Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Reread

This is my second Top Ten Tuesday post, you can read the first here. Top Ten Tuesday was created and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

Top Ten Books I Want To Reread
(links go to my reviews or to Amazon pages for the editions I own, where possible)

1. The Boy Book, by E. Lockhart
I have already reread The Boyfriend List so that I could review it, and I'm planning to reread this fairly soon so that I can write my review and then move on to the next two books in the Ruby Oliver series with it fresh in my mind.
2. The Magic Toyshop, by Angela Carter
I originally read a bashed up copy from my university library, and a couple of Christmasses ago I got this lovely hardback edition and I haven't read it yet! I love The Magic Toyshop, it's probably the best piece of literary fiction with a teenage protagonist that I've read.
3. The Cheap Date Guide To Style
This isn't a fiction book, this is a style inspiration book. I got it out of the library years ago, and got my own copy because it became clear that I needed it in my life permanently! Every time I read it I feel reinspired to dress up and have fun with clothes.
4. The Harry Potter series
I can race through a Harry Potter book like nothing else, but I've never actually reread the whole series. I've read the first book a couple of times, and read at least half of The Order of the Phoenix more than once. But I was never one of those people who had to reread all the previous books before the new one or the new film came out, because I usually had too many other books on the go already. I'd like to re-read them all in sequence though, and I'd quite like to listen to the audiobooks.
5. The Diary of a Crush trilogy
I need to review these, plus, I need to read them whilst listening to Belle and Sebastian as is suggested at the front of each book. A few years back I decided that first I was going to geek out shamelessly and watch all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, alternating episodes as they would have originally been shown on US TV, and then I was going to reread Diary of a Crush whilst listening to Belle and Sebastian. I finished The Great Buffy Rewatch (as I termed it) earlier this year but I have yet to move on to DoaC.
6. Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell
For a long time this was my favourite book but I haven't reread it in years because my copy went MIA. It was a really nice copy that I got for 10p in a library sale, too. Best 10p I've ever spent.
7. Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta
I remember that I absolutely loved this book and possibly even referenced it in my MA portfolio but I can only vaguely recall what it's about.
8. Notes From The Teenage Underground, by Simmone Howell
I've got a weird craving to reread this. Possibly because I reread Everything Beautiful for Body Image and Self-Perception month last summer, so the quality of Simmone's writing is still quite fresh in my mind.
9. Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan
Ditto for the weird craving, I don't know, it was a really sweet book (not a pun referencing the cover...oh okay yes it is) and I'm just in the mood!
10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
I have this cute little hardback edition that I've had since I was a kid and traditionally reread every year, I don't think I have done it this year yet. It doesn't take very long so hopefully I'll squeeze it in soon.

plus bonus point 11 for the list because I just thought of another:

11. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
If I was to write a list of most reread books, I think this would be number one. I have reread the Diary of a Crush books, and bits of the books (seriously, sometimes I just find myself picking one up, opening it at a random page, and reading on from there) so many times I've lost count, and Alice gets done almost every year. But I adored The Secret Garden when I was a child, and when I was a teenager. Out of all the books that I've owned since they were new, it's the most damaged, purely because it's been read so much. I haven't reread it in quite a few years though, and I should.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

Okay. It's Wednesday. But I feel as if I need to participate in some book blog memes! I can't do In My Mailbox, at least at the moment, as I don't get that many books through my letterbox. Or letter flap. Do that many people in the UK have actual boxes for their mail? Anyway, I digress.

Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) struck me as being perfect, because lists I can do. Lists I can definitely do. I love lists. They provide the perfect framework for rambling on about one topic without spending too long on it. Unfortunately I didn't check the book blogs section of Google Reader yesterday, so I'm doing it today. Late. Shh. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

I'm going to mostly interpret 'everyone' as 'every other (YA) book blogger' because I know plenty of people who have read none of these books, coming from an unbookish family as I do. I'm the black sheep. Or the purple sheep, to be more accurate.

