Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

A new dream cast post should be appearing soon, but until then, here are a few unpopular bookish opinions. Please feel free to share your responses to these questions too!

  1. A popular book or series that you didn’t like. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (see my thoughts here) and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein. I’m all for World War II stories, but I did not understand this book at all. I was so lost about what was going on and eventually decided to give up on it. (Here are a few more popular books I didn’t care for.)

  1. A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was one of my favorite books of 2016, but when I looked on Goodreads, there were a lot of negative comments.

  1. A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn people for spoilers) OR an OTP (One True Pairing) that you don’t like.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jami Ford – because if he loved her so much and did so much for her and her family, why didn’t he wait for her?…
  • How about Harry and Ginny? Who really believed in that match?!
  1. A popular book genre that you hardly reach for.
  • Biographies
  • Memoirs
  • Short stories
  1. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.

I didn’t make a connection with Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series. My first name is Anne, and my aunt gifted me the Anne of Green Gables books when I was younger and I just remember being soooo bored. I know Anne is experiencing a resurgence of popularity with an audio-book read by Rachel McAdams and a Netflix series, but I’m not interested.

  1. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.

Hm, maybe Rick Riordan of Percy Jackson fame. I tried reading the first Percy Jackson book, The Lightning Thief, but I gave up after a few chapters. It just didn’t hook me. This is possibly because I had seen the movie previously and it just wasn’t something I cared for, despite enjoying mythology. I’m also not much of a John Green fan (see here).

  1. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. (examples “lost princess”, corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.)

I’m getting tired of the “girl-falls-for-the-guy-who-is-mean-to-her” trope. It just feels like we can be doing better than perpetuating the idea of boys treating girls badly because they secretly like them. I’m all for a bad boy or a mysterious boy with a secretive past, but why must they mistreat girls and the girls put up with it?   

  1. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I haven’t read the books or seen the movies. Instead, while everyone was freaking out about Christian Grey, I was reading the epic romance of Tatiana and Alexander in Paullina Simons’ The Bronze Horseman trilogy.   

  1. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie,” but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

There are actually several movies I enjoyed more than their books – and I think it’s because I saw the films before reading the books (read my post about those book/film duos here). I didn’t have an allegiance to the books or notice that I was missing out on anything. One such film is Stardust, which was based on the book with the same name by Neil Gaiman. To me, the film added conflict and entertainment to a book that was too sweet.

Share your opinions in the comment section below, or post about them on your own blog and link back here so I can check out your answers. This isn’t a new tag, so if you’ve already responded to it, I’m still curious to know your thoughts!

Goodreads Book Tag

Thanks Rose Read for posting this book tag – I needed an easy blog post, too, after almost a week and a half vacation in Mexico (and two months since my last post…oops).

What was the last book you marked as read?

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

What are you currently reading?

  • A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell – a chick lit book for fun, as Brave New World was a bit heavy.
  • Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens – this month’s read for a social justice book club at a nearby church. This will be my first experience with a book club, despite being an English major and English teacher!  

What was the last book you marked as ‘to read’?

Loathe Thy Neighbor by James O’Brien – Immigration is a hot topic now, and this book discusses how “ugly prejudices are being fed by professionals grown fat on the fear and fury of their consumers” and how “it is time to stop and ask whether the faceless group of immigrants really exists – or whether it just appeals to our basest fears.” I saw O’Brien speaking in a video that was floating around Facebook and found him very intelligent and interesting.

Do you use the star rating system?

On Goodreads? Yes. I like being able to look back and see which books I truly loved. I also get a kick out of marking my rating and then seeing that a majority of people on Goodreads rated it the complete opposite!

Are you doing the 2017 reading challenge?

You bet. I set my goal at 50 books even though I read over 60 last year, but I feel like my two year old is going to keep me from getting there this year. Right now, I’ve read 11 books and am on track to complete the challenge.

Do you have a wishlist?

I have 56 books in my To Read list, but I’m not very good at using it when I’m in a library or bookstore.

Who are your favorite authors?

Caroline B. Cooney, Katherine Neville, Steve Berry, Paullina Simons, J.K. Rowling, Kristin Cashore, Rainbow Rowell, and many more.

How many Goodreads shelves do you have?

Besides the shelves Goodreads sets you up with (Read, Currently Reading, To Read), I also have Did Not Finish, Favorites, and Re-reads.

I tag:

My fellow Goodreads users! 

The Coffee Book Tag

Thanks to icebreaker694 for tagging me in this post. Like icebreaker694, I am not a coffee drinker, but I think I’ve got this.

