My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Favorite Books: Number One...

Before we get to the book we've all been waiting for, I'd like to take a moment to thank you, the readers.  With your enthusiasm and participation, you've made the first few weeks of my blog a smashing success!

Thank you, readers.  From the bottom of my heart.  Waaaaay down there.

And now to the book.  My favorite book ever.  The book that I consider the best suited for Allisons all over the world.  It... is...

But before we get to that, I realized something interesting earlier.  If you ask me what sort of books I like, I might say, "Old books."  And, if you showed even the vaguest sign of interest, I might go on to lament how they don't make 'em like they used to, back in the good ole' day.

So I was surprised when, on a whim, I checked the dates from each book and came to some surprising conclusions, which I have illustrated for you in the following graph (I love graphs):

Note: There should be another baby-blue blob over 2000, but Blogger is hassling me about changing it.
It turns out they do make them as well as they used to!  In fact, they might even make them better.

But you're not interested in this.  You want to hear my favorite book ever, so I'll go ahead and oblige you.  My favorite book... in the world... is...

But really, this interests me, so I made another graph (have I mentioned I love graphs?).  If you ask me what my favorite point of view is in a story, I'd say third person.  I love a good, solid third person (but I have recently been introduced to third person omniscient, which is so terribly exciting I might switch teams).

The following graph reflects the point of views of my top ten favorite books:

Curse the Queen's Thief series for switching sides!  The awkward half-moon blobs represent halves of that series.
Interesting, isn't it?  Here my opinion actually reflects... you know... my opinion!  So I dug a little bit deeper, and I found that--

No.  I'm kidding.  I promise I'll get on to the book now.

If you've followed the blog series this far, you'll understand that I have epic tastes.  Surely, you're thinking, her favorite book must be a 10+ volume series and several million words long.  There'll be a quirky, nerdy heroine who inadvertently saves the world from the forces of darkness in a battle that lasts for thousands of years.

It's not.  Not even close.  Instead, my favorite book is Chime, by Franny Billingsley, and it is a stand-alone novel that takes place in rural England at the dawn of the twentieth century.

To strangers, Briony Larkin seems like the perfect girl.  She's tart, witty, a reverend's daughter, and so patient in her care of her stepmother and her handicapped sister!  But Briony has a secret, so long-kept that it threatens to destroy her as it already has her family.  When a stranger comes and brings dangerous changes from London, he stirs up memories that Briony has avoided for so long.  As Halloween draws closer, and the web between worlds thins, Briony must discover the truth of her secret if she has any chance of salvaging the life she once loved.

Chime is not the most action-packed on this list.  It doesn't have the breadth of The Wheel of Time or the whimsicality of Harry Potter.  It doesn't need any of that, because it has Briony, perhaps the most flawed, complex, wonderful character I've ever met.  She spends the novel struggling between the self-hatred she believes she should feel, her desire to protect her sister, and her hostility towards outsiders.  The entire book, in a way, is focused on Briony's thoughts, almost reminiscent of Virginia Woolf.

And the setting complements Briony perfectly.  As the Industrial Revolution creeps in from London, the Old Ones, who have for so long controlled villagers through their superstition, are dying.  Cursed with the gift to see between worlds, Briony has been trained since adolescence to ignore the failing magic and wonder, replaced by technology and science.

Still not convinced?  I'll say one more thing.  There is a mystery at the heart of Chime, a mystery at the heart of Briony.  Through the course of the novel, Billingsley handed me ever piece of the puzzle, and I was still floored at the ending.

Chime is my favorite book in the world because it perfectly captures the death of pastoral England.  I love it because it has a depth of realism that I rarely encounter in fantasy.  And I love it for a poor, lost girl named Briony, who blames herself for the troubles of the world.

Reminder: Comment on any of the favorite books posts for a chance to win any book from the list!  Entries are capped at one per post.  Mention that Hannah from the Writer's Window sent you for an extra entry!  I'll announce the winner of the book on  Saturday, October 4, so comment until then!


Hannah said...

Oh, I've seen this one on your Goodreads list! And I love the way you led up to it, haha! :D

ghost ryter said...

I've actually never heard of this book. Never. But if you say it makes you think of Virginia Woolf (who, I like reading because she makes me think of Jane Austen), I'll have to take a look at "Chime".

This has been really fun!

Sarah said...

I've never heard of this book before now, but it sounds fascinating. I'll definitely have to try it out! (And I like that it's set in a different period from most in-our-world fantasy; almost everything seems to be either medieval or modern.)

Allison Ruvidich said...

@Hannah- Haha, thank you! I had to indulge my taste for graphs somehow.

@Ghosty- It's fairly unknown, but it's absolutely a gem. I appreciate Virginia Woolf for her sheer eccentricity. She uses such chewy language! : )

@Sarah- I really like that, too, because it examines some real-world issues, like what happens with the advancement of technology. The research in it is spot-on.

Allison Ruvidich said...

Also, @Ghosty- I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I loved it, too, but I'll be glad to have some free time in the evenings. : ) Blogging is hard work!

ghost ryter said...

Isn't it, though?

Allison Ruvidich said...

Ye-e-es!! I am so ready to take a day off. : )