“Yup!”. “Most Definitely!”. “I think it’s decided. Definitely this one!”. “Yipee! I made my decision, it’s this one for sure!”. Those are just a few of the things I say when thinking I’ve finally made my decision and decided on what next book I’d like to read. I feel so confident in these moments that I’ve made my final decision on choosing that next book. I feel that complete confidence that I would never, ever possibly change my mind. And then it happens….
I change my mind. Yup, that’s me! I am what I’d like to refer to as “That Indecisive Reader” when it comes to deciding on what I shall read next. In all honesty, most of the time I’m usually indecisive about like everything and anything. Even simple, silly things to decide on can get me like, “WHAT TO DO? I’M INDECISIVE…. Oh, ugh!”. I’m at times basically like Chidi from The Good Place. On a side note, I love that TV gem! I love the fact that it highlights those of us that can be indecisive. I’m not the only one! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, The Good Place is the very, very best!
I got a bit sidetracked for my love of “The Good Place”. So yeah, in addition to occasionally being indecisive I also go off-topic most of the time when I write these articles. My apologizes. So back to being indecisive, but just for now on the topic of being indecisive when choosing what books to read.
I really started to get into reading again a few years ago. I’ve always had that desire to be someone who was a “reader”, but never really was. I was an avid fan of The BabySitters Club series growing up, but I never really explored other reading material beyond that. Then between school and work in my younger years, reading was never really a high priority. Than with a somewhat lacking social life in my years following high school and college and after, I finally got into reading again around 4 years ago. So with a somewhat less than stellar social life, I finally became that reader now that I always wanted to be growing up.
I am a huge fan of the art that is Pop Culture such as TV, Movies, and Theater. In this time of so many great novels getting adapted, I usually tend to read books that will be getting that treatment before other books that aren’t. Books I would have never of known about, I am now more aware of because of these adaptations. So I get to read a book and than watch a TV, Movie, or Stage version of that book? Um, literally one of the many definitions of amazing! These books tend to go to the top of my reading list. If I were to make a reading list, which is something I would love to do. Although, being indecisive I can never stick to a reading list, so scratch that.
Wonder what exactly is in the thought process of choosing that “next coveted book” to read when one is that indecisive person? It’s simple. When reading my current read, I’m already thinking about what book I’d like to read next. In the process of that time, I change my mind around a thousand times. I feel as though I for sure know what I’ve decided on reading next. Then comes the moment that I finish the book I was just reading and I go to reach for the book I decided on reading next and……that’s right folks, I changed my mind!
All in all, I just end up reading something that I’m in the mood for. It’s like when I see it I’ll know it, kind of thing. I’ve learned since becoming a regular reader again, that I’m never ever someone who will ever be able to stick with a reading list. I love the idea of it, but feeling as though I have to follow a certain order just makes me feel restrained. I’m pretty sure if I stuck with a reading list I would ultimately be unhappy with everything I would end up reading on that list. I like the freedom and carefree likeness of not sticking with a list and just going with the flow of what I’m in the mood for. It may sound silly, but I find it in a way freeing to decide on what book to read in that kind of manner. It’s like, “La-De-Da!”. I really admire those that can stick with a reading list. That dedication of choosing books in advance and actually being able to stick with those books is a goal for me, but probably one I’ll never follow through on with. You know, being indecisive and all that jazz.
Partially, I think I’m indecisive most of the time when picking that next book to read because when I do read, I read very little at the times that I do. I read about 10 pages when I read at a time and I try to read those 10 pages at least once every day. Sometimes I feel that’s the only way where I can read and not feel overwhelmed by how many pages are in just one book. If I read more than that at a time I would probably want to read the whole book in one day. And while reading one book entirely in just one day is a lovely thought, it just isn’t for me. I don’t mind taking longer than most to finish a book that might take others a day or two. In a way, by slowly reading the story you can savior it vs. rushing through it. It’s just a pace that works for this gal. So the fact that that is my reading pace and I still managed to read a total of 5 books in the year 2018, is awesome in my “book” (a-ha, book!).
