The Tarot Book Tag was created by Luly Hernandez, and it features 10 booky questions inspired by tarot cards from the major arcana. Thank you to Mariah M for tagging me! Be sure to check both of them out of YouTube, and you can watch my video version of this tag on YouTube as well.
This round I am tagging readWithAnsu, lit_nana, Plums & Books, and loud reading things. Of course, everyone is welcome to do this tag and keep the fun going! Don’t forget to credit Luly. Want to be tagged in the future? Let me know! Want to tag me? Sure! But I’m allowed to tag you back, and you’ve got to let me know somewhere that I’ve been tagged so I can see it. Same goes for tags to enter book/writing giveaways; tag me if I can tag you!
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1. The Fool: Pick a book that brings back nostalgic memories.
When I was growing up we had Scholastic Book Fairs once or twice a year at my school, and there used to be a travelling performance troupe that would come around ahead of the book fair and present a few one act plays to tease a handful of featured books that would be available at the book fair. When I was in grade 2 or so, Lois Lowry’s The Giver was one of those teased books, and I was so intrigued by the play that I begged for the book. It was a huge let down, because the skit took liberties and the book didn’t end up being what I thought it was, but it had come as a plastic wrapped two pack with Number the Stars.
This is the story of a Jewish girl in Denmark during WWII and her journey to escape the Nazis. She gets separated from her family, and her close friend’s family takes her in and helps her hide and eventually escape. I distinctly remember how hard this girl finds it to remove and hide her star of David necklace, and I remember that the family is able to hide her in plain sight by claiming that she’s their third daughter (actually their oldest daughter who has moved out) because the oldest daugther’s baby pictures have darker hair like this girl, rather than the blond of the rest of the family.
2. The Magician: Pick a main character that is goal-oriented or very focused.
Dr. Peter Hobson in Robert J. Sawyer’s The Terminal Experiment is studying the human spirit, immortality, and life beyond flesh and blood existence. He’s created three computer simulated versions of himself: one with no memories of life, representing existence in the afterlife, one with no knowlegde of death, representing immortality, and a control with no modifications.
When a worldwide power outage causes strange things to happen with computers, the simulated copies of Dr. Hobson are accidentally released into the world, and as it turns out, one of them is a killer. Which one? What went wrong? What does this say about Dr. Hobson himself? Why is it killing?
3. The Empress: Pick a book with a motherly figure.
Chronologically the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Tales of 500 Kingdoms series, this is the story of Ella as she comes into her role as the fairy godmother to one of the 500 Kingdoms. She’s being mentored by the previous fairy godmother, who is retiring, and this new role actually saves her from her fate in a Cinderella role.
Each of the 500 Kingdoms is basically medieval Europe, but with a magical force called The Tradition. If you fit a fairy tale trope, the tradition will ensure that you fulfill it.
4. The Lovers: Pick a book with your favourite couple or relationship.
A Monster’s Coming of Age Story is book one in G. D. Falksen’s The Ouroboros Cycle historical fantasy series. Babette is a French debutante being presented at a party on her family’s property. She meets a German baron, Korbinian, and the two fall almost instantly love. Alas, Korbinian is murdered only days after they met, and Babette is left spoilt and pregnant… and seeing the ghost of her lat fiancé.
As Babette heals and grows in the years following Korbinian’s death, she’s invited to become a vampire by a family of eastern European vampires known as the Shashavani. She takes the opportunity, and the new name Varanus, and so begins her story as a caretaker of Europe’s night walkers.
The thing is, Korbinian hasn’t left her. Only she can see and hear him, and he talks to her frequently. She loves having him around, but she’s careful not to react when they aren’t alone (making only one acception for a friend among the Shashavani) lest everyone think she’s gone mad. Korbinian loves to try to make her crack and betray his presence, and it’s absolutely hilarious. I love this couple!
5. Justice: Pick a book that makes you feel heard.
Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton is most definitely a book that makes me feel heard. It’s a memoir in the form of dated entries, mostly pulled and reworked from his blog, edited together in a way that tells a cohesive story about Wil’s life and struggles in his adult years.
