Category Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

TTT: Ten Fall Themed Children’s Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week the topic is fall themes.  I have chosen to focus only on children’s books.  Do you have a favorite fall themed children’s book?  If so, what is it?  Please share!

  1.  Rattlebone Rock by Sylvia Andrews, Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas – This musical, rhyming story in the form of a song takes place in a graveyard with various spooky and creepy characters. Eventually, friendly more familiar animals and people join in as well, to join the celebration and dance that lasts all night.  It is a fun, musical book with a great syncopating beat and high entertainment value, recommended for children ages 3-8.2.   Thanksgiving Day Thanks by Laura Malone Elliott, Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger – This book depicts a classroom experience of students pondering the question of what it is they are thankful for.  As a class assignment, each student needs to create a project with a Thanksgiving theme.  Some of these projects give insight into the deeper meaning of the history of Thanksgiving while others help the students better understand what they are thankful for.  At the end of the story interesting history and fun facts about Thanksgiving Day are provided.

3.  Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell – This is a Halloween themed counting book.  There is a haunted house in which 10 timid ghosts live.  A witch moves in and wants them out.  She scares each with a different disguise, until the last one discovers the witch’s costume coming undone.  Then, ten angry ghosts exact their revenge and retrieve the house.  This is a fun repetitive rhyming counting book in which small children are able to anticipate how many ghosts are left.

4.  Fall Ball by Peter McCarty – This is a simply written children’s book aimed at what matter’s most to children:  free time to play on their own.  The illustrations are absolutely stunning.  The children are riding home from school on the bus and plan to play football when they get there.  Jimmy is one exception who decides to rake leaves instead.  The children play ball, however Sparky, the dog, is quickest to retrieve the ball.  he crashes into Jimmy’s pile of leaves, as do all of the children.  It’s so early, yet getting dark and cold, and all the children must go home.  A beautiful book about fall and things to love:  football, cozy pajamas, warm blankets, good things to eat…  Highly recommended!!

5.  The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons – This is a nonfiction children’s book about pumpkins.  It is highly informative and very interesting.  It describes the life cycle of the pumpkin from seed through mature pumpkin, as well as the various pumpkin varieties.  There is history tied in, with the relevance of pumpkins to Halloween as well as Thanksgiving, making this an excellent educational  book for fall. 

6.  The Best Thanksgiving Ever by Teddy Slater, Illustrated by Ethan Long – This is a hilarious, rhyming, loving thanksgiving book about a family of turkeys celebrating together.  They practice gratitude, celebrate togetherness and sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving…. corn!

7.  Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf – This is a beautiful children’s book about a little girl, Sophie, who chooses a squash from a farmer’s market.  This squash is the perfect size to hold, to bounce on her knee, to put a face on with marker, to fall in love with.  The squash begins to become freckled and less bouncy, and in an effort to heal her squash, Sophie buries it in dirt.  After the snow melts, a squash plant grows and eventually Sophie has two new squash to love. The humor is subtle and enjoyable.  This book is thoroughly unique and a great read for the fall!

8.  Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian – This classic book from 1965 is adorable.  This witch with the handmade black scarf, the orange gloves, the crumpled black hat, the BIG nose, the striped stockings is having a very difficult time getting her spells to work.  It has a perfectly unexpected ending for a children’s book.  My daughter asked me at the beginning of the second reading what “humbug” meant.  It means “deceptive or false behavior.”  It is a lovely title for a quirky fun halloween story.  Highly recommended!

9. Beneath the Ghost Moon by Jane Yolan, Illustrated by Laurel Molk –   This is a beautifully written, poetic rhythmic rhyming book about mice who are excited for the Halloween dance.  However, in the night as they slept, a creepy crawlie crew entered, destroying their costumes and taking over their lair.  The small mice decide to stand up for themselves taking on the creepy crawlies with music, banners and battle cries.  It ends with a creepy crawlie and a mouse forging a friendship beneath the ghost moon, dancing into the night. Beautiful poetry and illustrations, lovely lessons taught, and highly entertaining… a perfect book for fall!

