This Book (like the Movie) Started It All
Favorite Debut Book From an Author
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
I still can’t believe that Everything I Never Told You is this author’s debut! It’s a tremendously well written book about a Chinese-American family in 1970’s small-town Ohio and the pressures that Lydia, the favourite daughter, faces from her parents, both of whom are determined that she will fulfill the dreams that there weren’t able to. Told through exquisite prose, this quiet but poignant book hooked me from its first line, “‘Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.”
A Diamond in the Rough
Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of This Character in the Beginning But they Turned Out to Be a Total Gem
Sansa Stark in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
Like many readers, I was initially skeptical of Sansa Stark in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. She’s presented as a girl who enjoys embroidery, lemon cakes, and romantic stories about knights and is naive to a fault. When she is betrayed by her betrothed, resulting in the death of her father, Sansa has to grow up quickly. Held as a hostage in Kings’ Landing, she learns to become a player in the game rather than a pawn, but she does so without ever losing her kindness. I can’t wait to see what the rest of Sansa’s journey holds when Martin continues the series, because Sansa has become one of my favourite book characters.
A Book That Makes You Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention
To The Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf
This book has the magical power to give me insomnia. I tried reading it twice, made it twenty pages in, and promptly realized that I had taken in absolutely nothing each time. Third time wasn’t the charm for me, I gave up on the book.
Under the Sea
A Book With a Water/Ocean Setting
Adrift by Arlene C. Harris
I unabashedly love Arlene C. Harris’ as yet unfinished Pont-au-Change series of unofficial Les Miserables sequels. Sure it’s essentially published fanfiction, based very much on the source material, but I think it’s well-written and with strong characterization. As someone who, despite over 1,400 pages of content, wanted more of Hugo’s characters, I love these books. The plot involves author Victor Hugo, in the process of penning his great novel, by chance encounter running into ex-convict Jean Valjean and former policeman Javert, who fill in some of the gaps. This third book in the series takes place almost entirely on a ship, and even involves a mystery!
Beauty and the Books
Name a Book With the Best Bookworm/Book Lover
Irene in The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Does it get any better than an intelligent, practical, and badass librarian spy? Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious organization The Library, which harvests fiction from different worlds. Alongside her new trainee Kai, she’s thrust into an adventure that involves secret societies, danger, and magic, but it’s nothing this grammar-loving librarian can’t handle!
The Thief and the Princess
Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either in Terms of Romance or a Book You Didn’t Expect to Love So Much)
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wrecker
The premise of this lush magic realism set in turn of the century New York City is the unlikely friendship and romance between Chava, a golem made of clay and brought to life by a disgraced rabbi, and Ahmad, a Jinni made out of fire and born in the ancient Syrian desert. Although they come from completely different backgrounds, these two characters discover one another (neither one sleeps) walking and form a connection. It’s a beautifully told story and I’m so excited that there will be more (a second book, The Iron Season, is currently being written)!
The Real Life Princess
Name a Book that is Based on a Real Life Person You Want to Read/Have Read
The Chosen Maiden by Eva Stachniak
The Chosen Maiden is a fictionalized account of the life and accomplishments of ballet dancer and choreographer Bronislava (Bronia) Nijinska, the sister to legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, who was known as “Le Dieu de la Danse” (The God of the Dance). Told from Bronislava’s perspective, the novel explores themes of art and modernity as Bronia sees beyond her rigid classical training and strives to be a great artist, dancing and creating bold new works.
The Princess that Saved Her Country
Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know
Lada in And I Darken by Kiersten White
I love that there were several characters who came to mind when I considered which heroine to choose! Lada is definitely one of the fiercest characters I’ve encountered. A Wallacian royal, she’s ruthless, and fights the assimilation of her country into the Ottoman Empire tooth and nail.
The Princess With The Coolest And Most Diverse Crew
Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like Tiana’s group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, and more) or just diverse in general
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
It’s harder to get more diverse than Molly Peskin-Suso’s friends and family! The book’s protagonist is a fat girl, and her nearest and dearest include lesbian twin sister Cassie, their interracial gay couple parents, Cassie’s new girlfriend Mina, who is Korean and pansexual, etc. This was a really cute fluffy contemporary YA read that’s very positive.
Let Your Longggggg Hair Down
Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Of course the answer to this one is Les Miserables, with the Signet Classics translation (my personal favourite translation) clocking in at the 1,460 pages that have led the fandom to refer to the book as “The Brick” for its physical resemblance to one. Hugo probably could have used an editor, but I still really love this book and what an accomplishment it is to look back from the end of the book and think, ‘I read that!’
I Determine My Own Fate
A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
Sadly unlike fiercest heroine, it’s still difficult to come up with books where there is no love story/interest, or at least where it isn’t the main focus of the piece. This makes me incredibly sad, and I’d love more recs of books where a love story is not a major focus of the book. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword is decidedly not romance focused. Breq/the former Justice of Toren has more important things on her AI-mind than romance as she takes on a new role as Fleet Captain and leads the ship Mercy of Kalr on a diplomatic mission to Athoek, a planet known for its tea, which was annexed hundreds of years ago but is experiencing unrest. There’s enough world-building, fabulous social commentary, and character development in this quieter second novel of the Imperial Radch series that there is really no need for a love story at all.
Anna & Elsa
A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
I can’t imagine a book that more evocatively captures winter than this medieval Russian folktale inspired novel about the winter king and a brave and wild maiden. Vasya’s family sleep atop a giant oven, and the cold is vividly captured in Arden’s poetic descriptions. I wanted to curl up under a blanket with a cup of tea and never finish this enchanting book!
How Far I’ll Go
A Character That Goes on a Journey
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Rosemary goes on a literal journey, joining the crew of the Wayfarer, a small-ship that builds wormholes, to go off planet on a year-long flight. Although she’s initially running from her past, she discovers that family isn’t biological, it’s who you choose. The crew members all have their differences, but they care deeply about one another and respect each other’s believes and cultures.
I feel like I’ve been tagging people a lot and everyone’s still trying to catch up, so I’m not tagging anyone, but if you read this and feel like doing it, please consider yourself tagged!