• Lists,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites

    Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday where I compile a bookish list of 10 things each week. Today’s list is childhood favorites and wow, this was easy to write!

    1. Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery – I read this series multiple time and had the biggest crush on Gilbert.
    2. Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I was obsessed with this TV series and the books. I think this was my first determination that the “book is better than the show”.
    3. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I had a teacher read this aloud to us in school. She frequently did this and was one of my favorite teachers.
    4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – what’s not to love about this book? Fun fact: my 15-year-old daughter will be in this musical this fall. I can’t wait!
    5. The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – these were my first exposure to the mystery genre. I read every one I could get my hands on.
    6. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary – I read this book too many times to count. It’s one of my very favorites.
    7. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – Another instance of the book being better than the movie!
    8. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
    9. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – I still love anything by C.S. Lewis. He is timeless and I have always been impressed by his ability to have written for both children and adults.
    10. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – Am I the only one who loved Templeton, the rat?

    What was your favorite childhood book?

  • Lists,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: Magical Realism Favorites

    Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Do you have a favorite genre? This is one of the most common questions I am asked – right behind my favorite books.

    I have a very black & white personality so it surprised me when I landed on an answer:

    Magical realism 

    1: painting in a meticulously realistic style of imaginary or fantastic scenes or images
    2: a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction
    It all started with Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. And these days I read one or two from this genre each month. It was tough to narrow it down to my top ten but here they are, in no particular order.
    1. Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – The perfect mix of mystery, lore and master storytelling combine to make this fantastic dark fairytale.
    2. Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi – A family recipe, a dark tale, and a teenaged daughter searching for the truth combine to tell an unexpected story.
    3. The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – If you enjoy a good time traveling story, this one is for you.
    4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Heavy on the realism with plenty of Latin lore mixed in throughout.
    5. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges – If you enjoy this genre, this is a must read.
    6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I read this book when it was released. After discovering how much I enjoy this genre, I’m rereading it this month.
    7. The Nix by Nathan Hill – Another one that is heavy on the realism while the tale of the Nix is woven masterfully throughout the story.
    8. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – This is the first book in a series of three. Heavy on the magic and highly imaginative.
    9. Beloved by Toni Morrison – Another must read for many reasons.
    10. Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – Three siblings with different gifts navigate New York, love, and life. One of my very favorites.

    What is your favorite genre?

    If it’s magical realism, do you have any books that I need to add to my TBR list?

  • Lists,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Years of Favorite Books

     

    Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! Today I’m looking back over the past ten years and picking a favorite book published in each of those years. It was a lot of fun to revisit some of my favorites and being tempted to reread a few old favorites.

    • 2009  The Help by Kathryn Sockett – This book sparked my passion for reading again. I loved the characters and the writing.
    • 2010  A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – One of the first book recommendations I ever got from a friend on Instagram! This was before Bookstagram was even a thing.
    • 2011  Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I read this book last year and it was fantastic. The characters were so well developed and the story arc was so well done. I actually enjoyed this book by the author better than his big hit, A Gentleman in Moscow.
    • 2012  The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman – Our Book Club for Introverts April pick! I missed this book when it was published and I’m so glad I finally read it with my book club.
    • 2013  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – I finished this one last month and it found a place in my top 3 books of all time. I’m really excited for the upcoming movie as well!
    • 2014  Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – After reading Little Fires Everywhere last year,I looked up other books by Ng. I was not disappointed and I may have liked this book even more than Little Fires.
    • 2015  A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – ALL the trigger warnings here for this book. Also one of my favorite books last year; it emotionally wrecked me. I ugly cried multiple times.
    • 2016  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – This should be required reading. I read this book earlier this year and it is powerful.
    • 2017  Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – One of the first audiobooks I listened to. The story, the characters, and the shifting timeline were all so well done.
    • 2018  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens & There There by Tommy Orange – these tied for me. Crawdads was my favorite book of 2018 and There There is currently in the running for my favorite book of 2019. I couldn’t pick just one here!

    Are any of your favorites on this list?

  • Lists,  mental health,  Top Ten Tuesday,  Writing

    Top Ten Tuesday: Mental Health Awareness

    May is Mental Health Awareness month – a cause near and dear to my heart. So for Top Ten Tuesday, I have a list of ten books that highlight mental health, the need for it, or one that takes steps forward in removing the stigmas of mental illness and/or asking for professional help.

