Throwback Thursday (August 2) – Circle of Friends

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Feel free to grab the Throwback Thursday button code from the sidebar to use in your posts.

Thanks for participating, and we look forward to seeing which books you choose to remember!

On a side note, Mandi will be rejoining us next week, fresh off her blogging hiatus! Yay! This solo hosting gig is daunting. I’m glad I won’t have to do it anymore. So here’s a preemptive WELCOME BACK, Mandi!

My Throwback this week is…


Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy.

You may have heard that Irish author Maeve Binchy died this week at the age of 72. She wrote chick lit love stories set in Ireland, which I devoured as a high schooler. And this story, about childhood friends Eve and Benny that grow up to attend college with the beautiful Nan and dashing Jack, was the first book of hers I ever read.

High school was a time when I was reading books after seeing movies, and this one was no exception. However, if you’ve seen the movie, while it is…okay…it really is not a faithful adaptation of the book. Especially the end. Grr. This one is definitely a case of “the book is better.”

I love her nontraditional protagonist in Benny, who is neither slim nor beautiful, and her fierce friendship with Eve. I love the beginning stages of her sweet romance with Jack. And yes, while I kind of hate the turn the story takes, at the same time I appreciate that it’s not neat and tidy and Hollywood.

And, kind of the same as in real life, some characters experience a huge amount of growth and some…don’t. I got frustrated with the ones who just stayed the same, of course, but it still felt genuine. They were simply the kinds of people who tend to not learn or grow up. Ever. But they were overshadowed by the characters who do develop and learn and grow and mature, and I enjoyed all of it. It was the kind of book I just liked to relax and melt into.

And the fact that it’s all set in Ireland didn’t hurt.

This is a blog hop! Link up your Throwback Thursday post below!

Starting out

I’ve loved to read ever since I could read.

In elementary school, I devoured series like The Boxcar Children and The Baby-sitters Club.

In middle school, I ventured into the world of science fiction with Michael Crichton.

In high school, I dabbled in a variety of genres, from classic literature like Les Misérables, Jane Eyre and Lord of the Rings, to the legal thrillers of John Grisham, to the sweet and semi-sappy romances of Maeve Binchy.

The only limitation I put on myself was that I didn’t want to read anything that was actually written for kids my age. I viewed Young Adult Fiction with distain. I thought the only people who read it were kids who didn’t know any better. I was Above It All.

Then in college, a friend gave me a book for my birthday. It was a gag gift, since it was a series I had made fun of for years (and it wasn’t even the first book in the series). He knew if I owned it, I’d have to read it.

The book was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

I read it.

I loved it.

Fast-forward to over a decade later. I now read what I want. Sometimes it’s books about teenagers, written for teenagers. Sometimes it’s books written for adults about housewives, detectives, spies, reporters, librarians. If it sounds interesting, I’ll read it.

I finally realized that it’s not “mature” to look down my nose at a book simply because of its intended audience. Likewise, I was not winning any brownie points in life by only reading books written for adults (and let’s face it, there’s just as much — if not more — garbage out there targeted at adults as there is for kids).

This year – 2012 – I decided to start writing down my thoughts about the books I read. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I always end each book I read with my head swimming with thoughts, and often no one to share them with. So I’ll share them with you (whoever you are).

You may not agree with me. That’s fine. I don’t agree with anyone on books (or most other things) 100% of the time either.

So here we go.