Bookish Memes and Games — Fun Filler or Worthless Waste of Time? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Technically the meme is posted Fridays, but I’m getting to it today. 🙂

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I’ve made various comments about this topic in the past, but I never wrote a full post about it, so when I saw the prompt for this week’s discussion, I thought it might be time!

As some of you may know, Krysta and I have been blogging at Pages Unbound for almost ten years now. (Ah!) When we first started, we definitely participated in more memes. Discussion posts weren’t very prevalent around 2013, and memes were a good way to break up reviews and also to visit other blogs and strike up a bit of a discussion in the comments.

As our blog has gotten older, we’ve essentially stopped participating in memes, as we’ve prioritized more original and in-depth content. (I realize I am currently participating in the Let’s Talk Bookish meme.) Krysta and I also run the Classic Remarks meme here at Pages Unbound. For me, the most interesting memes are ones like this, ones that prompt discussions and lead to full blog posts where I can reflect on a topic. They’re basically discussion posts, except more than one person gets to participate in the discussion at the same time. (Several years ago, there was also a meme called “Conversations” that was along this line, which Krysta and I took part in.)

On the flip side, that means I no longer have much interest in short memes that ask participants to do something like post a single line from a book or post just the title of what they are currently reading or even share a whole list, if it’s literally just a list of book titles with no real explanation about why the books are on the list. I don’t participate in these memes any more, and I generally don’t read the posts of others who participate in them.

Even if I did have interest, I admit I find it a bit overwhelming (especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays!) to go through my feed and see dozens of bloggers posting essentially the same thing. Which Top Ten Tuesday post do I read? All of them? None of them? A random selection of five of them??? Unless the topic is particularly compelling to me, or I want to see a particular blogger’s answer, I pass over the memes, and I’m always excited to see a discussion post in my feed, embedded among all the memes, that I can read instead.

This isn’t to say that no one should do memes. As I said, I used to do them myself. But Krysta and I, together, have managed to post something on our blog nearly every single day for the past several years. We don’t even have room in our schedule for memes at this point. If people find memes fun or thought-provoking and get good page views and discussion from them, I think that’s awesome. I just no longer have much interest myself.


“Classic Remarks” Meme Starts Again in May 2020!

Classic Remarks

In 2016, we started a weekly Friday meme here at Pages Unbound called Classic Remarks. The hope was to inspire discussions not only about aspects of classic works of literature, but also about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation. We’re starting that meme back up in May 2020!

To participate, simply take a look at the upcoming prompts, write a blog post in response and then, on the day our post goes live, leave the link to your post in the comments!

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the upcoming prompts! You can find the full list under our Classic Remarks tab.

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Classic Remarks Prompts

May 1  What is a classic you loved when you were younger, but feel differently about now?

May 8 What classic did you love when you were younger—and you still love now?

May 15 Which of the Brontë sisters’ work is your favorite?  Why?

May 22 Which YA books would you like to see become classics and why?

May 29 Why do you think some individuals believe in the Shakespeare authorship “controversy” even though the scholarly consensus is that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare?

June 5 What classic did you read in school and end up loving?

June 12 What are some lesser-known works by a classic author you think people should read?

June 19 Charlotte’s Web took the number one spot on the School Library Journal’s 2012 list of Top 100 chapter books.Why do you think this book continues to appeal to readers?

Ten Interesting Posts You May Have Missed (6/9/19)

Post Round-Up

Around the Blogosphere

  1. Jane recommends six titles for fans of Jane Eyre.
  2. David reviews the new Tolkien movie.
  3. Michael discusses the unique magic of G. Willow Wilson’s Wonder Woman.
  4. Mei-Mei talks about the best things about The Phantom Meance, 20 years on.
  5. Christine admits to feeling guilty when DNFing a book.
  6. Elspeth writes about the mysterious case of the vanishing school library.
  7. Gerry analyzes “Beauty and the Beast.”
  8. Miri discusses biased narrators.
  9. Alex features eight anticipated June releases.
  10. Ara lists ten things she wants to see in books.

At Pages Unbound

If You Like Six of Crows, Then Read…

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

gilded wolves

It’s 1889 in Paris and hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime: in exchange for helping the Order of Babel, he will receive his true inheritance.  To find the treasure the order seeks, Séverin assembles an extraordinary team.  But what they find could change history.  Read Briana’s review.

