Booking Through Thursday: Yet to read

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

Oh, I can’t pick just one book . . . and, sadly, this list is constantly growing! I always start out with the best of intentions, wanting desperately to hunker down with a “classic” work of literature and sit with a pen against my chin, pondering. Or, well, no — I don’t! Four years of an English Literature education will ruin you! Obviously, I still love books . . . but I love to be distracted, too. So there are a ton of canonized works of literature I’ve never even held in my hands. Some of them embarrass me to tell! But since I love lists, I’ll put aside my temporary literary humiliation and divulge:

Great books I know exist, but have not read and don’t own:

Water For Elephants, Sara Gruen
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
The Overcoat, Nikolai Gogol
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Looking For Alaska, John Green

Great books I own, but haven’t yet read:

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Love In The Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
   by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Three Junes, Julia Glass

What about you? Which “classic” books have you been bypassing for 2, 5 or 20 years?

Booking Through Thursday: Authors talking

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

This week’s question: Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?

I do read author’s blogs; I find them very interesting! I don’t always remember to keep up with them faithfully, but I enjoy going through their backlog of entries when I do make my way over there. Most recently, I’ve kept up with the blogs of Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Weiner and Courtney Summers, some of my favorite authors.

The main reason I frequently check out author’s blogs, I think, is to remind myself that they’re “just like us” — and, in my case, that I could be “just like them” someday! It inspires me to know that these are talented, normal women who’ve made a career out of their awesome writing. It gives me hope that someday, write meg! could become the official blog of Megan, Published & Critically Acclaimed Novelist, and that would be . . . amazing!

And, of course, I do read the blogs to see what they’re up to — what shows they’re watching, music they like, from where they get their inspiration. And to see what they’re writing, of course! Author’s blogs are usually the fastest way to get the story on their latest . . . story (no pun intended! Or totally intended, whichever you prefer). And the authors themselves are usually hilarious, fun and witty people — that’s why they’ve been so successful. So they’re just good reads!

I think it’s incredible that we live in a world in which I can sit down at my computer, pop open a little box and see the individual thoughts of folks — writers, artists, musicians — who’ve decided to make them public. In 2009, I can go on John Mayer’s site, too, and see what he felt like sharing after winning a Grammy award on Sunday. I know we have to take all blogs with a grain of salt — especially those written by celebrities, who may or may not pay someone to “write” the blogs for them! — but I think that most are serious, actual thoughts, and it’s amazing to think that I can sit down and see what Meg Cabot is doing right now as she posts on Twitter or how Sarah Dessen felt about a recent basketball game. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago — this would have been insane and unfathomable! Technology can be a beautiful thing! On the flip side, of course, we could argue that the “fourth wall” has been broken down by our gaining access to the lives of people we admire . . . and maybe taking them down from the pedestal on which society has probably placed them. But I think it’s good that we’re reminded of the humanity of people in popular culture . . . and that they make mistakes, have dreams, act silly and have fears just like we do.

Booking Through Thursday: Wealth of information

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

This week’s question: Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse — a biography has made you love an author more?

Honestly, I don’t read many biographies. It’s not that I don’t find authors interesting — I just don’t read much non-fiction. Of the author biographies I have read in my life, most have been memoirs — written by the author him- or herself. So they read like their novels to me. Philip Roth’s Patrimony was a memoir of his recollections of his father, their family and what it meant to be a son — all themes he tackles in his novels, especially American Pastoral. Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings was an interesting, sometimes heartbreaking look at her life — and made her short stories even more interesting to me.

Other biographies I’ve read? Jon Spence’s Becoming Jane Austen, which just further fanned the flames of my JA obsession. And others for college that I can’t seem to recall now! Scary how quickly knowledge can deteroriate and crack when not accessed regularly! I do remember reading bios of Shakespeare, which certainly weren’t the most fascinating thing to tackle — but didn’t completely turn me off of his plays and poetry.