Earlier I mentioned how I like read to those books that are getting that adaptation treatment and how I usually tend to read those books before others. If there is any kind of reading goal for myself in 2019, it’s to try and read more books that aren’t getting adapted, at least not yet. So time will tell if that’s a reading goal I can actually stick with. To Be Continued…..
Okay, so now for the books that I, this indecisive reader that is myself, managed to actually get around to choosing and reading for the “Year of 2018”. And. Here. We. Go…..
1. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler.
I actually starting reading this at the end of last year, but being a slower reader I didn’t finish it until early 2018, so hence it’s on my list. I absolutely loved this novel! I had been reading mostly thriller mysteries up to this point and I honestly didn’t know if any other kind of reading genre would be exciting enough. Spoiler Alert: It was!
I chose this book to read because Starz was adapting it into a TV Series. Sweetbitter is a wonderfully written novel about growing up in a world where you just have to accept mistakes will be made and to just try and learn from those mistakes as you go. Life is a learning process and sometimes it feels like there isn’t a place in the world for you, but the next day happens and it gets a little more easier, even if it took a minute to get to that place. We all inevitably will makes mistakes, unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, and have moments where we feel as though “What is the point of any of this?”. The transition to becoming an adult is hard, confusing, and is something most of us would rather not go through.
Danler is a fantastic writer and wrote a novel that explores that confusion it can be to go through a world where you are constantly learning and just trying to fit in and make it to the next day. In writing this book Danler explored that process of learning the dealings of life from one day to the next in a world that you may find yourself feeling lost in.
She writes of Tess. A young woman who finds herself wanting to start over. The year is 2006, the setting is the restaurant scene in NYC. Tess doesn’t have a set plan or a goal for her future, she literally just picked up her life to start over in a new place. Danler wrote perfectly what is like to grow up and learn as you go. Sometimes in life, it’s just hard. Mistakes are made. It’s how we learn from them the best we can and try to not make them again in the future. Will mistakes still be made? Of course, we are only human after all.
The Starz adaptation was very well done (if you read the book, you’ll get that “well done” reference). It was announced that the series will be returning for a 2nd Season. Which I am thrilled about because as great as the 1st Season was, it only felt like we were just getting to know these characters and only little of the book was covered. With a Season Two on its way, I can’t wait to see these characters evolve, and see more of the book covered. Airdate For Season Two: TBA.
2. Every Day by David Levithan.
I had seen this book a few times at the bookstore before I finally ended up purchasing it. I had heard it was going to be adapted into a film. Being that “Pop Culture Nerd” who loves adaptations, I finally went and picked up a copy of this book.
The story for Every Day has such an interesting premise. Very unique and original. The story is about a person who is referred to as “A”. At some point during the course of their life early on, they would fall asleep in one body and wake up in another. “A” has no idea why or how this happens, only that this is life for them. At some point, acceptance was the only way to get through this kind of existence and to wonder why just seemed pointless at a certain point. Every day “A” wakes up and just lives that person’s life that they are in and the next day it’s the same, but the next time it’s in someone else’s body.
That was how “A” lived until one day when they meet someone who changed all of that for them. “A” never got attached to anyone before, because what was the point? The next day they would be someone else, somewhere else entirely. Getting attached to anyone was pointless, useless. It would only end in hurt. Although, the moment “A” meets Rhiannon, something changed and they feel the need to know her. This was something “A” never really truly felt before. They wanted to stay. To be apart of her life. Than “A” did something they had never done before. “A” let Rhiannon in on what was happening of how they woke up as someone new every day. “A” let Rhiannon in on their secret. For the first time in their life, “A” felt the want to not let someone go, they felt the want to stay, the need to try and live like everyone else. They may be someone different on the outside to someone else from one day to the next physically. Regardless, “A” still wanted someone to get to know that person that was always the same there on the inside, that person inside that never left even if they looked physically different.
The story Levithan wrote in Every Day was such an ambitious idea for a story. I really ended up enjoying this novel. The story of “A” broke your heart because they never were allowed a chance in life to just live as themselves in their own body, their own skin. No explanation was ever given for why this started to happen to them, just that this was life for them and anything other than accepting it was pointless because nothing could be done to change this. It took meeting Rhiannon for “A” to take that chance of putting inconvenience of logic aside and take that a chance on love. To take that chance on themselves for once, no matter the risk, no matter what may happen.
