Books!!!

Supposedgenius162 over at Thought Orchard tagged me in a game, and it’s about books, so I’m in. The best part of the holidays, aside from getting to go home and see family and friends, is that I finally get to read for fun for the first time in four months. It’s so exciting to not have history or philosophy or econ or journalism readings to do! I’ve spent most of the day reading and it has been wonderful. Now I’m going to take a break and answer the questions in the game.

1. Which book made you feel confident about your life?
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is a wonderful book because it seems to start out as a love story, but as you read further you realize that it is really about a young woman realizing she doesn’t need a man in her life to be successful or make her life meaningful (she also ends up becoming a journalist so I definitely have a soft spot for her for that reason also). It’s my current favourite book and I really recommend it. It made me feel empowered and realize that there’s more to life than finding love.

2. Which book made you sympathise with its characters?
Looking for Alaska by John Green. The first time I read it I was in Grade 9. I sympathized with Miles because he, like me, was starting a new school where he didn’t know anyone. The second time I read it was after my mom’s death. That time I related much more with Alaska, who had experienced her own tragedy and was struggling to deal with it.

3. Which book made you feel anxious?
Right now I’m reading The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, and it’s put me on edge. It’s another dystopia thing like the Hunger Games with a teenage girl fighting against the system etc. I’m like halfway through and it’s a great book but currently she is tramping through the wilderness in the remains of the war-ravaged US and there’s mutated beasts and other scary things attacking her.

4. Which book made you feel annoyed?
Lis gave me A Light Between Oceans  by M. L. Stedman as a grad present, and I’ve honestly been trying to get through it, but it’s so frustrating. When you take a child who washes up in a shipwreck and raise her as your own, you shouldn’t be surprised that it might cause problems. It’s supposed to be this amazing book, but the characters are so flawed that you have no one to root for and the situation is just so unlikely.

5. Which book made you feel disappointed?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was so critically acclaimed that I was sure I would love it. It took me forever to read though and ultimately I found it really dull and unsatisfying. Maybe I didn’t get the deep meanings in it, I don’t know. I will probably still go see the movie at some point, but I don’t have high hopes for it.

6. Which book made you feel confused?
My philosophy textbooks. This is a cop out, I know, but it had to be said.

7. Which book made you feel satisfied?
I agree with supposedgenius that Mockingjay was a satisfying ending to The Hunger Games. Ditto with Allegiant as the ending of the Divergent series. Lis hated Allegiant, but I thought it fit really well with the themes all through the series and it was satisfying, if not happy.

8. Which book made you feel like you could really relate to the main character?
Sorry to harp on this one book, but Katey Kontent from Rules of Civility is pretty much me. Or at the very least she is the woman I aspire to be. She is smart, witty, and independent. She doesn’t back down from a challenge and she fights for what she wants. And did I mention she’s witty?

Shut up I can’t whistle, okay?

Some people have nominated me for blog awards, but as I’ve mentioned before, I suck at them and I always cheat. So thanks to Kat, Henry, and Catching Zee for the awards. Check  out their blogs if you get a chance.

Now for the cheating. They all gave me questions to answer, but I’m just going to pick my favourites, mkay? No? Oh well, too bad.

  1. Favorite late-night snack? Cereal. I’m not proud of how often I sit in bed with my laptop and a bowl of Just Right.
  2. What is your favorite scent? The smell of soccer-freshcut grass, bug spray, and a little bit of sweat
  3. Can you whistle? NO! Dammit thanks for bring up a sore spot. The fact that I can’t whistle is one of the great tragedies of my life.
  4. What book are you reading right now?  And what book would you love to tackle? I’m reading On the Front Line, which is the collected journalism of this incredible reporter, Marie Colvin. Not only does she have some amazing stories from a bunch of foreign countries, but her writing is absolutely breathtaking. I’m not really saying I want to follow her career arc, because she died in a bombing covering the uprisings in Syria last year. However, if I could write even half as well as her my life would be complete. Yeah, I’m a journalism nerd; what else is new. I’ve actually also been meaning to read Mein Kampf as weird as that sounds.  Like obviously Hitler was horrible, but I think that’s why it would be so fascinating to get inside his head.
  5. Do you think we need to do away with capitalism altogether or do you see an alternative or do you prefer to pretty much leave things as they are? Wow! Uh I think capitalism is the best way for developing countries to get out of poverty. However, I also think we should be able to do it in a way that protects human rights. The free market can be a really good thing for everyone if we put in a few rules to protect the people in it.
  6. Do you have a tattoo or would you consider getting one? Or is there something badass you’ve done that you’d like to share? It’s not really badass, but I just got my fifth ear piercing, kind of as a going-away-to-university present to myself. I have my earlobes done, plus two studs on my upper right ear, and now a hoop midway up my left one. I probably wouldn’t get a tattoo though. It would look good now, but I’ve seen enough old people with saggy tattoos to know that I don’t want that to be me in forty years.
  7. Your gut reaction: Which title do you prefer, “A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories” or “Alice in New York and Other Stories”? And why? A Night at the Sorrento sounds more mysterious and interesting.
  8. Are you an early bird or night owl? Both. I put that on my residence application for uni and I think that’s why they gave me a single actually. My roommate’s life would be hell because I don’t really sleep.
  9. What’s something you learned recently? “We’re not afraid of failure, we’re afraid of greatness.” It was in a graduation speech and it really hit me hard for some reason. More on that later.
  10. If you could live in another decade, when would it be? The roaring 20s for sure! Gatsby made it look like so much fun.

