The Very Festive “Christmas Song” Book Tag

You may or may not have noticed that I shamelessly broke my promise. Didn’t write a word yesterday, not even one. And I don’t feel guilty about it, because I painted and it’s fair enough for me.

It’s 7PM right now, but I had a strange day and it feels like 1AM . I want to sleep. And by sleep I don’t mean kindly leave myself into a self sufficiency sweet and powerful enough to get my brain into an”Obliviate” state, but rather sleep-die. Sleep-disconnect. Sleep-act like that guy from “Avatar” when he got out of the blue body. Sleep-shut everything off for a while. Sleep- zoom out and figure things out. Sleep-allow yourself the time to gently and carefully fold your ideas, the way you do with your clothes, arranging them by color and length.

For no particular reason.

I don’t have anything in mind today, anything I can write a decent amount of words about without stumbling and falling into a sleepless state, and I don’t feel sarcasm under my skin either, poking its way through my fingers. That’s what not having any idea how to zoom out make me feel. An almost nice person.

Taking this into account, I am going to write a different type of thing today, one that I am not really accustomed to – I’m going to do a taaaaag. A type of post that is quite informational and cheerful, if you think about it. So, as only three days are left between me and Christmas, I decided ( after really trying not to fit into the pattern and 15 minutes of searching a set of enjoyable questions spring-related) that I would do:

THE CHRISTMAS SONG BOOK TAG

1) “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

*I am already dealing with the “Have I ever read any book…what is this question.. do I know any character at all?” syndrome, so it is going pretty well.*

I could obviously choose Snape or Sebastian a.k.a. Jonathan here, but I’m pretty sure every other person on the planet did it , so me and my unearthly independence of thought shall not allow such a thing as a stereotypical answer, so I am going to go with… Sauron. Neah, just kidding, he is way too purely evil for such a nice person like myself.

My truthful answer shall be the Darkling from the “Grisha” trilogy. I have to be honest here and to admit the fact that I liked every single thing he said, did or destroyed in those books. Because, as much as I would like to deny it, his power- summoning the darkness- , the way his and Alina’s powers fitted so nicely, his very, very, very tumultuous past and his slightly psychotic behavior never, ever bothered me, not even a little. Also, those last words he said to the ever naive Alina, the revelation of his real name and his vulnerability altogether were the only things that made me sob during reading that series, which I both liked and disliked, as always. And by sob, I am talking about shedding some tears at 4AM back in August and some way too shaky breaths muffled by my pillow.

2)”All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree this year?

Whereas I lack the ability to recall things about books I read, I own the very advanced skill to add books to my “Wishlist” on every online library ever. So I know the answer to this one. Really simple, I suppose, but the book I would really love to get this year – and I am perfectly aware that I won’t – is the illustrated copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” – written by the queen herself, J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.  I saw it in flesh when I went to Bucharest last month and..and… let’s avoid inserting words here, because the beauty of that book is not translatable. You have to see it and touch it and hold it to know. Magic.