I did catch the movie adaptation of this book after I read it. It was an okay movie. I think (as I do most of the time with book adaptations) that this would of been better suited as a TV Adaptation vs. a Movie Adaptation. The film was definitely well done and good. But the book dealt with a lot and the film kind of condensed a lot of that. Probably for lack of time. The film ended on a bit of a different note than the book. The book felt as though there was more to tell (there’s a spin-off and a sequel to Every Day which was recently released not too long ago. And no, I still haven’t read those books… yet) at the end, where the film’s ending felt more finalized that the story was over in a way. I still recommend watching the movie if you’ve read the book. This is perhaps, one of those times where the book was better than its adaptation. Although, it’s not a perfect adaptation, it was still an enjoyable film to watch if you liked the story.
3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
This was a book I bought and had for many months before I got around to picking it up to read. I heard about this book here and there and how it was very good. So no other reason for that delay in getting around to reading it other than like I mentioned, I’m an indecisive reader when it comes to chooses what to read next.
I found out that this book would at some point be getting a film adaptation. Although, the movie adaptation doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. Usually I try to read books where adaptations are around the corner and put those other books being adapted “whenever” aside for the moment. Than I read what this book was about, and there went that usually way of choosing a book to read. Once I read the description of this story, I felt that I had to start reading it already.
This novel is one of those times where you felt like you truly just read something that was meant to be read. It was amazing. It was heartbreaking. It was devastating. It made you feel. It made you think. Reading this book was a book I will always remember reading. The story was heartbreaking for the reason of so many times in life we don’t say what we are really feeling, really thinking, and let those moments just pass on by later filled with regret. That was in many ways the theme of this story, regret. The regret of wishing you could change the past. Go back and recognize how you really truly feel and say the things you wished you had say when they were happening. To fix or say what you truly were thinking and not let those moments leave without saying what you wished you had.
This is a story that deals with a family tragedy set in the years of the 1970s. It deals with the death and loss of Lydia. She is the oldest child of her family. Whether or not they meant to, her parents put pressure on her to be this perfect person. She felt on obligation to be who they wanted her to be. Her mother wanted her to get to do all the things she never got to do. She never really ever truly was herself around her parents. Her parents saw her as this perfect student with friends and happiness with her life. But as with anything in life, things can look deceiving and sometimes we see what we want to see and not what’s really there. The circumstances surrounding Lydia’s death are questionable to her family. The question becomes of whether this was an accident or something more. This is a story that packs a lot of twists and turns throughout its course.
Ng is an amazing writer who wrote a story here that is one that stays with you. If you’re looking for nonsensical fluff and a light-hearted tale, than this story isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a novel with substance and depth, along with a story that you won’t soon forget this is a book you should have picked up like yesterday.
4. YOU by Caroline Kepnes.
I had been hearing for awhile about this book called YOU, being turned into a TV Series on the Lifetime Channel. I had heard Greg Berlanti was involved in the making of this Book to TV transition. If you are a fan of the art that is TV than you are aware of Berlanti. He is a TV producer who is involved in almost every amazing TV show on the air right now. I had heard Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell were attached to star in this series. I had heard the story involved a thriller aspect. So yeah, being a TV Nerd and all, this was a show I was definitely going to tune into based on everything I just mentioned. But before that, I had to see what this book was all about. I love me a book adaptation, but I always try to read the book first before tuning into that adaptation, if I can.
Over the summer I finally started reading YOU. I bought the book before the TV Series started and I was still able to get a copy with the original book cover (Bookworm Nerd Score!).
Anyways…..this novel has well over 400 pages and being the slow reader that I am, was slightly nervous that I didn’t start to read this book in time to finish it before the TV Show would begin airing. The show was set to start airing episodes the second weekend of September. Spoiler Alert: I somehow managed to finish this thriller of a novel a little bit before the TV Show started. Heck Yeah!
Okay, so about the novel that is YOU. Many things come to mind when thinking about this read. Disturbing, crazy, insane, WHAT THE WHAT!!!!, beyond twisted, extremely dark and terrifying are just a few adjectives I would use to describe how one feels after reading this book. That being said, it was also the best thriller I’ve ever read and is definitely one of my favorite books of all time now, being my go-to recommendation for others who like a crazy thrill in their book reads. Basically, YOU is the definition of a thriller when written at its best and finest.
