Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week we get to revisit a past topic, so I’ve chosen: Top Ten Dynamic Duos

1. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Okay, confession time: I’ve never read any of Doyle’s work. In fact, the only exposure I have to this crime-solving team is the BBC miniseries (I tried watching the Robert Downey, Jr. films but couldn’t get into them). However, my unforgivable negligence in having failed to read the source material doesn’t stop me from recognizing the sheer awesomeness of this duo, and rest assured, I have Doyle’s work on my TBR list.
2. Cal and Niko (Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman)
These brothers never fail to bring a tear to my eye with the depth of devotion toward each other that they exhibit time and again. I can’t help but claim Cal as my favorite (Niko’s ability to kill you with a tubesock notwithstanding), yet both brothers hold such a soft spot in my heart.
3. Sal and Dean (On the Road by Jack Kerouac)
Kerouac’s star duo (modeled after himself and Neal Cassady) pretty much define the concept of dynamic. In their quest to burn, burn, burn like roman candles, they exemplified the chaotic energy of an entire generation and provided inspiration for the many generations that followed.
4. Harry and Hermione (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Sorry, Ron, but Harry and Hermione’s platonic friendship is the glue that held it all together. I’m sure many HP fans will lambast my decision to break up the golden trio. I’m unrepentant.
5. Kate and Curran (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews)
This Alpha pair has been combustible since day one, and thankfully their playful antagonism hasn’t gone anywhere despite now being mated. Best of all, they are both still just as capable on their own as they are when they’re together.
6. Cat and Bones (Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost)
So Cat is still somewhat of a brat. Even so, she’s exhibited such character growth since Halfway to the Grave that I can forgive her the occasional temper tantrum. I adore these two together and, though married life has subdued them somewhat, they are still a fearsome pair to behold when the stakes are high.
7. Gen and Irene (The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner)
To list the convoluted history of this duo’s relationship would be to give away precious spoilers for a remarkable series that is never as it seems. Suffice it to say, they will satisfy even the pickiest reader’s definition of dynamic and then some.
8. Howl and Sophie (Castle series by Diana Wynne Jones)
I have a bit of a thing for couples who are as likely to snipe at each other as they are to kiss. Sophie has always refused to allow Howl to assuage his penchant for self-indulgent histrionics, and their interactions are as hilarious as they are sweet.
9. Seregil and Alec (Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling)
No list would be complete without by favorite pair of Nightrunners. They’ve endured more than their fair share of madness and mayhem throughout the years, with threats ranging from the supernatural to the political and familial. Though they began their story as master and apprentice, they have grown into true equals without sacrificing those qualities that defined them coming into their relationship. My love for these two is massive.
I’m afraid I’ll have to stop at nine this week. Let me know who you think deserves the last slot!

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: Do you have a reading goal for the year, such as __ books? Why or why not?

I do have a book number goal, actually. Last year, I read just shy of 175 books. This year, I set my goal at 200, and as of right now, I’ve read 129 books toward that goal, so I’m pretty much on track.

As for content, I was hoping to read more classics this year that, for some reason or another, I hadn’t gotten around to yet. The remaining three Jane Austen books (Emma, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility), Jack Kerouac’s Maggie Cassidy and The Dharma Bums, and Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo are all at the top of the list, but sadly I’ve not managed a one yet. I made it a page and a half into Mansfield Park a week or so ago before deciding that my brain simply wasn’t in Regency mode.

Meandering Around the Interweb

In my various hours of wandering through book blogs far and wide, I’ve come across some pretty fantastic posts lately, so I thought I would spotlight my favorites. Hopefully I can make this a semi-regular feature, although my laziness will test the bounds of my determination to do so, so stay tuned for now.

  • The trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby popped up last night. I’ve been drooling over set stills for months now (Leo…I mean, pretty clothes and sets, yes, that’s right…) but seeing the first glimpses of what the finished film will present is exciting. I’ll admit, Luhrmann’s films have always been somewhat hit-or-miss for me, but I’m oddly thrilled to see that this one appears to have a distinct Romeo and Juliet bent. Jack White’s shrill wails layered atop Nick Carraway’s dialogue gave me chills.
  • I recently read and raved about Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. Her UK publishers have created a website that allows you to go on your own virtual tour of the delightful circus in question, and while I haven’t yet completed my journey, the sparse black and white depictions are quite lovely.
  • I live for the moment when you open up a newly-acquired old book and some creased, forgotten memento falls out from between the pages. Forgotten Bookmarks catalogues hundreds of such experiences in brilliantly simple photography, even typing out the contents of notes and inscriptions found within.
  • Ilona Andrews revisited an earlier blog post this week, recounting her school’s disastrous production of Romeo and Juliet. I couldn’t help but think back to my own equally calamitous experience as Romeo. You read that correctly, Romeo. Apparently, none of the guys were up to the task, and I said to myself, what the hell? Unfortunately, I rued the decision later as my female classmates scampered about in diaphanous gowns, while I was stuck in a tunic and tights, my hair scraped back like a drowned cat. Follow that with a sword fight in which Tybalt spontaneously decided that he would rather not die, leading to a comically ill-choreographed routine in which we chased each other about stage. And to top it all off, Juliet, unfortunately, simply couldn’t seem to reach the poison bottle in my hand, so I had to hand it to her, being a corpse notwithstanding. My theatrical career was short-lived.
  • Some spoilers for Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones follow, so you’ve been warned. For those who have seen the aforementioned literary film adaptations, you are probably aware that Sean Bean meets his grisly end in both. What some of you might not be aware of, though, is the fact that Sean Bean seems to die in every. single. movie.
  • I love books; it’s no secret. Yet I love them for more than the enjoyment that can be found within the pages. I adore them as an aesthetic accent. Those who have seen my home know that there is more shelf space than there is bare wall. The English Muse has an excellent post on ways to incorporate books into room design.
  • The long-awaited film adaptation of On the Road is presently premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, and I cannot wait until it hits theaters. Carlo, Sal, Dean, this has been a long time coming. From the snippets I’ve seen so far, I think the filmmakers just might have pulled it off.
  • And because just one drinking game isn’t nearly enough, I’ll probably follow up my Game of Thrones marathon with Anne of Green Gables, with drinking games for both movies.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you — especially when you are near to me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land, come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapped; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.”

