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7th-Nov-2009 03:14 pm

I notice that the last post was on September 30 but I've decided to post my application in the hope that there are some people lurking. My name is Amanda. My top fifteen in no particular order:

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  2. Wasted by Marya Hornbacher
  3. Looking For Alaska by John Green
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  7. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  8. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  9. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  10. Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
  11. Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite
  12. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  14. The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
  15. Traitor's Moon by Lynn Flewelling
8th-Nov-2009 12:34 am (UTC)
I'm glad you decided to post - We need some new blood around here to keep discussion going.

How do you discover most of your books? I ask because I remember reading quite a few of these in school, or at least seeing them on reading lists.
8th-Nov-2009 01:46 am (UTC)
Well thank you. I hope my application is accepted so that I can post more often.

As you've said, a lot of these books such as The Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, etc. were on school reading lists. To me, English class has always been a bit like a book club, especially when I have a teacher that tries to foster the matierial and engage us in discussion. (Don't you just love those?) I always discover gems amongst every year of assigned reading and this why I don't understand students who rely on SparkNotes or simply don't read the material.

Others were recommended to me by people who knew me, and by extension knew my taste in books. When I was fourteen my drama teacher pulled me aside and recommended American Psycho and Sybil by Flora Rheta Shreiber. (Which I also love, though it's not on the list.)

There are a few up there that were chosen due to specific material. I picked up The Bermudez Triangle because I'm always looking for good LGBT books, and Bermudez was one that came highly recommended. (I don't remember on what site--Amazon.com most likely.) I have a love-hate relationship with the horror genre and I went through a brief manic period after I read an article on cannibalism and I became obsessed with finding fiction on the same subject. I found a list on Wikipedia--Cannibalism in Popular Culture, or something to that effect--and Exquisite Corpse was listed.

Most of them, though, I just found at random. Some were generated on the recommendations on Amazon.com because of my browsing history, some I just picked up in the bookstore because of the cover art or the title, and some I just clicked on at random on books review sites or rec communities. I'm very curious when it comes to books and whenever I read an interesting summary or premise, I have to go out as soon as possible and satisfy my curiousity.
16th-Nov-2009 11:57 pm (UTC) - Yes
Thanks for the answer - I hope to see you post around these parts again soon.
8th-Nov-2009 10:58 am (UTC)
Three questions, no need to answer more than one if you don't want to!

1) Who's your favourite character in "Looking for Alaska", and why?
2) Have you seen the film of "Mysterious Skin"? If so, how does it compare to the book?
3) Assuming you've read the whole series, what makes "The Goblet of Fire" your favourite Harry Potter?
8th-Nov-2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
1) Alaska was my favorite. I think that part of what made Looking For Alaska so tragic was the way that John Green got the reader to fall in love with Alaska just as Pudge did. All of the time I was reading I found familiarity in Alaska because I saw traits--good and bad--of people that I knew in her. At the same time I was intrigued--I wanted to dig into Alaska's head, sit in there a while, look around and say, "Oh! So this is how she functions."

2) Unfortunately, I haven't seen the movie. It's on my extensive to-watch list.

3) I chose the The Goblet of Fire out of the seven wonderful books because I particularly enjoyed how J.K. Rowling depicted Harry's transition period. This books is meatier than the first three and--in my opinion--it's the book that truly expands and enriches the magical world. I say that this is a transitional book because this is the first book in which Harry has to put the magic he's learned to practical use (in the Tri-wizard tournament and against Voldemort). I also liked the way in which J.K. Rowling balanced the morbid aspects of the book (the return of Lord Voldemort, the first innocent casualty of the war, Harry's uncertainty in the Tri-wizard tournament, etc.) with the light-hearted and exciting (the Quidditch World Cup, Harry's triumphs in the Tri-wizard tournament, the Yule Ball, etc.).
10th-Nov-2009 05:53 am (UTC) - Leaning towards 'yes'...
I just wanted to give my responses to your answers & see what you think:

1) This is interesting, because I actually found Alaska supremely irritating (Pudge as well, to a lesser extent), but enjoyed the book anyway. (Incidentally, my favourite character was probably the Colonel.)

2) In that case, can you tell me what your experience of reading the book was like? Because I've only seen the (unbelievably good) film, and I'm really intrigued as to what the book is like.

3) Again, this is interesting to me because Goblet for me marked the beginning of the downturn in the series. :-) I can definitely see where you're coming from, though: the expansion & enrichment of the wizarding world is certainly clear in the fourth book, it just happened to change the series in a way I didn't happen to enjoy.
11th-Nov-2009 07:50 pm (UTC) - Re: Leaning towards 'yes'...
1) I can see where you're coming from when you say that you found Alaska irritating. I found her irritating at times to, but I thought that this added to her character. I don't think she was a character that was meant to be fully understood which is the reason for the amibivalence at the end of the book and sometimes, not understanding a characters motives is profoundly annoying. At least this is why I found her irritating at times. You might have a completely different reason. And I loved the Colonel as well. If I had to rank them, he would be my second favorite.

2) Mysterious Skin is one that I couldn't put down. What really grabbed me was the atmosphere of the story. I honestly felt like I was part of the experience because Heim's descriptions can really pull the reader into the story. It felt almost nostalgic like I was reading and remembering things about my own childhood.

3) It seems that we have a few opposite tastes. Not that that's a bad thing by any means. :)
13th-Nov-2009 06:06 am (UTC) - YES
3) It would indeed! And that's part of the fun of discussing books - I always find it really interesting how the same piece of work can provoke such different responses in people. :-)
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8th-Nov-2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
I've read a lot of books on eating disorders and the one thing that sets Hornbacher's account apart from the rest of them is the raw intimacy in her words. To me, books like Stick Figure and The Best Little Girl in the World were like fairy tales next to Wasted because Hornbacher exposed herself in a way that most other books just skirt around. I actually happened to like her writing style. I guess it's not for everyone but I felt like I was living the rollercoaster ride with her.

I typed and backspaced a few times in this response because what I was writing just sounded all over the place. I included Wasted because of the depth of Marya's writing. She wrote about her disorder in the same way I've seen people write about an unfaithful lover: passionate but untrusting and resentful and, at times, nostalgic.
9th-Nov-2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
Can you name the book (can name more than one if you like) that didn't quite make the list. Nr. 16? ;)
11th-Nov-2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was a very close contender. It's one of those books that I've re-read once every year or so since the seventh grade. I wish I had room to include it since it's such an excellent book.

I think also mentioned somewhere above that I toyed with the idea of putting Sybil on the list but I ultimately decided against it because while the book tells a excellent (and true!) story, the writing itself just wasn't strong enough.
11th-Nov-2009 08:30 pm (UTC) - Yes
Think you'll bring new blood and variation to this place :)
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29th-Nov-2009 06:06 am (UTC) - Re: Welcome
Thank you for the stamp. And thank everyone else for their kind votes. :)