Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

(Brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish)

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This was not an easy list for me to come up with this week because I almost never go see movies made from books because I hate the way they change the pictures in my head and when I do see a book-to-movie adaptation, I am nearly always disappointed. Getting to ten was pretty difficult, but these are the book-to-movie adaptations I would pay to go see! (Since I live in Malaysia, movies are about $5USD, so a much smaller investment than when I am Stateside. That might make a difference too!)

California by Edan Lepucki-  With a near-future setting, this post-apocalyptic books set outside Los Angeles could easily make a great movie. The plot is strong, the characters are interesting and the dilemmas they face would force viewers to think about what they would do in a world where everything they know has been taken away. It wouldn’t quite be a summer blockbuster, as there aren’t enough chase scenes or firefights, but there is definitely intrigue and mystery.

Compound by S.A. Bodeen- This is one of my favorite YA books! A wealthy Seattle man creates a bomb shelter meant to last for years. On one horrible night, his family takes refuge in the shelter, but not everyone makes it and those who do are forced to live knowing their family members were left above ground. During their years in the shelter, the family faces many struggles, but as they grow older, the kids start to question what they are doing in the shelter and what remains outside. No longer content with just what they have been told, questions lead to more questions and soon many secrets start to unravel.

Lock In by John Scalzi- Another near-future setting book, but this one with the drama and explosions needed for a summer blockbuster! This book looks at a society in which some people are “locked in” their bodies, able to think clearly, but not control their physical beings. This is remedied by a technology that allows the brain to transfer thoughts to a robot-like “body,” allowing those who are locked in to be a part of society. But, complications arise with the new technology. The protagonist is a police officer who is a victim of the locked in syndrome and must straddle the worlds of those like himself and those who have never had to deal with the difficulties of being locked in their bodies. The book is labeled as #1, which means there are more to come which is always something movie studios are looking for.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This one was the only easy one on the list. Since I read this when it came out, I’ve wanted someone to make it into a movie, but I want it to be artsy. I want the movie to be in black and white, which just certain pops of red throughout. Done well, this could be an amazing movie- visually stunning!

Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History  by Ben Mezrich I loved this book when I read it a few years ago and not just because the protagonist shares a name with my husband. Thad decides he is going to give his girlfriend a piece of the moon, but to do so requires him to break in to NASA archives to get at the precious rock. The planning and preparation that go in to the heist are amazing, but the best part of the story is just how crazy it is. This real-life heist could make for a great Hollywood film.

The BFG by Roald Dahl- This one IS coming out as a movie and one that I would love to go see with my nieces and nephews the next time I am home. It is scheduled for release in 2016. It will be an animated version, which I would much prefer a live-action movie, so I’d like to leave this on the list for books that still need to be made into movies. I want this one done with real people!

The Martian by Andy Weir- It is coming out as a movie this summer. I can’t wait to go see it!

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins GilmanThis classic story would make for a fantastic movie. A woman who is forced to “rest,” slowly loses her mind. The social commentary on feminism and mental illness could be quite powerful and while the original story is short, there is definitely room to expand it into movie-length.

Trash by Andy Mulligan- This is another great YA novel. One thing I love about it is that it breaks away from the currently popular trends in YA literature and takes a realistic look at poverty in other nations. This book is a powerful reminder of how lucky many students are and how hard some have to struggle just to survive on a day to day basis.

Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey – I found this series a couple of years ago and just flew through the books. This is another future-set book, although much farther future than a few others on this list. Humanity now lives in enormous silos, where everyone is assigned specific jobs and no one can go outside, where the world is poisonous. I always love a post-apocalyptic book and this entire series would work well for multiple movies. (I have to say, the first book was my favorite and would make for the best movie.)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

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(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I suppose it is that time of year when one starts to think about fun, easy reads for the beach or other travels. It is hard for me to remember the change of seasons, as living in Malaysia means one long summer that will last two years. It is amazing how much a lack of seasonal change impacts my mental calendar. Often, I really don’t have any idea what month it is. October felt the same as February which feels the same as May. I know I am traveling to the States in July, which is less than six weeks away, but July feels like September which feels like January. It is all same-same.

But, since summer is rapidly approaching (It’s unofficially here, right? Memorial Day was yesterday, meaning it’s time to fire up the BBQs, break out the kayaks and pull out the fixings for s’mores.), which means it’s time think about great summer reads. In reality, my summer reading list will be dominated by school books, but I’ve got some great reads for those of you without homework.

(Presented in alphabetical order. Because of time restrictions, I pulled each summary directly off of GoodReads this week. Hopefully next week will be more original!)

