Junishness {2016}

ishness

Ishness of June 2016

Oh. Hello, July. How did you get here.

CAN WE TAKE A MOMENT TO FREAK OUT ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE YEAR IS OFFICIALLY HALF OVER???

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Okay. Thank you. Freak-out is done.

…Ish. (*internally shrieking*)

Ahem.

On with the regularly scheduled Ishness of the last month…

EXCITING THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN MY LIFE

Dead internet, often, agaiiiin. Joy. So I’m still behind on everything due to that. Surprise! XD But fortunately it’s been back for a little while now so maybe that will be over. 🙂

I went to a library sale. I normally spend hours and hours… but this time I was done in a record 45 minutes. It was a very tiny library sale, evidently. XD But I found few gems…

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We kicked off The Silmarillion Awards! Nominations are ending TODAY (July 1), and voting for the top five nominees in each category will start early next week!

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skinmapStephen Lawhead commented on my book blog, on my review of his book The Skin Map. … GUYS. STEPHEN. LAWHEAD. He thanked me for a “splendid review”, said I seemed to have “got” it, and was curious what I’ll think of the rest of the series. (FYI, The Skin Map was one of my favoritest reads last year. SUCH AN EXCELLENT BOOK. You should totally read it — highly recommended.) I’m still recovering from this amazing happening. Saying my day was made is a huge understatement. *flails around*

WRITING

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I wrote closer to 3,000 words than to 2,000, which is a feat for me these days. (Okay, so it was 2,693. BUT STILL.)

Mostly writer dares from my writing group (thanks, Shelby and Ellie!), some snatches of The Other Half of Everything, as well as randomly rewriting an old flashfiction story of mine called Midnight Fear. Which was… interesting.

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I also may or may not have started thinking about possibilities of what I might write for NaNoWriMo this year. …Yep, that’s a thing.

What? NaNo’s four months away. Might as well start preparing… *cough* Pleasedon’tkillme.

Speaking of alarmingly fast-moving time and writing…

We’re officially halfway through the year and I’ve written a grand total of 10,000 words this year, which on the one hand is WRITING but on the other hand is rather sadly small…

READING

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Once again, I didn’t read a lot, but these were enjoyable all the same. 🙂 To be fair, Defying Shadows was HUGE (and also AWESOME. O_O) so… beta-reading that kind of counts for a couple books, I’d say, which is why I didn’t read as much. Anyway. Brief thoughts on them all are here on my book blog. ^_^

BLOGGING

I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-perhaps mayyyy or may not have roughly planned out ideas for what I might blog about for . . . the rest of the year.

Um.

That might be a thing. >.>

I mean, hey, I technically only post usually once a week sooo that’s only 4 per month, right? No idea if it’ll actually HAPPEN but one can hope. XD

What can I say, I’m an obsessive planner and haven’t done something like this in awhile, and I kind of wasn’t able to actually BLOG very much due to said internet, sooo planning happened…

*crickets*

…I’m obsessed and insane, aren’t I. -_- *faceplants into desk*

Ahem.

Postses on le blogs of mine werrrrrre:

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Here:

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The Page Dreamer:

Random: I’ve made 40 posts on my book-blog since starting it on New Year’s Day! 🙂

LINKS ELSEWHERE

I’m sadly very bad about remembering to save links to posts I loved, so I can share them on my blog… but I DO remember a small handful from this month:

VIEWING

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(I’m fully aware of how weird these movies look together; hush)

I actually don’t usually watch movies much, but libraries happened, so I saw a bunch of weird, random movies for some reason…? So you get to suffer through me rambling about them… 😛

