- The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien I know Christopher Tolkien was not impressed with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, but, c’mon, wouldn’t The Silmarillion make a great miniseries? It could be Sherlock-style, a few long episodes per season. It has everything: sword fights and epic grudges and world building. I just want to see The Fall of Gondolin with Glorfindel as a real hottie.
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore This would make a great movie… if they could get it made. It would no doubt ruffle a lot of feathers, but think of it as a contemporary Life of Brian, right?
- Alana: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce Since the success of the Lord of the Rings films, they’ve been looking for the next big fantasy franchise. They had a chance for a girl-centered fantasy series with The Golden Compass, but they blew it because they were too cowardly to actually make an adaptation of the book. So why not Alana? Or…
- Sabriel, Garth Nix Uhm, this would be amazing?! Seriously, it has all the makings of a huge fantasy film franchise. There’s cool magic and zombies and battles. With the 20th anniversary recently, this would be great on film and the charter magic would look so cool.
- Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor Another fantasy series that would be amazing on the big screen. Seriously, there is nothing like this book, but it would be so easy to market as “the next Harry Potter” or whatever they like to say these days. “If you liked Harry Potter, then Akata Witch will blow your mind.“
- The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, Uma Krishnaswami This would be such a fun kid movie! It would be kind of like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but… better! I don’t know, what are current “real life” kid movies popular these days? This one would be great.
- Zita the Spacegirl, Ben Hatke Another great kids’ movie in the making! Zita the Spacegirl keeps flying off the shelf in my library and I have no doubt that it would be popular with my students and their peers. It’s got fun and adventure and excitement, without feeling like an hour+ long toy advertisement.
- Pantomime, Laura Lam Okay, obviously by now you can tell that I really like fantasy. I love fantasy, and fantasy movies in particular. I like to see cool special effects. Pantomime would be another great fantasy movie, but with some diversity, for a change. It’s such a great book, and I think it would make an equally good movie.
- Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgewick This is another one that would be a good miniseries. Remember that Syfy series, The Door? It would be like that, a limited run of six or twelve episodes and each one would be one time period, and it would all be a big mystery, like Lost or something.
- Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld I can’t decide if this would be a better movie or miniseries. It would take a lot of finagling to fit in the dual narratives, but if it could be done well, this would be a great show.
I might read on my way to the beach (the nearest one is more than an hour away by train), but I won’t read on the beach. It’s too sandy and hot. If I’m going to be at the beach, then I’ll play in the water. If I want to read, then I’ll read in the comfort of my own home, with the A/C on.
But here’s what I hope to read over the summer:
- The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ & Amal, E.K. Weaver I bought this on the Kickstarter months ago. I don’t even know if it will be out by this summer, but if not, I might just reread the webcomic. This is the perfect summer story: a road trip with groovy tunes and a sweet love story. I can’t wait to (re)read this.
- Nimona, Noelle Stevenson This one should be in the mail soon! I’ve already read it once this year, online, but I can’t wait to read the print-exclusive epilogue and, well, just reread it.
- Peter and the Starcatchers, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson I downloaded this last year from Audiobook SYNC, but I never got a chance to listen because I don’t use headphones (long story). Hopefully this summer, I’ll get a chance to listen to this one and some of this year’s offerings. I’ll need something to keep me entertained during inventory.
- Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen I’ve never read a single book by Jane Austen. I know, right? They just don’t seem very interesting to me. Northanger Abbey sounds like the most fun of the lot, so I’ll get a copy from the library, or maybe an ebook – the type in the library copy is so tiny. It’s no wonder nobody likes to read them.
- New On the Job: A School Librarian’s Guide to Success, Ruth Toor OK, I ordered this one with my collection development picks and it probably won’t make it in until the beginning of next year. I’m not even that new on the job, but I want to improve my skills as a librarian, of course. I actually have almost a month of inservice before the students come back for the 2015-2016 school year, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to read it before then and incorporate some of it into my planning.
- Dark Tower, Stephen King I probably won’t reread the whole thing, but The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, the not-flashback parts of Wizard & Glass, and Wolves of the Calla are just so readable. It’s like watching really good TV. Stephen King isn’t a very beautiful writer, but he spins one hell of a yarn.
- The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes, Soman Chainani I am so ready to finally get my hands on this and read it! I loved The School for Good and Evil, but I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t picked up the second book in the series. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Agatha and Sophie next!
- Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman One of my friends just bought a copy of this recently and I immediately asked if maybe I could borrow her copy? I have my own, but it’s at my mother’s house in the USA. (#expatproblems) Footnotes as such a pain on ereaders, so I’ll have to read her print copy… Or just buy it for myself, you know? I haven’t read this book in years.
- The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, Edward James I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on this one, at least not at a reasonable price. It’s not one of Amazon.co.jp’s big sellers, and that means you pay a premium for getting it imported. But I would love to read more about children’s literature, and summer is the perfect time for digging into something heavy. Then I’ll start the new school year feeling smarter!
- The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice This was one of two print books I brought with me to Japan when I moved. It’s such a trashy book. I have this lovely, beaten up old mass market paperback. The pages are all soft and it’s so cozy to reread. I know almost every word, but: Lestat. Swoon. This, I might even throw in my bag, if I were going to the actual beach.
I decided to do something different for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. It’s a freebie this week, and instead of writing about books that I love and remember well (or books that I hate and will never, ever read), I thought about the books that I had mostly forgotten, but when I wrack my brain, I vividly remember reading these… Even if I’ve forgotten everything but the title (or, in the case, of Wizard’s Hall, which I had forgotten the title but remembered the cover). None of these come up if you ask me for my top ten favorite anything, and most of them were only borrowed from the library, not bought, so I don’t have copies at home. But once I remembered that they existed, I felt a pang of fuzzy nostalgia for these books. Some of these were exciting new discoveries (the mystery and intrigue of Dead Girls), while some fed my appetite for ghost stories (Here There be Ghosts), and others held me over while I was starving for the next Harry Potter (Wizards Hall). I don’t give these books enough credit.
So, from left to right, top to bottom:
- The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf, Gerald Morris
- Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters, Gail Giles
- Little Butterfly, Hinako Takanaga
- Chobits, CLAMP
- Heir Apparent, Viviane Vande Velde
- Here There Be Ghosts, Jane Yolen
- Wizards Hall, Jane Yolen
- Demon Diary, Kara
- The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm, Erin Datlow and Terri Windling, editors
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme at The Broke & the Bookish is “Top Ten Books I Will (Probably) Never Read.” While you should never say never, I also think it’s important to make honest assessments of ourselves as readers and admit we will never read anything, because it is just not possible.
So, that said: my Top Ten Books I Will (Probably) Never Read. Fair warning, this is more like #unpopularopinion: the blog post.
- The Bible, Anonymous I’m not Christian. I was raised with a kind of bland, default Christianity: I was baptized, we celebrated Easter and Christmas with candy and presents, but there was no belief, just tradition. I have no particular reason to read the Bible. For one thing, it’s impossible to live in America and not at least get the gist of the Bible stories: Eden, burning bushes, golden calfs, Bethlehem, forty days in the desert, the Last Supper, crucifixion, and so on. For another, it doesn’t have any interest to me as a person of (no) faith. I know it’s a hugely important work of literature in Western history, but… I just don’t care, and there are only so many hours in a day.
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen Oops? My aunt bought me a copy of this in high school and I just didn’t care. I still don’t, really. I’m not sure there’s anything less interesting than the heterosexual romance of a couple of well-to-do people and, as far as I can tell, not a whole lot else happens. As I told my mother when I first tried to read this, “There aren’t enough sword fights.” Sorry, but this sounds like a snoozefest.
- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy This sounds like another old time-y straight romance, and that just doesn’t sound interesting to me at all. I think it’s a tragedy. I don’t really care to find out. I remember a high school friend of me was bribed to read this. I don’t remember if she ever finished it, or if she liked it. I do remember that my mother didn’t like the idea of bribing me to read anything, no matter how edifying.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney My students love this series, but I picked it up, skimmed it, and decided it was not for me. Unlike The Lightning Thief, I’m not even sure I would have cared for this one at all if I were still in the target age range. The illustrated novel format alone isn’t enough to make it appeal to me, and the story was mostly boring and the kid was a jerk. (No, I have not shared this opinion with my students.)
- Lord of the Files, William Golding Oh, boy! A whole book about a bunch of boys being horrible to each other with some really horrific violence against animals and woman-hating in a book notable for the fact that there are, as far as I know, no women. This is the only book I was ever assigned but did not read. I still got to hear all about them murdering the sow in English class. I wanted to barf.
