Books I want to read but haven’t because I figure I’ll put them down 15 pages in, so what’s the use? (Part Two)

Remember when I wrote that post about some classic novels I wanted to read but was too afraid to pick up because high school ruined classic novels for life? Well, to be honest I’m procrastinating. Instead of picking up one of those classic novels, I came up with a few more that have piqued my interest:

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen

1. Something by Jane Austen. I don’t care if it’s Emma, Sense and Sensibility, or Pride and Prejudice—just something by Jane Austen. The Book Rat makes me feel like I’ve been missing out on life since she re-reads Austen’s works like I re-read Rowling’s. Plus, Austen has to be doing something right if people keep adapting her work into new movies and new books.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. If being regarded as one of the most important pieces of literature in the world doesn’t make you nervous, perhaps the thickness of this mammoth novels will. I probably would have gone through life not giving Tolstoy a second thought. Then, I stumbled upon the blog, Books on the Nightstand, which was doing a War and Peace reading challenge. They made the novel seem so enticing, and ever since, I’ve been tempted to pick up the novel.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

3. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Medieval England. Cries of witchcraft. YaddaRomanceYadda. Richard the Lion-heart, King John, and Robin Hood! What’s not to like? Well, Robin Hood won’t be a fox, and Richard won’t literally being a lion, for start. I’ve had my eye on this novel for a while. I’m not sure what’s keeping me. It has everything I could ask for like legendary characters, history, and adventure. I’m pretty sure the simple fact that it’s considered a classic has me sticking my nose of at it. For shame!

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

4. Any book by Kurt Vonnegut. It almost seems like everyone has read at least one Kurt Vonnegut book (except me), and everyone seems to admire his work. But…what if I’m the only person who doesn’t like Vonnegut? Or worse, what if I don’t get it. The problem with Vonnegut is I’ve built him up in my head as some literary genius that I’ve become weary that it will all just be one huge disappointment.

Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

5. Same thing with Faulkner (except, I haven’t actually met anyone who has read his work and liked it…). I want to read anything by Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury. As I Lay Dying. Light in August. Absalom, Absalom! Go Down, Moses. Faulkner’s books seem so full of things I love—experimental writing styles and an array of vivid characters. What I’m afraid of? Well, again my own expectations. I honestly feel I might actually enjoy Faulkner’s work. But, what if it turns out he’s not half as good as Mark Twain or Flannery O’ Conner?

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker

6. Dracula by Bram Stoker. Honestly, I’ve never met a vampire book that I really enjoyed. Nor have I seen a vampire movie that kept my undivided attention. So, I’m starting to think there is something wrong with 20th century (and later) vampires. There must be something about vampires that make people obsessed with them, and I wonder if maybe Dracula holds the key. Or, maybe not. Maybe it will just reinforce my idea that vampires are really, really lame.

For the sake of keeping with my New Year’s Resolutions, which book should I pick up first?

2013 Tea(ish) Resolutions

New Year's Day, 2013

Hoorah! Hoorah! 2012, you were not my least favorite year of my existence thus far, but I’m glad to say goodbye to you. I rang in the New Year the same way I’ve rang it in for the past four years– lounging around in PJs and watching the Twilight Zone marathon. Thank goodness for Rod Serling.

Yesterday, I wrote about my bookish resolutions. But, I’m not done yet! I jotted down some tea(ish) resolutions as well:

  1. Drink more tea. I’ve reverted back to my old ways. I’ve received comments from my co-workers like, “I can tell when you make the coffee, Jackie. I drink one mug and my eyeballs start shaking” or “did you really just drink that entire travel mug of coffee in an hour?” And to the latter I sheepishly respond, “No…I drank two and a half…”. I can feel the effects of the amount of coffee I’m drinking, too. It makes me feel anxious all the time. And it’s really hard to look at things when my eyeballs are shaking (I’m only joking about that last bit. Kinda.)
  2. Be more adventurous. I have one bad experience with a type of tea, and I’m forever skeptical of that type of tea. For example, Oolong. I hated that tea for the longest time because I thought it tasted like mud and grass. Then I tried Six Summits Oolong from Teavana, and Ooooh Darjeeling from Adagio, and things changed a little bit. Still, I’m worrisome to purchase Oolong tea because of my first experience with it. Ultimately, I need to stop being a Nancy, and buy a bag of some dang Oolong! I think I tried to make this a resolution last year, but it didn’t work out too well.
    (Note: I don’t know any Nancy’s, so I don’t really know what their opinion on Oolong tea is. Perhaps they really like it. I don’t know).
  3. Invest in an electric kettle. This will directly help me with achieving #1, I’m sure of it.
  4. Try new brands. I pretty much stick to what’s available at the grocery store or what’s at Teavana. There is an entire world of tea out there that I haven’t had the pleasure of sipping. This needs to change for obvious reasons.
  5. Actually sit down and write a review of the tea I just drank. You guise, I’ve actually drank a lot of tea this year, and I tried out new flavors too. But, writing teaviews is difficult. Book reviews are easy-peasy because I’ve participated in book discussions for years (just through different mediums). But teaviews…my inexperience with tea affects my ability to adequately express my experience with it. Teaviews are more complicated than just describing the aroma/taste of the tea. It’s about the experience as a whole. How it makes me feel—warm and cozy, peppy and awake, nostalgic, creative, British?

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions. Oh! And Happy New Year’s to you all!

2013 Bookish Resolutions

It’s that time of the year again—when I become eager to set out before me changes that will benefit me. Like, exercising or eating less potato chips. I adhere to these changes for a few weeks before ultimately giving up. Before I know it, I’ve not changed out of my pajamas all weekend, and I’ve devoured an entire bag of cheddar and sour cream chips. I should probably admit defeat, but who am I to turn my back on tradition? Here are my 2013 book blogging resolutions:

  1. Scheduled Posts. Blog space providers have this neat function that allow bloggers to write posts in advance and schedule them to post in the future. I’d really like to use this more often. Hopefully it will help me not drop off the face of the blogosphere for months at a time. Consistency is key!
  2. Spotlight older books. Book bloggers go bonkers over new releases. I know my heart skips a beat when I have the opportunity to read an ARC (mostly because it doesn’t happen too often). Sometime I feel lame because I don’t have stacks and stacks of new releases lining my bookshelves. But, there are loads of older books (that the rest of the world can run out and purchase RIGHT NOW) that have been overlooked because of new release hype.
  3. Participate more in the community. I’m not talking about meme’s here, although I’m still keen on Parajunkee’s Follow Friday or For What It’s Worth‘s Blogger Confessions for the dialogue they create. I’m looking at you Read-a-thons and Bloggiesta! I’ve always had to work during Read-a-thons, but not this year. I’m clearing out my calendar just for you!
  4. Read more. Duh! I slacked off terribly this year. I read less this year than I did last year. And I stopped reading all together when I started my Intermediate Accounting class in Fall. Textbooks suck the fun out of life. With no more college classes on my agenda, there is nothing to compete with reading time. Er…except the three Mass Effect video games my mom bought me for Christmas.
  5. Be more critical of reviews. Is it just me, or are there far more positive reviews out there these days? I know everything out there isn’t golden, so what’s the deal? I’ve snagged far too many hyped up books this year that were a huge let down.
  6. Don’t create guidelines. On how many books or what types of books to read. Last year I joined several challenges—fairy tale retelling, e-reader books, non-fiction, indie-pubbed. I didn’t stick to them. I want to read what I want, when I want, and I don’t want to have to be conscious of what kind books I’m checking out. I don’t even want to bother with the Goodread’s book challenge this year! Around this time of the year, bloggers are celebrating the 150th book they’ve read. Meanwhile, I’m throwing confetti in the air because I finished my 20th book. I think you guys have superpowers!
  7. Borrow books from the library. Via e-reader! This is one of the reasons why I wanted a Nook in the first place, and I haven’t actually used this feature. I’m really bad at returning library books on time. Last time, I owed about $35. To make matters worse, I kept forgetting to pay it back so the library threatened to put me in collections. I’ve been ashamed to show my face around there ever since. Don’t have to worry about overdue books and collection agencies with e-readers though. Good ol’ e-readers.
  8. Read outside of my comfort zone. I’ll expand on this one a few days. It’s worthy of it’s own post, I think.

What are some of your bookish resolution for 2013?

