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Book lists and book pressure!

I've finally gotten around to posting my 2008 booklist (3 months into the year) but I sort of feel embarrassed doing so because last year I read the grand total of....11 books! I've read so many lists that have so much more and I feel as though I can't possibly be a book lover because I don't read as many books as other people. Yet, I can still vividly remember where I was, how I felt, my initial and reflective thoughts when reading each and every one. I could discuss my thoughts and opinions on each one even now because my memory isn't bogged with remembering a load of other books too. Also, I started many books this year but couldn't get into them so left them to go back to in a few months, or even years, for when my taste is a little different. Does anybody else get this? Do you feel as though people will think you can't possibly love books as much as them because you don't read as many as they do?

1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (sequel to Twilight) - This one is kind of cheating because I cut out like the entire middle section because Edward wasn't in that bit and after all, it's only the vampires that I read it for so I wasn't going to carry on reading about 200 pages of Bella's constant whining, but the bit that I did read was about the same size of a normal book so I'm adding it in. Read Twilight, get sucked into the numbness for a while but forget about the anti-climatic storyline and don't even bother with the next 2 sequels.

2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - I loved this book but it made me cry near the end. I just found out that apparently they're making a film of it, and the guy who's playing Henry looks nothing like how I imagined him at all. I'm quite disappointed. However, everyone will imagine him different. But the book is fantastic and the way he time travels is so unique. I reccommend.

3. The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - The guy in Waterstones was going on that he was unsure about whether or not he liked it when I bought this but I personally am in love with Charlie. He is so emotionally fucked up and has this unique way of looking at things, you just want to give him a big hug. And I love his friend Patrick as well, but I think that's more to do with the slasher in me and his secret relationship with the school jock. You must read this.

4. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris - This is the second collection of stories that I've read by Sedaris, and I've loved them both. The stories are generally humourous in the style that he writes them, and his human observations are often brilliant. Blood Work made me cringe but laugh hysterically at the same time and Hejira, I thought, was sadly wonderful. Again, both his brother and father never fail to make me laugh. If you're into autobiographical/memoir/short stories then I reccommend you read some of his work. :)

5. Hero by Perry Moore - This book is about the world's first teenage gay superhero and it's fantastic. It's absoloutely hilarious told from the POV of Thom, the gay superhero, as he joins the League of Superheroes. It mixes a sort of mystery/action/drama when some of the heroes start getting killed off, as well as wondering what happened to his mum who disappeared about five (I think) years before, and there's also his romance with Goran, the fit foreign guy who he plays basketball with. It's an easy read but you fall in love with all these flawed and unique characters and even though I wanted to carry on reading, I always put the book down after so many chapters to make it last longer. I'm so glad that it's only one in a series and that there'll be more to come, and they might even be turning it into a TV series!! Yey!! 

6. Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer - the last in the Artemis Fowl series yet not as good as the rest. I was really glad to hear that Eoin Colfer had released another Artemis Fowl book but I was disappointed. It was still good, and had that great sense of humour that I love in Colfer's books but I felt Artemis' character wasn't as witty and engaging as he usually is and the slight bit of Artemis/Holly romance felt out of context. However it was still an enjoyable read and I really reccomend the Artemis Fowl series, even if it is a children's book.

7. The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris - The title story in this short collection of 6 is by far the best of the bunch. It's hilarious in true Sedaris style and had me laughing at his antics as an elf in Macy's at Christmas. The other five weren't what I expected. Only one other was actually autobiographical. They were less humourous and more ironic yet they were very good at making comments about society (another thing Sedaris does quite well). If you have read and enjoyed Sedaris' other work then I reccomend it but if you're knew to his stuff then I suggest one of his other works.

8. Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling - A fantastic fantasy story! It was full of twist and turns, intrigues, questionable alliances, magic, sword fighting and a compelling plot that keeps developing and becomes more interesting the further you read in. Flewelling manages to weave the history and story about the lands and people in without boring the reader and creates a detailed and intriging world. The chemistry between the characters is brilliant and each one is unique and non left under-developed. A great, quick-paced read that I really reccomend. I'm off now to buy the sequel!