 

10.  The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano, Illustrated by Susan Banta – This is a rhyming story about a pumpkin patch wherein all the pumpkins are round, except for one square pumpkin.  The night before Halloween, there is a storm, and pumpkins are rolling off the vine and into the bay.  Spookley has to work hard to turn onto his side, over and over, but is able to eventually move himself to close the gap in the fence where the pumpkins are rolling out.  The next morning the farmer sees the value in this odd-shaped pumpkin and uses Spookley’s seed in every row the following year to grow pumpkins mostly square, but also of different shapes and colors.  The moral of the story being that variety is the spice of life and great value can be found in our differences.

TTT: Top 10 Fictional Novels that Feature Characters with Autism

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  A topic that is usually open to individual variation is offered up for people to post about.  This week’s topic was “Top Ten Books That Feature Characters __________ . ”   Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Are there any other books you’ve read featuring characters with autism?  Please share!

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – This is, for me, the classic book I think of when I think of ficitional books featuring a character with autism.  In this novel, Christopher, who lives in a world of numbers, patterns, rules and diagrams sets out to solve a murder mystery.2.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – In this novel, Don Tillman, an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor, having never been on a date, embarks on The Wife Project, having conceded to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone.3.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stiegg Larson – This is the first book in the trilogy that is a murder mystery, family saga and love story.  Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist, works together with Lisbeth Salandar, a tattooed genius hacker, to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance.  Blomkvist describes Lisbeth as “Asperger’s syndrome, he thought. Or something like that. A talent for seeing patterns and understanding abstract reasoning where other people perceive only white noise.”4.  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – Within this dystopian novel there is a university labelled Asperger’s U, where almost every student appears to have Asperger Syndrome or autism in varying degrees of severity and form. People in the university refer to non-autists as neurotypicals and seem to view them as something altogether different (and perhaps inferior) to themselves. The end of the human race is brought about almost entirely by the character Crake, who attended Asperger’s U and was no exception to their rule. He believed that the human race was, by the end of the novel, doomed to extinction simply because of its overuse of resources and the corruption of the social elite.5.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen So Odd a Mixture by Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer published in 2007 examines multiple characters in Pride and Prejudice finding autistic traits in 8 of them, 5 in the Bennet family and 3 in the extended family of the Fitzwilliams.  Autism was not a recognized disorder in Jane Austen’s time.   Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer proposes that Jane Austen wrote about people with this condition, without knowing exactly what she was describing.6.  Mindblind by Jennifer Roy – Fourteen year old Nathaniel Clark, is told he is a genius with sky high IQ and perfect SAT scores.  However, he has read that a true genius uses his talent to make a contribution to the world.  Thus, begins his quest.  The character in this novel is inspired by Jennifer Roy’s son who inspired the “Amazing Race” charts and the narrative at the back of the book.7.  The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon – In this science fiction novel, Lou Arrendale is part of a lost generation that did not reap the benefits of being born during the disease-free era.  He has autism and it is part of who he is and his quiet life.  However, a new treatment becomes available.   If he accepts this treatment, will he still be the same person?  How will it affect his life, his relationships, and perceptions of the world?8.  Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco S. Stork Marcelo Sandoval hears music that no one else can hear, part of his autism-like impairment that doctors can’t quite identify.  He attends a special school where his differences have been protected.  However, the summer after his junior year, his father demands that he work in the mail room of his law firm to experience the “real world.”  Here he learns about jealousy, anger, suffering, injustice…9.  Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – This is a middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss and discovering the true meaning of family.  Willow Chance, a 12 year old genius, has found it hard to connect with anyone except her adoptive parents.  Her life is tragically changed when her parents die in a car crash.  Willow is able to push her way through grief and find a surrogate family.10.  Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine –  Winner of the National Book Award for young people’s literature in 2010, this novel is about Caitlin, an eleven year old girl with Asperger’s.  In her world, everything is black and white, good or bad.  Anything in the middle is confusing.  When her older brother passes away, she looks up the definition of closure.  In her search for it, she discovers a messy beautiful world.

