Archive for the 'book memes' Category

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On Your Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday asks us to post the top ten books on our fall TBR lists! For this TTT, I looked back at my post about the top ten books on my summer TBR list. Predictably, some of them carry over, because I never get to all of the books I want to during the summer!

1. The Twelve, by Justin Cronin
This is the sequel to Passage, which I devoured but still felt a bit disappointed in. That doesn’t mean I won’t be reading this follow-up, if only for more information the Twelve, the originators of vampires. I’d been hoping it would should up on NetGalley, to no avail! Out this October.

2. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
I actually know nothing about this book. I do know that I loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, so I want to read Diaz’s newest work. I appreciate the realistic, sensitive approach he takes to writing about outsiders.

3. Lirael, by Garth Nix
I loooooved Sabriel after reading it earlier this summer, and was psyched to discover that it’s the first in a trilogy. My library has all three as ebooks, and I’m just waiting for the perfect time to delve into Lirael.

4. All Clear, by Connie Willis
The novels Blackout and All Clear were supposed to have been one gigantic book, but they were divided up and released separately. I recently read Blackout, and considering it ends with everything still in flux, I know I’ve got to get my hands on All Clear soon. Willis is a favorite of mine!

5. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
I have an uneven appreciation of Kingsolver’s works (loved The Poisonwood Bible, disliked Prodigal Summer, liked The Bean Trees, wouldn’t touch Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with a ten-foot pole) but her hits far outpace her misses in my eyes. I like the slight magical-realism aspect to this novel and will be gobbling it up come December 2012.

6. Crossed, by Ally Condie
I thought Matched was some perfectly serviceable YA dystopian lit, and I can’t lie–I’m curious as to where Cassia ends up! Onto the TBR list it goes.

7. The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich
Yeah, yeah, I know–I tore Mezrich’s Sex on the Moon a new one when I reviewed it. But sometimes, I just want to read something trashy that I know I’m going to roll my eyes at, and this tale of Facebook’s founders seems as good a candidate as any.

8. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides
I’m late on this, but I need to be able to talk about this book with my friends, and my new neighborhood’s library has it in stock. This will be my third attempt at a Eugenides novel. (Three strikes and you’re out, mister.)

9. NW, by Zadie Smith
I thought Smith’s On Beauty was a literary masterpiece. I hardly ever reread books, but I think I will need to revisit On Beauty again and again to truly appreciate its nuanced take on race, class, and love. I want to read all of Smith’s works, and I was excited to see that NW–her first new book in years–will be out this September.

10. The Mirror and The Light, by Hilary Mantel
When is this coming out!? I know it can’t be this fall, but in my dreams, this book is already out.

Hmm. Lots of sequels on my list, in addition to authors I have already read and enjoyed (or hated)! What ten books are you dying to read this fall?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list your top ten bookish confessions! Now I’ve been lax on keeping up with TTT, but now that my life has settled down somewhat, post-move, I’m going to start them up again. :)

1. I used to be absolutely neurotic about keeping my books in good condition. In middle and high school, I actually hated to lend out my books, because I knew that they would invariably come back with a gouge in the cover, or a broken binding, or worse. Shudder.

2. I have gotten MUCH better at letting my books get scuffed up! It no longer gives me a coronary to have a new book get a bent cover. I’ve also realized that if I lend out and recommend books, then I’ll have more people to talk about those books with–it’s worth a couple of dog-eared pages!

3. However…I still don’t like physically marking the pages of my books, and so I am a serial dog-ear-er. I never seem to have any bookmarks on hand, so dog-earing pages is the quickest and easiest way for me to remember where really excellent quotes or insights are.

4. I am also a book hoarder. I keep EVERY book that I’ve every bought. Even (and sometimes especially) ones that I hated. I have a ceiling-high bookshelf that’s entirely stuffed…and I need another one. :/ It’s an addiction. But I’m trying to get better about it!

