Monday Musings: A to Z Book Tag

Welcome to Monday Musings, a series where I review books that I read pre-end of 2017, when I started writing wrap-ups, talk about characters or topics that aren’t as relevant, or sometimes a surprise non-bookish thing. This week, I saw this tag floating around forever and a half ago, thought it looked super fun, forgot about it, and then there’s been a small resurgence recently. The tag was originally created by Perpetual Page Turner, and this post has been sitting in my drafts for an age, so here we finally are!

This is going to be fun.

Author you’ve read the most books from

No one, including myself, is surprised by my answer:

Yes, that is both Maggie Stiefvater and I making not cute faces because I was overwhelmed and she was tired. I’ve read all 18 of her currently published books, and I already have Call Down the Hawk preordered. In fact, fun story, when All the Crooked Saints was coming out, I preordered it seven months in advance without having any clue what it was about.

Best sequel ever

This is the hardest question ever.

Actually? Nah, I’ve got it.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor because it did everything I was hoping for and more; it left me feeling satisfied, amazed, surprised, and awed all at once; and her mastery of language is up there with some of my favorites.

Currently reading

Oh lord, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, and it’s going to murder me, and I’m going to be happy about that.

Drink of choice whilst reading

Tea, always and forever. This is my tea shelf in my room:

yiAxEaVWSzO9uWLmLJmZFQ.jpg

Which is actually an old picture because I’m the worst and forgot to take updated ones this weekend. I have a bit of an obsession, which I also talked about here!

E-reader or physical book

Physical book. I’ve actually only read one book electronically, and that was the short story/novella for The Wicker King, and that was only because it’s not available in print.

Fictional character you would probably have dated in school

WHAT THIS IS SO–wait.

Sirius Black.

I don’t know why that was even a little difficult. But not Sirius Black the godfather, Sirius Black aka Padfoot aka the most mischievous little shit ever the Marauder. The crush I have on Sirius Black as a teenager is out of control.

Glad you gave this book a chance

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket because, even though it’s really grinded my gears a lot, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had a lot of people advising me to just give it up at different points (except for Jen, who swore up, down, and sideways that it would get better–spoiler, she was right), but I stuck with it, and though I still have one left, I’m happy I made it all the way through.

(the show, not so much)

Hidden gem

Oh hi yes The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I don’t honestly see a lot of people talk about this book, but I love it so much, I wrote about what to do when you’ve read a book that just makes you fall apart. This is a book that I reference a lot when searching for other books similar to it. I will often text Jen “I’ve found another Ava Lavender!”, and that post also contains all those I’ve found that remind me of it.

Important moment in your reading life

I know that you all think I’m going to say one thing, but truthfully, it was Lord of the Rings. It was the very first time that I wanted to read a book before I saw the movie. Harry Potter came out well before they started making movies, so I was already deep into that, but the first time I read Fellowship of the Ring was right before the first movie came out. I remember so vividly, too, sitting in the theater and absolutely bawling my eyes out when Gandalf falls to his death, and my dad just quietly leaning over and going, “Have you read Two Towers yet?” And I went, “YES BUT THIS IS STILL SAD.”

Just finished

Ohhhhhhh, well the book I just finished is going to count for another thing on here (regret), so the book I just finished that I don’t mind promoting is volume one of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno. I’ve read it twice before, once in high school and once in college, but coming back to it a third time has shown me two things: one, it’s so much gayer than I ever realized; two, Dante is the most dramatic little shit ever. (Also, three, it’s amazing, go read it.)

Kinds of books you won’t read

Um? Truthfully? I don’t think there is one? Young adult is my go-to, and fantasy is my favorite, but I’ve got two entire shelves dedicated to romance, a small section of horror, a whole shelf of nonfiction, a big collection of poetry, graphic novels, classics, middle grade, contemporary, adult literary–yeah, I don’t think there’s any kind of book I won’t read.