  • Pan: Okay, so this was BIZARRE and they changed a ton of things and — it wasn’t really my favorite and was really NOTHING like Peter Pan, buuuut all in all I enjoyed it okay and was really surprised at that. o.o Mostly that I really really really loved James Hook. XD …I know that sounds bad. But he wasn’t Evil-Captain-Hook yet! And he’s also a funny, self-centered, kind-of-epic, Indiana-Jones-ish character played by Murtagh. What is not to like? I mean… y’know, other than the fact that he’s supposed to become an evil villain. >.> Ahem. *cough* The fact that this movie was basically “a buddy movie of Peter Pan and Hook” is… WEIRD. Like WHAT EVEN. But it was also fun. So. *shrug* I’ll just pretend it’s an alternate universe version of Peter Pan. 😛 (Also, the last lines. *flail*)
  • Red Riding Hood: Um. Creepy. o.o Mostly too creepy for me, I guess, but I did enjoy parts of it, and it was interesting trying to guess who the wolf was… Everyone was SO suspicious. I guess it’s like a mystery/not-quite-horror/medieval retelling of Red Riding Hood. Very… different. But I kinda had fun with it anyway. 😛
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Apparently I was in for dark fairytale movies this month? I . . . was . . . kind of really surprised at liking this. I expected it to be awful? But it was surprisingly okay. Not brilliant exactly, and a bit creepy, but I enjoyed it. I haven’t seen Kristen Stewart in anything and I know she gets a lot of nastiness from viewers because of Twilight but c’mon, she was kind of nice in this. XD It was interesting to see Snow White retold like this, and it kept a lot of the original stuff. (It even had a touch of Christianity, which really surprised me and I liked. 🙂 …Yes, I do consider a character saying The Lord’s Prayer on-screen, and another character speaking of heaven and angels to be Christian.) It also had Thor Chris Hemsworth (and Finnick Sam Claflin) so that was a plus. 😉 Chris Hemsworth had a Scottish accent, which was WEIRD. O_O He was fun. 😀
  • The Lorax: This one was okay. Not my favorite, but I guess it had its moments, particularly some humor and the cute creatures. 😛 I liked it over-all. 🙂 (I also missed part of the ending because it was a scratched library DVD. PEOPLE, PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH LIBRARY DVDS.)
  • Inside Out: I liked the idea of it, and some of it was brilliant and perfect, regarding memories and stuff. Pixar stuff is always fun and I enjoyed this one. Again, not a fave (I’m seeing a trend here… enjoyed but not favorites… I DON’T EVEN KNOW, GUYS. Apparently I just enjoy movies. *shrug*) but it was a pretty good movie and gave me feels and stuff, so. 🙂 Plus, like I said, mind stuff is fascinating! Anyways, pretty good! 😀

Aaand I’ve been rewatching The Lord of the Rings, because that’s always a good idea. 😉

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(pinterest; I’m… just gonna leave this here. Yeah. Sorry but I liked him. XD)

JULY PLANS

  • I have a couple books I need to read, and then I’ll hopefully be back to reading anything I want… which means I want to read a LOT this month. But we’ll see.
  • My calendar has started to fill up so I think I’ll be busy… Good busy, but still busy.
  • We’ll have the rest of the Silmarillion Awards this month, so yay! Voting for a couple weeks, and then the awards will be presented and partying will ensue. It’s gonna be great. 😀 *nods*
  • I also will probably post a couple of reviews around here so watch for those…
  • I would like to write again, please and thank you, but we’ll see.
  • I’m not doing Camp NaNo, but for all of y’all who are, I wish you the best of luck and happy writing!

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That ’twas my June. How fared ye, travelers of word and page? And, most importantly, HOW IS THE YEAR HALF OVER? *incoherent shrieking noises*

Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2015

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As is traditional (last year’s is here) it’s time for a list of the best books I read in 2015! YAY! Because lists and books and favorites are all the best things ever. ❤

I read some gems this year, and though it was super painful trying to pick favorites, these (especially the ones near the top) make my heart explode in happiness just from looking at the titles, so I think they’re some good ones! My list is roughly in order of amount of loving them, and doesn’t include rereads. So here we go! (Prepare for much squealing…)

