Hello all! Today I wanted to just do a fun post, and I haven’t done a tag in a while, so I thought we’d do the tag all the cool kids seem to be doing, aka The Bookish Blog Tag. There’s not much to say about this one, except that I have no idea who created it (if you know, let me know and I’ll add credit!) and no one tagged me, I’m just a pirate and stole it. I also won’t tag anyone, if you want to do it, you can steal it.
All right, these are some fun questions, let’s go!
What are 1-3 of your favourite books of all time?
After years and years of anguish, not knowing what my favourite books were…I finally decided on my top three books a few years back.
The Lord of the Rings: Look, I’m pretty sure LOTR is just the perfect book. The characters are perfect, the story is perfect, the setting is something beyond perfect, and the writing is meandering and beautiful. I just love it so much, and it’s my comfort read, the book I keep going back to time and time again.
A Tale of Two Cities: This book is a masterpiece of storytelling, hands down my favourite Dickens book (and I like all of his books except for Oliver Twist). I think the reason I like it so much is that it’s full of so much passion. Dickens’ passion for the downtrodden is palpable in this story and it fires me up every time. Whenever I get to the chapter where Madame Defarge reads out Dr Manette’s letter I feel so, so angry, mainly because I look around and see that our world really hasn’t changed much in the 150+ years since Dickens wrote this book.
The Eagle of the Ninth: This book has been my stress comfort read ever since I was in my early teens. I don’t really know why I connected with it as much as I did, but something about it just speaks to me. Maybe it’s because it was one of the first times I saw a main character with a disability that was portrayed neutrally and realistically. Early on in the novel, Marcus is run down by a British chariot which leaves him with chronic pain and a limp in one leg and it’s depiction is matter of fact. Marcus is bitter and disappointed, because the injury destroys his hopes of being a commander in the army, but he quickly adapts to his new life. It doesn’t show disability as a tragedy, and it doesn’t treat Marcus as inspiration porn. It’s just part of who he is, and it affects his day to day life without ever being the focus of the story. It also helps that the author was disabled herself.
What are 1-3 of your favourite authors of all time?
This one is harder, because it’s difficult to classify what makes a favourite author. Are they the authors of my favourite books? The author who wrote the most books I like? An author I like as a person? I don’t know. Here goes though.
J.R.R. Tolkien: I mean, of course he’s on this list. He wrote LOTR and The Hobbit, and heaps of beautiful poems and retellings of old myths. He lived for his writing and put more work into his world than any other author I’ve ever come across. He definitely makes the top of this list.
Cressida Cowell: Another of my favourite authors! She wrote two of my favourite MG series, How To Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once, her illustrations are so quirky and full of life, and she seems like such a genuinely nice person. From the little I’ve seen of her anyway, she’s pretty elusive. I think the only time I’ve seen her interviewed is on the HTTYD movie extras. (I see her as being J.K. Rowling’s antithesis, she hasn’t ruined her work by constantly giving out unnecessary “facts”)
Charles Dickens: I ummed and ahhed about my last pick, but eventually I had to go with Charles Dickens. I love all of his book so much, especially A Tale of Two Cities, as above, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol, and Hard Times. They suffer from the usual ailments of Victorian fiction, with some racism, ableism and sexism, but I have definitely read worse. The stories and characters are the perfect mix between humorous and serious, and in his time he was instrumental in bringing these social issues to the forefront.
Who is your favourite female character of all time?
Existential crisis incoming.
I LOVE SO MANY FEMALE CHARACTERS HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE?
All right, there’s a compromise we can come to. I’ll give you a shortlist.
Katniss Everdeen: I know heaps of people hate her, but I really connected to her. We’ve got a lot in common (except the whole dystopian child murdering Olympic Games part of it…so far…) and I admire her strength and her practicality. I also like that she’s got a feminine side to her as well. She isn’t some strong female character who hates embroidery. She genuinely enjoys wearing dresses and looking pretty when it’s appropriate for the occasion. She’s also a great representation of PTSD and anxiety, and that’s so rare to see in YA fiction.
Jane Eyre: I have complicated feelings on Jane Eyre, but Jane herself? I absolutely love her. She’s such a strong, passionate character with a strong set of morals that she will not budge on. She has epic lines like: “I am no bird and no net ensnares me”. Which is then followed up by an equally epic line: “I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.” She puts Mr Rochester in his place, and loves Adela even when Rochester continually belittles and disowns the girl. She literally runs away from her own wedding into the wilderness, which is pretty kickbutt.
Wish: Wish is the protagonist of The Wizards of Once, and I love her, she is my child. If there’s a skinny, ugly, clumsy, neurodivergent coded tomboy in any book, I will immediately fall in love (this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that this was me as a child, literally nothing). Wish’s mother is a terrifying warrior queen who is just slightly disappointed that her daughter is too small to even pick up a sword, let alone be a big strong warrior princess. Plus, Wish has magic, which she isn’t supposed to. And her mother likes to lock up magic creatures in her dungeons, which is…awkward. Anyway, she’s cool.
Jo March: I mean, who doesn’t love Jo March? Literally everyone loves her.
Eowyn: If someone threatened me with a large, magical sword and asked me who my favourite female character was, I’d probably choose Eowyn. She’s amazing and I really relate to her, as a girl growing up in the midst of the toxic not like other girls syndrome. It was just so hammered into me as a girl that I had to be masculine in order to be valuable. Of course, I was a massive tomboy too, but any little sparkle of traditional femininity was stamped out by society at large.
