Friday, June 1, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge! Day 1: Best Book of Last Year

All has been rather quiet around here for a while. It ought to have been! Between scheduling recitals, and having parents gone every weekend for a month, and birthdays, and summer planning, and Mother's Day, and reading, and the beginning of summer parties (we're going to the first - a roasting party - tomorrow evening!), and the 4H-ers starting to vamp up for the fair in August, our lives have been pretty full.

Believe me when I say, though, that the silence has not been due to lack of material - I have several posts bouncing around in my head at the moment - but rather from a lack of blogging time. (Not because I have no spare moments, but because I've been filling them with books instead of notebooks...check out the "Reading" tab for more on that.) So, in an effort to combine the two - reading and blogging, that is - I have embarked, commencing today, on the "30 Day Book Challenge". *sounding trumpets*

I will not, can not, promise to only give one answer to each question - but I will really-and-truly try my hardest. Nonetheless, there may be days when I am forced, against my will, as it were, to give at least "extra suggestions" to the day's query. Time shall tell.

So, without further ado, let us begin.

Day 1: What is the best book you read last year?

I had a sadly small amount to choose from for this question (although that didn't keep from deliberating between two different titles) since I read very little last year, but in the end I decided upon:

The Shadow of the Bear is definitely a candy book, yet one that was both exciting and enjoyable to read (as were the other two in the series). Usually "retold fairy tales" set in the modern day are a let-down. They either use completely off-the-wall, bizarre events to keep the story following a fairy tale, or else become entirely predictable. Add to that the "modern" slant of compromised heroes and heroins with no moral fortitude or higher calling, and you find many of these tales belong in the garbage or the burn pile (depending on the level of the fairy story's degradation).  The Shadow of the Bear belongs where all good stories do, in your hands or on your shelf. While the book itself is not particularly well-written, it is a tale well-told. In these pages, you find a story so compelling and realistic that only a scent of "long ago and far away" (despite the contemporary, New York City setting) reminds you of the story's origins. In these pages, you find a story so complexly-woven that the authoress, Regina Doman, keeps you guessing at the outcome, even when you know the "happily ever after" ending! In these pages, you find a story so sweet, so funny, so suspenseful that it will be nigh-impossible to put it down before the final page.

"Have you ever felt that there was something going on in life that not everyone was aware of?" Rose asked, turning her mug around in her hands. "As though there's a story going on that everyone is a part of, but not everybody knows about? Maybe 'story' isn't the right word - a sort of drama, a battle between what's peripheral and what's really important. As though the people you meet aren't just their plain, prosaic selves, but are actually princes and princesses, gods and goddesses, fairies, gypsies, shepherds, all sorts of fantastic creatures who've chosen to hide their real shape for some reason or another. Or have forgotten who they really are. Have you ever thought of that?"

The Shadow of the Bear. My favorite read from last year. Have you read it?

{I would love to hear your answers to the questions as I go through them, too. Leave a comment and let me know! :)}


Lauren said...

I love that quote--it gives such a sense of how fabulous the book is! I'm excited to see the rest of your posts on this. As for my favorite book...hmm...Oh, yes, I would have to say Knight of the Nineteenth Century by E.P. Roe. Definitely a must-read!

Mikaela said...

Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (as if you couldn't guess that one! ;-)