Things Books Made Me Want to Do

Books can inspire you to do a lot of things: learn a new topic, go somewhere, or eat something you’ve never heard of before. Or they can just make you wish that something existed so you could actually do it.

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, here are a few of the things books have made me want to do.

  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madleine L’Engle made me want to go to school for English. This is all because one person that the main character, Vicky, meets tells her that if she’s serious about her writing, she shouldn’t major in creative writing in college, but she should major in English so she can study stories. I may have been the only person I knew in middle school who knew what she was going to college for.


  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George made me want to live in the woods. If I could get my own peregrine falcon, even better.

  • Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss inspired me to fill my childhood journal with awesome doodles.


  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis gave my a lifelong desire to try Turkish Delight. (It didn’t work out so well.)


  • And, of course, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling made me hope, hope, hope that I would be a witch. Still waiting on that owl…

Check out The Broke and the Bookish for more lists! What have books made you want to do? There are still so many other foods books made me want to try…

Weekend Links: Bucky and Books

Here are some fun things I’ve seen around the Internet recently.

On the blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) author Meghan E. Bryant describes her long process of getting her picture book, Dump Truck Duck, published. That she kept at it for so long is inspiring in itself, but I find it really fantastic that she was able to get publishing deals for several books right afterward, because of the simple fact that she never stopped writing. I think about all the stories sitting in my drawer right now, waiting to be polished, and the ideas swimming in my cluttered brain waiting to be written while I  query other things, and I have hope that if I can get one book published, maybe something else will start.

Women Write About Comics published an article, The Feminization of Bucky Barnes, where they parse out why the Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier character is so particularly popular among female fans. I’ve really liked that character for a while, mainly because of the angst (I’m a horrible person that likes to see my favorite characters tortured). But the writers on WWAC bring up other points, like how Bucky replaces the “girl” character, which rang true for me as far as why I feel so attached to that character. (Chicken or egg: which came first, my love of Bucky or my love of Sebastian Stan? Both evolved so closely together…)

Maggie Stiefvater drew a diagram of what her character Gansey from the Raven Boys series looks like when “His fingers lightly touched his temple and his cheekbone, and his eyes looked off at nothing”. I laughed for one full minute.


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Teen Lit: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (There’s Still a Fangirl Deep Inside…)

Last week I finished reading Rainbow Rowell’s newest book, Carry On. I’ve talked about it before, but to recap, this novel is the fanfiction that her character Cath is writing in the wonderful wonderful book Fangirl, about her favorite series, Simon Snow. So it’s a fanfiction of a fictional story inside of a fictional story.

Following still?

The book itself was pretty good. This is supposed to be Cath’s imagining of the final novel in a series, and in a lot of ways it reads like that, as if I’ve picked up the last Harry Potter book without having ever touched the other six. Rowell does a great job of feeding enough background information that as a reader I never felt lost, and I really enjoy the unique magic system she came up with just for this book. Still, it didn’t really grab me by the ears…until about halfway through, when the really slashy/fanfiction bits come all the way to the front of the story. Then I truly stopped feeling like I was reading the last book in a series I never read — instead I’m reading a fanfiction of a series I never read. And that made it wonderful.

I used to read a lot of fanfiction, mostly from upper high school through right past college. Most of the fic was slash, which is when the fanfic writer imagines characters who don’t get together in the series pairing up, particularly male characters (at least in my reading). Fanfiction, both reading and writing it, is this way of delving way, way deep into the fandom, where you love the thing so much that when you run out of stuff to read, or characters won’t do what you desperately want them to do (like kiss), you either scour the earth for more, or you invent your own stories.

I fell out of reading fanfic, part because I felt I had enough to read on my own, and part because unless you can find an author, or at least an aggregated list, it can be exhausting to dig around for something decent (most fanfiction is written so badly, oh, so, so bad). And I also haven’t had a lot of things that I’ve been that particularly obsessed with. Some of my favorite stories, like Fullmetal Alchemist and Harry Potter, I’ve never been particularly motivated to find fanfic for, and it’s been a long time since I’ve read something new where I felt a fanfiction was absolutely necessary.

This has fed a little into my worry that there isn’t anything I’m enough of a fan of anymore (which is ridiculous, I’m a giant nerd bomb, but anxiety’s gunna do what it’s gunna do). There’s not a lot that has given me that little twinge in my gut that let’s me know my inner fangirl is shaking and flailing. Some things have given me that right level of obsession (Steven Universe, Steven Universe, Steven Universe) that makes it feel like my fangirl’s waking up from a deep slumber…and then reading Carry On basically ripped off the sheets and kicked her out of bed.

Carry On is a fun book on its own, though I probably won’t ever go back to reread it like I will with Fangirl. But I love what it is: a book written for nerds of a certain type, my type, who finally saw themselves so purely on the page with Cath’s character, who know the thrill and nerdy importance of fanfiction. And I appreciate what it did, reminding me that there is a little fangirl vibrating inside of me, just waiting to break into the highest pitched squeal you ever heard.

