John Green Does it Again

I’ve now read three of the popular author’s books. I’ve noticed a pattern with the stories and characters I can’t ignore. John Green is an immensely popular author, but are his characters and stories actually any good? My thoughts:

Have you read any of his books? Did you notice anything similar about them?

Popular Movies Don’t Equate to Great Used Book Sales

There are a lot of books adapted into films each year. Most are hardly worth taking note of, but others stand the test of time. Some remain popular long after their theatrical run ends. And others are immensely popular before and after movie adaptatations. But only a few books keep selling well in the used books environment.

Twilight.

You would not believe how many of these books we get in at my store. It’s ridiculous.

The Hunger Games.

There’s a difference between the two series. THG sell, but we get SO many of them.

Marley & Me.

I actually had no idea it was a book before I started working at Half Price Books. It’s one we see A LOT of. It isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.

The Fault in Our Stars.

Similar to THG, these sell okay. But it’s definitely a book we see plenty of.

So that’s my little list of popular books that became popular movies that don’t sell particularly well in a used bookstore environment. At least not in the environment I work in each day. Of course, there are opposites. Books that sell VERY well. It’s all a guessing game. Maybe I’ll have a post about those books in a couple of days.

February Book Haul

February has come and gone, which means even MORE books! But I’ll be honest. I actually got these in January at the same time as my previous book haul. I even recorded it at the same time because I didn’t want to have a million books in one video.

So let’s just not get all technical with it. We’ll pretend that I didn’t tell you all of that and that these books were actually bought in February. How’s that? Now watch, watch, watch! And tell me which books you brought home this month.

The Most Popular Books at US Public Libraries are:

First off, sorry for the late post. I’d had every intention to have it publish at my usual time, but today I’ve been a bit distracted by something unexpected. And I decided that my attention was needed elsewhere. But now I’m here with you, as always, just a little late today.

Recently Quartz was given data from some of the top public libraries around the country regarding their most popular books. The data isn’t all from the same time period, but we’re only talking a difference of about a month at the most, so it’s pretty accurate. If I had to guess with no information about any of the libraries, I’d of course think that Go Set a Watchman would likely be at or near the top of some of the lists. I’d also think of To Kill a Mockingbird. Besides those two I’m not sure I’d have any other books come to mind. Here’s the list in no particular order.

Seattle – Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

San Francisco – Fairyland by Alysia Abbott.

Los Angeles – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

San JoseThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

San Diego – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Denver – Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.

Phoenix – Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

Dallas The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Houston – Truth or Die by James Patterson.

Memphis To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Jacksonville – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Washington D.C. – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Baltimore – Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

New York – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Indianapolis – Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich.

I really can’t say I’m surprised by any of these, though I will admit that I’ve never heard of the titles from Denver and San Francisco. The others seem pretty understandable. They’re pretty much mega bestsellers that people are reading all over the country. Maybe just a little surprised that Paper Towns didn’t make it to the top of at least one list. Even though I know the movie isn’t nearly as popular as the first of the John Green adaptations, the book was popular enough to nab a movie deal.

Are you surprised by any of the titles that are the most popular books at some of the public libraries in the US? Maybe you think some titles should be right near the top that aren’t listed?

Guest Post: The Wonderful World of YA

Why do I love reading YA books? This is actually a question I get frequently because nearly 95 percent of the books I read are Young Adult books. The other 5 percent are a mixture of Middle Grade and New Adult books, with a dash of whatever my future Mother-in-Law throws my way. I’ve read a variety of other genres but nothing ever felt quite right, like they were lacking something. It’s almost like the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

My Start

When I was a freshman in high school I was pretty terrified due to the fact that I had been home schooled all of grade and middle school. When it came to my first week of freshman English we went to the library to pick out our own book to read for the month. I was familiar with my public library a few streets down from my house, but I never really enjoyed what I read. The class period was almost over and I still couldn’t find anything and all the other students had already found their books. My teacher pulled me aside and handed me Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. She pulled me into the small YA section of the library and simply said “I think you’ll like these books…” and gave me a warm smile. I took the book home that night and by the time I was in English the next day I had finished it. I begged my mom to take me to Borders that night and buy the second book in the series, Pretties. They’re still my favorite books to this day!

