How the Reading Taste Evolves

genreMy reading taste has evolved immensely since I started loving to read in the third grade. (Thankfully). Some of you may know that the reading bug hit me with Treasure Island, but I never pursued another book similar to that genre.

My obsession turned to children’s literature (appropriate considering the fact that I was in fact, a child).

I only read R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew series. My mother would try to offer different choices but I just shook my head at her and pointed at the next Nancy Drew book to add to the shopping cart.

You see, my thinking was that since I loved these kind of books I couldn’t possibly like a different genre that wasn’t in any way similar to MY books. Why should I even try them out?

Don’t worry I moved on. I left elementary school for the scary and new middle school where there were no swing sets. My mother had been trying to get me to read Harry Potter forever but of course I would just say, “Why? There’s a new Goosebumps book right there!” She took me to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the movie theater which convinced me to give the book a try. Low and behold, a new obsession was born.

My new obsession was fantasy

I hungered for Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and the His Dark Materials trilogy. If it didn’t have magic, talking animals or dragons then it simply wasn’t a book worth reading. My mom would shake her head at this and I would shake my head back. She didn’t get it. She would read anything. But I was a one genre kinda gal.

So I survived middle school in one piece and moved on to the even scarier high school. My freshman year (please try not to judge me on this part) the Twilight fever hit.

New obsession: Paranormal Romance

Yes I am admitting to hopping on the train of the Edward craze. Soon after that I was reading everything that promised angst and love triangles. (Mortal Instruments– I’m looking at you). Simply because, love triangles were SO original and SO realistic and was made all the better if there was a mythical creature involved. “No.” I would tell my mother, “I don’t want to read that, I want to read this one about this girl who falls in love with this vampire.”

Which one, she would say.

Towards the end of my high school career I had to read The Kite Runner for my English class and was utterly captivated by the novel. I immediately went to my mom and demanded she read the book, “It will change your world,” I said, “Read it!”

She laughed.

Of course she had read The Kite Runner already and loved it so much that she not only owns it but also A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini’s other novel. But this isn’t why she laughed.

She laughed because here I was telling her to read a book. Telling HER! When she had recommended hundreds of books to me over the years and every time I would just stick up my nose at her and say no.

Needless to say, I got a taste of my own medicine.

I learned to broaden my taste. When someone recommended a book I would take the time to read it. As a result I have discovered a love for historical fiction, science fiction and classical literature. I’m also going to try horror very soon for which I am both excited and scared about, but nonetheless I’m going to try it, because my mother recommended it and she has never led me astray.

Every time my taste developed it was forced because of my stubbornness and snobbery. If my mother had never made me try other books I could still only be reading Goosebumps books today.

I’ve noticed that not only am I better reader for it, but I’m a better person for it too. My views on life have broadened dramatically and I’ve learned an incredible amount of interesting things that I never would have from Twilight.

Now, I’m not trying to take away anything from those genres. I still enjoy young adult novels, I’m just happy that along with City of Bones on my bookshelf I also have The Pillars of the Earth.

I also know that it’s perfectly okay for someone to only like one genre. As long as people are reading, we should be happy.

I just know that I am so grateful for all those times others broadened my reading taste. Does anyone else feel this way? Comment below and let me know! Happy reading!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

witch*This review does contain spoilers

Novel Facts:

  • Published: October 16, 1950
  • Publisher: Geoffrey Bles
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Series: The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Pages in Paperback: 76
  • Preceded by (chronologically): The Magician’s Nephew
  • Followed by (chronologically): The Horse and His Boy
  • First published of seven novels although chronologically it takes place secondly in Narnia history
  • Quote: She did not shut it properly because she knew that it is very silly to shut oneself into a wardrobe, even if it is not a magic one.”
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Book Depository
  • threeandahalf

Plot:

When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realize what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.