While it’s true that I’m not a man, I wasn’t a child star, and I certainly didn’t act on a Star Trek series (though I am a die-hard Trekkie! Live long and prosper!) there are other aspects of this book that speak to me. Wil explores mental illness, specifically depression and anxiety, and he unpacks the trauma of child abuse at the hands of his father. Those things I am intimately familiar with, and I’m all for sharing the struggle with a fellow survivor who just wants to find love and happiness. In these ways, Just a Geek absolutely makes me feel heard.
6. Death: Pick a book that has forever changed you.
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer was my introduction to adult level hard Sci-Fi and the book that started my obsession with everything this man writes. Don’t let the title fool you! This is not a religious book.
Two alien species are passing by Earth and decide to stop by, looking for someone who will join them on their quest. Both species come from societies where science and religion are interconnected; one cannot exist without the other. They’re fascinated to find a society where this is not true, and science and religion are in conflict.
A holographic projection of leader Holus shows up at the front entrance of a museum in Ontario and says “Take me to your paleontologist.” The paleontologist she meets happens to be dying of lung cancer, which puts him in the unique position of being a little more willing to walk away from the remainder of his life and join these aliens on their quest to find God.
God in this case is defined as the oldest being in the universe, presumed to have survived the big bang, and perhaps had something to do with it. They want to find this being, gaze upon it, and perhaps be noticed by it.
There’s also a subplot of religious extremists breaking into museums to destroy fossils, as they believe these are fakes and part of the athiest agenda to invalidate creation theory.
7. The Devil: Pick a character that makes you scream because of how annoying they are.
Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy annoys me to no end. Was she the right character to follow in the games itself? Probably. Is she the character to follow for the rest of the story? No. She’s really bad at human relationships. She’s not picking up what anyone else is laying down. She’s terrible at pretending to be in love with Peeta, and by the time she finally catches feels, Peeta’s had some memory tampering courtesy of the Capitol and no longer loves her. When she’s the face of the rebellion in District 13, she’s either a shell shocked yes woman who questions nothing, or a rebellious renegade who ruins everything. And don’t even get me started on the series conclusion…
8. The Tower: Pick a book that destroys a certain stereotype
Wicked by Gregory Maguire in the back story to all the characters we meet in The Wizard of Oz. I’d say it destroys the stereotype of villains being evil for the sake of being evil, or for having an evil antagonist. We find that things are not what they seem. The Wicked Witch of the West is not so wicked after all, Glinda the Good Witch is not as pure as she appears, and the Wicked Witch of the East, as it turns out, is the most wicked of them all.
9. The Star: Pick an inspirational book.
Absolutely any of the memoirs by actor Michael J Fox would suit this prompt well, but the one on my bookshelf is Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. I believe this is his second book, which picks up where Lucky Man left off. This is Michael living with Parkingson’s, post diagnosis, and learning that his disease does not have to control or define him. He talks about how he’s working in voice acting, how he takes some small on-screen roles just to challenge himself to do scenes without twitching, and how he continues to love life and recognize how lucky and loved he is in this world. Nothing can keep him down, and he doesn’t want anything to keep us down, either.
I feel particularly connected to Michael J Fox because he grew up in Burnaby, which is in the vicinity of Vancouver, BC, Canada, and he actually attended the same high school that my father went to (though not at the sametime.) His first dog during his life outside of Canada was a big black dog (Newf? Lab?) named Burnaby, to remind him of home.
10. The Sun: What author do you hope becomes a household name because of how awesome their work is?
Shannon Patrick Sullivan is a local author from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. He’s also a math professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, a self-proclaimed vigilante, and a Whovian. He was actually my first year calculus professor when I first moved out here to attend MUN, and a blurb on his course website about his other interests is how I discovered his writing. I shamelessly brought my copy to class, hoping he would notice me reading it, and plucked up the courage to go to his office hours and talk about his book.
The Dying Days is his debut novel, and it’s an urban fantasy set here in St. John’s. The premise is that cities have memories, and if you know how to access those memories then you can access old pathways and structures that don’t exist anymore. By accessing this forgotten version of the city, the main character uncovers the true underbelly of the city and must work with his new found allies to save St. John’s from a magical threat.
I particularly enjoyed all the scenes that took place on the university campus itself, because being personally familiar with the setting in the real world made the fantasy elements all the more interesting. Sullivan plays with the real world history of the campus, such as the fact that the building currently used to house the offices and tutorial halls for the math department was once the original library, and uses that to his advantage to add mystery and intrigue to the story.
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