Friday Finds (10) – 5 December 2014

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Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

I missed Friday Finds last week as I was ill, so I’m going to share those finds this week. I love participating in this meme and it’s helped me find some great books and interesting blogs to follow. I was able to buy a couple of my previous finds in my pre-Christmas book haul earlier this week and I can’t wait to get stuck into them.

1) The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan: I’m aware that David Levithan is very popular in the YA world but I haven’t read much of him before except for Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares which he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn. That book was pretty good, but this one sounds even better. The synopsis starts with six words that really drew me in: One school. Twenty voices. Endless possibilities. It sounds like a really interesting exploration of the issues facing teenagers in the 21st century through the lives of twenty dynamic and compelling characters. My only concern is that twenty narrators are a lot for one novel, so I’m not sure how well that will work out. I guess I’ll have to read it to find out!

2) The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin: George Orr has the power to conjure things into reality through his dreams, which isn’t always a good thing. Desperately seeking help he turns to a psychotherapist who he hopes can assist him in controlling this ability. Unfortunately, this man has only dark intentions and may lead George into his biggest nightmare. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m always interested to read stories centred around dreams because ever since I was a child I have always been able to remember my own in vivid detail. I don’t think I’d want many of them to become reality though!

3) Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin: After falling and hitting her head, Naomi wakes up with amnesia. Unable to remember anything about her former life she has to re-discover everything she used to know, and in the process comes to realise that some things are better the second time around – especially when you make different choices. I really like the concept for this one. What would you do if the slate was wiped clean and you had to start your life over again? If who we are is the sum of our experiences, then who do we become when those experiences are forgotten? I’m really interested to see how Naomi deals with these questions.

4) Deadline by Chris Crutcher: Ben Wolf is a 17-year-old high school student stuck living in the “nowheresville” town of Trout in Idaho. He wants to make his mark on the world, but there’s a problem – he only has one year to live. Deciding to keep this news to himself, Ben sets out to become the best football player in Trout high school’s history; annoy his ignorant civics teacher every day; and try to help the town drunk get sober. A secret like Ben’s can be a burden, though, especially when he realises he’s not the only one in Trout with secrets. I’m looking forward to finding out what Ben manages to achieve with the time he has left and what other secrets are lurking in Trout!

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Top Five Books I’d Like to Live in

So this took longer than it should have, but my life has an annoying habit of jumping up and down and waving its arms around so that I can’t ignore it, which means that reading, writing and things I actually like doing tend to get pushed aside. I’m going to try and get better at not letting that happen.

This post is a little idea I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate to it. Have you ever been reading a book and thought how awesome it would be if you could just fall into its pages? Like Harry Potter into Tom Riddle’s diary, only without the basilisk chasing you? Unless that’s your thing; danger and action and adventure. Or maybe you would just like to slip into a quiet, more contemplative world where there are no phones or computers and the only form of long distance communication is a handwritten letter. It’s something worth thinking about when you need a break from real life.

This is my top five list of books I’d like to live in. Maybe not forever, but at least for a little while.

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Star Trek: Destiny Trilogy – David Mack

If you follow my blog and have read a few of my posts, you’ll know I’m a massive Star Trek fan. This trilogy was the conclusion to an epic plot which had been building for almost TWENTY years through episodes from three of the five Star Trek TV series (TNG, DS9 and VOY), a feature film (First Contact) and dozens of related novels. It seriously impacted the lives of many long established and well-loved characters, and forever changed the Star Trek universe as it continues through the books. In the trilogy, the origins of the greatest and deadliest enemy of the United Federation of Planets, the Borg, are finally revealed in the run up to their eventual defeat thanks to the heart wrenching sacrifices of some of Starfleet’s finest. After twenty years, the telling of this story was an incredible task and could easily have been a huge let down, but the editors at Pocket Books have always known how to choose their writers, and David Mack is one of the absolute best. Having been a devoted Star Trek fan since I was eight, I was very emotionally invested in this story and I couldn’t put the novels down. Part of the reason they were so amazing is that they tied together so many different threads of the Star Trek universe and brought decades of struggle to an end in a truly incredible and dramatic fashion. If I could, I would go into these novels and stand side by side with the characters and share in their joy, sadness, and eventual triumph. David Mack did a fantastic job of capturing the myriad of intense emotions felt by the characters, and made me feel them too, but it would have been amazing to be there myself.

