Book Blogger Appreciation Week: A five book introduction

Book Blogger Appreciation Week kicks off today. It is being hosted by Jenny of Reading the End, Heather of Capricious Reader, Andi of Estella’s Revenge and Ana of things mean a lot.

For the first day, participants are invited to post five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle. I was daunted when I saw the prompt yesterday, but when I saw a couple of bloggers’ introduction posts this morning, it got my mind thinking of possible books for my list. I leaned a bit more toward books that represent me as a reader. So here goes:

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty

As a high school junior, I had a major assignment that involved reading several books by an author, as well as gather literary criticism and biographical information. I don’t remember why I chose Eudora Welty out of the list of suggested authors. Maybe because I had never heard of her before, and because she was a woman. With Delta Wedding, I remember thinking I didn’t fully understand this novel but that I loved it anyway. (After a couple of re-reads, I understand it more now, though some aspects are still mysterious.) I think it was about this time in my life that I decided to major in English when I went to college, and this assignment was a good preamble for entering that field of study.

Also, Welty’s description of a house full of extended family reminded me of getting together with my mother’s family for Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

I remember reading this short book in the first month of starting my first professional job. I was temporarily staying with my relatives and taking a long metro ride to work. I was still feeling that post-school high of having the time to read whatever I wanted.I had read about this book in Entertainment Weekly (they gave it an A) and was just about game for anything reading-wise. I loved this book but more than that, Winter’s Bone also represents that rush you feel when you realize that the world is full of great books just waiting to be read.

Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O’Hanlon

I picked up this book at a San Francisco bookstore where the staff had left recommendations next to particular books on the shelves. I decided I would buy at least one book that was recommended with the additional caveat that it be a previously unknown book to me. I’ve since adopted variations of this approach in other bookstores of cities I’ve visited – e.g. Powell’s in Portland, Tattered Cover in Denver. I’m more of a library hound than an avid book buyer, but this kind of book tourism really appeals to me. Into the Heart of Borneo also represents my interest in travel memoirs.

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett

I grew up in Maine and this classic book set in Maine definitely reminds me of home, though it was written over a century ago.

Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

This book represents my philosophy that it is never too late to quit a book. 250 pages into this 384 page book, I decided I’d had enough and stopped. There have been others where I’ve DNF’d after making it pretty far into the book, like Tana French’s In the Woods and Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf. However, I think Istanbul was one of the first where I consciously abandoned after significant time investment (as opposed to putting a book down “for a while” and never actually returning). I also have the philosophy that it’s never too early to quit a book either. Sometimes you just know from the first few pages. So yeah, I’m definitely not a completist when it comes to reading!


Although I may not one of the most active bloggers, I do greatly enjoy the book blogging community. I look forward to reading other participants’ Book Blogger Appreciation Week posts!


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25 responses to “Book Blogger Appreciation Week: A five book introduction

  1. Your list has just expanded the old TBR for me. I thank you (though my groaning bookshelves don’t! LOL)

  2. Beth F

    I read Orhan Pamuk’s most recent book (also set in Istanbul) — now I need to explore his backlist.

  3. Emily @ Books, the Universe & Everything

    I love this list, it’s so unique! My mom recently read and loved The Country of the Pointed Firs, I’d like to read it soon!

    Happy BBAW! 😀

  4. Kay

    I haven’t read a single one of your books, but I’m interested. Although I do read more mysteries than anything else. Love adding to my TBR though. 🙂

    • Winter’s Bone has a mystery element to it. It’s a gritty noir type book set in the Ozarks. If I was to recommend a travel memoir to a mystery-lover, I’d actually recommend Susan Jane Gilman’s Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven – although I suppose it falls into more suspense territory than mystery.

  5. Ah!! I can’t get enough of Pamuk! Happy BBAW.

  6. Christy, you are so great. I love that your last book highlights the value of a good DNF. IT IS SO TRUE and you are the best.

  7. I think I’ve stopped by periodically, because somehow (I think?) I remembered you grew up in Maine (I grew up in NH, though I spent 2 years in Portland). My family is still there in Sanford, Orono, Wells, etc. I visit, typically, at least once a year. I will have to check Jewett’s book.

    I also LOVED A Winter’s Bone and recently read Sweetgirl which was similar (and excellent).

    • Yes, we definitely had the Maine discussion somewhere, sometime in a comment section. I have Sweetgirl on my to-read list – I think you had it down on an anticipated list and the description was enough to convince me to mark it as a possible future read. Glad to hear that it turned out to be excellent – that’s very encouraging. I haven’t strayed beyond Woodrell too much in my grit lit reading.

  8. Wonderful to see The Country of the Pointed Firs here, I am planning to read it next month for the Reading New England challenge. Your other books are all unfamiliar to me. “That rush you feel when you realize the world is full of great books just waiting to be read” is a great description of how I feel reading all these lists!

    • I hope you enjoy Country of the Pointed Firs! It’s a quiet book but very lovely and evocative of a bygone era. You may remember hearing about the movie adaptation of Winter’s Bone. It was Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout role and she got her first Oscar nomination for it.

  9. Some of these author names are familiar to me but I haven’t read any of them. I will try to avoid Istanbul though! I once read about 3/4 of The Idiot by Karamazov before I quit! I’ve liked others of his books but I was just going insane!

    • If I recall correctly, Istanbul started off promising but then it veered off into discussions of seemingly anyone who wrote about Istanbul in the early and mid-20th century. It turned into quite a slog. It sounds like you know what I mean with The Idiot! When something is just driving you crazy or boring you to tears, it’s just best to put that book down for good.

  10. I have read none of these!

    Regarding quitting vs. putting down “for a while.” I’ve learned that I simply cannot just put a book down for a while. If I don’t decide to quit it entirely, it will absolutely haunt me until I finish it or quit. I think it’s part of my book monogamist tendencies. I can’t read a book when I’m technically still in the middle of another. And I agree with you that it’s never too late or too early to give up.

    • I think you would probably like Winter’s Bone. It’s the one I probably feel most fervent about recommending out of all the books in this post.

      I think I mostly prefer being a book monogamist as well. There are some nonfiction books that are fine with being read here and there, and amy even work best in that way if they’re collections of writings. For the most part, though, I often feel like I’m doing a book a disservice if I interrupt it too much.

  11. Great list. Can’t say I’ve read any of these, but Winter Bone sounds good.

  12. I read Jewett’s book abut 10 years ago, but I remember how beautiful it was. My 5 titles are:

  13. I’m intrigued by what you say about Winter’s Bone. Have you seen the movie version? (I haven’t.)

    I struggle with DNFing, and I wish I didn’t. I’m like Teresa–if I put a book down, it tends to nag at me until I give it another shot. There’s one infamous novel that was in my “currently reading” bucket for seven years before I got back to it!

    • I have seen the movie and thought it was good and well-cast – not just Jennifer Lawrence but John Hawkes as well. The book of course is better but I am happy to have the movie adaptation as well.
      Oh what novel was it?! I’m intrigued.

  14. Nan

    I’m with you! I quit books early or late if they aren’t making me happy.

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