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Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reading Material


Time again for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

As we head into the summer season, this week’s subject asks which books we’ll have in our beach bag this summer.  I probably won’t make it to the beach this summer but I will be headed out to pool (hopefully).   These are the books I hope to read this summer.

1.  Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee — I’ve got it on reserve at the library and I’m hoping I’ll get to read it this summer!   I am not sure exactly where I am on the waiting list.

2.  Finders Keepers by Stephen King

prayerforowen3.  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

4.  A House Divided by Robert Whitlow

5.  Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertallli

6.  Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned by Peter David

7. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

8.  The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

9.  Hero of the Ages by Brandon Sanderson

10. Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew


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Top Ten Tuesday: Assigned Reading


It’s time again for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is whatever you want it to be.

Moving around growing up (my dad was career military), I often found myself coming into or leaving a school curriculum just as certain books were being taught or right after they had been taught.  That means there were some of the accepted classics that I never read as part of my school curriculum.  This week, I thought I’d break down my list into a couple of sub-lists based on my moving about.

Classics I Never Had To Take a Quiz On: 

1.  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee  One of my favorite books of all-time.   I often wonder if I’d had to read it for class if I’d have liked it as much as I do.   Odds are, I probably would.

2.  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.   I had to read Holden’s journey on my own.

3.  The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.   My senior AP English class did a section on Hemingway, but my teacher assigned myself and a couple of other people A Farewell to Arms instead of The Old Man and the Sea.  Based on my later reading of this one, I’m glad that I was given the challenge of A Farewell to Arms.

4.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  I can recall the movie coming out but I never saw it.  I think this may have been taught during my school tenure, but I read it on my own.  I recently re-read it.

Books Not On the “Standard” Classics List:

growingupcover1.  Growing Up by Russell Baker.  I read this during my sophomore year of high school.  aker related stories of growing up in the Depression and World War II.  I recall that my quoting a passage from the book in a journal entry for class really impressed the teacher.  My fellow students were not as impressed.

2.  The Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart.   I’m not quite sure how or why the Mary Stewart Merlin novels came into fashion in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but I know that several of my classmates and I were glad they did.  If only because we could read a series of fantasy novels as assigned reading.

3.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.  I don’t recall the exact details on this one, but I read this one for my Western Civ class as extra credit.   I believe my assignment related to the ways the books was historically accurate and inaccurate.

4.  A Separate Peace by John Knowles.   After enduring Lord of the Flies, this was the next book we were assigned in my high school freshman English class.   I’m not sure it’s still on the list today.   It was an interesting story though all I really recall is that our narrator turns out to be the one who pushed Finney out of the tree.  I think a re-read of this one may be in order.

Assigned Books I Read and Enjoyed:

1.   My Antonia by Willa Cather.   Probably the most memorable book from my senior AP English class.  I remember reading ahead because I enjoyed it so much.

2.  1984 by George Orwell.   What can I say — it was the 80’s and we were all fascinated by living to and beyond the year of the title.   This is another one that I read well past what was assigned and got glaring looks for doing so.

I’ve got a lot more that I could include, but that’s my ten.   What books did you read during your educational career that maybe didn’t make the list?


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Top Ten Tuesday: Book I Won’t Be Reading


Happy Cinco de Mayo!  And welcome to Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s question asks us to ponder those books that we will never read.  I’ll try to come up with a couple but I may not make it to ten this week.

1.  Anything by John Norman
I read Timeslave a couple of years ago as part of a book club and was completely unimpressed.   I did a bit of research into Norman and found out that this book was pretty much indicative of his style and themes.  So, I’m done and won’t be reading any more of his offerings.

2.  The Fifty Shades books
As the Twilight popularity was ramping up, I was curious enough to download the digital audio editions from my library’s web site and listen to them.  The series is one of diminishing returns and it made me realize that some books just aren’t for me. Enter this series, which has been immensely popular.  And I’ve decided these aren’t for me and I don’t have any inclination to read them.

3.  The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Part of my hesitation to start the series is that I’m at least a million or so pages behind and the prospect of trying to catch up seems a bit daunting.    And part of it is that I’ve heard from people I trust that the books get more and more muddled as you go along.   That adds up to a series I most likely won’t get around to reading in this lifetime.

4.  The Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony
I had friends in high school who raved about these books and encouraged me to pick them up.  I picked up the first one and I’ve tried to read it several times, never making it past the first chapter.  I couldn’t get into the book and I’ve determined that the series isn’t for me.

5.   The Dune spin-offs from Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert
I read the first two or three spin-offs that Anderson and Herbert wrote and each time I found myself getting frustrated with the books.   Part of it was what I felt was an unnecessary amount of summarizing everything that’s happened up until now that seems to take place every three or four chapters.    The original Frank Herbert Dune novels asked readers to pay attention and recall details from earlier in the book without the need to have characters sum it all up every twenty pages.

6.  Any more of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson
I read Lord Foul’s Bane earlier this year and was entirely underwhelmed.  I tried to read the Gap series a few years ago and was not a fan.  I’m done with Donaldson.

Well, I think that’s it.  I’m sure I’ll think of four more once I hit post. But these are the ones that spring to mind.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Quotable


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish asks us for our top ten quotes.  Here are just a few of mine in no particular order.  Also, I’m certain I could come up with at least a dozen or so more quotes to go on this list.

1.  “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”  — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

2. “You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.” — Pontoon by Garrison Keillor

3. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” — To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4. “Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.” — Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

5. “You want to remember that while you’re judging the book, the book is also judging you.” — Night Shift by Stephen KIng

6.  “If we can’t alter the tide of events, at least we can be nearby with towels to mop up.” — Q in Law by Peter David

7.  “And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.” — A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

8. “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” — C.S. Lewis

9. “I’ve always liked swimming, so long as my head’s above water.” — Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

10. “People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your sub¬conscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.” — The Onion Girl by Charles De Lint


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Top Ten Tuesday: I’d Really Like To See Them Again


Time for this week’s installment of the Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic looks at the characters you’d like to check in with and see what happened to them after the final page was turned.

I may not get to ten this week, but here we go.

1.  Miles Verkosigan — I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s space opera series and while I know the series isn’t necessarily finished, I still feel like it’s been a while since we had a book that focused solely on Miles.

2.  Lynley and Havers — Again, a book series that isn’t necessarily finished but I always look forward to checking in with what Elizabeth George’s characters are up to with each new installment in the series.

3.  Belulah Land — I recently read an ARC for a good friend’s first novel The Happy Hour Choir and enjoyed the characters and the world.  Loved the characters of Belulah and would be happy to spend more time with her and the cast of characters around her.

4.  Alexia Lindale —  Or really any of the characters from Robert Whitlow’s early novels.

5.  Melanie — One of last year’s great delights was The Girl With All the Gifts.  The novel and universe is one I could see myself spending a bit more time with.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week.  I’m sure I’ll think of ten more as soon as I step away and post this.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR List


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) looks at the top books I’m looking forward to reading this spring.

Here’s my list (in no particular order):

1.  The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
2.  Life or Death by Michael Roboham
3.  A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
4.  I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
5.  The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donahue
6.  Scary Close by Donald Miller
7.  Lost and Found by Brooke Davis
8. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
9. Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel
10. The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Have Been Adapted As a Movie or TV Show


It’s time again for the Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This week, I’m looking at the top ten books I’d recommend for people who seen the TV show or movie.

1.  Book You Should Read Before It Becomes a TV Show:   The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.  Amazon has produced a pilot for this alternate history novel from the Phillip K. Dick.  It’s a mind-bender where the Axis powers won World War II and have divided up what used to be the United States among themselves.   Full of the PKD themes of paranoia and questions of identity, this is one of the more straightforward PKD books out there and one of his best.   I haven’t seen the pilot yet but hopefully this one will become a series.

2.  Book That Isn’t As Good As the Movie: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom.   During the height of Forrest Gump‘s popularity, I picked up and read the novel by Winston Groom that served as the basis for the movie.  It’s VERY different and while the germ of the movie is there, the novel goes into an entirely different tangent — and it’s not necessarily for the better. Jenny loves Forrest mainly for his sexual prowess and large endowment and at one point Forrest is part of the space program.   The sweetness of the Tom Hanks portrayal isn’t necessarily in evidence as much either.  Most of the time, the book is better than the movie.  This is one case where that isn’t the case.

3.  Stephen King Novel That Was Made Into a Bad Movie: Pet Semetary.  This is one that could cover a lot of Stephen King’s prolific career. But I think the movie version that disappointed me the most has to be Pet Semetary.   The book is one of the darkest, creepiest and most compelling books of his career.  And I’m not talking about the scary stuff about raising pets and loved one from the dead!  I’m talking about the vivid scene where the family’s young child is killed and the funeral afterward.  Some of the most vivid writing that King has ever done and it just doesn’t translate at all onto the screen.   Oh and the novel is scary as hell and the movie — yeah, not so much.  Read it. Trust me.

4.  Classic Comics That Became a Movie:  Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Volumes 1-4.    These four volumes collect the entire run of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era of the Spider-Man and are some of my favorite issues of the entire run.   A lot of what’s in here has served as the basis for all five Spider-Man movies and it’s a lot of fun to revisit the original teen-angst filled world of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man.  Re-reading these recently reminded me of the biggest flaw in the new two new Spidey movies: the downplaying of Uncle Ben’s importance to the Spider-Man saga.    If you’re a big fan of Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 as I am, you may want to push onto volume 5 which includes the Spider-Man No More storyline that was part of that movie.

5.  Graphic Novel That Became a Movie: Watchmen.  Zach Snyder did a good job of adapting the comic for the silver screen — well, at least until he created a different ending for the movie from the graphic novel.   As with most literary works adapted for the silver screen, there are things that had to be jettisoned for running time.   Reading this will help you appreciate the movie a bit more, but also get you into one of the definitive graphic novels of all-time.

6.  Book That Wouldn’t Exist Without the Movie: Fantastic Voyage by Issac Asimov.   Asimov adapted the screenplay into a novel — and one that I’d argue is a better take on the material.   It keep the elements of the movie that worked and tries to make a premise that isn’t necessarily going to be supportable scientifically a big more supportable.

7.  Book and Movie Are Both Great (But Very Different Experiences):  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I love the book the movie. But each version is a different experience on the same material and I think they compliment each other well.

8.  Book and TV Show Are Both Great (But Very Different Experiences): A Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones.   The TV show has veered off a bit from some of the plotlines in the novels and I expect them to continue to do so as the show evolves.   Given that Martin is involved in the books and the shows, we have to assume that he is giving his blessing to these changes.

9.  Many Versions of the Same Story:  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The good thing about Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide is that no two versions are exactly the same.   And the one you prefer may be the one you read, heard or saw first.  They all start from a similar point but there are variations and nuances to the radio show, the TV show, the movie and the books that will keep you entertained and possibly confusing which plot point happens in which version.  I’d recommend at least the original radio show and novels if you only want to do two of the four versions .

And with that, I’m going to stop at nine.

EDIT:  After more pondering, I came up with another addition to my list.

10. Book You Should Read Before It Becomes A Movie: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.   Packed to the gills with references, homages and appearances by some of the greatest geeky properties, I find it hard to believe that the movie will secure the rights to all of them.   So don’t miss out on your favorite being there and read the book!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Favorites


Time again for the Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is our top ten favorite books from the last three to five years.

1. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
2.  Dare Me by Megan Abbott
3.  Lock In by John Scalzi
4.  The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner
5.  Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick
6.  Save Yourself by Kelly Braffett
7.  Tempest by Julie Cross
8.  Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
9. The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters
10. Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny


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Top Ten Tuesday: Pop Culture Heroines


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish) looks at the top ten heroines from popular culture.  My list will include heroines from comic books, movies, tv shows and books.

1. Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird.  It’s one of my favorite novels, so you knew it had to make the list.   Scout’s first-person narration of Mockingbird is just one of the many highlights of this great book.   I will admit I’m a bit nervous about the upcoming “sequel” that will hit shelves later this year.  This book is so close to perfect to me that I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a second installment can’t possibly live up to my expectations.

2.  Barbara Havers from the Elizabeth George mysteries.  — I look forward to each new Elizabeth George novel not only for the tightly plotted mystery, but for a chance to catch up with my literary friends Inspector Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers.  Havers isn’t what you’d think of as your “typical” heroine, but I can’t help but love her, flaws and all.  Barbara enjoys foods that aren’t good for her, smokes too much and has a tendency to speak before she thinks.   Her fashion sense is questionable and I often delight in the outfits that George chooses to describe her wearing in each installment.   And yet for all that, she’s still a great partner to Lynley and a fascinatingly compelling character.

Anne-of-Green-Gables-The-Sequel23.  Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables series.  This one’s kind of a mixture of the character presented in the novels and the various mini-series starring Megan Follows that aired when I was growing up.  Red-haired Anne Shirley is sent by mistake to the Cuthberts, who wanted a boy to help around the farm.   Anne has a tendency to dream huge dreams and to say the wrong thing.  She’s also prone to mishaps.   And I can’t help but love the character.

4.  Ramona Quimby from the Ramona books.  Growing up, I read the Ramona novels over and over again.   Beverly Cleary’s creation, who is allowed to grow up over the course of each novel is one of best things in all of literature — children’s or otherwise.  From her confusion at how long she should sit at her desk to her fights with older sister Beezus to trying to understand how a new baby will affect her family, Ramona feels more like an old friend than a literary character.   Continue reading


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Top Ten Tuesday: Problems With Reading


Time again for the Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is the problems you have with books.

And so, here we go.  I’m going to break my list down into some serious and non-serious issues.


1.  My TBR pile seem to multiply when I’m not looking.   It seems as though every time I whittle down my TBR pile just a little, instead of getting smaller, it gets larger.  I blame myself for this one entirely and my lack of willpower.  There are just too many books that looks good or that I find recommended by other book bloggers that I want to read!    I also blame this on the “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” theory.   This can be really bad when it comes to my local library and/or getting digital ARCs.

2.  Not enough time to read.   If I could just figure out how to give up sleeping, I’d get a lot more reading done!

3.  My “next book to read” list constantly changes.   The minute I come home from the library or download a digital ARC or come home from the bookstore, my intention is to read that book I just picked up next.    As soon as I finish my current read or reads.  This rarely happens unless it’s certain authors like Stephen King, Elizabeth George or Michael Connelly.  More often than not, I put the book into the pile with good intentions to get to it and then find another book distracts me before I get to it.

4.  Forgetting I’ve got a TBR pile on my Kindle.   My Kindle is wonderful because it allows me to have a zillion and one books ready to read at the drop of a hat or my next whim.   It also allows me to carry around a virtual library without the weight of an actual library.  It also allows me to ignore a large chunk of books because they aren’t sitting there in a pile, wondering why I haven’t read them.

5.   Apps on my Kindle can distract me.  I’ve got a Paperwhite and a Fire and I love them both.  And while the Fire is great for reading comic books or collected comics, there are times when that game of Angry Birds With Friends calls out to me and I substitute it for reading time!    Continue reading


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