I’m officially reunited with about 90% of my things. It’s weird. Very very weird but I feel like there’s some stable ground beneath my feet. It just feels nice to not be living out of a suitcase that’s mostly business professional clothing and be reunited with comfy college t-shirts. I’ve gone through all of my stuff, mostly organized it, and set up a bookcase. As a lifelong bookworm and someone who went to college for writing, I have a lot of books. And I haven’t read all of those books. So I decided books I haven’t read or don’t remember reading will go on the bookcase. The rest will stay in their boxes.
My plan when I was expecting to come home pre-pandemic was to frequent the library but try and focus on the books I haven’t read yet that I own. I figured if there were things I desperately wanted to read that I couldn’t get at the library I’d get it for my e-reader or maybe at the store after getting a job. But then the pandemic happened and our library has only recently opened so e-reader and my TBR bookcase should get me through for a while. (Plus I can always grab something off of my aunt or uncle’s bookshelves if I need to branch out. They’ve already given me recommendations.)
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri by Dante Alighieri. This book is too big to fit on the shelves so it’s chilling at the top with my Korean Count of Monte Cristo musical book. This is one of my Dad’s books that he gave me when he moved. I’m sure I missed more that are in a box in the basement. I organized but I have lot of books so I know I missed things.f
So buckle up here’s all the books on my bookcase in no particular order. Shelf #!.
The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin Ursula K. Le Guin is a staple author for fantasy and I thought for sure I’d read this but I wasn’t 100% sure so I grabbed it anyway.
Monsterkind by Taylor C. I kickstarted this a long time ago and it’s one of the things in my boxes that I didn’t realize I had because I’m pretty sure it arrived while I was in Korea. I’ve sadly missed the cut off for book two but am pretty excited to jump into this.
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel. I don’t know when or where I got it but looking at the tag line I can see why I found it intriguing “The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein” sounds fun.
And Another Thing… Douglas Adams Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Part six of Three by Eoin Colfer. Fun fact when I was in elementary through high school I read everything Eoin Colfer I could get my hands on and I loved The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy and everything I’ve read by Douglas Adams so this was a no brainer. Though I haven’t read it because I guess I don’t know what it is.Aa sequel? A prequel? Something in between? No idea, it’ll be a fun adventure.
What You Don’t Know About Men by Michael Burke. This is one of those books where I’m just staring at it wondering where it came from and why I have it. It is signed and after deep diving my own Instagram it’s a book from college. But whether I met the author at an event, something I was volunteering for or at school is beyond me.
Gramarye City by Paul Revere Lester. This is another signed book, but I’m pretty sure it’s self published since there was nothing about it on Goodreads. Could be wrong. But this one I don’t know if it’s from high school writer’s club or what since it, like the last one references my own writing and cheers me on in the note with the signing.
Fiery Dark Secret by Emma Bown Meyer this one is also signed but doesn’t reference my own writing or any sort of cheering me on so who knows. I’m going to assume this is from a library event where the authors came and signed their books from when I was in high school.
Hush Girls by Emily Hansen. Another signed book. You could guess that I don’t read books I get signed but in this case this came out this year and it’s one of the few books I’ve recently purchased. Emily Hansen was one of my cohorts and I try my best to support my cohorts.
Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones, did I get this book because it was recommended reading in college or because it looks cool or was it gifted to me? No clue.
Zombies vs Unicorns. This is a collection of short stories about Zombies versus Unicorns. So each author picked a team and wrote a story to try and grab the reader to their side and some of my favorite authors are in this collection and it’s just super cool looking so I’m greatly looking forward to reading it.
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, oh this book hasn’t been read out of pure spite. My department in college had this thing where we had to go and attend “literary” events and then write about them as part of our grade. The problem being there were plenty of literary events for people over the age of 21. So many readings and events that our teachers recommended did not work for those of us under the age of 21 who weren’t allowed in the bars. For one of these my friend said that a famous author had an event at Borders (RIP) on the other end of the city from where we lived. So a small group of us went all the way out to that Borders realized we weren’t early enough to sit in on the discussion which was then sold out and our best and final bet was to get a number for the book signing. So we did that and got dinner nearby. My friends had books but I had nothing to get signed. This book was one of the few ones out and on sale so I bought it and then spent the many hours left waiting in that line reading manga.
Here’s the thing. Kudos to David Sedaris’s work ethic. He’s one of those authors who will stay until everyone in line goes through as long as the place is willing to stay open. Which is super cool. But for me, a college kid who was utterly exhausted and had never even heard of the author before, showed up at 3am after waiting in line for ages to learn Mr. Sedaris either requests a joke or gives you a joke when he meets you. I really really just wanted to get the book signed so I could go back to my dorm and sleep and then write up my journal entry for class. I wasn’t in the mood for jokes. And my humor isn’t really okay with cancer jokes at any time let alone 3am. So I haven’t read this book. It’s been on my shelves for ages, moved from dorm room to dorm room to boxes and forgotten. But it’s signed. And even though I’m still very bitter I’m willing to give it a shot. But I don’t have high hopes.
