Thank you to NeverTrustABookNerd for tagging me in the #Opposite Books Tag, which is, in fact, my very first book Tag! I’m positively teary-eyed at my symbolic initiation into the book blogging community.
Looking through, there are a worrying number of these categories that Harry Potter, my life-long ally, could fill: The first book in my collection; A book with a male protagonist; A book I read extremely quickly; A national book; A fictional book; A book that made me happy AND a book that made me cry.
However, at 23, I feel that I ought to at least TRY to think outside the box, especially as I’ve been reading a huge number of really terrific books of late. Despite the vast majority of the reading material that’s fresh in my mind being either French or Russian literature (sorry, language graduate) or else little known works from independent, Minneapolis-based publishers, I hope that there will be some familiar titles for everybody and perhaps something to pique the interest of the odd reader somewhere out there.
So without further ado…!
The first book in your collection VS. The last book you bought.
Let’s start with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, just so that we can get him out of the way and move on swiftly (yet reluctantly). My dad read me these books and I got so impatient with just one chapter per night that I started to read for myself. This is therefore the ultimate starting point in my reader journey!
This is a short story collection, published by Coffee House Press. They are my new favourite publishers that print wonderful works. Upright Beasts may not be the most recent book that I’ve READ, but it is the last that I BOUGHT.
A cheap book VS. An expensive book.
Ah. Time for a bit of Russian literature everybody! These books were both purchased for my university studies and I scoured the internet for the cheapest copies of both. Anna Karenina– what a classic- was a kindle purchase at £0.49
The Factory, on the other hand, is an obscure publication of post-war communist literature written by an author who was little known for more than propagating the Stalinist mantra. Those who want to read about communist Russia generally show more interest in the writiers who opposed oppressive communist rule, not those who supported it, and so The Factory is a lost gem. As such, I purchased a tea-stained and battered hardback copy for £14.80. It was the only copy I could find.
A book with a male protagonist VS. A book with a female protagonist.
A wonderful book with magical language and loads of imagination. I intend to publish a review of Among Strange Victims very soon. It has TWO male protagonists, in fact, and both are fabulous.
A busload of YA literature could fit the bill when it comes to female protagonists, but in all honesty, YA isn’t really my thing, and so I felt I should rack my brains a little. Faces in the Crowd is Valeria Luiselli’s first novel. She’s my all time favourite author, and whilst this isn’t my favourite of her works it helped earn her a place in the New York Time’s 5 under 25 list. This woman is going places, just like her protagonist!
A book you read really fast-paced VS. A book you read very slowly.
This vividly conjures up the memory of the seventh Harry Potter book release which I devoured in record time, but, alas, I vowed to leave him be at the start of this Tag. Let’s go for Robert Harris’s The Ghost. This is a political thriller my mum recommended that I gobbled up when I had a lot of spare time.
This book I read impossibly slowly ; it’s by Zola and is a French classic. It’s not only slow-moving and jam-packed with description, I also read this the original French and it took me FOREVER.
A book with a pretty cover VS. A book with an ugly cover.
What first sprang to mind was this new hardback edition of Wuthering Heights that I bought as a present for my mother a couple of years back. It may not seem like it from the picture, but this book looks and feels wonderful. I’d recommend it as a gift for anyone who loves a classic.
This is actually quite a nice cover, but I’m using it to demonstrate my continued frustration with books that are reprinted with the film adaption characters pasted onto the front. I’m sorry Anne Hathaway, but that is not your place.
A national book VS. An international book.
In the interest of choosing something quintessentially English, here’s Pride and Prejudice. I LOVED this book.
And as for international literature, how about Sleeping on Jupiter, by Anuradha Roy. This is from an Indian author who’s received a lot of attention for her fiction. It was first published in the UK and is just now being released in the US. It is actually on my TBR list… I’m cheating a little! It’s also beautiful, right? Maybe I should have used it as my pretty cover example!
A thin book VS. A thick book.
I think the best thin books are essay collections, or even short, individual essays. Pretentious: Why it Matters is a great little book which discuss the accusation of pretension, where it stems from and why it stings so badly! A very quick read if you have an hour or two on your hands and you are feeling ponderous.
Ah, soooooo many Russian books that would be appropriate here. Past Russian authors seem to have been preoccupied with producing the largest volumes they possibly could. War and Peace and Anna Karenina are likely the longest novels that I can think of in general. But I haven’t got round to War and Peace yet and our dear Anna has already had her mention, so I’ll go for Crime and Punishment. It may not have been the hugest of books, but it certainly felt that way when I was reading it !
A fictional book VS. A non-fictional book.
A fictional book… We Are Completely Beside Ourselves sticks in my mind as something I picked up very randomly and then really enjoyed. The twist is phenomenal and completely unexpected!
I actually very much enjoy non-fiction, but I often feel I have to persuade myself into reading it. This was a present from my dad before I moved to Russia and gives an extensive yet extremely approachable run-though of 1000 years of Russian history.
A way too romantic book VS. An action-packed book.
I don’t read a whole lot of romance, but Can You Keep a Secret?sticks in my mind as a particularly enjoyable romantic novel. Initially I thought about 50 shades of Grey, but it might be considered a stretch to label such a book romantic.
I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as gripped by a book as when I was reading The Da Vinci Code. It certainly isn’t on my list of favourite books of all time, but boy did it have me hooked. I’m pretty sure I devoured it in one sitting; there was so much going on I couldn’t bear to put it down!
A book that made you happy VS. A book that made you cry.
Artemis Fowl is such a little minx. Arsy yet wonderful at the same time, his schemes never failed to amaze me I think that these books are just terrific. By the time I finished them, I was so energized and entertained, as well as inspired to try and be a genius myself… I’m still working that last one out.
Birdsong sticks in mind mind as being the first ‘adult’ book that I really enjoyed. Before reading this I was burning my way through piles of YA fiction. I hadn’t enjoyed the idea of reading a book about the war (yawn) and a wartime love affair (less yawn, but still probably not as good as Harry Potter). But in fact, I loved it! And it succeeded in making me cry, it was so beautiful!
So there you have it! I had to rack my brains a little more than expected to make these choices and I’m interested what others may have to offer!
If you feel like it, then please do spread the Tagging joy: