Thursday, March 31, 2011

Literary Hop - The Stigma of Classics

It's Thursday! The sun's out! Classes are over and I just had yummy pancakes! Okay, the sun isn't really out anymore, but it was when I first started thinking about this question. That totally counts. Anyways, It being Thursday also means another awesome thing -It's time for the Literary Book Blog Hop! As always a huge thanks to the ladies over at the Blue Bookcase for hosting my favorite biweekly event!
Literary Blog Hop
Now for the fun stuff. This weeks question is -
Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the affect you believe a book’s “status” has on your opinion of it.

I'd like to say I'm not effected by the public opinion of books, but that would be a bald faced lie. I spent the better part of my teenage years living under the opinion that classics were books everyone had heard of but no one had read. What can I say, no one in my immediate family is a big reader and I didn't really have anyone to prove me otherwise. So when I finally got around to reading the likes of Pride & Prejudice or The Picture of Dorian Gray* I already knew what was going to happen.  However this doesn't really determine how I feel about the work after I've read it.  In general I like to read "the classics". I like getting references ingrained in society and feeling like I'm in on some joke (or a really juicy secret), and in that respect, yes, a books status does effect me, but only so much as it gets me to read it. Once I'm speeding through the pages it  has always been up to the author to really make me love their work. 

I have a different sort of relationship with the contemporary "classics". You know, the ones everyone is reading and raving about, with prize winning authors and really deep subject matter? I feel like at least at first I'm predisposed to dislike them. I hate reading a book and finding that there are two dozen reviews posted within the last day that sum up exactly what I'm feeling. I hate it even more when I'm let down by one of these books and get attacked because I "must not have gotten it." Maybe I didn't get it, or maybe I just had a different opinion. I know. Shocking. 

*and many others

Hope everyones thinking up some really awesome April Fools Day tricks!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Paris Wife - McLain

Paula McLain

Who is Hadley Richardson? That seems to be a question she herself is asking, that is until she meets a young Ernest Hemingway and falls madly in love with him. After a short time courting they find themselves married and living the starving artists dream in Paris surrounded by the pioneers of the "Lost Generation". But can they stay this happy forever?

Hemingway as a person has taken on an almost mythical persona in our time. A quick glance at his wikipedia page will show you numerous marriages, endless wars, bull fights, plane crashes and an eventual suicide. McLain does a fantastic job of exploring his early life in Paris, through the eyes of his first with Hadley. In The Paris Wife, Ernest seems like any driven young artist, working hard and living even harder. It is easy to see the transformation he goes through with fame, and he becomes a like-able antagonist.

While Hemingway's portrayal is great, that of Hadley Richardson is spectacular. The story is told by Hadley looking back on her life. Even knowing the outcome (the prologue ends with a warning to be on the lookout for the woman who will ruin your marriage) she speaks with an honest voice, looking back on the good times fondly and the bad honestly. She is hard on herself, which can be wearing at times, but it always comes back around. This is truly the story of a woman who put her life aside to help her husband and found that in the end it didn't matter. I know, that doesn't sound very modern, or even very hopeful - both of which are things that Hadley herself points out - but she grows from this experience and has her own happy life after Ernest.

I was very impressed with McLain's prose. Her words flow effortlessly together and I found myself swept up in them before I was convinced I would like the story (which I did).She also has a way with minor characters. Paris in the 1920's is a crowded place, especially in the ex-patriot scene. McLain presents Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stien, and the Fitzgeralds magnificently. With so many people coming in and out, often people one will have heard of in passing it could have been easy to get these minor characters confused with one another, but McLain works hard to make them each an individual.

Overall I was really impressed with The Paris Wife. It's not just for fans of Hemingway's work (which I am not) or of his life, but for people who love a good story. A great example of Historical Fiction not featuring someone related to Henry VIII!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Overrated Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.

This week's topic was top ten authors that require more recognition, but I was able to come up with a whopping two (Tracy Chevalier and Carol Goodman) who sort of fit on that list. I decided to do a 180 and give you -
My Top Ten List of Authors Who Need to Take a Very Long Vacation from Publishing

1. Dan Brown - I don't mean to be one of those people who attack Dan Brown. I've read all of his Robert Langdon novels (which I went from enjoying, to tolerating, to actively disliking), and because of this I would really like him to take a long look at himself in the over-hyped author mirror. His stories seem rushed and his writing style is sloppy. The world doesn't need more Robert Langdon and it certainly doesn't need more Dan Brown.

