• Bookish,  Lists,  Recommendations

    Feel Good Books : Recommendations

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    What do you read after a book that wrecks you? A Little Life – I’m looking at you. And this type of book doesn’t have to be rainbows and sunshine; just a different range of emotions or a unique quality to the book.

    My criteria:

    • Rich characters that aren’t always up to something sinister or awful.
    • Originality. Have you ever read a book and wondered how an author even came up with the idea for the book?
    • Mystery without the gore and with great twists of the plot.
    • A story of an ordinary family that overcomes ordinary family issues.
    • A story of redemption. The ending may not be fairytale perfect but you feel good about where the characters ended up.

    Here are five of my favorite feel good books… in no particular order:

    1. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – Set in the late 1930’s, this is a coming of age story set in New York City. The characters are so diverse, interesting, and each have their struggles which make each interesting to follow. The writing in this book is excellent and the constant descriptions of martinis inspired me to try my first dirty martini. Now, that’s good descriptive writing!
    2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – This book falls into the mystery category. The twists are unbelievable and I’m usually pretty good at figuring them out ahead of time. Adele, one of the main characters, made my Top 10 Villain list.
    3. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – Atwood creates a story of redemption through the arts with a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. There’s also a touch of sweet revenge.
    4. The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg – I read this book once a year. It’s about a family that appears functional on the surface but is anything but. As the plot develops, it’s so enjoyable to watch distant siblings come together.
    5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – This is one of the most original books I have read. A 15-year-old boy on the autism spectrum investigates the death of his neighbor’s dog Sherlock Holmes-style while navigating life, school, and the world that he sees very different at times.

    What are some of your feel good book recommendations?


  • Bookish,  Lists,  Top Ten Tuesday,  Wit

    Top 10 Tuesday: Villains

    TTT-NEWTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

    Today’s list is all about villains. And not just the awful ones but also my favorites, best, worst, lovable, creepiest, most evil, etc. This took some thought because I tend not to dwell on the bad guys but here goes!

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    Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com
    1. Hanna from Baby Teeth (Zoje Stage) – My pick for the creepiest because a psychopathic 1st grader who is sweet while plotting to kill her mom is definitely creepy.
    2. Mary B. Addison from Allegedly (Tiffany D. Jackson) – Mary is in foster care after going to jail for killing a baby her mother was babysitting. Did she do it? Did she not? Either way her story was sad and made you love her for her resiliency.
    3. Adele from Behind Her Eyes (Sarah Pinborough) – Adele is a favorite because my goodness, she pulled off the plot twists of the year for me.
    4. Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre – Any man who has a crazy attic wife is going to be the brooding, sullen type. But offers to take Jane to the moon made him odd but endearing.
    5. Cathy Ames from East of Eden (John Steinbeck) – Any woman who destroys people for fun ranks up there as most evil.
    6. David Melrose from Never Mind (Edward St. Aubyn) – A father like this guy who does unspeakable things to his son ties with Cathy Ames for most evil. By the way, the Showtime series Patrick Melrose based on this book series was fantastic.
    7. Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – This one seems obvious. Who hasn’t had a Nurse Ratched at some point in their school career? Ok, maybe not that bad but you know what I mean.
    8. Serena Joy from A Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – I am hesitant to call her a favorite but the balance she struck between heartless and cruel and trapped like the other women certainly made her a fascinating and complex villain.
    9. The White Witch from Narnia (C.S. Lewis) was one of the first villains I remember reading about when I was a kid. I have fond memories of this series and see her as one of the more harmless villains.
    10. Caillou from My Great Adventures – This one was a toss-up between the kid from The Giving Tree and Caillou but in the end, Caillou won out. What parent doesn’t see this kid as a villain? I know he was banned in our house a long time ago and I will still ban this book all day long.

    Who are some of your favorite villains?

  • Bookish,  Lists,  Recommendations,  Writing

    5 Star Recommendations

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    What makes a book a 5 star book for you?

    My criteria includes:

    • Characters that are interesting, endearing, or so good at being so evil.
    • Writing that is sound and has a clear voice.
    • Imagery. This is a big one for me. If I can hear it, taste it, see it, smell it, or touch it, I’m probably going to be your biggest fan.
    • Relatable. Even if I’m not a Crazy Rich Asian; if there are elements I can relate to, I will find this kind of book enjoyable.
    • Powerful and compelling. Do the characters and story stick with me days/weeks after finishing the book?

