When I started reading The Great Gatsby I fully expected to be blown away nearly a decade after first reading it in high school. I simply wasn’t. If it had pulled me in as I’d expected, then I’d have finished it by now. I think I’ll tackle Thirteen Reasons Why. I see no reason why I wouldn’t enjoy it. And, I’m in a slump. 🙁
When I quit my job at Half Price Books recently I had a tough choice to make. I could either buy all of the books I wanted before my employee discount was no longer valid or I could just forget about them. I of course chose to buy.
This is the result. There were so many I couldn’t get them all in the picture for the thumbnail. Ha!
Now watch! It’s super quick!
Last week the BBC Culture website declared 1925 as the “greatest year for books ever”. Ernest Hemingway published his first book, a collection of short stories called In Our Time. Virginia Woolf published Mrs. Dalloway. And F. Scott Fitzgerald released The Great Gatsby. There were a few more prominent titles released, but these three are the top of the class.
So now to answer the question as to whether or not 1925 was the greatest year of books ever. Well, I guess? I really have no idea. Partly because I don’t know publication years for hardly any books, but also because I think it might be close to impossible to get down to one year. Think of all the books released in 2014. Then think of the books that stand out above the rest either because of popularity or quality. Then do that every single year. I think it’s cool that they tried to decide this, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily true.
The other years said to be in contention were 1862, 1899, and 1950. You can read about 1925’s releases and also those from the other years here.
Do you think 1925 was “the greatest year for books ever”?
I’m talking about assigned school reading here. Schools down here in Texas mostly assign classics in the classroom, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to see some more variety. I’ve heard of teachers assigning The Hunger Games for class. Like…where the heck was that teacher when I was in school?! I know John Green’s books are assigned. And several others. But my experience in the classroom was with books that were written decades before I was born, and sometimes centuries before.
Let me just make a random list of books I remember reading in school. This isn’t necessarily going to be in any order or by genre or anything. Romeo and Juliet. Does that even count? The Odyssey. Dracula. Jurassic Park. 12 Angry Men. Was that originally a book? The Great Gatsby. Beowulf. I’m just naming whatever I can think of. I’m sleepy. I Have Lived a Thousand Years. Of Mice and Men. That’s all I can come up with. I just sat here rolling my head on my desk in an effort to stay awake. I don’t think that list really fits with my previous assertion that I read a lot of classics in school. Oh well.
I know there are a million more books I was assigned during my time in school, but I only listed out those books for your benefit. I know which book was the best. Dracula. I’ve written about that book several times on here, because it’s quite honestly the only assigned reading book that’s stuck with me. I don’t hardly remember any part of any other book I was forced to read in school. But I remember the Count. I remember Mina. And Lucy. And Harker. Van Helsing. The gypsies. Shapeshifting. The pure evil of it all. And no, I didn’t take a look at the Wikipedia page for the book. I don’t have to. I even know the year it was published by memory. 1897.
I know I liked The Great Gatsby, but I couldn’t tell you hardly anything about the story itself. Oh! We read The Giver in 8th grade. No idea what it was about. I know Jurassic Park pretty well, but that’s a good book while Dracula is iconic. The others…eh.
Now you know the best book I was forced to read in school, what’s yours?
Don’t worry, I’m not going tell you about ten books that have stayed with me. Cause I don’t think I have ten, or five even. But in the name of kinda sorta not really participating in this little Facebook tag that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, I’m going to talk about it.
I’ve just read an article that states that Facebook has determined the book included the most in responses to the tag is…can you guess it? I could have. Easily. I’ll give you a second to think about it.
Here’s a hint if you’re still thinking. The main characters in the book go to a special kind of school by the name of Hogwarts. The most common response to this particular Facebook tag was the HP series. I think it’s understandable considering who I think is more likely to be on Facebook responding to these kinds of things. Would I have included the series? No. I think the movies are great and the books are likely a bit better, but have they stayed with me? I don’t think so. They’ll ultimately just be really great books that I think generations upon generations will continue to read. But I’ll just be reading through them once.
