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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Friends Live in There + GIVEAWAY

I love books.

I know, thank you Captain Obvious. But honestly, for the entirety of my life reading has been my favorite thing to do. I didn’t have a great home life growing up, and I didn’t have many friends until about middle school—and even then, I wasn’t able to hang out with them much outside of school.
Definitely had to brown bag this guy.

So I’d spend every single minute I could reading. In the summers I’d hole myself up in my AC-less bedroom, sweating my ass off and nearly suffocating, and just read. I didn’t have many new books, so I would just read the ever loving hell out of the ones I had. The Babysitter’s Club. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The Anne of Green Gables books (which I read until the covers fell off. Damn, Gilbert Blythe, you are a smooth mother. And Kenneth? Oh, the swoons.) And eventually—thanks to my best friend and her older sister—a ridiculous amount of historical romance (for which I fashioned book covers out of brown paper bags so my stepmother wouldn’t freak out and give me The Talk).

Books have bettered my life in nearly every way. They’ve made me smarter, more self-aware, and given me a much broader understanding of life and the human condition and how to look at things from different perspectives than I ever would have gained from just living my boring life. I mean, I’ve time traveled. I’ve gone into space. Into the sea. I’ve fought wars. I fell in love a hundred times before I ever even knew how to talk to a boy. I’ve been to China and England and India and Alaska. I went to Hogwarts, guys. And Gondor. I babysat a crapload of kids and I definitely kissed Gilbert Blythe in the garden at Green Gables. A lot. I won’t speak of what I did on the pirate ship with that one shirtless Fabio-esque guy. Because that’s private.

Reading is what made me want to write. The stories I’ve read have inspired the stories I want to tell, and I am forever in debt to the hundreds of authors I’ve read for teaching me so much, for opening up worlds inside of me that would never have existed otherwise. For giving me friends when I had none, people who understood me when no one else in my real life did.

For giving me my own stories.

The thing is? I read too much. I read when I should be writing, because frankly it’s an addiction. And right now, I have way too many sitting there waiting for me to read. Or reread. They’re calling to me. Whispering my name. Putting on cookie-flavored perfume and dancing seductively.

It’s getting awkward.

So. I’m just going to give one of them away.

And guys, it kills me to do this. But I’m offering up my signed copy of Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. I’m so excited to give someone else the chance to read this BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, UNIQUE, HEART STOPPING story. But I’m also sad because it means I won’t be able to read it again until September. SEPTEMBER.

*clings to Akiva*

All you need to do is comment before 11:59pm PST on AUGUST 10th and tell me what your all-time favorite book is and why. That’s all. I’ll choose the winner randomly and send my boyfriend, Akiva my best friend, Karou DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE to you.

Easy peasy.

Just… promise to take good care of my friends, okay? And come talk to me about them when you’re done.


Tricia Clasen said...

I so desperately want to read this book which is generating so much buzz. Of course, I have to answer like the hardest question ever.

My brain has officially stopped. Too many choices! Okay, I'm going with a fairly cliched one: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It is a book that flawlessly opened up a whole new world not only to me but to my whole family--it sits at the root of of so many great family memories that I can't not mention it here.

JenE said...

Oh, dear. Favorite book ever? It is still, after all these years, The Stand by Stephen King. I remember reading it for the first time in middle school. I was overwhelmed by the number of pages, scared that the plague would kill us all, and sad that it had to end. I reread large portions of it every year. It's like visiting old friends. Scary, evil, sad, and sometimes dead old friends.

TwilightMomofTwo said...

First off, I'd like to be excluded from the give-away so someone else has a chance to win the book.
Why am I commenting? Well, that's because your blog spoke to me. With a few changes, that was me growing up. I too read until my eyes crossed, whenever, wherever.

My all-time favorite book is a hard choice to make, but it goes to the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Not only was it my introduction to Arthurian legends but it was also the first book that I couldn't put down. I was 16. I had school the next day. I started reading after getting home from the library and didn't stop until I had read every single page. 800+ pages. All through the night. Needless to say I was a bit bleary-eyed the next day but it was oh so worth it. Since that first time, I have read it twice more in German and about three times in English. It holds a place of honor on my bookshelf.

I'll probably read it a few more times in the future. This book has given me an everlasting appreciation for history and historical fiction.


Anonymous said...

Favorite book ever? That's liking picking your favorite kid. Or, well since I'm kidless, picking Diet Coke or another Diet Coke.

Ask me tomorrow and my answer will change, but for now I'm going with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I checked out a copy of this from the library because it had gold-edged pages. I renewed it and renewed it the entire summer. As soon as I was finished, I'd set it down, go outside (as my mother had been prodding me to do all summer) and as soon as I came back in I'd start it all over again.

