Books as First Dates Tag

Happy Friday, everyone, and a wonderful Lunar New Year to those of you who celebrate it!

My own week was pretty much filled with exams, so overall, I’m mostly glad it’s over πŸ˜… Especially since I’ve discovered that online exams are even more stressful that the regular kind. With no fail-safe way of stopping us from peeking or asking others for help, most of our professors decided that the way to go was to give us insane time restrictions so there was no possible way you could look anything up and still finish on time. I nearly had a heart attack printing out my written Russian final, answering tons of questions on this biography of Putin, writing an essay on the importance of technology in our lives, and reuploading the entire thing before one hour ran out…

But somehow, I survived, and still managed to get a few moments to myself. I finished watching Bridgerton and started The Queen’s Gambit, also in Russian. Which means I’m slowly learning the Russian names for all the chess pieces, which is surely very useful! πŸ˜„ And although my foot is still bandaged up, I am finally able to walk again, so I celebrated our new snow by hiking through the woods with only an audiobook for company. It was wonderful!

So yeah, overall, I am actually quite happy with February so far! And since Valentine’s Day is only two days from now, I thought this would be the perfect time to finally get to Alice at Love for Words‘ “Books as First Dates Tag”, which Alexandra from Reading by Starlight tagged me for ages ago πŸ™ˆ Thank you so much for including me, Alexandra, and I’m sorry it took me over five months to finally get to this! To make up for my notorious behindness, I highly recommend you guys go check her blog out!

But anyway, let’s get into the questions! After all, what better way to spend Valentine’s Day than on a date with a good book? At least there, the awkwardness is confined to your imagination, and plus, some fictional characters are just so swoonworthy that it’s hard for real life people to compete. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my obsession with Gilbert Blythe, to be honest 😍😍😍 But I digress… Let’s get started!

πŸ’• The Rules πŸ’•

β˜† Link back to the original tag!
β˜† Thank and link back to the person who tagged you!
β˜† Tag 5+ bloggers!
β˜† Have fun!

πŸ’• The Questions πŸ’•

First and Last: A book/series you’ve read and enjoyed but can’t bring yourself to read again

Matthias cut a comical little figure as he wobbled his way along the cloisters, with his large sandals flip-flopping and his tail peeping from beneath the baggy folds of an oversized novice’s habit.

Brian Jacques: Redwall, p. 1

To be perfectly honest, I doubt there is one. I am a HUGE rereader, and if I truly liked a book, it’s very unlikely that I won’t reread it. But maybe I could go with Brian Jacques’ Redwall? I was absolutely obsessed with this medievalesque, rodent-starring fantasy series back when I was in elementary school, and don’t even know how many books I read. Definitely a lot 😁 I checked them out from the library constantly, and my friends and I would even have these Redwall-inspired stickfights swordfights at recess…

That being said, though, I don’t own the series myself, and right now, there are just so many other things I’d rather prioritize. So I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get back to these books any time soon.

With a Friend of Mine: A book/series someone recommended to you that turned out to be different from what you had expected

From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that β€” a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.

William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!, p.1

I definitely have to go with Absalom, Absalom! here. One of my absolute favorite English professors recommended this book to me, saying that it was one that he himself reread time and time again because he loved it so much. I was beyond excited. My professor generally had very good taste in books, and I knew authors like Octavia Butler and Franz Kafka, whom I adore, were also among his favorites. Plus, I had never read anything by William Faulkner before and really wanted to give him a try!

And then I ended up hating this book with a flaming passion πŸ˜… The writing style was one of the most atrocious things I’ve ever encountered, and, honestly, I am at a loss to understand why people think Faulkner is one of the greatest American novelists who ever lived. Unless someone decided they needed to make his books prestigious so that people could at least feel good about themselves after having read them πŸ™„ I don’t know… While there were definitely interesting themes in this book, my overall experience of reading it was so horrible that I think I’m going to steer clear of Faulkner from now on. At least for a very long while.

Double Date: A book whose sequel you immediately had to read

When I’m back in my room in my flannel nightgown, I get out my special flowy pen and my good thick stationary, and I start to write.

Jenny Han: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, p. 355

My expectations for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before weren’t too high when we first encountered each other. I’d read Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy some years before and hadn’t been blown away, so I’d never really had much interest in picking her other series up.

