folklore came out of nowhere for me even though I am a shameless Taylor stan. When I was taking care of my mom back in 2011, a friend introduced me to The National and my music taste was forever changed for the better. This past month I’ve been tossed around different moods all centering around nostalgia and storytelling, content to just sit back and enjoy the ride. This combination of songwriters was just what I needed to face some bad memories, work through my writer’s block, and gave me something to listen to without skipping a single song (except maybe epiphany sometimes I’M SORRY I’M WEAK).
Doing a tag like this seems perfect since I’ve been reading so much thanks to the album, so I’m glad some people made them for me! The one I’m using is from Star is All Booked Up, so let’s go!
the 1: a book you grew out of
Long before miss Joanne decided she wanted to use twitter dot com for evil, I decided on a reread of the Harry Potter series. I had… the most conflicted time, because these were stories I LOVED when I was a child, and my adult eyes weren’t seeing the pure joy and magic I remembered. I was seeing anti-Muslim imagery, Chinese and Jewish stereotypes, a conservative mindset about change and equality, and a victim blaming mindset for slavery, not to mention the intense fat shaming at every turn. These had to be exclusive to the new editions, correct? There was no way I grew up accepting this without question! But, of course, JKR’s bigotry and hate has always been there, we just didn’t question themes and allegories in our books when we were seven. Hell, Rita Skeeter is basically described as a caricature of a woman who can change appearance in order to sneak around where she doesn’t belong. It’s a reach, but the mindset is there and once seen, I can’t go back. Her attacking the safety of an entire group of people who just want to live their authentic lives is just… something a putrid hobgoblin would do, and it was the push I needed to yeet her merch out of my house.
cardigan: a book you keep coming back to
This is a weird one, but I’m gonna go with Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I was assigned this book in an English course a couple of years back, and I think I skim through and reread sections every couple of weeks. It deals with such visceral feelings of abandonment and loneliness, the peace that comes with heartbreak, and the weight of drowning under an empty sky. I let myself drift into the pages, into the melancholy realization that someone else has felt these feelings, that I’ve been truly seen, and it’s like a ginger shot of catharsis whenever I need the reminder. I’ll just leave you guys with a quote:
“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing — the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again.”
the last great american dynasty: a book where everything goes wrong (in the best way)
I think I’m gonna go with Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Nothing goes right for Alex and it almost seems like the galaxy (heh) has it out for her at times. From ghosts constantly messing with her to secret societies (that she’s tasked with monitoring) trying to do anything to keep her from finding out what they’re really up to, she has few friends and even fewer clean shirts. It’s anxious to read her journey, but worth it completely in how strong and no-bullshit she is.
Alex is one of my favorite women of all time, and she says it best:
“I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me.”
exile: ending you didn’t like (ship that sank)
Second Bardugo in a row, and I can EXPLAIN myself.
I know, I KNOW, that this was the right ending for Alina and for this part of the Grishaverse. But knowing that and LIKING that are two different things. I wanted Alina to be able to have it all, to not have to sacrifice because of what she’d experienced. I wanted her true power to not be in living her old dream after such power, such influence, but in constantly raising higher. I know I’m wrong, but I loved her and it wouldn’t have been the choice I’d have made for her. Which is why it’s good Leigh wrote the books, because I’m getting so much more out of her universe this way, and she gave me new dreams again with Nikolai and Zoya.
my tears ricochet: broke your heart
Anything by Courtney Summers at this point. Especially The Project. She knows what she did.
mirrorball: a book that speaks to your soul
For this, I’ll go with The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski. Nirrim grows up in what is essentially a foster home, having lost her mother and knowing nothing but memories of her.
There are a lot of important conversations that can be had about Nirrim’s upbringing and the conditioning people of lower classes can go through to ask no questions of what they deserve or want out of their life, and I feel a strong connection to Nirrim for that.
seven: character you want to take home and protect
Lehabah from House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Listen, I couldn’t remember how to spell her name, so I searched a quote she says in my ebook copy, and I’m basically sobbing now just from that one page with all the love and fierce protectiveness I feel for her. Little fire spites who just want to be matchmakers and have fun with their friends should exist in MANY more fantasy novels, and I’ll be hoping for more of this kind of content in book two, Sarah.
august: summer love
Alex, Approximately really hits every beat of a summer romance in a satisfying way. I’ve only had one friend of mine dislike this book, and it just sits very solidly in my mind when I think of a cute book to read by the beach.
“The entire time they’re talking, I can’t tear my eyes away from Porter. What I’m feeling for him now is like drowning and floating at the same time.”
this is me trying: mental illness rep
This book really fucked me up, honestly. It’s got a lot of trigger warnings, so please be mindful.
The premise, essentially, is that once of Mara’s closest friends has accused her brother of raping her, and the fallout of this knowledge really fucks with Mara and pulls a lot of doubts, fears, and memories from where she’d been trying to keep them hidden. It isn’t an easy book to read, but it’s an important one, and I think about it a lot.
illicit affairs: forbidden romance
This book deserves so much more love! Sally Thorne writes such good romances, and this one features a unique heroine that seems to rub readers the wrong way, but I’d love for her to step on me. She’s awkward and brutish, and she verbally attacks first and asks questions later as a defense mechanism. The forbidden aspect here? Tom has been her twin brother’s best friend since they were children, and he’s often warned Darcy to leave him be. When she ends up in close quarters with him when he’s fixing up her grandmother’s house, she finds her brother’s warnings start fading away the more she remembers about Tom. IT’S SO GOOD, just give it a shot!
invisible string: soulmates
Lazlo and Sarai are the purest, softest beans and I will live and die for them!!! If any book I’ve read has ever contained genuine soulmates without it actually being a trope in the book, it’s these two. Nothing could stop them from fighting for each other, and they are stronger together than they ever could have been apart. I’ll let them say it best:
“Once upon a time there was a silence that dreamed of becoming a song, and then I found you, and now everything is music.”
mad woman: vengeful woman
If I’m murdered and all signs point to Jude Duarte, mind your business, I definitely consented to it. She’s wise above her years even excluding that the chessboard she’s playing on is stacked against her in almost every way. The sheer amount of plotting and outmaneuvering she manages in a world she was never supposed to belong to is awe inspiring, and I would like her to stomp on my throat. When she’s hurt, she comes back with a vengeance that makes immortals quake in their bloodied boots. Every single person that strikes against Jude is dealt with in ways both cunning and droolworthy.
“Mortals are fragile,’ I say.
‘Not you,’ he says in a way that sounds a little like a lament. ‘You never break.”
epiphany: a loss you’re not over
There is a certain death in A Conjuring of Light by Victoria Schwab that I still tear up thinking about. I don’t know if the series as a whole still stands up to time (i know it’s been like two years don’t @ me), but the loss of that character fucks with me.
betty: love triangle, f/f romance
I don’t think I need to say much more than just IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS WHAT ARE YOU DOING. It’s one of the books that was so hyped on booktube and was completely worth the hype. I will forever love Evelyn and this story.
“I’m bisexual. Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.”
In conclusion WE WILL STAN FOREVER.
I scrolled through my books on Goodreads for a few minutes convinced I couldn’t find a found family other than Six of Crows. But Blue and her boys are SUCH a good example of the found family trope I almost can’t believe I scrolled past them. I feel a lot of shame.
“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.
Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys.”
hoax: character that fooled you
I couldn’t think of anything for this so you’re getting this CLASSIC answer. I’m sorry but THIS SHIT is bananas – I watched the movie before the book and when I tell you I GASPED and clung to my partner’s arm. I usually pride myself on guessing twists and looking back MAYBE I COULD HAVE, but that’s not what matters. I was staring, mouth agape, with this story.
I will say nothing more because if you haven’t read / watched IT IS SOMETHING TO BE EXPERIENCED.
the lakes: a story about stories
Yeah I just wanted a prompt that was an excuse to screech about this book again. I’ll likely use this book in every prompt for ten years, so I’ll just put a quote and yeet myself.
“Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately.”
And there we have it, the folklore tag! I loved doing this and I really love things inspired by music, since it’s what shapes my reading so much.
If you guys have any answers for these, please lemme know!