Big Little Lies by Lorraine Moriarty- “Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her.?) Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.”

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan- “When American-born Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to provide a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace. Two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars. Three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.”

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult – “For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.”

Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost- “At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost–who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs–decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.”

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins- “Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.” And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”

The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank- “Best friends since the first day of classes at The College of Charleston, Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe, now 23 years old, live in Ashley’s parents’ beach house rent-free. Ashley is a gallery assistant who aspires to become an artist. Mary Beth, a gifted cook from Tennessee, works for a caterer while searching for a good teaching job. Though they both know what they want out of life, their parents barely support their dreams and worry for their precarious finances. While they don’t make much money, the girls do have a million-dollar view that comes with living in that fabulous house on Sullivans Island. Sipping wine on the porch and watching a blood-red sunset, Ashley and Mary Beth hit on a brilliant and lucrative idea. With a new coat of paint, the first floor would be a perfect place for soirees for paying guests. Knowing her parents would be horrified at the idea of common strangers trampling through their home, Ashley won’t tell them. Besides, Clayton and Liz Waters have enough problems of their own. A successful investment banker, Clayton is too often found in his pied-a-terre in Manhattan–which Liz is sure he uses to have an affair. And when will Ashley and her brother, Ivy, a gay man with a very wealthy and very Asian life partner–ever grow up? Then there is Maisie, Liz’s mother, the family matriarch who has just turned eighty, who never lets Liz forget that she’s not her perfect dead sister, Juliet. For these Lowcountry women, an emotional hurricane is about to blow through their lives, wreaking havoc that will test them in unexpected ways, ultimately transforming the bonds they share.”

The Husband’s Secret by Lorraine Moriarty- “Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.”

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion- “Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper. The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.”

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner- “The lives of four very different women intertwine in unexpected ways in this new novel by bestselling author Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes; Best Friends Forever). Each woman has a problem: Princeton senior Jules Wildgren needs money to help her dad cure his addiction; Pennsylvania housewife Annie Barrow is gasping to stay financially afloat; India Bishop yearns to have a child, an urge that her stepdaughter Bettina can only regard with deeply skepticism until she finds herself in a most unexpected situation.”

Us by David Nicholls – “’I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.’ ‘Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?’ Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again. The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed. What could possibly go wrong?”

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favorite Poems

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favorite Poems

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This week, the gals over at The Broke and the Bookish have left the Top Ten Tuesday prompt wide open. So good…and so bad! While it will be awesome to hop around the blogs and see what others came up with (many which I will lament not having thought of myself) it did mean that I had to sort through a million possibilities in my own head before even beginning this week’s list. Instead of sticking with a typical list of books this week, I’m going to veer off into a different literary genre for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: poems! I, by no means, consider myself well-read when it comes to poetry, but I do have a core collection of favorites, which are the basis for this week’s entry. (Presented in alphabetic order, just to save me the stress of figuring out which is my all-time favorite, as that distinction is always in flux.)

“A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes– It might not be long, but it packs a punch in its few lines. Our dreams are what make us who we are; dreams are what push us to get out of bed each day and become better. But, if those dreams are stymied over and over, whether by an individual or a government, the power of them is going to have to be released (unleashed?) somehow. What will that explosion look like?

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe- This one easily made my top ten and always will. I love the pull between the fairy tale setting by the sea and the macabre final stanza. A love existed that was so precious and pure that heavenly angels crushed it in jealously. That’s some pretty great Gothic imagery.

“I, Too, Sing America” by Langston Hughes- Somewhere along the lines in school I had to memorize this one for an English class and it has been stuck in my brain ever since. I love the strength and conviction in it.

“If” by Rudyard Kipling- Choices and attitude are the underlying themes of this poem, both of which I believe we must actively own. By setting up the dichotomies throughout, Kipling reminds us that we ultimately have control over our actions/reactions. I can choose my behavior and attitude towards a situation, even when I can’t control the details of the event. Not a bad life lesson…

“Oh Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman-­ This is one of those poems that I can’t read without a swelling of patriotism/pride in my heart. What a beautiful tribute to a rising nation and a fallen leader.

“Oranges” by Gary Soto- I love Gary Soto’s poems and they were always a favorite to teach to middle school students. This one is such a perfect glimpse into early love, the stress of impressing a young girl with just the few coins in a boy’s pocket. It is tender and sweet, but doesn’t discount the nerves as a boy makes his first moves into the world of dating.

“Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou- There is little that needs to be said about this immense poem of strength and resilience. In a world where women (and men) are judged constantly on superficial traits, Angelou reminds us all that we are so much more than that. She reminds us that our power comes from within and that we should not let negativity get us down. Push to be better; push to be phenomenal.

