Bookcase #Booktag: I dare you


Part 1. Mel

Recently we came upon Helen Scheuerer’s #Book Tag: I Dare You post, and couldn’t resist jumping on board.

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1. What book has been on your shelves the longest?

Fairy Dreams, a picture book by Carol McLean-Carr. I’ve been poring over this beautiful book since I was about 8 years old, and I still can’t find every fairy treasure right away.




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2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

My last read was The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer (wasn’t a fan of Twilight, but I liked The Host, and The Chemist. Sometimes you gotta give authors a second chance.) My current read is Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, which I actually juuuuust finished, but I’m still in the book hangover, so I’m claiming it as current. A new Nalini Singh title is out, so I need to catch up on her Psy/Changeling Series. I’m up to Allegiance of Honor, so I think that’s the next one on my list.



3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of The Hunger Games, though I stuck it out and read them all. Katniss just didn’t really do it for me. Sure, she was tough, she made it through, but for the most part I found her pretty passive. She weathered the storms, was considered a leader, but she wasn’t one. For a first person narrative we didn’t really know how she was feeling- because she didn’t know. She was reactive, rather than proactive. It’s like, when you read books with stoic characters, and the main character is always trying to figure them out because they’re so mysterious. Katniss was that person to the other characters, but it turns out she wasn’t really that interesting. Sorry, but not really sorry.

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4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

So many. So many have been recommended to me, that I simply haven’t gotten to. I think probably Terry Pratchett, simply because of the number of books in his repertoire. Also 1984, by Orwell. I’ve read Animal Farm, but 1984 comes up everywhere, so I feel like I read the wrong Orwell.




5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

Who saves books for retirement? Is that a thing? I guess I’ll eventually read A Song of Ice and Fire, or some other beast of a series. When they’re all over and I don’t have to wait years for the next book to be released.

6. Last Page: Do you read it first or wait til the end?

I used to read the last page, after reading the first chapter, if the book hadn’t hooked me yet. I thought that if the ending seemed interesting, even if I had no idea what was going on, then maybe it’d be worth reading on. Since I got my kindle, it’s too much of a pain to flick to the end, so I don’t do that anymore. (Before you bash on my kindle, you should know it’s good for someone who has to move every year to have a library in your handbag, one day I will have all of my E-books in hard copy, but until then, my kindle is my library.)

7. Acknowledgements: Are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?

Acknowledgements are the whole reason I went into this industry. As a kid, I’d finish the latest Tamora Pierce book, read her acknowledgements, and when she’d thank her editor I’d sit back and think “I want that job. I want to help Tamora Pierce write her books when I grow up.” Then I got to high school, and in my hometown people think that doing English only leads to a teaching career, so I forgot for a while that working in publishing was actually a possibility for a small town girl like myself. Now that I’m grown, and working within the industry myself, the acknowledgements make more sense to me. I know how huge an undertaking the publication of a novel is, and so I really appreciate that the time and space is taken to acknowledge the hard work of all the people involved.

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8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Hmm, you know, most of my favourite characters have really tragic back stories. I’d rather not have traumatic memories of abuse, or war, or be an orphan, so I’m gonna say I wouldn’t mind being Alyzon Whitestarr from the book of the same name by Isobelle Carmody. She’s got weird synaesthesia powers that let her know who all the nice people are, and who are evil and smelly, and a really loving and quirky family. Not to mention a cute boyfriend with a hot accent, no awkward love triangle involved. Yeah, she’s got it made.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

My family used to go camping every Easter, which, when your father insists on the West Coast of Tasmania, is a very, very rainy annual affair. So I’d spend a week reading, curled up in a sleeping bag, or all rugged up in scarves and ugly, thick socks by the fire, wolfing down as many books and marshmallows and chocolate eggs as I could manage. I read all of The Prophecy of Stones, in two days on one trip. A hefty, complex, fairy tale written by a french author, Flavia Bujor, at the tender age of 13, the same age that I was that Autumn. I remember that being the first time I felt so inadequate due to the talents of someone my age or younger. Of course, the older I get the more frequently that happens to me. But she inspired me, and I’ve never forgotten it.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

My love of trashy category romance began when I was a preteen and I found my mother’s hidden Harlequin romance novels behind this old chair in her room. They were all stacked away against the wall, so we wouldn’t know just how addicted she was (sorry Mum, but you’ve been outed for a while) and I shamelessly stole quite a few. She’d hidden them anyway, and they’re not really the kind of books you go back and reread. I’d read a few, and then sneak back and swap them. She figured me out after a few months, and we had a great, illuminating, and open-minded chat about erotic fiction, in a way that gave me the language to have a great deal of control, and respect for my own body in the years to come. I also always knew I could talk to her about embarrassing topics after that, so all in all, well handled, Mum. 10/10 parenting.