9. Five Equations the Changed the World - (Non-Fiction) This book details the stories of the discoveries of five different equations that made huge impacts on the world. A lot more interesting than I thought it would be, it gives a brilliant insight into the mathematicians and scientists behind the equations and the interesting events that led to their discoveries without being too heavy with the maths.

10. Animal Farm by George Orwell -   I pretty much loved it. The writing was simplistic and used description sparsely yet Orwell clearly got his message across. Having studied Stalin's Russia I could see the parallels between the farm and soviet russia and I was constantly making notes in the margin. It wasn't funny (though Napoleon and Snowball - rofl, wtf?) and it didn't end on a happy or hopeful note, and the worst bit about the whole thing that it had basis in reality. I quick read that I reccomend everybody reads. I will be most definately checking out '1984'  - the radical in me is strirring...

11. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte -  I disliked every character within the book, the only expection been Harenton. Catherine annoyed me with her 'why must you hurt me so Heathcliffe? You're killling me because you won't do as I say' whining - I was baffled at how she had two men in love with her, never mind one. Edgar was feeble, pathetic and self-righteous and their daughter became only a slighly improved version of the two. Heathcliffe I have conflicted views about. I didn't like him - after all he was vengeful and cruel but his love for Cathy and the pain he felt when she died was heartbreaking. I also felt he was merely acting in the same way that he had been treated in the past. Mrs Dean, the main narrator throughout, was judgemental and, like the Master she so adored, also self-righteous. Yet for some reason I was hooked. I was eager to see how it all panned out and had nearly finished the first volume the same day I had borrowed it from the library. The novel contained some of the most twisted yet passionate and romantic lines I've ever read in a book. I felt as though I was in the book and in the time - I don't know whether I'll be able to read it again but I reccomend that you do.

I also thought I'd list the books that I've already read this year:

1. Maurice by E.M.Forster - This was initially reccomended to me as a book about a forbidden relationship however, whilst it does have that in it - two in fact, it's about so much more. It's about Maurice, a gay man living in England during the early 1900s and how he eventually discovers who he is and comes to accept himself. I find it hard to describe what the book is about without revealing so much of its plot and going off on a tangent. So I'll just say it's beautifully written, and whilst not essentially a love story, it is about finding love.

2. Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling - This is the second in the Nightrunner series and it is just as good, if not better, than the first. There's more sword fighting, war, magic and intrigue. Alliances, betrayals and a compelling plot. Again the characters were amazing and we got to see more of characters that were only quite minor in the first. Also, loads of great development between Seregil and Alec - I have such love for these two. And Thero <3 He was so badass in helping Alec in this one, gotta love him. These books are seriously probably my favourite book series ever, on par, quite possibly, with the Potter.

3. Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - Chick-Lit usually isn't my thing but I saw the film the other day and thought I'd give it a go. Whilst the plot varies almost completely from the film, it's still hilarious, it had me in stitches. However, I vastly preferred the romantic storyline in the film and also, I felt that part of the book felt too repetative. For me, as I gained nothing more from the book, I would reccommend you watch the film instead of the book but that's just me!

I'm currently reading 'Dry' by Augusten Burroughs and loving it so far!


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 10th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
I had to read Animal Farm in 8th grade (3 years ago) and I loved it as well. The entire idea of animals overthrowing each other on the farm and becoming like humans was just... brilliant :D
Mar. 10th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Don't let quantity make you feel less of a book lover! There's too many factors to consider when throwing that label around. If reading is one of your hobbies, even if you feel you haven't read as many books as other people, you're still a book lover. Anyone who thinks less of a self-proclaimed book lover who's only read a few books in a year is a snob. :)

btw, I felt the same way about the latest Artemis Fowl book. It just didn't have the same feel as the rest, but it was fun.
Mar. 10th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
i do know what you're saying, but just because you don't read as much as you would like to, it doesn't make you any less of a book lover. if you appreciate books and if you span your knowledge through books, you're a book lover. not everyone can read as much as they would like to. this is a fact because life gets in the way between work, school, & other commitments.
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
Quality not quantity! And besides, if you love books, you love books. Doesn't matter how many you read. Everyone's got different amounts of time and different reading speeds. I've slowed down from last year but I definitely wouldn't rank my love of books as any less.