2. Stephanie Meyer - I tried to read Twilight. I did. I promise. I just couldn't do it. I truly appreciate the things Meyer's books have done for young readers, but she is beyond over hyped. Oh, I also have a problem with the relationship dynamic she has deemed acceptable, and the fan girls she has created because of it.

3. Danielle Steel - Surprise! I use to really like romance novels. Mind I was 12, and they were easy to read and YA wasn't a big thing yet. There are just so many stories one person can tell, and I would much prefer quality over quantity. 90 something books are enough.

4. Nicholas Sparks - Sparks was a big part of my tween years. I read A Walk to Remember over and over and over again. A Teacher even let me do a report on him (WHY?!?!). Looking back at the books I read of his, they are all pretty much the same, sad, someone usually dies, they're all set in North Carolina and there in general seems to be a lack of hurricanes. His writing style isn't overly impressive, and seeing the things he's coming up with now they seem more forced than anything. No one needs to write a book with the intention of it being made into a movie starring Miley Cyrus. I could probably even forgive him for that if he didn't go on a rant last year about being a very important author who didn't write romance stories. Liar.

5. Charles Dickens - I've been good lately! I haven't mentioned my Dickens vendetta in months! This is a strictly personal thing. I get that he's a prolific author and that it's wrong to attack dead people who can't defend themselves, but I find him boring as tree bark. And not pretty tree bark that is used in statues or looks like a unicorn. Dead tree bark. For me Dickens writing style ruins the story he is trying to tell. I like his stories. When people talk about them (or I look them up on sparknotes -shhhh don't tell anyone) they seem interesting and full of life, but then I try to read them and I fall asleep almost instantly. My biggest problem with Dickens comes from the fact that I have never had this exact conversation in a class, because it seems people either have to love him or hate him, and there is no place for me  - the girl who wouldn't mind if you reenacted Hard Times with sock puppets so long as you weren't doing  a reading from the novel.

6. Dave Eggers - For all intents and purposes I should love Eggers. I love his contemporaries and I love love love McSweenys. I just think he's a bit to big for his britches. Everything I've read of his screams pretensions. Again, I usually enjoy the idea's behind his stories, but the way he's telling them makes me grind my teeth. This is nothing compared to how people talk about him. It's like he's the reincarnation of Dickens (not stylistically), writing all of the books and making all of the fan girls want his babies.

Okay, this list ins't much longer than the one I came up with for the actual topic, I'm sorry.  As always, I mean no offense to anyone and welcome civil discussion! Oh, and I'm really excited to hop around to all of your posts because I obviously need to read great, unknown authors!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling

JK Rowling
(Review contains slight spoilers. Read at own risk)

Harry's ready for his 4th year at Hogwarts, but as usual things are not as they appear. Wizards have been going missing and Voldemort's supporters are getting braver. This would seem like child's play if Harry didn't have a sneaking suspicion that someone was trying to kill him. When his name comes out of the Goblet of Fire and Harry is forced to participate in the deadly Triwizard  Tournament he has to learn to juggle school work, friends, crushes and the constant threat of Voldemort.

Goblet of Fire marks a real change in the series. I know I said that about Prisoner of Azkaban, but stay with me. Goblet, at a hefty 700 pages is action pact. Previously Rowling has shown her audience a relatively normal year at Hogwarts before shoving as much important information into the last 100 pages as possible. Here the information is evenly paced, and there is so much happening that it's hard to get tired of any one storyline.

It is with Goblet that the series takes a darker turn. We witness our first real time death. The stakes are raised with Voldemorts supports getting braver and Voldemort himself making a brief, but very important appearance. Goblet also reveals a lot more information about the dark arts with the introduction of the unforgivable curses. Goblet is definitely the turning point in the series. It is here where the books become for a slightly older audience, and where the characters themselves really start to grow up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.

This Week's Topic is:
Top Bookish Pet Peeves 

1. Non Bookish People Pretending to be Interested in What I'm Reading::
I know I should try and embrace every even mildly interested in books, but are you really going to understand me if I start babbling about Foer's prose or Salingers characters? No. I'm also willing to bet that you knew you wouldn't have heard of the book I'm reading when you decided this was a great way to start conversation.