The past few years I've been trying to find that exact edition, but with no luck.

Kate said...

I am itching to read this book! So, so excited for it.

As everyone's been saying, choosing my absolute favourite is so difficult! Currently it's Anna and the French Kiss. Such a perfect escape from day to day stress.

Overall though, Life of Pi is probably my favourite. I've read it countless times, and each time I do I find different things to focus on. What's the real story - the people or the animals? My head gives one answer, but my heart feels differently each time I read. A story that I never tire of is a favourite in my books.

Love that you're doing this blog! So nice to see the journey you ladies are embarking on.

Kate x

Flannery (The Readventurer) said...

This was such a lovely post, Tonya. I feel exactly the same way about reading--only I don't write. My addiction just takes me away from things like chores, and showering, and going out with friends. Who needs those things anyway?! (juuust kidding) I sincerely hope you never watched that last Anne of Green Gables movie where Gilbert is a huge douche.

It's so hard to pick a favorite book of all time. I think my recent favorite is Melina Marchetta's The Piper's Son. Adored it. I have too many favorites.

I don't know if I deserve to win your copy of the book. I've already read it and loved it. My intentions are to hoard it and put it on a shelf like my precious.


jarkin33 said...

Gah - hardest question ever! My all time favorite book? I think right now it would have to be How to Kill A Rockstar by Tiffanie DeBartolo because it's the book that got me BACK into reading.

Yeah you read that right - I thought for a while I just wasn't a reader anymore, I didn't have time for it and that was ok.

It wasn't.

I read that book in 2 days and was a blubbering mess at parts and couldnt' put it down.

I absolutely love her characters and their stories... it's what pulled me back into this love affair I have right now.

Great blog - great post!

AlexT said...

I completely know what you mean. Books have always been my way to escape from the world and just explore everything. I don't know what I would do without them.

As for my favorite book, I'm going to have to say Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I know, I know. It's not really a book of novel length. But it's been my favorite for as long as I can remember. It was the book my parents read to me every night before bed, and it's the book I read every night to my daughter.

Zesty T said...

I would just like to say in case I get chosen, I live in Brazil. So, I hope shipping won't be a overbearing price. I only moved just recently, in February, for familial reasons.

I'm just so interested in this book. I managed to catch a sneak peek at it, and I can't stop thinking of this book.

So, favorite book. Mine is Shel Silverstein's "Falling Up" (1996) because it has the poem "Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda." I read this book whole book and fell in love with the poem. My mind just couldn't let go of it. I find that it inspires me to be the one that DID it. Any time I find myself being a coward or backing away, I think of the poem. It makes a difference for me. It's simple, easy to memorize, and I find that it gives me a nudge to get over my fears and just do it (like Nike!). I don't think the poem is meant to be mean or shunning the one Did, but more like, that the One Litte Did is set apart by the path it chose and all others dissolve/fade in comparison to Little Did.
If you don't know the poem, or don't recall it, here it is:
All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' in the sun,
Talkin' bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.

Anonymous said...

Everything about DoSaB screams, "read me!" Also, this post just confirmed that I am not alone. We share many similarities/commonalities now, but reading about your passion for books just confirms it.

My favorite book is Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I want to say this is the first book that I absolutely fell in love with. I don't remember how it fell in my hands, but I remember reading it and being surprised at the power F-451 had. The power in the words influenced my mood, my viewpoint, my opinion...To say that it changed my life is an understatement. It opened my eyes to a world where life wasn't simple, nor was it easy peasy. It delivered a message that resonated with me throughout my life.

Amber said...

Oh goodness, what a declaration to make for an avid reader. To choose a favorite book....

All time classic favorite book would have to be Little Woman. I love the sister's stories, and the family struggles.

This years favorite read would be If I Stay and Where She Went. Gahhhh I laughed, cried, and swooned so hard. I love when I finish reading a book and my mouth and cheeks hurt from smiling so long. Finishing Adam's words in Where She Went, that is exactly how I felt.

manderin_orange said...

Wow, what an amazing post Tonya. "putting on cookie-flavored perfume and dancing seductively." LMFAO. I hate when my books do that!

So I want DoSaB LIKE WOAH. so bad. All of the people have been praising it on twitter and I am dying. So thanks for this little contest here.

I have so many "favorite" books it's ridiculous. Austen, Rowling, Buck, Oates etc. So I will go with the book that got me into reading romance, Through a Glass Darkly, by Karleen Koen. I shied away from all "romance" books before it. Obviously I didn't realize how great and all encompassing they could be. I got completely lost in that book...

Yolande said...

Awesome! Thanks so much for the giveaway! :)
My all-time favorite book has to be Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. (well, the book series. I can't just pick one of them!)
They're amazing! No words to describe how much I LOVE those books.

candycane16 (at) roadrunner (dot) com

Connie said...