But then Netflix announced that there would be an adaptation, everyone was suddenly talking about it, and I kept hearing how everyone and their mother loved this book. So then, when I was craving a bit of fluff to get me through exam period, I decided to just throw all my reservations out the door and ordered the box set 😁

And I do not regret it!! These books are so adorable, they have amazing sibling and family relationships, and wonderful insights into what it’s like growing up between two cultures. I just couldn’t put this series down and binged the entire trilogy in one night. Yes, I was wrong about these, and I absolutely love the books, even if they might be a tad cheesy.

In fact, I think Netflix is actually releasing the final movie today, so I will definitely have to watch that this weekend and see what I think πŸ€—

Let’s Go to the Movies: A book series that should be adapted to screen

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Am I not merciful?

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: Illuminae, p. 302

If you give me a sci-fi show set in space, I’m pretty much guaranteed to love it. I mean, Star Trek, Lost in Space and The 100 are some of my favorite TV shows of all time, so that should give you a bit of an idea of how obsessed I am!

And I think the Illuminae Files would make an absolutely amazing TV series. All that action! Those different character arcs! The technology! AIDAN! 😍😍

Plus, Illuminae also has a pandemic, and while I’m not exactly sure why everyone wanted fictional pandemics in addition to the one we’re currently experiencing, it’s no secret that all those infectious disease movies boomed like crazy back when lockdown started. So yeah, this series might actually be a really good investment for streaming services! How about it, Netflix, Amazon Prime?

Dreamy Stargazing: A book that made you go β€˜ahhhh’ and β€˜ohhhh’

The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus, p. 3

The Night Circus was also Alexandra’s pick for this question, but I just had to choose it anyway. This book immediately ensnares you, enchanting all your senses with its beautifully lyrical and luscious writing. It’s going to put you in despair because you’ll never see Le Cirque des RΓͺves itself, never experience the magic of its mysterious nighttime shows, and because you’ll eventually have to come to terms with the fact that no, these characters aren’t actually real. It’s one of my absolute favorite fantasy standalones, and I would highly recommend you go read it if you haven’t yet.

Fun at the Fair: A book full of colors

The same limitations applied to every drafter: monochromes could draft only one color; bichromes could draft two colors. Generally, it was colors that bordered each other, like red and orange, or yellow and green. Polychromes – those who controlled three or more colors – were the rarest, but even they had to draft from the colors they could see. Only the Prism never needed spectacles. Only Gavin could split light within himself.

Brent Weeks: The Black Prism, p. 30

Did I take this question too literally? Possibly 😁

But since Brett Weeks’ Lightbringer series literally has a magic system based on the different colors of the spectrum, I couldn’t not go with it! While I do think the writing is sometimes a bit bland, the world-building, the characters, and the really cool school setting (in some of the books) more than make up for it, and I definitely think these books deserve the hype they’ve been getting! This is such a great, action-packed high fantasy series that I think fans of Brandon Sanderson or Scott Lynch might also really love. Would recommend!

Amusement Park Adventure: A book that was a rollercoaster

Kelsea woke to a bright, sunlit room.

Erika Johansen: The Fate of the Tearling, p. 454

To be honest, I’m not the biggest rollercoaster fan. I’m way too scared of dying to actually go on any of the ones that include things like loopings, and while I do enjoy an amusement park ride that doesn’t involve me hanging upside down and defying gravity, I usually think they’re so short that they’re a bit of a waste of money… The ride itself is great, but the ending comes way too abruptly and leaves you wondering if the ride was worth it in the first place.

And that’s pretty much exactly how I also feel about Erika Johansen’s The Fate of the Tearling. The Queen of the Tearling trilogy was a wild ride, highly enjoyable, and well on its way to becoming one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. And then, abruptly, came the ending to The Fate of the Tearling, which truly made me wonder if I might’ve wasted my time and money 😀 Years later, I am still fuming about the absolute stupidity of it, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never been more bitter about any other book ending, ever.