2. Mistreated Books:
First I want to admit that I do write in books (don't flog me yet). I almost exclusively underline memorable quotes or translate foreign passages in the margins, and I do it sparingly. I see no reason for page after page to be nothing but highlighter, or for 30 pages in the middle of my copy of Catcher in the Rye to be missing. Also, if I ever see anything like what happened to that poor used copy I bought of 1984 ever again, where people are writing "He's sad" and "She's confused" next to underlined passages that SAY THOSE EXACT WORDS I will put the book out of it's misery. Lastly, never spill anything on a book I own. Ever. I don't know who got fruit punch all over my copy of Catch - 22, but I think there is a special place in hell for you.

3. People Who Only Give Positive Reviews:
This was the best book ever? Was it better than that book you read last week that was the best ever, or the week before that? I get it, sometimes you're on a winning streak and you pick up hit after hit. That doesn't go on forever. Please be honest. I read reviews to get a sense of the author and their work and to determine if I'll like it, and if you're to chicken to say "well, I didn't really like this because" than maybe you shouldn't be blogging. I really appreciated honest reviews and really make an effort to post nothing but honest opinions here.

4. Audiobooks:
I can't get into audiobooks. I own exactly one, a version of Emma I bought off of iTunes. I paid attention to it for all of three minutes before I found my mind wandering. I have a very, very hard time concentrating on something that is strictly audio. I guess this is more of a weird jealousy than an actual pet peeve, because I don't mind people who listen to audiobooks, just as long as it isn't loudly in the car I'm in, I just wish I could be one of you. I'm jealous of you're ability to multi-task and and getting to listen to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter.

5. Follow to Enter Giveaways:
This is not an attack on Giveaways, and I totally understand where this is coming from. I don't particularly feel like giving away a book or giftcard to someone who stopped by my blog for two seconds and will never return. On the same token I want my followers to want to follow me because they like what I'm doing and not because they could use $10 at amazon. I'm kind of picky about who I follow, well, I don't know if you can call it picky, but I only follow blogs that I know I will actually read. I still follow some 150 blogs.

Where this really comes from is the giveaway hops that have been happening lately where I feel like some people are just trolling around for followers, and that kind of irritates me. I'm aware most people don't have this problem, and I appear to be on a very high horse for someone who doesn't get very many comments per entry, but I'm kind of opinionated.

Weak and Uninteresting Characters:
I know I've ranted about this before. Characters are what make stories for me. I need interesting people in difficult situations. Hell, they can be interesting people in mundane situations. JUST MAKE THEM INTERESTING. I'm looking at you, Ms. Swan. If the character is whinny and complacent and unwilling to actually do anything for themselves, I want to throw the book through my window, and no one wants that.

6. Painfully Predictable Stories:
I like Carol Goodman. A lot. She does a great job of using as well as creating new fairy tales and weaving them into a bigger work. That being said I know exactly how many characters are going to die, what age groups they will be in and the approximate page number the 'twist' will come out on. Oh, did I mention that I'll have already figured on the twist 20 pages in? This isn't a trait specific to Goodman. I see it all over this weird mysterious/suspenseful/still mostly generic fiction section (look! I created a genre!). I get that it's hard to be unique, but I get amazingly irritated when I can start mocking a stories end before I've even finished the beginning.

7. People Who Do Not Return Books:
Please just give them back.Especially if it's a book I said I absolutely adored, and you see that I've underlined quite a few passages.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban - Rowling

JK Rowling

Harry's ready for his 3rd year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but it isn't going to be the calm year he hoped for. The infamous murder, Sirius Black evidently wants him dead and the school is being gaurded by Dementors who seem to effect Harry worse than anyone else. At least he's got his best friends Ron and Hermione to help him through lessons, and a new favorite teacher in Remus Lupin, who might hold more information than Harry could imagine.

Prisoner of Azkaban is a changing point in the series. We are given a handful of new, important characters in Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, as well as the biggest appearance of Minster for Magic Cornelius Fudge. With the help of these amazing new characters we get light handed exposition that rockets the entire series forward in a way that makes starting Goblet of Fire difficult to put off.

It is in Prisoner of Azkaban that Rowling really seems to have found her characters. Harry grows into his own as he deals with images of his parents death and new knowledge of what caused it. While Harry has always outwardly been a hero, it is here that his internal compass catches up to him. Ron and Hermione also have great growth. Hermione continues to test her theory that there are things more important than rules, and Ron shows that he is deeply capable of love, even if it is for a disguised rat.