My top 15 reads of 2015

1. Broken Glass – Emma Clifton (in Five Glass Slippers)

brokenglasscoverSo… I spontaneously reviewed this awhile back. And it’s made it to the very top of my list this year. IT’S JUST SO PERFECT AND MY FIRST STEAMPUNK FANTASY AND ALL THE CHARACTERRRRRRRRRRRS!!!! Ahem. I just really really love this story! I want to read it again (and I’ve already read it twice). It’s just perfection and bursting with humor and snark and great dialog and plots and sooo many characters I love, especially Marius and Darcy and Henry, and it’s FUN but then it gets epic at the end and it’s so British AND I JUST LOVE IIIIIIIT! ❤ It makes me grin and keep grinning and unable to STOP grinning, whenever I think of it. GAAAHH! *tackle-hugs story* ALL OF THE LOVE! *gives Darcy and Marius an extra hug*

2. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones

HOW. DO. I. DESCRIBE. THIS. BOOK. Ummm… I can’t! *flails around* It was Diana Wynne Jones which means it was pure distilled BRILLIANCE mixed up with total uniqueness, absolutely FANTASTIC humor, and just ALL OF THE PLOT TWISTS. Mind. Blown. I can’t get over it and it’s amazing and I think I need to read it again right now. I still love Howl’s Moving Castle the best of Diana Wynne Jones’ books (I mean… it’s my favorite book EVER besides The Lord of the Rings) BUT I THINK ARCHER’S GOON MIGHT BE SECOND. Maybe. Ahem. All of the characters are fantastic and the dialog and the humor and it’s timey-wimey and sci-fi and fantasy and modern and super confusing and I just love it a lot. Ack. ❤

3. The Ordinary Princess – M. M. Kaye

This was, in a word, PERFECT. ^_^ It just makes me so happy. I can’t. *beams and huggles book* It’s a sort of original fairytale type of thing, feeling like it has some hints of Sleeping Beauty and maybe a couple others, but mostly its own thing. It was just a quick read that was ADORABLE and sweet and perfect, and I loved the illustrations, and the character of the Ordinary Princess herself was awesome, and Peregrine who I loved a ton, and they were so cute together and just alskdjljlsjk it makes me happy and is a perfect little book. ^_^ ❤

4. Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

I’ve been dying to read this ever since reading Entwined. Needless to say, I pounced on it. The internet is probably still reeling with the incoherent fangirling babbles I shared on this blog about Illusionarium… Ahem. So suffice it to say, despite the creepiness, that I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THE DIALOG AND HUMOR AND EPIC STEAMPUNKNESS AND ESPECIALLY LOCKWOOD. LOCKWOOOOD!!!!! *flails around forever and a day* Basically, Lockwood. ❤ I just can’t get over that indescribable airguardsman snarky fiery epic trigger-happy roguish awesome Lieutenant Lockwood. (And he and Jonathan are a great pair. XD I love themmm.) (BUT LOCKWOOD. SO MUCH. ❤ ❤ ❤ )

5. The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones books are always wonderful, but this one’s one of my top, like… four? of hers? (Howl’s Moving Castle, Archer’s Goon, The Crown of Dalemark, and this, are my favorites.) This was the conclusion to the Chrestomanci series, which I started late in 2014, and read most of this year. AAAHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK. It returned to the hero of the first book, Cat (who is great), and there were shenanigans and it had sooo much more of Chrestomanci himself than a lot of the others (which is pretty much my one complaint usually, since he usually only shows up a little in the midst of other people’s adventures). THERE WAS ALSO A GRIFFIN. AND CHRESTOMANCI AND AND AND ASLKDJFLK I just really really really love Chrestomanci and I need some fancy dressing gowns to wear around the house like he does. Except he has a castle… BASICALLY I WANT TO LIVE AT CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE AND READ ABOUT CHRESTOMANCI FOREVER. Because CHRESTOMANCI!!!!! ❤ ❤ Ahem.

