A to Z Bookish Survey!

AtoZsurveyI thought this survey, hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner, looked right up my alley … and yours!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

C.S. Lewis!  (Unless you count the childhood years, in which case, Ann M. Martin wins … I think I owned 150+ Babysitters Club books, ha!)

Best Sequel Ever:

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis or The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Currently Reading:

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Mmm … hot cocoa.  (Well, in those Minnesota winters, at least!)

E-reader or Physical Book?

Well … I’m mainly an audiobook girl!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

I would have wanted to date Augustus Waters.  Or Jonah Griggs.  Be still, my teenage heart.  (My top 10 literary boyfriends here!)

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

City of Bones by Cassie Clare.  This is soooooooo not my normal kind of book, but I ended up really enjoying The Mortal Instruments series!

Hidden Gem Book:

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle.  I try my hardest to recruit people to read it!

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

I can think of a couple: 1) Reading Where the Red Fern Grows, the first book to make me cry; 2) Staying up late to finish the Harry Potter series; 3) Reading The Book Thief in pajamas till 5pm one Saturday.

Just Finished:

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Here is a list of books topics that turn me off!

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.  870 pages of teenage angst.

Major book hangover because of:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I take personal offense if people don’t like this book.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Three.  A “favorites” shelf, a jam-packed fiction and literary writing shelf, and another full non-fiction shelf.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Well, I just read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe five times in the last month.  Narnia addict.

Preferred Place To Read:

I love listening to audiobooks on long car rides!  Otherwise, I want to be in bed!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

quotequote2

Reading Regret:

I regret giving into the pressure to read Twilight.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

The Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman!  (Actually, I’m not sure the third book is out yet …)

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (I know that’s cheating, and I don’t care); The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Narnia!!! Harry Potter!!!

Yep, we played this before one of the midnight showings ... our blindfold was a Gryffindor scarf.

Yep, we played this before one of the midnight showings … our blindfold was a Gryffindor scarf.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Worst Bookish Habit:

Not using the library enough.  Using my credit card too much.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller and John MacMurray Jr.

Your latest book purchase:

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (preordered: it is released later this month!)

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, which I rather enjoyed.

Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s topic is

TOP TEN AUTHORS WHO DESERVE MORE RECOGNITION.

recogcollage1

10. Annie Dillard | The Writing Life will blow your mind.  The Maytrees is incredible.

9. Luci Shaw | I deeply appreciate Shaw’s ability to write about Christianity without succumbing to over-sentimentality.  Her poems are like truth: good, hard-hitting.

8. Patrick Ness | After reading A Monster Calls (and sobbing like a baby) and then his Chaos Walking trilogy, I am convinced Ness is a different breed of YA author.  I love his depth.

7. Rainbow Rowell | She is definitely becoming more of a household name after the great success of Eleanor and Park— she deserves it!

6. Peter Beagle | I cannot say just how much I love The Last Unicorn, but I try to.

recogcollage2

5. Erin Morgenstern | Morgenstern only has one book out so far– The Night Circus— but the book is so utterly masterful that I want the world to know about her!

4. Leif Enger | Peace Like a River is sheer brilliance.

3. Yann Martel | With the new Life of Pi movie out, Martel is becoming more well-known.  But I am actually more intrigued by his other work: his novel Beatrice and Virgil and his short story “The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios.”

2. Jandy Nelson | Again, Nelson only has one book out so far– The Sky is Everywhere— but it’s gorgeous and has landed her on my auto-buy list.

1. Melina Marchetta | I have an evangelical zeal for spreading the name of this Aussie author.  She is my favorite, and I won’t be satisfied until she has ALLTHERECOGNITION.  There are a lot of reasons you NEED to read Marchetta’s work.

Your turn!  Which authors do you think deserve more recognition?

Jackie’s Favorite YA Books

Ahhh, YA lit!  So near and dear to my heart!  There are so many books I could recommend, but let’s start with these:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This book is seriously one of the best-written young adult books I have ever read.  In my life.  Period.  I love so many things about this book: the language, the characters, the structure, the humor.  It gets a 10 out of 10 from me.
Must-read: anyone who loves YA or a clever, quirky romance that is not at all cliche

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Okay, I suppose I should just be upfront and say that everything Melina Marchetta writes is fantastic.  She’s definitely my favorite YA author right now.  Saving Francesca is about Frankie Spinelli the year she and a handful of other girls (none of them her friends) begin attending a previously all-boys school.  She’s trying to navigate a school of boys who don’t want the girls there, girls she doesn’t want to become friends with, and her mother’s mental breakdown.  The characters are incredible.
Must-read: anyone who loves character-driven stories, fans of nerdy-but-hot Italian boys (i.e. the Will Trombal Experience/Extravaganza)
Bonus: this book has a sequel– The Piper’s Son— set five years down the road!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
TIME’s 2012 book of the year!  This YA book will make you laugh and cry and think.  It’s a cancer book– but not one of those cancer books.
Must-read: people who love YA, philosophy, and incredible characters

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Prior to the start of this book, Lennie’s sister Bailey has died unexpectedly.  Now Lennie is trying to navigate her grief all while falling in love for the first time.  This book is full of Lennie’s short poems, and they– along with the rest of the novel– are startling beautiful.
Must-read: people who are aching for a literary-quality YA novel, anyone with a beloved sister

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A Printz honor book narrated by Death himself, this is “just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.”  I love books that are about the joy of words– and it’s even better when you mix in unforgettable characters and gorgeous writing full of incredible imagery.
Must-read: YA lovers, people who love words, anyone interested in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The story of Puck and Sean, both set to ride the bloodthirsty water horses in the Scorpio Races.  I’m not sure I’ve read anything quite like this before; it is laced with an incredible raw savagery, making it an instant favorite for me.
Must-read: anyone who loves horses, readers ready for wild, tribal-drum-pounding YA

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
This is the very first book that made me cry.  The classic book of a boy and his two hunting dogs.
Must-read: animal lovers, anyone who loves a tear-jerker

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
A delicious tale of first love between the two titular characters, the writing in this book has an outstanding and unique voice.  I love the characters of Eleanor and Park, and I love the way that Rowell can make your brain about explode when they hold each other’s hand.
Must-read: fans of the contemporary genre, readers who love great imagery, quirky characters, and a sweet romance

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Like so many others, the hype around this series intimidated me into not reading them for years.  I’m so glad that I finally did!  This is one of my favorite series– seven separate stories that really tell just one about a boy wizard fighting against evil.
Must-read: fans of epic fantasy, anyone who wants to have their mind blown by creativity

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
A story about a homeschooler joining public school for the first time, this book is full of quirkiness and whimsy.  A brilliant novel about being different.
Must-read: misfits, anyone who loves a misfit
Bonus: This book also has a sequel!

Also, here a couple middle grade (MG) suggestions!

Bridge to Terabithia by Kathleen Patterson
The story of two young friends who create their own make-believe world.  This book is a classic, and unless you have a heart made of cement and broken glass, you will cry.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
I can’t say too much about this story because I don’t want to give anything away, but it is brilliant, one of those books that ties up all loose ends so perfectly in such a satsifying way.  I highly recommend this book– I read it when I was 30 and loved it!  Great voice.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis|
These are classics!  I seriously cannot get enough of them– I read them over and over and over and love them every single time.  I am just finishing up the series for the first time this year, and– no joke– after book 7 is over, I will start again on book 1.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Classic tale of a pet pig and his spider friend who is trying to save him from slaughter.  Lovely.

road2

My Auto-Buy Authors

I will buy anything these writers put out, without having read a review, let alone the actual book.  In fact, I will probably pre-order it the moment I hear a rumor of something new:

pre-ordered with love  six months out

pre-ordered with love
six months out

Billy Collins (heck, I have his new book pre-ordered already and it’s not due out for another six months!)

Melina Marchetta

John Green

David Sedaris (his latest Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls just arrived in the mail today … another pre-order!)

Donald Miller

Jandy Nelson

Who are your auto-buy authors?

Favorite Book Lines

This was originally going to be a top ten list, but I should have known that that would about KILL me.  So, in the end, I simply present to you a list of some of my favorite lines of literature:

Jude stopped in front of her and, with both hands cupping her face, tried to make a smile. Narnie flinched.
‘Leave her alone,’ Tate said.
‘I need a revelation,’ Jude said. ‘And you’re the only one that can give me one, Narns.”
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

“The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.”
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“And Dimble, who had been sitting with his face drawn, and rather white, between the white faces of the two women, and his eyes on the table, raised his head, and great syllables of words that sounded like castles came out of his mouth.”
That Hiddeous Strength by C.S. Lewis

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

“He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.”
The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle

“I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavored, the air gold and so clean it quivers.”
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

“Do you remember all of your audiences?” Marco asks. 
“Not all of them,” Celia says. “But I remember the people who look at me the way you do.”
“What way might that be?”
“As though they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or they want to kiss me.”
“I am not afraid of you,” Marco says.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

lines3

“Remember how it was when we kissed? Armfuls and armfuls of light thrown right at us. A rope dropping down from the sky. How can the word love and the word life even fit in the mouth?”
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

“It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.”
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

“It was a jumble, it was a mishmash, and somehow she pulled it together, somehow she threaded every different thing through the voice of a solitary mockingbird singing in the desert.”
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

“There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.”
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

“I saw a beached red dory.  I could take the dory, row out to the guy, and say: Sir.  You have found a place where the sky dips close.”
For the Time Being by Annie Dillard

What are your favorites?

