Category Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Swap With

Well, it’s definitely not Tuesday, but let’s see if I can get to ten this week, anyway.

Top Ten Book Characters I Would Switch Places with for 24 Hours

  1. Buttercup from The Princess Bride: I always forget this is a book, too. I just re-watched the movie with a bunch of friends a few weeks ago. I also have to admit that this one is stolen from the original poster, but, come on—who wouldn’t want those “eyes the color of the sea after a storm” to stare into?
  2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter: Yes, she does get tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange, and have to fly even though she hates it, and dates a jock, and all that, but it’d be nice to get to her core for a day. And I’d get to be with Ron Weasley, who might have a temper but will belch slugs for you.
  3. Alanna of Trebond from the Song of the Lioness Quartet: She has drama, but she gets to be a female knight. That’s pretty cool. I would probably avoid hooking up with a theif (how much am I still myself and how much do I become her?), but swordfighting and riding horses and being a magician would be cool.
  4. Elaine from Avalon High: Aside from the obvious cool factor of being in a reincarnated Arthurian legend, she hangs out in the pool a lot, and she draws the attention of the most popular boy in school. She also has professors for parents, and she is in a really good place at the end of the story.
  5. Antonia from The Possibilities of Sainthood: She’s Catholic, so I’ve got that on lock already. She wants to be a saint, and she has her head on straight despite seeming a little bit crazy sometimes. Except for being Italian and a high school student, maybe she is me.
  6. Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game: She is also in a great place at the end of the book. She’s smart, and she makes something great of herself. She’s a little bit mischievous, too.
  7. Gaia from Fearless: I can’t believe I almost forgot her! Gaia has a lot of drama going on, but she speaks a bunch of languages, is Russian, is deadly powerful in a variety of martial arts, lives in New York City, and has Ed and Mary for best friends. Good times all around…for a day.

That’s all for today, I think. I read someone’s else’s list for this topic, and she realized (as I have) that she reads too much dystopian fiction to want to trade with most of the characters she knows! #dystopialoversdrama

Meme Day Monday

To make up for my epic meme fail last week, I’m going to catch up on BTT and TTT today. There was no Friday Five for the last month, so although I’ve been missing it like crazy, at least I don’t have that to catch up on.

Vampira2468 asks:

Series or Stand-alone?

One or many? I like both. When I was younger, I read a lot more series: The Baby-sitters Club (almost to the end), Animorphs (about two-thirds of the way through), and all the Alice books there were at the time. In high school, I picked up the rest of Harry Potter as they were published, only the first two Jessica Darling books, and the first half of the Princess Diaries series. Now, I tend to read stand-alone novels. I like starting a story and knowing that it will be finished when I finish the book. I can handle one sequel, but a series is such a big commitment.

Top Ten Books for People Who Liked The Hunger Games

  1. The Giver and its sequels: I have only read The Giver and Gathering Blue, but they deal with a similarly bleak futuristic dystopia. In The Giver, life is only valued when all choices are taken away. In Gathering Blue, people are only valuable based on their abilities.
  2. The Uglies series: I wasn’t interested enough to keep reading through the third volume (there are four) because the pacing was off, but the situation is also similar to Katniss’s. It’s the future, society is run differently, and Tally discovers the sinister truth behind her world. Adventures ensue.
  3. The Fearless series: I loved these books when I was in middle and high school. They’re gritty and just a touch futuristic without getting too crazy. They’re set in New York and revolve around a teenage girl named Gaia “born without the fear gene” (if there were such a gene). They have plenty of action if you liked that about The Hunger Games.
  4. Robinson Crusoe: Don’t write me off just yet. Crusoe’s epic survival skills rival Katniss’s. He is not on TV and being forced to fight to the death, but he has to figure out how to stay alive in tough circumstances. I really enjoyed this required reading. I love it when that happens.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale: Offred is the plaything of a social structure that has deep historical roots, has twisted itself from the foundation it claims, and uses her to further its gains. Sounds like Panem to me.
  6. Among the Hidden and its sequels: Each couple can only have two children due to food restrictions. If you can overlook that ridiculous doomsday scenario the population growth people keep trying to push on us, the series tells a compelling story about living in a world where no one wants you because you’re someone’s third child. (I only found out when I went to link to Goodreads. that there are seven books in that series. Whoa.)

