#BBAW: Introduce Yourself!

The time has come! The time is now! After a few years of lying fallow, Book Blogger Appreciation Week has returned! Huge, huge thanks to my co-hosts Heather, Andi, and Ana, and thanks to everyone who’s participating.

Day 1: Introduce yourself by telling us about five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

I’m starting with an unoriginal one, I know! But Jane Eyre was the first book where I ever read the end before I read the middle. It gave me a taste for romance, for gothic novels, for crazypants plots where lunatics set things on fire, and for angry-girl heroines.

Fire and Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones

I mean, come on. I was never going to make this list without at least one Diana Wynne Jones book on it. Although Jenny’s Law states that Diana Wynne Jones is better on a reread, I have chosen one of the only DWJ books that I loved immediately. Fire and Hemlock is, nevertheless, everything I have ever loved about Diana Wynne Jones; in particular, the way that it’s packed full of adult truth bombs that gradually exploded as I’ve gotten older.

Also it left me with a great love of cellists.1

White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi is one of a very few writers whose books I will read purely for her writing. White Is for Witching is my favorite of her five so-far books. It is about, I swear, a xenophobic house and the family that lives in it. There are twins and pica and university examinations, and every one of the narrators is unreliable. (I LOVE UNRELIABLE NARRATORS.)

The Charioteer, Mary Renault

“Jenny, are you just including The Charioteer on your list because everyone you’ve ever recommended it to has thought it was super boring?”

Mary Renault has been a super formative author for me in my life, from when I read her Alexander the Great books in late middle school. The Charioteer is slightly atypical for her in that it has a modern (to Mary Renault! World War II!) setting, but it also requires the queer characters to speak to each other in a coded, roundabout, subtexty way. That she manages to make these unspoken relationships urgent is a testament to her powers as an author.2

The Lost Books of the Odyssey, Zachary Mason

The Lost Books of the Odyssey includes extensions of the Homer stories, alternate versions of them, stories that happen around the edges. It is stories, and it’s about stories, and I will read stories about stories every day until the heat death of the sun.

Happy first day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Head over to the Estella Society to link up your #BBAW posts.

  1. Jubilee on The Bachelor played the cello, yet Ben insanely sent her home. The other Ben from Kaitlyn’s season would never have done this.
  2. Mumsy, I forgive you for not loving this book. I mean, sort of. I mean, you did just make me cookies the other day.
  • What excellent taste you have, but I knew that. 🙂 The Lost Books of the Odyssey sounds like something I have to snap up right away. And I haven’t yet read my way through all of Mary Renault, so I’ll keep your comments on The Charioteer in mind when I get there. Happy BBAW!

  • BethFishReads

    I too am adding Lost Books of the Odyssey to my list. And I can’t believe how bloggers mentioned Diana Wynne Jones — I guess I should read one of her books.

  • Jeanne

    Yesss…Jane Eyre. And have you read The Eyre Affair?
    I will have to look up White is for Witching. I read Mr. Fox and found it kind of a novelty, but didn’t have strong feelings about it one way or the other.

  • Girl with her Head in a Book

    Some great picks here – or at least, I also really like Jane Eyre and the others on the list look interesting. I know what you mean about being super-motivated to defend a book that you love but nobody else does. I was like that with Little House on the Prairie (still think it’s amazing) since when I was growing up all my friends gave up on it after the pig was slaughtered and they thought it was gross. It’s that irate feeling of, “But you’re wrong! It’s amazing!” Hope you enjoy BBAW 🙂

  • Okay, I *need* to get to Oyeyemi. I haven’t been sure where to start because so many people have different opinions, but I’m going to go with your fave.

  • Chrisbookarama

    I was going to add Jane Eyre to my list, because I put Jane Eyre on every list! Ha! I thought I’d shake things up this time.

  • Care

    YAY for your posts that are so enthusiastic and pushy. in a good way. ALL JENNY RIGHT HERE. I will follow Shannon on that Oyeyemi path. (and I need to reread Jane Eyre.)

  • Not the first time I saw Jane Eyre today AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.

    Can you believe I’ve still only read one DWJ? I need to get on that.

  • Maureen E

    This is at least the third time I’ve seen Fire & Hemlock on these lists! I love it!

  • Ok, this is two so far for Fire and Hemlock! Kristen from We Be Reading is hosting a DWJ event next month and I’ve been on the search for another book to read by her…I KNOW SHE HAS A BILLION, but it’s overwhelming to pick one! (I read Howl’s Moving Castle last year). Your tags crack me up…

  • I have one of Diana Wynne Jones’ books on my TBR on your recommendation but now I need to read it sooner than later. I think I will start with Fire and Hemlock. Great list here!

  • Jennifer Rummel

    I really need to read some Diana Wynne Jones!

  • JeanPing

    Yes, Jane Eyre! I’ve been kind of meaning to read White is for Witching–I bought it for my library and put it on display at one point but I haven’t seen it lately. Should go find it….

  • Christy

    Jane Eyre was a pretty formative book for me too. Jubilee breaking out the cello on the Bachelor was amazing.

  • Words for Worms

    Well it’s obvious. Fire and Hemlock needs to be read, by me, right now. Also, I adore you.

  • Tea Time with Marce

    I love unreliable characters also, adding that one to my TBR list, thank you, sounds great. Your visual ‘Nobody asked you Patrice, lmao……..

  • Kay

    First of all, thanks so much for all your hard work!! And I think White Is For Witching sounds like one I need to investigate. Thanks for it!!

  • Ha ha! Jane Eyre is on my list too (which isn’t posted yet, but should go up later today). I also said something along the lines of how it wasn’t an original choice, but that I had to choose it–because I really had to.

  • I always like books that other people find boring, so I’ll have to try The Charioteer!

