It’s been ages since I did a tag, so this post is long overdue! And this tag, created by Jaded Reader, is actually quite fitting – with the quarantine going on, my family and I have been doing a lot of yard work, and we’ve been making bonfires in the evenings to burn all of the twigs and old wood we have lying around. Maybe it’s not as good as a real camping trip, but it’s still pretty nice, and, honestly, I’m just really thankful that we have the option to go outside and aren’t stuck in our house all day like I know many people living in cities are. If you’re one of them, I hope you’re still managing to enjoy yourself! Maybe, with this tag, I can at least bring you some camping vibes right to your home 😉 So let’s get into the questions!
⛺️ 1. Build the tent: A book you had to read that ended up being a drag
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
I had to read this for my Survey of British Literature class in my second semester of university, and it bored me to death. Nothing interesting happened, I didn’t connect to any of the characters, and all the stream of consciousness passages annoyed me to no end. This one definitely wasn’t for me.
🔥 2. Build a fire: A book you were proud of finishing
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
I have a full review of Absalom, Absalom! up on this blog, and if you’ve read that, you’ll know I didn’t particularly like this book, either. However, given the horrible writing style it was written in, I am very proud that I actually managed to make it all the way through and understand what was going on. If you’ve ever read any Faulkner, you’ll know what I mean. The sentences often span at least a page and are so convoluted that it’s hard to remember their beginning once you’ve finally made it to the end. Reading this was quite an accomplishment!
🍫 3. Roasted marshmallow: A mushy sweet book you couldn’t help but devour
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This is possibly the cutest LGBTQ+ YA contemporary that I’ve ever read, following the son of the US President as he falls in love with the Prince of Wales. Please read it and thank me later! (Also, if you’d like more of my thoughts on it, you can check out my August 2019 wrap-up)
🎣 4. Gone fishing: A book that had you hooked by the first chapter
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
This is the start to one of my favorite YA fantasy series out there, and the first chapter was already a strong indication that I was going to love it. It promised a vivid Roman-based setting, politics, an intelligent and musical main character, and the possibility of a forbidden romance. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, please do!
🥚 5. skipping rocks: A book or series you DNF’d
The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard
I read Truthwitch back in 2016, when it had just come out and everyone was raving about it. Somehow, though, I never really ended up particularly connecting with it. It was alright, but, at least in my opinion, nowhere near as great as everyone said it was. By the time the sequel came out, I’d already forgotten a lot of what happened, and I had no real desire to pick the series up again. I guess that just happens sometimes…
🎵 6. Camp fire songs: A book so good you are always found singing its praise
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
If you take any recommendation away from this blog, please let it be The Penderwicks! This is the story of probably my favorite fictional family of all time, and it has some of the most relatable and endearing characters you’ll ever come across. All five of the books in this series are wonderful – the fourth one even holds the rare distinction of making me cry full out – though the second one will always be my personal favorite. I have forced so many of my friends to read this by now, and I hope I can convince you, too!
✨ 7. The night sky: A book that made you think deeply about an aspect in the world
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a beautifully written historical fiction book that didn’t only make me think of one aspect, but many. However, one thing this really made me reflect on are how the political system of a country can affect an individual. Growing up in Germany, I obviously studied the Nazi Regime and the Holocaust in a lot of detail, and have heard stories from my grandparents, who were children during that time. However, I don’t think anything I’ve ever read managed to capture quite as perfectly how ordinary, kind people can contribute to horrible things because they do what other people tell them to, because they want to follow their own dreams, and because they don’t yet see the full extent of their actions. This book really made me think about what leads to war and terror and how our own actions can contribute to them, and I highly recommend you read it!
🌲 8. The tear down: A book with a bitter-sweet ending
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I swear I didn’t use two World War II books in a row on purpose – The Book Thief just fits this question so well that I had to use it. What other kind of ending than a bitter-sweet one could you possibly expect from a book narrated by Death?
Anyway, that’s it for today! I wasn’t tagged by anyone to do this, and I won’t be tagging anyone in particular, either. If you want to do this, though, feel free, and please let me know so that I can check out your answers!