Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday, What I'm reading and last week's Feature & Follow

Top Ten Books You'd Pair With A "Required Reading"

Warm bodies is an interesting twist on the tragic romance, not to mention an interesting twist on zombie novels.

Admittedly, thematically, these two books are not discussing the same things, but the setting is similar, and I think they would work as a reading pair for a lovely compare/contrast.

Both books focus on a group of children abandon on an island.
In Lord of the Flies, they are shipwrecked and left to their own devices... in which the societal structure they create degrades rapidly.
In Battle Royale, the children are forced onto the island to play a terrible game of kill or be killed... a game run by their government to keep the masses in check.

I think it would be interesting to look at the differences and similarities between these two books... to question why the boys in Lord of the Flies and the kids in Battle Royale ended up in similarly murderous situations. What was William Golding saying about his society? What was Koushun Takami saying about his?

Two ladies, outcasts in their communities because they have done something that is socially taboo.
It's not really that hard to draw the parallels here.

Again, not hard to draw the parallels between these two.
Both books are coming of age stories, both dealing with life as a teenager, that odd stage between childhood and adulthood,
and touching on the social awkwardness of the teenage thought process as it struggles to fit into an adult world.

Two orphan tales, in which the orphans leave behind abusive, cruel lives in exchange for something more wonderful and magical.
It would be immensely fun to compare and contrast these two English novels.

An oppressed, carefully controlled society in which truths are hidden and fear is the weapon used to keep the masses in check... the fact that that could be describing either of these books, I think, would make for an interesting compare/contrast.  Or maybe I'm just hooked on slipping zombie novels into this week's top ten since it's coming up on October -_-

 Both of these deal with societies where everything about the people living in them is controlled, where everyone is being lied to... and in which there is one person who retains all the knowledge of the past, uncensored.

Bridget Jones's Diary IS Pride and Prejudice with a contemporary spin.
It was a riot to read, and made me like the classic even more than I already did.
It did a beautiful job of making what are now the strange and awkward social customs of Jane Austen's time into things we can understand, like family holiday gatherings and office parties.

Or The Iliad, or the Odyssey... really, I just want to pair Riordan's Percy Jackson series with all the stories of the mythological characters that show up in them. I LOVE books that make kids want to learn, and Riordan's series has sparked an interest in the old Greek and Roman mythologies... so I think it would be a fantastic way to introduce kids to the original stories.

Ok, this is a pair that most likely won't happen... because the dream discussion on these two would be about varying opinions on religion, and various takes on belief, and what those beliefs might actually represent... but boy would it be fun to discuss what each of these authors was saying about religion.

For the record... I love this top ten question.

 This week I'm reading

The Apothecary
by Maile Meloy

Why did I choose this book:
It was one of Schuler Books Staff Picks.

Schuler Books & Music is our local book store,
with 3 locations here in Michigan.

I have yet to go wrong choosing one of their YA section staff recommendations.

Does anyone else have a non-chain bookstore that they love to frequent, and trust the staff picks from there?

So far this book is interesting, action packed and adorable.
It features an American heroine in England... something I don't run across often.


Just as a side note...
I don't know why I do this...
I read all of the time, but am constantly forgetting to share it here on the blog as a review.
Example: I recently read all 4 books in The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld... but have I made a single review of them? Nope.
This blog's main purpose is for me to keep track of what I've read, and the details of that book...
so GAH! What the heck is wrong with me!!

Do any of you guys do this when it comes to your blog?
Not keep up with things they way you'd like to?


Something I find interesting:
Last week I decided to participate in 

in which my book selection was

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

This book came out 9 years ago, in 2004...
and I have to admit, I was a bit shocked to see that *most*
of the replies to my F&F post were something along the lines of,
"Wow, I've never heard of this before!"

The book won at least 6 awards
and was nominated for several more
(not small awards either, but some of the top in the industry)
and is currently being made into a BBC miniseries.

This really led me to wonder about the bloggers who populate
the Feature and Follow Friday.

Quite a lot of them listed a Harry Potter book as their choice,
the last one having come out in 2007,
only 3 years after Susanna Clarke's book...

I have to believe that most of them were reading at least the later Harry Potter books as they came out... which puts them on the literary scene during Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell's time.

So have they truly never heard of this highly acclaimed, much talked about book?
Is it simply because they weren't blogging at the time?

I had one comment saying
"I haven't heard too much about it review-wise"
and that just made me wonder...

How many of you follow blogs that pretty much only review current YA novels?

How do you choose the books you read?
Just by the reviews you read on other blogs?

How long have you been blogging, and has it affected how you choose books?

How did you choose the books you read BEFORE you got sucked into the world of book blogging?

When you start following a new book blogger,
do you ever look back through their reviews to see what they've read before?

How do you select book bloggers to follow in the first place?
Is it simply through hops, or do you research what the blogger likes to read and write about, and follow them based on common interests? 

I'm not criticizing the people who responded to the F&F by saying they'd never heard of the book...
there are plenty of amazing books I've never heard of.

I really am just curious about how people go about selecting books these days... 
and the turn-over rate of book bloggers and/or
the rate at which new book bloggers are hitting the scene.