Thursday, August 30, 2018

My Year with Harry: Goblet of Fire

My new year started off with a bang - not unlike the ones heard during a game of Exploding Snap in the Gryffindor common room - when I decided to make it one of my 2018 resolutions to reread every book in the Harry Potter series. Since then, I've not only had traveled back in time through Harry's first three years, but have also celebrated a Potter Party movie marathon of the first two... and now, with another reread of the fourth novel, it was time for another! 

personal history 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on July 8th, 2000, and the movie was released on November 18, 2005. In terms of how I reacted to these occurrences in real time, I was growing conscious of not on how much I enjoyed the books and movies, but also, how significant the publications and premieres of these books and movies were to wider pop culture. I began to recognize that it wasn't just me loving them and thinking they were cool, and others in my peer group agreeing with me, but instead, huge release parties held in bookstores that were shown on the news, and repeatedly finding Emma Watson's face on the magazines my friends eagerly read. 

I think this might be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but the fourth installment in the series was never really my favorite. I liked Harry's regular school schedule, I liked the action that revolved around his friends and classes and school activities... but between the World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament and the rather shocking ending, it just felt like an aberration.

I wasn't really looking forward to reading this one again... which might explain why, out of all of the books so far, this one took the longest. But while others took weeks, this one required quite a bit more forceful reading, with the end of it necessitating set deadlines and daily page counts in order to get the book completed.

Over two months later, I finally finished it! 

the reread 

Almost all of the Harry Potter books so far have resulted in some kind of personal perspective shift while reading it, whether it was having greater consideration for how well it lays out the plots of further novels, or how it allowed its characters to develop and grow up in a realistic way. For Goblet of Fire, I didn't have many moments of epiphany or sudden enthrallment like I did in those other rereads.

I think that was primarily a result of the issues I already outlined - the interruption in the regularly scheduled programming - but also that the book itself is a turning point in the series: [spoiler alert] by the end of the novel, Voldemort, the Darkest Wizard of the Age, a being so utterly reviled and feared that people didn't dare speak his name for over a decade after he'd vanished, whose destruction of both wizarding and muggle lives plays directly into the foundation of the tragic legacy of Harry Potter himself, has returned from the edge of oblivion, regained his past power and form, as well as a large mass of dedicated and murderous followers, all ready to do more damage. 

Needless to say, it gets real dark from here on out. 

Maybe it's the news these days, maybe it's the fact I already know where the story goes from here, and it goes real heavy, but it's like I couldn't read the novel slow enough, as if it would somehow prevent the rise of Voldemort himself. 

I could have used that advice from Hagrid: "What's coming will come, and we'll meet it when it does." I couldn't put off the end of this book, more than I could give up on this resolution. 

Some other thoughts I had: 

  • Rita Skeeter. How - how? - was this woman allowed near children? Obviously she eventually gets banned from the Hogwarts grounds, but why was she permitted in the first place? The Daily Prophet is set up as the one viable, objective wizarding newspaper, but she's not only running puff pieces, but they're not even true. Like, I have issues with the NYT Opinion section sometimes, but this is on another level. 
  • This book really did me wrong with the fractured friendships of Harry and Ron, then Hermione and Ron. One of the linchpins to the enduring legacy of the series is the solidity of the Golden Trio, and how I'm pretty sure we all wish we had friends like that growing up. And yet, a lot of this book's plot engages negative emotions between the three! 
  • I had significant issues with the crying/ overly emotionally responsive nature of both Mrs. Weasley and Hermione in this one, and I do mean specifically. Hermione grows overwhelmed when the boys make up after their fight, walking off in a teary huff, and Mrs. Weasley is so worked up by what she reads from Skeeter, that it results in deliberate unkindness towards Hermione (which Harry has to intervene in, in order to quell). Both of these female characters have otherwise been held up as pinnacles of objective rationality for one, and unrestrained caring for the other, and yet it feels like those attributes were somewhat abandoned at points, in favor of stereotypes. 
  • For the first time, I really recognized the hypocrisy in the incorporation of inter-species wizarding relations: the house-elves are seen as weak and to be pitied, while giants are obviously to be feared (as is evidenced by the uproar surrounding Hagrid's employment at the school as a half-giant), and even Voldemort's ties to the dementors are established as inherently negative (which also begs the question, why are they in charge of patrolling Azkaban?). All of these conflicting relationships and classifications grow especially frustrating when it comes to considering Fleur as being part veela, as well. And what differentiates those kinds of creatures, from things like the mermaids in the Lake, or the leprechauns that repped for Ireland at the Cup?
  • Just further emphasis that literally none of these teachers should be employed by this school... or any school, for that matter. This is especially in reference, like I've mentioned before, to Severus Snape, who warranted severe reprimand - if not termination - at numerous places in this novel. (But also, see: Filch, who possesses no traits that would make him an effective caretaker, and he can't even get the ghosts to listen to him; Binns, who is not only dead, but also a demonstratedly bad teacher, as he can't get anyone to concentrate in class; Trelawney, who repeatedly upsets students and essentially accepts all of Harry and Ron's fabricated homework as acceptible). 
  • This was the first book so far to actually make me cry. Believe it or not, I thought it would have come sooner, as a result of nostalgia, but in actuality, [spoiler alert] the loss of Cedric, and the acquaintance of Harry with the fractured remains of his parents, made me weepy. 

favorite quotes

“Don't talk to me."
"Why not?"
"Because I want to fix that in my memory for ever. Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret...” 

“Time will not slow down when something unpleasant lies ahead.” 

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

the party! (part two) 

 As you might remember from my second send-up to the iconic movie franchise, my brother and I threw a "Potter Party" for two, so that we could enjoy rewatching Sorceror's Stone and Chamber of Secrets complete with a feast fit for the Great Hall.

Well, we did that again for our second Potter Party, complete with herb-roasted chicken and potatoes, buttered peas and maple carrots, and, naturally, Flying Cauldron Butterbeer. For dessert, we had a chocolate frog - leftover from our excursion to Universal Studios this time last year - as well as chocolate-dipped pretzel wands, and a homemade treacle tart (because it's Harry's favorite!).

Rewatching the movies was a lengthy task to undertake - both movies are approximately two and a half hours long - so we had to block out the whole afternoon to watch them both.

(Also... I don't know where else to add this comment in this post, but it is required: the weird separation of genders into the aggressively homogenous Beauxbatons and Durmstrang schools is not at all reflective of the qualities either school has in the novels. There are boys in Beauxbatons, there are girls in Durmstrang. Even if the movie had kept their strange classifications of one being flighty, sighing and shiny, and the other having all the social niceties of the Wildlings in Game of Thrones, they could still have bridged those rather appalling imbalances of gender reflection with appropriate casting. I would have loved to see a flaxen-haired, sharp cheekboned Beauxbaton boy in those incredibly stupid blue hats, as much as I would have loved a hulking girl thunking that massive Durmstrang staff on the ground.) 

the end 

But beyond the weird gender politics of the movie franchise, and the absolutely ridiculous amount of time it took me to reread Goblet of Fire, I think I really enjoyed this iteration of my Year with Harry journey. It was a real time investment, but I got through it, and the reward at the end of it sure was sweet! 

However, we had definitely turned a corner in the series, and things only get darker from here. I'm trying to finish Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince by around mid-October, so I can have another Potter Party during Halloween season, but it's honestly difficult to invest in that kind of gloomy storytelling when it's so bright and hot outside, like it is right now. 

What do you think of my second Potter Party? When was the last time you reread Goblet of Fire? Are you a mood reader? Let me know, in the comments below!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: She Caused a Riot

Image result for shecaused a riot goodreadsOne of the squares on my summer library bingo was giving me a little trouble earlier in the season: It's easy enough to read by genre, but who goes out of their way to pick up something under the generic umbrella of "History"? As it turns out, easier than I had originally expected... especially when I swapped that "i" out for an "e"! 

Hannah Jewell's She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions, and Massively Crushed It, contains - as you might imagine - exactly that.

A collection of the life stories of "unknown" women of history, ranging from famous ladies who fought tyrants, to those who overturned gender norms; from those who made their name printed in ink, to those who wrote it in blood. Spanning continents and centuries, Jewell has truly pulled from the history books to find names that get little to no coverage in mainstream culture.

Of course, there were obviously some I recognized. Ida B. Wells, Cheng Shih, Phillis Wheatley, Hedy Lamarr, and Nellie Bly have all been favorites for a long time, some since my middle school days. Still, the amount of ancient and audacious historical figures, to recent fearless females who helped topple governmental systems, protected their people, broke with tradition, and otherwise significantly rocked the boat, was a really impressive feat.

This was done in a way that was meant to deliberately appeal to a young-ish audience. Not quite those whose interests might otherwise be suited with books like Elena Favilli and Francesca Cravallo's Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which skews for the elementary age. Instead, Jewell's She Caused a Riot, is geared more for high schoolers or college kids. Even though it contains a lot of the same names as Ann Shen's Bad Girls Throughout History, this one doesn't really come with pictures.

What I'm saying is, this book is one in a long list of many similar titles that have been published in the past year, detailing these kinds of stories... but the others you might purchase definitely don't come packed with this much slang, euphemism, or downright naughty details involved. PG-13, rating, kiddos.

To best translate the style of writing, essentially, it's as if a transcript of Drunk History was printed in a slightly more edited-down format. (The author was a staff writer for Buzzfeed UK, after all.) Humorous and engaging, but also lacking in consistent detail and maybe containing more than one inappropriate aside, these stories hold up the lives of these oft-overlook champions of history,

The popularity of these kinds of books has definitely been shaped by our political climate... because, in this kind of atmosphere, how the hell could it not be? One of the most telling elements of it, are the differences in title between the US and UK editions: while us Yanks get She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions, and Massively Crushed It, those across the pond get a more direct reference to the genus of this particular project, with 100 Nasty Women of History: Brilliant, Badass, and Completely Fearless Women Everyone Should Know. While the US version includes frequent use of the phrase "nasty women" in the introduction, it's fascinating that the US publishers wouldn't seek to use the same title across both publishing markets.

Final Verdict: All in all, a fun and surprisingly informative read, featuring the stories of really unique and exciting historical personalities, though the style did get fairly tedious after a point. Definitely would consider picking up a copy for myself or another her-storically-minded friend, though it would have to be one with a good sense of humor!

What's your favorite feminist read? Were you a history fan growing up? Let me know, in the comments below!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Reading Romance, Part Three: Recently-Written Historical Romance

As you might recall, my 2018 Summer has been heating up in more ways than one: I've been tackling the genre of cheap romance novels, as a part of my personal Reading Romance Challenge! I've already covered the oldies, so let's see how something a little more contemporary suits me...

how to choose?

When it comes to figuring out which titles to pursue, this selection of romance novels might have been the one that came with the most previous knowledge, for me. Why? Because within the past couple of years, the genre seems to have undergone some kind of fan renaissance, at least online. I've been hearing the name "Tessa Dare" kicked around enough to know that she was one to look out for in this category, and "Julia Quinn" was more of the same. Needlessly to say, those two were immediately placed at the top of my library checkout list.

size doesn't matter... but does format?

While Tessa Dare seems to have quite the fan base at my local library - being that almost all of her books are available in not only print format, but also large font, as well as multiple ebook copies available for checkout - I wasn't having much luck finding Quinn. Thankfully, Book Outlet came to my rescue, and I was able to pick up two for about $2.50 apiece.

Unfortunately, that left me with some uneven reading experiences. Let me tell you: I have never quite lived through the reading high that came with taking my trusty Kindle various places, and knowing that what I was really enjoying, out in broad daylight, was actually a risque romance novel. Obviously, trying to find ways to read the Julia Quinn paperback was a little more difficult. I'm new to this, and definitely not brave enough to whip out these kinds of covers just anywhere.

At least with the vintage romances, they looked somewhat fashionably ironic, and it was easily to hide behind my deceptive and chic Kindle cover, and read it all stealth-like.

And honestly, due to the sort of blockish, unweildly status of the mass market paperback measurements, reading romance novels becomes sort of clumsy.

what I read

Romancing the Duke, Castles Ever After #1, Tessa Dare 

Image result for romancing the duke goodreadsIsolde Ophelia Goodnight isn't the little girl made famous by her author father's famous stories... but she is the one still dealing with the fallout from his untimely death. Thankfully, a fortuitous bequeathment of a castle from a distant relative keeps her from being thrust out into the world on her own; instead, she now has to deal with the angsty and glowering hunk who was completely unaware that his castle had been for sale in the first place. Can the two cohabitate peacefully until their legal grievances are sorted out? Or will Izzy find herself in the middle of her own sort of fairy tale?