Books I Missed in 2012

2012 was not a year of many reads for me. Frankly, I was a slacker, and I used my preoccupation with my Intermediate Accounting class as a scapegoat. [Digression]I earned a 100% on my accounting final. Oh yeah![/Digression]. There are loads of books on my TBR list that I never got around to reading.

Life Eternal, The Marked, Dearly Beloved

Of all the books that hit shelves in 2012, Life Eternal by Yvonne Woon, The Marked by Inara Scott, and Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel were the three books I’m most disappointed I didn’t pick up. These were the books I anticipated most this year because their predecessors made it onto my list of favorites from 2011. But, before I knew it 2013 was a few days away, and I never got around to snagging myself copies!

 

This is Not a Test, The Other LifeI’m a sucker for Zombies, and This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers seemed like a fresh approach to the somewhat saturated zombie market. Perhaps I’d be a sucker for Weepers too. I wouldn’t know because I never got around to reading The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker either. Oh woe!

 

Scarlet, Kill Me SoftlyFairytale and folklore re-tellings are abundant, and I’ve not been disappointed by any of the adaptations I’ve picked up so far. I’m happy to say that I read and LOVED Cinder by Marissa Meyer, but I’m disappointed that I missed out on Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen and Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross.

 

article 5I’ll admit it. My interest in this book was superficial at first. The cover reminded me of one of my favorite video games– Fallout 3. I wasn’t even disappointed when I found out this book had nothing to do with nuclear fallout, but rather it dealt with the abolishment of the Bill of Rights. Say it isn’t so! I lick my chops hungrily when I see this book. The sadness I feel for not having read Article 5 by Kristen Simmons is similar to the sadness I felt when I couldn’t eat chicken noodle soup for the two years I was a vegetarian in high school. (Note: Chicken noodle soup is pretty much my favorite food group.)

There you have it, folks. Of the myriad of books that were released in 2012, these eight were the ones I regret not reading with the rest of you. Which books do you feel you missed out on in 2012?

Books I want to read but haven’t because I figure I’ll put them down 15 pages in, so what’s the use?

The Great Gatsby, any book by Ray Bradbury that I’ve managed to get my hands on, Animal Farm, Huck Finn, and Catcher in the Rye were the only classic novels I’ve ever finished. And without the aid of Cliffs Notes Sparknotes (do people even buy Cliffs Notes anymore?)

I have a bad habit when it comes to reading the classics, and the bad habit is not finishing the books. I give up on them a handful of pages in even though I know these books must be held so high in people’s esteem for a reason. When I was in middle school and high school, I went on a classic novel buying binge because I wanted to be “well read”—whatever than means. I read a couple of pages, maybe a chapter or two before stuffing the books away in boxes that now sit in my father’s basement. Jane Eyre. 1984. Wuthering Heights. Treasure Island. Emma. Frankenstein. Fricken Heart of Darkness. And, (trust me) far too many titles I care to reveal for fear of judgment from literary snobs.

At least I tried, right?

But, I’m in my 20s now. I’d like to think I’m better able to appreciate the classics now that I don’t have to read up to chapter 10 and be ready for the quiz on Wednesday. I’d like to think I’m at least more patient than I was seven years ago to get past the stuffy language to enjoy the story. Maybe not. Regardless, I feel left out because my experience with classic novels is not as expansive as I’d like it to be. Below is a list of classic novels I think I’d like to read but haven’t because I’ve been deterred by my poor experience with classics:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I picked up this book at Barnes and Noble years ago. A gentleman passing by told me I held a great book in my hand and that is was the book that changed his perspective on the world. He walked away, and I read the back. I promptly set it down and walked away because it seemed dreadfully boring. Oh, I don’t know. What do you think? Everyone seems to be reading it, why shouldn’t I? Maybe things would have worked out differently if I had noticed Anthem first. On the plus side, the cover reminds me of the video game, BioShock, and I’m shallow enough to be persuaded by these types of things.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

2. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I still think this book sounds absolutely exciting, but one bad experience makes me wary to give this book another try. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to read this book when I was 13. I think I wanted to read books that made me seem enlightened, but all it did was fuel my resentment toward classic novels. I think I’m almost ready to pick it back up again. Almost.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. My experience with Tolkien is kind of similar to my experience with H.G. Wells. I picked up the trilogy after the Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters. All I knew was the movie was the greatest thing I’d ever seen in my 13 years of existence, so the books must be the greatest thing I’d have the pleasure to read. But they weren’t. I persevered all the way up to the third chapter in Return of the King. Then I put it down and never picked it back up. It was Tolkien’s world building that killed me, which is weird because I think that’s why Tolkien is such a popular author. I keep saying I’ll give the trilogy a re-read. I even dug up my old books. It just hasn’t happened yet. I did read and enjoy the Hobbit though, so that gives me hope.

