Sunday, August 21, 2016

Olympic Book Tag

Are the Olympics over?  Because I just got all excited about this book tag that Shannon at It Starts At Midnight created.  I guess preparing for the Shattering Stigmas event she organized left her plenty of free time.  (Or maybe she's one of those organized, productive people.)  Anyway, AJ at Read All The Things had a fabulous list too, and I got all inspired.  Hope I'm not too late!

For whatever reason, this list skews heavily towards older books, aka backlist books.  Make of that what you will.  

The Scorpio Races.  I do NOT understand why Stiefvater's series get all the attention.  I adore this stand-alone book about racing across the sand on man-eating horses that live in the sea.  "It is the first day of November, and so, today, someone will die."

Going WAY back with this one: Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon.  Published in 1982, this travel memoir details Least Heat-Moon's journey along the side roads and lesser traveled byways of America.  

City of Darkness, City of Light, by Marge Piercy, is set during the French Revolution.  So yes, fighting and bloodshed abound.  I haven't read any Piercy in years; I think I should remedy that.  
(Side note: when I went to enlarge the cover on Goodreads, it was all pixelated, so I tried a different edition.  It turns out that the Kindle version places the titles so that Victory's breasts are covered. Seriously?)

The Wind in the Willows.  Kenneth Graham.  E. H. Shepherd.  Ratty, Mole, "messing about in boats" and bliss.  

Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman's book inspired by his son's experience with schizophrenia, is a very interior book.  Not a lot of action, at least not in the real world.  But a lot going on, for sure.  

One Hundred Years of Solitude is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's gift to humanity, I hear.  Um, did you get a gift receipt?  Can I exchange that for something with, say, a linear storyline and characters that resemble actual people, please?

I still haven't finished Night.  And now Elie Wiesel has died, so I feel even guiltier.  And yes, the book is about 1/8 the length of books I usually zoom through in a day.  

I will never forget the experience of hitting a certain passage in David James Duncan's The Brothers K and starting to cry.  And sob.  And bawl.  I had to put the book down and lay down on my bed and cry it all out before I could keep going.  I know which passage triggered it, but I still don't know why it hit me so hard.  The book is WONDERFUL, not depressing (except in places) and is only my SECOND favorite book by this author.  I wish he were more prolific.  

Have you read Susan Juby's The Truth Commission?  Have you?  Because it only has 1,196 reviews on Goodreads, and that is a crying shame.  I read it as part of the CYBILS awards process, and it was one of my favorites of those very good books.  Normandy and her friends are hilarious and supportive and messed up and real.  Go read it.  It has an awesome cover too. And it's Canadian!  C'mon, how many more reasons do you need?!?

I might be cheating a bit here, but We All Looked Up, by Tommy Wallach, has a love triangle that doesn't end in disaster.  Well, except for that one death.  But otherwise, there's a twist put on the trope that made it much more palatable and believable for me--and granted some cute moments in a not-very-cute story.  

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork isn't your typical "summer" book--no beaches involved.  But it covers the summer when Marcelo, who appears to be on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum, is forced by his businessman father to work in the mailroom at his office.   Marcelo learns more than he expected (and more than his dad bargained for), learns about true friendship, and graces one of the prettiest covers I've ever seen.

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor, starts out a bit dense, but that's because there are multiple mysteries wrapped up in the strange world of Tangerine, FL.  

So many to choose from, but the one that called to me tonight was Francis Hodgson Burnett's classic, The Secret Garden.  Mistress Mary, quite contrary, her aya and the death-filled house, the moors, Dickon, the round-cheeked maid, spoiled Colin, and of course, the garden.  Sigh.  

by Chris Crutcher, features a whole swim team.  I've been following Crutcher on FB lately, and wow, is he a great guy.  I had no idea he's nearly my parents' age--his teenaged characters ring so true to life.  


  1. Great picks. I love this tag. The Scorpio Races is a book that people have been telling me forever to read. Challenger Deep has been sitting on my TBR shelf since it won the National Book Award (I think that’s the big award it won? It’s been so long I don’t remember.) Since I have a bizarre obsession with nonlinear storytelling, it’s been recommended that I read One Hundred Years of Solitude, but . . . ugh. It looks like a slog. I was supposed to read Night for a high school English class, but I didn’t. I don’t remember why. I wasn’t the most responsible high school student.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I read it for a book club. Everyone else was all "Oooh, amazing!" and I was all "But it's just the same three chapters cycling over and over!" I often enjoy non-linear story telling, but I didn't like the circle. Later I learned that Spanish literature tends to spiral while English lit tends to go from point A to point Z in a step-by-step method. So now I feel kind of xenophobic for not liking it.

  2. AH, my dear, you flatter me! I wish you could see me right now, just a mess of bumbling disorganization and lack of sleep 😂 Totally agree with you about Challenger Deep! And I must, must, MUST read The Scorpio Races, The Truth Commission, and We All Looked Up like... immediately. Because I own them all, and really want to read them- plus, that opening line from The Scorpio Races is kind of perfect! Also, laughing SO hard over 100 Days of Solitude! I looked it up on Goodreads and... yeah, pass. Because the synopsis just reads like an advertisement, and I still have no idea what the hell the book is about 😂 LOVE your choices, I am so excited that you did this tag!! ♥♥♥

    1. Scorpio Races is my favorite of the ones you mention.

      Yeah, I suspected lack of sleep might be part of how you get so much done!

  3. I've also enjoyed doing this tag! Can't send you a link now, dumb and dumber on the cellphone. But you can check it out on my blog. Marcello in the real world has been on my TBR list for ages. So glad to see someone has actually read it. I want to look into a couple of your other listings as well. Like Brothers K.


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