“Warning” by Jenny Joseph- Love this poem! Again, it was a favorite to teach with my middle school students, because after we read it, I would assign everyone to rewrite it in their own style, “warning” us of something we need to know about their future. It was awesome watching kids write poems warning us about when they were famous baseball players, when they were the school principal or when they finally received their driver’s license. The creativity that this poem sparked in my students always made me smile!.

“We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks­- Lacking the pretentiousness often associated with poetry, this short work just puts a teenager frame of mind into a new genre, succinctly displaying both the bravado and audacity of teens as they face the world.

“Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein- Of course, a poetry list on this blog would not be complete without an eponymous entry! And, I love that by putting the list in alphabetical order, this fell at the end, as a great wrap-up to the poetry week. Living abroad, moving every few years and traveling as much as possible, I am always in search of the end of the sidewalk, not because I want the journey to end, but because I want to see what is there and then I want to see what is on the other side of “the end.” New people, new places, new ideas. You never know where the sidewalk will lead or what you will find, but it is always worth having a look!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

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(Capitalization as provided by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish, as I definitely don’t feel that strongly about it!)

I almost skipped writing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, but then realized if I didn’t sit down to work on this blog entry, I’d have to sit down and write a paper about ethics and travel writing that I just haven’t quite sorted out in my brain yet. (You know when you have an idea of what you want to say, floating around in your head, but none of it is coming together into any sensible order? That is where I am at. So, rather than sit down and focus on creating an outline there, I’ll procrastinate with a Top Ten Tuesday list!) The reason this list almost went undone is because I have just never been super drawn to the idea of meeting celebrities. (Okay, I met Michelle Obama last year and that was about the best thing ever, but still…) I don’t really get starry-eyed over the rich and famous, but the more I thought about this topic of authors I’d like to meet, I realized it would be fun to put together a list of ten authors I would like to invite to the same dinner party and then just sit back and watch what happens! As you read, imagine them all together for an evening, the conversation taking itself where it would…With this group of characters, the possibilities are endless!

Beverly Cleary- Ramona! How do you not invite the creator of Ramona to a dinner party? These books were the first “chapter books” I read on my own (although we didn’t call them that back then) and I couldn’t get enough of my box set of paperback. Beverly Cleary has opened up reading to generations of young kids and I would love to hear her take not only on current children’s literature, but see her chat the classics with Poe and Hemingway.

Edgar Allan Poe- Of course. No one who has spent any time on this blog would not expect to see him on the list. I’d love to see his reaction to his current fame, considering he died destitute in a gutter.

Erik Larson- I credit Larson with turning me on to narrative non-fiction writing. Before reading Devil in the White City, I would only pick up non-fiction when it was required for a class, but after being drawn in to his style of weaving various stories into a single true tale, I’ve become quite the follower of new books in this genre.

Ernest Hemingway-I think he would probably be a pompous ass. But, just entertaining enough to put up with for an evening. Besides, we’ve got to have some Idaho representation at the party !

Haruki Murakami- This is an outlier, but I’m strangely drawn in my Murakami’s writing. When I am actually reading it, I don’t always understand what I am reading or where the story is going. I don’t even necessarily like the writing while I am in the midst of it, but somehow, each time I finish one of his novels, I walk away with a sense that I really loved what I just read, even if I barely scratched the surface of understanding.

Maya Angelou- She’s amazing and inspirational and I can’t imagine a literary gathering without her.

Orson Scott Card- Again, an author chosen for having opened the door to a new genre for me. I’m wouldn’t call myself a big science fiction fan, but before reading Ender’s Game when I was in high school, I would not have even given the genre a chance. Ender’s Game caught my attention in a way that surprised me and I quickly read through his entire library at the time. I honestly haven’t stayed as current with his writing as I probably should have, but as the doorway to a new genre, he deserves a place at my table.

Roald Dahl- I had a love hate relationship with this man as a child. I loved The BFG but was terrified by James and the Giant Peach, and yet, I couldn’t not pick up those books filled with just enough irreverence to make me think I was getting away with something. (So much fart talk!)

Stephen King­- Possibly a surprise member of my dinner party, since his novel It made it onto my recent Top Ten Books I’ll Never Read list. But, while I can’t go in for the horror he creates, I do think he is an amazing writer and has some important idea on the teaching of writing. I really respect him academically and think that these dual qualities would add to the conversation on many levels.

William Least Heat-Moon- I just finished Blue Highways by Heat-Moon and really liked the smoothness of his writing style. There is a comfort and ease to his writing; although I am sure the writing itself was neither comfortable nor easy. Blue Highways was published in 1983 and I’d love to catchup with the last three decades of his ideas.

