Tag: book tags

T5W – Books for My Younger Self

Posted September 12, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments


The official prompt from the Goodreads group reads: This was recommended as a topic on twitter and I love it! Books that you wish your younger self would have read to learn a life lesson, get more self confidence, open your eyes to a new perspective, etc.

There are just SO MANY THINGS out there that are so rich and valuable and leave real impressions on the reader, and it warms our souls – individually and as the weird bookish unit that we are – that more and more books with all of those lessons and moments continue to be written for young readers. But gushing about it doesn’t actually answer the question, so let’s go!



  1. The first book that came to mind for me was City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. If you read my August wrap-up, you’ll know exactly why! This definitely would have been a book that I would have read so often that my copy would be battered and bruised and well-loved.
  2. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan was a required book for one of my Children’s Lit classes in grad school, and it’s another one I would have been obsessed with.
  3. I also wished I had read the His Dark Materials trilogy as a child. The themes of friendship are something I love and appreciate now, but I definitely could have benefited from exposure to Lyra, who refused to be what everyone expected, who was fiercely loyal, and whose story wasn’t completely happy, but ended just as it should have. (I’m giving this one my unofficial sixth place vote – hope you’re on board.)
  4. The Percy Jackson books would have been everything a young Paige would have ever wanted. I LOVE books involving mythology, and I have since I was very young.
  5. Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones would also have been right up my alley. I learned about it from Maggie Stiefvater on her tour for All the Crooked Saints last year when she said it was one of her favorite and most-reread childhood books. While staying with my in-laws for the holidays not long after, I saw a copy of it on one of their shelves and borrowed it. It is such a weird little book, and it would have been perfect for young Paige.



  1. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau – I touched on this in the tag we posted Monday. This book came out when I was 13, so I was just slightly too old to have to read it for school, and I also probably would have thought I was above it if it was presented to me at the time. Well, I would have been wrong, and that’s okay. I love books that highlight intelligence and gumption in their young characters, and this one has it in spades.
  2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – This one is actually a semi-downer, and I’m sorry. (MORE THAN A SEMI DOWNER) This one I wish I would have read as a child so that I would have been able to tolerate it. I love this story – I owned several versions of the movie, and I watched the Hallmark Channel edition so much, my mother actually grounded me from it at one point, because she was tired of watching it. But through all of that, I never read the book. I tried to a couple of years ago and HATED IT. Even loving the story and knowing how it ends, I found Mary and Colin both to be insufferable, and I couldn’t take it long enough to finish it. That’s right – I DNF’d The Secret Garden. You can smite me. I understand. I will keep my Burnett children’s classics reading to A Little Princess from now on.
  3. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan – Not to be a copycat, but this book is magical. I wish 10 year old Kate had this book, so she could have experienced the wonder and symmetry of it. It’s so special to experience a story that has so much to teach and so much entertain value in the same package.
  4. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik – Aside from the illustrations, which are AMAZING, this book is just captivating. It almost reminds me of The Night Circus in terms of tone and style, and the layers to the beauty of it are what make it special. ESPECIALLY since it’s written for middle grade readers. Hugo faces so many obstacles, and he’s able to overcome them with the help of his wit and a few well-placed friends. That was favorite kind of story 20 years ago, and it’s still my favorite kind of story now.
  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – Another children’s classic I didn’t read as a child, but this time I have good news. I loved this one! (THANK GOD) I’ve only read it once, and I only read it because of Paige’s enduring love for it, but I’m so glad that I took the leap. It’s both fantastical and ordinary, and therein lies its power. One of my favorite Madeleine L’Engle quotes is, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” I think The Phantom Tollbooth is an excellent example of that sentiment.


What are your childhood favorites? And what are some things you’ve discovered as an adult you wished you had as a child? We know there are multitudes of great answers, and we want to hear them all! Or at least as many as we possibly can.

As always, happy reading, Wednesdayers, and we’ll see you next week for some more Top 5 Wednesday!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I DARE YOU Book Tag!

Posted August 9, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Miscellaneous Tags / 0 Comments

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we wanted to share some random reading and bookish facts with you! And we’re off!

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Kate: In terms of books I actively read/still read/have any intention of reading in the future, probably my paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’ve had it since ‘99. I have a bunch of my childhood board books, but I don’t think those count for some reason.

Paige: My original HP #1 book was lost in a break-up (I am definitely a lot more stingy about who I lend things out to now), otherwise that would totally be my answer. I’ll have to give second runner up to my Chamber of Secrets hardcover, because it is my oldest original copy. I still have all the other original HP books that I read as they came out. Nostalgia!

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Kate: Lololololol I read many things at once.
Current: Sky In the Deep – buddy read w/ Paige, Inheritance audiobook, and The Diviners on my Kindle. There are others, but those are the only ones I’m actively reading. Post-wedding energy slump is REAL.
Last read was Heart of Iron
I absolutely must read Godsgrave next, or I might die.

Paige: My current reads according to Goodreads are Tower of Dawn (I am trying!), Sky in the Deep (going so quickly!), Down Among the Sticks and Bones (audiobook read by the author!), and Shadow of the Fox (eARC #blessed)
If my friend Mike is reading this, I’m totally starting The Way of Kings next. In all reality, I’m hoping to either read Obsidio or one of my subscription box books next. Maybe Ash Princess?

3. What book did everyone like but you hated?

Kate: Caraval. I couldn’t even finish it. I had a very negative, very powerful reaction to it. It still makes me angry to think about, and I picked it up the week it was released.