Picnic with Cherries: A book whose food descriptions made you feel all *heart eyes*

But the real star of the evening is the food. Tables laden with delicacies line the walls. Everything you can think of, and things you’ve never dreamed of, lie in wait. Whole roasted cows and pigs and goats still turning on spits. Huge platters of fowl stuffed with savory fruits and nuts. Ocean creatures drizzled in sauces or begging to be dipped in spicy concoctions. Countless cheeses, breads, vegetables, sweets, waterfalls of wine and streams of spirits that flicker with flames.

Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire, p. 94-95

I just have to go with The Hunger Games trilogy for this one. Honestly, as messed up as the Capitol is, it might be worth going there just to experience the food… 😍 That lamb stew Katniss is always going on about? How could you not want to try that?! Or that roasted bird dish Katniss has in Catching Fire? And can you seriously read a passage like the one above without your mouth starting to water? Suzanne Collins certainly knows how to make her readers hungry, and her writing always makes me throw any notions of trying to go completely vegetarian out the window…

Trip to the Museum: A book that taught you valuable stuff

The Smithsonian Institution’s Animal book, for sure! My parents got me this 600-page clonker for my eighth birthday, and I must have spent years of my life pouring over all the pictures, memorizing trivia, and exploring my surroundings and trying to classify the wildlife I encountered. To this day, this is still my favorite animal book out there and one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten, and I cannot recommend it enough! It really makes you appreciate the planet we live on with all its wonders, and especially if you have young kids, this might be a great investment!


And that’s it for the questions! I hope you had fun reading, and do let me know if you’ve read any of these books yourself!

Also, to spread the love, I will be tagging the following amazing people, whose blogs you should definitely check out:

Of course, you only have to do this if you want to! I totally get if tags aren’t really your thing, if you currently have a lot on your plate, or if you’ve already done this and I missed it πŸ˜… (And in case of the latter, maybe leave a link so I can check out your post? πŸ™ƒ)


Which already brings us to the end of this week’s ramblings from me! I hope you all have a great weekend, especially if you’ve got something special planned for Valentine’s Day or the Lunar New Year 😊 If you’ve got any interesting traditions you’d like to share, do let me know because I always love learning about them!

Also, I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of the books I talked about here, and whether you agree or disagree with me on them! Bring on those controversial opinions! 😁

41 thoughts on “Books as First Dates Tag

  1. Nehal Jain says:

    Omg, I’ve been meaning to read illuminae since two eternities πŸ˜‚. I hope I love it too. I just never picked it up coz I had heard that it is adult…? I mean, does it have any mature themes in it?
    Anyways, amazing tag! As always, I had so much fun reading your answers. That absalam absalam book sounds great despite what u said, I wanna give it a shot πŸ˜πŸ˜‚.

    Thank you so much for tagging me. Can’t wait to do it, even though I think that’s exactly what I will have to do πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You should definitely read Illuminae, Nehal! I must admit, I was also a bit skeptical at first because of the format it’s written in (it’s basically a collection of files), but it was so well done and I was immediately invested in the story and the characters! And no, it’s not adult πŸ˜‰ It’s YA science fiction, so there isn’t really any content in there that’s all too graphic. I don’t think you have anything to worry about!

      And I must admit, I was very impressed when you said you thought Absalom, Absalom! sounded great after reading that first sentence 😳 Though now that you’ve said you didn’t read the excerpt at first, I guess that makes a lot more sense πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Seriously, I don’t think anyone ever told Faulkner that it is okay to use periods every once in a while. The man had sentences spanning several pages… πŸ™ˆ But hey, I don’t want to turn you off completely! If you ever want to read this, I’d love to see you do a review 😁

      Also, you’re welcome for the tag! 😊 And no worries about not getting to it immediately. I mean, it took me almost six months myself, so… And I still have tags waiting that you tagged me for ages ago, too πŸ˜…

      Like

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Alice! I’m absolutely in love with the snow, too, so I’m really hoping it’ll stay a while!

      And thanks again for coming up with this tag, I had so much fun doing it! 😊 Though yes, I definitely wouldn’t recommend Absalom, Absalom! πŸ˜… Although apparently, my professor does love it, so I guess there are some people out there who don’t think the writing style is absolutely horrifying…

      I hope you have a great weekend, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Abby @ Beyond the Read says:

    I love this tag and all your answers Naemi!! I definitely agree, the Illuminae books would make a superb TV show/movie β€” streaming services, make this happen please??