5. The main reason I got an iPad was to read e-books. No regrets.

6. I love getting ARCs and galleys, because I love reading books I’m excited about, for free. But sometimes I worry that I’m reading too many ARCs in place of reading already-published books that have been on my TBR for ages.

7. I’m awed, inspired by, and intimidated by many of the established book bloggers out there. Their dedication, consistency, and writing blows me away! I sometimes struggle with my own posting schedule and developing insights about everything I read, so the book blogging community is super-impressive to me!

8. I’m on a personal mission to not buy any full-price books this year. (I started this promise in May.) I’ve been successful so far! But my downfall is the used bookstore. How can I turn down three books for three dollars?! It doesn’t help that I work pretty close to the Strand, and that I have an account on Better World Books.

9. My bookshelf is organized by genre, but I almost always just find books by memory.

10. Once, I couldn’t find my copy of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, hunted for it in a frenzy for a day or so, gave up, and bought a new copy. (I think I may have even requested the new copy as a birthday present!) Naturally, the original one surfaced and I now have two.

Bonus #11! I lent my copy of Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book to my boyfriend. We both forgot about it. When we were moving earlier this summer, I discovered it under our bed, crumpled up and with torn pages. I am now forcing him to buy me a new copy, but I still really bad about my original one getting destroyed.

What are your deepest, darkest bookish secrets?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books for People who Like George R.R. Martin

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list the top ten books for people who like a certain author. Our challenge was to pick an author and give book recommendations based on that author! As you can see, I have chosen George R.R. Martin, AKA the bearded troll god, writer of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF).

So! If you like George R.R. Martin, you might also like:

1. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
Though there are some sci-fi elements (time travel!), much of this book focuses on the harsh realities of medieval life, including dirt, disease, and lack of scientific knowledge. Willis also has Martin’s same penchant for killing off your favorite characters, sympathetic and otherwise.

2. Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
To really appreciate Martin, you also need to appreciate the fantasy tropes he’s dismantling. For better or worse, many of these tropes originated with Tolkien’s massive fantasy epic. (Which isn’t to say they aren’t a good story, too!) Both also have massive casts of characters and impressively interwoven relationships.

3. The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
Martin’s tales are filled with sex and violence, and thoroughly break down the idea of the good and noble knight. Duncan’s novel (first in a trilogy) reworks the werewolf–lately somewhat neutered by its depictions in Twilight and its ilk–into a savage beast that revels in killing. Both are pretty dark at times, but also give reasons for hope.

4. Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey
Carey’s world-building, like Martin’s, is fantastic. This series takes place in Terre D’Ange, a fictionalized version of France in a very different version of Europe. Her imaginative religions rival Martin’s for sure. (And her sex scenes are much better written.)

5. The Wolf Hall trilogy, by Hilary Mantel
Shifting alliances, gray morality, court politicking–the only difference is the lack of magic in Mantel’s world. Otherwise, you’re basically reading about Littlefinger.

6. Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler
Perhaps a bit of a leap, but I think Butler challenges sci-fi and fantasy conventions just as well as Martin does. A challenging and thought-provoking read.

7. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
This just has a lot of the same bleakness and same glimmers of hope that I think ASoIaF offers.

8. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
One of Martin’s great strengths is showing the cruelty, violence, and consequences of war. Haldeman does the same thing, albeit in a sci-fi setting.

9. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
I haven’t actually read this one yet, despite it being on my TBR list for ages, but a quick glance at its back cover and reviews makes me think that it would be a perfect follow-up to your time in Westeros.

10. Beyond the Wall, edited by James Lowder
In my review, I suggested this book for readers who are already fans of Martin’s series who want to delve a little deeper into its themes, motivations, and characters.

ASoIaF fans, got any other suggestions? Feel free to leave your thoughts–and your own TTT lists–in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list the top ten characters who remind me of myself or someone I know in real life. What a challenge! I tried to go with my gut on this.