    Here are five of my favorite 5 star books from 2018… in no particular order:

        1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – One character: Jude. Remember those books and characters that stick with you? I still think about Jude almost six months later.
        1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Imagery set this book a part from other coming of age novels. I could hear, smell, see, and taste the marsh air when I listened to this audiobook.
        1. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman- I found myself so interested in each character; their likes, dislike, quirks, and faults. You know it’s a good character when even their faults are appealing.
        1. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – Alice, the main character, had such a strong voice and inner dialogue. And that is despite losing her memory in the book.
        1. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – I am not a Punjabi widow but I found this book to be so relatable. Reading a book about a community of women gaining their collective voice despite old beliefs and opposition reminds me very much of where we are in 2018 with #metoo and #believesurvivors. There is power in community; especially a community of women supporting other women

    I’m curious, because all readers are different, what are some of your favorite five-star books?

     

  • Bookish,  Lists,  Personal,  Top Ten Tuesday,  Writing

    Top Ten Tuesday: Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

    TTT-NEW

    Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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    Photo credit

    Is there a book lover who doesn’t love libraries? The smell alone gets me every time. My husband jokes that we should find a way to bottle that old book smell. He’s a very good sport about my book obsession!

    I know that my fascination with libraries around the world started with a visit to The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford nearly 20 years ago. This list was easy to compile and I had a hard time narrowing it down to my top ten.

    1. Library of Congress – Did you know that they quit Twitter in January? Specifically, they quit archiving public Tweets. Too bad this didn’t become a trend in D.C.
    2. Hearst Castle Gothic Library – Everything about the Hearst family fascinates me including the books in their library.
    3. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library – They house many of Margaret Atwood’s original transcripts along with Shakespeare’s first folio.
    4. George Peabody Library – It’s a gorgeous free public library and a music conservatory. Two of my favorite things: books and music.
    5. Boston Public Library – The first free public library in the U.S.
    6. Library bar at Electric House in Notting Hill – a bar and books? Yes, please. One of my favorite things to do is relax with a book and a nice bourbon.
    7. Morgan Library & Museum – I planned on visiting when I was there for work but unfortunately the weather was terrible. One day…
    8. New York Public Library – Obviously.
    9. Old British Reading Room, British Museum – another beautiful library that I would hardly call a “room”.
    10. Seattle Central Library – I can’t believe I haven’t made it to this library considering how many times I’ve visited Seattle. Next time for sure.

    Lastly, it would be very remiss if I didn’t mention my local library. It may not have the same beauty or architecture as the others on this list but I still love it and the contribution it makes to our community.

    Do you have a favorite library that you have visited?

  • Bookish,  Lists,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

    TTT-NEW

    Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

    I was really excited to find Top Ten Tuesday and this is my first go at blogging about a list of all things bookish. This week’s topic is a perfect way to jump in because I love long books. I read plenty of shorter books but 400 + pages is my comfort zone because it that gives me plenty of time to enjoy the book and the characters. Here’s my top 10:

    1. I Know This Much is True – 897 pages – This was my first long book, not for a grade, and I read it shortly after graduating from college. It was a celebration of sorts because I no longer had to read pages and pages of textbooks. Wally Lamb is still one of my favorite authors.
    2. Insomnia – 890 pages – Fun fact: I have had insomnia for years and Stephen King managed to turn it into a wide awake nightmare for me.
    3. The Hour I First Believed – 740 – Another Wally Lamb book that I really enjoyed. I never saw the direction this book was headed until I got there.
    4. A Little Life – 720 pages – This book is in my top 3 of 2018. It’s heartbreaking and real. I still think about the characters in the book to this day. One in particular: Jude.
    5. The Iliad – 683 pages – I read this in college and wish I had paid more attention. This is one on my list that I would like to go back and re-read for fun instead of a grade.
    6. The Time Traveler’s Wife – 528 pages – One of the most creative books I’ve read. This is also one of the longer books I have re-read a few times.
    7. The Pact – 512 pages – I went through a Jodi Picoult phase but I’m only going to include this book in the list.
    8. The Alice Network – 503 pages – Another favorite that I have read this year. I wasn’t a huge fan of historical fiction until this book.
    9. Twilight – 498 pages – I read this entire series but I’m only going to include this one. I recently purged and donated a lot of books and this series was one of them. They only need to be read once, IMO.
    10. Beartown – 418 pages – On the shorter side but one of the most relevant books I have read this year. I read this one in a little over 24 hours.

    I have plenty of other long books that I could list but these were the ones that first came to mind. This was a fun trip down Goodreads memory lane!

    I’m currently reading The Pillars of the Earth and at 973 pages, it will take the top spot for longest book when I’m finished. So far, I’m really enjoying the writing and the character development.

    I read a lot of my longer books during the fall and winter. There’s nothing better than curling up with a quilt, coffee in the morning or bourbon in the evening and reading a good book.

    Do you like reading longer books during the fall and winter months?

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