WOW such a simple Q cant turn into a whole lot of thinking :)
Of course like most of you I read a lot over the years but I have to say that Richard Bach "One" is my favourite maybe not because of the story itself but because my father gave it to me when I was 19 I think, his love for planes and flying were the reasons behind his love for everything RB wrote.
Today we still share our love for books and while he keeps reading RB and I moved to a different type of book, I have my father to thank for sharing the passion for reading and enjoying a good story.

Anonymous said...

You'd think that such a simple question could be answered so quickly, but it just seems to complicate as you think about it more!

My favorite book is probably The Lovely Bones. Yes, there are so many great and lovely books out there, but this one has stuck with me over the years. I love books that make you think, while also making you smile, and The Lovely Bones does that for me.

Lo said...

I don't need to be considered for the giveaway (hee) but wanted to join the fun. It's hard, as others have said here, to pick one book to call favorite. I guess I'll have to choose from the list - Rebecca, or Beloved, or Dracula, or Daughter of Smoke and Bone (really) and say I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. That book was the right book at the right time and although it's 5,094,837 pages long, as soon as I finished it I turned around and started right up again. And when I reached the end the second time I sobbed just as hard. I haven't read it again in a few years and almost want to leave those memories alone, but I have reread She's Come Undone by Lamb and loved it even more after some time, so the same may be true of IKTMIT.

Anyway, what a fun comments section!

kimber said...

What a wonderful post, and holy crap, what a freaking fantastic giveaway! haha.

Gah, choosing a favorite book is an unbelievably difficult thing to do - i have to agree with justshireen above and say that I feel like it's akin to picking your favorite kid! Although I don't have kids, either, so really it's just like... well, picking your favorite book.

Ahem. Anyway.

I think my favorite book would have to be Water for Elephants. I've read it so many times over the years that I could probably rewrite it myself; I love every word, every feeling the author invokes throughout the novel. It doesn't seem like it would be a relatable story at all, considering it's set in the 1930's on a traveling circus, but Gruen's fluid prose sucks you in from the very first word, and you feel as though you are there, with Jacob and Marlena and all these amazing animals on their journey. I love this book so much that I brought it to Europe with me and re-read it during my time on planes, trains (and automobiles?), and buses to wherever I'd been headed throughout the country. No matter how many times I've read it, I still can't put it down once I pick it up again.

And then came the news of a movie, and news of casting... let's just say I was so happy to hear Rob was attached to the project that I did a happydance at my desk at work. :)

So, yeah. Water for Elephants is my all-time favorite book, if you were to make me choose. Which, clearly, you did. :D

divagils said...

August 10th is my birthday! WHEEE!

Um, this post is amazing. As are you. I know that when our lives are difficult all we can think about is the hardship that we had to go through and the escapes that we found. But it makes us so much stronger. And people with stories like your's, make amazing writers. My life was difficult as well. My escape was music and books. To this day I prefer fantasy or sci-fi over "real life" stories. Though some are just as delicious.

My favorite book? Wow, like everyone else I don't know that I can pick an actual favorite, but one of them would be "The Once and Future King". I was absolutely obsessed with anything Aurthurian when I was younger. Which actually led to me doing Renaissance and Medeival faires now that I'm older. I loved that period of life. The grandeur. The honor. Especially the honor. That and chivalry seem to have disappeared in this life and I would give anything to bring at least a little of it back. Everyone needs to experience something like that in their lives. We all need a little fantasy we all need respect.

I dunno, I'm rambling. All I can say is that I felt a great connection to your post. It was beautifully written. Thank you.

my hubby is no edward said...

What an amazing giveaway, and how generous of you to do so?! I'd be a total liar if I didn't admit how completely almost desperate I am to get my grubby (not really, they're manicured & clean) little fingers wrapped around this book. The buzz around DoSaB is astronomical and everyone's enthusiasm over it is utterly contagious.

Like other's have stated, picking a favorite book is really hard. Depending on my day and mood, my opinion can easily be changed. Today, I've been thinking about the Dystopian genre in novels. I think it truly takes an amazing amount of creativity to imagine what the world would be like- how people would act, what would change, how did it happen, what does the setting look like- after the world that we know is gone. So, as you probably guessed, I'm going to go with The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, more particularly the first installment of it. I hadn't truly been that engrossed in a book in a long time. The world she created, the characters, the situation all felt so real to me, and even though the subject matter was dark, I believe Collins wrote it beautifully.

Again, thanks for the giveaway and best of luck on all of your endeavors!


P.S. My childhood was... less than stellar. Books were always my favorite escape. Lovely post.

RaeCullen said...