  • I can’t believe I have put off Jane Eyre for so long. I have seen this on enough people’s list to bump it up on my TBR.

    P.S. I see you have a podcast. Will surely check it out. I LOVE discovering new bookish podcasts! 😀

  • AHHHHH I love your NOBODY ASKED YOU PATRICE reference & gif so very much! 😀

    For what it’s worth, I’d for sure give Mary Renault a try! I tend to like my historical fiction slightly more modern (1800s & 1900s vs farther back) so I’d be inclined to start with The Charioteer.

  • Stefanie@SoManyBooks

    I am planning on rereading Jane Eyre in the next month or two it’s been probably close to 20 years since I last read it and that is way too long. Also, one of these days I really have to get around to reading Helen Oyeyemi. By all accounts I will love her so why is it taking me so long? And, um you have just made me add The Lost Books of the Odyssey to my TBR.

  • This is a great list. Thank you, Jenny. I have read DWJ’s ‘Dogsbody’, and I loved it. Adding your other favourites to my TBR.

  • Jane Eyre made my list as well. It was the first classic I fell in love with and it set me on a life long path of loving Gothic novels.

  • Priscilla Walter

    I too love unreliable narrators! I have been meaning to read Oyeyemi for so long–is that the best book to start with?

  • Kristen M.

    Okay, you’ve started me thinking about how Polly and Jane are similar and now my brain won’t stop. Rochester and Thomas Lynn … crazy ex-wives … holy crap, Jenny.

    p.s. I love you. 🙂

  • I’ve seen Oyeyemi on several other lists today. Interesting how so many people use White is for Witching to describe themselves. Also, you can never go wrong with referencing anything by the Bronte sisters. Ever.

  • literaryfeline

    I nearly added Jane Eyre to my list. I have so much love for that book. I reread it this past year and may have squealed when my favorite scenes came up. And I still cried. I haven’t read any of the other books you list. White Is for Witching is going on my wish list. I love beautiful writing.

    Thank you for bringing BBAW back! It’s been missed!

  • I’ll have to try White Is for Witching! I’d only heard of Boy, Snow, Bird, Mr. Fox, and The Icarus Girl by her! I never liked historical fiction as a young person and so I would have refused to read Mary Renault. But now that I’m a grown-up, I’m more openminded and should try The Charioteer!

  • Every time you reference DWJ, here and on the podcast, I’m like “READ SOMETHING BY THIS AUTHOR” to myself, and yet I never do. I think it’s overwhelming because she has SO many books and where do I start?

    P.S. I didn’t know you watched The Bachelor!! ME TOO. I hate watch it but also love watch it. Because you know.

  • Jenny, I can’t believe you made a list of formative and defining books without a DWJ title on it. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.

    Or maybe my insomnia brain was like, “Hey, let’s troll Jenny!”

    I dunno. One of those.

    Also, I WILL READ THE CHARIOTEER. Just, like, maybe not really soon because I have about eighteen other things I want to read right this very second and I am MOST VEXED I can’t cram them all into my brain at once.

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    The Lost Books of the Odyssey sounds intriguing!

    • It totally is! There’s a ton of good stuff in there, and the author has said he’s going to do a similar set of stories that do the same thing with Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Cannot WAIT.

      • Emma @ Words And Peace

        oh wow!

  • Lisa Almeda Sumner

    So much love for Jane Eyre. That was a formative book for me as well. Oyeyemi is going on my list. My self-imposed ban on book buying is about to be violated. Again.

    • Hahahahaha, I think all of us are facing at least grave temptation to break any book-buying bans we may have put in place. But I promise Oyeyemi’s worth it.

  • Julie @ Smiling Shelves

    This is a most interesting and intriguing list of books! Happy BBAW! 🙂

  • raidergirl3

    I read Jane Eyre as an adult, and I did like it, but I think I like reading about people discuss why they love Jane Eyre even more. There have been a few discussions at LT about Jane and I get why so many people love it. I love learning that JE was the first book you read the end.
    #Unreliable narrators always

  • If I’d written a different type of list I would have put Jane Eyre on top, too. I mean, you’ve got to, right?

    • Right? It was so formative of my reading tastes when I was a kid (and still now), and plus I just love Jane Eyre as a character so much.

  • I love the variety! Makes your personality really hard to pin down, Jenny! Have you listened/watched the 2 cellos? They are mar-ve-lous!

  • I love that you included a book that everyone you know thought was boring — that really does make it representative of you!

  • Jenny

    Wow, you’re a much more mature reader than me. I feel like I rarely read deep books. You go girl!

    • Ahahaha, I mean, I think this kind of prompt makes me conceitedly want to select fancy books to include here. :p

  • Oh, Jenny, you give me hope that I will one day love Howl’s Moving Castle. I tried reading it once but gave up a bit in. Looks like I just need to get on that re-read.

    • I did that too! I gave up on it too! But I swear to you: DWJ improves on a reread. Some of my absolute favorites of hers, I had to try reading them like three to six times before I loved them. I know that sounds crazy, but once I knew she was a favorite author, it became worth it to me to keep trying. Like Deep Secret? I crazy love that book! And I HATED it on the first two or three tries. So don’t give up on Howl’s Moving Castle.

  • Victoria @ Eve’s Alexandria

    The Charioteer!!! You are not completely alone. I loved it so so much. It was first Mary Renault I read and I thought it was beautiful beautiful beautiful. 😀 All those other people are Sorely Misguided.

    • HOORAY! I actually do remember that you’re a fellow Charioteer fan. That was, if I recall, the exact reason I decided to start a blog, to find others who love it like I do.

  • Fantastic list and fantastic taste. You’ve made so curious about The Charioteer that I’ve ended adding it to my wishlist!

  • I love seeing what everyone chose as their 5 books. I felt so pressured! lol