Joey Chesnut Ain’t Got Nothing On Me!

This book blog topic makes me want to cry a little because, well, I rarely have the time to do it anymore. Yes, yes–adulthood can truly stink up the joint sometimes. The big blue meanies over at The Broke & The Bookish have asked us to share our list of “The Top Ten Books to Read in a Day.”

There is something wonderful about staying in your pajamas all day long, curled up under a cozy blanket (which is even better when the rain is pouring down outside), getting lost in the pages of a book with a mug of tea or hot cocoa steaming on the bedside table. Here are ten books that I remember completing in a day (or just a tad over), and you can see by reading over it that I’m not choosy when it comes to gorging myself on words like it’s some literary variation on the Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins—I did read this one over the better part of an afternoon and evening. It’s quite simply the best book of the trilogy. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that had they trimmed Mockingjay and tagged it onto the back of this one, the entire series would have been much better for it. Full of action, drama, and true surprises, this is one book I can’t wait to see make the transition to film!

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig—I am embarrassed to say I read this book. (In fact, I guiltily gobbled it and two or three other books in the series down like a binge eater, crying in shame and shoveling it down at the same time.) My only excuse was that I was going through a Scarlet Pimpernel kick at the time, and this book provided access to the world in an obtuse sort of way. I mean, Sir Percy was an ancillary character in the first book. Essentially, this is chick romance/action at it’s best and worst, and until an intervention took place, I was entrenched in it.

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) by Lemony Snicket—I’m not ashamed to have read this book, or any of the twelve others in the series. If you’ve not read the Lemony Snicket books, you’re really missing out. Daniel Handler has a wicked sense of humor, and his knack for storytelling is off the charts. This was “kid” fiction written with adults in mind. The books were fun to collect, like little pocket-sized crime novels with uneven pages and old-school illustrations. Just fun, fun reads. My friends and I used to wait until the new ones came out and host parties where we’d take turns reading using Tim Curry’s voice from the audiobooks (which are FABULOUS if you’ve never heard them.)
 
Frankenstein: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz—The series took a weird turn or two that I wasn’t expecting, and I wasn’t totally thrilled with the ending. However, the first book in the Frankenstein series by Dean Koontz was fabulous! It totally changed up the monster narrative we all know and love. The “creature” renames himself Deucalion and devotes his long (if not eternal) life to destroying the master who built him and who is, several hundred years later, as power hungry and maniacal as ever. Set in New Orleans with two wise-cracking cops, this was a fun and wild read I tore through in one day on a particularly long car trip. 
 
Common Sense by Thomas Paine—I don’t know about you, but if I’d read this work sooner in my life, I might have been much better off. It is truly an amazing work, one that riled a sleeping collection of colonies and made them a national force. It’s an example of great writing as well as how words are indeed more powerful than the sword. Paine is really an uncredited founding father, and you’d do yourself a favor reading the work where amazing quotes like this reside:
 
“Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
 
Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar—My graphic novel inclusion for this list is an alternate-universe three-issue series that explored a simple idea—what if Superman’s capsule had landed on a collective farm in Soviet Russia instead of the Heartland of America? What would have been different in the DC universe (and the world at large) if he fought not for “truth, justice, and the American way” but “as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.” A fascinating read with great art and a tight narrative.
 
Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice—I read this when I was living on my own in a crappy efficient apartment during my first semester in college. I curled up in my Murphy Bed and read until the sun came up. I was so fascinated with the concept of the Italian opera starts know as the castrati that I did hours of research (the old fashioned way—with books, a card catalog, stacks, and microfiche!! There were fewer academic wimps back in the day.) I wrote my ENG 1101 research paper on them and argued that they had played a larger role in the development of Italian opera than had previously been recognized. My professor said it was a welcome change from the papers on legalizing pot, gun control, and animal testing.
 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern—I was hooked by this one and read it in just a shade over a day. There was something magical about it, something otherworldly that just sucked me in. I was like the circus devotees, and I wanted to spend my life finding it and spending time within it. Morgenstern may not be the best writer in the world, but she’s a darned good one who isn’t afraid to color outside the lines to create compelling characters and an engaging story that, despite being impossible, makes you wish it was altogether real.
 