How on earth can you ask us to just pick one favorite book?! Its too difficult to do! So I'm going to pick two. My favorite book growing up, and my favorite book right now.

Growing up, I loved A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin. The book switches points of view between two best friends, and the two girls just reminded me so much of me and my childhood best friend. Her and I read that book probably five or six times in middle school and high school. Its a heartbreaking story, and I can remember sobbing my eyes out, but so touching and the characters were so real to me then.

My favorite book I've read recently has to be Delirium by Lauren Oliver. That book has stuck with me from the moment I finished it (I love you. Remember. They cannot take it. *sob*). I was of course sobbing at the end, but I love books that can do that, evoke such a strong emotion from me and leave me thinking about it for days after I put it down. That's how I know the author is doing their job. All my favorite books have me crying at some point (I'm a huge Nicholas Sparks fan - he's the king of giving heartichokes). I also have been just so intrigued by this genre of books.

Mel said...

I have heard nothing but good thing about this book!

Choosing my favorite book is a tough one but I think I am going to have to go with World War Z. The people in it are real people and the care Max Brooks took to make it is evident. I want to care about the characters I read and it sounds like this book does just that.

dani said...

Switch the brown paper bags for those removable covers from other “more suitable” books, and this post is an exact portrait of my life.
Books have been my companions and my obsession since I can remember. In one of my firsts letters to Santa (that my mother had to write since I couldn’t read or write yet) I asked for one of those “book + cassette tape sets” from Disney and I would spend hours listening to the tapes and trying to figure out the words on the books. Since then I never stopped.
In all these years many books have marked me. Since I have to pick just one I’ll choose a recent discovery: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The reason is that it is a book that really surprises you, in the very best way. It is so simple and so complex, at the same time. The characters are just amazing (every single one of them) and before you even realize you are being given such wisdom and learning great lessons.
PS: I’m from Portugal, so if that makes me not eligible for the giveaway that’s ok. I wanted to share my love for books and wish you all well on this journey (and who am I kidding, after reading such wonderful reviews on Daughter of Smoke and Bone I had to give it a try)

Erika said...

First off, congrats to all you ladies for such an awesome blog! I have every now and then entertained the of writing, but frankly, it's freaks me the freak out! So congrats and good luck!

And Tonya, sometimes it's like you're reading my mind! My love for books and reading is a lot like yours!
And now to answer your questions, and I hope to win cause I REALLY want book!

The very first book that comes to mind is the very first book I read fully all by myself without having to ask for help defining or pronouncing any words. And although it isn't my all time favorite book, because that's impossible for me to pick by the way, it's one that will always hold a dear spot in my heart. It is, "The Chocolate Fever" by Robert Kimmel Smith.

Risbee said...

I've had so many favorite books over the years - as a shy girl, books were always able to say the things I never could, they took me on adventures I was too scared to take and let me be the brave soul I still wish I could be.

I am determined not to let my children follow me down this lonely road. I will do everything in my power to make them believe in themselves and not worry if they don't fit the mold, so to speak.

It stands to reason then, that my current favorite book is one I received as a gift when my oldest was born.

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

It is about finding your own music and dancing to your own rhythm. It teaches that it is okay to be off-step and off-beat. That music inside you is interpretive and not everybody is going to be the same. The pictures are colorful and amazing and I WISH it had been around when I was growing up.

Every time a friend has a baby, they get this book. Even now, when my kids want me to read to is my go-to book. Always.

On a side note, it also doesn't hurt that one of the dancing animals reminds me of my dad. His dance style is epic :)

MC said...

Oh my. Asking for a favorite book is like asking me to choose a favorite parent or sibling. It's a terrible ordeal. So... I'll tell you my favorite book from when I was a child (one which I am desperately trying to find).

I "stole" my cousin's copy of Lynne Reid Banks' THE FARTHEST AWAY MOUNTAIN. It was such a fantastical story about a young girl, Dakin, who is at am age to be married but all she wants to do is visit a mountain that never seems to get any closer, no matter how much one walks. Except one morning, the mountain seems to "call" to Dakin and she goes on an adventure filled with trolls, talking frogs, magical rivers, and witches.

This book is most likely the one that got me loving tales of fantasy and magic. I really want to read it again!

lobsters4ever said...

As difficult as it is to pick one favorite, I have to give my typical (and yet honest) answer ...To Kill a Mockingbird.

I remember reading this book for school ...and for the first time being moved by a book. I was captivated by Scout, intrigued by Boo Radley and wanted Atticus as my dad. This was one of the first books that 'got to me' and I have loved it for doing just that.

Britt said...

My favorite book is probably Blood and Chocolate. I read it when I was like 12 and I still love it more than a decade later.

brittanynoelle at gmail dot com