The rest of the top 20 on the list compiled by Facebook is about what you’d expect. Here it is:
1. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling – 21.08%
2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – 14.48%
3. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien – 13.86%
4. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien – 7.48%
5. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – 7.28%
6. The Holy Bible – 7.21%
7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams 5.97%
8. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – 5.82%
9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – 5.70%
10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5.61%
11. 1984 by George Orwell – 5.37%
12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – 5.26%
13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – 5.23%
14. The Stand by Stephen King – 5.11%
15. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 4.95%
16. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – 4.38%
17. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 4.27%
18. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – 4.05%
19. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – 4.01%
20. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – 3.95%
Stephen King is perhaps the only mild surprise if you ask me, but eh I’m no expert. What do you think of the books people are saying have stayed with them? I know it’s completely subjective, but we all have opinions. If you’re wondering, my entire list would consist of The Diary of a Young Girl and The Hunger Games. No more. Dracula would be very close to being included.
Besides letting me know what you think about the top 20 responses, let me know why particular books have stayed with you, or if you’ve written this post link to it in the comments and I’ll take a look at your picks.
I snagged this list from here.
So we’ve reached the final set of questions. I think you’ll know just about all there is to know about me and books and reading once we finish this last bunch. But if you need to catch up, here are the links to the previous posts with the questions leading up to today’s post.
All caught up? Perfect. Let’s see what else I have for you all. Fair warning, this is a little lengthy. As in my longest post I’ve written. But it’s okay. There are some great questions toward the end!
41. The longest you’ve gone without reading
Well I didn’t hardly read at all during middle or high school. I mean, those are like full time jobs. Where could I find the time? So I’ll just say I’m sure somewhere along the line I made it a full year without reading a book from start to finish that wasn’t assigned reading.
42. Name a book that you did not finish
Well up until very recently my list of DNFs was quite small. But then I just started reading some books I didn’t like. I’ll just mention the most recent one. A Wrinkle in Time. And it’s so short, but I hated it from page one.
43. What distracts you when you’re reading?
Everything. I’m almost always in silence when I read. Occasionally I’ll read with the TV on mute.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel
This is tough. I think I’ll have to declare a three-way tie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But the only thing is that I haven’t actually made it that far into the world of Harry. Those two are based solely off the movies because I think they were great. I’ve obviously read Catching Fire and saw the movie on release day and thought it was true to the book and better than the first.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation
The Great Gatsby (2013). When you see that cast you expect a pretty damn good movie to result, and it didn’t. I had this on my DVR for months and I finally started watching it a few weeks ago. To say that I was wildly disappointed would be an understatement. I just didn’t understand the crap music in the movie. And it won a freaking Oscar for it! Just didn’t like the final product that was adapting a great, great book.
46. The most money you’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time
I’ve never been one to buy a bunch of books at once. It’s expensive. And you all know I only read one book at a time. I’ve spent maybe $35 on Amazon at one time. And I think when my local Borders store was closing down I may have spent between $20-$30. I’ll never spend more than that at any one time. Makes no sense. I’m sorry I’m not rich like you.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Never. I read mostly series. And when I finish one I don’t even see what the next is about before buying it. I’ll literally read the back cover text of the book seconds before I start reading the book. I have no idea what the book is about until I’m ready to read it through. Just how I am. Skimming a book seems like stealing to me. Why not just go to Barnes and Noble everyday for a week and finish the whole book there? That’s what skimming is like to me.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
The story. The main character. The writing. Any number of things. One of the most recent books I stopped halfway through was because the author wrote entire chapters of description. These were like 25 page chapters of nothing but description. not only was that boring, but holy crap it was annoying. Give me some dialogue or action or something!
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Whaa? I love books. More than non-book blogging people can possibly understand. You know how we randomly play out crazy “what-if” scenarios our heads to see if we’ll know how we’d react? Well I do that all the time. And very recently I thought of a house fire and what I might do. Guess what I came up with rather quickly? I’d break the window in my room by throwing my night stand out and then I’d grab one of those super heavy duty trash bags and just start throwing all my books in there as fast as possible. I think they’d all fit without ripping the bag. Then I’d throw them through the window and see what else is happening in the house. So yes, I keep my books organized because they’re my most prized possessions. Sure I have one on my bed and a few on my desk, but my shelves are perfect.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away after reading them?