In reading YOU, Kepnes wrote a story that just draws you in. Turning to the next page wasn’t a chore or a bore, but a must! There was never once a dull or boring moment on any page. Once you turned that first page, you started to go on a crazy ride until that very last page. Kepnes’s writing was clever, witty, and smart. Even though you were reading a story from the perspective of a person that clearly took the bus to crazytown, you just couldn’t help but continue to read this deranged story of what this person considered to be love.
YOU is a story that starts off innocent. From a first glance, Joe Goldberg just seems like a regular guy who works in a bookstore. One day, a girl named Beck comes in that catches his eye. Innocent flirting goes on and you think the story might end there. The thing is that Beck paid with credit. Joe has the logic of thinking she did this so he would know who she was, know her name and took this as a sign. A sign that she wanted him to know her.
Being in the digital age that we are in right now, Joe took to the internet to learn more about this Beck. Beck is an aspiring writer who is all about that social media existence and it didn’t take long for Joe to find out more about her. At some point, Joe hacks into her Email and finds out she will be meeting friends at a bar to hear her read a short story of hers. He goes to this bar, but just to watch her read her story far off in the distance. Later, he leaves to go home. As he is waiting on the subway platform, a drunken Beck appears right by him and is alone. Joe panics. He doesn’t want her to think he’s stalking her, which is exactly what he is in fact doing. Beck being drunk and unaware of her surroundings falls onto the tracks to catch her fallen phone. Joe is super panicked now. He can’t just leave her there. He is already in love her. He puts his panic aside and goes to reach for her hand. She grabs it.
After that is a story that you just have to read to get why this is a crazy thriller of a crazy ride from beginning to end. With twists and turns that you would never see coming along with shocks with every page turn. And with that being said that is how you know what you’ve just read was crazy, but crazy good!
When discussing YOU, I have to mention the TV Adaptation on Lifetime. Lifetime was literally the best possible network that an adaptation for YOU could of went on based on all the elements involved in this twisted crazy story. After reading this crazy good novel, to say I was excited about this adaptation would be the understatement of the century. As I was in the process of still reading this book, the trailer had come out for the series. From just that 3 or so minute trailer, I could tell the book would be in good hands. Those involved in the making of this series made a perfect adaptation. From the spot on perfect casting, to the dialogue, to the way the show was shot, everything just came together exactly just right.
I hadn’t been this excited about a book adaptation for the small screen since Big Little Lies. When I started the first episode I was literally so excited, I had to tell myself to calm down so I could actually watch what I had been waiting to watch for months. For those fans of the book, the series does not let down. I mean, sure, in any adaptation there are always changes from book to whatever form it goes into. There were changes from book to show, but they completely worked here.
There were moments, I must admit that I did find myself distracted by some of the changes and did something I rarely do, I re-watched one episode. Although, I eventually let those distractions of thoughts aside and can fully say this series was perfection. It matched toe to toe the madness of the novel. Sometimes adaptations don’t come out as good as you hope they would be and are a let down after reading a really great book (cough, The Girl on the Train, cough). Although, this is not one of the times.
This time the adaptation equally matched the book. The show also managed to do something for fans of the book that I would never have seen coming. They made a big change, like HUGE! They changed the ending and a major part of the story for the series. The ending in the book was pretty memorable and set up for its sequel, Hidden Bodies. To say, I didn’t see the finale in the series going the way it did, would once again be an understatement. I assumed I knew the ending already to this story and was expecting an exact copy for the season finale of the series. That did not happen. Things were different from book ending to series ending.
The series ending managed to do something I didn’t expect, it truly surprised me. For someone who thought they knew how this story was going to end based on reading the book was kind of amazing. Sometimes when you read a story and than watch its adaptation, it’s awesome but you already know where the story is going, especially the ending. This time that theory was turned way upside down completely. It was kind of nice to be like, “WHAT!” as I watched the finale instead of knowing what was going to happen. Like I said before, this series was completely done right in every single possible way.