 

TTT: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

  1.  The Changeling by Victor LaValle – This is a fantasy novel, a modern day adult fairy tale of sorts that is also a retelling of Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, Outside Over There.  I requested this book from netgalley and have just started.                                                                                                                                                                        Why?  This was a netgalley request and it also fulfills the Book Riot 2017 Reading Challenge of reading a fantasy novel.  I also really enjoy fantasy and look forward to this story, especially being familiar with Sendak’s creepy, but brilliant and beautiful children’s book.

 

2.  Tales of a Severed Head by Rachida Madani – This is a volume of poetry by this Moroccan poet that addresses modern day issues of women in society.  It compares their situation to the experience of women in The Thousand and One Nights and finds many similarities.                                                           Why?  For Book Riot’s 2017 Reading Challenge I need to read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.  This is not a book I would have chosen on my own, but I love reading outside of the box and look forward to this experience.

 

 

3.  The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas – In the words of Goodreads this is a novel about “sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens and expectations of genius.”                                                       Why?  I requested this book from netgalley after reading so many glowing reviews from fellow reviewers.  The description seemed very interesting and appealing to me as well.  It is a long book and I am happy to say, I’m just about finished (but still adding it to this list – since it is fall).

 

 

4.  Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – This is a thriller told from the perspective of two women who become friends.  One is the wife of David and the other is having an affair with David.                                                       Why?  I love listening to books in the car and thrillers are really the easiest, most entertaining types to listen to.  If I listen to something more heavy, I worry that I am not concentrating enough or it would be better read.

 

 

5.  For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange – A book and also a major broadway production about what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century.                          Why?  This will satisfy the requirement of reading a classic by an author of color which is part of the Book Riot 2017 Reading Challenge.   This is also a book I am very interested to read both for content and style.

 

 

6.  A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai –  A romance/erotica novel that one reviewer describes as “feminist, sex-positive erotica that says fuck you to rape culture, slut-shaming, and totally flips the traditional gender roles of the billionaire shiterature that has flooded the market since The Book That Shall Not Be Named was first published.”  She further goes on to say “the female lead, Akira Mori, is unapologetically sexual. Men, women, multiple partner sex, she’s down for it all.”                                                                                                                            Why?  This will satisfy the requirement of Book Riot’s 2017 reading challenge to read a LGBTQ+ romance novel.

 

7.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – According to Goodreads, “In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.”        Why?  This will satisfy the requirement of the Book Riot’s 2017 Reading Challenge to read a book where a character of color goes on a spiritual journey.

 

8.   Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil – According to Goodreads, “A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on mathematical modeling—a pervasive new force in society that threatens to undermine democracy and widen inequality.”                              Why?  To satisfy the Book Riot 2017 requirement to read a non-fiction book about technology.

 

 

 

9.  The  Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – According to Goodreads, “As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?”   Why?  I loved Rene Denfeld’s previous novel The Enchanted, so I cannot wait to read this latest novel of hers.

 

 

 

10.  Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – This novel, shortlisted for the Man-Booker Prize has been described by Goodreads as “Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.”                   Why?  The topic of the book is interesting to me and I have had it recommended to me repeatedly.

 

 

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about the fall’s most anticipated reads.  This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Many of my reads here are dictated by Book Riot’s 2017 Reading Challenge which I have a love-hate relationship with.  I love that it makes me read books that I wouldn’t normally.  My reading selections are much more diverse as a result.  However, it gives me less time and opportunity to read the books I most desire to read.  I have not decided yet as to whether or not continue with these challenges or abandon them.  How do you feel about these reading challenges?  Did you create a Top Ten for today?  If so, please link your top ten below!

