This is insane. Why did I do this to myself? Asking a book lover to pick a favorite book is like Sophie’s Choice, but with way more children. Although I must admit, Queen Jo made that choice a bit easier over the course of the years. Same scenario exists with authors. While picking five (or 15) just a few years ago would’ve been a piece of cake, today it feels difficult. A cursory glance at my bookcase at home reveals how varied my tastes have become over the years: The magic of Harry Potter is nestled beside the garbage of Fifty Shades of Grey (which I bought based purely on buzz and couldn’t bring myself to read beyond the line “…and my very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.”) Dan Brown’s mind-bending literary labyrinths join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Frodo and Bella Swan share a shelf, for crying out loud. I suppose that’s how I was as a kid too. I could read Sweet Valley fluff one day and turn to the creep-tastic Goosebumps books the next. I’ll admit my tastes aren’t high culture, nor do they have very deep roots in classic fiction. I read Pride & Prejudice in college because, well, I felt like I should at least once and I wanted to cry every time I started a new chapter. I would throw my mass market paperback across the room and complain loudly to my roommates, “You can’t tell me people ever really talked like this! I need a dictionary just to get through a paragraph!” I felt like an uncultured swine—but I did finish it. I would watch Rory Gilmore tear through novel after novel and think, hmm, I’ve never read that. Or that. Nope. No again. Damn. I had to drop out of a Faulkner class because The Sound and the Fury made me want to rip my eyes straight from their sockets so I wouldn’t have to finish it. Anyway … Continue reading
As an avid book lover, it’s quite hard for me to admit that sometimes—sometimes—movies can be better than their literary counterparts. Especially since I grew up insisting the opposite was true. While I do believe that books can bring more depth, detail, and development, there’s just something magical about sitting in a movie theater with ants in your pants, anticipation nearly killing you, as you wait to see a world that has thus far only lived inside your head come to life in loud and vivid color. When done correctly, it intensifies your adoration for those worlds, even the ones that will only ever exist in fantasy. When done badly, you’re forced to defend the essence of the story, because despite sitting through a cringe-inducing train wreck of a film, it’s still one of your favorites. It was incredibly hard to choose only five (which is why my honorable mentions are a mile long), but here are the page-to-screen transitions that I loved, hated, loved to hate, and hated to love. Continue reading
It’s official; I have been sucked into the world of Divergent. I always do this. I ignore something as the buzz builds and builds, and when it finally reaches a deafening roar, I break down. I did it with Harry Potter, believe it or not. When my mom first brought the Sorcerer’s Stone home for me, I thought it looked silly. Flash forward 14 years and I’m sitting in a movie theater sobbing my heart out as a gigantic chunk of my childhood finally comes to an end. The Hunger Games: Not quite as dramatic, but still the same result. I resisted until maybe a month or so before the movie, then finally read the book, nay, the entire trilogy, in one weekend. And now I love it. So when everyone started talking about Divergent, I knew I would eventually have to grab the book, since I’m the type of person who simply has to read the book before seeing the movie.
I read it in 8 hours. I sat down the Saturday evening of the film’s opening weekend (March 22) and didn’t move until 3 a.m. Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the theater. I saw it again this past weekend and subsequently read the entire second book, Insurgent. My plans for this coming weekend? Allegiant. Continue reading
I loved books before I even know how to read them. My mother tirelessly read to me when I was little and instilled in me such a love of made-up stories that I was already excited to learn when I reached first grade. Naturally, writing followed. My teachers told me I had a gift and I enjoyed it so much, I just assumed they were right. I was eight when I wrote my first poem … nine when I attempted a short story … and ten when I decided that I wanted to see my name on a Barnes & Noble shelf someday. I had every intention of majoring in English when I got to college to pursue my dream of writing and publishing a novel. A high school intro to journalism class totally threw my life plans off-track, but in a good way. I hope my ten-year-old self wouldn’t be too mad at me. I’m still sharing stories, just differently, and I love it more than I could have hoped to when it came time to decide “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Then again, I ain’t dead yet and publishing a book, either for kids, teens, or adults is still a dream. Here are five books (out of countless others) that inspired my love of the written word from childhood to adulthood. Continue reading