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Not my picture, obviously, but I am going to leave it here for you to gaze at and admire.
3)”Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” – Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.
Well, taking into account the fact that almost every single book I’ve ever read had this component of self growth and learning to believe in yourself, it is really difficult to choose. Celaena Sardothien (whose real name was not used so that innocent people wouldn’t be spoiled) from “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas, Vin from “Mistborn”, Kelsea from “The Queen of the Tearling”, Julliete from “Shatter Me”, Cress from “The Lunar Chronicles”, Heather from “Panic”, Lena from “Delirium”, Inej and Kaz from “Six of Crows”, Alina from “Grisha”, Kat from “Fangirl”, Mare from “The Red Queen”, Violet from “All the Bright Places”, Fire, Bitterblue and Katsa from “Graceling Realm”.
It doesn’t really matter what YA book you open, you will, for sure, find somebody struggling with believing in himself. These are just some examples that came to my mind , characters that aren’t as popular and Katmiss, Tris, Percy and Harry, but overcome the same processes by embracing themselves.
4)”Santa Clause is Coming to Town” – a) Which character do you think is at the top of the naughty list an b) which character do you think is at the top of the nice list?
Okay, this is way too easy. a) – Sauron, obviously. Seriously now, did you really think Voldemort could take his place? Not really, from my point of view. b) – Well, I have no idea. Really, I don’t think all that much about the nice people in books. But I suppose Jem is there, on the top of the nice list. Because…well, because he is Jem.
5)”Frosty the Snowman” – Which book just melts your heart?
None. My soul is made of wind and ice and stone and no book can get to it. Not even the ones about suicide and mental illness or the over-fluffy YAs I had the mischance  to read, forced by no one, this year.
6)”Feliz Navidad” – Pick a book that takes place in a country other than your own.
Taking into account that absolutely no book, except for the Romanian ones, takes place in Romania, I could pick anything. Because almost everything takes place in America, the UK, all over Europe or in a parallel universe. So…
7)”It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Which Christmas book do you use to spread the Christmas joy.
Brace yourselves, here come my personal classics. Everything and anything Harry Potter, even if we are talking about J.K. Rowling’s groceries list –  not really, but Harry Potter tales never fail to bring such a wonderful joy in my stone cold heart. “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman, as well as “The Hobbit” and The “Lord Of The Rings” series. The last three mentions might be influenced by my great love for fantasy and the fact that I read all these books on Christmas break, cup of hot cocoa in my hand, so the atmosphere is still with me. I may also note the fact that I generally associate fantasy, magic and a badass plot to happiness and winter holidays, so these books might not work for everybody.
8)”Sleigh Ride” – Which character would you choose to spend the holidays with?
This is a very, very tough question. But I think that I would choose Kell from “A Darker Shade Of Magic” to share my Christmas with. Because I like him very much and I would really love to visit some other particularly interesting wolds that happen to intersect in London.
9)”Baby It’s Cold Outside” – which book, that you didn’t like, would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?
Look, let’s be clear, I do not and will not sacrifice books in such purposes, but taking into account the fact that I really want to finish these 10 seasonal question, I am going to go with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books of “Fallen” by Lauren Kate. Will not explain.
10)”Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Which book do you think everyone should read?
I really don’t know what to choose here, because, whereas I have many suggestions  – especially YA ones – for everybody, all the time, I don’t know what to recommend to the whole planet. Oh, actually I do. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry . If you click on the name, you will be teleported to his Goodreads page. There, you can mark “The Little Prince” as “To Be Read” or ” currently reading” and thank me later.
Seriously talking, it is one of the best books I’ve ever, ever read. Because it sums up some principles that have the potential to change you. And that is the most wonderful thing.
Yeepee. Finally done with this overly festive tag. Hope you enjoyed my very qualified answers, I will try to return tomorrow with something new to say.

 

 

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7 things Sunday – Flying Books

When I originally started this blog, I thought of it as the place where I could basically form a bookclub with myself. I was and still am deeply fascinated with how a blog works, at least in perspective , and how various communication can be. How easily I could try to talk to people from places I’ve never heard of. Poetic stuff like that.

Well, it turns out I’m a lazy person. Not actually refusing to do stuff because of laziness, but rather because I live in my own doomed world of expectations ( too high and too pretty) and I get bored of my own excitement way too fast. Oh, and books and my natural predisposition to a hobbit existence.

Anyway, school started and my need to write and share and feel fine has grown strangely.

Also, when I first came with the idea of writing here, all I basically wanted to express opinions about were books. I got a little bit off trail and decided to go back to book-related stuff because creating reviews and talking about fiction and narrative skills of others and characters and new releases brings me a whole deal of satisfaction.

So I decided to create a little thing to help me keep whoever reads this posted. As in, something constant and periodical and structural.

                                                            7 THINGS SUNDAY

As for this nice September weekend, I’m going to list 7 books related – obviously or vaguely – to flight. 

I. “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” by Leslye Walton

Just to be clear, as far as I understood it, this is just subtly related to flight. Or rather, to wings and family histories and a magical realism so beautifully created that it makes me shudder now, weeks after reading it and enjoying it greatly. The writing is beautiful, the wings are something else, the characters have  a depth that is pretty uncommon and a mystery that struck me as otherworldly. Do you get explanations? No. Is there a strange kind of vagueness in the narration , in the way time, symbolism, personalities, beliefs and existential paths collapse into one another? Yes.

This book is a beautifully satisfying metaphor of flight.

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Not to mention the stunning and elegant cover.

