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.





Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Titles Added To My TBR Lately

Who can resist a TBR list?  Certainly not this reader, so I felt compelled to participate in today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke And the Bookish.)  So here are the last ten books I’ve added to my TBR list (which is currently at a modest 376 titles) and my attempt at remembering why I added them (ha ha!)

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.  I added this after seeing it on Naz’s blog Read Diverse Books.  He featured it as part of his monthly My Lit Box subscription.  You can read about it here.30650040

Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age Story by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh. I think Naz marked this as “to-read” on Goodreads, but in any case,I need to read more books from a Muslim perspective, and I thought this had promise.

Mrs. Malory Investigates by Hazel Holt.  I added this because I found out that the author was a friend to one of my favorite writers, Barbara Pym, and wrote a biography of her.  I do enjoy the British mysteries, and I’m hoping this won’t be too much on the “cozy” side for me.

 A Lot to Ask: The Life of Barbara Pym by Hazel Holt.  The biography I just mentioned!28815474

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.  I’ve seen this around the blogosphere, and a friend in my book group gave it four stars.  I like to read thrillers every now and then, especially to be able to recommend things to library patrons who enjoy that genre.

Girl Up by Laura Bates.  I found this on Katy’s blog (read about it here.)  Goodreads blurb says, “Hilarious, jaunty and bold, GIRL UP exposes the truth about the pressures surrounding body image, the false representations in media, the complexities of a sex and relationships, the trials of social media and all the other lies they told us.”

Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, J Richard Gott III.  I found this on FictionFan’s blog (here) and I really need some more science writing to feed my brain.  Plus, Neil deGrasse Tyson is super cool.

Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story by Timothy B. Tyson.  I found this through Jenny’s review on Shelf Love.  An examination of the racism in a small North Carolina town in the aftermath of a horrible 1970 hate crime from one of the area’s residents.

Happiness and Other Small Things of Absolute Importance by Haim Shapira.  A Goodreads friend gave this a five-star review, and I am always interested in books about happiness and living a “good life.”the-course-of-love

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton.  The story of an ordinary marriage over fourteen years, this came to my attention through Anne Bogel’s Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and her What Should I Read Next? podcast (which I love.)  I heard de Botton on Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast recently, and he just seems so incredibly smart and reasonable, so I definitely want to read some of his work.

I will probably only read one of these anytime soon, but I will get to these one day!  Have you read any of these?  What have you added to your TBR lately?  Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Fall TBR Books

Y’all should know by now that I can’t resist a TBR list – mine or anybody else’s.  So I had to get in on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, which is Top Ten Books on Your Fall TBR.  My Fall TBR is the same as my Winter, Spring, and Summer TBR.  It’s just one massive Goodreads list of 500+ titles that I add to and delete from constantly.  But these are the books that I’m most likely to read before the end of 2016.

  • White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi.  For my first ever R.I.P. Challenge!
  • The Sundial by Shirley Jackson.  Also for the R.I.P. Challenge.  I intend to eventually read everything Shirley Jackson has written.  This will be my fourth.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  I am SO READY for this one.
  • The rest of Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.  I started reading this in July, got halfway through, and had to turn in back in to the library because it had holds on it.  It STILL has holds on it, but I’m reading it now and I’m confident I’ll finish it this time.
  • Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley.  This just came in for me at the library this week.  This is a fun, light mystery series.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.  I own it and I have heard NOTHING but good things about it.img_0325
  • Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler.  This book has a New York City foodie setting, two things I like. Who knows, I may hate this, but I’m going to give it a try.
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  My book group is reading it for this month!
  • Modern Lovers by Emma Straub.  I really enjoyed her last novel, The Vacationers, and I have high hopes for this one.
  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.  I am one of the biggest Boss fans you’ll ever meet. He and his music are everything to me.  I pre-ordered this the day I heard it was coming out.  My copy is heading to me through the mail as I write!

Have you read any of these?  What’s something you’ll be reading in the next couple of months?

Top (Seven) Books I Need to Reread That I First Read in High School

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, is a Back to School-related freebie, so we had a lot of leeway in the direction our lists could go this week.  I feel like there are some books that I read in high school (which, ahem, was 20+ years ago for me!) that I would really like to reread as an adult.  I know that as I change and grow as a person, so do my reading tastes change and grow.  I feel like these books deserve an adult eye.