Longest book you’ve read

I was pretty sure I knew what this was, and for a second, I was like, oh I should list my top five longest so then a few others will get a spotlight, but they’re all by GRRM. The longest in the A Song of Ice and Fire series is A Storm of Swords, which I read in April 2012. I used to live-blog on Tumblr while I was reading, and I want you guys to experience the beginning:

and the end:

Oh man, I think I live-blogged almost all of them? If you go over to my Tumblr and search by the book titles, it’s a fun time.

Major book hangover

Alright, I’ve got two for this because I had very different experiences with both. First, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo left me in the weirdest book hangover ever in that, after I finished it, I embarked on a now almost two-year writing journey through what I fondly reference the Saintsverse on this blog. I also spent a few weeks after reading SOC saying that I was “not ready” to read Crooked Kingdom, and that I wanted to be in both “the right headspace” and in “prime condition” before starting it.

I don’t know.

The second one just happened recently! After finishing The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, I felt like I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there for many, many days and just not think for a little while. I entered a pretty bad reading slump, I didn’t want to write/create anything, and I was generally useless for about a week. It was fantastic.

Number of bookcases you own

Four! They’re all the Billy Ikea bookshelves, and I was going to post a picture of what they looked like, but I forgot was lazy this weekend, and didn’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it that I only have one and a half free shelves left because I own 600+ books AND I AM BEGINNING TO PANIC.

One book you’ve reread lots

This is also not HP! I’ve read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater SEVEN TIMES. I have my favorite scene from it (below) TATTOOED ON MY BODY.

It’s that time of year again. Tea and Sam Roth. @maggie_stiefvater #shiver #tea #hewasjustsam #yesihavethattattooedonmybody

I actually didn’t read it last year, and I think I need to very soon. I normally read it every winter.

Preferred place to read

If I had to pick one place, it would be the recliner in our living room. It’s right in front of the big window, and it’s attached to the couch, so any and all animals will come over and snuggle while you’re in it. It also doesn’t have a good vantage point of the TV unless you’re turned, so I can hang out with my family without being distracted by the TV. And I have read some really damn good books there.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read

Forgive me if this is not from the book (I can’t remember), but a quote that sits in my heart and has reminded me to keep going, over and over again, is:

Reading regret

I have so many, but the most recent one that comes to mind is Witch by Lisa Lister. Just don’t. Trust me. You’ll regret it, too.

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out)

Alright, buckle up, folks.

  1. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (I have ONE book left, and I’m reading it THIS MONTH DAMN IT)
  2. An Ember in the Ashes trilogy by Sabaa Tahir (I also only have one book left, which I just purchased recently)
  3. Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy (again, only one book; this seems to be my MO)
  4. Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez (I think I have two volumes left? And this is not because I’m procrastinating, but purely because I don’t want to be done with the series, so I’ve taken my sweet time going through them.)
  5. The Thousandth Floor trilogy by Katharine McGee (you guessed it, one left)
  6. Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor (oh my god, again, only one, but also I DON’T WANT IT TO END)
  7. Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud (this one I’ve actually got two left, and I don’t own the third yet)

I think that’s it? Oh, that’s not horrible. I have a few other series that I’m in the middle of, but not all the books are out, so this stresses me out a little less, ha.

ha

ha

Three all-time favorite books

Everyone always talks about how this is so hard, and it used to be for me, but then I finally realized that after all the usual deliberating and freaking out, I always have the same answer, so (and yes they’re in order):

  1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
  3. The Holy Wild by Danielle Dulsky OR Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Oh, this is so interesting to me, I had trouble with the third. I always have trouble with the third, let’s be real, because it changes so often. The first two have been my top two for literal years, but the third–well. I read The Holy Wild at the beginning of this year, and I have since recommended it to countless people. It was truly transformative for me. But Eragon was one of the most impactful books I read in high school, and it’s what jump-started a lot of my fantasy writing, so I have to give kudos to it.

Also, yes, I like a book more than HP, you’ll be fine. And POA is my favorite HP because, duh, Sirius Black.