Jackie’s Must-Read Books

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
These are classics!  I seriously cannot get enough of them– I read them over and over and over and love them every single time.  I am just finishing up the series for the first time this year, and– no joke– after book 7 is over, I will start again on book 1.
Must-read: everyone, all ages

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This book is seriously one of the best-written young adult books I have ever read.  In my life.  Period.  I love so many things about this book: the language, the characters, the structure, the humor.  It gets a 10 out of 10 from me.
Must-read: anyone who loves YA or a clever, quirky romance

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A Printz honor book narrated by Death himself, this is “just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.”  I love books that are about the joy of words– and it’s even better when you mix in unforgettable characters and gorgeous writing full of incredible imagery.
Must-read: YA lovers, people who love words, anyone interested in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

4. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
The brilliance of this story is in the masterful writing.  Every single page will leave you in awe, plus the story is so real and deep, and it makes you think about things like miracles and family and loyalty and guilt.
Must-read: lovers of literary fiction, adults who want a great story, parents

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book is richer than chocolate.  It has magic and competition and romance– and it avoids all cliches.  It is a sensory extravaganza.
Must-read: people who love Harry Potter and are ready for magic from a grown-up perspective, anyone who values great imagery

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
TIME’s 2012 book of the year!  This YA book will make you laugh and cry and think.  It’s a cancer book– but not one of those cancer books.
Must-read: people who love YA, philosophy, and incredible characters

I’ll leave you with those six for now.  As I think through this list, I feel full.  They are that good.

reading girl

my favorite supporting characters in YA

I decided to do something a little different: blog about book characters but NOT the main ones!

Here’s my list of favorites:

Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments series | A party-boy warlock with sass and wit, and willing to take fashion risks?  Love Magnus.

Molly Grue from The Last Unicorn | Even though Molly seems a little volatile at first (“Damn you!  Where have you been?”), she ends up being the solid one of the group.  I admire her humble servanthood and her level-headedness.

Raffy & Chaz from Jellicoe Road | I had to group these two together.  They are some of the best supporting characters in all of YA … and they bring a whole new element of tension into the story.  I LOVE HORMONES!

Eustace Clarence Scrubb from the Chronicles of Narnia series | Arguably not a supporting character, but I’m reading Voyage right now, and he’s kind of a supporting character in this one.  An absolutely fantastic character transformation.  Love his un-dragoning.

Thomas Mackee & Jimmy Hailer from Saving Francesca | Melina Marchetta completely nails her depictions of teenage boys in this book.  We have Will Trombal to swoon over but also Jimmy and Thomas to fall in love with in a totally different way.

Ben Cassidy from Jellicoe Road | At only 5’4″ he sure has some guts.  Not to mention he is freakin’ hilarious.  I love that he is willing to go head-to-head with Jonah Griggs, even though Griggs is a tank.  (In case you never realized it, Ben, Anson Choi, and the Mullet Brothers from Jellicoe Road reappear in The Piper’s Son, which features Tom Mackee.)

Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables | Could you find a truer bosom friend in all of literature?

Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter | Neville probably has the greatest transformation of any character in the whole series … in those early books, you would never guess what a heroic heart lay waiting to wake in that chest.

Max Vandenburg from The Book Thief | A Jewish fistfighter who paints over the pages of Mein Kampf and then writes stories on them is my idea of a brilliant character.

neville

I judge you based on the books you read. :-)

(This post is meant to be in fun, so no one is allowed to be offended, kapeesh?)

I think we all do something like this, to some extent.  I have a dear friend who judges people based off of their favorite Beatles songs!  My choice of “Here Comes the Sun” passed muster, but if you were to say, for example, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” her opinion of you would drop pretty fast.  For some people, it’s the music you listen to; for others, the movies you enjoy.

But for me, it’s books.

librarian

If you read C.S. Lewis, I like you automatically, but if you haven’t read his space trilogy, I start to doubt just how big a fan you are.  When I discover people who haven’t read Narnia, I jokingly ask them why they don’t love Jesus.  (JOKINGLY!  Calm down!)

If you read Melina Marchetta, I think you are brilliant and first-class.  If you’ve discovered Jandy Nelson’s one novel, I’m impressed and can’t wait to discuss it with you.  If you loved The Fault in Our Stars, I think you’re a deep-thinking intellectual.  Same thing if you like Yann Martel’s books.

