work that I know of, and if anything else comes out, I’ll read it, too.  He is actually a big inspiration to my writing, and if you’ve never his work, check some out.  It’s a fun, easy read.  Fun and easy–sounds good, right?

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     So that’s it for 30 days of Books.  I really enjoyed it, and thanks to Selena at “Because Motherhood Sucks” for allowing me to swipe her list (as if she had a choice.)  Try it out for yourself.  It’s a lot of fun, and like Selena said, it makes you think of the reasons you like to read as well as what you like to read.  Thanks for reading this, especially, and keep reading something, even if it’s just the funnies! 

 

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