Unapologetic fangirl for

MAGGIE STIEFVATER

For real, when I read Shiver, I handed it to no less than four of my good friends at the time and told them if they didn’t read it, we couldn’t be friends anymore. I’ve also dragged several friends to her talks, foisted more of her books upon my current friends, and one time, when All the Crooked Saints came out, I was leaving work early because I had a concert that night, but my friend, Jen, used to work in Boston, so–are you ready for this–I left work (in Beverly), went home (in Medford) first, picked up the book, went to the concert (in Boston) to wait in line, and Jen swung by on her way home from work to pick up the book before I went inside.

I think that explains my fangirling perfectly.

Very excited for this release more than all others

Okay, I’m not going to say Call Down the Hawk, I’ll think of something else. You know when you read these tags, and every other answer is Harry Potter, and you’re like wow come on, or the person is actively like “I’m trying not to use Harry Potter again!”

Hi, that’s me, but with Maggie.

What’s coming out this year?

WAIT

STOP THE PRESSES

GUYS

THE NEW QUEEN’S THIEF BOOK

THAT IS MY MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE

EUGENIDESSSSSSSSS MY BOY I MISS YOU

Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is going to ruin me. It’s next summer, and I fear I may perish before then.

Worst bookish habit

(I want to hide right now.)

I DOG EAR MY PAGES OKAY THERE I SAID IT

I’m not ashamed. But I know everyone in the book community is now gaping at me.

YOU’RE FINE

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book

UGH OKAY HANG ON I’M AT WORK BUT I CAN FIGURE THIS OUT

I’m not including the two TBR shelves at the top because I don’t know anything about any of those, but my first shelf starts with astronauts and then moves onto nonfiction, soooooo–okay never mind I surrendered and asked my mom to go look. And it’s The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventures, and the Dawn of Empire by Susan Ronald, which was one of those books that I bought because I was in an Elizabeth mood (approximately one million years ago) and was like, “I will study this!” I do that a lot, and then I never read them, but I keep most of them because years later, I’m still interested.

Your latest purchase

I don’t buy books one at a time. Instead, I like to buy them 17 IN FOUR DAYS:

I can’t say “in my defense I was left unsupervised” because I was not. Erin is just a bad influence, and it’s fantastic. #maryreads #amreading #readersofinstagram #bookstagram...
The last of this weekend’s book-buying haul just arrived in the mail, and this brings the tally up to (yikes) 17 books purchased in four days. The worst part is I won’t even be able to read these for another few months. 😭 #maryreads #amreading...

I bought the first stack on Friday, and the second stack on Monday morning. Don’t judge me.

So I only go book-shopping about every four months or so. Lies. Fine. Lately, I’ve been book-shopping every one-two months. Okay, fine. So my best friend lives up in Maine (so far, farther than you think, like wave to Canada while you’re there), and I only get to see her every other month, sometimes longer. This year has been a little crazy since we’ve had a lot of events to go to, but usually it’s about three-four months in between, and I typically only book-shop with her. Here’s how it happens. We walk into Barnes & Noble (usually the one in Burlington because it’s two floors and they shelves are huge), we immediately go to the YA section, and then we sit down on the floor for anywhere between two-four hours. This is why I buy 17 books at a time. There are so many new things that come out in those four months that I suddenly find in those two hours, and then I am dead.

To be fair to myself, I also read around 15-20 books a month, so I do get around to them pretty quickly.

Zzz-snatcher book (last book that kept you up way late)

Six of Crows, but I don’t want to list that again, so The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I did a lot of things while reading this book:

  • serial texted my buddy read in all caps a lot
  • read every article I could find (that linked one is my favorite)
  • gaped in disbelief at the character map that some clever soul put together
  • generally stared around blankly wondering if I was ever going to accomplish something so magnificent

I am a very dramatic being, I should have probably said that at the start, but all of these things actually happened while reading The Bone Clocks because–well, honestly, you really just have to read it to understand. And by read it, I mean everything by Mitchell.


That was so much fun! Did we have any books in common? Let me know in the comments!

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Mary RYT 200 Tibetan Buddhism Gryffindor Part-time witch, full-time novelist. Lover of words, planets, dragons, and mountains.

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