    1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – This book highlights grief, loss, the stigmas of suicide and tackles all of it in an unconventional wellness retreat setting. While I definitely do not recommend a wellness retreat with a crazy director, the messages were not lost in the story.
    2. There There by Tommy Orange – One of my favorite books this year, this book highlights addiction, mental health, suicide, and the overwhelming need for better mental healthcare in the Native American community. It’s a must-read.
    3. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – This is a beautifully written young adult book that addresses severe depression, the aftermath of suicide, grieving, and healing. I have read this book twice.
    4. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – The definitive guide on how not to pick a psychiatrist. This is not a book to read while actively dealing with depression. But on the other side, it is one of the more accurate depictions of what it’s really like to struggle with severe depression and loss.
    5. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – This book takes on the stigmas of having a transgender child and highlights the importance of family and community support. This story can make you a better person.
    6. Stitches by Anne Lamott – Anne is one of my favorite writers. I read this book during an enormous season of change in my life. She addresses change, loss, and grief with both humor and candor. It’s a short book and I recommend it often to those in the midst of change.
    7. Normal People by Sally Rooney – I finished this book in a few sittings earlier this month. It tackles abuse, loss, suicide, depression, and asking for help through therapy and medication. I found this story to be very raw, honest, and helpful in addressing the stigmas around asking for help and what can happen when help is not received.
    8. Dry. by Augusten Burroughs – One of my favorite memoirs. Too often I feel that addiction is left out of the mental health discussion. There is an overwhelming need for understanding and education around what addiction is and how to support a loved one dealing with addiction.
    9. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – While this book will raise some eyebrows when reading it in public, it highlights the need for community, loss, grief, and the power of telling your story.
    10. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – Despite the public uproar over throwing away your house, this book and method really did change our lives. I have become a big believer in less physical clutter = less mental clutter.
  • Audiobooks,  Bookish,  Lists,  Recommendations,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: the creepy edition

    black wooden door frame
    Photo by ramy Kabalan on Pexels.com

    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.

    Don’t hate me, I don’t love Halloween.  This week’s list prompt is a freebie list of Halloween/creepy books so I’m going with creepy. Here’s my top 10 in no particular order:

    1.Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – Abraham Lincoln’s young son dies and is laid to rest in a crypt that Lincoln returned to several times (true story). Young Willie Lincoln spends a night in a purgatory of sorts with a cast of characters in various states of flux. Highly creative with lots of historical insights; this book was creepy and extremely entertaining at the same time. I highly recommend the audiobook!

    2. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – Think dark fairytales, a reclusive grandmother, and a granddaughter hunting for her mother who went missing; presumably in The Hazel Wood. This book was full of imagination and just dark enough to be creepy at times. The cover art is also a work of art in it’s own right.

    3. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage – What’s not creepy about an adorable first grader plotting to kill her mom so she can have her dad’s attention all to herself. Her schemes are pure psychopathy and gave me the chills more than once.

    4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Screams from the attic, a mysterious fire set in the house, and Jane left to figure out the mystery on her own while being pursued by Mr. Rochester a.k.a. Mr. Nothing to See Here.

    5. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine – Be careful what you wish for. A homely, plain girl inserts herself into the Parrish life she believed she wanted. Except that Mr. Parrish was a monster.

    6. Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – What’s not creepy about the daughter of a female serial killer who turned her own mother into the police? The descriptions alone of living in that house are what nightmares are made of. The audiobook was fantastic!

    7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – A young girl is murdered and the book is told from her perspective. Creepy. And terribly sad.

    8. Pet Cemetery by Stephen King – This was my first Stephen King book and I used to read it under my covers with a flashlight. It would scare me so bad that I would go hide it under the couch in the other room so I could sleep.

    9. I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll – Two girls harmlessly flirt with two guys on a train. A year later and one of them is still missing. The plot twists were intriguing and kept you guessing until the end.

    10. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – This was by far Flynn’s creepiest novels. Libby is the sole survivor of a family massacre in her own home. Her brother is convicted but questions still surround the night of the killings. Well written but one I will never read again.

    What are some of your favorite creepy books?

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