Wishbone as Oliver Twist!

4. My desire to read this next author may or may not be because of a certain Dr. Who episodeCharles Dickens!  I’d also like to experience one of his novels without help from Wishbone. I’m sure Oliver Twist is great, but it’s Great Expectations that has continued to pique my interest over the years…mostly because my dad seemed to really enjoy the Great Expectations film featuring Ethan Hawke and Gweneth Paltrow, and I used to listen to the film’s soundtrack all the time back in high school (Tori Amos is so great).

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Was there a little girl who grew up during the 1990s that didn’t love this film? I know I adored it. Who am  I kidding? I still watch it! But, this is one of those books that I’m afraid I won’t like half as much as the movie because I’ve seen the film so many times. I bet this book goes perfectly with a spot of tea though!

For those of you who are wary to read the classics like me, are there any that have piqued your interest? Or, if you’re a fan of the classics, which books do you think I should read?

 

Books and Bubble Baths

Books for Bubble Baths

Credit: Katieshmatie

Books and bubble baths go hand in hand much like books and tea. (And books and tea and bubble baths go hand in hand in hand!) There are few moments in life that are more luxurious than soaking in lavender-scented water while reading a book. Honestly, besides curling up by the fire while drinking peppermint tea or finally discovering a winter sweater that isn’t itchy, I can’t think of anything. Sadly my current digs doesn’t have a proper bathtub for bubble bath taking. It does have an abundance of tea though because that’s how I waste my money. So, in conclusion, that’s why this blog is called Books & Tea and not Books & Bubble Baths. But, for just a moment, I would like to celebrate my quintessential bubble bath reads.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to read short stories while soaking in the tub. They offer good, solid stopping points– no cliff hangers that make you say “just one more chapter”. I couldn’t imagine trying to read an actual novel in the tub. I’d emerge four hours later looking like a wrinkly, 100-year-old woman.

The Books & Tea Top Picks for Bubble Baths

the Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

Pilgrims on their way to worship at the shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket in Canterbury stop at the Tabard Inn. Representing a cross-section of medieval English society, the group includes a knight and his squire, a prioress, a friar, a miller, and a wife. To amuse themselves on their journey, they agree that each will tell a tale. These stories—by turns bawdy, hilarious, scurrilous, romantic, heroic, and moving—reveal a great deal about the tellers and the world they live in, which, despite the distance of six hundred years, seems remarkably like our own.

I know what you’re thinking: “Hold Up! The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer? You consider this bath tub material? For realsies?” and “But, isn’t that like, a really long poem? Not a selection of short stories?” My answers: “yes” and “kinda”.

Look, I wasn’t expecting The Canterbury Tales to end up on this list. It just sort of happened. I bought the book because my English teacher kept talking about it, and I didn’t understand the references he made. Unknowingly, I purchased the “retelling” of the Canterbury Tales instead of that really, really long poem version. Which just made the whole text easier to digest. Next thing I know, I’m drawing baths just so I can read the book!

What’s in a Name by Ellen Wittlinger

What’s really going on here? There’s something brewing in the town of Scrub Harbor and it’s not just about changing the name from Scrub Harbor to Folly Bay. O’Neill has a secret. Adam is starting over. Christine has a crush. Gretchen has a cause. You’ll get an earful getting to know them! Each of ten teenagers living in Scrub Harbor, Massachusetts, explores his or her identity at the same time that the local residents consider changing the name of their town.

What’s in a Name by Ellen Wittlinger may not be my favorite book by the author (no, that’d be Hard Love). But, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s in a Name isn’t quite a collection of short stories. It’s actually a novel where each chapter is told from the point of view of another teen in Scrub Harbor. Each teen explores their identity as the citizens of the town around them fight to either change the name of the town or keep the name of the town. As if names have anything to do with identity, right? I think this books made an especially lasting impact on me because I read it the summer before I left for college. A lot of changes were ahead of me.