  • The love interest from this one was a little different. Not that he wasn't a somewhat entitled, angsty MAN, but that he was a little more emotionally - and physically - wounded than the other novels I've read so far. Kind of like a Rochester figure, but from the end of Jane Eyre. 
  • There's a significant plot presence of Izzy's appreciation-slash-resentment for the various dedicated followers of her father's writing, who enjoy talking to her about character motivations, dressing up as people from the stories, and otherwise giving her unwanted presents. In a way, it kind of felt like a bit of a take-on of fandom culture. Not sure how historically accurate that makes it, but it was definitely damn funny. 
  • So far, in comparison to the past two vintage romances I read, this was definitely a little more trope-heavy, which made things far easier to predict. Not that that's a bad thing... 

Say Yes to the Marquess, Castles Ever After #2, Tessa Dare

Image result for say yes to the marquess goodreadsClio Whitmore was raised to be the perfect bride: charming, intelligent, and fully capable of running a household. However, after 8 years of engaged waiting, she still finds herself short one groom. The Marquess of Granville, her betrothed, remains abroad, while Clio waits at home in England. When she's bequeathed her own castle, Clio can't help but jump at the opportunity to break off the match... something that absolutely cannot come to pass, if the groom's brother has anything to say about it. Can Rafe Brandon convince Clio that the wedding will be worth it after all? Or is he in danger of falling in love himself?

  • Clio has a unique entrepreneurial spirit, while Rafe is a successful touring prizefighter... and for some reason, both of these job prospects seemed almost a little anachronistic with the supposed time period this was set in. 
  • The amount of sexual escapades seemed a little tamer in this book... but that being said, it also felt like there was a whole lot more of it. While these two Tessa Dare novels are still heads above the vintage romances I read by way of intensity of button-popping and shirt-rending - which is QUITE the feat, I must say - this one dialed it back a bit, leaving some of the sexier scenes until the very end of the book.  

Because of Miss Bridgerton, Rokesbys #1, Julia Quinn

Image result for because of miss bridgerton goodreadsBillie Bridgerton was always the girl known for jumping hedges and climbing trees... which explains why our story begins with her trapped on the roof of a barn. Unfortunately for her, the one who comes to her rescue is George Rokesby, her staid and serious neighbor, eldest of the Rokesby boys. While she loves them all like brothers - and always thought she'd end up marrying army-soldier Edward or navy-man Andrew - she has never managed to get along with George... so why is she suddenly so concerned with what he thinks of her?

  • I'm so glad I decided to read more than one author for this challenge, because there is such a significant difference between Julia Quinn and Tessa Dare, and I wouldn't have gotten as accurate a read on the greater population if my sample selection hadn't branched out a little farther than I'd originally thought. 
  • So much more of a traditional, social-rule-adhering novel than others I've read. As in, when Billie and George make a reference to how if anyone knew they'd been alone together for a certain amount of time, they'd have to get married to save reputation, I actually laughed out loud... then had to take pause. Yeah, that's exactly what would actually have had to happen. Which kind of flies in the face of the other books I've been reading. 
  • There was so little sex. That's not an issue, and so far, there have been differing levels of intensity and number as to what I had originally thought would be obvious and widespread, rampant sexcapades in each of the books I've been reading... but by far, BY FAR, the Quinn has been the most prudent, with only one important sex scene occuring at the tail end of the book, with little efforts to descend into the carnal depictions present in the Dare books. 

some more random reading takeaways

  • How many times am I going to have to hear the word "virile"? 
  • Every book must have a beloved pet: vicious ermine, old and slobbery bulldog, angry cat, favorite horse. For some reason, each needs to hit that specific animal character quotient. 
  • There are way too many descriptions of men seemingly taking up a ton of space, like "filling the whole doorway" or whatever. I get what you're insinuating. Don't make it so repetitive. 
  • Deus Ex Machina forever. The resolutions to these novels are consistently unexpected and nowhere near comprehensive in what plot points they try to haphazardly cover. But when it all ends in a wedding, do we really need any more closure than that? 
  • But also sometimes Deus Sex Machina? There have been too many couple conflicts solved by a quick make out session or getting busy on a table or something. Just talk to each other! 
  • Thank goodness, the ages have increased... rather than the fresh-out-of-college Mac and 17-year-old Portia of the vintage romances I read, both Izzy and Clio were 26 and 25, respectively, with emphasis placed on the fact that they had been available to marry for some time, but had not. Even Billie was 23, I think. 