BLACK: A SERIES THAT’S TOUGH TO GET INTO BUT HAS HARDCORE FANS

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner

mazerunnerSeriously, these books (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order) are frustrating for readers because Dashner builds suspense by only giving teeny, tiny bits of information. The first book starts with Thomas arriving in a place called the Glade. He has no memory of how he got there or memories of life before the Glade. An organized community of boys live in the Glade. Each day, some of the boys venture out into a giant maze in order to find an escape route from this strange place–but they must return before nightfall. Massive doors keep the Glade protected from disgusting, mechanical slug creatures called Grievers that would kill the boys. Their strange, though structured way of life is soon interrupted when a girl shows up in the Glade–and she appears to know Thomas. You’ll be scratching your head as you read. While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of the series, I did read ALL FOUR books because I had to know what on earth was going on!

PEPPERMINT MOCHA: A BOOK THAT GETS MORE POPULAR DURING THE WINTER OR A FESTIVE TIME OF YEAR

babyblessingschristmasbookThe Christmas Story, of course. There are countless versions of the birth of Jesus, but a favorite at our house is Baby Blessings Christmas. We read this book so many times that I have it memorized! “An angel said to Mary, you are God’s chosen one, to be the mother of his child, his one and only son…” I like the rhythm and rhyme of this book. It’s definitely great for little kids. It’s a board book too, so it’s nice and sturdy for babies and toddlers. 

HOT CHOCOLATE: A FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK

  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

giraffescantdanceThis book was published in 2001, so it wasn’t around when I was a child, but it is one of my favorite books to read to my daughter. I love the rhythm of this silly book about a giraffe named Gerald who attends the yearly Jungle Dance, only to be laughed at by the other animals for not being a good dancer. He walks away sadly, but a kind cricket gives him some advice that maybe Gerald just hasn’t found the right song yet. In the end, Gerald finds the music and the moves and the other animals are impressed! I talk about it more here.  

DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO: A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM START TO FINISH

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

readyplayeroneMy knowledge and experience of video games and role playing games is practically nonexistent, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this sci-fi book. This book imagines a world where reality has become so depressing that people mostly spend time online as avatars. They go on quests, play games, interact with people, attend school, and conduct business all through impressive computer systems. When the creator of this online community (a programming genius and ’80s pop culture nerd) dies, he sets up the ultimate quest. The main character, Wade, joins millions of others in an epic hunt through all things geeky of the 1980s. I was on the edge of my seat to find out if Wade could defeat the evil, corporate giant. There are tons of references to movies, music, manga, comic books, arcade games, and video games. Oh, and the warning that people shouldn’t only exist online: people need to live in the real world too. 

STARBUCKS: A BOOK YOU SEE EVERYWHERE

  • The Girls by Emma Cline

thegirlsThis was one of the most popular books of this summer. There was a lot of hype – which is expected when the 25-year-old author signed a three-book deal for a rumored $2 million. The Girls tells the story of a young girl who gets involved with a Manson-like cult. I was intrigued by the cover, the concept, and the hype, but the book didn’t deliver for me. It felt very repetitive and the scenes often felt too short to reveal anything important. While there is a graphic, gory scene near the end, it didn’t really feel like a climax because the readers were already told what was going to happen early on in the book. My biggest problem with the book; however, was that the main character didn’t seem to change or learn a lesson. She has these interesting experiences as a young girl, but doesn’t seem to do anything with her life from that point on. What was the point of it all?     

THAT HIPSTER COFFEE SHOP: A BOOK BY AN INDIE AUTHOR (SHOUT OUT)

Um, I can’t think of one. I went through my Goodreads list and I don’t think I’ve read anything by an indie author lately.   

OOPS I ACCIDENTALLY GOT DECAF: A BOOK YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE FROM

  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

luckiestgirlaliveThis book was being marketed as the next Gone Girl, so I was excited to read it because I read all of Gillian Flynn’s novels and she doesn’t have enough books! But Gone Girl this was not. The author’s writing style was gritty and the narrator was selfish, but it lacked the cleverness of Flynn. It was a bit more amateur. I considered giving up on the book many times, but it seemed like there was foreshadowing of something interesting, so I kept reading. Sadly, I felt there were a lot of missed opportunities in the book and too many loose strings. Don’t be fooled by the marketing! I wouldn’t recommend this novel.

THE PERFECT BLEND: A BOOK OR SERIES THAT WAS BOTH BITTER AND SWEET, BUT ULTIMATELY SATISFYING

  • The Sky is Everywhere and also I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

imageForget about John Green – these are the YA books you should be reading! Both are bitter because the characters are dealing with grief after losing a person who is very important to them. But there is a lot of sweetness as well as the characters gain hope. Sweetness is also shown in some humorous moments and some budding relationships. Nelson’s writing style is relatable and lovely. I read I’ll Give You the Sun first, so that book has my heart, but The Sky is Everywhere was wonderful too. I gush about I’ll Give You the Sun in this post and this one.   