Passing by Nella Larsen—I read this one in grad school and loved it. We were supposed to read it over a two week period, dividing it in half, but I couldn’t wait. This one tells the story of Clare and Irene, two African American girls who were friends but lost touch after Clare’s father died. She went on to live with her two white aunts who let her “pass” for while and marry a white man who also happens to be a raving racist. Irene lives in Harlem and is committed to fighting for the cause of equality. The books is wonderfully ambiguous and lets readers interpret the actions in whatever way they choose. I wouldn’t want to rob you of the joy of it by telling you what I thought. Go pick it up!
 
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1) by Patrick Rothfuss—I’m putting this here. It took me longer than a day because it comes in just a bit under 700 pages in length. I’m a very quick reader, but even I had to take a break and sleep a little rather than risk choking myself on this tome. If you enjoy fantasy novels, I cannot recommend this one highly enough. I shot through it and book two, The Wise Man’s Fear, in under a week and regretted it terribly because I now have to wait until 2013 to see how the story ends. Rothfuss places readers in a world that is both recognizable and altogether foreign and crafts a tight plot free of holes. Kvothe for President in 2012. That’s all I have to say about that. 🙂
 
**For the record, I have no clue why the font on this post went “straight to plaid” as they said in Spaceballs—single spaced and italicized. What I do know is that I’m too lazy to do what it takes to fix it.** 
 
How about you all? What books did you indulge in for a full twenty-four hours? Is there a book you’ve been wanting to lock yourself in an attic with dripping candles and an apple to read?
 
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8 thoughts on “Joey Chesnut Ain’t Got Nothing On Me!

  1. I think I mighta cried a little when I finished Red Son; such a brilliant use of the DC mythology.

    I might have to fight you on Catching Fire though. I mean, the action certainly bogged down the book especially at the end but I do believe another book was needed to drive in the metaphor of what District 13 was -the other side of the “Coin” if you will.

    1. There were parts of Mockingjay that were very much necessary, but on the whole, the ending of that book made the book have a “ho hum,” unsatisfying ending it didn’t deserve. They just didn’t edit that last book very well at all. It could have been so much more!

      1. Oh, see I loved the ending and thought most of the rest of it dragged. For me, because all the symbols and archetypes (Snow and Coin as evil step-parents, Peeta as Sleeping Beauty, Gale as wrath and Peeta as hope) interacted the way they did, it made more a much more fascinating read than the first two. It make me want the safer times of Catching Fire and Hunger Games and any time an author can make you wish for a simpler time in a story is a mark of good writing.

  2. I read Night Circus recently and LOVED it as well. And I adored the entire series of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein. I’ll give you a hint (for those who have NOT read these books!) — the Monster AIN’T the bad guy!!! 🙂 I’ve also fallen in love with a series by Kevin Hearne called the Iron Druid Series. There are 3 available right now — “Hounded”, “Hexed”, and “Hammered”. “Tricked” is due out in another week or two. The main character is a 2000-year-old druid — the last of his kind, and he is constantly running into gods and demigods, witches, vampires, and werewolves. Life is never boring, that’s for certain! But Kevin writes with such humor and wit, the pages fly by!

    1. The Frankenstein series got a tad bit unwieldy at the end for me, a little too rapid and unfocused maybe. However, I have no right to demand realism when the main characters are truly death-defying and have lightning in their eyes. 🙂

      I might have to try those druid books. That sounds interesting!

  3. Ahhh! I love that you added the Neverending Story video on at the end! 🙂 I feel like I should be ashamed I’ve never read Common Sense. This sentence: “I don’t know about you, but if I’d read this work sooner in my life, I might have been much better off” might be all of the convincing I need! By the way, I am in total agreement about Catching Fire. It was hands-down my favorite in the trilogy, and I am filled to the brim with excited anticipation over the film!

    1. Common Sense is a short work, but it quite honestly is the piece of writing that jump started the American Revolution. Historians say that Thomas Paine is the uncredited Founding Father because of the critical role it and his other masterwork, The Crisis, played in getting people who thought of themselves as “Georgians” or “Virginians” rather than “Americans” behind the idea of a nation that could break away from the mother country. I fimrly believe that this country wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in if more people actually read the foundational documents and understood their history! 🙂

      So glad you enjoyed my silliness and that you liked it enough to leave a comment. I shall endeavor to return the favor soon!

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