Girl Meets Boy: Because There are Two Sides to Every Story

What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of he said/she said stories; he tells it from the guy’s point of view, she tells it from the girl’s. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There’s the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated because there are two sides to every story.

If you’ve been in the YA book blogosphere for any amount of time this year, then you’ve probably heard of this title. You know, the one where a boy and a girl share their side of their romantic story? But, it’s so much more than just love stories. Girl Meets Boy deals with teens questioning their identity, much like What’s in a Name, and each individual is more different from the last. This book is also written by several, different authors, so the difference in writing styles was also a joy to read.

What about you, B&T readers? Do you enjoy reading while taking bubble baths? What are your favorite books to soak with?

TGI(A)F – Thankk God It’s (Almost) Fall

The weather here is waffling.  It wants to be chilly most of the time, but warm weather tries to sneak in every now and then.  At the beginning of the week there are frost advisories, and Michiganders who have the misfortune of having to wake up early to go to work, scrape frost off their windshields with ice scrapers (or if they’re unprepared, they use credit cards or driver licences).  By the end of the week, the sun tries to triumph over the cold front, and it’s about 75 degrees for a day.

I love Autumn.  It’s my favorite season even though it’s a sign that six months of freezing cold will soon be upon us.  Until then, this is what I get to look forward to for the next three months:

Orange and red and yellow leaves creating canopies
over the roads I drive, dancing as they fall off the trees, and
carpeting the once green lawns ++ the scent of dried leaves
burning in metal barrels along the side of the road ++ crisp
mornings and cool afternoons ++ scarf, sweater, and
mitten weather ++ an excuse to make soup and chili a
staple in my diet ++ pumpkin pie, pumpkin latte, and
pumpkin bread ++ apple cider (mixed with rum for those
who are of legal drinking age) ++ Halloween costumes
and Thanksgiving feasts ++ Snuggling under blankets
to keep warm on those particularly cold nights ++
holiday themed TV episodes

What are you looking forward to this Fall?

 

Listography: Best Picture Books Ever Part 1! (Well, according to me)

I’ve been in the mood for picture books, lately.  This happens about once a year.  I get a hankering to dive into the cardboard boxes holding all of the books that were important in my childhood and pulling out all of my picture books.  Unfortunately, these books are about eight hours away and sitting in my father’s basement, otherwise I would probably be sitting up until 4:00 in the morning reading all of them.  Instead, I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning the other night creating a list of all my favorites!  I’ve decided to split my list up into different posts, otherwise this post would probably turn into a novella!

Goodnight Moon, I Love You Forever, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear are staples, but here are a handful of books that are equally awesome.

Wednesday is Spaghetti Day by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
It is easy for me to understand why I loved this book so much when I was a child.  Catrina, the orange cat on the cover, reminded me so much of my very own orange cat, Miss Kitty.  Whenever I went to school, I often wondered if Miss Kitty was inviting her feline friends over for festivities.  What I don’t understand is why this book ended up in one of our garage sales!  Especially since I probably read this book the most of the ones I owned.  But, two years ago, I went home (from college) for the weekend.  I crept into the house at 1:00 in the morning and into my bedroom to find this very book sitting on my pillow.  My mom bought it for me during the semester I took a children’s literature course.  I pretty much cried when I saw it.

The Mitten by Jan Brett
As much as I loved the story, I loved the illustrations in this book even more.  It’s the kind of book where the illustrations “speak” as well as what is actually written.  Often, I would make up my own stories for the illustrations, and I would be entertained for hours.

Possum Magic by Mem Fox (Illustrated by Julie Vivas)
This book has an ultra special experience attached to it, and I think this is why this book remains dear to my heart today.  In first grade, I was in an advanced learning group, so sometimes I was pulled aside to do some extra projects.  One project involved reading this book and learning about Australia (where the story takes place).  This story is about a little bush baby who wishes to be invisible, so her grandmother puts a spell on her.  When the bush baby wants to become visible again, she must eat food from different places in Australia.  At the end of the project, those who worked on the project met in the cafeteria to feast on all the different things the bush baby did.  We had Vegemite sandwiches, Pavlova, and lamingtons to name just a few!  I wasn’t too keen on the Vegemite…

Have any of you read these books?  What are some of your favorite picture books, and why are they your favorites?