2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

“He had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once.”

3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”‘

4. Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

“Though you thrust your dagger at my eyes, I will not flinch.”

5. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”

6. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

“I was suddenly struck by how dissimilar we were. It occurred to me that if Grace and I were objects, she would be an elaborate digital clock, synced up with the World Clock in London with technical perfection, and I’d be a snow globe – shaken memories in a glass ball.”

7. Blood Magic by Eileen Wilks

“What was romance but a lovely bit of play between man and woman?”

8. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

“Nothing was happening, really, but the moment was thick with mattering.”

9. Roadkill by Rob Thurman

“Pick up your clothes. I am not your maid. How do I know this? A maid cannot kill you with a tube sock. I can. ”

10. XVII (I do not love you…) by Pablo Neruda

“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Spring Fever: Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With

I’d honestly play hooky with any book that I own, so to narrow down the choices, I decided to go for books that fit the Spring Break travel theme.

1. Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund

The whole series offers some light entertainment, but the third novel in particular, Rites of Spring (Break), seemed especially fitting.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna’s adventures throughout her year studying abroad in France offer the perfect cathartic  getaway.

3. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Seeing a little bit of underground Australian culture makes me want to travel to the continent even more.

4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Kerouac’s masterpiece isn’t only the hallmark of a generation; it’s also probably the best novel depicting a road trip to ever be written, no matter how atypical the trip might become.

5. Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

Until I can realize my own dream of renovating a Tuscan villa, reading of Mayes’s adventures will have to suffice.

6. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Matson’s tale of two teens connecting on a cross-country road trip is cute and satisfies a craving for aimless travel.

7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

While many of Dessen’s novels feature the beach town of Colby, this one happens to be my favorite.

8. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

Amidst all the turmoil and action that Mac endures is a trilling depiction of Dublin that makes me want to hop a plane to Ireland.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

9. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

While Hubbard’s depiction of backpacking through Central America didn’t inspire me to plan a similar trip for myself, it’s still fun to watch Bria acclimate to a foreign culture.

10. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Forster’s delightful tale features extended stays in both Florence as well as Surrey, making me eager to plan a European tour of my own.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi over at The Story Siren to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsay
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • One Day by David Nicholls
  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  • Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
  • Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
  • The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
  • Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr

For Review

  • World on Fire by Hayley B. James (from NetGalley)
  • The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (from NetGalley)
  • Firelight by Kristen Callihan (from NetGalley)
  • Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse (from NetGalley)
  • Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (from NetGalley)

Received

  • Disillusionists trading cards (thanks to Carolyn Crane!)
  • Wild & Steamy Anthology by Meljean Brook, Jill Myles, and Carolyn Crane
  • Thief! by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Eddis by Megan Whalen Turner

In which I rant about my self-induced reading slump

I can’t call myself particularly lazy when it comes to reading. I average about five books per week, which I’m told by various friends and family members is impressive, insane, and incomprehensible. I don’t find it all that odd; I’ve always been an avid reader. I feel comfortable immersed in a world of words and can’t imagine languishing for more than a week in my own, fictionless universe. That being said, I’m disappointed with myself lately when I look at my gradually diminishing TBR pile.

As a blogger who focuses largely on the young adult and romance genres, I’ll be among the first to advocate for their literary value. While critiques might abound that doubt the ability of writers in these genres to put forth product of literary merit, instead focusing on formulaic plot and cardboard characters, I’ve found many authors whose work in these genres is far more refreshing and honest than the often self-consciously pretentious work than can be found in the pure fiction section.

Unfortunately, for the past few months, heavy class loads and overall stress have led me to gravitate toward those members of the above-mentioned genres that require the least amount of effort on my part. Pure escapism it might be, and I don’t contend that I would be able to rival their work, but I can’t deny that many of my choices of late seem to have exemplified the criticisms that I have often fought against. As tired as I am when I get home at the end of the day, I am getting even more tired of feeling as if I’m sacrificing my literary cred by sticking to books that provide fun without thought.

Given my New Year’s Resolution to finally read many of the classics that I’ve unfortunately managed to avoid so far (including three of Jane Austen’s catalogue, a few Kerouacs, Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, and many others) I feel particularly negligent about my current reluctance to relinquish fluffy writing.

Has anyone else experienced a similar slump?