If you read paranormal romance, I will probably automatically think you’re not serious about good books.  Probably.  Not for sure.  I rather liked The Mortal Instrumentsbut then again, I kind of judge MYSELF for liking them.  Ha!

If you’ve read Sophie’s World, I’d be blown away.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone else who has.

If you refuse to read Harry Potter, I will probably joke that, Yeah, the rest of the world must have been wrong.  But yet, I won’t let that argument work on me if you try to use it for another book.

If you’re a big fan of Christian romance, I’m going to raise an eyebrow.  (You can convince me of your sound judgment if you tell me they are a guilty pleasure.  I have one friend– you know who you are!– who avoids my judgment this way.)

I’m not impressed if you read Austen or the Brontes.  I’m not saying these are bad books at all, just that I don’t care for them much (excepting Wuthering Heights).

A friend of Billy Collins is a friend of mine.  Same goes for Anne Lamott.

I respect LOTR fans though I myself am not interested.

If “cancer books” are your thing (you know, those books where kids fall in love and one of them dies, and every story is almost identical), we should talk.  I can kindly redirect you.

Now, tell me yours!  Do you produce snap judgments, and if so, based on what?  Give me some details!

Sometimes the audiobooks are better.

Just as there are people who argue the book is always better than the movie, I’m sure there are people who would argue that a paper copy of a book that you can hold in your hands is better than reading on a Kindle or a Nook or listening to an audiobook.

I personally think that it’s awesome that people are reading, no matter which way they “take” their stories.  Audiobooks have been a huge blessing in my life; they entertain me on long car rides, distract me from my OCD, help me fall asleep at night, and make mundane things (like driving, cleaning, etc.) worthwhile because I’m engaging my mind.

There are even a few books where I prefer the audio version over all others.  Here they are:

1. Saving Francesca and Jellicoe Road, both by Melina Marchetta, both read by Rebecca Macauley.  Let’s be honest: reading about Aussie schools in an Aussie accent is incredible.

2. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, read by Michael Finney.  Again, the Aussie accent.  This time a male Aussie accent.  (You have to understand that I listen to certain parts of this one over and over again, becoming more and more and more certain that it wouldn’t be quite right for me to marry any man who wasn’t Australian.)

3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, read by anyone.  I found it really hard to read the paper version because Burgess writes in “Nadsat,” an Anglo-Russian slang he made up for the “droogs” in this book.  I kept tripping over the words and eventually gave up.  But I later revisited it on audio, and by the end felt practically fluent as a malenky horrorshow devotchka who wants to peet moloko.  (This alone makes me believe the Rosetta Stone curriculum works!)

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, read by Alan Corduner.  Great voice, awesome German accent!  Makes Liesel, Rudy, Max, and the Hubermans come alive as real people living in Nazi Germany.

5. The Last Unicorn written AND read by Peter Beagle.  I love hearing the tone and rhythm that were originally intended.  Plus, Beagle actually sings the songs!  And you get guitar interludes in between chapters.  Brilliant.

6. Absolutely everything by David Sedaris.  I about DIE laughing when I listen to him read his stories in his own voice!  Definitely better and funnier in his voice than on paper!

[Edited 9/30/13:

7. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  Absolutely breaktaking.]

I also have to throw out major props to Jim Dale, who read the whole Harry Potter series and The Night Circus.  That man is unreal.  I don’t know how he can keep track of so many voices/characters!

How about you?  Do you listen to audiobooks?  Any audiobooks you prefer over the paper version?

audiobooks2

YA reading list

It was time for me to re-evaluate my top 10 young adult books.  So, without your seeing my raging internal debate*, I very cleanly present to you the following:

1) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
2) Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
5) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
6) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
7) Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
8) Fire by Kristin Cashore
9) Unwind by Neil Shusterman
10) Every Day by David Levithan

*Ugh, I hate making top 10 lists of books– it’s so hard for me.  Even now, I see that I’ve favored books I’ve read more recently over some of the “classics.”  Tuck Everlasting.  Bridge to Terabithia.  The Secret Garden.  It seems like a crime to leave these off the list.  The Pigman.  When You Reach Me.  A Monster Calls.  

Oh gosh.  Anne of Green Gables.  How could I leave Anne off this list– especially when I’ve included other books much more controversial?  Or The Sky is Everywhere, which is better written than several books on the list?

Next time I do this, I need to be more specific with the name of my list.  Top 10 YA Books I’d Never Want to Live Without … if that were the list title, it would be different than the list above.  Top 10 YA Books That Made Me Think.  There!  That more accurately fits the list above.

Okay, it is time to quit obsessing over this list, which only 100 people are even going to see anyway.

What I’d rather do is give you a must-read book list personalized to your reading tastes.  I LOVE doing this, so let me know if you’re interested.

reading0