Friday Face-Off: Over the Rainbow

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It’s the right day again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme…did not actually speak to me.  So I’m taking advantage of the freebie option to use the Friday Face-Off format but choose my own theme.  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, I decided to do a cover featuring a rainbow.

The first book with an important rainbow to come to mind was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum…though I admit the rainbow was more prominent in the movie than the book.  Which might be why it doesn’t show up on more covers!

This cover with that little smudgy rainbow in the background was the only rainbow I could find!  Which makes the whole idea not so appropriate for the holiday, but by now I’m invested in the Wizard of Oz idea, so…

I like the style of this one, both fun and artsy, though the lion turned out a bit cartoonish…

I like the framing effect here, and the image of the four friends journeying together.  I’ve always had a soft spot for images of people walking off down a road though–there’s such possibility!

I like the high drama of this one!  It’s also quite different from most others, which almost universally show Dorothy and her friends, and/or the yellow brick road.

My favorite cover is…actually the very first one up there!  There’s a funny bit of history to Oz illustrations.  I read all the illustrated editions of the entire series, and the strange thing is that they changed illustrators after the first book.  So all the later books have a particular, very charming art style, which just doesn’t exist for the first book.  So covers of The Wizard of Oz always look wrong to me!  And the first one, while not the same depiction of the characters, seems the closest to “right” in art style.

Along with the notable lack of a rainbow on Oz covers, I also noticed that not a single one I could find actually shows the Wizard of Oz!

Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you buy all your books? If yes, do you keep them all? If no, where do you source them?

I buy almost none of my books.  Virtually everything I read comes from my local library.  I’ve said for years that I could never afford my book habit if I had to actually pay for my books.  Last year I read around a hundred books, and it was a serious drop-off from most years.

Shall we run some math?  I’d guess at least a third of what I read last year were audiobooks, which are typically more expensive than print ones.  So let’s say I got really good used book deals on the paper books and spent an average of $5 per book.  If I went the ebook route, I think that’s still realistic.  Audiobooks, I think we have to say $15 to be even faintly plausible.  So that’s…[calculator on my phone]…approximately $1,000.  I could buy a signed L. M. Montgomery book for that.  Let’s assume that a decent number of those paper books were new books I had to buy at higher prices, call it a $15 average for the paper books too, and we’re up to $1,500.  And remember, I’ve typically read twice that many books.  Some are coming off of my own shelves, especially when I’m reading at a higher quantity, but I think we can still conservatively say that a typical year of reading, if purchased, would cost me around $2,500.  That’s most of a trip to England, right there.

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Book Review: The Golden Road

I never closed the loop on this one from the January L. M. Montgomery reading challenge.  I reviewed The Story Girl, then went on to reread its sequel, The Golden Road.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the first book…and then got more clarity of my earlier impressions by rereading the second book.

The sequel picks up much where the last book ended, and continues in the same style.  The children of the King family ramble around their family farm and orchard: Dan, Felicity and Cecily, hired boy Peter Craig, neighbor Sara Ray, Toronto cousins Beverly (a boy, despite the name–also the narrator) and Felix, and cousin The Story Girl, so nicknamed because of her telling of stories.

On a surface level this book matches the previous one, but once you scratch said-surface it isn’t really the same after all.  It’s still a lot of light-hearted stories about a group of children in Prince Edward Island, and the stories still centered around Montgomery staples like family gossip, school trials, the local colorful character Peg Bowen (who the children are convinced must be a witch), and the raptures of nature.

Despite all that, I rather think the sequel has been letting its predecessor down.  I’ve always read these books as a unit before, never stopping to analyze them separately, which I think is why I never realized how good The Story Girl is…because The Golden Road doesn’t live up to it.

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Blog Hop: Paper or Pixels?

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Have you made the switch from print to e-books? Is either one exclusive?

I am still holding out with paper books.  Too much of my life involves a screen: professionally, in my personal projects (writing, blogging, and so on) and in my entertainment (TV).  I still like looking at paper when I read.

I get it, though.  I understand the appeal of carrying many, many books in a light-weight fashion.  Right now I’m reading an 1,100 page behemoth that even in paperback has some weight to it.  I find myself less likely to wax poetic about the joy of paper and the smell of old books (although it is a nice smell) than I might have done five or ten years ago.  I feel like the big ebook vs. paper book debate has actually settled down.

People got intense when ebooks first arrived.  Now it seems like people have settled into their preferences, and ebooks have not been the death of paper books.  Which is nice.  Because I still like reading on paper instead of looking at a screen.  And I still don’t trust that digital books I buy will remain accessible as long as my paper books.

I have gone over to digital audiobooks.  And that is nice, to just download books from the library onto my phone, instantly, and carry them around.  I may get into ebooks some day, especially borrowed from the library.  But for now?  I still like paper.

Friday Face-Off: An Old World

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Time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – A cover with abandoned building/s

I’m going to fudge a little bit here, because the book that immediately came to mind is The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis, with the fantastic and fascinating old world of the White Queen.  There’s something about the ancient ruins of the dying world that grabbed me–but apparently not cover artists!   By contrast, I don’t even remember the flying horse that shows up on a good half of the covers out there…

This is the only cover I could find with anything at all of the White Queen’s ruined palace, and frankly it doesn’t look remotely the way I pictured it.  I was seeing more marble and sandstone, and smoother, grander structures than this.  More ancient Rome, less Middle Ages.

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Book and Movie Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

As part of my goal to read more love stories in 2019, I decided to give To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han a chance.  I really enjoyed the movie version, so I figured it was worth trying the book–even though I wasn’t really a fan of The Summer I Turned Pretty, also by Jenny Han.  Well.  It turned out this was one of the rare times when the movie really was better than the book.

The fundamental premise of both the book and the movie is slightly absurd–teenager Lara Jean writes love letters to her crushes, not to send them, but just to put her feelings into words.  She writes them, addresses them, and then puts them away to save.  But then her letters get mailed by mistake–including the one to Josh, her sister’s (very recently) ex-boyfriend.  In a panic to hide her feelings for Josh, Lara Jean tries to convince him that she’s really in love with Peter, one of her other letter recipients.  Peter just broke up with his long-time girlfriend, and suggests that he and Lara Jean pretend to date, to make his ex jealous and to throw Josh off the track.

Like I said, it’s kind of absurd, but worth going along with.  At least in the movie, which had a lot I liked.  It’s a cute, funny teenage romantic comedy, with a silly premise but believable and likable characters.  I like that it has a lot of diversity–Lara Jean and her two sisters are biracial, Korean and Caucasian; besides their parents’ interracial relationship, none of the guys she crushes on are Asian.  Mostly white, one is African-American (and gay).  But what I liked best was that Lara Jean used her words, a lot.

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Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples

I love Top Ten Tuesday and rarely post for it–but this seemed like a perfect topic for Valentine’s Day!  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, with a new topic each Tuesday.  This week, it’s romance.

I wandered through my bookshelves, and pulled out a stack with my favorite romances in them–with a few bonus bromances and womances.  In no particular order…

1) The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Arabella and Turnip – I’ve written at length about these delightfully unconventional romantic leads, who are overlooked by everyone but each other.

2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane and Mr. Rochester – I know he has some serious problems…but Bronte punishes him so thoroughly and humbles him so completely that by the end of the book I really believe their romance.  And the last section is rather adorable.

3) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney – Mr. Darcy is the famous Austen hero, but I ❤ Mr. Tilney instead.  A smiling man who reads Gothic novels and knows his muslins–what’s not to love?

4) Enchantress from the Stars by Silvia Louise Engdahl
Elana and Georyn – The only bittersweet ending on my list, a beautiful love story about two people from, literally, different worlds, who change each other forever but can’t ever be together.

5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:
Well, everyone – This quartet has four wonderful, engrossing love stories.  Cinder and Prince Kai were a hair behind the others; Scarlet and Wolf were as marvelous as Winter and Jacin; and my favorites were Cress and Thorne.  I have a soft spot for charming rogues with good hearts.

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