Hello readers! Welcome to the very first day of the Re-Readathon for 2019! The Re-Readathon is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a readathon all about re-reading books. I’ve gone over the challenges and my TBR, so go ahead and check out those posts to get caught up. Today’s theme is game changing books!
I love this theme. You might remember that it was also my challenge for the day I was an instagram host for the Biannual Bibliothon. I used to be a very picky reader and I would make use of blanket statements like “I only read…” and “I never like reading…” which was close minded of me. Luckily, I have changed my ways, and there are some books that helped me get to where I am now.
The Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor
I used to hate fantasy. I didn’t even read Harry Potter for the first time until I was 16. I remember reading a few low fantasy books as a kid and thinking, yeah, these are okay, but I’m not really into fantasy. Then, the book club I was in with my closest friends and all out moms picked The Prophecy of the Stones as our book for the month. I was reluctant to read it, not only because it was fantasy, but because it was over 300 pages long. For my 10 year old self who grew up reading and writing primarily in french, 300 pages seemed like way too much to tackle in a month. BOY WAS I WRONG! I fell in love with this story. I’m kind of scared to re-read this book at this point because it was so many years ago, but I remember how moved I was by the friendships and how exciting the adventure was.
East by Edith Pattou
East is by no means a high fantasy story, but I was still a bit skeptical about fantasy when I read it for the first time. I was also still not used to reading longer books. At the time, I read mostly historical fiction and mystery, all under 250 pages. So East was a game changer for me in much the same way that the previous book on this list was. In fact, they kind of worked in tandem to break me of my fantasy ban. But East was also a game changer in another way. I used to hate re-reading books. I was of the opinion that once was enough and I couldn’t possibly get anything out of another read. Jump ahead in time to the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year of college. I was thinking more and more about re-reading books, and had been considering re-reading Harry Potter for some time, but just hadn’t taken the first step yet. I was working as an intern at a museum. My mom had recently started using a Kindle Fire, and gave me her old Kindle. I switched it over to my amazon account, and was looking for something to read during my commute and at lunch. I’m not really sure what made me pick up East on ebook, but it felt just as magical, if not more so, reading it for the second time. I have since become a big re-reader and I am so happy that this book helped me see the error of my ways!
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This one is a little different, because I wasn’t really being close minded, I was just having anxiety. I have never been great with supernatural, paranormal stuff. I was a very anxious kid, and am still a fairly anxious adult, but I at least know myself a bit better now. Some kid at camp made a joke about werewolves, and to this day, I get creeped out driving through the woods at night (I realize there are perfectly legitimate reasons to be creeped out by woods at night, but there’s a small part of my brain that is still worried about werewolves). One summer, a bunch of kids requested that we read ghost stories during story time, and I was screwed up for months after that. I had nightmares about movies that were supposed to be halloween comedies. I missed the whole Twilight craze because I was too scared of vampires. I eventually shook off most of these fears, but my uneasiness with ghosts of any sort stuck around longer than others. When The Name of the Star came out, I was a huge Maureen Johnson fangirl, and bought it before I even really knew what it was about. When I read the description, I thought, well, this doesn’t sound ideal, but how scary could it be? I mean, at that point Maureen Johnson wrote mostly contemporary romance. I am so glad I tricked myself into reading this, because it quickly turned into my favorite series for a time, and also I can now read things with ghosts without having anxiety attacks and nightmares. I still don’t do horror, but I can read things like The Graveyard Book, no problem.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I didn’t actually have to read that many classics in school. We read a few in middle school, and a few in my first two years of high school, but in my junior and senior year, I was in a program that required us to read more international literature than British or American classics, so I was never that well versed in much more than Shakespeare. The English teachers I had in the first two years of high school were awful and pretty much ruined all of the classics that I did read.I had never read a classic all the way through on my own. Then one day when I was home from college, I picked up my beautiful illustrated edition of Little Women and started reading, thinking I would probably put it down after a chapter or two. I read the whole thing that day. I still struggle a bit with classics, but I now know that there are some out there that I like, and I just have to find them.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
One thing that’s always been kind of a bummer about being queer is that a lot of the queer stories out there are not fun. For the longest time, I couldn’t find a book in the LGBTQ+ genre that didn’t make me sad. There were books about how hard it was to be queer, how hard it is to come out, a character being totally okay with their own queerness, but then their partner isn’t and either dies by suicide, or breaks up with the main character and decides to try to be straight. Listen, life can be really hard for queer people, but I am an escapist and want to not have to deal with real life, at least in such a direct way, when I’m reading a story. Side note, the lack of happy gay teens in YA when I was a teen made me seriously question myself. Like, if I’m not having a huge identity crisis and super sad love-life, am I really gay? Plus, I started reading a lot of fantasy, and boy is that a heteronormative genre! Well, Carry On changed that for me. Simon and Baz are just so completely ship-able and this story is so fun. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, I am so excited for the sequel this year. I finally got a story featuring characters that were just a bit more like me who didn’t feel like their whole lives were ruined because of their queerness. I still don’t read a ton of LGBTQ+ books, but I do seek out what I think of as the “happy gay” books.
Those are my biggest game changing books. Now, about the giveaway: I am going to be giving away a copy of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. Unfortunately, I can only send it to the US and Canada, so other international readers and readathon participants, I am sorry. This is the first giveaway I have ever done, so I’m trying to keep it simple. If it goes well, I might be able to do more in the future, and maybe even open them up to the whole world!
If you would like to win a copy of Girls of Paper and Fire, all you have to do to enter is comment below and tell me what one of your game changing books is, and what it changed for you. If for whatever reason you can’t comment, then hop on over to my Twitter and tweet me about your game changer instead! This giveaway will be open until Midnight tonight (EST).
Make sure to check out the other hosts for today because each of them is running a giveaway too:
Shaegeeksout on Instagram
Elliot Brooks on Youtube
I can’t wait to hear about all of your bookish game-changers! I’ll pick my winner later this week. Until then, happy reading!