Naturally, I was thinking a lot about the differences and similarities between the Vintage Romances of June, and the Recently-Written Historical Romances of July.

Most notably, the more recent books have more sexual content and have plots that are a little more outlandish, while the vintage novels seemed to pay more attention to serving as genuine sources of reading material, which high quality diction, historical accuracy, and rigorous sub-plotting. Perhaps its the decision to lean in to the stereotypes that romance novels are already known for in this day and age, or maybe it's just a quirk of the authors I chose, or the genre.

However, one thing they definitely have in common: a fierce, stubborn heroine who knows what she wants, and a dominating, masculine love interest who is inevitably won over by her devotion and charm. I don't know what it means to have those identities so significantly ingrained within the construction of the genre, but maybe if I keep reading, I'll get there eventually.

where to next?

This August, I'm looking forward to reading contemporary romance novels... or at least, I think I'm looking forward to them. The question is, where should I start? I have at least one title I'm reading for sure - recently released New Adult romance The Simple Wild, by K. A. Tucker - but besides that, I'm stumped. Do I go full trashy romance, with the Beautiful Bastard series? Or do I keep things semi-appropriate, with Nicholas Sparks? Should I widen my original criteria, and read a YA romance after all?

Do you have any reading recommendations for recent romance? Let me know, in the comments below!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Book Mashups I'd Love to See

I've got to be honest, as a child of the early '00s Disney Channel Renaissance, I couldn't help but get excited when I saw today's Top Ten Tuesday theme. I mean, mashups were the jam when I was a kid: from That's So Suite Life with Hannah Montana (which was a confluence of the three unstoppable powers that be at that time period, That's So Raven, Suite Life with Zach and Cody, and, naturally, Hannah Montana), to Nickolodeon's repeat Jimmy Neutron and Fairly Oddparents episodes, I've been practically raised on the phenomena of favorite characters invading each others' spaces.

But when it comes to mashing up books, things can get a little sticky. Sure, you can have favorites swap places, or interact with other casts, but what about when it's the settings of the books you want to intertwine? What if it's the ambience or just general theming?

Needless to say, this topic ended up being a little harder than I originally thought. Here's what I came up with:

1. Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame + The Brothers Grimms' Rapunzel
Okay, broader connections between the two include a focus on an innocent youth trapped in a tower, and an overbearing, antagonistic force keeping them there. So, imagine: a young woman (or man) unknowingly woos a prince to the church based on the power of her (or his) voice, but she (or he) has to stay hidden, and is burdened with the knowledge that the two of them could never be together...

2. The Amazing Bronte Power Hour - aka, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Meets Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights Meets Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Interactions between the Bronte sisters have been touched on before - perhaps most memorably by Hark! A Vagrant comic artist Kate Beaton - but what about their characters? Jane would have no patience for Catherine but would probably love Helen Graham, and Rochester would only goad Heathcliff into grander hysterics for the sheer drama of it all...

3. Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs + Julie Powell's Julie & Julia 
Hear me out, here: two famous stories involving a pretty significant attention to procedural eating. So, what if Julie wasn't cooking her way through Julia Childs' cookbook, but instead, the human anatomy?

4. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein + Peggy Parish's Amelia Bedelia
As a huge Frankenstein fan, I've been perpetually disappointed in how our monster has been portrayed throughout film history. He was never a mumbling, grunting mess, but instead, quickly picked up language from observing human interaction. Here's the thing though: what if, after so rapidly absorbing that information, the semantics and specifics got lost in translation? What might transpire are some classically disastrous Amelia Bedelia-like miscommunications... but with horrifying results.

5. Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer + Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes
There is no literary character as amply gifted as Tom Sawyer, when it comes to master manipulation. Then again, there's no literary character quite as accustomed to weeding out the truth than Sherlock Holmes. Is this my way of asking for recompense for the movie bomb that was League of Extraordinary Gentleman? Kind of.

6. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island + Frank Herbert's Dune
Just to be very clear, I grew up as not only a fan of Treasure Island, as well as science fiction, but also the blend of the two of them together, a la one of my favorite Disney movies, Treasure Planet. What better place to send the likes of Long John Silver to dig for buried treasure, than the politically turbulent, giant-worm-infested, desperately sandy desert planet of Arrakis?

7. Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain + Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (+ maybe a little Gary Paulsen's Hatchet in the mix, as well?) 
Basically what I'm saying is, I would love a children's classic about a boy living amongst the animals in a climate more similar to my own... though being that Mountain is set in the Catskills of New York, then maybe leaning more towards Paulsen's central Canada location for Hatchet?

8. Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden + Stephanie Perkins' Lola and the Boy Next Door
I've actually talked about this in my Top Ten Tuesday before, but I'd love to take the time to write a contemporary YA romance retelling of The Secret Garden, which is one of my favorite books from childhood. Maybe I'll make it my NaNo writing challenge for this year?

9. Stephanie Meyers's Twilight + Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink's Welcome to Night Vale 
I just really love the idea of the absolute insane emotional dynamics and unstable personalities of YA paranormal romances, propped up against the bleakly observational and objective reporting from Welcome to Nightvale. "Hello, listeners. Local reports say that the forestry fallout from last week's thunderstorm was instead, the resulting noise from a rowdy game of undead vampire baseball..."

10. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice + pretty much anything
Let me make this abundantly clear: I will read whatever - and I truly mean whatever - Pride and Prejudice retelling you could ever throw at me. We've already had Lizzie and Darcy meets zombies, Bollywood, and web vlogging, and I've pretty much loved all of them, so really, I'm game for anything.

What's in your Top Ten? Let me know, in the comments below! 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Crazy Eight, Part Three: Exploring Local Little Free Libraries

As you might remember, on July 24th, I celebrated the eighth anniversary of my first blogpost! I've already told you how I celebrated with a book haul... but did you know that I also did a bit of an UN-haul, as well? I packed up some handmade bookmarks, eight past reads that I was willing to part with, and my younger brother - he got some driving practice hours on his permit - while I unloaded some new material at little free libraries in my area! 

There were four total, and by our area, I mean that the closest one was five minutes driving time away, and the furthest was only about ten. We zoomed around our neck of the woods for a little over an hour distributing the goods and taking pictures, and it was a fun and unique way to spend a summer afternoon! 

the bookmarks

Naturally, I wanted to give a handmade touch to my bookish donations. It's not like I can just leave them in there without any kind of note or anything! (For the record: yes, you can totally leave them without any kind of note, and, in fact, it is what most people do.)

However, it was my bloggoversary, and I wanted to celebrate it a little bit, so I left these bookmarks tucked within some of the books' pages, inviting people to use them while they were reading. Naturally, I left my Instagram username and blog address on the back... and who knows? Maybe someone will comment on my blog or Instagram, and tell me that they've decided to borrow one of the novels I dropped off!

the books

The selections that were already present at the little free libraries were not all that great for adults - lots of kids and puzzle books, and not a whole lot of lengthier novels or otherwise solid reading material! - which made me feel good about the ones I've left behind. All of these are books I've either previously read, and didn't necessarily want on my shelves anymore, or ones that had just been languishing on my TBR for too long, and just had to admit to myself that I wasn't going to read.

Because there were a total of four libraries near me, and it was my eighth bloggoversary, I decided that I would be dropping off two at each stop!

the wrath and the dawn and the rose and the dagger, renee ahdieh

zelda, nancy milford
love warrior, glennon doyle melton

pink sari revolution, amana fontanella-khan
as if! the oral history of clueless, jen chaney

final girls, riley sager
a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, dave eggers

This was all my first-ever interaction with a little free library in the wild, and I have to say, it was pretty fun! They were easy to spot and easily accessible from the street, and every single one had at least one shelf of books inside it already.

The stewardship of these little guys seemed to be pretty great, with almost all of them having different things to please users, be it exterior decorations, or a stack of bookmarks piled up just on the inside, for people to take from. One even had a little visitor's journal, in which people could write notes about what they picked up or dropped off on their visit, or leave a brief review of a book they enjoyed!

I can totally see having something like this in my front yard when I'm older. It seems like not only a great way to give back to your community and foster a love of reading directly in your neighborhood, but  also a means of easily recycling old reading material. I can't wait to go back... if only to check out whether my books have been picked up or not!

Have you ever visited a Little Free Library? Have you ever considered being a steward to one? Let me know, in the comments below!