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The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan

The Poison Throne

Fifteen-year-old Wynter Moorehawke has returned to the palace where she grew up like a sister to the two princes, the bastard son Razi and his younger brother, the heir Alberon. But things have changed. The cats no longer talk, the ghosts are not friends, Alberon is missing, and the king is torturing subjects. The king desires Razi to take the throne, but Razi knows his brother must be the one to rule. Now Wynter must choose: her king or the true heir.  A compelling adult fantasy whose morally-dubious characters somehow manage to still be sympathetic. Read Krysta’s review.

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The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Shai is a Forger–one of the best. But the arbiters who rule the empire believer her art is nothing more than a trick, or, at the worst, a heresy. But now, as the result of an assassination attempt, the emperor sleeps in a coma and when he wakes, an enemy faction will no doubt declare him unfit to rule. So the arbiters need Shai. They need her to do the impossible. They need her to refashion a soul for the emperor.  A fantasy novella that features a complex protagonist and a carefully detailed world.  Read Briana’s review.

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

As the youngest daughter, Siri has always been considered unimportant. But then her father sends her to marry the dreaded king of Hallandren in her sister Vivenna’s place. With a neglected education, Siri has no clue how to act in her new role as the wife of a god-king who could kill her at any moment. Feeling useless herself, Vivenna sets out to rescue Siri. But both princesses are about to find themselves embroiled in political conspiracies that may prove to be too much for them to handle.  A rich fantasy featuring court intrigue, a simmering rebellion, and morally complex characters.  Read Krysta’s review.

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Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler

Ship of Smoke and Steel Review

When the emperor discovers that eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka can access the Well of Combat, he gives her an impossible mission: steal the ghost ship Solitan.  Isoka’s sister’s life is forfeit if she fails.  But she beings to realize that Solitan may be harboring secrets.  Read Briana’s review.

10 Interesting Posts You May Have Missed in September 2018

Post Round-Up

  1. Kelly at Another Book in the Wall asks if rating criteria varies across genres.
  2. H. P. at Every Day Should Be Tuesday discusses three fantasies published before The Hobbit.
  3. Kristilyn at Reading in Winter feels weird about blogging.
  4. Shealea at That Bookshelf Bitch explains why she does not write TBR lists.
  5. Kim at Traveling in Books talks about her personal history with Tolkien.
  6. Jennilyn at Rurouni Jenni Reads ponders why book bloggers rarely give one-star reviews.
  7. Nandini at Unputdownable Books discusses the Hobbit and LotR films.
  8. Milliebott at Milliebot Reads talks about her love for Sailor Moon.
  9. Michael at My Comic Relief discusses Infinity War and his loyalty to comics.
  10. Michael at My Comic relief also discusses whether the MCU can be too interconnected.

At Pages Unbound

Book Blogger Survey Results: 2018

Did you miss the results of Briana’s 2018 survey on book blogger stats?  Check it out!

If You Like The Maze Runner, Then Read…

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Outnumbered and with inferior technology, the human race has won two wars against the aliens they call the buggers. They fear the Third Invasion, however, and will not trust to luck to save them again. Instead, they scour the Earth for the child who can lead them to victory. Ender Wiggin possesses the qualities necessary to make him a formidable general. To that end, the government places him in Battle School to train him for the upcoming war. The race, however, is running out of time and Ender may not be ready to fight when the war comes.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

In a futuristic Chicago, all citizens choose one of five Factions at the age of sixteen: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, or Erudite. Their faction becomes their family. Beatrice “Tris” Prior has grown up in Abnegation, learning to forget herself and serve others. But on the day of her choosing, she picks Dauntless. Now, she must survive her initiation, convincing herself and others that this is where she belongs.

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Humanity now lives in a utopia where hunger, disease, and death can no longer touch them. To keep the population under control, they created the Scythes, individuals who “glean” a certain number of individuals each year. The Scythes must adhere to the highest code of morality, gleaning only when necessary and avoiding bias. But when Citra and Rowan are taken on as apprentice Scythes, they begin to see that corruption is eating the Scythes from within.

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman

After the Second Civil War, the U.S. chose to protect life until a person reaches the age of 13.  Between the ages of 13-18, however, a teenager can legally be Unwound–killed for their body parts so that they can go on “living” by helping others.  Connor’s parents consider him a troublemaker, so when he learns that they plan to Unwind him, he goes on the run.  He just needs to stay hidden for a few more years.  Along with two other teens, Rita and Lev, he just might have a chance.

