Love-Hate Challenge: Part I


Just the other day I was thinking how I never really saw blog challenges or chains anymore. Then this morning I find a little challenge treat in my inbox thanks to Paula Acton. Cool! The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate 10 bloggers

To complete this challenge, I decided to go with a theme – books! Seeing as I just had the time of my life at Powell’s Books this is a fitting answer to the Love-Hate Challenge. However, hate is a word I’d rather not apply to books, so I’m going to switch things up and do a Love List and a Not A Fan List.

10 Books I Love

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

41DMQB+vWwL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_I fell in love with this book at first read. A love story rooted in the gothic tradition, a plain governess falls for her mysterious boss. Add to that an unexpected secret hiding in the attic – the first time through I never saw it coming! While I love a good romance with a dark twist, Jane is the star for me. She isn’t the typical mousy woman, but rather a self-assured individual who stands up for herself. I’ve read Jane Eyre so many times and I never get tired of it! Juicy, juicy stuff!


2. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

41MLd2DZYwL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Vampires and Werewolves, oh my! I admit I fell under the spell of Twilight instantly, I read the first book in three sittings. And then I devoured the other three books in the series in under two weeks. Then, I turned into an even nuttier fangirl when the movies came out. What can I say, I was a total sucker for Bella (who I can relate to on so many levels) and the dreamy Edward (who is not as creepy and stalkerish as haters would proclaim). I just recently reread the first two books and was instantly reminded why Twilight is so much fun. It’s all about fantasy and the exhilaration of first love – Meyer captures these two concepts perfectly.


3. Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

51LLeAJAgqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I found this series in the throes of Twilight withdrawal. I had just finished Breaking Dawn and I needed something to get my mind off the ending of an era. I picked up City of Bones and fell happily into Clare’s incredible world of Shadowhunters and the ultimate fight against evil. Not to mention another really great couple, Clary and Jace. I’ve stuck with the Mortal Instruments through six books (all of which are phenomenal) and three books of the Infernal Devices series (also phenomenal). Clare is one of the best world-builders in YA fantasy and I’m always looking forward to more from her!


4. Persuasion by Jane Austen

411KbBtEyuL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Pretty much anything by Jane Austen falls into my love list, but I love Persuasion above all else. The story of Anne and Captain Wentworth melts my heart every time – I fall to pieces every time I read Wentworth’s letter to Anne at the end. Ahhhhhh! This is my ultimate romance novel as it is the epitome of how love always prevails.



5. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

51MU5VilKpL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Seriously, what is not to love about this series?? My heart wrapped around Harry from the first page of Sorcerer’s Stone to the last page of Deathly Hallows. Never have I become so attached to a character in a book (except for maybe Jane Eyre). Throw in some magic, Dumbledore’s wisdom, and the clash of light and dark forces and you’ve got a tour-de-force of amazing fiction. The best part is, you don’t have to be a kid to love this stuff!


6. This is Water / A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

31iis44pawL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Like Austen, pretty much anything David Foster Wallace has written is on my love list. I love his quirky, yet highly intelligent style of writing. His observations make me laugh, consider things I hadn’t before and above all cause me to think deeply about myself and the world around me. He is in a category all by himself and no one can even come close to his genius, (musings of major fan, obviously).


7. Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.

41LQyLs4UFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There are tear stains on the last few pages of my copy of Everything Matters. I cried in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I bawled at Currie, Jr’s heartfelt and gut wrenching novel. Currie plays with the question: If you knew when the world was going to end what would you do? Keep it to yourself? Try to change it? Tell the whole world? Would it change how you lived? Loved?



8. Q-Squared by Peter David

510s1XRP0sL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I think I’ve read every Star Trek: The Next Generation novel (and they are so much fun), but this little masterpiece is easily my favorite. Q is a fan favorite from the TV series and Peter David brings him to life in this funny, thrilling, and fantastical tale. And who doesn’t love the banter between Q and Picard!?



9. Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear

51LeP0LfWDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This series is near and dear to my heart. A close friend, (who recently passed) introduced me to this historical mystery series and I love it. Maisie is a smart, independent woman who survived the battlefront of WWI and several personal tragedies. Instead of giving up, she always picks herself up and pushes forward. While she’s at it she solves murder mysteries with her uncanny ability to read people and pick up minute details. The 11th book came out earlier this year and I plowed right through it. Awesome as always!


10. Haiku Anthologies

UnknownMy love of haiku knows no bounds. I’ve paged through traditional haiku anthologies of Basho, Issa, and Busson, while also embracing modern anthologies like Haiku in English: The First 100 Years and The Haiku Anthology. I can’t get enough of this poetic form!




This post is quite long, so I’ll post my Not A Fan list and nominees later this week!

– – –

What books are your love list?

– – –

c.b.w. 2015

17 thoughts on “Love-Hate Challenge: Part I

  1. What a fun list! I see some new things I’ll have to add to my reading list.

    My husband loves Star Trek books too. They’re the only ones he willingly reads on his own (since I read aloud to him a lot). I’ll have to find that one since Q is always a fav. Like you said, how can he not be with his banter? Whenever I think of him, I always think of him showing up on the bridge with the mariachi band. Priceless. : )


  2. Fun!! I read the first Twilight book when that was the only one and we didn’t even know that the series would be continued. Talk about a cliffhanger! Will she/won’t she be a vampire? haha I don’t think of Twilight as high quality, but it is certainly good fun.

    I recently read ‘The Character of Rain’ by Amelie Nothomb, a book that had been on my to-read list for more than 5 years, and it was incredible. I read it in one sitting. Her writing is beautiful, and the observations her young character makes are very thought-provoking.