Now I’m supposed to nominate more people I guess. Again, I suck at this because I don’t read as many blogs as I ought to, but here are a couple teenage blogs that I absolutely adore:

Especially Average-Jess is way cooler than I was when I was 15

Teenage Enthusiasm-Morgan is so real, but she’s also so positive and fun!

The Thought Orchard-An absolutely incredible 11-year-old who is possibly too smart for her own good 🙂

I am a book thief

It started out innocently, I swear. I always intended to give the books back.

I love finding friends who love books as much as I do. We get into these intense discussions about our latest finds and our old favourites, and if you know any book lovers, or are one yourself, you know that these discussions always get pretty passionate. Then eventually, someone says those fateful words:

“I could totally lend it to you.”

BAM. Moral conflict. "Borrowed"

Kay (in my head): This person seems to have good taste in books and he is offering to lend me his favourite book. Logically, that would mean that the book will be good, right? I’ll probably finish it super fast and then we can talk about it and have all these inside jokes about it and we will be friends FOREVER.

Every once in a while, In-My-Head Kay turns out to be right. The problem is that most of the time she is dead wrong.

What actually ends up happening

IMH Kay: Shit that one guy lent me this book like a month ago and I still haven’t read it. I tried to read it, but the first few pages were super dry and it’s not really my genre and I’ve been super busy.

Or worse…

IMH Kay: Shit I’m halfway through this book and it is the worst thing I have ever read in my life. Seriously, how could he suggest this to me? Does he really think this is good writing? I’m losing more respect for this guy with every page that I read.

Then you have a problem: do I return the book and admit that I haven’t read it/don’t like it? Or do I smile and lie through my teeth about how I absolutely adored it and it is totally my new fave too omg!

Obviously, the first option will offend said friend, possibly irreparably depending on how important that book is to him. However, option number two is almost worse because it will almost certainly result in said friend giving you another horrible book to read, and another and another until you resent him within a deep, base level of your soul.

Either way, friendship over. That is why over the years, I have developed a survival technique for such situations. It’s option three: stealing the book. People lend books out all the time, and they rarely keep track of who has what. After a few initial inquiries about how the reading is going, the friend will forgot he even lent you the book. Just shove it to the back of your bookshelf and you’ll never have to talk about it again.

This technique has worked for me for many years, but for whatever reason, lately the guilt has begun to get to me. I was searching my shelves for a particular book today and I came across not one or two, but about 15 books that I have stolen from people who lent them to me. The worst part is that some of them are from people I haven’t talked to in years. It’s too late to give them back now because it would be about 70000 times more awkward to be like, yeah, so I know that we haven’t hung out in a while, but here’s a book of yours that I’ve had for five years. Also, I never read it because it looks like it would be crappy.

And seriously, some of them are terrible. There’s this one from #18 about unicorn hunters that I couldn’t get through more than of chapter of, because there’s all of these comically gory unicorn attacks that are supposed to be super serious and epic. Then there’s the novel version of Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire, and not only am I not equipped to handle a book that heavy, but I’m still not quite sure if it is actually the novel Push by Sapphire, or if it’s the book version of the movie version of the book.

There’s also The Girl Who Played with Fire, which Mat lent me after I read the first book. While I really enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it was faaarr to long and I refuse to put myself through that again. On the stack is also a non-fiction book about a polygamous cult, a version of Mansfield Park from Edmund’s point of view that I ended up borrowing from a family friend in spite of the fact that I hate Mansfield Park, some self help book about how girls can change the world, Lord of the Flies, and an out of date university journalism textbook that the editor of the magazine I work at lent to me.

My mind is in turmoil. I can’t throw them away, I can hardly give them away since they’re not mine to give, and I certainly can’t give them back. I guess that for the present they will continue to sit in a stack on my bookshelf, judging me.

I don’t mind if you call me the book thief, just don’t make me read that book too.