In hindsight, getting these ten authors together on a single night might be utter chaos. The whole thing could quickly dissolve into egos and power plays, and yet, I do think the sidebar conversations would be worth the efforts. With a mixture of classic and contemporary authors, fiction and non-fiction writers, the literary world would be their oyster!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

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I love this week’s prompt from the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, as let’s face it, even the most bookish of us have titles that we either have good intentions of getting to but always seem to drift to the bottom of the “to read” pile, or we have those ones that we are just well aware that we will never pick up unless we’re desperately stuck with nothing else to read. (Actually, I’m experiences a bit of that now, having traveled without proper bookage and am not forced to choose between the few English channels my hotel in Singapore gets or a terribly boring book I brought along, hoping it would be better. I might be wishing a bit for a few of the books on this week’s list after all.)

Again, in the normal “no particular order” I present you with ten books I will just probably never get around to reading…

50 Shades of Gray by E. L. James I know these were super popular, but they just never held any appeal for me. Not that I need all of my books to be super “literary” but I do think I’d like a bit more plot than it sounds like these offer and honestly, I have a hard time with the fact that that crazy relationship was somehow twisted to be a positive and mutually respectful one. Not really a score for feminism, I’m afraid.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky– I just never went down the Russian literature road and don’t really see it in my future. I did read Anna Karenina and was so annoyed with her character that I didn’t go any farther with the genre.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert­- Again, a caveat on this one, as I may end up picking it up by the end of the year since I am currently studying travel literature, a topic I find fascinating, but this one never drew me in. It feels so overly self-indulgent and self-centered. I’m all for travel narratives that incorporate personal growth along the way (a theme heavily relied on in many travel narratives by female writers), but this one just seems over the top. (Again, having not read it, I base that on what I have read/heard about the book, so it is probably not a totally fair summary, but since this week’s list is of books we don’t plan to read, I assume we are all in the same boat on that particular issue.)

It by Stephen King– Just too scary! There is no way I could make it through this book without having to store it in my freezer, a Joey move from Friends. I saw the movie the summer I graduated from high school and didn’t sleep well for weeks. There is no way I could handle the imagines my mind would come up with if I were reading it.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville– This is probably sacrilegious considering I have a BA in literature and am currently working on an MA in literature, but Moby Dick just isn’t for me. I had to read it as an undergraduate and somehow skimmed enough of it to take part in class discussions and was lucky enough to find totally unrelated topics for my term papers because skimming is a pretty generous term for what I did on this book. My undergrad days were before internet was super useful for such searches, so I basically read topic sentences, a paragraph or two per chapter and called it in when it came to class participation. I definitely will not be picking this one up again! The white whale may be been Ismael’s nemesis, but this narrative is mine!

Snow by Orhan Pamuk- I tried. I really did. It was a Nobel Prize winner, after all. And yet, I just couldn’t get into it. I think I stuck it out for about 100 pages before finally setting it aside, something I rarely do with books. I’m a bit of a finisher when it comes to books, even the ones I don’t totally love because I never know when I am going to miss out on something spectacular. Any maybe I am. I must be. It won a Nobel Prize, after all…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson- The first of these books came out in English while I was in the Peace Corps, so I wasn’t able to jump on the bandwagon early and then they became so crazy popular I was kind of turned off by them. But, the more I learned, the less likely I was to pick up this series anyway. Graphic violence is just not my thing, either in books or movies, and I feel like there was enough of this to make me look other places with my book buying dollars.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks- (Or any of his other books, to be honest.) I have a sister-in-law who is going to kill me for this addition to the list, but I’ve just never been able to get on the Sparks bandwagon. I don’t know why. I am not much of a fan of romance novels and judging by the books covers (a no-no, I know) it seems like they all follow a very similar plotline with few characters outside the realms of middle class white folk.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Persig- I gave this one a shot. Actually, several shots. Over the years this one has been recommended to me time and time again, but each time I pick it up I don’t make it far before being thoroughly confused and bored. I know it is supposed to be deep and meaningful, but I can barely follow the plot/theories and often end up thinking about lunch, a nap, the laundry and just about anything else other than the words on the page. Even if it is pushed my way again, I doubt I’ll give it another go.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling– I am putting this one last so that maybe people won’t give up on me until they’ve read the rest of my list. I know for a lot of book-folks out there, this is the be-all, end-all of series, but I just never really go into it. (Please don’t hate me!) I read the first two. Liked the first one a lot, felt indifferent enough about the second I never picked up the third. I saw the first movie and called it good after one there as well and I have no real intentions of going back to the books at this point. I never say never though…

