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5 Jun 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays and a Top Ten Award!

I've always enjoyed Colin's Top Ten Tuesday posts.  There are some fantastic questions which always leads to fantastic recommendations.  It's a good way of being introduced to something you haven't heard of yet.  This Top Ten Tuesday allows us to go through previous questions from the weekly feature - a good starting place although there were so many good questions I had trouble picking one!

I'm going for Top Ten Books I Loved But Never Wrote A Review For.  Before I started blogging I'd read some amazing books that I've never been able to get round to.  Any reviews I've done has been for all the ones I've read since starting The Nook.  So, here are my top ten books of the past:

1) The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
I grew up watching the film so when I found out it was an adaptation of a book I nabbed it.  It was quite different from the film itself.  In the book the narrator butts in more, first talking about how he came to rewrite this classic book that he's loved since childhood.  And occasionally jumps in during the plot to make little comments or flashback to his father reading it.  What I loved about the book was the parody.  You're more aware of the comedy of the plot and how it shouldn't be taken seriously.  The film was always quite serious to me but I could see how silly it's actually meant to be from the book.

2) Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
I loved this coming-of-age story between four lifelong friends.  I read it during high school so whenever I think of it, I always remember about the small group I had and how close we were.  The four girls in the book were so different yet stuck together and all had their own journeys to go through in touching ways.  I read reviews that slammed the book because it dealt with one of the characters having sex but I thought that was the strongest aspect.  The book never went into details but the hints were there and it turned out to be the biggest mistake of that character's life.  She developed the most from that plot and I think it was honest of the author to write about first experiences like that.  Sorry to the reviewers who were disgusted but the teens need to know. 

3) Carrie (Stephen King)
Even though Carrie did what she did, Stephen King makes you feel truly sorry for her.  At home she's abused.  At school she's abused.  It's more than a horror story.  Telekinesis is just one aspect of this bullied girl's life.  It's a symbol for her inner strength that she unknowingly channels until she just can't take it anymore.  She's a tragic anti-hero who was shaped into this supernatural danger by the people around her.  It's a shame because there were people who wanted to make her feel better but it wasn't enough.  The damage was already there. 

4) Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum was one of the first Pratchett books I read.  I was already hooked on Pratchett's comic narration.  I found it a quick read because he just keeps you hanging on, even when he's jumping from one character to another no matter if they're one of the main characters or just in the background.  But he makes every one of his characters interesting nevertheless.  And of course we're introduced to my favourite characters in all of Discworld's different arcs.  Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg.  The witches became my ultimate favourite.  An unlikely and ageing duo who constantly go up against supernatural threats.  And I did love how Pratchett parodied vampires.  The constant jokes on how they're modern vampyres who go for the sophisticated manner à la Dracula and are determined to beat the folkloric defences against them.  They're modern! They don't do that silly crosses and garlic business. 

5) Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
One of my surprises back in 2011 when I had to read it for the final half of my nineteenth century course.  Studying it actually helped me to appreciate just how comic its supposed to be.  Jane Austen is actually a sarcastic cow who observes society and mocks the shit out of it.  I enjoyed the humour of Pride and Prejudice.  While I still find Darcy to be a total arse and not attractive in the least I did like the development of his and Elizabeth's relationship, purely by taunting and teasing the hell out of each other.  It was their sharp tongues that showed us exactly how perfect they are for each other and helped them see that they weren't actually that bad.  If Austen was alive today, she'd be on Mock the Week.

6, 7 and 8) The Forbidden Game triology (LJ Smith)
I was a complete LJ Smith fan back when I just hit my teens.  Now I look back and think: Oh God, cheesy and bad! but I still think The Forbidden Trilogy was her better series.  So I'm cheating and making the three books my options for 6,7, and 8 but they are the only books of LJ Smith that I never gave away.  I still have them.  I could have done without the obsessed Phantom of the Opera type romance between the dangerous Shadow Man Julian and the goody two shoes girl Jenny but the situation she finds herself in with her friends was great and intriguing.  She gets sucked into this game with her friends after Julian sells it to her and they have to make their way through this house as they face their worst fears.  Their fears can actually be pretty disturbing.  Throughout the trilogy they are constantly being stalked and chased by Julian until the third book where he becomes the hunted and they go in search of him.  He took one too many loved ones and Jenny's pissed.  But there is some good development in Jenny as she starts to grow stronger and starts looking at her future more, realising that it shouldn't just include her jock boyfriend Tom.

9) Sons of Destiny (Darren Shan)
The last book of The Saga of Darren Shan and one that had me weeping.  Darren Shan takes no mercy, pushing his MC with deaths, new information, twists until you think Darren is about to break but he keeps going.  There's a prophesied battle to endure and he's ready to decide what his fate is going to be.  The ending is bittersweet.  Sacrifices are made but it's not completely the end.  Darren Shan makes his own happy ending that shows just what a hero he is and how much of a hero he has turned into.  When you look back at the first few books and see how young and immature he was you can tell that he's changed a lot.  War, sacrifices, and grief has aged him mentally and given him a bravery he probably never knew he had.  It was a satisfying ending to a fantastic series. 

10) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
It's quirky and eccentric with insane aliens and a very hapless protagonist Arthur Dent who just wants a nice cup of tea as he is randomly pulled along on this adventure of finding the question for that answer.  Adams is the Sci-Fi Terry Pratchett in wit and oddity who leaves you finding mice quite sinister, knowing that dolphins have a better clue than we do, and making me look forward to turning 42 just so I can be a Douglas Adams reference.

Be sure to check out what everyone chose for today's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish.

Laura from Stranger than Writing kindly awarded me the Sunshine Award.  So I'd appreciate it if you took the time the check her blog out and enjoy reading her fantastic posts! I have to answer ten questions, then add 10 random facts and pass the award onto ten bloggers.

Ten Questions:1. Panster or Plotter? Plotter.  I can never leap into writing a novel without the insane amount of notes I make for a project.

2. Do you listen to music while writing? Sometimes but it can get distracting.  I have playlists for my projects but I usually listen to them when I'm not writing to keep me motivated.

3. What genre do you write in? Horror and Fantasy mostly. But I'd like to try other genres in the future apart from romance.  I normally like that to be in the background rather than the focus of the story.

4. Books on writing you recommend? Writing and Selling the YA Novel by KL Going and Breathing Life into Your Characters by Rachel Ballon

5. Which are your favourite authors? Suzanne Collins, Darren Shan, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Veronica Roth, Simmone Howell, and Douglas Adams

6. How long have you been writing? I wrote on and off as a little girl but I only got serious about it when I was in my teens.  Then it was non-stop writing.

7. What is your favourite part of the writing process? Planning the characters.  I love creating new playthings. :) And editing as well.  I'm editing Beast Inside at the moment and it's so nice to move away from that embarrassing first draft and properly know where I can take this book.  Editing has its perks.

8. How do you capture ideas when you are on the go? Just a notebook.

9. How do you handle bad reviews? You're going to get them so you just have to suck it up and listen.  They have something worth saying unless they just say 'it's shit' and don't offer up any explanation.  If you're going to criticise, do it properly.  It's helpful to know exactly what went wrong.

10. Worst writing mistake you make? I outline the plot with so many notes that I don't let some of the plot just flow naturally.  So if there's an unexpected turn that doesn't fit into my essay of a plan, the whole plot is messed up.  I need to learn to plan briefly, leaving things open for sudden new plots, characters, or sub-plots. 

And ten random facts about me:

1) I love leopard print.

2) I absolutely adore Christmas.  It's my favourite time of the year.  I love decorating the place in gold, green and red and making the home smell nice with lots of Christmassy smells. 

3) I can cook lasagne from scratch.  Family recipe. :)

4) I also make pretty awesome wedges.

5) When I was younger I couldn't pronounce 'sh' properly. So fish and chips was known as 'fis and chips' until I was seven and I regularly told other children off for 'pussing in' the line.

6) My food weaknesses are pizza, chocolate chip cookies and brownies.

7) I can't eat spicy food because it makes me feel very sick.  Even the mildest of spice sends me nauseous.  Peppers are a no-no too.

8) I've only been to one theme park in my life and that was on a school Spanish trip to Barcelona.  That needs to change once I get a car and learn to drive. 

9) I've also never been to a convention.  Again, that needs to change.

10) I love, love, LOVE The Body Shop. 

So I'll just pass this on to everyone.  Because there are so many fantastic blogs I've been introduced to I hate to just choose a certain number.  Take it and share it! :)


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Robin! I finally bought THE PRINCESS BRIDE after years of only ever watching the movie. I have yet to read it (my Second-Born has it at the moment), but it sounds as if the movie kept somewhat to the idea of the cut-ins, where the kid complains or asks questions about the story. What little I've read of Stephen King has shown me that he doesn't write mindless horror--it's not horror for the sake of it. Yes, he wants to scare the willies out of you, but there's more to the stories that just shock and nastiness. There's some depth there too. I have yet to get to CARPE JUGULUM on my Discworld reading, but I'm looking forward to it! Your description of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE reminds me a bit of JANE EYRE--which I enjoyed a lot more than I expected it to. The relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester is not at all straight-forward.

    I enjoyed your comments... and thanks for the award! ;-) I love Christmas too--everything from the smells, the atmosphere, the music, etc.

  2. Can I just give you a massive thanks for being patient and getting through this long post? =D

    The film does well to condense a lot of the author interruptions and backstory you see in The Princess Bride, while still trying to keep to the metafictional aspects of the book overall. It stays true to the book and its style, which is something that lacks in most adaptations. Such a good read. I'm looking forward to your thoughts about it when you get the chance to read it!

  3. some books are just to awesome to review. ^.^
    my ttt;

  4. What a terrific post! I haven't read The Princess Bride, but I loved the movie :)

  5. Oh you should! It's a fun book to read! You get a lot more Inigo and Fezzik too! =D