I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are reading books – to myself, with my parents, with my peers. “Go out to play!” my parents said. “Ugh,” said I, whilst grabbing a book to read.
The problem with always having my head stuck in a book is that I’ve forgotten a lot of them. Blogging and Goodreads? They help resurrect my memories of a particular novel. Unfortunately, in the time before I started tracking my reading and in the times I have lapsed… the books have fluttered out of my mind. Even the ones I own, sometimes!
Does anyone else have this problem?
As far as I can remember, I really liked these books, but I’ll be darned if I can give you any more than a vague semblance of the plot when you ask me what they’re about and why I liked them.
by Tamora Pierce
Earthquake damage leaves Winding Circle vulnerable to pirate attack, so everyone – including the young mages-in-training Tris, Briar, Daja, and Sandry – is working to strengthen the community’s defenses. When Tris’s cousin Aymery comes to visit, he advises the “weather witch” to return to the family that exiled her, but she doesn’t wish to leave her friends to face the threat without her.
As the onslaught begins, two things become terribly clear: The priates have a powerful new weapon, and they have an accomplice within Winding Circle. But the attackers have failed to reckon with the fury of a young mage betrayed once too often and her very stubborn, very loyal friends.
This was probably my favorite Tamora Pierce book for a good stretch while growing up. I remember that Tris is a weather witch and I feel like there may have been a protect-the-keep-esque battle, but those are the only things I remember. That, and I chose it for an art project where we were supposed to create a new book cover for our favorite book. The artwork was embarrassingly terrible.
by Erich Maria Remarque
This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I. These young men become enthusiastic soldiers, but their world of duty, culture, and progress breaks into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.
Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the hatred that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another – if only he can come out of the war alive.
I remember procrastinating on this book because it was assigned for one of my college history classes and we’d just finished Madame Bovary (which wasn’t bad, just a bit dull) and I didn’t feel like reading any more boring books. When I did pick it up somewhat at the last moment (unusual for me, I was never a procrastinator), I remember liking it. All I remember about the story was that it took place during WWII, but I liked it.
by Scott O’Dell
In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind. — This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery
Another one that I loved in school and don’t remember at all. This one I read in fourth grade and always loved… to the point that I’ve added it to my home library and I still don’t quite remember what it was about, but it’s a small book and I should reread it and find out what all the fuss eight-year-old me was on about.
by Anne Rice
Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rockstar in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying exsitence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.
I love to point to Lestat as the quintessential modern evolution of a proper vampire, but if I’m being quite honest with myself, I remember very little of what happened in his standalone book. Although Lestat features in most of Rice’s vampire stories, the only real thing I recall from The Vampire Lestat is that he is French and there were wolves. And I’m not even 100% on the French part. He was French, right?
by Garth Nix
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.
Sabriel was my earliest foray into darker fantasy. I remember it felt gritty. I remember I hated Sabriel, but as the trilogy continued, I loved Lirael. This trilogy has been on my TBR for years – so long, in fact, I recommended it to my husband who read it, loved it and wanted to talk about it… only I couldn’t remember anything. Oops! I really, really need to reread this one.
by L. Frank Baum
Considered to be the most spectacularly illustrated of all the Oz books, The Emerald City of Oz vividly describes the continuing adventures of Dorothy, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and their move to the magical kingdom. Readers discover how Dorothy became a princess, got lost and was found again by the Wizard; how the Wizard practiced sorcery, the Scarecrow displayed his wisdom and Uncle Henry got into trouble; and how the fierce warriors invaded Oz. And, of course, there are such bizarre characters as the Cuttenclips, Wogglebug, Grand Gallipoot, and Flutterbudgets.
I’ve been watching The Wizard of Oz since I was a little girl, but I didn’t read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz until after graduating college. The Oz book I grew up with was The Emerald City of Oz, which was one of the only ones in my school library. I have fond memories of a day just before the end of the school year when my fifth grade teach let us crawl through the window and read books outside under the trees in front of the school. I have absolutely no memory of what this book is about.
by Catherine Fisher
Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells and corridors, but metal forests, dilapidated cities, and wilderness. It has been sealed for centuries, and only one man has ever escaped. Finn has always been a prisoner here. Although he has no memory of his childhood, he is sure he came from Outside. His link to the Outside, his chance to break free, is Claudia, the warden’s daughter, herself determined to escape an arranged marriage. They are up against impossible odds, but one thing looms above all: Incarceron itself is alive . . .
I remember really, really liking the world-building in this book. I remember it was in two perspective, and I liked his voice in the underground prison rather than her voice… also I feel like her dad was the prison warden? I remember that this book reminded me of The Maze Runner, but I liked it better. I have both this and Sapphique on my shelf, and I think they both really merit a reread, because I can’t remember them at all.
by John Knowles
An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war.
Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.
I read this in high school and everyone hated it. Seriously, everyone. It is a rare moment when the entire eleventh grade joins ranks with the specific goal of tearing down a book. I didn’t hate it, though, which made things a bit awkward. Actually, I remember quite liking it. I spent a lot of time defending this book to my peers, but 12 years later… I have no clue what it was about. I do remember the main characters’ names are Phineas and Gene!
The Devil in the White City
by Erik Lawson
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.
I remember a little more about this one than I do about some others. I remember that there was a murderer and a murder house and the ferris wheel was invented for the World’s Fair and that I LOVED it and I usually don’t fawn over non-fiction. I also know that I can’t wait for the movie to eventually come out that’s attached to Leonardo DiCaprio (it will be amazing) but I don’t really remember… the story?
by Lauren DeStefano
In the not-too-distant future, genetic engineering has turned every newborn into a ticking time bomb: Males die at age twenty-five, and females die at age twenty. While scientists seek a miracle antidote, young girls are routinely kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted – except freedom.
Soon it becomes clear that not everyone at her new husband’s home is how they appear. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape… before her time runs out.
This was another I remember really liking the world-building in. It came in that giant rush of dystopias a few years back. I liked the cover, and I remember really liking the three girls, and I remember a LOT of other people didn’t like it. I have the second book in this series on my shelf as well, so this one has been on the reread list for a while.
I played around with this list – there’s a lot of books I don’t remember, but there are fewer that I remember loving. There are some I am sure that I have completely incorrect memories of as well (something I discovered the last time I read The Dark Tower). But that’s the beauty of rereads!
For more awesome lists of forgotten books, swing by That Artsy Reader Girl and check out the linkup! Or, if you’re feeling daring, join in yourself!