Airdate For Season Two: TBA. Although, what I do know is that the series is switching from Lifetime to Netflix when that Season Two starts.
5. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes.
I briefly mentioned up above in discussing YOU, that there was a sequel to that story. The sequel is titled, Hidden Bodies. Before I discuss a bit of the overview and my thoughts on this novel, let me tell a somewhat funny, if not pointless backstory on realizing that YOU was in fact a story with a companion book to it.
I tend to buy books and than wait forever to read them sometimes. Well most of the time (cough, indecisive, cough, so many books… the choices….ahhhh!, cough). So I absolutely love finding books on sale at the bookstore. I am a fan of reading actual books vs. ones on a digital platform. So every time I go to the bookstore I look at books I already am aware of and than go to the sale section. Cause let’s be honest…. Who Doesn’t Love a Sale, am I right (something said a lot here and there by a character in Hidden Bodies. Anyways….)? So I see this book in the sale section written by the same author that wrote YOU, and was like, “Hmmmm…. It’s by the same author of YOU. YOU sounds like a book I’ll probably end up liking. This book is on sale, that sale won’t last forever. Hmmmm…. Yeah, for $6 Bucks, I’ll get it”.
In the middle of reading YOU, I did what one might do from time to time out of curiosity (and something I never did again after this), I kind of slightly look for a moment over the last few pages without reading anything really, just a glance. I see a few words that give me the impression certain characters are no longer in this story and I perhaps in this glance discovered a major spoiler. Than I see that the last few pages were pages for Kepnes next novel called Hidden Bodies. The character of Joe is involved. Than all of a sudden a light bulb went off and I say out loud, “WAIT! There’s a sequel!!! UM, WHATTTTT?!?!?!”. The next thing I think is, “Wait! I’m pretty sure I bought that book on sale! (Me searching my stacks on books) OMG! Yes, I totally have this book!” (Bookworm Nerd Dance!). So yes, I am that person that in addition to being indecisive, also buys books and has them so long that they aren’t sure if they have that book already. Man, this indecisive thing, I tell ya. So this was my somewhat funny, somewhat probably pointless backstory of how I ending up finding out the novel YOU had a sequel companion novel to it. Okay so now to the overview….
Hidden Bodies takes place from where YOU leaves off. I’ve been pretty spoiler free in most of my overviews until now. But obviously based on the fact that this novel is a sequel to YOU, there are unfortunately going to be some spoilers based on that this is book #2 in the series. So for those of you in the middle of reading YOU, you might want to advert your eyes for this next overview.
Beck is now dead at the hands of Joe. Joe is still in New York. Still working at the bookstore. At the end of YOU, he meets Amy. Amy Adams (just happens to me her name), she’s a bit shady and he likes that about her. She’s the complete opposite of Beck. Amy is a bit of a rebel, she likes to be mysterious and she steals from time to time. Even still, Joe is intrigued by her and hires her for a job at the store.
Soon enough, the two start to date and become significant others. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Joe feels like he’s completely found “the one”. He feels confident now that Beck was never his true soulmate, Amy is. He feels confident in feelings and feels that she is his real true love. That true love that he never really had with Candace or Beck. This was that true love that was really waiting for him. And here it is with Amy Adams. Joe falls hard for Amy. He feels that these feelings are completely mutual. He feels as though he can trust her fully.
In YOU, there was that moment where Joe leaves as he calls it “a mug of piss” in Peaches house. Well, he never forgot about that. He left his DNA literally at his crime scene. In an attempt to get that rid that “mug of piss”, Joe suggests a “causal” “la-de-da” “fun” road trip (with no hidden motives once so ever) to the town where Peaches house is. Amy thinks, Okay…. Roadtrip! So they go. Joe has fun with Amy but fails in retrieving the mug. A few days later, books are missing from the bookstore. Amy is nowhere to be found. Joe has been played. Joe does not like this. Joe is now on a hunt to find Amy and have her pay for deceiving him.
He finds out she’s in LA now with aspirations to be an actress. He lives behind his life in New York and moves to LA. You know how Joe went to the bus station and went to Crazytown in YOU? Well yeah, still very much on that bus here in Hidden Bodies. He can’t let what Amy did go and he won’t stop until he finds her.
