TTT: Ten Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Anything About

When I saw the subject for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) I had to chuckle, and then sigh in relief. Thank goodness I’m not the only voracious reader who struggles to remember books I read years ago and rated highly! Often I remember how a book made me feel and whether or not I liked it, but that’s it. I know I could fill multiple TTT’s with this category, so I’m just going to go through my Goodreads files and select a few:

Criminals by Margot Livesey. Read in 2007. Four Stars. Goodreads review only compares her to Ruth Rendell, a literary psychological thriller.

Something Rising by Haven Kimmel. Read in 2007. Five Stars. My review only mentions a “moving story and sympathetic lead character.”

Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler. Read in 2008. Four stars. I remember something weird happened, a historical fiction tale with a sci-fi angle.

John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead. Read in 2002, maybe? Pre-Goodreads. Four stars. I remember loving this. I know there’s a journalist covering a festival in honor of the mythic figure of John Henry. I know we get at least some narrative from John Henry’s POV. That’s all I got. This is one I’d like to reread.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. 2003, maybe, not sure. Four stars. Pre-Goodreads. I’ve read a few more Lively novels since then and I definitely enjoy her, but this one is a big old blank for me.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. Read in 2009. Four stars. I remember it was a historical fiction adventure, a page-turner, and I really liked it.  That’s it!

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. Read – who knows?  2004? Four stars. I remember a dual narrative, one present-day and one historical, set in France. I read a lot of Chevalier and they kind of blend together in my mind.

Songs Without Words by Ann Packer. Read in 2007. Five Stars. I even marked this as a “favorite!” I remember it was about a friendship. Good grief.

The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman. Read in 2003. Four stars. I was on a huge Lipman kick that year. (I remember that because I was reading her the summer I went through a bad breakup.) Anyway, I adored her books, so funny and smart, and I do intend to reread her novels someday. She’s lighter but so witty, which is a tough balancing act.

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler. Read in 2009. Four stars. She’s one of my favorite authors, but I confess her plot lines tend to blur in my mind a bit.

What struck me as I out together this list was: 1) how white it was and 2) how much of an impact this blog has made on my book memory. I believe that the act of writing a review, even a mini-review, makes a book more memorable. Also, I think it’s okay that we passionate readers forget books. Unless you have a photographic memory or something, you only have so much space in the brain for books. You’ve got to remember song lyrics and movie plotlines, that U2 concert in 2005 and your high school class trip to New York City, your kid’s dentist appointment and where you put your phone and keys, right? Sometimes it’s okay to enjoy something and let it go. I think it’s still there somewhere inside of you, if it was a book that made you feel something. And if you want to badly enough, you can always reread it. 🙂

So what makes a book memorable for you? Do you think blogging (or Goodreads) helps you remember a book better? Have you read any of the books on my list and do you remember them better than I do?




Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I MEANT to read in 2017 and Didn’t

I am not a regular participant in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by Broke and Bookish, for now) much anymore, but this is one theme I’ve done in the past and enjoy writing up. It’s the Top Ten Books You Meant to Read in 2017 and Didn’t Get To.  So many good intentions and only so much time in the day, right?  I’m sure we all have a list of the things we wanted to read last year.  But just because we haven’t gotten to them yet doesn’t mean we can’t read them this year.  There’s always hope.

We all know that I didn’t get to Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns and Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.  But what else had I been hoping to read last year?

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie. Stefanie, Teresa, and other bloggers who’ve read this have rated it charming and funny, and it looks like the kind of smart, quirky book I need in my life.

The Fire This Time:  A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward.    I own a copy of this, and I WILL get to it in 2018.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.   Looks like my kind of weird.  Maybe by the time I get to it the third one in the trilogy will be out!

On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman.  One of my favorite comedic novelists.  Also very underrated.

March: Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.  I had a copy of this checked out from the library but I didn’t get to it before I had to turn it in – it had holds! And then it just got lost in the shuffle.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.  I’ve heard so many good things about both the book and the audiobook that I ended up waffling between the two formats and never getting either one.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay.  I enjoy short story collections, but I tend to put them off indefinitely!

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae.  One of three Kindle purchases I made last year that I haven’t read.  I just don’t like reading on a screen as much as reading on paper, so I put it off.

Any of George Saunders’s short story collections (besides Tenth of December.)  He’s one of my favorite writers (based on December and Lincoln in the Bardo,) so why haven’t I read any other of his books?

Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches From Lahore, New York, and London by Mohsin Hamid.  Another book I had in my hands from the library and didn’t read.


Have you read any of the books on my list?  Do you also check out library books and never get to them, and then they get lost in the shuffle?  Anything you wish you’d read last year that you’re determined to read this year?  Let me know in the comments.