I’m calling in the “multiple books per number” clause and calling it a night.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Vivid Worlds

Aaaaand I’m back to the memes! This is my first night at home (from work or fun) in over a week, so I’m ready to get back into my routine.

Top Ten Books with the Most Vivid Worlds or Settings

  1. the wizarding world in the Harry Potter series: My favorite thing about the wizarding world is that it’s right alongside the regular world. I won’t even tell you how long it took me to realize that Diagon Alley is a hint to the way J.K. Rowling built her world—diagonally to this one. It’s not quite the same, but there are enough similarities to make everything familiar. The wizards’ clothes and attitudes can seem stuck in the Middle Ages (Molly Weasley wants Bill to cut his long hair, they listen to the radio), but their interaction the Muggle world reminds us that it isn’t Middle Earth. Speaking of which…
  2. Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings books: Sometimes I’m afraid to admit that I haven’t actually read The Lord of the Rings. I tried The Hobbit and got bored, and I haven’t had to willpower to give the main series a try. I did watch and enjoy all three movies, though, and I know enough to know that the world is incredibly rich. Tolkien took the time to formulate an entire language! That’s epic.
  3. Annapolis/Avalon in Avalon High, by Meg Cabot: I tore through this book. It was even better than I expected. It combined my love of and knowledge for fantasy (Arthurian legend in particular) with my love of YA. The vividness came not so much in the building of the world but in the basically believable combination of the two. One of these days I’ll hunt down the Disney Channel Original Movie, but something tells me it won’t do it justice.
  4. Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia: I can’t believe I almost forgot a world that we basically get to watch being built! The Magician’s Nephew never gets as much popular appreciation as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but from those first pages on, we get a world that, although parallel to ours, is not nestled quite as close as Harry Potter’s. And it has a lot more Jesus in it to go with the good triumphing over evil.
  5. Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale: It was a scary world, but Atwood did a fair job building on the problems of the world today (or rather, in the 80s) and how they might spiral out of control. Her world leaned hard conservative, though, and I’m not sure I would predict that or be comfortable with it.
  6. the not-so-distant future U.S. in Bumped: In this case, the world’s problems dealing with sex and babies have swung hard liberal, and people are buying other people. I’ve gushed far enough about this book, but I can’t help it!
  7. Palomar in Heartbreak Soup, by the Hernandez brothers: This might be cheating a little bit because it was a graphic novel compendium, so I had actual pictures to look at with the story. I hadn’t had much experience with graphic novels before I read it, though, and I later found out there are about a dozen other books that are set in that world, so it’s definitely bigger than even I know.
  8. 1980s Iran in Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi: I didn’t know much about the Iranian cultural revolution before reading this, I’d never read a graphic novel, and I’d never expected one to be in black and white. I was delighted on all counts. It was an intense story, and I imagine the original (it’s in French) is only more intense.
  9. Panem in The Hunger Games: As with Harry Potter, it’s the similarities to our current situation that make me feel the most unsettled. How far away are we from public executions and totalitarianism?
  10. the slightly-more-distant future U.S. in The Giver: Again, it’s a little scary to have all choices taken away, but look at the world that resulted. Scary times.

Hooray! I got all ten in this week: a triumphant return indeed.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ll Never Read

It’s Wednesday, and it’s late enough as I begin this that I know with certainty I will be back-dating (back-timing) this post to get it filed under the correct day. I have had many awesome things to do this week, though, so I do not regret being late. I also do note regret this because I get to pick my own topic: it’s a freebie week for TTT.

Top Ten Books I’ll Never Read (In No Particular Order)