Prisoner of Azkaban is pretty much a universal favorite. Now that we have spent two books with all of the major players we're given interesting plot devices and back story. My only issue with it is that, like the previous two, all of the action is crammed into the last 70 pages and sometimes the set up doesn't get the intensity of payoff one would expect.

I'm off to finish Goblet of Fire!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Continued Adventures in Bookbinding

 It's been weeks since I've updated you guys with my new favorite hobby/class! I am happy to present you all with my adventures in bookbinding, volume 2. We've been pretty busy in class, and usually get through one good sized book and one paper/demonstration type book each meeting. These are just some personal favorites and or technically impressive books I've made in the past few weeks. 

This is my long stitch book. It has sixty pages split up into six folios. I added a Harkavagrant to the cover when I got home that day so I could use it didn't look so plain. I'm fully planning on using it as a journal. 
Since this was my first attempt at this type of stitch I didn't make it very tight. I'd like to tell you I've improved since this was done four weeks ago, but I still have a hard time getting really tight stitches. 
This week and last we worked on these Japanese bound books (my teacher doesn't think this is the right title for this kind of binding but he can't seem to come up with anything better, so I'm just going to call it that. No offense to any real binders). Today we actually decorated the covers and put everything together, so there was glue everywhere today! I'm still picking it off my nails. This stitch we worked on last week in a paper bound example book. It isn't very pretty and kind of weird looking or else i'd post photos of it too.  I got the stitch much tighter then all of my previous sewing excursions, but then had a hard time typing everything off and it got loose again. Regardless I still think it's super pretty. I could be biased though. 

Now this is my first project. I know it's small, and in this picture looks like either a very weird eraser or a blue brick, but I promise it is a book, and it is kind of amazing. See that face. That's my "be impressed" face. 

Okay, that really isn't my be impressed face, but i think you should anyway.

It's actually an accordion book! There are 13 "pages" on the inside and 12 on the outside. Each page has a slug-line on it, and it creates a do it yourself story as well as experiments with interior and exterior locations. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I'm sad I haven't been able to get any stellar pictures of it though. 

It's not a great picture, I know, but it's a really long book and I have a really wonky webcam.

Now, when I was presenting this to my class I realized that slug-lines are a weird thing, but really they are very simple. 
By definiton, a slug-line is the scene heading in a screenplay. It is made up of three parts : INT/EXT (determining if the location is interior or exterior, for lighting purposes), The actual location, and the time of day. 
Here are some of my favorites:

So that's how my adventures in bookbinding are going thus far. When we get back from spring break we're working on a more 'bookish' book, which I'm really excited for. I'm also really surprised at how my opinion of books as physical objects has changed. Usually for me a book is just the medium in which an awesome story is being told, and I never put much thought into the actual process of binding, or artists books in general, but know I have a much greater appreciation for books as psychical objects, and wish there were more collaborations between artists books and best sellers. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Literary Hop - Bucket List Books

Did you guys know I look forward to every other Thursday. Well, if you didn't now you do. I bet now you want to know why, right? Well, even if you don't want to know I'm going to tell you anyway. This is my blog after all. I'm allowed to do these things. Every other Thursday is a Literary Book Blog Hop day, and this hop is my favorite blog related event! So without further adieu I want to thank the lovely ladies at The Blue Bookcase for hosting The Literary Hop, as well as answer this weeks great question.
Literary Blog Hop

This weeks question is:
What one literary work must you read before you die?

What literary works do I need to read before I die? Wow. That's a really big question. There are so many great authors that I want to have a chance to experience. This year I plan to make it through the rest of Shakespeare's plays (I've already done about half), so I'll hopefully be able to take that off my bucket list fairly soon. If I was really going to make a list of books I'd be actively upset over on my deathbed It would go a little something like this:
Infinite Jest - Foster Wallace - This is probably going to be my summer read, as I constantly hear that this is a 'summer after college, finding yourself' kind of experience.

On the Road - Kerouac - The original scroll was at my school last year and I never went to see it, really, I haven't had any interest in Kerouac until lately, but he is talked about so much that I would be interested to read him, and sad if I never got around to it.

1984 - Orwell - I feel like such a bad reader for having never having read this. I've quoted it quite a bit, just from  overexposure, but I feel like a fraud. FRAUD I SAY. Sorry, I'm being over dramatic.

Those are the top three books I'd be upset over at the moment. I couldn't just pick one. Sorry, I'm bad with instructions.

Funfact: My favorite word in Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is mimblewimble.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Best Fictional Family Ever

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.
This week's topic:
Top Ten Fictional Characters I Would Want in my Family

9. David Sedaris - All of his essay collections - I'd love to have Mr. Sedaris as a cousin. He'd be fun, and crazy and there would always be amazing family stories. Judging by his books, he'd be the member of my family that people would make gossipy calls about and warn me not to turn out like. Me want to be a famous writer? Never.

8. Bird - The History of Love - Bird would be an adorable little brother. He's troubled, I know, but he's also full of love. He's precious, but really innocent and I love that he has his own belief system. I figure after a few years of therapy and another ten years, I could have some really insightful conversations with my fictional little bro.

7/6. Fred and George Weasley - the Harry Potter Series - The perfect big brothers? I think so! They're funny and unique. Plus everyone loves them. I'm sure there'd be a lot of teasing and tension in the house, but overall I think they're kind a loving big brothers in the series, and that's how I'd picture them to be in real life.

5. Ivy May Waterhouse - Falling Angels - She's adorable a quiet, and intelligent, all great qualities to have in a little sister, right? Ivy May has always been my favorite part of Falling Angels, despite her less than stellar fake. She's not an attention seeker, and doesn't purposefully try upset her sister, well, at least not most of the time.

4. Elizabeth Woodville - The White Queen - I know what you're thinking, she's dead. Like really, really dead. Like dead for hundreds of years. I'm with you. That why I would like to make Elizabeth Woodville a distant ancestor. You know, that really cool person you have on your family tree that you brag about (You do it. Don't lie). Ignoring the whole English Royalty thing, Elizabeth is still pretty cool. She's a fairly well educated woman, and she has a strong sense of family and self.

3.Bridget Jones - Bridget Jones's Diary - I'm departing for the typical "I want Lizzy Bennent for my big sis" answer for this more modern version. Bridget's still the everygirl (mostly) and she still goes through most of the things Elizabeth does, only she's modern, and funny, and not perfect. That's why I'd like her as a big sister. She's really not perfect, and she knows it, but that doesn't stop her from trying to be a decent person and looking for love. She might even be a good influence at times. Might. Sometimes. Maybe.

2/1. James and Lily Potter - The Harry Potter Series - I seem to really have a thing for dead people on this list. James and Lily have always been my favorite Harry Potter couple. I know they're dead through the entire series, but they seem like a good match, and they're both smart and witty. All good things to look for in an aunt and uncle, right? Plus they fight for good and are wizards. Wizards are cool.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Computer Animated Potter

I've been really busy with coursework lately and have been reading Prisoner of Azakban for 2 weeks!  I'm dedicating tonight to reading (and cleaning, but this is not a cleaning blog) and hopefully will have a review, and a real bookish post for you tomorrow or Sunday. 

I do, however, feel very bad about neglecting Loving Books these past few weeks. So, in place of an actual book review or insightful musing I have some pictures for you! I'm not sure if you know this, but I'm a pretty big Sims fan. Not obsessive or anything, but its fun to play when I have enough free time. A little while ago I decided to make a bunch of literary sims, and of course got board after the original slew of Harry Potter characters I created. Since I'm reading the series now I figured I'd show you my Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny Sims. 

Meet Harry Potter
He is an lucky, family oriented, athletic, brave and good sim. His lifetime wish is to be an International Superspy. His favorite color is red, he likes indie music and his favorite food is cobbler. 

Meet Harry's BFF Ron Weasley 
He is a friendly but clumsy sim. He also has a good sense of humor, is brave and is good. His lifetime wish is also to be an International Superspy. His favorite color is Orange, he likes rock music and his favorite food is cheesesteak. 

The Voice of Reason - Hermione Granger 
Hermione is also a good sim and brave sim, but she is also a genius bookworm who happens to be a perfectionist. Her lifetime wish is Monster Maker, since SPEW related jobs don't exist in the sim world. Her favorite color is brown, she likes indie music and her favorite food is autumn salad. 

Last, But Not Least - Ginny Weasley
Ginny is ambitious, athletic, a daredevil and super flirty. She also has the brave trait.  Her lifetime wish is to be a Superstar Athlete. Her favorite color is blue, she likes indie music and her favorite food is goopy carbonara.

I'll return to posting regularly, promise, but right now I need to get ready for my Harry Potter class! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Can't Possibly Be a Classic, It's Hilarius!