Review of the Characters:

Aslan– The King of Narnia, who is both Great and Good. I love the way the beavers describe Aslan to the children, how he is not safe but he is on the side of good. As the son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea Aslan’s power and goodness is unmatched. It is obvious that C.S. Lewis intends for Aslan to represent Jesus Crist in the Christian religion. Aslan sacrifices his life for others; endures torture during the process and after being sacrificed is resurrected. Aslan is almighty and it will be interesting to see his participation throughout the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia.

The White Witch– Just as in The Magician’s Nephew, the White Witch is evil to the core which again, is forgivable since she is not human. She represents everything humans should avoid: cruel, power-hungry, sadistic and lack of hope (I mean she made it always winter but never Christmas for goodness sakes). Since Lewis deemed the White Witch as the “Emperor’s hangman” ensuring the right to kill any Narnian caught in the act of treachery, it can be said that she therefore represents Satan; to whom the souls of damned sinners are forfeited. However I am conflicted in making this connection as Aslan so clearly represents Jesus while the connection to the White Witch is not so clear. (Can I say that she died pretty easy? If I was an animal in Narnia I would wonder why Aslan did not dispose of her before, but then again you don’t question Aslan).

Edmund– I liked Edmund very much as I feel he was one of the more accurate descriptions of humans. I’m not saying that I would find it normal for humans to betray family, I’m saying it is normal (especially for children) to give in to temptation. It was nice to see him grow and learn from his actions as we did when we were young. (I have countless stories of learning about the consequences of my actions). Edmund was human, he was a good person but a person with faults which is all the more relatable to children.

Review of the Story:

You can’t help but become enchanted as you read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is a dream world that beckons all children. Full of talking animals, palaces and evil witches, this novel makes for an epic fantasy adventure. My only concern was that the ending was a bit easy, however I do have to take into consideration that it is children’s literature. I was expecting a suspenseful battle scene with the White Witch, who seemed unbeatable but further thinking on this made me realize that she was already beat when Aslan sacrificed himself for Edmund. Therefore, the battle scene did not matter.

Review of the Writing:

As he does in The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis continues to write in a tongue-in-cheek way that speaks to children. This tone contrasted with fantastical creatures makes for a fun read. Along with this, Lewis includes several references to the Christian religion such as an allegory of Christ, Satan and the Stone Tablets. Since the connection of Aslan to Jesus and the White Witch to Satan has already been touched on I’ll move straight to the Stone Tablets. The Stone Table in Narnia represents the Stone Tablets that Moses brought down which contained the 10 Commandments. In this period it was very harsh, with the punishment of death for sins. However, after Aslan is resurrected the Stone Table breaks in half representing the end of the harsh period and the beginning of more forgivable time in which you can seek atonement for your sins. (That’s just my take anyway). I should note that although these religious references can be made they do not in any way eclipse the story. In other words, I do not consider this a novel in which the author is preaching.

Rating:

I highly recommend The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for anyone who would like to partake in an enchanting adventure. Although written for children, it is a story that all ages can (and should) enjoy!

witchandwardrobe.jpg

Overall Rating:
threeandahalf

P.S.– My next read is The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (the horse better not die)!

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist WednesdayIn the famous word of Snow White, “I’m wishing (I’m wishing) for the one I love, to find me (to find me) today.” In this case (actually in most cases) the one that I love is a book, three in fact.

I came about Wishlist Wednesday hosted by the ever so lovely Pen to Paper. (Please check out their blog, it’s awesome).

Wishlist Wednesday is a meme that allows you to turn the spotlight on a few books that have been sitting on your get-to-eventually list for a while. Books that you dream of claiming their rightful spots on your bookshelf. Really you’re suppose to just pick one but I can’t pick just one (I know, I’m a rebel), so I have chosen three novels that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

mountainsKhaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramification of their lives and choices and loves around the globe– from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tino– the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

I’m a huge fan of Khaled Hosseini, having enjoyed both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns I immediately moved this novel to the top of my wish list. If it is anything like his previous two novels than I know it will be riveting.

stardustIn the sleepy English countryside, at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall, so named for an imposing stone barrier that divides the village from an adjacent meadow. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in this wall, in order to keep the curious from wandering through.

