The Birthday Book Tag!

It may be August 9, but I’m here to tell you that my birthday is coming up in just a few short days — August 12, to be exact! I’m going to be 24 years old, inching ever-nearer to the halfway point and then I’ll no longer be able to say I’m in my early twenties.

This past year has been incredibly tumultuous, but I’m here to tell you that things are looking so much brighter than they were at this point last year. (I would link to my really depressing blog posts from that day, but I don’t think you really want to read those…)

I found this tag months ago on Bionic Book Worm, and decided that I had to save it for my birthday week! I’ve been sitting on it all that time, and here we go!

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1 – BIRTHDAY CAKE – a book with a plot that seems cliche but you adore it anyway

Ugh. There were so many choices to this, but I think I’ve figured it out. The Expanse series by James SA Corey. (Whoops – that’s more than one book.) It follows a bunch of people as they go around space and essentially try to stop several governments from attempting to topple each other and there’s a lot of explosions and attempted colonization, etc. As you get further away from the first book, though, it does become different and tries to take things somewhere I don’t think any other books have gone before. This book takes place after humans have discovered space travel but before they’ve colonized the entire universe — they’re just starting out, and have really only established things in Mars and a few close planets. It’s really interesting, but it does have the cliche cast of stereotypical space characters, so that’s why I have included it in this particular category.

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2 – PARTY GUESTS – your most anticipated book release this year

Man, I feel like this is going to be really disappointing, but I have no idea what books are being released this year (or, since the year is more than half over, what books will be released in the few short months until December). Since quitting the bookstore, I’ve been out of the loop on new releases big time. I mean, I can’t even keep up with people writing about new releases.

However, I think that my most-anticipated book (that I’m going to be reading as soon as I get a moment, ha) will be My Plain Jane, because I adored My Lady Jane, and I can’t read the next one until it comes out in paperback! What am I going to do with myself?

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3 – BIRTHDAY PRESENTS – a book that surprised you with how much you loved it

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. I had seen it at Books-a-Million when I worked there, but never got around to reading it myself. I’d passed over it several times later, too, because while it sounded interesting, it never caught my attention the way I wanted it to. Then I discovered I was going to have an hour-plus commute to work every morning with my new job, and I decided I wanted something aside from rock music to listen to on said commute. Enter the Libby app, where you can browse audiobook titles available from your local library and download them right on your phone! I’ve listened to several books on Libby so far, and I’m extremely happy with all of them. I haven’t had a bad experience with an audiobook yet.

This particular book surprised me with how much I grew to care about the characters, and how my mouth literally dropped open towards the end of the novel when everything came together (and a few people might have died). I was almost shell-shocked with how well Wecker was able to tie all of her loose ends together, and even leave things open for a sequel, if she chooses to write one. I’d put it near the top of my list for 2018, certainly. Time will tell if that’s going to be knocked off by the end of the year or not!

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4 – THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG – a book that certainly deserved all the hype it got

I’m trying to think past all of the new releases, past everything I’ve read this past year, and I truly am stumped as to what to put in this category.

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5 – HAPPY MUSIC – a book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I stayed up all night to finish this book the first day I got it, and immediately gave it to my mother when I came down the next day after going to bed at 4 a.m. to make sure that last page really said what I thought it said. She read it and loved it too, and now she recommends it to everybody who comes through the door of our local library if they don’t know what they’re looking for. It’s a beautifully-written novel about World War II, and there’s just so much inside it that I really don’t know where to start. Suffice to say, if you’re interested in historical fiction, like a bit of spying, and want to be sucker-punched in the feels by what you’re reading, this is the book to pick up. I can’t even pick a quote I enjoyed, because they’re all just wonderful. (Also if you get the hardback edition, the inside of the front and back covers are a beautiful old map of Paris. Gorgeous.)

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6 – GETTING OLDER – a book that you read a long time ago, but you think that you would appreciate it more if you read it as a more mature reader

I don’t have a specific book for this, but instead I have a specific type of book. I want to go back and reread several of the summer reading books from my high school years. Now that I’ve been out of high school for more than half a decade (bleh), and have done several rigorous years of literary analysis, I think I could understand or better appreciate the books that were assigned to me in high school that I never actually read. I’m talking about stuff like Anna Karenina and the like. I still have all of them, for the sole reason that I thought I might want to go back and look at them at some point in time. I haven’t done it yet, and I probably still won’t do it, so they’re just taking up valuable real estate on the bookshelf (at my parents’ house — because my bookshelves in my apartment are so limited I can only have a few at a time…).

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7 – SWEET BIRTHDAY MEMORIES – a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life

I can’t think of anything for this category either. I’m going to go with a few books that I consider my top favorites, though.

Miss Suzy – “Miss Suzy was a little gray squirrel who lived in the tip-tip-top of an old oak tree.” I can still almost recite the book from memory. This was the book that I begged my grandma to read to me when I was younger, and my dad eventually tracked down copies on ebay for my sister and me. I even did a book report on it in my children’s literature class my senior year of college!

The Phantom Tollbooth – Because sometimes, you just need a little bit of confusion to keep you on your toes. My teacher, Mrs. Drumgoole, read this to us when I was in fifth grade. I remember very vividly having to act like I was in the Valley of Sound in order for us to be released for lunch one day. It has stuck with me over the years, and whenever I’m feeling down, I just reach for this one.

The Book Thief – Because was there ever any doubt? It’s comforting to read through it, even though it deals with a very dark time in world history. It’s one of those stories you can read over and over again and not get tired of reading, because you’re always finding new things whenever you open the covers.

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I can’t believe it’s already August. Where the heck did the year go? I’m going to be graduating in less than four months, and probably defending my thesis in less than three. I just feel like time is flying by more quickly than ever before, and at some point it’s going to slip through my fingers all together.

What do I want for my 24th? Well, that’s a secret. Maybe it’ll come true before I turn 25, maybe it won’t, but only time will tell for me.

Anyway. Thank you for reading 🙂 Have a great day.

And as always, keep reading.

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