Listen to the Echos, The Ray Bradbury Interviews by Sam Weller, to continue with the books I’m bitter about and have been putting off reading. This book is also signed and the signing is the part that I’m a little bitter about. Again backstory time. So there’s two things you should know. One is that my school would host some pretty cool events from time to time with dinners and whatnot with authors or other people in the arts and one of my best college friends and her family went to this school fancy dinner at, I believe, the school’s President’s home and they very sweetly got me this book. What kills me on the inside is the signing.
A gift from the —– family!
Now you might be like well it is a gift, right? True. But the kicker. Sam Weller was my teacher. I was in his Ray Bradbury class at the time this was signed. I spent an entire semester learning about what made Ray Bradbury who he was and how his short stories and works created a ripple effect that gave us so many beloved movies, stories and idioms we have today. I loved that class. I planned to get this book myself and get it signed because I enjoyed it and the teacher so much. And this is the equivalent of getting “Have a great summer” in your yearbook. Now to be real, he probably didn’t put two and two together and at some point, I could’ve tried to get it re-signed but I didn’t. I should’ve, I wish I did. Because I remember laughing about it and taking the book to class but I chickened out. I think, in all honesty, it has to do with teachers who make huge impacts on you and then forgetting who you are when you’re not in class with them. My college departmental advisor just completely forgot who I was when I went to visit after graduating. I get it. I do, but it sure does sting.
Breverton’s Nautical Curiosities by Terry Breverton which is a delightful book about nautical things, another passion of mine from growing up. I’ve never sat down and read it but I’ve flipped through it many a time.
Feeding Hannibal a Connoisseur’s Cookbook by Janice Poon. I loved this TV show and I’m forever in awe of Janice Poon and how she made the food look appetizing but also vaguely human (gross, very gross) while also edible for the cast. I bought this in Korea at the Seoul Comic Con and brought it home.
Healing Herbal Teas: A Complete Guid to Making Delicious, Healthful Beverages by Brigitte Mars, A.H.G. I don’t know if you know this but I love tea. I’m warming up to coffee in the same way I am to booze, as long as I don’t taste it we’re good. But with tea I’m obsessed. This was a gift. I haven’t set about reading it but I am curious about it.
Onto shelf #2
East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I’m not sure if other majors have this but my department while I was there was pretty obsessed with this book. Not teacher’s necessarily but my cohorts talked about it a lot and said they loved it or talked about how it shaped them. So I bought it. Don’t know why since one of the go-to books that drew a lot of students to our school and department because the teacher worked there creeped me out but hey, willing to give this massive book a try.
The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis. This is a book that’s been on my shelf a long time. Probably since around when it came out in 2005 that I just kept putting off reading even though I knew I wanted to read it. I’m a sucker for fantasy novels with fey or even a twisty dark vibe to them.
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. I’m going to be honest, bought this book because of the cover. It was a pretty art style with faeries of some kind.
The Magicina of Hoad by Margaret Mahy, for a paperback this book is super shiny. Not sure if that’s why I got it or because anything genre tended to grab my attention in high school.
Timeline by Michael Crichton. In my first year of college, my group of friends and I had a secret Santa and the person who had me didn’t have a clue what to get me except books. So he decided to do one of my favorite things ever which was to get me some books that were his favorites. This is one of them that I hadn’t gotten around to reading yet.
Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan. I’ve been saving this one. I spent most of high school and college devouring any nightmarish adventure Darren Shan concocted. The Thin Executioner is still one of my favorites despite being so ghastly. This one though I remember spotting at the store and going “how dare no one tell me he’d come out with a new book?” And grabbing it. However after living overseas so long I’m sure I’m behind on a lot of books and authors I used to keep up to date on before.
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Sorceress, The Necromancer and the Magician by Michael Scott. You may remember I’ve read the first in this series and did not enjoy it. But I heard from some other readers that the series gets better and since I have these three books as hard backs which aren’t cheap I’m determined to read them and give them a shot before…probably donating them.
Lost in Space by Ben Tanser. My college hosted a literary event every year while I was there called Story Week. They invited authors and publishers and agents to celebrate books and share what they knew and it was free. As a person who volunteered for it several times it means I’m not sure if I bought all the books I own or if I just got some of the books and this is one of them. I know the publisher was big with our school, our teachers and faculty loved Curbside Splendor, but again I don’t know. This isn’t signed so I think it’s a case of I got it to better understand the publisher and then didn’t get around to reading it because I had big paper’s due like every other day and required reading as well as job and club responsibilities. How I got any fun reading done is beyond me.
The Old Neighborhood by Bill Hillmann is one that I’m kind of embarrassed I didn’t read before now. It’s signed and the author came to class to talk to us about his work because he was good friends with our teacher. He seemed pretty cool and still does. He usually does the Running of the Bulls in Spain and actually got pretty injured one year and made international news.
Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I got this book for free as part of “World Book Night U.S. April 23, 2014” which is pretty cool but I did not read it when I think I was supposed to. Nearly over 6 years late on that one. Sorry World Book Night.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I don’t know about this one. Did I get it because movies were being adapted of Ayn Rand’s work? Did I get it because people were talking about it? Did I get it just out of curiosity because her work is so polarising and pretty much as hated as Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey were within my cohort? Was it on a list of books to read? Not a clue. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged since and looking at the size of this book it’s going to be a long journey of tiny print.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. My local public library when I was growing up would participate in a book event where they’d pick a book and then everyone could sign up for that book and they’d host events related to it. Like a big massive book club. Chicago did it too with Neverwhere and many others. I signed up, got the book and then…didn’t read it.
The Princess and the Pirates: The Timelight Stone by Mio Chizuru. This book is a library book. A high school library book that they stamped with rejected and removed all the stuff on it. I assume I got this from a book sale of our library getting rid of books or the librarian just told me she was getting rid of books and since I was working there during my free periods repairing books. The bonus I guess of being a constant presence. It looks like manga but it’s actually a novel, so it’ll be interesting.
Emerald Death by Bill Craig I’m not 100% certain but I’m pretty sure this was from my childhood public library again. It’s signed and I think it was from one of the author events.
The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet this is like Lost in Space. I bought this so I could better understand the publication because my genre teachers were full of praise for Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and honestly loved the style. But got too busy to read it. I’m sure I have another collection or two for a different publisher in my boxes somewhere but that can wait. I’ve never really been one to read anthologies or collections of short stories so these types of books usually fall a bit on my TBR list. But I should read them.
Push and The Kid by Sapphire. Both of these are signed and were from a literary event while I was in college through the Harold Washington Library. I think I attended an interview at the library where she discussed her work. From what I remember I know these books aren’t going to be the happiest so I am pretty sure that’s why I’ve set them aside.
The final shelf time.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I borrowed this book in high school from my dad because we were supposed to read it in English and then…never did. I don’t know why. We probably we got too busy in the other books we were supposed to read that we also never finished. Like Julius Ceaser by Shakespeare that we just stopped reading after he died. So, thank you, Dad, for letting me keep it along with all the others.
The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles, this book is pretty beaten up but I always grab classics even if 70% of the time I hate them. This was probably for a class, quite possibly the most frustrating class I ever took, or I found it cheap somewhere.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo I picked this up in Paris. Pretty sure I read some copy of this in high school in French and I’ve seen the musical in Korean and the movie version as well as the old film of the musical my French teacher had…but we’ll see how I remember it as I go with the translated English.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. I also got this in Paris. I’ve never read it but after learning about how it single-handedly saved Notre Dame I feel like I have to.
Redwall: The Rogue Crew by Brian Jacques. This is the last book Brain Jacques wrote that was published posthumously. I loved Redwall so much and I’m pretty sure I’ve read almost every novel Brian Jacques wrote. When he died I was heartbroken and I got the book but just couldn’t bring myself to read it.
Artemis Fowl the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer, I loved the Artemis Fowl series when I was younger and I really want to jump into this book which is book 7 in the series but I think I’m going to have to go back through my boxes and find the rest of them before reading book seven. It’s been waaaayyyy too long.
The Faeman Quest by Herbie Brennan is another series I absolutely adored when I was younger. Again it’s another where it’s been so long I’ll probably have to re-read the previous books in The Faerie Wars Chronicles to fully understand what’s going on here.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Up to this point I was fairly good at reading all of Neil Gaiman’s works. And attending any event he had in Chicago. This one I remember going to with a bunch of friends at the Music Box theater and then staying up late with them to get it signed. It was a fun event but I was saving it to read later since it’s a small book.
Silas Marner by George Eliot not sure where this one came from but I haven’t read it so here it is. I recognize the title though but don’t know why.
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix. I love books by Garth Nix he’s one of those authors in Zombies vs Unicorns but I haven’t gotten around to reading this one or even finishing the series of his I started and loved when I was younger. (I don’t like things to end)
Swords of Riverside by Ellen Kushner. This has harlequin romance vibes from the cover but also older fantasy/historical novel vibes. Don’t know where I got it or why but it’ll be interesting for sure. Very curious to see which it falls into or if just the long hair blown back by invisible wind on the male character was just for fun.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, middle school/high school me might not have jumped on the Uglies train whenever one else did but I apparently went ahead and got this book by the author. (Fun fact he’s also in Zombies vs Unicorns). I assume I grabbed it because of the familiar author name and the steampunk vibe of the cover.
Seven Sorcerers by Caro King has a spooky-looking cover with magic vibes, my go to when I was younger.
Changeling by Delia Sherman, when I tell you any sort of fantasy fey adventure or magic novel usually ended up on my shelf just because it fell into that category I’m not joking. This cover is kinda creepy and weird but I can see why I got it because of the title. Oh boy.
These are the books that I plan to read for the most part of the rest of this year. Mixing in e-books and maybe some old ones. There are more books on my bookcase but those are reference or books I’ve read but didn’t remember until I started making this list and realized I had. I also have several books that I didn’t realize were book 6 of a series where I haven’t read or own book one through five. So that’s going to require being set aside until I can check books out from the library. (I’m putting it off because I’m trying to figure out how to renew my library card that’s been inactive for over 5 years during a pandemic)
Anyway wish me luck.