6. Frederica – Georgette Heyer

After reading and loving The Grand Sophy in 2014, I wanted to try another Georgette Heyer, so this happened. I LOVED IT. The characters, just… aaagh! I loved them. LORD ALVERSTOKE. He’s one of those kind of awful fellows who’s sort of vain/spoiled, a lot like Howl actually, and yet he ends up being all noble too and just alskdjflklaskdj I love Alverstoke, he’s wonderful. And his relationship with the heroine and with her younger brothers — just YES! I don’t actually read a lot of regency historical romance sorts of things but this one was great. There’s also an airballoon and a crash and all of the DIALOG, my goodness it’s wonderful.

7. The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

AAAAHHHHH. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I read the first three Penderwick books (I even reread them this year!) and it was amazing. I was actually surprised because in a way it was so SAD but also the usual hilarious and just… I love the Penderwicks, okay. I LOVE THEMMMM. This family. Just. THEY ARE PRECIOUS. *gathers them in a hug* It was a little strange because it’s years after the previous ones and the three older girls are like TEENS and Batty’s 11 and… yes. o.o And I should have been upset, especially with all the sad, but I just LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. Also there were like ten billion characters and the author juggled them all SO well and the writing is golden and ALL OF THE FEELS. I wish I could write like that. Basically I waited a long time for it and it did NOT disappoint. ❤

8. Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones

This was a sort of Chrestomanci prequel because it involves him (Christopher) when he was a teen. LET ME FLAIL. Like Illusionarium, it was a great buddy-movie story (as I call them; even when they’re not movies… *cough*) and… Chrestomanci and the hero are so much fun together and I DON’T EVEN KNOW. But it was Diana Wynne Jones and I remember having so much fun and just really ENJOYING this! *flail* Chrestomanci as a youngster is just fabulous to read about, so sneaky but refined but clever and just brilliant and the dialog and I just loved it. ❤

9. Power of Three – Diana Wynne Jones

How. I. What. It. SOMETHING! *flailing* This was totally not what I was expecting and it was so DIFFERENT (something Diana Wynne Jones excels at) and PLOT TWIST! Wow. Also I loved all of the characters, especially the two who were like the hero (you’ll understand if you’ve read it), and it just had a lot of brilliance going on! It was epic. It felt rather different than her other stuff–a bit more like the Dalemark books than her “fun” ones… But I still adored it. Plus, the flashback where the fellows were drunk and met Titch was sheer gold. *dies of laughter*

10. Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

This is here basically because DAMMERUNG!!!!! It was EXHAUSTING to read and took me from Christmas till August to read… like really heavy chocolate cake. Or the ocean. It was a little much, kind of too rich if you know what I mean, but it was totally worth it for Dammerung. He’s, like, possibly my favorite character this year. Possibly one of my top favorite characters of EVER. Like… HE’S UP THERE WITH HOWL, OKAY? Dammerung is just AMAZING and this monster of a 600+ page book of exhaustingly gorgeous poetical prose is totally worth it just for him. (And Rupert was amazing too. I have very complex feels about Rupert. Which makes me super glad that Dammerung is there to cancel those out because he just blows everything away with his amazingness). Like… he’s funny and powerful and heroic and epic and just… HE’S LIKE THE COOLEST EVER. Dammerung has a very special place in my heart. ^____^ ❤ ❤ ❤

11. The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

This was an AMAZING book. Contemporary/time-travel/fantasy/sci-fi-ish/historical… it has a little bit of everything. The writing and setting and just the entire thing is STUNNINGLY well done, not to mention the cast of characters, each of whom I love to bits! Arthur, Cosimo, Kit, Etzel, Wilhemina! (I even love the heroine!) Just. Gaaahh. It was a fantastic book, and would have been much higher up the list if it weren’t for something that happened in the last twenty pages… *cough cough* But I’ve actually gotten over that (mostly) and all I can think of is how amazing this book was and how much I want to read the sequels! *huggles all the characters* It was just a DELIGHT to read!

stonecurse12. Stone Curse – Jenelle Schmidt (in Five Enchanted Roses)