Thanks to the lovelies over at The Blue Bookcase for hosting the Literary Book Blog Hop. It's pretty much the most hit place to be on a Thursday on the internet. 
Literary Blog Hop
Can literature be funny? What is your favorite humorous literary book?

Can literature be comedic? My answer is a very large yes. Since the ascetic quality of the work is really the biggest defining characteristic of literature I don't see any reason why it can't be humors. If you had asked me this in the early days of high school my answer would be very different. Our curriculum only assigned "classics" like Huck Finn and The Odyssey. Not exactly laugh out loud things. However, I did end up searching out some of the funnier classics myself. Catch 22 remains one of my favorite books of all time. As a satire it is meant to be funny, and while it didn't have me on the floor in tears from laughter I still look back at it with a small chuckle. Plus, there is a character named Major Major Major (Major), and that's just brilliant.

Here's the title quote. I always find it hilarious and intimidating.

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

Sorry, I'm brain dead from school this week so my answer is kind of half hearted. I'll have a post on my adventures in bookbinding and a review of Prisoner of Azkaban up in the next few days!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday- Shelf of Shame

Friday wasn't a great reading month for me, so it seems appropriate that today's Top Ten Tuesday topic deals with those books I just had to have. The ones I carried around Barnes and Noble and told myself I didn't need, yet somehow still left with them, only to hide them on my shelf of unread shame.

This list was a little harder than I expected because my bookshelves in Michigan are filled to the brim with books I haven't finished, or even started, but my Chicago shelves are about 90% read. Regardless, here are the books I came up with.
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.

This week's topic: 
Top Ten Books I Just HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

1. Water For Elephants - Sarah Gruen - I got this when it was first published and everyone was talking about it. I think I read all of the first page and a half before setting it down. I's one of the books I brought with me to Chicago in hopes that I would eventually get to it, but no. Not even the upcoming movie, which I'm interested in, seems to motivate me to read this book.

2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao  - Junot Diaz - I've heard good things about Diaz. I've heard good things about this book. It seemed like a no brainer to pick up a copy and read it. Only I only did half of that. I have The Breif Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and now when I look at the description I'm not interested in it.

3.Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami - I read Norwegian Wood last year and really enjoyed it. I was proud of myself for reading Asian Literature, as it is really out of my comfort zone. I had assumed that one short Murakami book was enough to change my entire reading pattern and open me to a world of Asia books that I'd love, so I bought Kafka on the Shore. It's considerably larger than Norwegian Wood and it was just moved from a semi permanent home on my floor to it's new spot on my shelf of shame.

4. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman - I actually haven't had this very long. Really, this is a combination of all of my other excuses, I like Gaiman, I didn't really look at the description, blah blah blah. I really do plan on getting to this in the next few months though. We'll see how that goes.

5. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - In my defense, I bought Infinite Jest knowing I wouldn't read it right away. It always seemed like that book you tackle right after you graduate college. I've had it for two years now, and every few months when things get slow I think about picking it up. I never do. I tried to read it once and found it was to much work for an average pleasure read for me. I'm graduating in May so I'll run out of my weak excuses to not read it.

6.The Postmistress - Sarah Blake - I feel like I've had this for ages, but I don't actually think the book itself is that old. I'm actually really interested in reading this. I know, I'm not showing it. Currently it's at the bottom of my historical fiction tower (yes, tower, I ran out of shelf space) and I tend to forget it's there.

7.One Hundred Years of Solitude  - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Earlier I was talking about expanding my horizons into Asia Lit. This was my attempt at Latin American Lit. I must say, I am painfully stuck in my American/European ways.  I actually did start One Hundred Years of Solitude, and I remember enjoying the little that I did read, but for some reason I didn't continue .

8. Atonement - Ian McEwan - I wanted to like McEwan, so I bought a few of his books. I got halfway through Saturday before getting so frustrated with his style that I gave up. I've heard Atonement is different, better, but still the movie tie in edition sit son my shelf of shame, untouched.

9. The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton - Amazon recommended this to me. Seriously, every time I'd start looking for new books Morton was always one of the first on the list. Eventually I broke down and bought it, and then never touched it again. I'm not even sure where my copy is right now. I may have left it in Michigan over Christmas.

10. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson - I had a love/hate relationship with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Overall I really enjoyed it, and was happy to find it not entirely predictable. On the other hand I was annoyed with the style of writing and the unnecessary length. I've heard from people who have both loved and hated the second book in the series, and I bought it for a vacation read. I didn't get to it then. It's on the shame shelf.