    I also read ‘The Bread We Eat in Dreams’ by Catherynne M. Valente. I now want to read everything she has ever written.


    • You said it perfectly – Twilight is fun! I think part of the reason I loved the series so much was that it was fantasy pure and simple. The moment you take it too seriously it all falls apart! 🙂

      Hmmmm . . . I may have to give The Character of Rain a try.


  3. I think there may be a couple of books on your list that make it to my ‘hate list’. And yet I have something to thank them for.

    I am sure I have said all this before – and in a thread in this blog!!!

    I tried to love the ‘Harry Potter’ series – I really did! I think I got part way through the third or fourth book before I cried “Enough, already!” and flung it aside. Since then I have dipped into the later books in the series, so I could make sure that although I was not a convert to Potterism, I could not, at least, be considered an ignoramus. It’s not that I think they are actually bad books. In fact they are good enough, but only good enough. JKR succeeded mainly because of building on that with a heck of a lot of hard work, and a damn good business team once the first book was successful. They are almost unique amongst a series of books inasmuch as the film franchise is better than the literary effort (except perhaps for ‘The Chamber of Secrets’, which is thin gruel); even so, the films illustrate the one-dimensional nature of the characters. Even Snape* – the switherin’ Slytherin – has a subtlety that is confined merely to the issue of is he or isn’t he a villain, while Daniel Radcliffe’s characterisation runs the gamut of all the emotions from A to B (to paraphrase Dorothy Parker).
    *I will always think of him as ‘Slope’. See his acting credentials.

    So, what do I have to thank JKR’s creation for? Simply this: I played a severe devil’s advocate amongst a group of my on-line friends who were drooling admirers of the series, until it got to the point where they said that if I couldn’t write a fantasy set in a school at least as good as JKR’s, I should shut up. I sat down and did just that. I wrote ‘The Everywhen Angels’, setting it in an outer-London Comprehensive school, telling a story from the point of view of three of the young participants. My friends had to admit I had done precisely what I had set out to do – produced something that was at least the literary equal of a Harry Potter book. At least!

    The ‘Twilight’ series… well, it was much the same, though with less than half the fuss. My publisher asked me to write a teen-vampire novel, and so I dropped everything and did just that. There were two possible routes, Twilight or Buffy, by which I mean a drippy plot in which a teenage girl falls in love with a vampire, or an action plot in which she fights the undead. I don’t do drippy, so the result was ‘From My Cold, Undead Hand’, and the sequel ‘KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE’ (the sequel has yet to be published – my agent is trying it round some major UK publishers first).

    As for a list of top ten favourites, where on earth could I start? I think I would rather list favourite authors, but how about I simply start a list, in no particular order, and run with that.

    Harper Lee – ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.
    This is still a benchmark book for me. I think I fell in love with Atticus Finch, even though his closing speech at the trial was an exercise in logic that was doomed to fail. I shall go out this morning and help make ‘Go Set A Watchman’ a best seller; I am glad that the 72-year-old Atticus’s character will turn out flawed, as I believe allowing that to go forward is an example of literary courage.

    Patricia Highsmith – ‘The Price of Salt’.
    I could pick any Highsmith novel – her craft is brilliant.

    George Orwell – ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.
    This is probably the greatest work of satire of the entire 20c, giving the low-down on the wielding of political power. Along with ‘Homage to Catalonia’, reading it as a teenager gave me my political dimension.

    Anne Tyler – ‘A Patchwork Planet’.
    A wonderful, simple tale of how a supposed wastrel is in fact a success, simply because he is who he is, it includes the simplest, subtlest declaration of love I have ever come across in a novel, and it made me smile. An optimistic novel that cuts the husk of the American Dream in two, and finds the sweetness of its kernel.

    Daphne du Maurier – ‘Rebecca’.
    No, it’s not a gothic romance, in fact if anything it satirises the gothic romance genre. In fact it’s a psychological masterpiece.

    Virginia Woolf – ‘Orlando’.
    A romp, a modernist novel that blows apart the Edwardian, male template of novel-writing, a long love-letter, a maddening cascade of bathos, a satire of everything it touches, a joy.

    Jane Austen – ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
    Why do I call everything in this list a ‘satire’? Because that’s the aspect in so many of these works that people tend to miss.

    Emily Brontë – ‘Wuthering Heights’.
    I could actually have put here anything at all written by any of the Brontë siblings. To me they represent a literary archipelago, the Cape Horn of the novel, round which everyone had to sail to get where we are today.

    John Steinbeck – ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.
    Another novel that gave my life a political dimension.

    Beverley Nichols – ‘The Tree That Sat Down’.
    I read this as a child. It gave me a sympathy for the underdog. The character of Sam has no redeeming features, nevertheless he drives the story along, and I wanted to be the defending counsel at his eventual trial. He had none, which offended my sense of fairness, but perhaps I couldn’t see at the time that this device gave the heroine her opportunity to show pity. UNsubtle perhaps, but the magic of the book has always stayed with me.

    Alan Garner – ‘The Owl Service’.
    Forget HP for ever! THIS is how to write for younger readers! A wonderful, flawless book.

    That’s eleven! 😀


    • I can totally see why Harry Potter is not everyone’s thing. For a long time I resisted it, because it really didn’t appeal to me from the outside. Then I read it because my students begged me too. I was pleasantly surprised!

      Same thing goes for Twilight. There is part of me that knows this is not fine literature, but I think that’s also why I like it. The whole premise lets me escape for a while and enjoy the fantasy.

      I loved 1984 and Wuthering Heights. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rita Ackerman

    Interesting list. I love the variety. I’ve read many of them; need to add the rest to my to read list. It will be interesting to see your “not a fan” list.


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