II. “Magonia” by Maria Dahvana Headley 

I’m currently reading this book – the debut of an author with quite interesting ideas about a world that is floating above our heads.Whereas I’m halfway through, I can say that it was unexpectedly difficult for me to get into this one, the main reason being, probably, that I’m rather judgemental and weirdly critical when it comes to characters and their development, and the way Aza Ray was portrayed, at least at first, struck me as cartoonish.

Once you get past the first 100 pages things evolve greatly, for which I am glad, and a new world develops, a little bit incoherently, but I believe in this dizziness of world building.

I think this is going to transform into a series, but I’m not sure – what I know for a fact is that it involves flying ship and singing that creates and transforms. Which makes me really interested into this.

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Another beautiful cover, for me, at least, set somewhere in the same chromatic field, but with quite an exotic feel to it.

III. “The Mistborn Trilogy” by Brandon Sanderson 

You might have noticed it, by now, but I’m going to point it out nonetheless – I am a huge fantasy fan, coming from an YA dystopian period that included various and mostly basic exceptions.

My love for fantasy is infinite and “Mistborn” might quite be one of the best fantasy books I’ve read ( not that I’ve read too many, I’m just deeply interested).

My fundamental advice is to get into this knowing nothing, absolutely nothing – it will make everything a huge deal better –  more consistent and fresher and a breath of magical air in a quite worn world. Really, read this if you haven’t.

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The British variant of the covers, incredibly fair representations of the epicness and complexity

The way flight is configured in here is less metaphorical, but equally freeing for one of the protagonists – I put this series in here because I like how flight becomes something integrally new and different and empowering, how it has a huge role in character development. Absolutely epic.

IV. The “Throne of Glass” Series by Sarah J. Maas

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The American covers, screaming “bad-ass”

You’ve probably heard of this one, taking into account all the hype surrounding it – a hype that is , from my modest point of view, earned. Because I find these books fantastic – yes, there are issues in them, no, they are not perfect, but damn, they intrigued me so majorly and overwhelmingly that I read the first three in 48h last May and prayed and prayed September to come faster, so that I could finally read “Queen of Shadows”. All in all, I am a fan. And the flight element comes in with the third book , after an incredibly special to me characters comes in – I’m talking about both Rowan and Manon here , if you know what I mean. I’m talking about the same empowering flight, about binding through freedom, about shapeshifters and beauty all over. I really like Manon, by the way – I like the relationship between her and her wyvern, Abraxos, I like her humanization( especially in “Queen Of Shadows”), her dedication and her leader abilities. I love her character, I believe it is the main proof that this series is evolving and Sarah’s writing grows more and more mature and beautiful.

V. “ A Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor download (8)

In a vivid world of angels and chimera , through gates that transform our world in a haven, doors with blackened handprints, in a world where magic comes in hope and wishes and blue-haired girls fall for angels, flying sort of is a must. A connection and a poetic way of finding common things in each other.

This book is beautiful – whereas I had my issues with it and I postponed reaching for the second and the third one for a rather ridiculous amount of time , I can recognize the poetry of language and the rather fuzziness this book gives me.

You should read it if you want a great, intense love story a whole lot less dumber than “Romeo and Juliet”.

VI. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” -Richard Bach71728

This is a story about being different. Some sort of inspirational thing to keep you going, to give you a sense of who you are and the courage to do something crazy.

I read it 5 years ago, as the first assignment for my Romanian class in middle grade. I’m not sure I loved it, but I , for sure, got something out of it and it stuck with me.

You can always be Jonathan Livingston Seagull and fly away from your fellows.

It has a really nice metaphor for alienation, I really recommend it to people who feel misunderstood and alone.

VII. The “Harry Potter” Series by J.K.Rowling 

Ok, I know you might find this pathetic. Actually, you might find my whole list pathetic and rather weird, BUT I really think that flying is a huge thing at Hogwarts – I mean, just think about it – flying on a broom ( mostly for quidditch reasons), flying on the back of the dragon, flying on thestrals, the flying thing in which the Beauxbatons students came, led by winged horses, Buckbeak the hippogriff, Fawkes and his beautiful abilities.

All sorts of flight and flying things , all mostly related to magic and life/death situations , and all really inspirational for young me.

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Hope you enjoyed this winged idea of mine and you like the 7 stuff Sunday.

Gonna be back next week with a Top 7 Fall Books.