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 😅 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! 😄 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 🙈 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!
💕 The Rules 💕
☆ Link back to the original tag!
☆ Thank and link back to the person who tagged you!
☆ Tag 5+ bloggers!
☆ Have fun!
💕 The Questions 💕
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 — 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 😅 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 🙄 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 🤗
Let’s Go to the Movies: A book series that should be adapted to screen
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 ‘ahhhh’ and ‘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 Rêves 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:
- Jan @ The Doodlecrafter
- Moi @ Bookish Blunders
- Nehal @ Books and Words
- Nicole @ Nicole’s Book Thoughts
- Noelle @ Wordgazing and Magic
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 😅 (And in case of the latter, maybe leave a link so I can check out your post? 🙃)
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! 😁