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Ten years ago Calamity appeared in the sky and gave men superpowers. Called Epics, they quickly used their powers to claim dominion over the Earth. Dave watched an Epic named Steelheart kill his father. And now he will do anything to end Steelheart’s rule. His plan: to join the Reckoners, a group of ordinary men and women who dare to fight back. Because he thinks he can give them the one thing they need. A clue to Steelheart’s weakness

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If You Like Harry Potter, Then Read… (Part Two)

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster’s life changes forever the day a boy appears and reveals that she’s an elf and that she can learn to control her Telepathetic abilities if she leaves her world behind to train at a magical academy. But even as Sophie delights in the wonders of her new world, she worries about her past. Why was she sent to live with humans? Why is she capable of things no other elf can do? And why does she seem to remember things she’s never learned at all?

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Rithmatist Brandon Sanderson review

In Joel’s world, students train as Rithmatists–people who can make chalk drawings come alive to fight the wild chalklings that threaten their society. Joel would do anything to be a Rithmatist himself, but because he was not chosen during the initiation ceremony, he spends his days studying Rithmatic theory and old Rithmatist duels. Then Rithmatist students begin disappearing and Joel finds himself assisting the professor determined to find the perpetrator. But with no Rithmatic powers himself, how can Joel hope to win a fight drawn in 2D?

Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

Effie Truelove is not sure magic really exists until her grandfather ends up in the hospital. Then, suddenly, he is bequeathing his library to her as well as an assortment of magical objects. But her father sells the books to a man Effie is not sure she can trust. And thus she finds herself on an adventure to reclaim her inheritance and the truth about her birthright.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor The Trials of Morrigan Crow

All her life Morrigan Crow has believed herself cursed and destined to die on her eleventh birthday.  But then a man called Jupiter North appears and runs away with her to a magical citiy known as Nevermoor.  There she is selected to compete for a spot in the Wundrous Society.  But failure means death.

100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson

Sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Kansas, Henry York is surprised to find that the cupboards in his attic bedroom seem to lead to different worlds!  But when he and his cousin unleash an ancient evil, they must find a way to fix their mistakes before it is too late.

You can find our first list of suggestions here.

If You Like Anne of Green Gables, Then Read…

Maud by Melanie Fishbane

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery dreams of attending college and becoming a writer, but her grandfather does not believe in higher education for women. Worse, when she finally goes out west to be with her father again, her new stepmother treats her as nothing more than a nanny. Will Maud ever find a way to follow her dreams? Or will she grow old feeling that her world has grown increasingly smaller?

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Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace

Emily Webster longs to go to college with all of her friends, but has to stay home to care for her grandfather. As she watches her former crowd move on without her, she begins to lose interest in life and to struggle with finding her place in the world. Only when she stops feeling sorry for herself and decides to take control of her future does she realize that her home of Deep Valley has a lot to offer. Emily decides to keep up her studies and to help her immigrant neighbors transition into their new life. Her new sense of identity also brings her her first encounter with love. A companion to the Betsy-Tacy books.

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The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career by L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery’s autobiography depicts her as a kindred spirit with Anne and Emily as she pursues her writing career.

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Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery

Emily of New Moon

With her father dead, Emily Byrd Starr has been taken in by her mother’s people, Aunts Elizabeth and Laura, and Cousin Jimmy, whom she’s never met before. Aunt Elizabeth, however, seems very harsh. But as the days go by, Emily learns to love her home at New Moon and to make friends from the artistic Teddy Kent to the wild Ilse Burnley. And all the while she’s perfecting her craft of poetry as she prepares to be a writer.

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“The Highway Man” by Alfred Noyes

This narrative poem first published in 1906 tells the story of a highwayman who meets his lover in the moonlight, but is betrayed by a jealous ostler.  The cadence and repetition make it a memorable selection, especially for our girl Anne to recite.

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A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

Elnora Comstock longs to get an education and to play the violin.  Her mother, however, treats her harshly at home and does everything possible to keep Elnora from following her dreams.  Determined to pay her way through school anyway, Elnora begins collecting and selling butterflies from Limberlost Swamp.

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“The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Who can forget Anne’s mishap in the lake while playing the Lady of Shalott?  Experience the full romance of story by reading the original ballad.

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When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster

Jean Webster’s first novel follows the escapades of Patty Wyatt, a senior at an all-girls college.  Popular with her peers and fond of pranks, Patty ultimately must learn how to balance her love of fun with a sense of responsibility.

