10 Best Books of the Year (So Far…)

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

10 Best Books of the Year (So Far…)

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – definitely my favorite of the year!  I have always been drawn to WWII, and specifically Holocaust, literature.  There is something sadly riveting about it, and I am always struck, even with novels, by the lengths of depravity that human beings are capable of reaching.  Zusak has written a book that will, in my opinion, be a staple in the literary canon, as it is certainly a worthy representative of quality literature in general, and of 20th century fiction in particular.

2.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers – I am amazed at the fact that McCullers produced this when she was only 23 years old.  She clearly had wisdom beyond her years, and deeply understood the nature of loneliness.  This is an excellent book…dark and sad certainly,  and McCullers has the ability to draw you in and make you feel like more than just an observer.

3.  Animal Farm by George Orwell – A brilliantly written allegory that is a total and utter indictment of communism.  Everyone should read it.  EVERYONE!  I’m sort of aghast at myself for not having read it until now, and I am m-a-n-y years removed from school.

4.  The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – I thoroughly enjoyed this book…much more, in fact, than I thought I would.  Interestingly, in all my years of reading and through both B.A. and M.A. in English, I never heard the term “marriage plot.”  I read a number of the novels referenced by this book, but I do not recall ever discussing the marriage plot, and how it is a prevalent literary convention in Victorian literature.  Either I completely skirted any class that would have addressed it, or it wasn’t covered.  I’m leaning toward the latter.  At any rate, this is a worthy book, and while it is enjoyable on its own, it is better if you’ve read some Victorian lit.

5.  Philippians – easily one of my favorite books of the Bible.

I don’t actually think anything else qualifies as the best of the year so far, so five it is.

The 7 Books in my “Beach Bag” (aka My Summer Reading)

8eb9c-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

The 7 Books in my “Beach Bag” (aka My Summer Reading)

  1. once upon a time there was youOnce Upon a Time, There was You by Elizabeth Berg – I am currently listening to this, and enjoying it a lot.  Elizabeth Berg ebbs and flows in her writing, and this is one of her better ones. – FINISHED
  2. Ecclesiastes (ESV) – I’m reading my way through the Bible…not on a schedule, just reading through.  This is one of my summer selections.
  3. Isaiah (ESV) – Ditto #2.
  4. the know-it-allThe Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs – It has been languishing on my bookshelf for 2-3 years now, so it’s time, and I’m looking for something light and fun during dog days of summer.
  5. Extravagant Grace by Barbara R. Duguid – summer reading for my women’s Bible study group.
  6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – making my way slowly through this book.  Very interesting, but I come and go.  Still, it stays in the current summer rotation.
  7. my own miraculousMy Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson – an ebook original short by one of my favorite southern authors. – FINISHED

I don’t particularly plan ahead on what I’m reading, and the above list contains everything that I am either currently reading or is immediately on deck.  I’ll read more (I hope), but I have no idea what it will be, as I’m very much beholden to my literary mood of the moment.

Top Ten (or Seven) Series I Need to Finish


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week they will post a new Top Ten list  that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.
All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

Top Ten (or Seven) Series I Need to Finish (or Start and Finish, as the Case May Be)

  1. Millennium series by Stieg Larssen – I read (listened to) the first book with my husband, and he went on to finish, but I haven’t yet.  I l-o-v-e-d the first book, so I need to either make the time to listen, or just plow in and read them.  One of my favorite series ever.
  2. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – I’ve read six of the seven, and I still have the seventh sitting on my bookshelf.  I fear it’s been so long since I read them that I need to start from the beginning again.  Again, loved the series, but I got distracted and never got back to it.
  3. Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis – This is a series I have never read.  I grew up with my head in the literary sand, and I have never put this at the top of my “to-be-read” list.  However, this is the year.  My son starts 3rd grade in the fall, and he will be reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for school, so I will be reading with him.
  4. Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke – I have read (or listened to) about half of these books, and I always thoroughly enjoy them.  Dave Robicheaux is a character I love, and I especially appreciate how he has developed over the years I have been acquainted with him.  Additionally, the bayou setting really functions as character in and of itself, and it is a setting I love.
  5. Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr – Another series I have dipped into quite a bit, but have only read (or listened to) about half of the books.  She is another detective character that I have loved over the years, and her job as a park ranger takes her all over the United States, so the location is constantly changing, but the setting is always within the federal park system.  It’s different, and that is one of the major reasons I enjoy this series.
  6. Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien – I have never read this series.  <GASP>  I have seen the movies, which were brilliant, and I fully expect the books to be even more brilliant.  It is a bit of a travesty that I am mid-way through my 40s and have never given these a try.  My husband raves about them, and my son will read them for school at some point, so they are definitely in my future.
  7. The Gunslinger series by Stephen King – I hope I get back to these books one day.  I read the first three as soon as they were published, but got distracted and caught up in other things while waiting for the fourth book to come out.  I tried 2-3 years ago to listen to The Gunslinger, and I had to set it aside because I thought it was awful.  I actually dreaded listening, and that is unheard of for me.  I love Stephen King, so it is really hard for me to admit that, and I’m hoping that it’s more a case of being in the wrong frame of mind for that series than to have truly had a chance of taste such that I can no longer enjoy it.  We shall see…

Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors in My Reading Journey

 
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list  that one (or more) of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness.

These are my Top Ten…ok, Top Fifteen… “Gateway” Books/Authors (in somewhat random order):

  1. My Bible Friends – Etta B. Degering
  2. Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories – Arthur S. Maxwell
  3. The Ugly Duckling – Hans Christian Andersen
  4. A Girl Called Tommie, A Nurse Called Tommie, A Wife Called Tommie – Thelma G. Norman
  5. Little House in the Big Woods (Little House #1) – Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. My Sister Mike – Amelia Elizabeth Walden
  7. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
  8. Now – Merikay McLeod
  9. A Little Princess, The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgeson Burnett
  10. Unblessed – Berneice Lunday
  11. Unleashed – Leon Orr
  12. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  13. Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes
  14. Nancy Drew Mysteries – Carolyn Keene
  15. Biographies of everyone from George Washington & Thomas Jefferson to Paul Revere, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, George Washington Carver…you name it, I read it.

Amazing that a list like this does not include The Chronicles of Narnia, anything by Dr. Seuss, no Maurice Sendak, barely anything in the traditional canon of children’s literature.  I am thankful that The Witch of Blackbird Pond made it into my hands, as it was one of my few reading experiences outside the narrow sphere of denominational sanctioning (as a young adolescent, anyway), and it lit a spark.

A Bookish Bucket List – Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So, without further ado…My Bookish Bucket List!

  1. Read Les Miserables…one of these days, when my kiddos are grown.
  2. Finally read Anna Karenina.
  3. Finish The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor.
  4. Read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
  5. Read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis with my sons.  My first time through will be when I read them with my oldest son.
  6. Read everything by Willa Cather, Cormac McCarthy and Kent Haruf.
  7. Have over 300 classics on my finished list.  I’m currently at 186.
  8. Buy no new books for an entire year…including Kindle books.  Limit my reading during that year to my personal library and our local public libraries.  (I’ve tried this before and failed magnificently.)
  9. Get back to reviewing books on this blog.
  10. Own my own used (and loved) book store…perhaps with a reading nook complete with coffee and comfy chairs.

 

Top Ten…ok, Five…Books on my Spring TBR Pile

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.  I haven’t participated in a l-o-n-g time, but since it’s Spring Break this week, and I’m working on getting the baby on a new nap schedule, and my 8yo is happily eating breakfast and watching Curious George, I have time.

So, what are my reading priorities for Spring 2014?  Read on…

  1. Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal by T. David Gordon…I’m a pianist, and until recently, I was playing part time at our church.  Long story short, I am no longer doing that, due to some major differences of opinion that are not necessary to discuss here.  So I’m reading this book, which was recommended by a friend.  It should shed some light on some things I’ve felt for a long time.
  2. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather…This past winter, I finally read (well, listened to) O, Pioneers! and My Antonia after many years on my TBR list.  I loved them.  L-o-v-e-d them…and loved O, Pioneers! especially.  Yes, I know My Antonia is Cather’s premier novel, and I really did enjoy it, but O, Pioneers! resonated deeply with me.  So I’m on to The Song of the Lark, to complete the Great Plains Trilogy, and then on to the rest of Cather’s work.  If you haven’t read her books, I encourage you to do so.  They are wonderful.
  3. Pain Redeemed: When Our Deepest Sorrows Meet God by Natasha Metzler…I started this early last year, and have yet to finish it.  I mean to do that this spring.  It is a deeply moving book of Metzler’s struggle with infertility.  I also read her blog (http://natashametzler.com/), and it is very encouraging.  She is a deep, thoughtful woman with a lot to say, and it’s high time I finished her book.
  4. Joy! A Study on Philippians for Women by Keri Folmar…I have a really hard time finding Bible studies that resonate with me, and truthfully, it’s not something I have ever been very good at.  However, I have lately felt like I need to do some sort of study, and I when I ran across this book, I connected with the idea of studying joy immediately.  So, this is another spring goal…to complete the study.  I’ve read Philippians – recently – so I really have no excuses.
  5. Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat…This book is a collection of essays inspired by the blog of the same name, which is utterly hilarious.  If you’re not familiar with Jen, stop by her blog and read some of her entries.  She’s a bit of a potty mouth, so if you’re sensitive to that, consider yourself warned.  My personal favorite is her post on The Elf on the Shelf, which was gut-wrenchingly funny.  That was also the post that initially went viral, and launched her into the public consciousness.  She’s snarky & funny, and finds hilarity in every day life.  That is right up my alley.

That’s all I have on my short list for the moment.  There are many others, and you can peruse my entire list at Goodreads if you like.

Ahhh…Summer, the Time of Beach Reads!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Everyone is welcome to join.

Just link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out your list! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Ahhh…Summer, the Time of Beach Reads!

1.  The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand.  Set on Nantucket Island, as many of her books are, this is a sweet story involving (primarily) the restaurant staff of this popular eatery.  Perfect for a quick summer read.

2.  Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli.  This is the first book I read by Pezzelli, and I was not disappointed.  It starts in Rhode Island with the death of Anna, Peppi’s wife, but it quickly transitions to Italy as he returns to the land of his birth, reconnects with an old friend, and falls in love again.  It’s predictable, but after a but of a herky-jerky start, Pezzelli settles into a quick & easy style that is perfect for a day at the beach.

3.  Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik.  As with most (or all?) of her books, this one is set in Minnesota, and centers around a group of women living on the same street who decide to start a book club.   It evolves to much more than that, of course, and though the arc of the story is fairly predictable, it is well written and has a lot meat on the bones.  Landvik has an writing style that makes for a fast, easy and enjoyable read, perfect for the beach.

5.  Bitsy’s Bait and BBQ by Pamela Morsi.  I was drawn to this book by the eye-catching title, and found it to be exactly the right thing for a summer read.  It is set in the South, a setting I love, and it has the predictable love story.  However, the writing is engaging and the characters are loveable, so it makes for a delightful read.

6.  Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson.  This was Jackson’s debut novel, but the unusual title suggested right away that it would be a book worth reading.  I was not disappointed.  This is a Southern author whose works I love, and because characters reappear from time to time in different books, this first novel is the ideal place to start.  It is a quick and easy read, but truly enjoyable on every level.

7.  The Last Beach Bungalow by Jennie Nash.  A beach setting, which (obviously) is a great beach read.  I think I picked this up because of the cover art, and it was a lovely, if predictable, summer read.  Great for relaxing in the sun.

8.  The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright.  I love epistolary novels, and this is no exception.  It is the story of a 39 year marriage, documented in a letter written each Wednesday by Jack to Laurel, and it plays out for their children, who are home to attend their funeral.  Though it sounds like a downer, it is not, and it is rich with all the elements of a classic love story.  Worth the time, and great for the beach despite the subject matter because it is quick and easy to read.

9.  Sweetgrass by Mary Alice Monroe.  I have read several of Monroe’s novels over the years, but I particularly loved this one.  I love the Southern setting of South Carolina, the typical “Southern” way (even in the way Monroe writes), and the cultural issues that she included.  It has an authentically Southern feel.  It also deals with some heavy subjects, but Monroe does not have a heavy hand, which makes it a lovely summer read.

10.  Hearts on a String by Kris Radish.  A story that illustrates a grandmother’s anecdote about the thread that connects all women, it is sweet and fun and easy to read.  Radish always has some fairly implausible element to her story lines, but in the end it doesn’t matter, because she touches you, entertains you, and lets you escape from regular life for a bit.  You will not be disappointed.