And Eowyn is kind of the same. She’s powerless in her own home, subjected to abuse and general creepiness by Wormtongue and Saruman (by proxy), so she begins to believe that the only way she can have power over her own life is by gaining glory and honour. But glory and honour are restricted to only men, so she disguises herself as a man and goes to war.
It’s not until she’s in a safe place, healing from the trauma of her life, that she is able to relinquish this need for glory and power. She begins to understand herself, and then she becomes a gardener, and I just love that. It’s so peaceful and full of purpose and healing and new life. Ah, I love it.
Who is your favourite male character in a book?
Oh boy, another list.
Aragorn: OK, here me out, Aragorn is the pinnacle of masculinity.
I don’t mean this in the “Well, REAL men wear flannel and hunt ‘n’ shoot things and NEVER cry!” sort of way, but more in the biblical way, which is modelled by Jesus. Aragorn is noble and kingly, and definitely masculine, but he doesn’t fit those toxic masculinity “men never cry and definitely don’t have emotions” stereotypes. He cries and grieves, is tender and kind, both to women and to other men. He kisses Boromir on the forehead as he’s dying. Like, he just gives me such Jesus-weeping-for-Lazarus-and-caring-for-the-outcast-woman vibes.
Frodo: Frodo is just the best, convince me otherwise.
Sam: Obviously had to mention him here too.
Gandalf: He’s so cool.
Ok, never mind, my favourite male character is the LOTR men (and hobbits and wizards)
What is your favourite mythical world?
Easy. Middle Earth. Moving on.
What book has your favourite cover?
I adore this cover. The book itself was “meh” but I need that artist on my novel. It’s literally the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
What is your favourite book-to-movie adaptation?
Hmm…this is a hard one. As a general rule I’m not a movie person, it’s just not what I like to do with my time. I’m the sort of person that just watches the same few movies over and over again (it’s an anxiety thing, I’ve been told).
Anyway, I think I can confidently narrow this down to three movies/franchises that that did a great job at adapting their respective books.
The Lord of The Rings: Look, I know these movies aren’t perfect, there’s a few things that really utterly sucked (*cough* Faramir *cough*), but the majority of it is, in my opinion, a faithful adaption of the book. And really, that’s all I ask for in a movie (but really was it too much to ask for Faramir to be noble??? He’s not morally grey like Boromir!)
The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games (and sequels) is really interesting because I think the movie did a really good job of adapting the books…but then the marketing around the movie really cemented the theme of the books if that makes sense. Like, there was so much frivolous marketing around it, distracting from the actual story and focussing on the love triangle, what “team” people were on, emulating the Capitol fashion, etc. It was like the marketing of the movies proved what the books were saying, ie, distract them from the true atrocity of this with romantic tension and stupid drama. It was weird.
The Dry: this is a popular Australian thriller that came out a few years ago and was adapted into a movie last year. I think, in terms of accuracy, it was probably the best adaption I’ve ever seen. The cast was perfect (lead by the amazing Eric Bana), it stuck to the original plot, and really bought the story to life. I highly recommend it.
If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be?
The Eagle of The Ninth, and it’s sequels would make such a great TV series, in my opinion. The Eagle of the Ninth has actually been made into a movie, which was absolutely awful. It starred Channing Tatum, who has about as much acting talent as wet cardboard, and Jamie Bell, who was the only semi-decent part of the movie. But otherwise, the movie is ridiculously bad, with bad editing, bad fight scenes, terrible acting, a complete disregard for the story (they absolutely butcher Marcus’ character arc), and everyone in it is American-coded (including the Picts and Celts, who are Native American coded and its…insensitive at best). And also, Marcus’s disability is pretty much erased.
Anyway, all this to say The Eagle of the Ninth needs to be made into a TV series, along with The Silver Branch (and please keep both Marcus and Justin’s disabilities).
What was your favourite childhood book?
Can I just say The Eagle of the Ninth again?
OK, fine. I won’t.
Here’s a short list of books I adored as a kid.
How To Train Your Dragon: I loved these books so much and I grew up with them much as a lot of other people grew up with Harry Potter. I still love them now!
The Little White Horse: The name of this book makes it sound like a fluffy little unicorn story, but its actually a Gothic children’s book about family feuds, purgatory, peace, evil, and a bunch of other themes. There’s actually very little about horses in here, which did disappoint me as a kid, but there is a lion living in Cornwall, so…I mean I take what I can get.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Yeah, no need for an explanation here!
The Hobbit: Again, no explanation needed!
Black Beauty: I’m pretty sure Black Beauty was every animal lover’s favourite book. I still love it to this day as well, and when I reread it last year, I kind of realised where all my animal justice passion came from.
Little Women: I mean, of course I loved this book, and of course I grew up to become a writer.
The Ranger’s Apprentice: I loved this series and it was really influential on some of my earlier writings.
Redwall: Another series of books that really impacted my writing journey, and I really think I need to reread some of these! (Writing this made me all nostalgic about these books, so I went on my library’s website to reserve some and it seems like they don’t have any left. Which is really sad, when I was a kid they had a huge collection).
Fantasy or sci-fi? (Or neither?)
Fantasy hands down! There’s a few sci-fi books I like, but as a general rule I don’t reach for it or spend much time browsing the sci-fi shelves.
Fantasy, on the other hand, has been my constant companion since I was the tiniest of children with my mum reading The Chronicles of Narnia to me. And its only got better since then and there are so many fantasies I love.
What about you? What were your favourite books as a kid? Are you a fantasy or sci-fi (or neither!) sort of person? And what book is absolutely begging for a movie adaption?