Book Review

Reading Different Genres

I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t read just one genre. Sometimes when I’m talking about books with people, they seem surprised that I like to read several different genres. I know that most people gravitate towards one or two, but I just find that I read different genres for different reasons. I’m curious if others feel the same way or if they just want the one genre that brings them the most comfort. But, for me, this is why I like to read what I read:

Mystery – If I had to pick just one genre, I’m sure I would pick mystery. I love dark, gritty mysteries as well as cozies. There’s just something about trying to follow clues and discovering who committed the crime that excites me. I gravitate towards mysteries pretty much all the time, but I typically just read the light cozies when I’m feeling overwhelmed with life.

Fantasy – For me, fantasy is the ultimate in escapism. I love exploring these different worlds and going on quests with the characters. I’ll admit that I really have to be in the mood for mystery, but when I am, I’m all in. I read fantasies when I just want to experience a different type of world and when I’m looking for escapism.

Horror – I do love horror. There’s something about the heart-racing dread that makes my adrenaline pump. In my own life, I’m a very safe person. I’m pretty much a homebody, but there’s something really intriguing to me about reading horror. It’s like it’s the safest way for me to experience danger without actually risking ever being in danger. I can have my adrenaline on the couch the way I like it instead of climbing a snowy mountain or something.

Historical – I like history, but I never liked history classes. They can just be so dry, but I do like learning about different historical periods. I’ve found that reading historical fiction helps me to stay focused when I’m learning about fiction. Sure, I sometimes have to do some fact-checking, but I’ve found that historical fiction is really quite delightful.

Literary – Character-driven fiction can often reveal interesting truths about the human condition. I do prefer literary fiction that has a strong domestic element – themes such as parenthood, family, friendship, etc. I also prefer books that explore the psychological element of humanity. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how to be a person through reading literary fiction.

So, what are you favorite genres to read? Do you read many genres or do you have just one favorite? Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section.

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Book Review

Book-to-Movie Dream Adaptations

I was thinking recently about how much I enjoy movies and TV shows that are based on books I’ve read. I have very much enjoyed shows like Pretty Little Liars and The Shannara Chronicles. And, of course, I love reliving the Harry Potter Books and Confessions of a Shopaholic and the Devil Wears Prada. Sure, there are some disappointing adaptations, but I love re-experiencing some books through other mediums. Here are the top three books that I hope are someday adapted into movies or TV shows (if you haven’t read the books yet, you should definitely check them out!):

  1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – This is an interesting take on witch and vampire mythology. Harkness is a trained historian, and you really get a sense of her background in this. I love the characters of Diana, Matthew, and Ysabeau, and I’d love to see them come to life on screen.
  2. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen – I love this cozy mystery series about a distant royal relation who turns to solving crimes when the money runs up. There’s so much humor in this series, and I could absolutely see this translating well into a television script.
  3. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine – I didn’t want to put a second vampire-related book in this list, but I’ve just always wanted to see this on screen. I got sucked (pun intended) into these books the summer after high school, and I obsessively devoured them all. It was fun escapism with some very interesting characters. I can’t see myself ever re-reading them, but I’d love to return to Morganville if it ever became a CW show or something.

What would you love to see adapted for TV or film? What has been your favorite book-to-movie experience?

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Book Clubs

I’ve been really busy lately, so I haven’t had a ton of time to read. Instead of book reviews, this week’s blog series is going to be about other book-related things. First up: book clubs.

I love reading books, but sometimes it’s even more fun to share what I’ve been reading. That’s obviously one of the reasons why I blog about books that I’ve enjoyed reading, but there’s something even more exciting when you can share great books in person. One of the ways to do this is to start or join a book club!

Book clubs can be pretty informal. Just a pick a book and a time to meet and discuss it. You can meet in someone’s home or a coffee shop or restaurant. Maybe you want to just join a book club to meet new people or to share common interests. Most libraries have book clubs, and some book stores do too.

The thing I love most about book clubs is that I’m often required to read something I otherwise wouldn’t have picked up. Sometimes, you just don’t think you’ll like something, but you end of loving it! That certainly happened with me and some historical fiction like Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

So, do you have any interest in book clubs? Have you had any positive or negative experiences with them? Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section.

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Golden Compass

I came to Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series as an adult when I was required to read the first book for a university class, but I absolutely loved it. Since Pullman has just announced that he is writing a companion series, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to review the first book in the original series: The Golden Compass.

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This is such an interesting fantasy series. It’s ultimately a coming-of-age story for the precocious protagonist Lyra. Watching her grow is a delight, and the interesting characters are mixed with an exciting plot. This is a great start of a great series.

While Lyra’s growth is integral to the series, the character in this book that intrigued me the most was the larger-than-life Mrs. Coulter. I don’t want to give away any of her secrets in case I spoil something for new readers, but she was written in such a way where I could absolutely feel the same level of intrigue that Lyra felt when she looked at this complicated woman.

The fantasy elements in this book are very clear, and they have a great balance between traditional and new when it comes to the structure of the world-building. There is a traditional quest and hero and sidekick and wise elder. However, the freshest thing about this book is the addition of personal daemons – individualized creatures that are connected to each person. Each one takes the shape of a specific animal and have a very close bond with their human. This is such an interesting take on a spirit animal since they are tangible and seen by everyone.

Overall, I think this is an amazing, fast-faced book that people of all ages will enjoy. I can’t wait to read the new trilogy that Pullman has in store for us!

Book Review

Book Review: My Name is Lucy Barton

I recently encountered a great character study, My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout.

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This was a beautiful book, and I loved the character of Lucy Barton. When we meet her, she is recovering from complications from a recent surgery on her appendix. (Fun fact about me: one of my greatest fears is appendicitis!) While she’s recovering, her estranged mother comes to her side. Throughout this short novel, we learn a lot about the past and how discovering the past can change the future. The family secrets and the odd mother/daughter relationship made this one very intriguing, compelling literary novel. While it is certainly character-driven, it was also remarkably fast-faced. My only criticism is that I wanted more when I reached the end.

Industry News

Big Little Lies on HBO

It’s no secret that Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is one of my very favorite novels! I’m so excited that HBO is turning this into a mini-series. I’ve been counting down the months until it arrives, and it is finally arriving tonight!

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I hope that HBO can do this amazing book justice. It is one of the best books that balances character and plot so well. I think it’s probably the book that has impacted me most as a writer, and I would love to meet Liane Moriarty in person some day. Feel free to check out my review of the novel for more about that gem.

Poetry Review

Poetry Review: Why I Wake Early

A lot of contemporary poets seem to avoid too many images of nature. They see them as cliche and overused, which I do think is a fair criticism. However, once in a while, a poet will emerge who can use these images to speak to the soul. One of those poets is Mary Oliver, and her collection Why I Wake Early is no exception to her history of adding a bit of magic to the world around us.

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This collection actually came out in 2005, so it’s not her latest offering. Still, I read it recently and just felt compelled to share. Nature is something that we all experience. I love that her poems use these images in complicated ways to speak to universal truths about the human condition. These poems are remarkably accessible, and I think that anyone who is not in love with poetry who wants to give a contemporary poet a try would be mesmerized by this collection.

When you read these poems, you can live a moment in Oliver’s world. You can see through her eyes. You can feel what she’s feeling. Unlike the deliberate ambiguity that makes other contemporary poets feel inaccessible to their readers, Oliver invites you in. She wants to share experiences with you and take you on her morning journeys.