GREEN TEA: A BOOK THAT IS QUIETLY BEAUTIFUL

  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

allthebrightplacesWow, wow, wow. This book is a must-read. This book covers mental-illness in a way that teens (and adults) can relate to and learn from. Violet, already dealing with the loss of her beloved sister, finds escape and hope with Finch, a classmate who is familiar with darkness. Violet gives him a new lease on life, and he tries his best to stay “awake” for her. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Finch is living with bipolar or some other type of mental-illness. Unfortunately, the people around him are too clueless to get him the help he needs. This book is so on-topic and wonderfully and powerfully written. I cried, I chuckled, I stayed up late reading – I was hooked.

CHAI TEA: A BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU DREAM OF FAR OFF PLACES

  • Anna and the French Kiss and Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

anna-and-the-french-kissThese YA books by Stephanie Perkins are cute, fun reads. In Anna and the French Kiss, Anna is sent to a fancy boarding school in Paris and falls for a super cute boy with a British accent – every girl’s fantasy, right?! In Isla and the Happily Ever After, the characters also attend school in Paris, but there are also moments in New York City and Barcelona. It makes you wish you had the jetset life that the characters in the book have.

EARL GREY: A FAVORITE CLASSIC

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

thegiverOk, so it’s not really that old (it was originally published in 1993), but it’s still a classic to me. Lois Lowry is a phenomenal Young Adult and Middle Grade author. This book focuses on a future that seems to be perfect at first glance. There is no fighting, no war, no greed, and no crime. But the main character, Jonas, soon finds out that his world is missing a lot too – there is very little choice or free will, there is no creativity or individuality, there is no color, there is no love. It’s just a carefully controlled world of sameness. It’s a classic dystopian story that readers of all ages can appreciate. (FYI: It’s completely different and completely 100% better than the movie that was released in 2014. Skip the movie. Read the book!)

A Book Battle

Ok, so one of my favorite blogs to read is Rose Read. The writer, Emily, is a former high school English teacher turned Library and Information Sciences grad student. She posted about a book battle tag today and I decided I’m doing this tag, too, even though I wasn’t tagged in it! I just like this idea, and amazingly, I’ve read all the books in this list. So here goes.

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blog who tagged you and link back to them
  • Your first book is the last book of the person who tagged you
  • Follow the list of books the tagger you gave you and then face off “book 1 vs book 2”
  • As soon as you have a winner, choose 7 more books and blogs to tag

Emily ended with Cinder by Marissa Meyer, so that’s the beginning of my book battle. Here are the books she chose for the next round:

  1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky
  7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

ROUND 1: Cinder vs. Illuminae

round1

Cinder wins. I just finished reading Illuminae two nights ago. While the last 50 pages were thrilling, I am hesitant to read the next book. Cinder, on the other hand, was a wonderful read and I read the next three books in the series…as well as the extra novellas, too!

ROUND 2: Cinder vs. Ready Player One

round2

I’m going to have to choose Cinder again. I really enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles. That being said, I gave both books a 4/5 rating on Goodreads. They’re both good!

ROUND 3: Cinder vs. Ender’s Game

round3

Oooo. This gets tricky. Cinder is fluffier than Ender’s Game, if you know what I mean. It’s girlier and there’s romance. It’s more fun. But then again, I really enjoyed Ender’s Game and read another book in the series too. The writing is smart and edgy. Hm. I guess…Cinder.

ROUND 4: Cinder vs. The Outsiders

round4

This may seem strange, but I’m going to pick The Outsiders. This was my favorite book to teach. This was the one book I had to tell students to not read ahead in, but then was secretly thrilled when they did! I had students who would take the book home and read it in one night. I loved reading this book out loud in class to my students. It’s a classic.

ROUND 5: The Outsiders vs. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

round5

The Outsiders. Easy. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is important, but Ponyboy, Soda, Darry, and Johnny have my heart.

ROUND 6: The Outsiders vs. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

round6

The Outsiders, no contest. I gave The Perks of Being a Wallflower a 3 out of 5 on Goodreads. I get why people like it, but it wasn’t a favorite of mine.

ROUND 7: The Outsiders vs. Eleanor & Park

round7

Eleanor & Park. This is the book that made me want to read everything that author Rainbow Rowell wrote – including a book that was just a fictional book within a book (I’m talking about you, Carry On!). I feel like Eleanor & Park is going to become one of those great Young Adult books that every teenager should read and love. It wasn’t just instalove like in a lot of YA books – it was a real, full-fledged relationship. The characters truly cared about one another and made each other better. I would have loved recommending this book to my students.

Ding, Ding, Ding! Eleanor & Park for the win!

If you’re interested in completing this book tag, you’ll start with Eleanor & Park for your first book, and here’s my lineup for the next battle:

  1. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  2. The Girls by Emma Cline
  3. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  5. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  6. The Martian by Andy Weir
  7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern