Parks and Recreation Book Tag

To commemorate my final binge-watch of Parks and Recreation, which I first noted in my January 2018 Wrap Up where I rave about season three, I decided to answer this phenomenal book tag dedicated to the show and its characters. As of right now, there are two original Parks and Rec book tags, but since I liked certain questions for certain characters more, I decided to mix the tags together to create all-around more fulfilling answers. The questions were created by Wanderlust Books & Icebreaker694.

For me, the magic of the show is that, on top of being a comedy that prioritizes joy instead of conflict or drama, it includes a wide cast of characters that is essentially one of a kind, so coming up with answers that served them justice was a bit of a head-scratcher. But I figured it out, eventually!

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Leslie Knope:

A strong female character who has lots of determination

Leslie’s zeal and passion for her work and those in her surrounding (and waffles) is frankly both terrifying and inspiring to watch from the sidelines. So coming up with a character to match her enthusiasm and dedication was unheard of… until I recalled Mia from Little Fires Everywhere, whose fiery dedication comes through at a turning point in the storyline, so much so that I can still feel its aftermath reverberating off the book. 

But it’s this next passage on mother/daughter bonds, which I shared in my review, that is so worth the lengthy read to capture the essence of her character:

“It had been a long time since her daughter had let her be so close. Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less. As a baby Pearl had clung to her; she’d worn Pearl in a sling because whenever she’d set her down, Pearl would cry. There’d scarcely been a moment in the day when they had not been pressed together. As she got older, Pearl would still cling to her mother’s leg, then her waist, then her hand, as if there were something in her mother she needed to absorb through the skin. Even when she had her own bed, she would often crawl into Mia’s in the middle of the night and burrow under the old patchwork quilt, and in the morning they would wake up tangled, Mia’s arm pinned beneath Pearl’s head, or Pearl’s legs thrown across Mia’s belly. Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses had become rare—a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug—and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.”

Ann Perkins:

A character that you would like as your best friend
I jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC of Leslye Walton’s The Price Guide to the Occult since I’d been waiting to dive into more of the author’s words for close to two years. It did not disappoint. And I have a full review raving all about it that you’re more than welcome to visit here.

The friend in question is Savvy, aka the Guardian of Unwanted Things, who shows our main character Nor the bottomless support of female friendship.

“Though Savvy couldn’t actually solve the bulk of Nor’s problems, Nor felt better having been reminded that she had someone who gave enough of a shit to try.”

In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author—Nor’s own mother—looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

Expected publication: March 13th, 2018

Andy Dwyer:

A character that seems to get in a lot of trouble but that all the readers love
The second volume of Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer dropped this month, so it’s quite impossible not to mention the charismatic “Captain” Carswell Thorne. The shared characteristic that both Andy and Carswell posses is the ability to be the goofiest of goofballs around.

“A captain always knows where his ship is. It’s like a psychic bond.”
“If only we had a captain here.”

O Captain! My Captain!

April Ludgate:

 A grumpy character that still steals your heart

The day I randomly decided to watch Andy and April edits online, after watching the Chris Pratt bloopers from the show, was one of the wisest decisions. Those two led me to finally watch season three, which is where they are most heavily featured, and the rest is history.

Oh, and it’s in one of those videos that I found a comment that perfectly summarizes their characters: It’s like watching a grumpy cat and golden retriever get married.

So to answer this question I’m going with a book that I absolutely adored last year but haven’t seen that many people mention: Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian.

motherest-bookspoilsMotherest is an inventive and moving coming-of-age novel that captures the pain of fractured family life, the heat of new love, and the particular magic of the female friendship-all through the jagged lens of a fraying daughter-mother bond.

Set in the early 1990s, Agnes is feeling acutely alienated from everything and everyone upon starting her first year as a new college student. And it’s all captured brilliantly through the author’s writing style that I still think about constantly. In particular, I keep spinning around this exchange with her crush in my head:

I keep walking. He slows down a little as if to chat, and I move faster. I want to turn around so badly that walking feels like pushing through the heaviest revolving door in the world, but I keep going.”

This may be small, but it speaks volumes. As I mentioned it in my review, this novel excels at capturing the more quiet and subtle moments in life, and I was so here for it.

Ron Swanson:

 A character that you didn’t think you would end up loving

For this, I had to go with Reagan from one of my all-time favorite Fangirl, who is notoriously known for speaking her mind and not being anybody’s fool.

“Are you Zack, or are you Cody?”

I made the wise call to revisit the book through audiobook for the first time, and I feel like even the narrator is enjoying herself with the character because I can always hear a hint of a smile upon reading Reagan’s lines.

“I look like this because I’m alive,” Reagan said. “Because I’ve had experiences. Do you understand?”

Oh, Levi. You perfect sunflower.

Donna Meagle

A character who’s confident in what they do

I didn’t even have to think too long before Large Marge from Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone popped to mind! Set in the 1970s around “the harsh, uncompromising beauty of Alaska,” this novel tackles a variety of topics, including domestic abuse, the importance of having a support system, young love, and so much more.

What struck me, in particular, was the community of women that came together to help a family in need, without questions asked. It was one of the most beautiful things to grow out of this novel. Marge Birdsall, aka Large Marge, was the one that remained with me long after I finished the last page. Her unwavering support still rings so loudly in my mind. Like I said in my review, my aesthetic is having Large Marge shut down entitled men.

“You want to fight this battle?” Large Marge advanced, bracelets clattering. “If this young woman misses a single day of school, I will call the state and turn you in, Ernt Allbright. Don’t think for one second I won’t. You can be as batshit crazy and mean as you want, but you are not going to stop this beautiful girl from finishing high school. You got it?”
“The state won’t care.”
“Oh. They will. Trust me. You want me talking to the authorities about what goes on here, Ernt?”
“You don’t know shit.”
“Yeah, but I’m a big woman with a big mouth. You want to push me?”

Tom Haverford:

A character who likes to dream bigJanuary was also the month where I received the opportunity to read an incredible short story written by Dahlia Adler in The Radical Element anthology. Daughter of the Book was the introducing story to the collection, and my immediate first thought upon completing it went, “I don’t know how any following tale will top that one.” (And as you can tell, since I’m not writing this in the review for the anthology, I had to put the book down because I couldn’t continue reading without comparing each following tale to the phenomenal opening one.)

Set in 1838, Savannah, Georgia, Daughter of the Book follows Rebekah’s fight and journey to receive a more fulfilling Jewish education.

“Tell them I’m Jewish first.”

Dahlia Adler created one of the most memorable protagonists I’ve encountered in my reading with Rebekah Wolf. And it is the first time that I’m actually aching for a short story to be expanded into a full novel.

The Radical Element 1-- bookspoils

I’ve read a whole lot of short stories in anthologies these past few years, but I’ve truly never felt so seen before. There are talks of Hebrew, Torah, the Prophets, our history, language, and people. To paraphrase this article, it was how I talked, how my mom talked, how my sister talked. This was the writer of our experience. And as someone who does listen avidly to Torah lessons, I couldn’t have asked for a better story to capture the essence of my appreciation.

Also, having watched the Israeli show Shababnikim, which is about four young Orthodox yeshiva students, made the characters in this short story stand out that more. Speaking of which, I would highly recommend giving the show a try if you enjoyed Dahlia Adler’s story because it showcases formidable female characters challenging the norm, as well as featuring situations with outstanding humor and precise commentary that makes everything shift in your point of view.

If you’re interested, the first episode is available to check out with English subtitles on the official Youtube page:

Jean-Ralphio Saperstein:

A character that annoys the socks out of you

The limit does not exist to the extravagance that is Jean-Ralphio Saperstein, especially with Mona-Lisa his “twin sister from the same mister” around. I can only imagine the blast the writers must have writing those scenes.

So finding a character as outrageous as Jean-Ralphio was nearly impossible until I  finally recalled someone coming just close enough: Kenji Kishimoto. With the fourth Shatter Me book coming out this March, all the love I held for these characters in 2014 has been coming back in a rush to me.
I mean, just read this next bit and tell me that you don’t hear Jean-Ralphio in the last line:

“Please—please get up—and lower your voice—”
“Hell no.”
“Why not?” I’m pleading now.
“Because if I lower my voice, I won’t be able to hear myself speak. And that,” he says, “is my favorite part.”

Even though I don’t care that much for the world created in these dystopian books, the characters… Oh, man, that is a whole ‘nother deal.

Unrelated: Tahereh Mafi can write romance scenes like no one other, in case you’re wondering what I’m most excited for in the newest book…tahereh mafi-- bookspoilsScreen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

And that’s a wrap on all my answers for the Parks and Recreation book tag. I hope you enjoyed reading! If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.

Oh, and let me know your favorite character from the show in the comments below!


The Beautiful Book Covers Tag

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 
― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The last tag I did on my blog was back in March, when I created part two to my original Skam book tag, so it felt like the perfect time to answer and add a new one to the archives. This tag was created by theheavyblanks on Youtube.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just scroll down to the books at the end to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

1. Choose five of the most beautiful books in your collection.

The yellow aesthetic is naturally strong in this one.

*Note on the cover of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul: I chose the beautifully fan-made cover by the talented Gillian Goerz, instead of the originally published one.

2. Choose a beautiful book that features your most favorite color.

Pink, pink, pink in all its splendor and glory. I have a whole Goodreads shelf dedicated to my pink covers, which you can check out here.

P.S. You know you’re having way too much fun with a tag when you can’t decide on just one book.

3. Choose a beautiful book that features your least favorite color.

Orangey-brown hues tend to least attract me to book covers, but with the above two I can stare for hours on end at the detailing. With Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am in particular because of those background sentences you cannot help but try to make sense of.

4. Choose your favorite cover of a classic.the-handmaids-tale-bookspoilsThe cover for this timeless piece of fiction can be summed up in one word: grandiose.

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.” 

5. Choose your favorite cover of a children’s book.Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls-- bookspoilsI simply had to give this empowering collection a spotlight. I read and reviewed it earlier this year and have been on the search ever since for more feminist reads like it.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, and I would highly recommend it for all ages! You’re never too young or old to start on your path through feminist history.

6. Do you often buy books based solely on a beautiful cover?

To put it simply: Yes. Whether I’m buying or borrowing from the library, the cover plays a pretty big role in my decision making. However, what usually makes or breaks the final cut is the first sentence/ chapter of said book.

7. Out of every book that you own, which book best exemplifies your idea of a beautiful book.

My personal definition of an ultimate beautiful book cover is one that makes me feel wistful while looking at it. Like Noora Sætre below:tumblr_ohcqbqculy1r3ssslo3_500So far the only book that’s succeeded at creating that effect is one I have a long history with: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.Fangirl-- bookspoilsI probably wouldn’t have discovered my love for reading back in 2014, if it hadn’t been for the phenomenal characters Rainbow Rowell created in here. So looking at that cover always makes me reminisce about so many things, including my favorite scenes from the book, which I talk about extensively in my review here .

And that’s a wrap on all my answers for the Beautiful Covers book tag. If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

The Office Book Tag

The Office is one of my favorite shows, so thank you leaninglights on Youtube for creating this tag!

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the books I mentioned in this post, just click on the images below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Tag Questions:

1. Michael Scott – Book that tried WAY too hard:
I had to go with Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, I gave it 1.5/5 stars. You can read more of my thoughts on it here.

2. Dwight Schrute – Book that ended up being a lot more complex than you thought it would be.
Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I chose this one because of how well-written Levana was in it.
Marissa Meyer really knows how to create memorable characters. (And Levana still frightens me with her twisted thoughts.)

3. Jim Halpert – YOU in a book. Book/character that you related to a ton.
Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It actually scared me how similar our actions were; everything Cath thought or did was something I’ve thought or done before. I think it goes without saying that Fangirl is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I can’t wait to reread it for the 20th time.

4. Pam Beesly – Seriously underrated but amazing book you wish everyone would read!
For this I had to go with A Tyranny of Petticoats by Jessica Spotswood. This came out in March 2016 and has some of my favorite short stories in it. This anthology contains 15 short stories written by today’s most talented writers of young adult literature. My full review can be found here.

5. Ryan Howard – THE INTERN. Debut novel that impressed you.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I read this beautiful novel earlier this year and have not stopped thinking about it. Easily added to my all-time favorites.

6. Andy Bernard – ANNOYING book/character that you can’t help but love (or not).
For this I had to go with Sorry Eva from Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

“Some in our group called her Sorry Eva because she often said appalling things, but inserted the word sorry before or after, as if to soften the sting.”

It’s been a few months since I finished it, but her character in particular has stuck with me. My full review can be found here.

7. Robert California – Book/character/plot that went over your head or was really confusing.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I can’t recall much from the tale because it’s been a few years, but I’ll never forget the feeling of confusion page after page. I remember reaching the end and thinking, What just happened?”

8. Angela Martin – Book with a plot that didn’t appeal to you at first but you ended up loving!
Definitely the very first book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was so hesitant with picking this up, but I’m really glad that I did. The first two books in the series still remain my favorites from the current four published.

9. Kelly Kapoor – Favorite sassy character.
Captain Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. He’s one of my favorite guys in the series. There was never a time when he didn’t manage to make me laugh with his remarks, especially in the last story of Stars Above.

10. Kevin Malone – Book that features music.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. One of the greatest things about this book were the songs and pictures included within! I can’t wait for Matson’s new novel The Unexpected Everything to come out.

11. Phyllis Lapin – Book that made you feel warm and fuzzy.
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh because the romance between the two main
characters was swoon worthy. My full thoughts on it here.

12. Oscar Martinez – Book that has an awesome LGBT character that defies stereotypes.
Ronan from The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This series is on my all-time favorites list. If you want to read me gushing about it, here’s my full review.

13. Stanley Hudson – Character/book that DGAF!
I had to go with Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo because it’s honestly
inspiring how much he DGAF. I can’t wait to visit this world again in the sequel.

14. Meredith Palmer – Book you couldn’t stomach (too graphic/violent/romantic/vulgar – or whatever your reason!)

For this I had to go with 2 books-
The first being: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover because it was too everything for me (mostly dramatic).
And the second being: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley. I decided to DNF this book after about 100 pages because I got sick to my stomach by the whole birds situation.

15. Creed Bratton – Book/series that only ever made you ask more questions.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Suffice it to say that I did not continue on with the series after this one.

Those were all the questions for The Office Book Tag.
If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.