In Which I am Determined to Finish a Series Other than Harry Potter

I’m notorious for starting book series but never finishing them.  I think the problem is, I read the first few books of the series with ferver, but then lose gusto after a while.  Spending upwards of a month with the same characters, the same worlds, the same story is, for me, tiring.  I’ll eventually put the series on hold and move on to something else.  Unfortunately, this also means that I on occasion forget about them.  But then, I’ll come across a blog post, or the series will surface in conversations with friends, and I’ll remember how much I enjoyed those books and how I need to add them to my To-Read list.  Here is a list of series I’ve started, never got around to finishing, but mean to in the future.

The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
I started reading this series my freshman year of college, about 4.5 years ago.  I got as far as the Ersatz Elevator before I put the series down.  The series is repetitive, that is, each book seemed to follow a formula which, as anyone can imagine, can be boring.  But, I enjoyed the characters, the awful situations, and of course the writing so much that I’d like to pick up where I left off.

The story follows the three Baudelaire children after the death of their parents in a house fire.  The children are placed under the custody of distant cousin, Count Olaf, who means only to acquire the great fortune left for the children.  After the children escape Count Olaf, they move around from home to home only to find Count Olaf has discovered them and intends to ruin their happiness. 

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
I only got as far as the Arctic Incident which I believe is only the second book in the series.  I try to read one of the books each summer, although last year, I admit I didn’t.  Most of my books are packed up, sitting in my parent’s basement and when faced with what books to buy with my birthday money, I couldn’t remember if I already owned the Eternity Code!  (I don’t, I found out later). 

Artemis Fowl is a teenaged criminal mastermind whose goal is to acquire money through illegal schemes.  It’s business as usual until he crosses the beings of the Lower Elements, realm of fairies and other non-humans.  This begins both an untrusting yet symbiotic relationship between Fowl and the LEPrecon task force.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Once the movies hit the theaters I was obsessed.  I couldn’t get enough Lord of the Rings, so at the age of 13, I eagerly began reading the trilogy.  Only, I didn’t have the patience at that age to appreciate something like the Lord of the Rings.  I got all the way to the third chapter of the third book when I put it down.  I’ve not picked it up since in almost 10 years.  I’ve been planning to revisit the series though.

Geez, where to even begin?  Sauron, with a new physical form, has returned to Mordor, his old realm.  He needs the One Ring in order to regain all of his power.  He sends forth his dark servants, the Ringwraiths, to seize the ring.  After Frodo and Bilbo Baggins learn the history of the ring from Gandalf the Grey, Frodo is encouraged to take the ring away from the Shire.  Along the way, the Ringwraiths pursue Frodo and his hobbit companions who receive aid and protection from both Tom Bombadil and Aragorn.  When the company arrives in Rivendell, they learn the threat of Sauron is too great, and the ring must be destroyed.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I…I…I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this to someone other than my mom, my boyfriend, and the friend who lent me the first two books, but iliketwilight.  The writing is bad (how many times will Bella say she’s “irrevocably in love” and compare Edward to Adonis?), Bella is hardly the butt-kicking heroine that I much prefer, and Edward is abusive and otherwise a waste of space, but I can’t recall a time where I was so invested in a book that I actually completely tuned out the television or video games.  I read the first two books about a year ago, and I just received the last two books of the saga for Christmas.  I’ll be getting to them soon.

I’m not even going to bother writing a synopsis.  I know you’ve all heard about it.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
I picked up the first book of the series at my university library.  I had some time to kill, and I didn’t want to walk all the way back to my apartment.  I also didn’t want to get so into a book that I would end up weighing the pros and cons of skipping class just to read the book, so I picked the shortest one I could find–enter The Spiderwick Chronicles with its fantastic story and interesting illustrations.

The Grace family has just moved to the Spiderwick estates, and none are too thrilled about that.  Things start looking up when they find a secret den of their great-great uncle, Arthur Spiderwick.  Once they begin to read from his field guide, bizarre things start to happen; they can see creatures they thought never existed, and they have to defend the secrets of the field guide from the evil Mulgrath.

That’s about it for me.  I try to avoid series if possible for this very unfortunate habit of failing to finish them.  Are there any series that you’ve put down but have been meaning to resume reading?