  1. The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy: This ought to go without saying, but it needs saying! I fleshed out my reasons in my media discernment column at ACNM, but the consensus was that not enough Catholics (or humans, really) were speaking out against it. It’s erotica, which is like pornography except that it uses words instead of pictures. It is mainstream and readily acquired in the age of e-books. It is seen as harmless and acceptable. None of these are good things! I’m staying away. As a SomeECard once said regarding Bud Light Lime, if you ever see me holding a copy of any of the Fifty Shades books, I have been kidnapped and am trying to signal you.
  2. The Da Vinci Code or any other book by Dan Brown: Much with Fifty Shades, my problem is not primarily with the content. People have written less-than-flattering fiction about every affinity group in existence. People tell falsehoods about Catholicism all the time. It happens; I get it. My problem is that Dan Brown apparently (I’ve never even held a copy) claims in the book that the story is based on fact. It’s not! Those are weird legends at best. Don’t waste your time. If you want to know what real Catholics are like, read Brideshead Revisited.
  3. City of Bones or anything else by Cassandra Clare: I fell madly in love with Harry Potter fanfiction when I was in high school. The anniversary of the day I started reading Draco Dormiens was last week; it was Independence Day. Bored, I wandered through the Internet to the first of a novel-length trilogy by an author who went by Cassandra Claire. (Notice the spelling?) I devoured it that day and quickly moved on to the second and third “books.” Imagine my horror when, having received a real book contract, Cassie changed her pen name and yanked her previous (and mildly more plagiaristic than all fanfiction already is) works from the web. I eventually came across copies, but I felt betrayed. It’s one thing to disown your previous work; it’s another to deprive your fans of it entirely. I will never read any of her books. (I may finish the trilogy one of these days, though.)
  4. The His Dark Materials Trilogy: This is related to my distaste for Dan Brown books. His Dark Materials is basically The Chronicles of Narnia for little atheist kids. I’m not an atheist; I’m a quite happy Catholic. Why would I want to read an atheist allegory where the characters set out to kill God (who turns out not to be the God, but still)? I’ll stay away.
  5. The Twilight Saga: You knew it was coming. I have exactly two actual experiences with the actual text of Twilight. The first was when a roommate read a random sentence aloud from Eclipse (I think it was Eclipse). I almost fell out of my chair laughing because it was so cheesy. Later, I read a liveblogged review on a random LiveJournal. Each chapter had a snarky-sounding title. I thought they were all jokes. They were the actual chapter titles! When your book sounds like a joke on itself, that’s called satire. I won’t even get into the inappropriately intense romance or the weak and badly-paced movie version (which I admit to seeing—I tried!).
  6. Harlequin or similar romance novels: I try not to look down on people who read or write romance novels, but I look down on them for themselves. If your book is not literary enough to just be called “fiction,” I doubt it’s very good. I would rather read classic novels that have romance than read books that are trying to sell the romance (or just sex) without real plots. They’re like action movies: all explosion, no story. I need story.
  7. Any other erotica: Another sad aspect of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that many of its readers are unaware of the history of similar books. I won’t name any for fear of accidentally recommending them, but these books have been around for decades. I won’t read any of them, because pornography is one of the few things in the world I genuinely hate. It’s pretty much that, sin, and spiders.

This is another short list with multiple books in each entry, but it will do for now. It covers the extent of my “Will Not Read” shelf on Goodreads. I am making a public declaration against these books. You are my witnesses.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People Who Like Meg Cabot and J.K. Rowling

It’s still Tuesday, so this is a marked improvement over last time. I was tempted to just go with Harry Potter-esque recommendations this time around, but then I remembered my soft spot for YA romance, so I decided to split my list in the hopes of sharing the love (and making it to all ten books, to be honest).

Top Four Books for People Who Like Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries

  1. Sloppy Firsts, by Megan McCafferty: If you liked reading about Princess Mia’s life problems, you will like Jessica “Notso” Darling. She’s older than Mia, so the content is a little heavier and has more sexual references, but the lighthearted romance is still there. Jessica is not quite as funny, though.
  2. The Possibilities of Sainthood, by Donna Freitas: There is a strong Catholic religious theme to this book, as the title would suggest, but this heroine has Mia’s humor on lock. She tries so hard to find a sense of purpose in her life and snag the boy of her dreams—sounds like Mia to me. (See my review at Austin Catholic New Media for more.)
  3. Someone Like You, by Sarah Dessen: Sarah Dessen showed up on every single other TTT for summer reads I saw. Her books I’ve read are much cleaner than the ones for adults (seem; I don’t read adult romance), and they still feature teenagers with problems. The main characters from this book were combined with the family from That Summer to make the movie How to Deal, starring the always-fun Mandy Moore.
  4. The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger: I’m going out on a limb here. I have only seen the movie, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Plus, Anne Hathaway is also the main character in the movie adaption, where she plays a journalist who takes a fashion editor’s assistant job just to make some money and kill time but finds herself reevaluating her identity. That’s so YA.