- Ulysses, James Joyce Is this book actually about anything? I don’t even know. It’s always sounded long and boring and generally if people list it as one of their favorites, I take that as a sign to start backing away slowly. I’m sure plenty of wonderful people have loved this book. I just haven’t met them.
- Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov You know what I would rather do than read 300+ pages about a slimy pedophile blaming his victim? I would rather get shampoo in my eyes, and if there is one thing that always ruins my morning, it is shampoo in my eyes. I hate that awful burning, stinging sensation, and I would rather get shampoo in my eyes every day for the amount of time it would take me to read this than actually read it, even if Humbert Humbert is supposed to be the bad guy and it’s technically very well written.
- 50 Shades of Grey, E.L. James I don’t only hate on classics! I’m an equal opportunity hater. I picked this up because I thought it would be so bad it’s good, ready for some dramatic readalouds, like with that Harry Potter fanfic, “My Immortal.” Instead, it was just horrible and boring and I put it down after about two pages because the prose was awful.
- Deathless, Cathrynne Valente Nope, nope. I just don’t want to read this and you can’t make me. There’s a lot in it that I think I might like, but there’s a lot in it I know I won’t like, and it has really negative associations that have nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with the people who first recommended I read it. Now every time I hear about it, I cringe. Unlike the other books on this list, it’s not even the book’s fault. So I feel a little bad, but I’m still never going to read it.
- A Song of Ice and Fire, G.R.R. Martin Is there any book I am less interested in reading than Deathless? Yes, and it is A Game of Thrones. Even though it has sword fights, I was never really interested in political intrigue, and this just sounds rapey and violent and full of terrible people being terrible to each other. There’s enough of that in the real world, thanks.
This week at The Broke & The Bookish, the Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _______,” fill in the blank. I decided to go with “Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who I’d Like to Befriend.”
Isn’t that why we read, right? I love to spend time with these characters. Here are some that I would love to be their friend.
- Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling I don’t know if I want to be Hermione’s best friend, or if I just want to be Hermione. I’m not even sure we would have gotten along in school, because we would have been too similar and always competing to be the best in our class. I’m sure as adults, we could look back fondly on our respective know-it-all, insecure school days and laugh about how much we had in common, even though she was learning spells and defeating Dark Lords while I was stuck studying algebra and defeating school administrators, which is not quite as exciting. But Hermione is clever and caring, which are two traits I value highly in my friends.
- Weetzie Bat, Francesca Lia Block Weetzie Bat would either be a wonderful friend, or her quirky weirdness would get old fast if it felt too forced. I think Weetzie is a genuinely oddball individual with a big heart. I would have loved to be her friend in high school. I needed a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and that’s Weetzie’s M.O. It would have been so fun to hang out with her, because she’s so daring and adventurous and I’m so… not. Plus, Weetzie needs a friend to gently check her casual hipster racism so she stops wearing feathered headdresses.
- His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman Many of the characters in my list are kids or teenagers, either people I would have liked to be friends with when I was their age, or who I would like to mentor now as an adult. But I would want Mary Malone to be mymentor. She’s everything I wish I could be: compassionate, courageous, clever. She’s a scientist, a researcher like I want to be. (I want to study children’s literature, not Dust.) I would love to hear all about her adventures in other worlds, and emulate her as a teacher who is honest and open with her students, a good guide and role model, even if she is the “serpent.” I want to talk to her about Dust and science and falling in love and China.
- Let’s Eat Ramen, Nagumo + Aji-ichi I love ramen and, unlike Saeki, I have no shame about walking into a ramen shop full of businessmen slurping their noodles. I bet Saeki knows more about it than me (and she can read Japanese, which I can’t, really), but I’m not worried about going to a ramen shop with no other girls in sight. We could be ramen buddies! I hope she likes miso. (It would be a little weird, hanging out with a high school girl.)
- The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani Although she’s grim looking, with tangled hair and tattered clothes, Agatha genuinely has a heart of gold. She spends the whole book looking out for Sophie, her best and only friend, even though Sophie is shallow, vain, and very unkind to her. Agatha is a good person with a good heart, the kind of person anyone would want to be their friend, and she deserves someone who won’t put her down all of the time like Sophie.
