I was kindly tagged by Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts to do the Winter is Coming book tag, so without further ado, let’s just jump right into the questions.
Snow: It is beautiful when it first falls, but then it starts to melt. A book/book series that you loved at the beginning, but then, at the middle of it, you realized you don’t like it any longer.
The first thing that sprang to mind for this was The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. I love the concept (surviving in a post-apocalyptic, flooded London, from the perspective of a new mother) and was very excited to read it, but was ultimately disappointed. It felt like it was a case of style over substance, where the author relied on a ‘quirky’ writing style and a desire to write a ‘beautiful’ book over focusing on character, plot or themes.
Snowflake: Something beautiful and always different. Choose a book that stands out, that is different from all the other books you’ve read.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and is in fact very difficult to explain. It’s bizarre and hypnotic, and thus definitely not for everyone, but it is also a fascinating, allegorical look at society’s fear of difference and a futile need to understand everything that’s going on inside someone else’s head.
Snowman: It is always fun to make one with your family. Choose a book that a whole family could read.
Both The Christmasaurus and The Creakers by Tom Fletcher are brilliantly fun adventure stories perfect for kids and kids at heart alike. They both feature great main characters and tackle themes not often seen in middle grade fiction, but without bogging down the actual stories. Both are also nicely illustrated.
Christmas: Choose a book that is full of happiness, that made you warm inside after reading it.
Questions like this always make me feel a little cold and dead inside because they make me realise that I hardly ever pick up ‘happy’ books, and definitely have a tendency to lean towards the darker side of fiction. Even the majority of the books I’ve read that are ultimately hopeful are depressing on the way there, rather than ‘full of happiness’, BUT, I did just read The Night Before Christmas this festive season, and that counts!
Santa Claus: He brings wonderful presents. Choose a book that you’d like to get for Christmas.
Well, since Christmas has just been, I guess I’ll mention one of the books I asked for and was very happy to receive. Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art by Susan L. Aberth is a look at the life and work of an artist and writer I’m fascinated by and am excited to learn more about.
Snowballing: It can be painful to be hit by a snowball. Choose a book that hurt, that made you feel some strong emotion, like sadness, or anger.
Ah, and here we are back in my bookish comfort zone 😉 Peter and Alice is a play by John Logan that was one of my top reads of 2016, and I still find myself thinking about it regularly now. It’s based on a real-life meeting between the man and woman who inspired the characters of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland in their youth, as they reflect on the ways the pressure to live up to people’s expectations have shaped and marred their lives. It is devastating and wonderful, and I urge you all to read it. Oh to see this actually played out on stage one day…
Sledding: We all loved it when we were younger. Choose a book that you loved when you were a child.
One of the first ‘proper’ novels for kids that I remember picking up by myself and totally falling in love with was Huntress of the Sea by Alan Temperley. I read it loads of times, and eventually met the author during a school trip to a book festival (he was very nice, from what I remember). I proudly took along my battered old copy and got it signed, and I still have it to this day.
Frostbite: Choose a book that you were really disappointed in.
I’m going to pinch Jenna’s answer here and go with The Cursed Child. I’m glad it brought some people joy, and I’m sure seeing it on stage is pretty special, but no thanks. What it did to certain characters, and the way it quite literally messed with previous plot points felt like a repeated slap in the face to all the fans who had stuck loyal to the series. It will never, ever be canon in my eyes. J.K. Rowling didn’t even write it, so I don’t see how it can really be considered as anything other than (poor) fan fiction. Oh, and the trolley witch sequence wins the award for most facepalm worthy madness I’ve ever read.
Reindeer: Something that is dear to us. Choose a book that is of great sentimental value to you.
In all honesty, I’d probably say my aforementioned signed copy of Huntress of the Sea for all the nostalgia tied up in it. Aside from that, I have a book I was gifted by my grandparents called Woozle the Wizard and other Scary Stories, which I also loved as a child and would re-read often, so that feels quite special too.
Thanks again to Jenna for tagging me! Since this is a time specific tag, I’ll leave it open to anyone who wants to get involved before they miss their chance.