Overall, I would say that of the reading biographies has made me more interested in the writers themselves. In fact, I just might pick one up again in the near future! I made a half-hearted resolution I would try and read more non-fiction this year. It’s only February — I still might come through on that!

Booking Through Thursday: Finding inspiration

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

This week’s question: Since “Inspiration” is (or should be) the theme this week … what is your reading inspired by?

I absolutely love, love, love picking up a book, reading through the first few pages to decide who it is I’m going to go on an exciting journey with, discovering which places I’ll visit, cultures I’ll experience and ideas to which I’ll be exposed. Reading takes you places — it lets us visit Regency England, the streets of Mumbai or a cafe in Seattle. Will I ever make it to some of these places? Sure. Someday. But I’ll never walk through a garden with Jane Austen, stare out over Dickens’ London or come ashore with the first few intrepid travellers to arrive on the shores of America. But through books, I’m there with them.

And I read to relax. I read to escape. I don’t read non-fiction, true crime or too many history books — I don’t want to dwell on the negativity of the past, or learn about the horrors of the present. I love falling in love as my characters do, going through their trials with them and cheering them on as they emerge from the other side.

Reading teaches us about ourselves — what we value, where we’re going, what it is we may be meant to do with our lives. My fiction reminds me of a world larger, grander and more explosive beyond just me — it teaches me and makes me a part of something more important than myself. I read to clue in to that world and, as I’ve gotten more involved in the book blogging community, meeting new people who share my similar interests!

Honestly, the novels I read make me feel like I’m a part of something magnificent. And there’s no replacement for that!

Booking Through Thursday: Sing a song

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday! It’s not about books, but it is about words . . . so we’ll go with that!

“If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

• What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love? Why?
• And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?”

Wow! I frequently blog about my favorite lyrics, great artists, sad and happy songs and just artists I love in general. I can’t think of a song in which I like the lyrics but don’t really like the tune. What’s so great about music is that deft combination of the two. Even now, typing out the lyrics to the songs I love just isn’t going to do any of them justice. You have to hear them! Otherwise, they’re a little like scrambled poetry. All of these songs “speak” to me in some way, usually because they deal with growing up, making decisions, falling in and out of love and basically becoming an adult. Many of them were songs I listened to in high school and college, so they remind me of a very specific time in my life. It’s fun to let music take you back.

Jumping in, my usual response to questions like this features me rambling on about the awesomeness that is John Mayer, my favorite musician of all time. He’s incredibly talented songwriter, guitarist and performer, and I’m usually in some ceaseless amazement of his . . . hotness. Yeah, I think the man is gorgeous.

Some of my favorite JM lyrics?

“Stop This Train”

So scared of getting older, I’m only good at being young; So I play the numbers game to find a way to say my life has just begun; Had a talk with my old man, said ‘Help me understand’; He said, ‘Turn 68, you’ll renegotiate’; Don’t stop this train; Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in . . . And don’t think I couldn’t ever understand; I tried my hand; John, honestly, you’ll never stop this train . . .

“New Deep”

I’m so alive; I’m so enlightened, I can barely survive a night in my mind; I’ve got a plan — I’m gonna find out just how boring I am, and have a good time; ‘Cause ever since I tried, trying not to find every little meaning in my life; It’s been fine; I’ve been cool with my new golden rule . . . Numb is the new deep; Down with the old me . . . I’m done with the analyzing tonight; Stop trying to figure it out; It will only bring you down . . .

“Why Georgia”

I am driving up 85 in the kind of morning that lasts all afternoon; Just stuck inside the gloom; For more exits to my apartment, but I am tempted to keep the car in drive; And leave it all behind . . . ‘Cause I wonder about the outcome . . . Am I living it right? Am I living it right? Am I living it right . . . Why, Georgia, why? . . . I rent a room and I fill the spaces with whirling places to make it feel like home, but all I feel is alone; It might be a quarter-life crisis, or just the stirring in my soul; Either way, I wonder sometimes about the outcome . . . So what, so I’ve got a smile on. Well, it’s hiding the quiet superstitions in my head . . . Don’t believe me, don’t believe me when I say I’ve got it down.

