It’s my birthday! Do you know what that means?
I’m older! 29, to be specific. Almost 30, which doesn’t freak me out the way I feel like it’s supposed to. Yet.
I wasn’t planning on writing a post today but I ended up having the time and felt like blogging, so I went in search of something fun to do.
That’s where I found: The Birthday Book Tag!
This tag originated from Antonia @ Always Books and I found it after doing a very sophisticated web search for the words “birthday,” “book,” and “tag.” Why not?
Let’s do thiiiiiiis.
#1 | Birthday Cake:
A book with a plot that seems cliché but you adore it anyway.
I didn’t have to think very hard for this answer. It has to be The Selection series by Kiera Cass.
This YA Fantasy series takes place in a country who’s Prince is looking for a bride. For 35 girls across the country, being “selected” is an incredible opportunity to live at the palace and compete for the Prince’s heart. These books follow our heroine, America, a reluctant entry into The Selection, as she undertakes this particularly fierce and surprisingly dangerous challenge.
This trilogy is exactly like cake: not a lot of substance but so much delicious sugar and all the calories and feelings you could want. I’ve read these more times than I care to admit haha.
What I really do love about this series though, despite what the synopsis may lead you to think, is the female friendships that develop over the series. So many feels. And yes, of course, the blossoming young romance and dramatic royal intrigue, I also love that too.
#2 | Party Guests
Your most anticipated book release for this year.
So I already did a post recently on my most anticipated reads of 2019, BUT. I do want to talk about one book in particular.
This book is a 2020 release (I HOPE) that I’ve been waiting on for- almost six years? It’s from one of my favorite authors, it’s the next addition in a series that I need more of dearly, and I’m so excited.
That book is Peace Talks by Jim Butcher.
If you’re a Butcher fan and you’ve been waiting for as long as I have, no more! (Or…a little bit more.) Butcher posted the words “THE END” on his twitter just a couple of weeks ago and confirmed that he has finally finished writing the book. We should hopefully see a release date and cover soon!
This makes me as happy as that girl right there. ^^
#3 | Birthday Presents
A book that surprised you with how much you loved it.
This was an easy one too!
Hands down, 100%, blew me away, was not expecting it: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
What. A. Book.
I do enjoy contemporary fiction, but I tend to most gravitate toward fiction that isn’t about just our mundane earth world. Not all the time, but this definitely happened with my expectations for Daisy Jones.
If you’re around the book community at all you have probably seen Daisy Jones talked about on booktube or on instagram or someone’s told you to read it (you should) and I saw all those things too, I just didn’t get the hype then. I’d never read anything of Reid’s before and it was a book about a band’s progression through their career in the 1970s and that just didn’t call to me. I put it on my TBR and expected to get around to it in a few years, like I usually do with uber-popular novels that don’t immediately fall into my hands or heart.
Dumbest thing I’ve done all year was put off reading this. I ended up coming around to it just last month because my book club chose it for our Book of The Month and just…damn. I listened to the audio, which I highly recommend, and I couldn’t turn it off. All day long I’d pause it to get something else done and then end up turning it right back on again. I almost wish I hadn’t finished it so fast, but I couldn’t help myself.
Occasionally, as readers, we get to enjoy the unique and delicious pleasure of being so wrong about a book we come to love. This was definitely one of those moments for me.
(I think this review is also scheduled for Monday? Keep an eye out!)
#4 | Happy Birthday Song
A book that certainly deserved all of the hype that it got.
Oh man, I might have to go back to Taylor Jenkins Reid on this one. RIGHT after I finished Daisy Jones and The Six, I rushed to the library and got my hands on her other hugely-hyped novel that I had yet to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. …And now I’m a hardcore Taylor Jenkins Reid fan. They were both spectacular, maybe my best books of the year so far.
In the interest of sharing the love though, I’m gonna spotlight another duo of novels that totally deserves all the attention and hype they (still) get: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.
I know, I know, I know, the book community are sick of hearing about these BUT- in the interest of fairness, it is my birthday and I can do what I want. *AHEM*
Maybe I’m feeling sentimental because of the new Crooked Kingdom Collector’s Edition (hint hint, to any present buyers lol) being announced recently, but I’ve been thinking about how much I love this duology a lot. I might need to reread it soon. Maybe a blog buddy read?
Six of Crows is essentially a heist story, except that it’s also set in a fantasy world (the same world as The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, if you’re familiar). Calling it a “heist book” is really a disservice but I’m not sure how else to describe the general plot, cause that’s what it is. What is really is though, underneath, is a dark, complex, slow burn, character-driven, emotional work of YA fiction.
Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to Six of Crows but I hesitate to say much more about it or its plot, to avoid some particularly good spoilers. Needless to say that I still to this day cannot decide if I liked it “as much as Six of Crows” or more.
I didn’t hate or love Bardugo’s first series, so when I read these I was so surprised and elated and knew immediately that I would follow these characters to the end. I felt so attached to the whole and flawed and beautiful humans in this book, and in a way that I haven’t experienced very often since I was a young reader. I love these characters so much and their victories and struggles absolutely become your own when you read these books. Its stuck with me to this day.
Have I talked enough about these yet? Okay.
#5 | Happy Music
A book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes.
Ooh this is a hard one!!
I’ve read so many books with quotes that I love that there are so many to pick from. And then some of my favorite quotes come from books that aren’t quoteable as a whole. Hmmm. How to choose?!?
I thought about Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I thought about The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I also thought about The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien and the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I treasure all of these books, but especially for their words in this case.
Ultimately, I chose The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.
I really love this book. I know its polarizing, people seem to either really get it or really don’t get it, but it’s special to me. This simple, little story is about following our dreams and realizing that our destiny is bigger than the limits we put on ourselves. Its about following the path that is truly ours and coming to understand our place in the universe (or God, or whatever you believe is bigger than we are). I come back to this story a lot.
Here are some of my favorites:
“You will never be able to escape from your heart, so it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
“And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”
“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the soul of the world, and one day it will return there.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever truly suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”
“Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”
“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.“
#6 | Getting Older
A book that you read a long time ago, but you think you would appreciate more if you read it as a more mature reader.
Ha, I feel like there are a ton of possible answers to this one, for sure.
My first thought were all of the children’s books I loved as a kid that have such timeless meanings and words in them: The Velveteen Rabbit, The Giving Tree, Love You Forever, to name a few of them.
But when I really sat down and thought about which one to highlight, I kept coming back to something I actually reread recently: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
That might be a trite or a common answer, I don’t know, but I also found it to be true. I loved Harry Potter when I first started reading the books at age 11, I loved Harry Potter when I finished the series for the first time at 18, and I love it now that I’m an adult. Honestly, it’s almost difficult to talk about all the things that HP makes me feel because of the many, many layers of love and memories, from so many different times in my life. Its almost too much.
What I noticed reading through it again as an adult though was this: the true darkness, complexity, and weight of everything those characters deal with was not something I could wrap my head around at 11. I thought I got it all at 18, but even then I don’t think I really grasped some of the deeper, emotional components that come from experience. There were moments during my reread that truly reached out and touched something in me that made me stop. I think there’s something about being an adult, after you’ve felt so many of the complicated, mixed, and heavy feelings that come with being mature, that gives over a new perspective to our sense of empathy. I felt the books so intensely this time around. Maybe that’s because it had been a long time, maybe because I was older and savored every word and feeling, maybe both. Not sure. But I think the emotional heart of this story is very multi-layered for different ages.
#7 | Sweet Birthday Memories
A book that made you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life.
This was a tough question also!
Books are my number one companions when I’m down and I tend to withdraw into stories when things are especially tough, so I feel like I could name so many.
I’ll call out a few, in the order in which they entered my life:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Both the Tortall & Circle series by Tamora Pierce
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Anything by Jenny Lawson
I have gotten lost in all of these pages for a day or a few and they have each been so generous and comforting to me. I literally can’t count all the times I have picked up one of these books hoping that it would sweep me away and I’ve never been let down.
Oh man! This book tag was awesome and had some hard questions, I seriously struggled with a few, but we did it! I wasn’t planning on writing a big post today but hey, this was fun. Thanks for spending my birthday with me! See you on Monday! x — A
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Let me know in the comments which books hit these birthday marks for you!