Friday, August 1, 2014

Fifteen Books I Need to Read Before I Move

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been looking around at the stuff I can get rid of so I don’t have to pack it. It’s been a trying experience. Canvasses? Too expensive. Fabric? Too pretty. Clothes? Ha. Video games? DVDs? Not planning on paying for television, so that’s a big not gonna happen. Furniture? Well, sure, I could go with a little living on the floor I suppose, surrounded by piles of my crap.

But as I looked around at all my absolutely necessary junk my eyes drop on an obvious demon in my path. My book case. Or should I say, book cases.

They take up a lot of room. I’m a big tree killer, and I love reading print books, and buying them rather than getting them from the library. A part of that is me fighting for my fellow authors, but a bigger part of that is I think they’re pretty, and looks always get me. I can’t pass a mirror without losing half an hour out of my day.

As I glanced through the shelves, I realized that there’s a lot that I’ve been packing around for the last few years and it’s just… not really necessary.

I set out to rid myself of the slack. I removed of all the books I’ve read and knew that I wasn’t going to read again, all the ones I thought I should read, but really wasn’t going to happen, and put the books that I knew and loved (or were just so damn attractive I couldn’t possibly dismiss them) aside in one remaining shelf to keep.

But then I found myself with a problem. There, across my bed and my cat, was a pile of questionables. They weren’t books I wanted to keep, but they were ones that I wanted to read, and, by the means in which I read, I really benefited from not having the mere two weeks a library would offer. I owned them now, I should read them now. And then get rid of them.

So my answer was simple. I’d read them all before I left, and then I wouldn’t have to pack them with me. “Which books were they?” you yawn? Oh, let me tell you.

1. Game of Thrones.

What is it?

Fantasy novel, about 800 pages in length. Lots of death and sex.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            It’s not mine. The book belongs to my brother and needs to be returned. And I definitely want to read it; I’ve gotten really into it. Plus, if I wait until post-move, I will have forgotten everything and need to read the first 500 pages again and I might never get through it.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Further than half way.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            Game of Thrones is told in multiple points of views, and some of the characters I just can’t be forced to listen to. I’m reading along intently, devouring every word, and then, BAM Caitlyn. Go die, Caitlyn. So I decide I’m done for the night, and I continue to be done for several nights afterwards. And, this last month, I’ve gotten a negative association with the series, and picking it up brings up bad thoughts—it’s not a cheery book anyway. So I’ve been kind of avoiding it.

2. The Host

What is it?

Young adult, science fiction/romance novel. Aren’t they all? Aliens burrow into everyone’s head save for the one girl who didn’t have enough of a personality to get it taken away.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            Also not mine. And as a fair-weather fan of Stephanie Meyer, I feel like once I get into it, I would probably enjoy it. The parts I’ve read so far were fine. And honestly, analyzing and picking apart Meyer’s works has always been a blast for me. Mostly because everyone knows what you’re talking about and has an opinion on it, which is rare in books.

How far I’ve gotten:

            First hundred pages.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            That’s the thing. I don’t even know. I remember thinking it was fine, and I got past my anti-commitment stretch, so I should have finished it in a day and been done with it. But no. It didn’t bore the hell out of me, but apparently, there wasn’t enough going on for me to keep going with it.

3. American Gods

What is it?

Neil Gaiman’s urban fantasy novel. Man gets released from prison to lose everything he cares about and then… magic happens. That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            Actually, this is a book that I kinda just want a reason to commit to. I love Neil Gaiman, and people have boasted about this book, so I believe that if I can just devote myself to it, I’ll probably like it. I doubt that I’ll be giving this copy up, because it was given to me as the most romantic gesture I’ve ever gotten from a guy trying to win me over. Nothing happened—his sentimentality was ruined by the fact that he lived a thousand miles away meaning it was an attempt at a quick lay, but I have to say that giving me a Neil Gaiman book is probably the best way to almost get it.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Fifty pages.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            Don’t really know what I’m hoping for. Shadow’s life sucks at this point in time, and I don’t see it as getting any better. I know it will, and that it will involve magic, but where I am, he’s just lost what’s important to him, won’t ever get it back, and yet kinda just has to get over it. There’s not even horrible things happening to make me want him to get back to the status quo.