Basically as with YOU, Hidden Bodies involves the similar things that that novel had. Madness, Craziness, Twists, Turns, Many Moments of…WHAT! THE! WHAT!. YOU simply put is a perfect thriller. So with Hidden Bodies being a follow up to that novel, there was a lot of expectation of “Will this be as good as the first book?”. I’m here to say, it is! The story of Joe and his madness of the way he thinks about love and life, is crazy insane and a whole lot of “Ummmm…… WHAT!”. But at the end of the day, Kepnes wrote two amazing novels about this guy that you couldn’t help but turn the page to see the insanity that would follow on the next page. She is just a truly brilliant writer who just has a way with words that keeps your interest with never ever a dull moment on any page.
The way Hidden Bodies ends does leave room for a potential third book for the series. With the success of the TV Show, this Bookworm really hopes there might be another book to this series on the way at some point. Here’s hoping!
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.
Currently in the process of still reading this book (about 170 pages so far). I’m not putting it on my list of books I read for 2018. Simply because I haven’t completed reading it yet and being the slow reader that I’ve been known to be, I have no idea exactly when I’ll finish it. It might be after 2018, and this was a list of books that I have completely already finished reading before 2018 ends. I mean, I might finish it, but I read at a weird pace and I wanted to write this before the new year. I figure I’ll talk a bit about it anyways.
As much as I loved YOU and its sequel Hidden Bodies by the amazingly wonderful author that is Caroline Kepnes, I felt like I’d had more than a bit of the thriller genre for the moment. Initially I was planning on reading A Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. I picked up the book. After a moment, I put it down. Realizing how it was another thriller and mystery, I didn’t have that desire at the moment to read another thriller for the time. I needed a change of the genre scenery, so to say.
I was more in the mood for something light, something not so serious, something fun. Something with not a thriller aspect that involved a lot of crazy twists and turns. So I decided on starting to read, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I’m over 100 pages into this story and can already tell why it’s such a popular series. It’s just a really fun, light-hearted, lovely book.
The premise of the story is that of Lara Jean, the middle daughter in a family of three girls. She writes love letters to all the boys she’s ever fallen in love with. By writing these letters she gets out all her feelings, all her frustrations. After the letters are written she mental tries to move on from these feelings. These letters are written for the purpose of only her eyes. They were never meant to be seen by anybody. Until one day, when the letters get mailed to these guys somehow. With what started as a way of moving on, brings Lara Jean’s world upside down of how to deal with situations she never meant to confront.
So yeah. That was this “Indecisive Bookworm’s Nerd” Reading List of 2018. A few novels from a few different genres that kept my eyeballs glued to every word on every page. I truly loved all the books I managed to complete reading before the new year starts. It wasn’t a whole lot of books compared to some, but I’m happy with what I read. Which is awesome, if I do say so myself. Which I do! I totally recommend all these novels, even the one I didn’t finish yet. They are all fantastic reads!
I really enjoyed my time reading all of these books, and when thinking about the order of my favorite ones I find that rather tricky. They were all so incredible that a list of top favorites is a list I couldn’t possible do. Although, if I had to say my #1 Favorite Book I Read Of 2018, it would have to go to YOU by Caroline Kepnes. For being such a crazy twisted disturbing read, it was a thrill ride of a book to read. One you could simply not put down after you started reading it. Also it’s TV Adaptation was spot on perfection of the novel, so that also helped this book be my top favorite read of the year.
Okay, so that’s what I read/am reading for 2018. I tend to write a lot and babble on way too much, so for those of you kind ones that read this whole article, my many thanks!
Books such as with TV, Theater, or the Movies are wonderful. They have this ability to take you away for moments and enter a world other than your own. Which sometimes is something everyone could use. Brief moments away from that thing of reality and just some moments where life can just take that pause. Books, unlike the other forms of entertainment, have an aspect I’ve grown quite fond of. They have that peace and quiet factor that other forms of entertainment just don’t have. Sometimes when you just need some quiet, it’s nice to pick up a good book, shut the world away and just turn a page and read something in silence. To just to have that quiet time that our brains can always use from time to time, with just the written word in front of us and nothing else.