1. The Hunger Games
I know, what have I been doing? I really want to read this but probably won't get around to it this year as I still have so many books to read to complete my reading challenges.
2. Actually, anything from the recent wave of YA dystopia fiction
I want to read quite a few of these, especially Divergent, but again, reading challenge reading is the priority. On that note, are there any British YA dystopias? I need more books for the British Book Challenge.
3. New Moon
No desire to read this at all. To get myself to finish Twilight, I counted the number of chapters left and was like 'Right. If I read three every day, then in x number of days, it'll be over and I can read something good'.
4. The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books
This series started just before my teens but it passed me by. After devouring several Jacqueline Wilson books and all the Ros Asquiths I could get my hands on, I went through a long phase of being convinced that I was too intellectually mature for teen comedy books.
5. The Princess Diaries
Another series which passed me by when it was new. I've read Nicola and the Viscount, also by Meg Cabot, which was quite fun, and Avalon High, and I watched the first film years ago. I want to give it a go, but it's really low priority at the moment.
6. The Morganville Vampires series
I have heard increasingly good things about this series and I want to try it, but I've been delayed by a couple of years because my library only stocked book 6. I may have to give in and buy a copy!
7. The Southern Vampire Mysteries
I've known about the existence of Charlaine Harris' mind-reading heroine Sookie Stackhouse since before Ottakar's was taken over by Waterstone's! Ottakar's used to produce a science fiction and fantasy newsletter booklet with reviews and author interviews, it was called Outland and I used to pick up copies in my local branch. Anyway, one issue they reviewed Dead Until Dark and I thought, 'I'd quite like to read that', being a big Buffy fan. Still haven't picked up a copy!
8. Angel by L.A. Weatherly
For some reason, I feel like this book has had a particularly large number of reviews. Perhaps it just feels like it's had more than most books because I actually own a copy and it's on my TBR.
9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
I've heard good things, and bad things, and I watched the film, and the film was enough for me. I don't think I could stomach the book.
10. Nineteen Eighty-Four
I know, 'How can you have a Master's degree and not have read Nineteen Eighty-Four?' Dude, I didn't read To Kill A Mockingbird until 2009! I have read Brave New World though. And Animal Farm. And most of Keep the Aspidistra Flying - I got bored fairly close to the end, decided I'd got the point, and scan read the rest of the book.

There we are! I do plan to do future Top Ten Tuesdays actually on Tuesday. Do you think I should make any of these a higher priority? No promises, but I'm always open to persuasion - New Moon excepted.

Book Review: Dramarama, by E. Lockhart

mint chocolate chip
Picture by gemskiii

Sarah Paulson longs for a life more exciting than the one she's got in boring Brenton. Her 'friends' are totally bland, and her parents don't understand her dissatisfaction, let alone her love of musicals. Everything changes when one day, after her tap dance class, she sees an advert for a musical theatre summer school: The Wildewood Academy for the Performing Arts. At the audition, she recognises a boy she goes to school with, Demi Howard. He recognises her, and most importantly, the Lurking Bigness that she feels she has inside her, waiting to come out and take the world by storm.

Together they reinvent Sarah as Sadye, and she feels like she finally has a true friend. Then Sadye and Demi both get into Wildewood, and they can't wait to get out of Ohio and go. But when they arrive and immerse themselves in the drama and glitter, everything becomes a lot more complicated than it was when they were best friends in Brenton. When Demi needed her as much as she needed him, and he didn't have boyfriends, or lead roles in plays. After their first few arguments, Sadye starts to feel like she's losing him. Will their friendship survive the summer? Will Sadye's Bigness ever stop Lurking?

I loved finding out. In fact, I was so excited to finally be reading Dramarama I think I squeaked as I turned the first few pages. I loved Sadye and Demi immediately. I could really relate to both Sadye's descriptions of her Lurking Bigness, and the trouble she has trying to release her potential. I thought Demi, with his incredible self-belief and talent, was a fantastic character. I also adored the whole world of Wildewood - lunch-table-top performances, rooftop evenings, gossip, glitter, and all. Sadye's roommates are a diverse, fun bunch. I love E. Lockhart's groups of friends. She gets the group dynamic so right. The teachers at Wildewood were completely believable, very flawed, but interesting. Special mentions also go to Lyle's possibly-hopeless love for Demi (I won't spoil it), the cuteness of Theo (oh E. Lockhart! How do you create so many varied and wonderful fictional specimens of attractive boy‽), and the Blake song.

I liked that Sadye struggled with fitting in, which at Wildewood is the same thing as standing out. I could see why she indulged in being cruel to her friends sometimes. And I could understand why Demi disagreed with Sadye's opinions, even though I could also understand all the misgivings she had about her teachers, and I think I would have had them too. It was great seeing Sadye develop over the summer.

Some other reviewers didn't like the ending, I know. I did think it was a bit rushed, because the pace was slower at the start of the book. It felt like there was a lot of build up, and then it was over quite quickly. I didn't have a problem with what actually happened though, it seemed realistic and necessary for Sadye's development as a person.

Dramarama is a fantastic read. Even if you don't know much about musical theatre, I'd give it a go - there are YouTube videos for almost every song mentioned and every reference can be Googled, and it's so much fun!

The BookDepository


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