Here in Wall, young Tristan Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant– as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristan see from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristan vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining.

But Tristan is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises– and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.

I absolutely adore the movie, so when I heard that it was also a book I (almost) literally jumped for joy. I know that movies are often different than their book companions but the blurb seems pretty accurate so I’m willing to give it a try.

cuckooA brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story. His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to him.

You may think you know detectives but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Okay, you caught me, I added The Cuckoo’s Calling to my wish list the moment I heard it was written by J.K. Rowling. However, that does not mean that I’m not interested in the novel, which I very much am! I don’t generally go for mystery novels even though I enjoy them so I’m knocking two birds with one stone with this one.

Those are my wishes this Wednesday. What are your wishes? Comment below, the wishing fairy is reading!

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 12

15-Day-ChallengeIf you haven’t heard of this challenge by now then you should know it’s so much fun! It was created by the blogger of Good Books, Good Wine and has really been causing me to think of how I run this here old book blog. Now, on to today’s challenge!

Day 12: How do you fight blogger fatigue?

Honestly? I would welcome some blogger fatigue at this point. I’ve become somewhat obsessed with blogging to the point where certain family members are starting to raise questions. I tell them they don’t understand, how could they? They don’t have a book blog, they don’t know what it’s like to wake up and see that someone LIKED your post! No, I tell them, you don’t understand.

I spend hours upon hours on WordPress posting, tweaking, reading, commenting and just about everything else you can do on this lovely website.

When I’m not on WordPress, I’m at my desk writing posts by hand, brainstorming reading related ideas.

When I’m not at my desk, I’m talking about my blog, reading for my blog, asking for blogging advice.

They said it was hobby. They said it was a side activity for fun. They said.

Blogging has become a BIG, HUGE, GINORMOUS part of my life and you know what, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Blogging makes me happy, blogging about books makes me happier.

So I guess what I am trying to say in a roundabout way is that I would welcome blogging fatigue at this point (or at least my family would welcome it)!

What about you? Do you experience blogging fatigue? If so, how do combat it? Let me know by commenting below and happy reading!

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11

15-Day-ChallengeI can’t believe it’s already day 11. What is this in reference to some of you may ask? To the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge why of course, says so right in this post title. This challenge was created by the blogger of Good Books, Good Wine (a great title) and is extremely fun. If you are a book blogger, I urge to try this challenge. You won’t regret it (and if you do, oh well, no harm done). On to the challenge!

Day 11: Show off 5 of your best blog posts

I am very hesitant about this one, because what I think might be my best blog posts may not be the same as what you think are my best blog posts. I’m just going to do the ones I enjoyed writing the most, I think it’s a general rule that if you enjoyed writing it, readers enjoyed reading it. Am I right, or am I right? (I know, I’m presumptuous).

5. 40 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down— Okay so I’m already breaking the ‘if I enjoyed writing it, you enjoyed reading it’ rule. This wasn’t one I had a lot of fun writing but it’s stayed in the top posts and pages widget for over a month, so I’m guessing the people liked it.

4. Reading for Fun vs. Reading for School— I enjoyed this because I had kept it in for so long. If you like to review books people like to automatically assume that you enjoyed those english assignment in which you pick apart a book. I didn’t.

3. Sidetracked— This one was fun, because I couldn’t believe my attention span was so short this day and it made me happy that my readers understood. (You guys are awesome)!

2. Deserted Island Interview— This was one bad dream but you guys helped make it all better.

1. The Book vs. The E-Reader— I loved this one because one, I got to blog about my friends and two, I got a lot of insight from my readers on this debate.

So those are my picks. Did you think I should have chosen a different one? What are some posts that you are particularly proud of? I would love to know so please comment below and happy reading!