Jul 22, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 4

DAY 4: Favorite Book in Your Favorite Series

So many books these days do come with sequels or whole series -- just take a look at the bestseller lists where at least half the books selected are part of a set. The point is that series sell well, especially if you are a publisher looking for a foreign rights deal. Rest assured though that the stand-alone novel is still very much appreciated by publishers and readers alike.

Last friday we talked about our favorite series. A series that stayed with us through the years. A series that made a difference in our thought process. A series that was quick and clever. A series that portrays great honesty and an interesting reality for those reading it. But choosing your favorite book out of your favorite series is probably even harder than choosing a favorite series. 

Descriptions of The Quartet by Lois Lowry call the four books "companions" to each other. They're connected through their themes and underlying messages, and in the last two books they are connected even more so by character interaction. Futuristic and dystopian societies have become the main genre for new authors, but Lois Lowry, like so many great authors from years past, was pushing the limits of that genre for years by making us think about our own roles in and expectations of society. In Gathering Blue, book two and my choice for today's challenge, the reader comes face-to-face with their own values, with their own ideas about community and acceptance, and are challenged to examine them long after the book is done.

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting." -- Henry David Thoreau


A dear friend once asked me what my Five Things were. Confused by the vague nature of the question, I asked her to explain just what she meant, what "things" she was speaking to. The Five Things are the little, mundane details of life that you feel more strongly about. For instance, she explained, I can't get enough of harmonizing--I can't handle how particularly excited I get every time I have the chance to harmonize. So, I thought about my Five Things. I love the feeling of an inside joke, of cracking my knuckles, of cutting an apple, but I probably don't appreciate them on a deeper level than most other people. Finding those key moments are a little trickier. 

One of my Five Things is ranked lists. So, today, I thought I'd exercise that special love of mine and order all 13 books in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Keep in mind: they're all wonderful, creative, and comically disheartening; this is just my personal labeling of best-to-better-than-best.

13. The Miserable Mill
12. The Vile Village
11. The Slippery Slope
10. The Penultimate Peril
9.   The Vile Village
8.   The Hostile Hospital
7.   The Bad Beginning
6.   The Carnivorous Carnival
5.   The Reptile Room
4.   The End
3.   The Ersatz Elevator
2.   The Grim Grotto

Which leaves...
1.   The Wide Window

Aunt Josephine is probably my favorite temporary guardian in the series. Her neuroticism and peculiar habits are so cleverly demonstrated throughout the story, and she is the most literary of the bunch--a powerful combination that resonates well with this hungry book devourer. Additionally, Lake Lachrymose is a terrifying setting. 

In a word: Leeches. 



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