Eva, author of the delightful Coffee, Classics, & Craziness blog, recently tagged me in this fun blogging challenge! Each query is based on a song from The Greatest Showman. Thanks so much, Eva!
~’The Greatest Show’: Name a book that’s as entertaining as a circus
I know this sounds crazy, but The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh* by A.A. Milne remains one of the most entertaining books our family has ever read together. The humor is extremely witty (and it’s often dry British wit, which is my favorite) and always unexpected. Don’t let anyone tell you the original Pooh stories are “just for kids,” because they’re not. We laughed till we cried over them.
(And on that note, is anybody as excited as I am about the upcoming Christopher Robin movie? It looks so adorable. And if I needed anymore motivation to see it, Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Peter Capaldi, and Mark Gatiss are all in it. Yes, you heard right: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Peggy Carter, the Doctor, and Mycroft are in a Pooh Bear movie. Sign. Me. UP.)
~’A Million Dreams’: Name a book that’s set in a fantastical world
Valiant* by Sarah Maguire is another family favorite of ours, and one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Here’s the little blurb on Amazon:
Saville hates sewing. How can she not when her father, the Tailor, loves his bolts of velvet and silk far more than he’s ever loved her? Yet, when he is struck ill shortly after they arrive in the city of Reggen, Saville must don boy’s clothes in the hopes of gaining a commission from the king to keep them fed. The kingdom is soon on edge when stories spread of an army of giants led by a man who cannot be killed. But giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.
And then the giants do come to the city gates, two larger-than-life scouts whom Saville cunningly tricks into leaving. The Tailor of Reggen is the hero of the kingdom, the king promises his sister’s hand in marriage, and by the time Saville reaches the palace doors, it is widely known that the Tailor single-handedly killed the giants. When her secret that she’s a girl is quickly discovered by Lord Galen Verras, the king’s cousin, Saville’s swept into the twists and turns of court politics.
If you’re looking for a wholesome, well-written fantasy with an endearing but believable heroine, look no further than this one.
~’Come Alive’: Name a book that makes you outrageously happy
I’d say I was outrageously happy while reading Doctor Who: Deep Time by Trevor Baxendale on my way home from vacation. Not only was the plot unique and engaging, but when the Doctor revealed that he was friends with C.S. Lewis and even corrected Clara on a point about the White Witch’s influence on the Narnian landscape, I just about died. (He said he watches Call the Midwife, too, but I’m pretty sure that was in the other book I started reading…)
~’The Other Side’: Name a book that changed your mind about something
Persuasion* by Jane Austen. The first time I read it, I didn’t care for it; I couldn’t relate to Anne Elliot at all and I found the story dull. But, I was also a teenager. I read it again when I was in my twenties, however, and loved it, so: moral of the story? Don’t judge a book by your still-developing (and often questionable) teenager sensibilities. It might completely change your mind about its merits later on.
~’Never Enough’: Name a book that you’ve re-read more than once
As I’m currently re-reading Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre* right now (and I lost track a long time ago of how many times I’ve read it), that seems like a good answer!
~’This Is Me’: Name a book with a character that reminds you of yourself
Middlemarch* by George Eliot. Ohhhhhhh my gosh, Dorothea Brooke reminded me so much of myself. At times it was hilarious and other times it was even bit comforting, but there were several points where it got downright embarrassing!
~’Rewrite the Stars’: Name a book with a forbidden romance
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles)* by Marissa Meyer had a beautiful forbidden romance, and was actually my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles series. Jacen and Winter were an absolutely precious couple. (P.S. Jacen was also the best of the male characters, in my humble opinion.)
~’Tightrope’: Name a book with an adventurous main character
Mrs. Kennedy and Me* by Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who protected First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during President John F. Kennedy’s administration. I’ve been fascinated by Jackie Kennedy’s story since I was a little girl, and getting to know her through Clint Hill’s eyes was a real treat. I never realized, though, (or else had forgotten) what an adventurous soul she was! I think she was just so hemmed in by the expectations of the high society in which she grew up, plus the unavoidable constraints of being a politician’s wife, that she seized any chance to relax and be herself out of the public eye.
~’From Now On’: Name a book with a wonderful family (related or otherwise)
We recently read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry* by Mildred D. Taylor, the story of an African-American family in Mississippi during the 1930’s–and again, another wonderful, highly-recommended book. It reminded me a bit of To Kill a Mockingbird, thanks to the subject matter and the fact that it was narrated by the sister (and written in the first person point of view)–and it also featured a close-knit, supportive family.
Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments section!