    The Night Circus has been on my TBR forever!! The writing style sounds incredible, I really need to get around to that book sooner rather than later!! And I’m with you on TATBILB… that trilogy was the cutest 😍

    Also, have you heard that they’re making a Bridgerton musical on TikTok? The Netflix show doesn’t seem like something I’d enjoy, so I’ve been checking out the songs instead…. and I am OBSESSED. 🀩

    Great post Naemi!! Hope you have a great day πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m so glad you agree on Illuminae, Abby! I really hope those streaming services eventually see its potential, too, because an adaptation might very well become one of my new obsessions 😁

      And yes, do read The Night Circus! The beauty of Erin Morgenstern’s writing almost gives me goosebumps, and the story is just so whimsical! I barely know anyone who didn’t immediately fall in love with it 😍

      And no, I did not know that!! I’ll have to go check it out πŸ€— Even though I also don’t think the show has the greatest plot ever, it was certainly binge-worthy and I definitely wouldn’t mind a musical version… And speaking of musicals – I’VE FINALLY STARTED LISTENING TO THE STARRY SOUNDTRACK! And you were so right – I’m absolutely obsessed, and I really need to see the musical now! 😍

      Thanks for stopping by, Abby, and I hope you have a wonderful day, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Abby @ Beyond the Read says:

        The Bridgerton musical songs are definitely worth checking out!! They’re all so addictive, my head is going β€œI buUuUuUuUrn for youuuu” 24/7 at this point πŸ˜‚

        AND OH MY GOSHH AHHH STARRY 😍😍 I’m ecstatic that you love it β€” we can be hopelessly obsessed together 😭 When Broadway reopens, that show is 100% the first thing I’m seeing 🀩

        Aww thanks!! ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Hahaha, I totally get that πŸ˜‚ I’ve basically been humming ‘The Road’ under my breath for the past week and probably need a change of vocabulary from “North, South, East, West” at some point 😁 So we’ll see if I switch over to burning once I’ve listened to those Bridgerton songs πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Jan! And I know, right? I’m drooling again just thinking of those food descriptions 😍
      You’re also very welcome for the tag – I’d certainly love to hear your thoughts on some of these questions 😊

      Like

    • abookowlscorner says:

      REALLY??!! πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— No, I did not know that!! Maybe I will be rereading these books sooner than I thought I would, then πŸ˜‚ Because I am definitely invested now! They’d better not mess up my childhood heroes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Noelle says:

    Ahh I really have to read The Night Circus now! I absolutely love books with atmospheric settings. 😍

    Congrats on finishing and surviving your exams! I hope you get to relax and have fun now. And that picture of the snowy woods is breathtaking. It’s like something out of a fairytale…to me anyway, since we don’t see a speck of snow here. πŸ˜„

    Thanks for tagging me! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      If you’re looking for an atmospheric setting, you definitely can’t go wrong with The Night Circus! In fact, it might actually be the most atmospheric book I’ve ever read! 😍 So yes, I’d love for you to pick it up, and I really hope you adore it as much as I did if you do! 😁

      And thank you! I’m definitely planning to relax a bit and enjoy the snow in the coming days! Although I do still have my thesis to work on, so unfortunately, I can’t fully succumb to laziness, either πŸ˜…

      And you’re welcome! I’d love to see your answers to some of these questions!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Line says:

    Is it weird that I want to read The Queen of the Tearling trilogy just to find out what it is you hate so much? πŸ˜… I’ve heard about it before and actually decided it wasn’t for me, but you’re really making me curious!

    Also, The Night Circus and Catching Fire are both perfect options for those prompts! Probably would have been my picks too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, no, I don’t think it’s weird at all πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ After all, I’ve also read my fair share of books that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be super interested in, just to see what all the hype or fuss was about 😁 And at least in this case, the large majority of the trilogy is actually really good!! But that just made the ending all the more disappointing… (However, there is also a rant in my Least Favorite Books of 2017 post that goes into a lot of detail if you’re unwilling to make the investment. Though I’m not gonna lie – I would be insanely curious to see what you’d think of the ending going into it blind 😁)