1. Katniss and Prim, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I know some people felt that Prim was not a fully-realized character, but I always liked her and felt that the relationship between her and Katniss was a realistic depiction of a protective older sibling-innocent younger sibling dynamic. While I can relate to that–being the mad protective older sister to a sweet younger brother–this comparison is definitely a bit of wish fulfillment. I wish I was as awesome as Katniss!

2. Sarah, from Little Children by Tom Perrotta 
In our introduction to the character of Sarah, I cringed because I saw so much of myself in many of her thoughts and actions…especially upon just graduating from grad school and feeling pretty lost.

Applying to graduate school seemed like the perfect solution for escaping the rut she was in–a way to recapture the excitement of college while also making a recognizable version of adulthood…Within a couple of weeks of starting the Ph.D program, though, she discovered that she’d booked passage on a sinking ship.

She was a failure, a twenty-six-year old woman..who had just discovered that she wasn’t nearly as smart as she’d thought she was.

Here’s to hoping that my life turns out a little better than poor Sarah’s does.

3. Sansa, from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
My friend S and I have a theory that if you were raised as and continue to be a “good girl”–a girl who is obedient, who follows the rules, who doesn’t cause trouble–you will relate to Sansa, as we did. While some readers think  of her as weak or stupid, she is just a girl who doesn’t understand how the world really works. I may not be quite as naive as Sansa is, but I do follow the rules and probably feel far too entitled to certain things because of that.  (I’m actually really excited to see where her story arc ends. I hope it’s with her on the Iron Throne.)

4. Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Claudia from The Babysitters’ Club by Ann M. Martin
Slightly embarrassing, but…my three best friends from my hometown and I all grew up reading the Babysitters’ Club series (and watching the television show!) and realized that we fit some the four original characters pretty nicely. I was Mary Anne (nice, shy, unpierced ears, boyfriended up). My friend J was Kristy, being loud, boyish, and bossy. Friend C was Stacey, with blonde hair and love for New York City and singing. Finally, friend R was our Claudia, being very artistic and a very unconventional dresser! We may have even discussed creating our own babysitters’ club at one point…

5. Lena, Bridget, Carmen, and Tibby from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Same group of friends, same deal!  Though this didn’t divide up as cleanly as Babysitters’ Club characters. I was a mix of Carmen and Lena, friend R is Lena/Bridget, and friends C and J are both Tibby. We actually sewed together a pair of pants (that were a hideous mix of four different fabrics) and sent them around one summer. I think I wore them in Mexico when it was my turn!

6. Felicity, from The American Girl Dolls series
This may be another case of wishful thinking, but I always identified the most with Felicity. (Note that this was in the old days when there were only five dolls: Kirsten, Felicity, Samantha, Addy, and Molly!) Like Felicity, I rode horses, got annoyed at my sibling, and considered myself a bit of a badass. I also coveted the life-sized version of her fancy blue dress.

7. Belgarath, from The Belgariad by David Eddings
Perhaps because he was the one who got me started reading fantasy novels and one of the first ones he gave me was The Belgariad, my dad and the character of Belgarath are very much linked in my  mind. Though he’s powerful and smart, Belgarath also has a fun and mischievous side. I don’t always get my dad’s humor, but he and this ancient wizard have a lot in common.

8. Richard Papen, from The Secret History by Donna Tartt 
What I see in Richard are the parts of myself that I don’t really like, reflected back at me. His desire to fit in, his ability to lie easily, his inability to ask for help, his insecurity, his longing to be “better”–I’m ashamed to admit that I experience all of these things. Pretty sure, however, that I’d never participate in and help cover up the murder of my friend. Like, 100% sure.

9. Taryn and Jimmy, from Fierce Moon by Kira Lerner
This one is sort of cheating: it’s one of those Books By You that you can personalize with your own name and information! This was a gift from evil, evil friend C (aka Stacey McGill), who knows both my love for werewolves and my awkwardness about reading romance. In this story, I was a lonely librarian (fairly accurate) sent to the past to help solve a mystery with my soon-to-be lover Jimmy, a Victorian werewolf detective (fairly inaccurate). It was equally hilarious and mortifying. Highly recommended.