Paige: I also hate Caraval. Don’t @ me.I also hate The Magicians trilogy. I wish I would have had a physical copy of the second one so I could throw it against a wall. I almost finished it, got disgusted, and I refuse to try again.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Kate: Probably Outlander. I’m genuinely interested, but there are so many other series full of giant books that are a greater priority to me.

Paige: Oh this is really hard. Currently it FEELS like I won’t ever get to the Wheel of Time books because I’m drowning, but I really really really do want to.
Kate: I’m stealing hers. I’ve been ⅓ of the way through the fourth one for almost four years now.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

Kate: Anything written by someone with a Russian surname. I was an English major and read my fair share of hefty translations in college, but I tend to save my giant reads for things from the fantasy section these days.

Paige: At this point, the next Game of Thrones books. I’ll have to reread them because it has been so long, and it was a LONG couple of months when I binged the first 5 the first time.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

Kate: I’m about 50/50. Sometimes I look because I’m bored, sometimes because I’m excited, and sometimes because I’m just curious. Other times it becomes a personal challenge not to for the same reasons.

Paige: I don’t ever feel tempted to read the last page, but I DO struggle when the last paragraph of a tense chapter is on the right hand side of the book. I have to try really hard to not look at the last sentence and see how angsty things are gonna be.

7. Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

Kate: I tend to really enjoy them. Not a fan of when they take up more than a page or two, though.

Paige: I’ll be honest, I don’t tend to read them unless I feel some sort of connection with the author as a person.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Kate: Feyre. No contest.

Paige: Rude answer-stealing Hobbitses (Ha!)…More realistically, I’ll go with Cath from Fangirl. I wouldn’t survive Feyre’s life, but I could definitely be okay with being a successful writer with an adorable boyfriend.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person, etc.)

Kate: I have a few, and most of them are dumb. My personal favorite is actually Twilight, not because of the book, but because of the traditions a group of friends from high school had surrounding the book. We read better ones, but Twilight started it all.

Yes, we did a Twilight themed photo shoot in homemade Twilight puffy paint t-shirts. We were cool.

Paige: Dune, and just hear me out. This was the first book my husband gave me as a gift (he also got me The Killing Joke), and I also got him a really beautiful copy as a gift on our wedding day.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Kate: I feel like I’ve had them thrown at me, but I can’t think of an example right now. I really don’t know. I tend to just buy them on a whim.

Paige: I acquired a signed copy of Taggerung by Brian Jacques in the regular section of a Half Price Books in Cincinnati. I didn’t realize it was signed until I got home. $8 well spent!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Kate: Not that I can remember. I’ve given countless gifts that include books, but I rarely give them away. I become emotionally attached to them, and I don’t think I could ever handle that. The most meaningful book gift I’ve ever given was probably to my niece for her 10th birthday. We gave her both the book and movie of Matilda, and her card said reminded her to “always remember she has magic inside her.”

Paige: Aside from my above story about Dune, I gave my grandmother copies of My Side of the Mountain and The Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George because she had introduced them to me when I was young, and her memory was starting to fail her. I was so pleased when she opened them and her eyes lit up with the memory. I have the copies myself now that they are gone, and I cherish them.

12. Which book has been with you the most places?

Kate: This is the hardest for me to answer for some reason. Probably The Five People You Meet In Heaven. I haven’t actually taken it that many places, but I bought it in Germany, and it’s message about empathy is something I think about A LOT. I’ve only read it once, but it’s stuck with me for a long time.

Paige: The Secret Garden! I’ve taken a copy to Texas, bought a copy in Michigan, and had one in my carry-on when I went to Europe.

13. Any required reading you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Kate: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. My junior year of high school, my English teacher tried to squeeze this one in during the last 10 days of the year. It was not well-received by the students, and between end of year craziness and AP testing, he didn’t really have time to teach it. But I picked it up randomly in college, and I actually really enjoyed it. I still have it 11 years later.

Paige: I’m pretty set in my ways about my hatred of things I read in high school. No regrets. My school sucked.

14. Used or brand new?

Kate: Either! I probably prefer new, but I can’t turn down a good bargain, especially if the book’s in decent shape.

Paige: As long as it is in really good condition (cuz I’m a snob), I am happy with either.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Kate: I have. It was fine.

Paige: I was really into them for a little while, and then it was like a switch flipped in my brain and I was over it.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Kate: See above question haha

Paige: The Shawshank Redemption. Stephen King seems to be a fun person (mostly his dog), but his writing isn’t really for me.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Kate: I read cookbooks for fun, so this is PERFECT for me. Share by Chris Santos made my mouth water. It’s a whole cookbook full of small plates and shareable cocktails and I just wanted to invite my friends over and make it all. SO GOOD.

Paige: If you don’t get hungry reading Redwall feast scenes, you’re a cop.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Kate: Since Paige is a copout, I’ll go with either Rachel or Lisa. One’s a friend from college, the other is in those beautiful Twilight themed pictures up there, and they both have exquisite taste.

Paige: I also swear by Rachel’s recommendations! I also really like a lot of Booktubers for their recs, and my first favorite creator ever is Sam from Thoughts On Tomes.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone that you ended up loving?

Kate: How to Buy a Love of Reading. I picked it up from the library before a family road trip, which is perplexing, because it’s contemporary, the description paints it as much more fluffy than it actually is, and it has one of those hand drawn covers that usually makes me crazy. But I devoured it. I went out and bought a copy when I got home, and it’s still on my shelf.

Paige: The Name of the Wind for sure. At the time, I was pretty daunted by giant adult fantasy novels. I am now madly, madly in love with the book. It is a masterpiece.


Whew! That was fun. Let us know your answers in the comments!

Happy reading!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,