Top Four Books for People Who Like J.K. Rowling

  1. The Chrestomanci Quartet, by Dianna Wynne Jones: I think Witch Week, the first book, was among the first fantasy books I ever read. I picked it up in a bookstore one day and thought a story about witches in boarding school sounded interesting. (See what I did there?) It took a while to identify and collect the other books (this was before the Internet got big, guys!), but I loved them all and still have them back at my family’s house. Each book is very different, even in terms of how magic works from world to world, but the enchanter Chrestomanci (krest-oh-MAN-see) links them.
  2. The Song of the Lioness Quartet, by Tamora Pierce: One of my oldest friends, Jenn, introduced me to this series when I was in about the fourth grade and she was in fifth. I borrowed hers and devoured them, but I later bought my own reprint edition of the set. I still have these, too! Alanna trades places with her twin brother so she can train as a knight. Hijinks, magic, and several romances ensue.
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis: “This is a surprising recommendation,” said no reader ever. They are Christian allegories, but they contain many similar fantasy elements.
  4. The Tempest, by William Shakespeare: Bear with me. Shakespeare intimidates many people, but The Tempest takes place on an island and has a sorceror, so there’s magic. It’s also a comedy, so there’s a play-within-a-play and comic relief and a happy romance at the end and all those good things. It’s probably my second-favorite comedy after Midsummer.

That is technically only four books each for a total of eight, but I recommended several series for HP fans, so I’m calling it a night.

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters in Real Life

Last week was an epic blogging fail, so, here’s my Top Ten…Uh, Sunday?

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

  1. My camp counselor Nicole and Jane Bennet: I don’t think I’ve met anyone before or since that is just genuinely nice. I only knew her for that week I was at leadership camp back in high school, but she was so sweet. She was also engaged, though not to Mr. Bingley.
  2. My friend Jess’s mom and Mrs. Bennet: While I’m still on P&P, let’s go here. Jess was a year behind me in ACE. During her first year (my second), her mom pointed out to her that, when she was Jess’s age, she was already married and had given birth to Jess. Three years after that conversation, Jess is now married and expecting her first child in the fall. Sure, that’s rather different than trying to save your house and keep yourself and your five daughters out of poverty, but the pressure was still there.
  3. My old housemate Michael and Nick from Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist (as played by Michael Cera): That was a long identification, but it was critical at the time. We took a household outing to see Nick and Nora. As the movie began, Michael watched and said, “Hey, look, this kid lives in my house. Hey, he drives my old car. He listens to my music. This kid is me!” The rest of the movie was just mediocre, but I’ll never forget his reaction.
  4. Me and the teacher from The Wave: Don’t overreact; I didn’t accidentally start a neo-Nazi group. I tried more than once to overstretch my still-developing skills, though, and wound up in over my head. That’s in the past, though, and I’ve learned from it.
  5. [Edit] Me and Mary Ann Spier from the Baby-sitters Club: this should probably be one character per person, but I am a complex creature. Many people would probably want to associate me with bookish Mallory Pike, and Claudia Kishi was always my favorite, but I think I’m most like mary Ann. I’m generally quiet and I keep to myself a lot, but every now and then I suppose people. This is not by having a steady boyfriend in eighth grade (or now), though. So unfortunate.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll sleep on it, and maybe I can find a few more character matches in the morning. The tough thing about matching people to characters is fighting the inclination to pick characters that make you look good instead of the ones that make you look real. Am I right?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer TBR List

I’m not even going to pretend like it’s Tuesday. My weekend kind of disappeared, but I still want to write about books. Looking back at my spring TBR list, I actually made decent progress. Let’s hope this summer will have a similar result!

Top Ten Books I Plan to Read This Summer

  1. Thumped: I’ve been stalking the library waiting for a copy to become available with no luck. I’ll have to request it, and that requires some delicate timing because I have to be available to pick it up. I can’t wait to find out what happens, though, and if it will suck me in as far as Bumped did!
  2. the last four books in the Jessica Darling series: These are by the same author as the above. The series-finisher in me is really eager to knock those out.
  3. Alice on Board: I just double-checked, and this one is sitting at my library right now. I want to read ALL the books!
  4. Jellicoe Road: In an attempt to whittle down my TBR list, I purposely checked this out on my last trip to the library. It’s a little thicker than I expected, but I’m excited.
  5. the last seven books in the Princess Diaries series: I am still not sure how I missed so many of them, but those little half-books add up. (Yikes! Was that a math joke?
  6. Brideshead Revisited: It’s definitely not a contemporary novel, but I’m hoping to be able to tackle this in a timely fashion for my review column. I keep hearing about it, so it’s time to take the plunge.

I have enough multiple books and series to take care of the rest of the list. I need to take this list more seriously, guys!

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