I was recently mopping my floors and staring at my bookshelf (because what else would you do while cleaning) and realized that I haven’t actually reviewed all the books on my favorites shelf. I’m not talking my mental “favorites” shelf, which is about a gagillion books long, but the physical shelf where I put my favorite books. Being a book blogger and moreover a book lover, I have my own unique system for organizing my books (mostly so I can find my way to whichever book I want in the vast ocean of literary works I own). It involves a single shelf dedicated to my favorite books in order of preference and merit (but also organized by author because I can’t not organize my books by author), excluding dystopian series because then it wouldn’t fit on a single bookshelf. Anyway, I decided that this would never do and that I’d better review these books quick. Also, I saw a chance to make a graphic. I like that (though I’m not very good at it).
Here is a picture of said bookshelf, but look, it’s mysteriously blurred out (insert chance to make a graphic here).
Can you guess which book I’m reviewing today? The one in focus, perhaps?
I’m going to forgo my usual header because there’s no use to giving these books a rating. This review is for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I don’t EVER talk about this book in public and try to avoid the subject because I love this book so much (as does most of the reading world). It ended up on Tally’s Three Books I Cannot Review list (coming up later this week) and I, similarly, have avoided reviewing it for various mental health reasons. Maybe this is bad for our readers because we don’t review those books we love the most (a lot of the books you’ll read about being on my favorites shelf I haven’t previously reviewed for this reason), so I’m going to attempt to review them here, but give me some slack on these reviews because these will be the hardest books for me to talk about publicly. Maybe I’ll devote a later post (I haven’t written the Tuesday post for next week yet so maybe you’ll see it then) to why we (I) refuse to talk about some books, but for now we’ll focus on this book in particular.
My favorite John Green book is Paper Towns, but The Fault in Our Stars is the first book on my favorites shelf because it hit me so hard in the emotional stomach that I just felt it deserved that first place spot. Because it got that first place spot, the next four books on my shelf are also by John Green because as previously mentioned I can’t bear to break up an author in my organization system (you should see my Scott Westerfeld section). First, a (hopefully spoiler free) summary:
Hazel Grace Lancaster has lived on borrowed time for a great part of her life, thanks to miracle cancer-slowing drug Phalanxifor. There is no knowledge as to when this time will run out, but Hazel has accepted that and would be pretty okay with staying home and watching America’s Next Top Model for the rest of her undetermined lifetime. In spite of Hazel’s wishes, her mom insists that she attend Cancer Kid Support Group, which Hazel thinks is kind of ridiculous.
Then Hazel meets the least ridiculous thing about support group: Augustus Waters. Extreme fan of metaphor and drama, Augustus attempts to sweep the usually unsweepable Hazel off her feet, and in the process gets swept off of his one foot at least several times. The result is everyone lying on the floor, in every array of emotion possible.
When I say everyone lying on the floor I mean that metaphorically but also quite literally in that I was lying in a sort of puddle-heap hybrid by the end of this book. It (metaphorically) killed me emotionally, though a tiny bit of that might’ve been because I read TFiOS in one sitting starting at like eight o’ clock the night I bought it so I was sitting there having my feelings ripped out at approximately five a.m., but it was also a really emotionally difficult (but great!) book. Everyone (meaning one person) I’ve ever talked to about it also says they suffered a mental breakdown while and after reading the last chapters, and that is in agreement with every online discussion of the book I’ve ever read.
I don’t want to say too much more about TFiOS because I don’t want to risk ANY spoilers, but just know that it really is really truly really worth a read. It didn’t make it to the tippy top of the NY Times bestseller list for no reason.
The author, John Green, does other things besides write books, including running a vlog with his brother, Hank, and generally building and sustaining an awesome online community that has been helping to decrease worldsuck (aka do good things for the world) for years, as well as providing a ton of fuel for intelligent discussion (we like that here at Bookmarks) and the increasing of knowledge. You should go check him out.
Can you guess which book I’m reviewing next? (Here’s a hint: it’s the one not blurred out all the way.)
Happy Tuesday and hope you’re warm,
So after an absolutely awful day like this particular Wednesday, I go home and I read my favorite books. Today I’ve selected five of my favorite books that already had bookmarks in them, opened to the marked page, and picked my favorite parts.
Also, many of these books I’ve already reviewed on Bookmarks. That is because they are my favorite books of all time.
From Jellicoe Road (also called On The Jellicoe Road in Australia and other better-than-America places) by Melina Marchetta:
“If this backfires, there’ll be a war,” I [Taylor] say.
“There already is a war. I think you forget that at times” (185). [Jonah Griggs]
From Looking For Alaska by John Green:
“We had [a pop quiz] that Wednesday morning: Share an example of a Buddhist koan. A koan is like a riddle that’s supposed to help you toward enlightenment in Zen Buddhism. For my answer, I wrote about this guy Banzan. He was walking through the market one day when he overheard someone ask a butcher for his best piece of meat. The butcher answered, “Everything in my shop is the best. You cannot find a piece of meat that is not the best.” Upon hearing this, Banzan realized that there is no best and no worst, that those judgements have no real meaning because there is only what is, and poof, he reached enlightenment. Reading it the night before, I’d wondered if it would be like that for me – if in one moment, I would finally understand her [Alaska], know her, and understand the role I’d played in her dying. But I wasn’t convinced enlightenment struck like lightning” (195).
From The Fault in Our Stars, also by John Green:
“Are you currently at your house?” he [Augustus] asked.
“Um, no,” I [Hazel] said.
“That was a trick question. I knew the answer, because I am currently at your house.”
“Oh. Um. Well, we are on our way, I guess?”
“Awesome. See you soon” (82).
From Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater:
“Sam and I were like horses on a merry-go-round. We followed the same track again and again – home, school, home, school, bookstore, home, school, home, etc. – but really, we were circling the big issue withot ever getting any closer to it. The real heart of it: Winter. Cold. Loss” (250).
From Peeps by Scott Westerfeld:
I headed for the door.
“Meow,” Cornelius [the cat] cried. He was lying in my way.
“Sorry, Corny. Can’t stay” (246).
Just a bit to lighten up your day,