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Top Ten Tuesday (on a Thursday!)

This week's topic is "Ten Books I Loved But Will Never Reread." You'd think this would be easy for me, as a person who hardly ever rereads anything, but it's not for lack of desire (see also: you could probably tempt me to become a vampire by mentioning "immortality = infinite rereading time!"). So for this list, I decided to see if I could focus on books I actually rated 4 or 5 stars, yet think that I would not want to reread even if the opportunity came up.


This is a pretty rough cut done with minimal deliberation, so it's not definitively "top," just some possibilities.

1. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
It was really important to me when I read it -- all under my own steampower, fresh out of college/the Austen class where I'd read 4 other novels, and brimming over with love for the main character, who looked like newly-beloved Billie Piper in my head but acted like the idealized version of me and my Stern Moral Judgment -- but out of all the Jane Austen books, I think the internet's collective Bad Mood about its MC has worn away at me until I too assume she will be boring if encountered again. And who has time to be bored when they could pack new titles into their brain?

2. A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks
I remember being surprised by how much I loved it, because I wasn't that impressed by the looks of the movie (entirely ER Guy's fault tbh), but that was early college and I like to think I have graduated to approximately 900 better hurt/comfort romance options by this point in my life.

3. One Hundred and Four Horses: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Africa and Exile - Mandy Retzlaff
This is an incredible account of escape. It is an important story about one side of the absolute mess that went down in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe amidst political coups. But it also such an emotional pummeling for this horse-lover's heart, especially one whose heart also breaks about the idea of being driven out of where you've grown up and/or raised your family, that I do not think I could go through it again.

4. Chanda's Secrets - Allan Stratton
Speaking of Africa, this fantastic novel about the AIDS crisis there. Perhaps its significance is time-locked to when it was written, due to advances in the disease treatment, prevention and/or humanitarian aid, because it made a powerful impact on me and for years I would shout its praises to anyone who'd listen, but none of this is especially among my interests anymore and I doubt I'd get as much out of the experience.

5. How it Ends - Laura Weiss
So, like number 4, this book is really well written -- and I think I'm glad I read it, and kind of wish more people would -- but it just emotionally SHATTERED me. Actually, not just emotionally. I was physically a shaky wreck for hours afterward.

6. A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan
This was a 4 or 5 star read all the way through. But with the ending, it became one of the few books to qualify for a "thou hast betrayed me" award (OF INFAMY), and I will never step foot in its beautiful lands again. Out of spite, if nothing else.

7. Every Crooked Pot - Renee Rosen
I thought this was a for-adults novel rather than YA when I read it (I am frankly still not convinced it's the latter), and I was really impressed by it for what it was, because at the time I never read anything outside of YA...but I also think that in the grand scheme of all the books in the world, I don't necessarily want to relive her journey. I feel like it's one of those downer endings I have no patience for.

8. Fire Bringer - David Clement-Davies
I don't actually want to say I will NEVER read it again, but when I read it, I was still a pretty big fan of fantasy books that featured animal mythology -- I don't know the exact right word for it, but in this case, like where the deer mostly live like normal deer but have this whole anthropomorphic society with culture and customs, and prophecies that send one young herd member on a quest for his species -- and this was a 5-star standout, it's-been-on-display-since-it-was-bought-new-in-2000 experience. Yet I haven't been able to rouse any interest in fantasy for well over a decade at this point. Why risk tarnishing it.

9. Cleo, The Cat Who Mended a Family - Helen Brown
"This cat lived for well over 20 years, which is about how long it felt like I spent crying," says my review, so yeah, no. I will rewatch sad romantic things all the livelong day, but child and/or pet loss I can only deal with once.

10. A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
In high school, this book was the nonfiction book. Everyone had read and was talking about it, mostly because 2002 is when the ~controversy~ claims popped up. I got sucked into the hype, and then I got sucked into the text and cried my heart out, even though I generally had no patience for children existing. But now it just feels really sensationalized and/or like it would be too gruesome to subject myself to, and I prefer not to remember I've read it at all. (Dangit! Almost succeeded this time.)

P.S. The number of people with "Twilight" on their lists this week is both highly amusing and bumming me out, as a first-read-it-at-29-and-was-pretty-okay-with-it, would-definitely-endure-again person. I mean, it is genuinely disappointing whenever a person decides their high school infuation was immature and Now That They Have Changed and Grown As A Person, they know better. (love what you love! ♫al-ways for-ev-er♫!)

But it is also funny to me that it's like some kind of 1 High School Generation Younger Experience to collectively agree they were basically in a folie a deux (x1000000) when they all thought it was the greatest thing, while I was sitting over there hugging my widely ignored VERY GOOD realistic contemporary YA novels and growling about how the hype was messy and wrong. Just not for the reasons they use today.


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