10. Walter, from Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Like Richard Papen, Walter’s character highlights some of the tensions I see in myself. I do environmental nonprofit work, and have often grappled with the question of selling out myself–it’s common when huge projects are funded by the likes of Shell, BP, Toyota, and other companies. I have a lot of the same fears as Walter, though (thankfully) my relationship to my significant other is much better than Walter’s with Patti. We also both love birds! But I like people, too, and don’t consider overpopulation the end-all, be-all issue that Walter does.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to name the top ten books on our summer to-be-read lists.

And I’m cheating right off the bat, with two books slated to come out in fall 2012! But honestly, these are probably the two books on my list that I want to read the most desperately.

1. The Twelve, by Justin Cronin
This is the sequel to Passage, which I devoured but still felt a bit disappointed in. That doesn’t mean I won’t be reading this follow-up, if only for more information the Twelve, the originators of vampires.

2. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
I actually know nothing about this book. I do know that I loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao though, so I want to read Diaz’s newest work.

3. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by J.K Jemisin
This looks amazing. I’ve heard really good things from fantasy/sci-fi sites I trust!

4. Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell
I’ve reallllly been meaning to read this. I even had it out of the library but it got recalled before I had a chance to crack it open. I just discovered my hometown library has it as an e-book, and I’m on the waiting list. :)

5. Divergent, by Veronica Roth
I don’t tend to read a ton of YA, but I’m willing to make an exception to see what all the buzz is about. I’m actually considering using my grad student powers to have this book recalled back to the library!

6. The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt
Jae over at BookNympho gave this a great review, which is how it got on my radar. Followers of this blog know that I’m a sucker for violent Westerns (luv u, Cormac McCarthy!) so this book is intriguing to me.

7. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
Lucky me–my friend just gave me this as a gift!

8. Admission, by Jean Hanff Korelitz
I love college tales. Bonus: I already own this.

9. The Power Broker, by Robert A. Caro
This summer may be the time to tackle the challenge of Caro’s  thousand-page masterpiece about Robert Moses. Maybe I’ll read it while laying out on the beach named after him.

10. I’ll keep this slot open, just in case. ;)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend As Good Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to name the Top Ten Books I’d Recommend as Good Reach Reads! This was a bit tricky for me, as I tend toward serious or dramatic books, and I usually think of beach reads as being light and easy-going. But I persevered!

1. The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank
I picked this up on a whim in a used book store in Quito, Ecuador. It knocked my socks off. This chick lit provides some deep insights, while still being funny and sad by turns.

2.  The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
If it’s a hot day, this book will cool you down (considering it takes place during winter in Vermont!). It’s also an incredibly addictive tale of friendship and murder.

3. Ghost, Interrupted, by Sonia Singh
I read this a few years ago, but I remember it as being a fun and surprisingly cute take on the idea of ghost hunters, with some interesting commentary on cultural differences. It’s a quick and easy read with enjoyable characters and a nice, neat storyline.

4. The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory
Probably not the most historically accurate retelling of the saga of Anne and Mary Boleyn, but it’s certainly entertaining! (For a more serious take on the Boleyns, check out Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.)

5. Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916, by Michael Capuzzo
What better subject to read about while splashing around in the ocean? Even better if you’re vacationing on the New Jersey shore (where these attacks took place).

6. Prep, by Curtis Sittenfield
While you may not find the 14-year old narrator of Prep likable, you can sympathize with her experiences as a middle-class student at a private boarding school. It’s a glimpse into an elite world through the eyes of an outsider, and I always find that fascinating.

7. Lost City of Z, by David Grann
The true story of a 1920s adventuring party lost in the Amazon while searching for an ancient civiliation. Preferably read on a neotropical beach.

8. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
If you feel like tackling some some complex beach reading, I think Life of Pi is a good place to start. Though on the surface the story is fairly simple–after a shipwreck, a boy and some zoo animals are trapped together on a lifeboat–the dreamy writing and magical realism make it very memorable.

9. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi
Get into a beach mood by reading about a female teenage pirate. This was a favorite when I was a kid!

10. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
I doubt I’ll be the only one to list these books! The Hunger Games and Catching Fire especially would be great to read while playing in the sand. (Just watch out for killer monkeys.)

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind (Pick any past topic you want!): Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to pick any past TTT topic you wanted! I chose to do the TTT from February 8, 2011, which was the Top Ten Characters (and Literary Figures) That I’d Name My Children After!

My list is below.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin 
Okay, I cheated. I couldn’t pick just one name from Martin’s renowned fantasy series! Some of my favorites include Arya, Nymeria, Brienne, Jaime, and Asha. And I’m not the only one: Martin has an entire section of his website dedicated to fans who’ve named their children/pets after his characters!

2. Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Predictable, I know. But Scout is such a great, classic character from such a great book, she deserves her place on the list.

3. Valentine, from Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
Though I find his politics repugnant, I can’t deny that Card’s original Ender series is excellent sci-fi writing. It was where I first heard the name Valentine used as a first name for a girl, and I’ve loved it ever since. (Unfortunately, it rhymes with my boyfriend’s last name, and I’m not evil enough to give any future kids rhyming names…)

4. Caleb, from East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
While I like atypical names for girls, my favorite names for boys tend to be a little more traditional. East of Eden introduced me to the name Caleb, which I’ve had on my shortlist for my future/hypothetical son for ages.

5. Eowyn, from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
What can I say…I have a weakness for tough, independent, ass-kicking ladies. My hypothetical daughter could do much worse than to be named after Tolkien’s shield-maiden.

6. Lyra, from His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman
I tend to likes names with the letter ‘y’ in them (perhaps because my own first name has a ‘y’). Past the coolness of her name, though, Lyra distinguishes herself as a brave, clever, and loyal heroine.

7. Cormac, from No Country for Old Men, Blood Meridian, etc., by Cormac McCarthy
I just really like the name Cormac!

8. Lily, from The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton 
Whenever I wrote stories as a kid, I used flower names–Rose, Daisy, etc. Lily was (and still is) my favorite, though it now makes me think of Wharton’s doomed socialite.

9. Marlow, from The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan
I like this one for a girl or a boy. Hopefully the kid doesn’t grow up to be a werewolf, though.

10. Dean, from Supernatural
Okay, I’m cheating again (with a name from a television show rather than a book)! But I’ve always liked this name, and once I started watching Supernatural, I loved this name. Maybe it can be traced back to reading On the Road in high school?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Non-Book Blogs/Sites I Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to list the Top Ten Blogs/Sites You Read That AREN’T about Books. It will be so interesting to see how differently (or similarly) everyone’s tastes run! My list is below.

1. The Hairpin & The Awl
These sister sites are incredibly intelligent, whimsical, and poignant, by turns. I check them both every day and highly, highly recommend them.

2. 2 Birds, 1 Blog
Updates are sporadic, but when these two blogging friends are on, they are ON, sharing bizarre stories of public transportation hijinks, “weekend hair,” and what MD 20-20 tastes like. I’m jealous of people who are unfamiliar with them and can go through their archives, reading their posts for the first time.

3. Tumblr
Probably the biggest time-suck on this list. (Feel free to follow me on Tumblr–my username is tarynwanderer.)

4. Slate
This is mostly for the “Dear Prudence” column, but I will click around when something catches my eye…even if it’s just comment-baiting.

5. Videogum
I only recently discovered this site, but it routinely makes me laugh out loud. Just last week the comments on this post had me crying, I was laughing so hard. The best and funniest commenters on the web, bar none.

6. io9
While  I don’t really read Gawker or its properties anymore, I have stayed very loyal to io9. They do great reviews and round-ups of science fiction and fantasy books, in addition to funny lists and science news.

7. Topless Robot
For a similar audience as io9, TR covers nerdy comic books, movies, television, and everything in between with tongue firmly in-cheek. (For those of you with strong constitutions–and I mean it, these are incredibly NSFW–check out their skewering of terrible smutty fanfic on Fanfiction Fridays.)