Reread my answer to the previous question. Do you honestly think I would give away books if I’m over here talking about breaking windows and inhaling smoke just to save my books? No. Matter of fact, hell no. I will never give away any book I own. Even the ones I don’t like. And it really ticks me off to see that some people are willing to give away boxes and boxes of them. If there ever came a time in which I didn’t have enough room to keep all of my book, then I would throw away unnecessary furniture or I’d have them in storage or in the garage if it was climate controlled. I don’t care what you say, there will never be a valid reason for me to give away any one of my books. And when I’m older and dying I’ll probably leave them to someone in my family who vows not to ever give them away, in writing. If no one like that can be found, then I’d donate them to a library or charity. They’ll never just be given away. Rather serious answer there.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Avoiding isn’t the correct term. There is only one type of book that I’ll never read. Erotica. Cause no. Even though there are several books I’m not interested in reading like Twilight, I would read those four books fifty times before ever reading erotica.
52. Name a book that made you angry
Crap. Plenty of books have made me emotional. But I really can’t think of one that made me angry. Honestly, I don’t get angry but in very specific circumstances. Books don’t fit the bill.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did
The Hunger Games. Shocker, right? It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to like it, it was that I had no idea what it was about or why the heck my brother had been telling me over and over to read it. It was one of those rare instances in which I went in with no expectations because we all know my take on recommending books. Just because he liked it didn’t mean I would. But hey, now I’m obsessed with the series and I’ve been introduced to my future wife in Jennifer Lawrence and I’ll likely be getting that mockingjay tattoo I told you all about.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, we’ve all seen the first movie. And probably many of you have seen the second. I really thought this would be a great book. Roald Dahl is freaking beloved. But it wasn’t. It was not good at all. Oh well.
55. Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading
Nothing. I read whatever I want. Period.
Yeahhhh! All done! Any thoughts on the last bunch of questions? Or are you just ready for me to get back to my regular posts? Probably choice B. No worries. Monday shall be more normal.
I’m sure you’ll recall that last week I wrote about several books that I would never read under any circumstances. If not, you can read that post here. Immediately after writing that post I thought it only fair that I write the opposite post. So now you guys get a few books that you absolutely positively must read. Ready? Off we go.
1. The Diary of a Young Girl
I was lying in bed trying to come up with a short list of books to include on this list and this one was a given. It took about eight seconds for me to come up with it. Any person over the age of probably 12 who has studied any bit of world history knows something about the story of Anne Frank. I learned about it in high school and I’d already known a bit about it before. The thing is that when you’re being taught about the happenings of her family in the middle of a curriculum that is already overloaded with information you get to spend so little time on specific topics. Which is why her diary is a must read. You get EVERYTHING. From her. Fear. Hope. Depression. Happiness. Everything. You should have read this by now. I wrote a post about this book as part of my journey to read the Amazon 100 books list that you can read here.
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
This needs little to no explanation. My reasoning for naming the first in the series is because I’d never recommend reading any series from a middle book, and especially not one as great as this. I’ve also written a post about this book for the same reason as Anne Frank that can be read here.
This was another easy pick for me. I surely hope you’ve read it by now because this is definitely one of my favorite books that I somehow don’t own! But seriously, when I think vampire I think Dracula. When I think evil I think Dracula. When I think monster or man vs monster I think of this book. It makes no difference that it was published over a hundred years ago. This is one of those books that will remain for all time. At least I hope so.
4. The Hunger Games
You didn’t think I would write a post like this and leave my favorite series ever out of it, did you? No. I couldn’t do that. Honestly, I like Catching Fire just a bit more than the first in the trilogy but again, I can’t recommend that you begin a series with the middle book. That’s crazy. I stated in my post about my favorite series that Suzanne Collins had me crying within the first chapter of the first book of her series. The rest of the book was just as well written, paced, and truly fantastic as that opening chapter. If you don’t want to read this, fine, leave my slice of the blogging world. Leave now!
5. Divided Within
Did you catch what I did there? That’s MY book! Ha. No, I don’t think my book is anywhere near any of these others. BUT I would love for you guys to read it. It’s my baby. I’ll stop short of demanding that you buy it as soon as you read this post because, quite frankly, I’m not that worried about it at this point. If you’d like to read it thennnnn please go ahead. If not, I still like you. Okay, I like you a little less now. Can’t be helped.
A little note about this list. I only included books I’ve actually read. So I’m sure some of you guys will wonder how come none of the all-time greats are listed. That’s why. Because I haven’t read them. Remember, that’s the whole point of my tackling the Amazon list. One book that I almost included on this list was The Great Gatsby. But I read that book so long ago and so many since that I just don’t remember hardly any of it. And I haven’t read LOTR. Yet. So don’t yell at me that my list is flawed. It can always be updated.
What do you think of my little list here? Like? Dislike? Want to throw me out a window? Let me know!