BBAW

Return of #BBAW: 5-Book Introduction

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How exciting! Book Blogger Appreciation Week is back! And it’s being hosted by The Estella Society! Will wonders never cease?

Although I’ve taken a general hiatus from book blogging (except for monthly updates on reading, writing, etc.), this was an event not to be missed. As a long-time blogger (7 years? gosh), I felt this was an appropriate week for a bit of a comeback and reintroduction.

The first prompt asks us to “introduce [ourselves] by [sharing] five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle.”

If that’s not an impossible challenge, I don’t know what is. FIVE books? At least the folks at BBAW have admitted that this is a tough task. We’ll give them credit for that!  Anyhow, I think I’ll try to choose three books that represent me the person/reader, and another two that represent my interests/lifestyle. If I’m going to make a list, I might as well create sub-lists, too!

3 Books That Represent Me the Person/Me the Reader

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If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut, in general, is my writer soul-mate. I adore his voice and his wit. I respond overwhelmingly to his dark humor and his cautionary humanism. I chose this particularly title as representative for his corpus (and my love and appreciation for it) because it is filled with wisdom and wonder. Vonnegut, despite his cynicism, offers young people and other readers some positivity, and asks them to be a little bit more, do a bit more, be better, every day.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I can’t think of a book that has affected me more than this one. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, and when the film adaptation finally came out, my best friends and I (despite being far outside the target audience demographic at that point) rushed to see it during opening weekend. The main character, Charlie, just always felt like me-in-print. And the friendships in that book reminded me so much of my own.

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The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Yes, of course this seems cliché at this point. When I was younger(-ish), I was not much of a reader. There were some few books I had really enjoyed (Agatha Christie, Lois Lowry, Goosebumps), but I was not “a reader.” Then my librarian neighbor recommended this new series to me, and my whole life changed. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is not. My entire life’s trajectory changed. This non-reader is now a College English Instructor completing his PhD in American Literature. If I hadn’t fallen in love with Potter, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with reading.

2 Books That Represent My Interests

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Eminent Outlaws: Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram. This is an excellent survey of gay American writers in the late-twentieth century. Bram, who also wrote the wonderful  book, Gods and Monsters, does a great job explaining how important these gay writers were, how they influenced society, culture and politics, and how they communicated with one another. I was well into my own doctoral work (studying earlier American gay writing) when I read this book, but it became a source of inspiration to me.

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Orlando by Virginia Woolf. This book ticks a lot of boxes for the “getting to know me/my interests” category. First, it’s a classic. Although I’m an eclectic reader who enjoys a whole host of genres, my reading and blogging reflects a definite favoritism toward classic literature. I’m also the Classic Literature Expert for About.com, so there’s that. The book is written by a woman, and a brilliant one at that; and I make a concerted effort to read women and minority writers. I’m also simply a huge fan of Virginia Woolf, although that wasn’t always the case. Finally, the story itself explores gender and sexuality in interesting and complicated ways. These are two topics I’m fascinated by, so much so that they’ve become my life’s work.

So, that’s as much about me as I can share in 5 books. Did I manage? And, oh, hey! While you’re here: check out my Book Lover’s Giveaway for #BBAW! (You’ve gotta be participating in BBAW & following my blog in order to win – but why wouldn’t you be doing those things anyway?)

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22 thoughts on “Return of #BBAW: 5-Book Introduction

  1. funny, I just commented looking forward to your post, and here it is! I enjoy your comeback!
    Now, big confession: I have never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut, I know, don’t scream…. So, which book would you recommend me to start with?

  2. I didn’t realize you were one of the Harry Potter Generation. I was in library school when it hit the big time and we realized we were seeing a massive shift in children’s lit–suddenly it was OK (even good!) for a kid’s book to be over 200 pages, and kids were grabbing giant fantasy tomes as fast as they could.

  3. Kristen M. says:

    I haven’t read Vonnegut in years and don’t remember much since it was during college and I was severely sleep deprived. I’ll have to get some rereads going! Glad you decided to come back and join the BBAW fun!

  4. It’s not a cliche to love Harry Potter! I think those books brought so many people to reading in the first place, and also reminded people why they loved reading so much. They’re such wonderful books. I love every BBAW list that I’ve seen those books on so far.

  5. I love how many people’s stories of loving reading start with Harry Potter. I’ve got several friends in that category (though technically I didn’t read most of them until I was an adult). I’m keen to read Orlando as well.

  6. I keep meaning to get back to Woolf but for some reason she always stays put on my shelf. I don’t have Orlando, but one of these days I will read her canon–until then it’s just Mrs. Dalloway for me (twice read).

  7. I’m glad you’re back for BBAW! Also, you just reminded me that this will be my 7th year of blogging as well. Egads!

    Terrific list. I read Harry Potter as an adult, but I can bet that you’re not the only kid that the series changed reading trajectories for. My younger son, who is a reader, is on the fourth book, but has stopped reading it. Not sure why. Maybe he’ll pick it up again. Teenagers!

    It was VERY hard to pick just five books.

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