After finishing this week’s list, I’m not sure I’m as enamored with the topic as I was when I started writing an hour ago. I feel so negative about books right now!(In my defense, I had a hard time coming up with ten books/series, so there is much more good stuff out there!) There are so many great ones out there and even those on my list are loved by loyal readers, so I feel bad panning them because they aren’t my cup of tea. In the end, read what makes you happy! This is my list of books I doubt I’ll ever pick up, but as I learned on Reading Rainbow many years ago, “Don’t take my word for it!” Find a book, a series or an author you love and read until there is nothing else to read.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who (Travel)

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who (Travel)

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about finding ten books whose protagonists have something in common. Of course, because my entire reading life revolves around travel literature at this point, my mind went instantly to that place, but I didn’t want to fill my list with non-fiction narratives, so tried to expand and include some of my favorite “travel” books of all time. As always, because I have a hard time just getting to ten, I avoided having to choose a #1 by putting them in alphabetical order. (Cop-out, I know!)

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson– (Non-fiction) This is a hilarious adventure of hiking on the Appalachian Trail. If you’ve not picked up something by Bryson before, I’d say this is the one to start with!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie– (Fiction)- Beautifully written story of a Nigerian woman who lives in the US for a time and then returns home, juxtaposing the two worlds. I loved the discussions of being African in America, but not African-American, a distinction that I had never thought about before, as well as the peek into the world of Nigeria, a country a deal with on a daily basis, but mostly in terms of warning people away from scams.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini- (Fiction) Another beautifully written story that has many elements of travel in it, both within Afghanistan and from the US to Afghanistan. This is one of those books that I can’t stop thinking about. It was both heartbreaking and magnificent at the same time. Again, if you’ve not read Hosseini before, this is the one to start with!

Blood River by Tim Butcher- (Non-fiction) This is the travel narrative of Butcher, who attempts to cross the Congo, following the path of the famous journalist H. Stanley (“Dr. Livingston, I presume”). It is a powerful look at what the country has become post-colonization and post-dictatorship with a great mix of history and culture included in the tale of his journey.

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell- (Fiction)- One of my all-time favorite YA novels and a huge reason I decided to study a combination of YA literature and travel literature. If this book doesn’t make you want to pack your backpack and catch a flight tomorrow, I don’t know what will. (Kelsey, if you are reading this blog, find this book!)

Peak by Roland Smith- (Fiction)- Another great YA novel about travel- this one awfully timely with the horrific earthquake in Nepal this week. The main character heads to Everest in an attempt to be the youngest to ever summit the mountain, but along the way learning as much about himself and life as he does about technical climbing skills.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro- (Fiction)- A new release, just having come out earlier this year, this book is amazing. It is a strange but great combination of fairy tale and fantasy with a touch of historical fiction thrown in. The story itself meanders a bit, but I loved the overall theme of memories and whether we should take the bad with the good and what it is worth in the end. Powerful!

The Martian by Andy Weir- (Fiction) – I suppose there is no travel father than to Mars! If you haven’t read this one yet, do it before the movie comes out. (Always read the book first!) I’ve given this book as a gift to several friends/family members and have had only positive reviews.

The Odyssey by Homer- (Fiction)- What list of great traveling characters would be complete without The Odyessey? It is the first and foremost leader in travel narratives! Really, no further comment is needed.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams- (Non-fiction)- I didn’t want to get away from this week without at least one more contemporary travel literature entry. I love this one because Adams writing makes you wish you were there with him on the adventure, even when you really don’t want to be a part of some of the situations he encounters. Now that is great writing!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes from Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes from Books

toptentuesday(Inspired by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out here.)

Top ten lists are never as easy as they sound since the problem rarely lies in not enough choices, but rather the overwhelming abundance of great choices. Each week I struggle with whether I should stick to a theme to help narrow my thoughts (YA literature, travel literature, non-fiction, etc.) and yet each week I seem to end up with a seemingly random assortment. With this week’s theme being favorite quotes from literature, I’ve put together a list that really is all over the place. Some are quotes that are memorable because they are great “sound bites” from the narrative (The Hunger Games and The Outsiders), while some are powerful and stand firmly on their own, without needing any further knowledge of the work itself (East of Eden and The Infernal Devices).

So, presented without further commentary, here are ten literary quotes that speak to me:

“And may the odds be ever in your favor.” –Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden

“Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”
—Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

“Do I dare / Disturb the universe?”
—T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”                                                                                                                                                                            -A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

“In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”
—Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

“One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
—Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices

“Stay gold, Ponyboy.”                                                                                                                                                                     – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”
—L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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