Newsflash: Having first proposed Book Tag Tuesday, I promptly forgot all about it and consequently did not have a suitable post last week. We’re fixing that now. #headdesk

Anyway. I’ve been wanting to do this tag for a while, and now I finally have an excuse! Tag stolen from All You Read Is Love.

Flagrate – Writing Charm
A book whose theme you found interesting, but you would like to rewrite it.

House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones). I had high expectations for this book, which is #3 in the Howl’s Moving Castle series, and it failed them all spectacularly. I liked Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer for the maybe five minutes they were in the story, but for the most part the book revolved around Charmain Baker, a spoiled, snotty little brat who reads a lot but can’t figure out how to dry a fucking dish. That’s not an exaggeration, she literally has no clue. She is inexplicably partnered with Peter Regis, the astonishingly stupid once and future king, who adds absolutely nothing to the almost tragically predictable story. A couple of the other characters keep mishearing Charmain as “Charming,” and for the life of me I don’t know why. The premise sounded great when I didn’t know anything about the characters, but the book really needed some heavy-duty surgery.

Alohomora – Unlocking Charm
The first book in a series, which got you hooked.

The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett), the first installment of Discworld. I was in so much trouble when I got to the little demon who lives inside cameras and paints pictures at the click of a button.

Accio – Summoning Charm
A book you wish you could have right now.

The Thirty Names of Night (Zeyn Joukhadar). Seriously, I can’t wait till this comes out in November. It’s in my planner so I won’t forget to buy it.

Avada Kedavra – Killing Curse
A killer book. Take it as you like.

If we’re talking about a book that killed me (figuratively speaking), I’m going to have to go with Cat’s Eye (Margaret Atwood). This is the book that destroyed the few ambitions I harbored during high school and made me want to become a serious writer instead.

If we’re talking about a book I’d like to kill, there are several, but if I had to choose just one for destruction I’d probably pick Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s fanfiction. It should never have been published. I don’t think we’d lose anything if it just suddenly vanished. (Also, to clarify my general stance on fanfiction: I’m not against it, but I also feel that it shouldn’t be making money if the original work isn’t in the public domain. My attitude would be different if Fifty Shades were a BDSM-themed Shakespeare rewrite instead of a cheap Twilight rip-off.)

Confundo – Confundus Charm
A book you found really confusing.

Pale Fire (Vladimir Nabokov). I did not understand this book at all. I’ll be the first to admit I have very little luck with Nabokov because I generally have trouble following his prose, though I did love King, Queen, Knave. That being said, I was in my early 20s the first and only time I read Pale Fire and I’ve changed a bit since then, so I bought the book a while ago and will try it again at some point.

Expecto Patronum
Your spirit animal book.

The Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston). MY GOD THIS BOOK. There are aspects of Kingston’s experience that I don’t identify with because my parents are not immigrants, but I understand very well the desire to be a warrior in a world that doesn’t want you to be one.

Sectumsempra – Dark Charm
A dark, twisted book.

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea (Masaji Ishikawa). This book was fucking depressing. Not only did Ishikawa suffer for 36 years while watching every member of his family slowly starve to death and/or eat toxic foods in an effort to not starve to death, he didn’t even get a happy ending because his sons are still in North Korea and his wife and daughter died before he could send them money.

If you’re looking for something less depressing but still dark, I’d go with The Year of the Witching (Alexis Henderson), in which a young woman living in a puritanical society meets a group of witches and takes control of four powerful curses that could lay waste the earth if she’s not careful. The most twisted part of the book isn’t the curses or the witches, it’s the creepy church that rules over everything and locks up potential heretics for torture. It’s really good. Go read it.

Aparecium – Revealing Charm
A book that surprised you in a great way and/or revealed that it was more than you thought it was.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors (Kawai Strong Washburn). I’ll be finishing the last 62 pages tonight because OMG I LOVE IT. I think I was kinda put off by the synopsis, which describes a family being driven apart and is the most likely reason I didn’t buy it the first time I saw it, but I’m really glad I changed my mind because this book is like home. Both sides of my family landed in Hawai’i before eventually proceeding to the mainland, and, though we’re not islanders anymore, the words used in this book – haole, hapaobakemusubiboro-boro – are all words I’ve grown up with. As a child I never realized how fortunate I was to have access to books written by people who looked and talked like me, but as an adult I can’t describe how powerful it is to pick up a book and start running into the words my family uses all the time, without explanation or apology. Also, the number of times spam pops up on the characters’ dinner tables? ON POINT.

I can see why it might not have as high an overall rating as I think it deserves – the Japanese and Hawaiian words are not defined or explained, so it would be easy for readers to get lost – but this obviously has not been an obstacle for me. This book has been such a wonderful surprise and I hope Washburn is planning to write more, because I really like his style.