- Saiyuki, Kazuya Minekura The boys of Kazuya Minekura’s Saiyukiare a tough talking, rude bunch, who act like they don’t have time for anyone’s BS, but really, they’re all good people. I want to go on a road trip with them across ancient China! They have this great camaraderie, even when they’re at each other’s throats, and I really like that. They can fight with each other and still care about each other, too. It was the “breaking of the fellowship” vibe from the last Tokyopop translated volume that really had me on tenterhooks, because I would hate for this band to break up!
- Castle of Shadows, Ellen Renner Princess Charlotte, usually known as Charlie, is a scrappy but upstanding young girl. She has a hard time of it sometimes, and I wish I could live in her world and maybe do a bit of a better job teaching her than her tutors. I like to think she’d find me cool enough that she wouldn’t always skip her lessons. With no mother, or even really a maternal figure, it sounded like she could really use a “cool big sis” in her life, and I think she sounds like great fun to get to know. She’s very admirable, and also very funny.
- Hetty Feather, Jacqueline Wilson In the first book, Hetty’s very young, and I wished I could reach into the pages and take better care of her than the awful foundlings home. By the end of the last book, she’s grown up to be a very courageous, if somewhat brash, young woman, who is very certain of her morals and unafraid to find her own way in a society that doesn’t have a place for someone like her: a foundling, an orphan, a poor girl who refuses to settle in to be either a servant or a farm wife. I hope some of her courage would rub off on me.
- Changeless, Gail Carriger i know a lot of people don’t like Madame Genevieve Lefoux because she’s… morally ambiguous, to put it tactfully, but I think befriending her would certainly make life a lot more interesting. Unlike the others on this list so far, I’m not even 100% sure I would trust her. Okay, I probably would trust her, because I’m a trusting person, but it would be a bad idea. I would befriend Mme Lefoux against my better judgement, no doubt beguiled by her vanilla and machine oil scent and incredible fashion sense.
- The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice I saved the two most questionable choices for last. Like Madame Lefoux, I am sure Lestat is not to be trusted, but I’m still intrigued by this soulful rock star memoirist persona. At least i would be smart enough not to trust him. (Even I’m not that gullible!) Like Madame Lefoux again, having Lestat in your life would certainly make everything a lot more exciting. But maybe that’s why it’s best to only visit him in his own book, where you can safely shut the covers on him.
I’m kinda/sorta (re)reading The Silmarillion, but I will be honest with you: I’ve been in the worst reading slump. I just can’t focus on anything, and it’s awful.
What did you recently finish reading?
Since I last updated, I’ve read: In Real Life, Take Me Out to the Yakyu, The Hobbit (can you tell I’m on a Middle-earth kick?) and the online edition of Nimona. (I can’t wait for the print version this May.)
What do you think you’ll read next?
Ugh, I don’t know. I just hope I’ll find something to pull me out of this slump.
What are you currently reading?
Lately, I’ve had a hard tine focusing on any one thing in particular even – especially? – if it’s really good. I’ve been on the same page of Iron-Hearted Violet for almost a week now, though I did get halfway through Capture the Flag before one of my students borrowed it off my desk. I checked out The Hobbit from our secondary library, too. I think the difference is, Capture the Flag and The Hobbit are in print, but Iron-Hearted Violet is an ebook.
I hope I can snap out of this slump soon. As a young and unsettled expat, 99% of my library is on my phone.
What did you recently finish reading?
I read When You Reach Me in about two days, after an SLJ review suggested it for people who liked The Riverman. I still haven’t made up my mind about The Riverman, and I won’t until at least I’ve had a chance to read The Whisper, but probably not even then, until the third book comes out. I’ve accepted the possibility that I might never know.
I do know how I felt about When You Reach Me, though, and that is: it was awesome. It was awesome in a quiet, creeping way that sticks with you, but I dreamed about it both days I read it, and that’s always a sign of a book really sinking it’s teeth into you and not letting go. (This book was also in print, from our school library.)
What do you think you’ll read next?
I need to get through Iron-Hearted Violet. It’s really frustrating me that I’m having such a hard time focusing on my phone, because, you know, this book is really good and filled with things I love (headstrong, imperfect girls! the multiverse! things seeping through the walls between worlds! clever metafiction!) and for some reason, I just go crosseyed looking at it. Sigh.
If this ebook slump continues, then I’ll make my way through The Hobbit and then, if I’m still having a hard time, onto The Fellowship of the Ring.