Thanks, Rainbow Rowell. I needed that.

Romance Stories I’ve Quit

This post is part of Top Ten Tuesday, although you’re going to notice, there’s only two things on the list. Maybe because I dislike these things enough for five each?

So, I like romances in my stories. Not all of them, but they’re nice, and when done right create a little warm spot in my chest. But sometimes they frustrate me. Here are those times.

Young Woman and Older Man

I’m not against this on principle. I know people who have married older men, and they’re wonderful together. And there are stories where I actually like this, like Emma. But in books that don’t do it well, I feel a little icky and uncomfortable about it. Often because there’s a weird thing with the power dynamics in the relationship, like the man is the teacher and the woman is the one developing feelings (lookin’ at you, The Paper Magician). Plus, I can’t think of a book (off the top of my head at least) where the reverse happens and a young dude in a lesser position must win the older lady (though I have a feeling that the dynamics would be different in that situation..). Maybe I’m being unfair, but knowing that’s part of the story is enough to put me off altogether.

My First Love, My Only Love

I say this as a woman who went out with one guy ever in college and then married him. I can’t stand it when the romance revolves around a girl who has gone out with one person ever in her life, and now they’re soul mates and want to spend the rest of eternity together (*cough* TWILIGHT *cough*). I think the issue I have with this is that it usually comes up in young adult novels, and how often does it really happen that you stay with the boyfriend you met in your Sophomore science class? (I know it does happen…but how often??) I prefer it even if she recently broke up with someone, or even, at the very least, had other crushes. But your first boyfriend ever?

Again, in some cases it does work out okay (Graceling) but often that’s because there are other circumstances, more of a point to the story than simply the romance. I do get very excited when young adult novels twist on this a little bit, where the main character thinks she wants to be with that one person forever, but then maybe she meets someone new. Because that’s actual life, even if it’s in a world with magic.

What do you think? Am I just being grumpy? And what kinds of stories have you sworn off? Let me know!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Weekly Finds: Fangirl-y Excitement

Am I talking about Steven Universe too much? I don’t think so (obviously), though you probably do. At Comicon last month they showed an extended version of the new opening. It’s got more solos by the Gems, and shows little Steven growing up, as well as a shadowy figure… (YELLOW DIAMOND?!?) Is it part of an upcoming episode? Just something wonderful the Rebecca Sugar team made? I don’t know. I DO know that I love all the screaming fans in the background.

Through talking about food in her book, Rainbow Rowell reminded everyone on Twitter that Carry On, the fanfiction of the made up HP-esque Simon Snow fantasy series written by her fictional character in Fangirl, is coming out in a few weeks. I got really excited and now it’s on hold for me.


Do you remember: I have a new blog? Well, I wrote a couple of actual posts, so please go check them out! I failed this week, but I’m trying to make that at least a once-a-week thing.

What have you found this week?

Favorite Fairy Tale Retellings I’ve Read

This post is a part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme on The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog for other lists!

Cinder, Scarlett, and Cress by Stephanie Meyer. I started reading Cinder and the other books in this series last year, and I was immediately super impressed that Meyer follows the basic story of the fairy tales, while making it her own thing entirely. In particular she blew my mind with Cress, her retelling of Rapunzel, when she seamlessly integrated some elements that I had forgotten occurred in the fairy tale.

Dearskin by Robin McKinley. I first read this book, a retelling of Donkeyskin, in high school from my school library. Honestly, I think that book was in there by mistake, since a big part of the story involves incest and rape, but I’m so glad it was there. It’s an excellent, emotional book, and I’ve read it a couple of times since.

The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block. This is an anthology of fairy tale retellings.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. It’s Snow White, but figuring out which character is the princess, and which one is the evil stepmother, is part of the fun in this one.

The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka. Obviously this has to be on here.

There’s five for me! There are probably others that I’m forgetting, or others that I forgot/didn’t know were fairy tales to begin with.

What fairy tale retellings do you love? Let me know, and go to Broke and Bookish to add your list!

Books on My Spring To-Be-Read List

This is part of Top Ten Tuesday (yes, I know it’s Wednesday) on The Broke and the Bookish. This week: what books do I want to read this spring?

Men at Arms by Terry PratchettMen at Arms by Terry Pratchett. I’m reading Guards! Guards! right now, and I have read this book before, but I want to go through all the Watch books in order in my quest to finally read all of Sir Terry’s books.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett. Not a Discworld book! (I think?) But I’ve been meaning to grab it for a while.

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachman. I’m getting back into my middle grade story, so it’s time to read a bunch more middle grade books.

The Curse of the Blue Figurine by John Bellairs. More middle grade lit! This is an older one, but it was a favorite of my husband’s when he was a kid.

The Sculptor, graphic novel by Scott McCloudThe Copernicus Legacy: The Serpant’s Curse by Tony Abbott. I…should have read this one already, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. I’ve got my library copy wasting away in my book basket.

Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link. Short stories! Yes! This should be good.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis. A new adult novel that sounds really fascinating (a girl gets abandoned in a store by her mother). So long as it doesn’t get depressing at the end.

Cress and Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I’m putting them both in the same spot because I just, just started Cress.

That’s me! I might actually get to these ones? We’ll see.

What about you? What do you plan on reading?

Book (and Cartoon) Thoughts: Teen Fantasy and Crystal Gems

Some varying thoughts on things I love that have been pinging in my head.

I’ve been reading a lot of great teen fantasy lately. I loved Cinder and it’s sequel Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, and I’m just waiting to finish up a couple other half-read things before I dive into the copy of Cress sitting tantalizingly in my Nook. The other day I finished Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, and I could hardly handle how much I enjoyed that (I’ll have a mini review of it, likely next week).

I went into a Books-a-Million for the first time yesterday, realizing that’s what took over a Borders I used to go to when I was in college. It partly reminded me how much I miss Borders, but also got me thrilled by how big of a graphic novel section they have (not to mention the area of just nerdy merchandise). It was a little messy, and a little sparse, but I’m hoping that’s just because it was the middle of the week and they were organizing.

As for cartoons, there was a big reveal episode of Gravity Falls, and now I just want to know when the next episode airs.

Steven Universe, Pearl, Rose's Scabbard
I need one of these hugs.

Cartoon Network has been playing Steven Universe episodes all week, though their way-too-early airtime means I have to wait a day, putting me a day behind. They’re drawing into the end of the season, which means the plot is getting heavy, but Rebecca Sugar and her team are revealing more and more about the characters, who they really are, and how the loss of Steven’s mother a long time ago affects them all differently. And oh man, the Pearl episode, Rose’s Scabbard? I need to watch that a hundred times. Basically I end each episode in a state of extreme emotion, so I may have a heart attack before this whole thing’s done. (I might need to write another big post on this show.)

Really, what an age to be an adult who loves books and cartoons made for children.

Books on My Fall To-Be-Read List

Once again I’m taking a topic from Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and Bookish. This time, the books that I want to read this fall.

  • 20312458A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I’ve been putting this off for a while, and I’m not even sure why. I think I’ve just been on a short book kick? And I never did finish rereading the whole series beforehand. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
  • Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler. I’m currently reading this, but it’s danged long (though not as long as Dance) so this will take me a while to read this.
  • Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley. I have it, it’s sitting on my shelf, I’m gonna read it this week, I swear.
  • Extras by Scott Westerfeld. I’ve also been putting this one off, because I loved Tally and she’s not the main character here, as far as I can tell from the description. But I want to hand the whole book stack over to other people to read, so I’ve got to finish the series first.
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan. Not only did I go to Lesley with Sara but her first book, If You Could Be Mine, was truly excellent. I can’t wait until this one comes out in a couple of weeks.
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I mentioned last week that I need to read more Sanderson. And I will. Perhaps on an upcoming plane trip…
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I also mentioned last week how much I want to read the next in her Raven Boys series. This also comes out in a couple of weeks. October is a good month this year.

Those are the books I plan to read this fall. will I get to all of them? Probably. Will I kick some out in favor of another one I decide I want to read more? Also probably. And obviously I’ll be filling in my months with more than that.

What books do you plan on reading this fall?

Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From and Need to Read More

I’m taking this meme from The Broke and Bookish, who have a weekly Top Ten Tuesday list other bloggers can take part in. I’m going to cheat on mine, since I will not be listing a full ten authors, and for my own sake I’m counting a series as one book.

7235533Brandon Sanderson. I recently finished the last book in his Mistborn trilogy, The Hero of Ages, which simultaneously broke my heart and filled me with euphoric joy. He has a real sense of his plot and how to feed small bits of information that become massively important towards the end, and his characters were diverse and loveable and wonderful. I don’t think I’ll ever read his Wheel of Time books after he took over for Robert Jordan (I couldn’t get through the first one, and I don’t have a lot of desire to try again) but he has some other big chunky fantasy novels, plus some young adult, that I’m looking forward to cracking open.

Maggie Stiefvater. Another where I’ve read a series, not just one book. Not even the whole series: the first two of The Raven Boys (the third comes out next month). The plot is okay, but the characters are the real draw, and her writing style is really lovely, it drew me in so that I finished the books much faster than I thought I would have. I initially dismissed her Mercy Falls books, because I thought she was jumping on the supernatural bandwagon, but I’ll have to go back for those and The Scorpio Races.

Marcus Zusak. I read The Book Thief a little over a year ago, and I loved it. I’ll probably read it again soon. But I at least want to pick up I Am the Messenger, too.

Gayle Forman. I read If I Stay a few months ago, and it near broke my heart. I’d like to read the sequel, Where She Went. If I survive that, then I’ll try her other book pairing.

E.L. Konigsburg. I have only ever read The View from Saturday Morning. I know, but don’t worry, I’m very ashamed of never reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

This is what I could come up with, since generally when I really enjoy an author I seek out their other novels anyway.

What authors do you want to read more of?