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11. Have you ever given away a certain book for a special reason to a special person?

Giving people books feels like a big responsibility to me. I’d feel awful if they didn’t like it, as they might feel pressured to tell me they actually did. But I do like to run about and give people those tiny black penguin classics. Often just because they have a funny title, or have an interesting poem or something. I think I’ve given 5 or 6 to different people. They’re so easy to read, and they’re like a taster for reading the bigger, denser classics, so I’m slowly collecting them. I’m sort of cheating, as now I can say “I’ve read Keats, Virgil and Dante” with less than half the effort.


12. Which book has been with you the most places?

Hmm, that’s a tricky one, with my Kindle now, but the author that I have read in the most places is likely Tamora Pierce. She’s my holiday-mode author.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

I did not enjoy Romeo and Juliet at all, and assumed all of Shakespeare’s plays would subsequently portray love in a stupidly melodramatic light, so I didn’t read any more until university. Then I had to read Twelfth Night, with it’s cross-dressing and misunderstandings, for a uni course, and I fell for William after all.

14. Used or brand new?

I’m one of those people who *gasp* sometimes reads the last page first, often watches the movie before reading the book, and, the worst crime of all probably, will dog ear my pages if I am without a bookmark. So used is fine for me. I love my books, and you can tell just by looking at their hot chocolate stained pages, and the slightly warped cover from that time I accidentally dropped it in the bath. It’s probably best for the emotional health of my book-loving friends who won’t even fully open a spine, for fear of creasing it, that I’m mainly a kindle girl now. I can no longer traumatise them with my book covers curled back around so I can read one handed. 

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nah, seems like a lot of effort, and I’m busy devouring ten-book romance series’.

16. Have you ever seen a movie that you liked better than the book?

Yep, The Three Musketeers, the many adaptations of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, just to name a few. Sometimes movies and TV shows make great stories more accessible to those who aren’t so fond of dense, and wafflesome language (yes, wafflesome is a word now). People should really stop judging people who like adaptations. Can’t you just be happy that wonderful, important stories are now more widely known than ever before? I mean, I know, Keira was not my ideal Lizzie either, but Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth? They got the snarky banter and charged looks just right. And you can’t tell me that the lake-swimming-less-than-formally-attired Darcy wasn’t an amazing idea! And if you didn’t know, until just this very moment when I told you, that Darcy doesn’t jump in a lake in the book, but you still call yourself a fan of P&P, then you are just as bad as me and you’re henceforth not allowed to judge people who like to see the movie first.

17. A book that’s made you hungry?

None spring immediately to mind, probably because so many do. Any time a character smells cookies (which, in Romance, happens more than you’d think) I want those cookies. Give me the cookies! One memorable moment, on second thought, is when Sascha, in Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh, has a chocolate chip cookie for the first time. It’s pretty amazing, because she’s meant to be all stone cold, and unfeeling, and this cookie just makes her feel alive. I’m always impressed when an author can make something mundane hit you right in the feels.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I don’t really have one go-to reading buddy. My best friend, Laura, is alright, not because we have the same taste - though it is similar - but because she knows me so well.

19. Most read authors?

This is tricky. I’d say, Tamora Pierce, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Isobelle Carmody, Sarah J. Maas, and Maria V. Snyder, just to scratch the surface.

20. Ship from two different books?

Kel and Dom, from the Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce have been the incomplete pairing I’ve been waiting for since childhood. I think they should meet Fire and Brigan, from Fire by Kristin Cashore. Brigan is just like Raoul, who is a mentor character to Kel, and they have one of the best platonic relationships I've ever read. So Brigan and Kel would be placid, and sturdy, and noble together, riding their big, funny-named warhorses off into the sunset. Platonically, of course.

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Hope you enjoyed my #Booktag adventure! I hereby dare Jordan and Sarah, to complete the #Booktag challenge next! Are you the type to destroy your books with love, or a worshipper of the uncracked spine? Did you ever find your parent's, or siblings', incriminating book stash? Tell us in the comments!


Melissa Coates

Melissa is a genre-junkie, graphic designer, and illustrator. She’s a firm believer in the power of imagination and creativity, and loves getting parcels in the mail. She’s super keen to send happy little bookcases to excited binge-readers like herself. You can find her illustrations on most social media and Etsy @TheLittleInkery