I reviewed this one on the blog and just YES. Beauty and the Beast retelling, which I ALWAYS love… And RITTER! ❤ Ritter and his heroicness and humor and just aaaahh I love him so much! And the setting and the fairytale feel and BAREND the Beast, down to loving the heroine, Karyna, a ton as well. I just… Gaaah. ^_^ *huggles all of them* The whole cast of characters and their relationships… just fantastic. SUCH A GREAT READ! ❤

13. Corroded Thorns – Emma Clifton

Aaand I also reviewed this one (more Beauty and the Beast, yay!) and it’s the sequel to my top favorite of the year, Broken Glass, and I sort of consider them one book because it’s so interconnected, sooo I couldn’t resist putting this on the list too! DARCY!!! Eeep. I just looooved this story and the characters AND THE ENDING WAS PERFECTION OH MY GOODNESS SO MUCH LOVE FOR THAT. ❤

14. Tahn – L. A. Kelly

This was the VERY first book I read in 2015, so it’s possibly a little hazy in my memory… But I know it was an exciting adventuresome read, with some good stuff, and was a little grittier than I usually like but still fabulous. And, like with Plenilune, it’s mostly here for one of my favorite characters of the year, namely the title character himself, Tahn. Tahn is the absolute epitome of my favorite archetype of characters, what I call the “dark guy”. (I’ve heard “anti-hero” used as well.) But I really really love him and his story and it was awesome.

15. The Book of Sight – Deborah Dunlevy

This book… I don’t know. It just made me happy. It was one of my first “random” ebooks I tried, since it was free on Kindle at the time and sounded interesting. I got so addicted that I’ve since bought all three of the sequels which are currently out (looking forward to reading The Poisoned Cure soon!) and already hoping the fifth/final book will come out soon! It’s a modern fantasy story, and it just… somehow kind of reminds me of the sort of stories I’m writing with my Kedran’s Wood series. I just enjoy it and it’s about these kids, a group of friends, in a little modern town, and their dealings with fantastical stuff that they start running into. Also, I really love Dominic. But it’s just a fun read, so… yes. It makes me think of sunshine. 🙂

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You mayyy notice a trend*, which is that books are much likelier to be extremely loved/high on my list when there’s a particular character I really like in the story… What can I say. I’m evidently extremely attached to fictional people. But I’d say that Dammerung, Lockwood, and Chrestomanci are my favorite characters this year. THEY’RE THE BESSST!

(*Whaaat, you thought I was going to say that the trend was Howl? HAHAHA. Fooled you. XD Ahem. Sorry. Howl does whatever he likes, and apparently that includes stealing the show in a blogpost that doesn’t even involve him… *cough*)

So there’s my list! Have you read any of these? (You totally should!) Do you have any favorite reads of 2015? TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS! ^_^

Hopefully this next year of 2016 will hold some wonderful reads in it for all of us! ❤

Happy New Year, everyone!

The Bookshelf Tag!

Tag Catch-Up Post #5

Aspen tagged me for the Bookshelf Tag — thanks, Aspen!! Eeeeep, I’m so excited to do this one — it looks so awesome! *flailing* I just love love LOVE lists and books, and this combines them perfectly and aaaahhh!

Okay. I’ll get to the questions now and quit fangirling. 😉

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from: In this case, I have three bookcases, each with five shelves plus the top (which I totally keep books on too), one white, two black. The white one was from a garage sale. The black ones were from Target and I helped assemble them and it was awesome. I think I need a forth one though, because… overflowing. Yes.

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books? Fictional books I’ve read are organized alphabetically by author… Then I also have some nonfiction and picture books etc., organized kind of by subject. And of course, my Tolkien books and Lewis books and Lloyd Alexander books have places of their own, apart from the general fiction. So much for read books… My unread books have their own bookcase, and I organize those however I feel like it, and it changes periodically, but mostly it’s organized either by category/genre, or by how much I want to read it right now, or some combination of the two…

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf? I’d say my dictionary, but it’s on my desk, sooo… If we’re going to go with overall pages, probably my Complete Shakespeare of which I’ve only read one play, and is 1300 pages. But collections aside, probably Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke at 782 pages.