Top Ten Tuesday: Books I *Might* Read This Winter

toptentuesdayHey there!  It’s Top Ten Tuesday time again, hosted by The Broke and Bookish.   I haven’t participated in one for a while.  But I do so love talking about TBRs – my own and yours as well!  It’s so much fun to anticipate the things we *might* read soon.  I am not a book planner, but I know some of you follow a pretty strict schedule. I’m very moody when it comes to reading, so I may get to these this coming winter – or I may not!  I just thought I’d share some of my picks and maybe get you talking about your own.

Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon by Jane Austen.  This has been lingering on my Goodreads TBR since 2008!  And I now possess a copy of my own.  2018 is the year I finally read this!13120860

Dead Scared (Lacey Flint #2) by Sharon Bolton.  I read the first in this series recently and loved it.  I’m itching to get to the second, in which DC Flint goes undercover as a university student investigating a rash of apparent suicides.

We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  I think Coates is just brilliant, and I’ve read parts of this essay collection in The Atlantic.  I am hoping that Santa brings me this one for Christmas!2edce15dd0865323d6ec6776d200de48-w204@1x

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins.  I’ve had this short story collection lingering on my iPad for nearly a year! I’m not a big e-book reader – when I get home from work I don’t really want to read on a screen.  But I bought this and a few other things really cheap last winter, so I really need to read them.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.  My blogger friends who have read this seems to all really like it.  And it’s gotten good critical reviews as well.

Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King.  Back in the summer I was all about the first three of this series.  Then I had to read some other stuff.  But now I’m read to jump back in!

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.  I bought this intending to read it this year; didn’t happen. It’s massive but I’ve heard and read nothing but good things about it and I will complete it in 2018.

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3) by Agatha Christie.  After reading my first Miss Marple mystery this year, I’m ready to try another one!  Agatha Christie makes for good cozy wintry reading.

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons.  From Goodreads: Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love. 7126

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  Hey, remember when I had that poll on my blog that you all voted on and this ginormous classic novel won?!?  Yes, I was supposed to read this one this year.  Whoops!  🙂

Have you read any of these?  Do any appeal to you?  What are you planning to read this winter?


Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR

Hey there!  It’s Top Ten Tuesday Time again, hosted by The Broke and Bookish – they’ve been on hiatus and I haven’t participated in one for a while.  But I do so love talking about TBRs – my own and yours as well!  It’s so much fun to anticipate the things we *might* read soon.  I am not a book planner, but I know some of you follow a pretty strict schedule. I’m very moody when it comes to reading, so I may get to these this Spring – or I may not!  I intend to read them sometime, in any case, so this list is partly based on what my library holds look like, and partly random.

All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan.  I WILL read this very soon, as it’s one of my choices for 746 Books’s Reading Ireland Month.  So I plan on taking it with me to the beach next week!

Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell.  It’s been too long since I’ve read an Inspector Wexford mystery and this is the next one on the list (I’m working my way in order, very slowly.)

51Ma6eymR0L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.  This one just sounds too good, and I’m high on my library’s hold list for it.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez.  I’m going to suggest this as one of our book group’s choices when it’s my turn to host next month – I hope they choose it!

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  I have to admit, I’m not super excited to read this, but I want to at least give it a try, since it’s such a big book for our moment in time.  If any of you guys have read it, please let me know what you think.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae.  I bought this on Kindle for $1.99 recently and it looks funny and sharp.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins.  Another recent super cheap Kindle find.  Short stories written by an African American woman in the 1960’s only just now published.165208

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay.  Love Roxane Gay.  More short stories.

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki.  “A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships” according to Goodreads.  I liked her first novel, California.

Happy All The Time by Laurie Colwin.  Romance and comedy of manners.

Have you read any of these?  Do you plan to?  Do you plan out your reading by month or season, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?  (And what’s up with that saying anyway?  That’s a weird one.)  What’s on your Spring TBR?




Top Ten 2016 Books I Meant to Get to Last Year

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, is Top Ten Books from 2016 I Wanted to Read But Haven’t Yet.  There is only so much time in the day, what with having to work, converse with one’s husband and child, and binge-watch Supernatural – or whatever your priorities might happen to be.  I totally intend to read these ten books. Sometime.  You get it, right? 51tusm5ixll-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race edited by Jesmyn Ward

9781594206856_custom-fe4eae454a97795906f50c3ff61245f8a47f095e-s300-c85The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Y. Dennis-Bennows_146853560754311

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

I could probably have chosen ten different books for this list, but these were the ones that leaped out at me as I perused my massive Goodreads list. Maybe you’ve read some of these?  Let me know what you think of them.  What shows were you binge-watching in 2016 instead of reading books? Is there one book from 2016 you wish you’d gotten to last year?








Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated 2017 Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) required me to do a little research.  It’s the “Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in the First Half of 2017.” I panicked a little.  Initially I could only think of two books coming out in 2017 that I knew about and was looking forward to reading.  Last year I relied on The Millions’ Most Anticipated List to clue me in to what was in store for 2016.  But that list wasn’t published until January 4 of last year.  (Look for the new one in a few weeks!)  I read a lot of backlist titles and tend to know about new books about a month or two in advance, once I start seeing them in magazines, blogs, and BookRiot.  However, with a little digging, I found nine titles that intrigue me.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson.  Oh man, did I ever enjoy his previous thriller, The Kind Worth Killing.  It came out around the same time as that book about the Girl and the Train and I thought it was WAY better and deserved some of that book’s press.  So I am *really* excited for this one. (Jan. 10)

51semvp8mrl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Difficult Women by Roxane Gay.  Short stories + Roxane Gay = Laila happy.  (Jan. 3)

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  Yes, it’s about that Lincoln.  From Goodreads:  “Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace.”  (Feb. 14)

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki.  I really liked her debut novel, California, and this one sounds like a winner.  “A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles.”  (May 9)

41-fxnlisol-_sx329_bo1204203200_The Leavers by Lisa Ko.  This won the 2016 Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and it sounds terrific.  It “follows one young man’s search for his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant who disappears when he’s 11 years old, after which he is adopted by a white family (from Goodreads.)”  (May 2)

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey.  I tore through The Girl With All The Gifts in a couple of days.  I think this one’s set in the same universe – maybe a prequel?  I’m here for it. (May 2)

American Street by Ibi Zoboi.  YA Haitian immigrant experience in Detroit?  Sounds really good.  Also, the cover is stunning. (Feb. 14)

americanstreet_wblurbThe Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti.    “A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past and the truth about her mother’s death in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.”   Plus, I really enjoyed her first novel, The Good Thief.   (March 28)

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.  FictionFan gushed about this one on her blog, naming it her best crime novel of the year.  (It’s already out in Scotland – lucky!)  That’s all the endorsement I need.  (June 6)

Do any of these tempt your TBR?  Is there a 2017 release that you think I would like that I neglected to put on the list?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful For Books!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and Bookish, is a Thanksgiving freebie.   I honestly don’t know who I’d be if I weren’t a reader.  I don’t know what else I’d do to get the education, enlightenment, companionship, and solace that books provide. Particularly now, when our nation is experiencing such a menacing and unsettling moment, books are providing a comfort to me that leaves me profoundly grateful.  I could have filled this list three times over, but these are the first ten that came to mind.

9780679886297Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman.  My first favorite book, at least the one I have memories of as a very young child.  I loved the different colored dogs and their crazy tree party!  I selected this not only because I loved it, but because my son loves it too!  He went through a phase where we read it every day, and it made me happy to be able to share a special book with him.

The Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene.  These are the first books I got obsessed with as an independent reader, largely because I found old copies that belonged to my aunt when she was a girl, the hardback ones with the yellow spines.  They’re horrible to read as an adult (seriously, don’t try it) but as a child they ignited my interest in mysteries.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  Now’s here’s a children’s mystery that definitely holds up even for adults.  I read it somewhere around the age of 9 or 10, and I was utterly captivated.  I’ve reread it twice as an adult, and listened to the audio, and it’s just terrific.

l6un8d4jxqkpkgijh2wvenpm92u2tasakfhvt04wlqojg92b1yaa2rjjnw4wuxzl628ryfr86biudfyfxvrrp9khjzqrlk5vk8rln4mehx7dxj4xhbaqd26wnwsufBark, George by Jules Feiffer.  This picture book is a hilarious crowd-pleaser that I feature regularly in my preschool storytimes.  Parents and kids alike laugh out loud.

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.  My son LOVES this book.  He thinks it’s hysterical when Grover implores the reader to stop turning pages!

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.  A regular library patron recommended her to me some years ago, and I couldn’t be more grateful to her.  It was the first Pym I read, and I discovered an author that I knew I would love and reread for the rest of my life.  Her books are charming, witty, intelligent, with just a hint of melancholy.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.  I am just grateful that this book exists.  I’m grateful that it’s gotten a lot of press, and I feel like it deserves all the praise and even more.  It’s the kind of novel that transports and enlightens at the same time.  I’d make everyone read it if I could.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.  The book that introduced me to Atkinson, who is one of my all-time favorite authors.  It’s a knock-out literary mystery and introduces one of my favorite fictional characters, the world-weary but good-hearted Jackson Brodie.

51msjnecgylAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  I remember taking my time reading this beautiful, smart, romantic novel because I wanted to luxuriate in Adichie’s writing.  And the story!  Wow!

It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness by Sylvia Boorstein.  In a very warm and relatable manner, Boorstein writes of her own mental struggles (particularly with anxiety) to elucidate Buddhist principles and how they can make a person feel happier.  I don’t identify as Buddhist but there is so much wisdom here.  I reread this one regularly.

I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this week enjoy your time, be it with family, friends, or just the solace of a good book and a cup of tea!  I know I’m looking forward to my five days off with family.  Let me know in the comments a book that you are thankful for; I would love to read about them.