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison.  I was a sophomore in high school when I was assigned this, and I feel like I was waaaaay too young to appreciate it.  Since I’ve been reading Morrison in the past year, I know that I MUST reread this from an adult perspective.51srBOCdgBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  My mom was a big fan of the movie and the book, and I saw the movie at a fairly young age and fell in love with it.  I read the book probably somewhere around 9th grade.  Since then, I’ve become more aware of its problematic content.  So I definitely need to reread this through the prism of a more adult understanding of race in American history.
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.  She’s one of my favorite authors.  I read this as assigned reading in high school and I’m grateful that I got that opportunity.  I want to reread all of her earlier novels and her books of essays.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I have NO excuse for not having read this since the 9th grade.  None.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.  This was assigned at some point, possibly as a summer reading choice, I can’t remember.  I remember really enjoying it, but I don’t remember much else about it.  Worth a reread for sure!51KEr5saI2L
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I didn’t read this in school, but read it as a child, and was drawn to it again after the Winona Ryder/Christian Bale/Claire Danes version came out in 1994.  But it’s been a very long time since then, so it made my list.
  • The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy.  This was an assigned book, perhaps for summer reading.  It’s a memoir about Conroy’s experience teaching on Daufuskie Island, SC (which he calls Yamacraw Island in the book.)  His one year teaching children of Gullah heritage in the late 1960’s was really interesting.

Here are three works I wish I’d been assigned in high school or college but never was:

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

I swear I’m going to read these – sometime!

Have you read any of these?  Has it been a while since you read them?  What are some titles that you think deserve a reread since your own school days?


Top Ten Tuesday: Gift Card Wishlist

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, brought to you by The Broke and Bookish, is “Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card.”  Well, I think we can all agree that this one can practically write itself. But I bet it will be fun to see everyone’s picks.  Here are ten I’d put in my cart with no hesitation.

  • Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson.  I adored Brown Girl Dreaming.  Must read this one.27213163
  • Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  I read his Angle of Repose years ago and loved it.  I’ve been meaning to read this one for a long long time.  Two bloggers I follow have written about it and rated it lately, and this put it back on my radar.  Plus, Anne Bogel of the What Should I Read Next? podcast loves it too.
  • The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward.  I have a feeling that this book of essays on race will be one everyone should read.
  • Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon by Jane Austen.  These are the only Austen works I’ve not read and I just need to do it already.
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  I have NO IDEA why I haven’t read this yet.  Ugh.  There is no excuse.
  • Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson.  After reading a few of Jackson’s deliciously creepy novels, I really want to read her memoir of family life, which is supposed to be funny and charming.
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin.  Trying to rectify the fact that I’ve never read any of the brilliant Baldwin’s novels. 31GD90K5XDL
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  This doesn’t come out till September but I WANT it.
  • Jazz by Toni Morrison.  Working my way through Morrison is a life goal.  This is next.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  I will be buying this when it comes out in September.  I love Whitehead’s range as a writer.

Well, that was fun – only now I want to get online and spend some money.  Have you read any of these titles?  What’s a book you’d buy immediately if you were given a bookstore gift card?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (Literally)Underrated Books

I LOVE this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  It’s Top Ten Books that Have Less Than 2000 ratings on Goodreads.  I didn’t even know that you could manipulate your shelves to reflect the number of ratings a book has had – such a cool feature!  I was quite surprised to find how few ratings some of the books I’d read had.  I think the lowest number I came across was 39, which was for the not very good and totally forgettable children’s book The Boy Who Could Fly Without A Motor by Theodore Taylor.  Also, as I’ve been looking over my “read” books on Goodreads, there are a heck of a lot of books that I remember absolutely nothing about!  Such is the life of a passionate reader, I suppose.  One only has so many brain cells.

I could have picked ten different books, but these were the ones that grabbed me first.  In no particular order, here are 10 books that deserve more people reading and rating them on Goodreads:

Saffron Sky: A Life Between Iran and America by Gelareh Asayesh. 334947 It’s been years since I read this but I remember just loving it, loving reading about a woman torn between her Iranian childhood memories and the family still there, and her identity as an American immigrant and wanting her American-born children to know their Iranian heritage.  (135 Goodreads ratings.)

Dancing With Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s by Lauren Kessler.  I loved this book.  Following her mother’s death from Alzheimer’s the author spends a year working inside a care-giving facility and tells so many touching, funny, sad, beautiful stories.  (357 ratings.)

Morningside Heights by Cheryl Mendelson.  Just a really well-written family saga about relationships and money in New York City.  It’s just my cup of tea.  It’s the first in a trilogy but in my case I vastly preferred the first one to the next two, so you have my permission to skip them.  (412 ratings.)

Remember Me to Harold Square by Paula Danziger.  One I read as a pre-teen (first published in 1987) and haven’t read since, so I don’t remember much about it except that it involved a really fun scavenger hunt all over New York City.  I need to read this again. (666 ratings.)remembermetoharoldsquare_cover__span


Look at Me by Anita Brookner.  Brookner is amazing.  She is very much an “interior” sort of author, not very plotty, but her novels and slim and exquisite character studies, usually of lonely, intelligent, anxious people.  I adore her.  (653 ratings.)

Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields.  One of my VERY FAVORITE AUTHORS, and one that I feel is criminally underrated.  This was her first novel, and it’s one of my favorites. (757 ratings.)

Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark by Jane Fletcher Geniesse.  “Leaving behind a miserable family life, Freya set out, at the age of thirty-four, to explore remote and dangerous regions of the Middle East. She was captured in 1927 by the French military police after penetrating their cordon around the rebellious Druze. She explored the mountainous territory of the mysterious Assassins of Persia, became the first woman to explore Luristan in western Iran, and followed ancient frankincense routes to locate a lost city.”  Fascinating woman, highly readable biography.  (762 ratings.)

The Wishing Year: An Experiment in Desire by Noelle Oxenhandler.  A charming, year-in-the-life memoir.  I found it to be life-affirming. (672 ratings.)

The Way Men Act by Elinor Lipman.  I might as well have titled this post “Authors Who Are Underrated,” because here’s another one.  Elinor Lipman writes fun, intelligent, charming novels that are usually in the comedy-of-manners genre.  I have enjoyed all of her novels, and this one was a four-star book for me with only 814 ratings.

51MR6JbRhDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead.  I read this about 15 years ago, and I remember just loving it, and still haven’t read anything quite like it.  Here’s the blurb: “…on one level a multifaceted retelling of the story of John Henry, the black steel-driver who died outracing a machine designed to replace him. On another level it’s the story of a disaffected, middle-aged black journalist on a mission to set a record for junketeering who attends the annual John Henry Days festival.” (1437 ratings.)

I can’t wait to read other lists – it seems like this topic will bring to the forefront lots of older, underappreciated backlist titles!

Top Ten Tuesday: Second Half of 2016 Most Anticipated

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, is Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year.  This was a fun list to compile!  I’m mostly a backlist, free-range reader.  But since I work at a public library, I do have access to new books as soon as my library can acquire them and put them in the system. Some of my favorite authors are coming out with books this fall, so without further ado, here’s my list!

  1. 22813605Hunger by Roxane Gay.  I’ll read anything by her, and this is about body image/weight/food issues, which is something I’ve dealt with my whole life.  It’s a no-brainer for me.  I’ll probably buy it.
  2.  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  I know almost nothing about this except it’s set in Russia in the 1920s.  All I need to know is that Amor Towles wrote it.  I LOVED his first novel, Rules of Civility.  This man can write.
  3. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple.  Semple is a funny, quirky writer and I really enjoyed Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  That’s enough for me.
  4. 28250841The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  Whitehead is such a fantastic writer,  and many trusted sources have said that this one is amazing.  I can’t wait.
  5. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  Family Saga!  Ann Patchett!  SOLD!
  6. Known and Strange Things: Essays by Teju Cole.  Having recently become a Teju Cole fan, I’m delighted to know that he’s coming out with a book of essays.
  7. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  This one is not slated to come out until 2017 but this is my list, so I make the rules.  I can’t wait to see what the master of the short story does with a novel.
  8. The Mothers by Brit Bennett.  From the Goodreads blurb: “Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition.” Looks good!
  9. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood.  Atwood’s revisioning of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.   I am so there for this.29245653._UY2250_SS2250_
  10. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham.  I love fluffy celebrity autobiographies!  And I love Gilmore Girls!

So what books are you looking forward to in the next six months?  Go ahead, make my TBR even longer!