4. Insurgent

What is it?

Sequel to Divergent, a Young Adult dystopian novel. A girl lives in a society segregated by personalities, but apparently she has more than one trait, which is just unacceptable.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            Also not mine. And I read the first one, I feel obliged to read the second one. Actually, when I finally got into Divergent, I did finish it in one day, which is my main test to see how I like something. If I can’t put it down, then there’s something there, whether I’m logically satisfied or not. I consider how long it took me to get to the absorption point before I was engrossed, and I figured it would be the same with the sequel. I’ll like it eventually.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Zero pages.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            I love Veronica Roth’s blog, and so take what I’m going to say in that vein, I also didn’t really understand what made me be so engrossed. There wasn’t anything about it that made me excited. I found out about the series via Goodreads one-star reviews, and so already know how the trilogy ended. I don’t care too much about the characters, and a big reason I think is simple existentialism.

5. The Devil Wears Prada.

What is it?

Contemporary novel the movie was based on, but lacking the character arch of said movie. (Not even kidding, the commentary told me they added her change in.) A young idiot struggles trying to be competent in her first ever job, which is the hardest job anyone will ever have ever.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            Not mine, and I loved the movie. I also love bitching about this book.

How far I’ve gotten:

            One-third through.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            The main character is so stupid. I mean it. She’s a colossal idiot. And she’s not supposed to be. I cannot stand her, and while I meet a lot of characters I find dull, there’s not a great deal that I actually hate. She’s the winner.

6. The Lies of Locke Lamora

What is it?

I guess I would classify it as a fantasy, but it’s not the typical swords and dragons, and I’m not sure if there even is magic yet. Orphan boy joins other orphan boys in dark, horrible world. I haven’t really gotten that far.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            I read the first couple of pages, and I loved it. I’ve read the bad reviews and I think it’s going to be fantastic. It has the possibility of being a favorite book that requires keeping, but that may be my wishful thinking, and I’d liked to find out now if I should lug it around.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Page, like, five.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            Other books took priority. The Lies of Locke Lamora is great because it’s not dense or trying, but not simple and fluffy either. Unfortunately, I tend to either go for really simple or the damn hard books that I’ve been avoiding-for-years these days. I don’t feel required to read it other than I want to, so I haven’t.

7. Crescendo

What is it?

Sequel to Young Adult romance novel, Hush, Hush. It’s about angels, and one who falls in love with a human despite wanting to kill her.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            Loved the second half of the first book, Hush, Hush. Don’t judge me. This one is also borrowed from a friend, and I’m certainly will not be paying for it after I leave. I also will not be seen checking it out from the library. No, this shame is saved for blogging—but I trust it’s just between us.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Sample chapters in the last book.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            So, I try not to criticize bo—
            Ahem. I couldn’t even get that one out. I’m sorry.
            I try not to place absolute labels of quality on books because I like diversity, and sometimes simple fluff is all I damn well want, and I know for a fact that, as a writer, tapping into your inner desires like that is hard work that shouldn’t be discouraged just because we prioritize philosophy over fantasy.

            But after I read a scene where class started, the characters talked for a few pages in real time and then class ended, I couldn’t deny that that was a huge editing mistake, and I couldn’t trust it again. Add that with the fact that I did not find Patch sexy at all in the beginning, but actually wanted to kick his ass (and I like jackasses), I’m not entirely confident in the sequel, despite having my hopes.

8. The Name of the Wind

What is it?

Fantasy book following a great hero and how he became the humble innkeeper he is today.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            My brother owns it. I have heard so many people praising this book, telling me that, while “there’s some boring parts in the middle,” it is amazing and their favorite story ever. I feel like if I don’t read it now, I never will.

How far I’ve gotten:

            First hundred pages.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            I got pretty far, but then I reached a point where I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for. The storyline is deliberately vague about who the main character is, and the questions raised are so unanswerable at this juncture, there’s not really a point to think about it. It’s getting into world building and background story, but the protagonist doesn’t really have anything he wants that I want too.

9. The Mortal Instruments Series.

What is it?

Young Adult urban fantasy/romance books. A  young girl finds out she’s actually a member of a demonic fighting institution. Has a movie based on it.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            I’ve read Cassandra Clare’s other books, The Infernal Devices and I fell in love with them. I read the trilogy in three days, only stopping to go borrow and then buy the next book. (I live in Wyoming and “going to town” is a process, so it becomes a once a day trip, no matter how exasperated you are.)
            I bought the first book of this series on my iPad, which adds to the necessity. I’ve frickin’ paid for it, I guess I better read it. Especially because it’s the virtual kind and I can’t even write it off as decoration. (Which, in hindsight, may be what got me into this mess.) The second and third books, however, my friend owns, and I’m not frickin’ paying for those. I think I’ll like it, but not enough to own it if I don’t have to, or deal with the library.

How far I’ve gotten:

            I don’t know. Fifty pages?

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            Already saw the movie. Liked it fine, but now I know the plot, and it’s not the kind that’s really all that rereadable. Romance hasn’t started in yet. Don’t care yet. Clary is an idiot in a generic sort of way, and I’m really struggling to find the motivation.

10. Prince of Thorns.

What is it?

Not really sure. Fantasy of some sort.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            I have it. My brother said it was good. That’s all I know.

How far I’ve gotten:

            NO WHERE.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            I have way too many other books I’m not reading taking up all my effort.

11. The Throne of Glass.

What is it?

I don’t know if it’s classified as Young Adult, but it certainly reads like it. The greatest assassin ever is freed from jail and brought to earn her freedom by challenging other criminals in a battle royale. Or something.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            I, honest to God, have not one single clue. It has a pretty cover. I mean, damn, that’s a pretty cover, and I have been fooled into trying to convince myself that something pretty will improve if I just commit more. It’s a curse.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Far enough.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            It bites like a rabid monkey. Yes, the bad reviews tried to warn me, but they’re always so wrong.
            I don’t really want anything to happen yet. The main character doesn’t really want anything to happen either. And, low and behold, nothing has happened.
            I think the moment that took the cake was, however, when she asked for some books to read. Now, in Young Adult fiction making your character a bookworm is equivalent to slapping a name tag with “COOL” written in bright red letters and leaving it at that. But that doesn’t bother me as much as the snotty attitude towards certain writing styles. Many Young Adult books enjoy raving about the classics and hypocritically implying the sheer superiority of the “intellectual” based books over the emotionally charged ones. Throne of Glass does the opposite in which the two characters bond over the arrogance of any complicated prose. Annnnd we’re done.

12. Douglas Adams Biography.

What is it?

If that wasn’t self-explanatory, I don’t know what self-explanatory means.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            I love Douglas Adams, I love author’s biographies. But it’s big, and I don’t think I’m ever going to read it again.

How far I’ve gotten:

            First couple of pages.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            Sloooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww start. I know, a biography? Right? Feel free to be skeptical.

13. The Night Circus.

What is it?

Dark Victorian fantasy in which two wizards pit their children against each other, and I guess it all happens at a circus. Or something.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            I was really into it for a while. I see myself really into it again. It just requires more effort than I’m putting in.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Halfway?

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            It’s another game of hating the characters we’re now suddenly following. Bratty children, cold and personality-less socialites. Get back to the protagonists please, before I brain myself with this book.

14. Crossed.

What is it?

Sequel to Young Adult dystopian novel, Matched. The world is highly controlled, including choosing who you are going to marry. The main character fell in love with another, and he got taken away. Now she has to find him.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            The first book, Matched, ended on a note that really made me interested in the second book. I needed to see what would happen.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Thirty pages.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            What I wanted to see happen? Hasn’t even really started yet. I don’t get to see the two lovers together, and I think, if I remember right from the reviews, I’m not going to see them together for a long time. I’m struggling to care.

15. The Way of Kings.

What is it?

Fantasy book. Not really sure what it’s about yet.

Why I want to finish it before I go:

            My brother’s, and I was really into what I had read so far.

How far I’ve gotten:

            Couple of chapters.

Why I haven’t read it by now:

            Way too easy to put down and forget about.




So, there you have it. I have three months to get them done, thousands of pages and tens of pounds later, I shall fill my head, lighten my load, and not feel so damn guilty about being such a quitter. Pray for me.