YA’s Unwarranted Criticism

People bash YA books quite a bit. It’s sad. I think regardless of the quality or genre of book a person is reading, at least they’re reading! Every genre has poorly written books. But there are some amazingly talented authors who write YA that can rival some of the most legendary authors out there. Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Leigh Bardugo, Veronica Roth, Sarah J. Maas, Alexandra Bracken and the list goes on and on. Many of the books that are being adapted into movies are mostly YA! Divergent is phenomenal and The Hunger Games is spectacular. Then there’s John Green. The Fault in Our Stars. Looking For Alaska. Two adaptations in two years! Panic by Lauren Oliver was optioned for film and she’s writing the screenplay! Whether you’re a young adult yourself or you’re in your 40s, these books offer something for everyone. YA should not be viewed as a “lesser” genre than any other, because that’s just ridiculous.

The Appeal of YA

YA appeals to me for so many reasons. For one, a lot of the explicit language and material is cut out. It’s not necessary and the author just adds more adventure to the story. During this period the characters’ emotions are heightened. Everything is felt so intensely. This is a time in your life when you’re experiencing a lot of firsts. I think how these authors capture all of this, then throw in some crazy plot of the world being separated into factions and fighting each other to the death, is pretty amazing. When I first started reading YA a lot of the stories dealt with issues I was also dealing with, and they became a coping mechanism.

Now I’m a twenty-something, engaged, college student and daycare teacher. I read to escape from the stresses of  daily life, and YA is my primary escape. The books are fast paced and unlike a lot of people (I guess), I don’t want to read five pages about the description of a forest. I read because I enjoy reading, not because I want to give myself a headache. I read YA because I like it. Simple as that. Just like John enjoys reading crime novels. That’s what interests him. YA is what interests me!

Happy Reading!

Aly

ILikeBooksTooMuch

 

The Top Selling Book of 2014 was…

Honestly, if someone gave me all of three guesses I bet I could name three books out of the top ten best selling books of 2014. And I bet most of you could easily get at least one. Why? Because the YA trend is only continuing. Sure there was that ridiculous Slate article (that I won’t link to) that said YA shouldn’t be read by adults. Or something like that, I never got around to reading the whole thing. YA sells. And maybe it doesn’t make up as much of the total number of books as some might think, but when you’re talking mega bestsellers we all know they’re going to easily make those lists.

Now time for the guessing game. Which books do you think were amongst the ten best selling of the year? Come on. I’ll give you a minute to think it over.

LA LA LA

Me singing.

Okay. For the purposes of this list Nielsen only included print editions of books, and hardcovers and paperbacks count as distinct titles. Which is why the same title can appear multiple times within the top ten. Now I’m just going to show you the list.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (paperback)

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth (paperback)

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (paperback)

4. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (paperback)

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney (hardcover)

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (movie tie in, paperback)

7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (paperback)

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (hardcover)

9. Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly (hardcover)

10. Looking for Alaska by John Green (paperback)

When I look at the list I see the same thing I saw on the Twitter list of the year’s most mentioned books. I see John Green on top of the literary world at the moment. And I see Veronica Roth trying to take his title. Want to know what I don’t see? I don’t see any surprises. No random self published book. No unknown author miraculously making the list. It was a good year for book sales, and it was a good year for YA mega bestsellers.

What do you think of the best selling books of 2014? Surprised by any of these?

My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

The Top Ten Books of 2014…on Twitter

BookVibe has compiled a list of books most mentioned on Twitter in 2014. Might as well just get into the list because I’m sure you’re more interested in the ten books than any preceding comments I have.

10. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

I suppose it would be unwise to think that a list like this wouldn’t include some classics, right? I mean, don’t high school kids have to read this? Maybe?

9. 1984 – George Orwell

I don’t know if high schoolers are reading this, but I’m not particularly surprised by it.

8. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton

Hey. This is a definite surprise to me. It’s obvious that this made the list because of the new movie coming out next summer, but it is still nice to see people talking about it (even though we’re coming up on movie four and there are only two books.) But I read this in high school and then read the second one. Enjoyed both.

7. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Haven’t read this one, but I know it’s popular. My only question is if her real name is really Rainbow. And I actually know the titles of all of her books even though I haven’t read any of them. That’s cool.

6. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

When a book is adapted into a major movie that immediately gets some awards buzz going, well it’s hard to imagine a world in which Twitter isn’t right on board with that. Still haven’t read this, though I’m about 90 percent sure I know what happens. Eh.

5. Hannibal – Thomans Harris

Okay.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Obviously an American classic, but wasn’t this book just released as an e-book for the first time this year? Maybe that helped?

3. Looking for Alaska – John Green

I would have to go back and take a look at my banned books post, but I think this made the list. Cause I know it was published a few years ago and I figured that two of his other books would make this list over this one. Hm. What do I know?

2. A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

There is absolutely nothing for me to say about this. Who wouldn’t expect this?

1. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Well it sure looks like John Green is right at the top of the literary world at the moment. Heck, this is the only book on the list I read in 2014. And he has another movie coming out next June. And is there anyone out there who doesn’t think his other works will be adapted at some point? Doubt it. I still would just like to mention that I have the same initials as John Green. Cause that somehow matters. This book actually had more than double the mentions on Twitter as the second book on the list. Sheesh.

So that’s it! The top ten books of 2014 on Twitter. Any surprises?

The Best of 2014: Books I read

I began this series of posts yesterday by telling y’all about the best bloggers I know. Today we’re going to talk about the best books I read in 2014. Although not over yet, it’ll be my worst reading year since high school. I’ve only made it through seven books. Seven. Oh well. But there were some standouts among those seven that I do want to talk about. Remember these are NOT books released in 2014 but books I read in 2014.

#1 The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

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I read this book as part of my journey to read every book on Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This isn’t really a book. It’s her diary, as you well know. And maybe that’s why it really hit me like it did. She takes you through every emotion imaginable and she does so in such an eloquent manner that you can’t help but be impressed by her grasp of the written word. She’s able to take you back to one of the worst periods the world has ever known, and she does it while in hiding. It’s a remarkable work that everyone should read.

I currently have this book ranked #1 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. There’s no doubt that it will stay there for some time. Here’s the post I wrote the day after finishing it.

#2 The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly

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Michael Connelly is right near the top of my favorite authors and I’ve never once been disappointed by one of his Bosch novels. The Drop is no exception. Bosch is working two cases at once. One is the death of a city councilman’s son and the other is a cold case. That’s all I’ll say. It’s vintage Bosch and I already have the next book in the series on my shelf.

I currently have this book ranked #13 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. One spot ahead of the third and final book on the list.

#3 The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

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I don’t need to tell you anything about this book because you’ve probably already read it and made up your own mind about the story itself. This was the first time I’d read any YA title since Mockingjay in 2012. I really enjoyed this book. Yeah I thought Gus was too perfect and I thought the way he talked to Hazel was a little too much for a couple of teens, but those are pretty minor things. I loved them both as characters and John Green got millions of people to read about a tricky subject.

I currently have this book ranked #14 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. Here’s the post I wrote about it earlier this year.

So that’s it! Those are the three best books I read this year! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone just missed being included in the list. I won’t ask if you’ve read these titles because you’ve almost certainly read at least two of them, but I would like to know what your top reads of the year were. Tell me now.

Judging Books by Their Movies

I’m starting to forget what I’ve written about over the last few months. I think this is post number 270 or 271 and the vast majority of those have come from February until now. But I’m confident I haven’t touched on this topic just yet. I don’t think.

Okay. We all know about judging books by their covers because everyone does it. We also are likely familiar with judging books by their authors because we do that too. But what about judging books by their movies? What do you think? Think you judge books by their movies? Or maybe you view them as separate entities?

This is where I tell you which side of the fence I fall on. Hm. Interestingly enough, I’m actually okay with this. Don’t go gasping away before giving me the chance to explain. There have been a number of wildly successful adaptations in recent years, but we should all know of the even greater number of films that have been flat out horrible. As in, what-kind-of-studio-would-ever-want-to-adapt-this-for-film horrible. But literary adaptations aren’t going anywhere.

The Hunger Games movies have been adapted quite well, in my opinion. As were the Potter films and John Green’s mega-bestseller The Fault in Our Stars. The LOTR films are probably my favorite adaptations ever. Gone Girl was released just last week to critical acclaim.

But you know the movies that are good and those that aren’t, so I won’t continue with my little list there. But am I the only person who thinks there may be a correlation between the quality of the book and the quality of the theatrical adaptation? I know not everyone loves every book or movie, but it seems to me that books that are nearly universally liked adapt well into film. Not because people like the book, but because it’s high quality. Sometimes the book is higher quality than the movie, but only once can I think of the movie actually being better than the book.

For instance, the Twilight movies were not very good at all. I’ll admit to having seen every one of them, but come on. The Hobbit movies are not on par with the book. Bad movies can come from bad books. And bad movies can come from great books. But great movies do not come from bad books. It just doesn’t happen. That’s the point that I’m trying to make.

If you see a bad movie adapted from a book, then you may or may not choose to go read the book to compare the two. But if you see a truly great movie adapted from a book, then you absolutely need to read the book because you’ll likely enjoy it even more than the movie. Even though you’ve likely already read it.

Have you ever judged a book by its movie? And do you agree that great movies typically come from great books?