      And I’m glad we agree on The Night Circus and The Hunger Games! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        I probably won’t read it because I just read the synopsis again and it reminded me too much of The Remnant Chronicles. I litterally just finished that trilogy and I’m traumatized by how bad that ending was πŸ˜… But I read your old post and I’ll give you that that ending is the worst!! It just leaves you with that feeling of “what was the point then?”. I don’t think I’ve ever read that trope in a book but I feel like movies and tv shows use that all the time and I hate it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Well, at least I’d say that The Queen of the Tearling trilogy is still a million times better than The Remnant Chronicles, even with that ending πŸ˜‚ At least all the politics weren’t completely shoved aside in favor of a love triangle in this one! But yeah, “what was the point then” describes my feelings on that ending perfectly. Like you, I’ve seen this type of thing way more in TV shows and movies than in books, but still, I think this might have been the most annoying instance I’ve ever come across πŸ™„ After all, the story wasn’t even properly resolved before that “plot twist” was used!

          Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You’re welcome!! I can’t wait to see what answers you come up with!
      And yes, “ooh and aah”-worthy is the PERFECT description of The Night Circus 😊 There was just no way I could possibly use any other book for that question!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nefeli says:

    Congatulations on surviving your exams! If I had to do all that in an hour I’d panic and then my printer would sense the urgency and refuse to cooperate πŸ˜‚. I really enjoyed reading your answers!

    Why didn’t I know there is a rodent-starring fantasy series out there, OMG? I am losing my mind over this concept, I’m so curious about it now. I actually watched the final To All the Boys movie the other day and it was so cute! I definitely need to pick up those books soon, since I already enjoy the movies so much. And I totally agree with you on The Night Circus. It’s one of the most magical books I’ve ever read and I’d give anything to experience it for the first time again. But, why did you have to mention all those foods from the Hunger Games? I just ate a while ago and now I’m hungry again so thanks for that! πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Nefeli! Oh, and trust me – your panic would have been completely justified πŸ˜‚ I wanted to strangle our scanner at one point because it refused to accept that it was connected to my laptop, no matter how many times I turned it on and off πŸ˜… But luckily, I did manage to work things out before the deadline passed!

      And gosh, Redwall was such a staple part of my childhood! 😍 So I definitely agree that rodent-starring fantasy is a great concept, even though I’m pretty hazy on a lot of the details now 😁 And I also watched the To All the Boys movie this weekend with one of my brothers! We had so much fun, even though I do think the books are way better πŸ˜‚ One change in particular really irked me, but I won’t go into details since I don’t want to give too much book content away πŸ˜‰ Also, I’m so happy you love The Night Circus, too!

      And yeah – those foods might really have been a mistake… I also just ate, but now that you’ve brought them up, I’m hungry all over again! πŸ˜‚

      Like

  6. ahaana @ Windows to Worlds says:

    ahh congratulations on completing your exams, naemi!! i definitely need to read the illuminae files, and the night circus soon!! absalom, absalom definitely doesn’t sound like my kinda book, and i hadn’t even heard of it before this post haha!! i loved reading your answers for this tag πŸ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Ahaana! 😊 And yes, read Illuminae and The Night Circus!!! They’re wonderful πŸ€— And I’m actually generally curious how Absalom, Absalom! can be anyone’s type of book πŸ™ˆ Though it does have its fair share of positive reviews on goodreads – although I’m a little suspicious because many of those people praising the ingenious writing style strike me as if they’re just using the book to make themselves feel smarter for having read it πŸ˜… Though maybe I’m just projecting here, because that book made me feel as though my brain consisted of mud πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pilar says:

    I’m glad you’re doing better Naemi! And I can’t believe you started yet another show in Russian 😳!! I’m sure you slayed those exams with all that practice πŸ˜‰

    I completely agree with the rollercoasters! I think they’re very fun as long as I’m not upside down at any point. Otherwise, I’m just terrified and get a headache afterwards πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Pilar! And I definitely hope I did well in Russian! I have a pretty good feeling about the exam, but since we don’t have our results back yet, I can’t be sure πŸ˜… But then again, it’s not like I need the class for my degree – I’m just taking it because I love the language so much! Using it to justify watching TV shows during exam time is just an added bonus πŸ˜‚

      And I’m glad I’m not the only one terrified of being upside down on rollercoasters! So many of my friends are absolutely baffled why I avoid them like the plague, but I just don’t see any appeal!! Thanks, but no thanks! πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

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