And now I’ll go ahead and branch out — I’ll hit you with a little Sara Bareilles!


I’m not scared of you, no, or so I say; There’s no reason to run, although I may; Not as sure as I seem, this much I know; What does it mean when you leave, and I follow? Well, I try to forget what you do, when I let you get through to me; But then you do it over again; Like a rage, like a fire . . . Keep my distance, I try; No use, no; No matter the miles, I’m back to you . . .

And some of The Killers?

“All These Things That I’ve Done”

If you can hold on, hold on . . . I want to stand up, I want to let go — you know, you know — no, you don’t, you don’t . . . Another head aches, another heart breaks; I’m so much older than I can take; And my affection, well it comes and goes; I need direction to perfection . . . You know you gotta help me out, oh, don’t you put me on the back burner — you know you gotta help me out; And when there’s nowhere else to run, is there room for one more son? These changes ain’t changin’ me — the gold-hearted boy I used to be . . .

And, for good measure, Ben Folds, another of my favorite artists!

“Still Fighting It”

Good morning, son; I am a bird; Wearing a brown polyester shirt; Do you want a Coke? Maybe some fries? The roast beef combo’s only 9.95; It’s okay — you don’t have to pay; I’ve got all the change . . . Everybody knows it hurts to grow up; And everybody does; So weird to be back here; Let me tell you what: The years go on, and we’re still fighting it, we’re still fighting it . . . And you’re so much like me. I’m sorry . . . Good morning son, twenty years from now, maybe we’ll both sit down and have a few beers. And I can tell you ’bout today, and how I picked you up and everything changed . . . There was pain, sunny days and rain, I knew you’d feel the same things . . . You’ll try, and you’ll try, and one day you’ll fly away from me . . . Good morning, son; Good morning, son . . .

Booking Through… Friday: Reading resolutions

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday — on Friday! I was running around yesterday and didn’t get to answer one of my favorite prompts . . .

Any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all? Name at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!

I have so many books waiting in my TBR stack and keep adding more and more titles to it . . . but there are many books getting ready to come out this year that I’m really looking forward to reading! I got incredibly excited when I saw Sarah Dessen has a new book coming out in June, Along For the Ride. She’s one of my favorite young adult authors — or just authors in general — and I can’t wait to get something new from her. Closer to the home front, the last installment of Meg Cabot’s incredibly popular Princess Diaries series comes out this Tuesday, Jan. 6 — Princess Diaries X: Forever Princess. I’m saving up my Borders Bucks to put toward that! I also recently acquired several books from my wish list on BookMooch, including Laurie Notaro’s The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death. Can’t wait to start there!

I’m participating in a few book challenges this year, so I’ll probably be reading more young adult than normal. I’m really into contemporary fiction, a little romance and a smidge of non-fiction, but I really want to start writing young adult fiction . . . that’s a writing goal for 2009! So to be a great young adult writer, I’m going to have to really know the genre. I’ve been reading YA since I was . . . well, a YA myself! But I didn’t look at it from the perspective I will be now. Plus, YA books are just fun!

Booking Through Thursday: Books as gifts

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

Do you give books as gifts? To everyone? Or only to select people?

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I absolutely give books as gifts . . . in fact, I think books are some of the best gifts of all! There’s absolutely a book out there for everyone — whether it’s a mystery, a romance, some literary fiction, a World War II discussion, a recipe book — and books provide entertainment and knowledge all in one neat package!

I don’t necessarily give books to everyone, but I almost always get books as gifts for my parents and sister. We all enjoy reading for fun and I like finding something that I know will be a bit of a surprise to unwrap! When I was working often in the bookstore, I found potential gift books all the time. I would dutifully copy down the ISBN and other information and store it away birthdays and holidays.

And I love to get books as gifts — again, they’re some of the best gifts! I get so excited when I crack the spine of a fresh book, pour through the inside and skim over the back cover. My wish list is ever growing!