Right, I went on a bit there. xD I really liked Hero too, I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
If you love to read, if it takes you away, if you've learned, laughed, and cried over books, you're a book lover. A lot of the rest of it is just because many book lovers are also anal retentive and/or have really, really sub social skills. I cheerfully count myself in this group.

Read on and enjoy it.
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
I don't think the amount you read reflects how much you love it. I read 156 books last year. This year I'll maybe be able to read half of that, which is still more than most, but that doesn't mean my love of books has halved. I'm just a lot busier this year.

I really want to read Hero :)
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
LOVED Perks of Being a Wallflower, and loved Dry as well. Read some more by Burroughs if you like Dry. I'll have to put Maurice on my list.
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
Don't think of it as a competition. Reading should be for pleasure, not to keep up with others. It has never occurred to me to keep a list of the books I've read...
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
I never felt like Henry of The Time Traveler's Wife would look like anyone specifically unless of course they made a movie. I don't remember any description that seperated him from legions of guys.
Mar. 11th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
Yay, Lynn Flewelling! I love the Nightrunner series, although I think her Tamir trilogy is even better.

What age-group is Hero aimed at? If it's an adult-oriented novel, I think I want to pick it up; the concept wouldn't really draw me in a YA novel.
Mar. 11th, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
I don't look down on people who read less than I do, but I just I don't understand how you can love books and not need to read all the time. Surely, I stop reading when I'm busy with school too, but that only lasts for a few days, I can't resist more than a week.
Mar. 11th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
I'm definately a book lover, but at most these days I will pick up a book for proper reading for maybe 20 minutes every couple of days if I'm lucky. And that's all re-reading, nothing new. The way things are, it's common for me to go a month witohut reading. This is because:

-I get up a 6 am to go to school
-I get home at about 5, have dinner, do general chores (including helping with a baby brother)
-I can't read on the bus because it makes me feel really really sick
-I have coursework assignments, regular assignments and revision to do in the evenings, so when I'm done at around 10:30, I mess around on the computer for a while and get into bed at about 11-12 to grab some sleep before I'm up again at 6...

I LOVE reading, I do it all Summer-the only time I have that's truly 'free'. For me it's a huge treat, a luxury, not the norm. If I take an hour or two aside to read my books on a Sunday, I feel guilty.

Sometimes circumstances force you to resist for more than a week.
Mar. 11th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
It's a matter of prioritizing, I think. I read when I eat, on the bus, at school and whenever I have to sit waiting for something. I also listen to audiobooks all the time. I think you can find 30 spare minutes in your schedule if you want to.
Mar. 11th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yea, reading at school isn't an option, I want to pass my classes (and it's not like I get breaks-taking 2 languages) and when it comes to prioritizing, SLEEP is a priority, as I'm struggling to get 8 hours a night as it is. Yea, I used to sit up 'till the early hours of the morning, reading, but the next day I'd be able to go to bed at nine or whatever if I wanted to.

I mean, I do read sometimes, I'm just saying that your scope of how long you can go without if you 'really' love reading is a little narrow.
Mar. 11th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
I take three languages- French, English and Latin. I also have two literature-related courses for which I obviously have to read. I'm not saying that you don't like reading, just that you could take time to read if you needed to.
Mar. 11th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
(I don't want to do the comparing workloads thing, but if you're counting your first language, I take 3 aswell)

And I have to read alot for school (HL Literature) but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about reading for fun, not the stuff that I 'need' to. And I refuse to believe that anyone 'needs' to read for fun. You may like it, love it, even, but you won't fail a class or fall ill or anything if you don't.

I think this is what the OP was getting at. Just because people can't find the time to read doesn't mean that they're not as bothered as those who makes lists of 300 books to read in 5 minutes.

n'est pas?
Mar. 12th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
English is not my first language, Romanian is. I'm taking the exam for my advanced English certificate in two months.

I ~need to read for fun because it's ~fun.
I don't mean to sound like a prick. I just like reading.
Mar. 12th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
lol, I know. I figure we just have different lifestyles, where fun stuff is a necessity to different extents
Mar. 12th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
I just I don't understand how you can love books and not need to read all the time.

Life? Other hobbies?
Mar. 12th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
Have you read any of Burroughs' other books?
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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