Walden; or, Life in the Woods – Henry David Thoreau

This might seem like an odd choice, and certainly a contrast to the above. There’s no action, no adventure, no story since it’s not fiction. It’s the account of two years spent by one of America’s great thinkers, Henry David Thoreau, living in a cabin in the woods by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts between 1845 and 1847.  For me, this book is about stillness. It enhances my love of nature, and makes me look at my life differently and re-evaluate the way I think about things. I have an image in my mind of Thoreau, sitting in a wooden chair outside his cabin, enjoying the stillness and contemplating life. I would love to fall into this book and join him there to have a conversation or two. Maybe help out with his vegetable garden and take a stroll with Ralph Waldo Emerson during one of his stops by the cabin. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that if I could meet any author or poet, dead or alive, it would be Robert Frost. When I imagine sitting outside with a cup of herbal tea discussing his work with him, I picture us in that spot by Walden Pond. I wouldn’t mind having a calm place like that to retreat to every once in a while.

White Fang – Jack London

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with wolves since I became interested in Native American culture when I was a teenager, so I really love London’s wolf stories. This novel was one of three I wrote about in my undergraduate dissertation, so I got to know it really well and became invested in the characters and the world they live in. When I imagine being able to fall into this book, I picture a specific scene at the end of the novel. Having saved the life of his master’s father and finally being in a loving and gentle home after years of violence and abuse, White Fang is lying outside enjoying the afternoon sun and watching the antics of the puppies he had with Collie, his sheep-dog mate. He is still recovering from the injuries he sustained while saving Judge Scott, his master Weedon Scott’s father, and slowly adjusting to a life of love and tranquillity. If I could be in this scene, I would sit out on the grass next to White Fang while I read a book and he chewed on a bone, and I would watch the puppies with him while Weedon worked in the garden. I should also mention that I have a thing for Weedon in a book-boyfriend kind of way, so in this scene I would be his girlfriend, and we would take care of White Fang and the puppies together.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

I’m pretty certain I’m far from the only one who would love to live in the Harry Potter universe. In my case, I would want to be in the Deathly Hallows during the final battle scene in the Great Hall. Not only would it be totally awesome to be in the vicinity of Molly Weasley when she says her famous “not my daughter, you bitch!” line and kicks Bellatrix Lestrange’s evil butt, but it would also be great to be with these awesome characters when they finally unite together and fight for their freedom and the people they love. Plus, having magical powers would be a great perk of falling into the pages of this masterpiece.

S. – J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

I’ve talked about how awesome this book is in a previous post, but I haven’t mentioned how much I would love to live in it. The main characters, Jen and Eric, are on a mission to solve the mystery of the identity of the elusive author V.M. Straka. Along the way, they encounter danger, intrigue, adventure … and love. Eric is one of my book-boyfriends who I wish was real so I could date him, and I love the way his romance with Jen naturally develops through the course of their journey to find the truth and protect themselves from those who would try to stop them. Kind of like Mulder and Scully in a way. They’re both flawed individuals who find their way to each other through a shared desire to solve a mystery. The best part is, they do it through notes written in a library book. In this case, rather than just being in the book, I would want to BE Jen. That way, I could have Eric all to myself and go on adventures with him solving great literary mysteries. Hey, a girl can dream!

So, that’s my list. What books would you like to live in? Let me know in the comments, or better yet, post your own list on your blog and leave me a link.