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What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf? Little Mommy by Sharon Kane at 24 pages. It was kinda my childhood… *memories*

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Is there a book you received as a birthday gift? The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson.

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What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Carson Levine.

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Aside from my Atlases… Prince Valiant Vol. 11: Intrigues at Camelot by Hal Foster.

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Is there a book from a friend on your shelf? Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. (Thanks, Kelsey! ^_^)

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Most expensive book? Probably Time and Mr. Bass by Eleanor Cameron.

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The last book you read on your shelf? Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

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Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read? I literally don’t remember because I’ve been reading basically forever… Maybe Pippi Longstocking? That was early, anyway.

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Do you have more than one copy of a book? Honestly, a lot. Because I go to library booksales and can’t resist multiple copies of my scrumptious lovelies. They make great gifts, too! But if you want specifics… The Lord of the Rings. Lots and lots of The Lord of the Ringses, precioussss.

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Do you have the complete series of any book series? Yes. Lots and lots.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf? I don’t know which individual book was technically the latest, as I got fifteen books at a library sale recently…

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What book has been on your shelf FOREVER? The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 50th Anniversary Edition.

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What’s the most recently published book on your shelf? Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, published May 19, 2015.

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The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)? Probably an old gorgeous G.A. Henty book that I haven’t read yet, At Agincourt. Published 1896, and on the front page it’s marked as given to someone in 1897, so it was new at the time! O_O

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A book you won? King’s Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt.

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A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)? The Sign of the Seven Seas by Carley Dawson. I found it for a quarter at a garage sale, and later found out it’s kinda rare and expensive. Which is sad, because it’s kind of beat up and I LOVE it, and the first book is out of copyright and free on Gutenberg.org, which makes me wonder if The Sign of the Seven Seas is as well, or not…? I still periodically check Gutenberg to see if it’s been put up there but it never is, and maybe the copyright was renewed but… I don’t know. I wish I knew more about this sort of thing because if it’s just that nobody has a copy of it to scan, I would totally figure out how to help Gutenberg with that! *flail*

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Most beat up book? In Chimney Corners by Seamus MacManus. I almost didn’t get it at the library sale I found it at, but I couldn’t resist Irish folktales, so I got it, beat up condition and all — and I don’t regret it because it’s awesome!

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Most pristine book? Tossup between England Adventure by Kelsey Bryant and The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis, because I got them recently but had read them before and haven’t reread them yet so they are in gorgeous condition and practically untouched (except for when I take them off the shelf and gaze on their beauty and pet them. What, you don’t do that with your new books?? *innocent look*).

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A book from your childhood? The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

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A book that’s not actually your book? I’m going to steal Aspen’s answer to this and say Stephen R. Lawhead’s Hood Trilogy which are my brother’s, that I still haven’t read… Also my sister’s Goldstone Wood books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.

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A book that is your favorite color? The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. Close enough, anyway…

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Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read? The Book of Merlyn by T. H. White.

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Any signed books? Yes! Several by friends, but my favoritest is my copy of The High King by Lloyd Alexander that I found at a library sale and was signed! *hugs it*

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So there you go! I don’t know about you, but I had a TON of fun with this!

I’m supposed to tag people but I don’t even know who to tag because I want to tag EVERYONE.

So basically, if you think this looks fun, do snag it and do it on your blog and let me know so I can read your bookishly delightful answers! (And you don’t have to take pictures of books unless you want… just answer the questions.)

But I do specifically tag Christine (because I want to see your answers and hear about your books!) and Cait (because you can do your awesome bookish photography and I know you love lists and BOOKS! You know you want to). Y’all don’t HAVE to do it, of course, just if you want. 😉

BUT I TAG EVERYONE. SO THERE.