Happy Friday, everyone!
After an eventful week filled with school, lesson preparation, insanely hot weather, and me narrowly avoiding a kitchen inferno because I decided cooking and simultaneously catching up on Eurovision content was the ultimate time management hack, I’ve decided I’m too tired to be trusted with any creative ideas of my own and should instead focus my efforts on reducing that notorious tag backlog of mine 😁 So today, I’m here with The Trope Tag!
Ash @ Ink Words and Ash, who created it, is probably a genius because a) they came up with a whole bunch of questions that allow us to pair our favorite and not-so-favorite literary tropes with books we love, and b) they somehow convinced me to answer these questions even though it hasn’t even been a full month since they tagged me. Shocking, I know…
Seriously, though, these prompts were so fun to answer! So thanks again, Ash, for thinking of my own good and forcing this upon me, and thank you to everyone else for being brave enough to delve into all the chaos that is about to follow!
- Mention the creator of the tag and pingback to the original post (Ash @inkwordsandash)
- Tag 3+ people
- Lastly, enjoy!!
So yeah – with that out of the way, let’s get into the questions!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë! Inspired by my great heroines Cass and Jemmie from Adrian Fogelin’s Crossing Jordan, a novel my fellow fourth-grade friends and I were beyond obsessed with, I decided to read Jane Eyre at the ripe old age of nine… And, boy, did I end up hating it 🙈 The book was incredibly boring, I barely understood the language, and, even after I had agonizingly pushed myself through the entire thing, I couldn’t for the life of me fathom what Cass and Jemmie saw in it.
Fast-forward seven years. I was bored, looking for something to read, and saw Jane Eyre on my parents’ shelves. Just out of curiosity, decided to take another peek. And, immediately, I was hooked! What nine-year-old me had found excruciatingly slow-paced and old-fashioned struck 16-year-old me as thoughtful, engaging, and creepily mysterious. Suddenly, all those stuffy 19th-century British societal conventions were beyond fascinating. Jane, a young woman trying to find her place in that world, was now so relatable that I was seriously questioning how I could ever have found her boring! And, of course, Mr. Rochester was the epitome of those brooding bookish bad-boy love interests that I, at 16, totally had a thing for 😂🙈
Today, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics ever, and my parents’ copy, which has since passed into my possession, is so battered from rereading that I should probably get a replacement at some point. Which I guess is proof that some books do deserve a second chance! Particularly when you first read them as a clueless nine-year-old idiot…
It’s a pretty safe bet that such a book does not exist. At any rate, I don’t remember one…
Because guys – I never DNF anything!! Even if a book is beyond awful, I will power through. There’s always part of me that initially hopes it will get better, and once I’ve gotten past the halfway point, I’ve already invested so much time that I just need to know how the story ends, no matter how shitty I think it is. I need to be able to say that I’ve read the book and can attest to its awfulness!
Seriously, the only book I can currently recall DNFing is Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, and that was an accident!!! My exams got in the way and then my library loan expired before I could finish reading! 😫
(Besides, I fully intend to finish David Copperfield at some point. So it’s not like it’s a proper DNF, you know? 🙃)
Do I even need to explain? Laini Taylor’s gorgeous writing style paired with a unique world that has magic, politics, and death would already have been enough to convince me, but then Strange the Dreamer‘s main character is an awkward librarian 🤩 I mean, I just could not resist falling for this one!!
(Oh, and also, before you yell at me for neglecting them: I really love Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duologies, too! It’s just that I think I’ve already mentioned those so often on this blog that I doubt I really need to tell you that…)
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann! Granted, I wasn’t completely sold on this one initially – I liked it, but it was a pretty solid three-star read for me. While it gave an interesting portrait of New York and its people during a time of transition in the United States, it meandered a lot and really didn’t dig deep enough for my tastes…
However, after discussing it with my 2017-study-abroad roommate, who had recommended it to me to fulfill one of the challenges we had set ourselves for our actually-spending-quality-time-with-each-other-rather-than-just-studying bucket list, I came to appreciate it so much more! Let the Great World Spin led to such a cozy, insightful, and deeply philosophical late-night conversation that my respect for it couldn’t help but shoot up considerably!
(No matter what my ex-roommate claims, it’s still not a five-star book, though 😜)
I mean, what did you expect? The Capture has an owl on the cover! Third-grade me saw it at the library and all but snatched it off those shelves! I couldn’t risk some other kid checking it out before I did!!
However, even if I was already expecting to love this book, I had no idea just how much I would grow to treasure it 🥰 To this day, Guardians of Ga’Hoole remains one of my all-time favorite fantasy series, and I swear that isn’t just because it follows a bunch of owls! (Though okay, fine, that’s part of it 😂) It just has such unique world-building and amazing character development that, even though it’s technically middle-grade, I would highly recommend it to everyone!
If you didn’t know that my favorite book of all-time is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, then I seriously hope you’re new to this blog… Because otherwise, I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve very much been living under a rock!! Nothing has ever come close to beating Harry Potter for me!
As to my favorite read of the year, that probably goes to The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb, which is the second book in her Liveship Traders trilogy. Its spot is very closely contested by The Golden Fool, but since that’s also the second book in a Robin Hobb series, I don’t feel too guilty about giving first place to The Mad Ship. Robin Hobb is still getting the honor she deserves! 🥰
And my favorite book of the month? Well… now is the time to confess that I have not actually read anything in May yet 😅 I tried the being-swamped-by-work-and-reading-instead-of-sleeping route in April with not-so-great consequences, so this month, I’ve switched to the being-swamped-by-work-and-sleeping-instead-of-reading route. Which is also horrible, but maybe still better than the not-sleeping option? Seriously, the only things I’ve touched are my current beta-read (Katie, if you’re reading this, I’m really sorry for being so freaking slow despite you trying so hard to match my crazy schedule up with yours!), about 150 pages of Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land (I still have no clue what is even going on in that one… ), and Lois Lowry’s The Giver (I’ve already read The Giver about 50 million times, but since I have forced it upon one of my classes as required reading and need to figure out what the hell they’re supposed to learn by spending six weeks with this book, it’s safe to say that I don’t think I’ve ever dissected any book to the point that I’m dissecting The Giver right now!). So yeah, time will tell whether I will actually manage to read something in May and at least give you a proper favorite in my wrap-up! 🤷♀️
The Skogland duology – or The Princess Plot if you want to go with the English translation – is yet another pair of books I could have mentioned for that love triangle question. I ABSOLUTELY ADORE IT!! 🤩
Trust me: The terribly cheesy English title and cover do not do it justice. This book has depth, it has politics, it has dysfunctional families, and it has royals who are completely out of their element. Sure, the plot is a bit ridiculous – it’s about a German teenager named Jarven, who, after winning a casting show, is sent to the fictional Scandinavian-ish country of Skogland in order to impersonate the crown princess at boring royal functions – but it is just so good! There are very few modern German YA series out there that I would whole-heartedly recommend, but Skogland is one of them.
Fun fact: Did you know that you are actually much, much richer as a billionaire in Germany than as a billionaire in English speaking countries? In English, 1 billion = 1,000,000,000, whereas the billion that pretty much everybody else uses actually refers to the number 1,000,000,000,000.
Extremely interesting language-nerdy math facts aside, though, I’m gonna have to go with Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky for this one, the first book in a super angsty YA dystopian trilogy. I’m pretty sure that if I read it for the first time now, I wouldn’t be all that impressed, but when 16-year-old Naemi encountered it at the library while hunting for English books that she hadn’t already read, she was hooked! I honestly thought I’d discovered some hidden gem, only to realize that almost every other reader I talked to already knew about it 😅 Which, in retrospect, should have been obvious because my library never gets new English books unless they’re bestselling new releases…
(However, to redeem myself, I must mention that I actually did read quite a few extremely popular books way before they were even popular!! Take The Hunger Games, for example. As a massive Underland Chronicles fan, I read The Hunger Games immediately when it came out, and then I had to wait for everybody else to catch on so that I finally had people to talk about it with! So my underrated-gem-radar works! 🙃😇)
That will probably have to go to my copies of The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson – because they’re signed! My sister and I met Brandon Sanderson when we attended the 2017 Leipzig Book Fair, a moment that was simultaneously awe-inspiring and overwhelming. It’s not every day that you meet one of your favorite fantasy authors, and, being me, I was struck a little bit speechless! Thankfully, though, my sister is extroverted enough for both of us and was able to salvage what would probably otherwise have turned into an extremely awkward conversation…
As proof, here’s a picture of my sister and me standing next to Brandon Sanderson while he’s signing my sister’s copy of The Way of Kings. And yes, that is the very copy it took me like five years to borrow 😅 My sister kept taking it to places and forgetting to give it to me!
So yeah – those copies mean a lot to me and would probably be the first books I’d try to save if my shelves ever caught fire… They’d just be way harder to replace than any other books I own!
(Also, if you’re wondering why I didn’t also have The Hero of Ages signed, that was simply because I had limited backpack space and so little stamina that I didn’t want to drag too many books to Leipzig and back. So I had to pick favorites!)
Confession time: I was one of those nerdy kids who actually enjoyed quite a lot of their required reading 😇 Sure, there were duds – I positively hated Iphigenie auf Tauris, Homo Faber, To the Lighthouse, Heart of Darkness, and The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example – but for the most part, I happily read whatever my teachers threw at me!
One book I have particularly fond memories of, though, was Charlotte Kerner’s Blueprint, a novel we had to read for my tenth-grade German class. Not only did I genuinely enjoy this book, which follows the clone of a famous pianist who was created so that her “mother’s” talent would live on after multiple sclerosis made it impossible for her to perform, but I also really liked how our teacher made us work with it! We went into so much depth, had a ton of creative tasks instead of only sticking to the standard stylistic analysis + argumentative essay format, and somehow, our teacher managed to convey so much enthusiasm for this novel that the whole class ended up reading it! Which I don’t think ever happened at any other time in my school career. After all, I distinctly remember spending quite a few breaks summarizing chapters that had been assigned for homework to desperate classmates…
Now that we’ve reached the end of the questions, I tag the following amazing bloggers!
Please don’t in any way feel pressured to do this if you don’t want to – but I’d love to see your answers if you think you’d also have fun with this! 💙
Anyway, that was it for today! Let me know what you thought of my choices in the comments below, and feel free to tell me how you would have answered these questions! Were you as studious about getting to your required reading as I was? Is there a book you love but rarely talk about? Which of the tropes in the prompts do you like, and which ones do you hate? I would love to know!