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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Rebecca Randall arrives to live with her aunts Miranda and Jane in Riverboro, expecting that they will “be the making of her”. Someone, after all, needs to gain an education so that her mother can lift the mortgage from their farm and raise the six other children. But Aunt Miranda is severe and strict, and completely unready to cope with the imaginative child who has just landed on her doorstep. Can Rebecca bring light and life back to the Riverboro house?

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If You Like Jo March, Then Read…

Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa may Alcott

Once upon at time, Louisa May Alcott wrote thrillers much like her heroine Jo March.  This collection includes four such stories: “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment,” “The Mysterious Key,” “The Abbot’s Ghost,” and “Behind a Mask.”

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Faith Sunderly knows that her family is clouded by scandal. Why else would they remove to the remote island of Vane?  However, Faith cannot believe that her father’s important scientific discoveries are all frauds, as the newspapers allege.  Driven by her interest in natural science, as well as her conflicted feelings about Darwin’s newest theories, Faith will try to discover the truth behind her father’s work–and mysterious death.  But Faith lives in a man’s world and not everyone appreciates her scientific bent.

The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace

Lovelace’s semi-autobiographical series features the adventures of Betsy Ray, who grows from a girl who loves to tell stories to a flirtatious teen and, finally, a married woman.  Betsy aspires to become a writer.

The Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery

When the Cuthberts ask to adopt an orphan boy to help on the farm, they hardly expect eleven-year-old Anne Shirley to arrive instead.  Dreamy and vivacious, Anne soon captures the hearts of the Cuthberts and all of Avonlea.  The series follows her from a young girl to a woman married with children.  It also features her adventures in publishing her writing.

The Emily of New Moon trilogy by L. M. Montgomery

Perhaps Montgomery’s most autobiographical series, the Emily of New Moon trilogy follows Emily Starr, who dreams of becoming a writer.  As she grows, she first faces the challenge of writing against her guardians’ wishes.  And later she must decide if she is willing to sacrifice romance for her career.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Rebecca Randall arrives to live with her aunts Miranda and Jane in Riverboro, expecting that they will “be the making of her.” Someone, after all, needs to gain an education so that her mother can lift the mortgage from their farm and raise the six other children.  As she struggles to get along with her strict aunt, Rebecca finds herself enjoying school and dreaming of a career as a writer.

If You Like Little Women, Then Read…

Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott

Bedridden after a sledding accident, friends Jack Minot and Janey (Jill) Pecq must learn how to find happiness even when it seems healing may be far away–if possible at all.  Along the way, they get up to some old-fashioned fun, creating tableaux, collecting May flowers, and more.

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

When Rose Campbell arrives on the “Aunt-hill,” she is far from well.  Her uncle Alec, however, soon takes charge and his prescriptions for exercise and outdoor activity soon have her engaging happily in the pastimes of her seven cousins–all boys.

Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs

A biography of Louisa May Alcott first published in 1933, the book begins with Alcott’s birth in Germantown, PA and follows her through her life in her father’s transcendentalist community, her decision to nurse soldiers during the Civil War, and eventual publication of her children’s stories.  Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Littler Women by Laura Schaefer

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March receive a modern makeover in this retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic. They attend school dances, go to sleepovers, and have jobs babysitting. As they grow up, they hope to make their father, on active duty overseas as part of the National Guard, proud upon his return.

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

Polly, Ben, Joel, Davie, and Phronsie Pepper live with their mother, who can barely make ends meet. Still, the five continue to have good times, what with Ben and Polly conspiring to come up with clever ways to entertain the little ones or to give them a memorable Christmas. Things really start to look up, however, when Phronsie runs away and meets young Jasper King, a young rich boy who knows all too well that money cannot buy happiness and longs to join the good time at the Little Brown House.

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Modern Retelling of Little Women by Rey Terceiero and Bre Indigo

This graphic novel reimagines the March family as living in modern-day New York City.  As their father serves overseas, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy encounter life with all the strength they can muster.  The story shines with its depiction of sisterly relationships.  It also has a pronounced emphasis on values of diversity, inclusion, and feminism.

The Cottage at Bantry Bay by Hilda Van Stockum

Though they have little money, the O’Sullivan children get up to plenty of adventures.  Michael and Brigid sell a donkey in town while twins Liam and Francie find themselves lost after following the English army.  First published in 1938.