8. Hark, a Vagrant!
For a while there, Kate Beaton was the internet’s best-kept secret. It’s really nice to see her (and her hilarious, history- and literature-themed webcomics) get the attention they deserve!

9. A  Bad Case of the Dates
I have to admit, this one is purely for the LOLZ.

10. Get Off My Internets (GOMI)
A very guilty pleasure, where twee mommybloggers, inept fashion bloggers, and holier-than-thou lifestyle bloggers are taken to task for their offenses.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors on Television/Freebie Week

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was to either

a) name the authors that should be on reality shows/have their own television shows

or b) write about whatever you want!

I chose option b. Therefore, I decided to make my Top Ten Tuesday list my top ten Likable Books, Unlikable Characters. I defined this as when I found overall books to be enjoyable, despite of (or in some cases, because of!) mean, evil, or generally unpleasant characters.

1. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
I just finished this tale of murder and betrayal on a quiet Vermont college campus. Pretty much every character in it is awful in their own special way. There’s not one but two murders, abuse, incest, drug abuse, lying, backstabbing…really, anything you can think of.

2. A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin
It’s cheating a little bit to list all five of these books under one heading, but morality is such a central part of the entire’s series theme that I felt justified in lumping them all together. There are only a few unambiguously evil characters in Martin’s books (Gregor Clegane and Ramsay Bolton immediately jump to mind) but the characters with shifting moralities tend to the most interesting. Watching Jaime Lannister evolve from the selfish, misguided Kingslayer into a much more humble man, for example, is highly engaging.

3 & 4. The Last Werewolf and Talulla Rising, by Glen Duncan
Our heroes are werewolves who kill and eat people. And enjoy it. Enough said?

5. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
Cathy, Cathy, Cathy.  It’s rare to find a true female sociopath represented well, even in fiction, but Steinbeck’s prostitute/murderer/child abandoner is the pinnacle of the form.

6. No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
No TTT of mine would be complete without a McCarthy novel. I chose NCfOM because Anton Chigurh is one of the most terrifying antagonists I’ve ever met: pitiless, emotionless, and completely incomprehensible, more like a natural disaster than an actual human being. His bizarre brand of morality served, to me, to heighten the book’s premise that life is random and often cruel.

7. Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Much like Duncan’s books above, we are asked to sympathize with a creature that is no longer human, and depends on killing humans to survive. The creepy thing is, we do.

8 & 9. The Magicians and The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
The Beast is terrifying. Reading about it swallowing a girl whole and biting off Penny’s hands sent pure, primordial fear through me, in a way that really doesn’t happen very often. Though Reynard is in the sequel far less than the Beast is in the first book, he is still a complete nightmare.

10. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Based on a chilling true story, In Cold Blood is a fascinating character study of two murderers.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was our Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books! Now, these are going to be depressing. I tend to gravitate toward serious pronouncements about death and love. I also cheated slightly–9 and 10 on this list are two poems that I absolutely love and have memorized (and if you know me, you know that’s a big deal; my memory retention is horrible). Enjoy!

1. The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing

People are just cannibals unless they leave each other alone.

2. Goodbye Tsugumi, by Banana Yoshimoto

Each one of us continues to carry the heart of each self we’ve ever been, at every stage along the way, and a chaos of everything good and rotten. And we have to carry this weight all alone, through each day that we live. We try to be as nice as we can to the people we love, but we alone support the weight of ourselves.

3. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well as men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

4. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

‘Those who are made can be unmade.’

5. Black Water, by Joyce Carol Oates

You’re an American girl, you love your life….you believe you have chosen it.

6. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

7. The Prophet again, by Kahlil Gibran

For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.

8. A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin

“Power resides only where men believe it resides. [...] A shadow on the wall, yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

9. Collected Works, by Lorine Niedecker

Wherever you are, you are in danger


To hell

With it.

10. “The Uses of Sorrow,” from Thirst, by Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

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