 

 

 

TTT: Required Summer Reading for Incoming US College Freshmen 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme was “back to school,” which was a bit of a freebie as there are many directions this one could take.  Having read an article recently about what books college freshman are reading this summer and finding it fascinating, I decided to create a list of some of the most popular required reading titles of the summer for incoming college freshman.  I’ve included my two most heavily relied upon sources below.  I’ve read only two of these books, but the others on the list (some of which I had heard of and others I had not) sound thought provoking and will be added to my ever-growing TBR list.  Have you read any of these books?  Which sound interesting to you?  Do you remember what you were required to read the summer before entering college?  I remember reading Don DeLillo’s Libra, a fictional account of John F. Kennedy’s asassination.

  1. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – At least 70 colleges have recommended this book to incoming college freshmen over the past 3 years.  According to Goodreads:  “Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.”  (published in 2014)
  2. Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance – Chosen by several colleges, this memoir explores issues of social breakdown including poverty, drug abuse and isolation in working class whites living in middle America.  (published in 2016)  My Review.
  3. The Circle by Dave Eggers –  chosen by several universities, is about a young woman drawn into the nefarious practices of a global tech company she works for.  (published in 2013)
  4. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson –  is an exploration of high profile public shaming.  (published in 2015)
  5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is this year’s choice for at least 10 colleges.  Goodreads says, “In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives.”  (published in 2015)
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a dystopian novel whose Goodreads description is as follows:  “In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”  (published in 2011)
  7. Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet is about a young Cuban-American woman torn between her working class family in Miami and life at a liberal arts college.  (published in 2015)
  8. Citizen:  An American Lyric by Claudia Rankin – Goodreads says, “Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media.”  (published in 2014)
  9. Evicted:  Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, is about 8 families in Milwaukee living on the edge in extreme poverty.  (published in 2016)
  10. Becoming Nicole:  The transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt is a biography of a transgender girl and the journey her family goes on to nurture her and find support in their community.  (published in 2015)  My review.

 

Sources:

Depenbrock, Jane.  “Summer Reading for the College Bound.” NPREd, June 30, 2017.

Goldstein, Dana.  “Summer Reading Books:  The Ties that Bind Colleges.” New York Times, July 1, 2017

TTT: Ten Book Recommendations for Lovers of Magical Realism

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Anyone can play.  Each week there is a suggested topic, usually with some wiggle room for individual variation.  This week the suggested topic was “Ten Book Recommendations for_____________.” I chose to do recommendations for lovers of magical realism, a genre I have loved over the ages.  Magical realism lives somewhere between fantasy and reality.  It doesn’t create new worlds as fantasy does, but it suggests the magical within our own world.  What is your favorite book that contains magical realism?  All of the books listed here, I’ve read prior to starting my blog.  Clearly, I need to read more again from this genre, so would greatly appreciate any recommendations you might have.

  1.  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – tells the story of the rise and fall of a mythical town through the history of a family.
  2. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison – a journey and coming of age story of Milkman Dead through a black world, full of many varied and sometimes mystical beings.
  3. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende – a familial saga spanning generations of a family in politics, but also touched by magic.
  4. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel – a romantic story where food and cooking plays a magical role.
  5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – Janie at 16 is forced into marriage, however 2 marriages later, she falls in love with a man who offers her a packet of seeds.  A feminist novel written in 1937, much ahead of its time.  
  6. Beloved by Toni Morrison – Sethe was born a slave, but escaped to Ohio. Eighteen years later she is still not free, haunted by the ghost of her baby and memories of the farm where she worked, Sweet Home.
  7. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – A love story set in Columbia where the girl, Fermina, chooses the doctor rather than the man, Florentino, she had been exchanging love notes with.  Florentino has hundreds of affairs but his heart remains loyal to Fermina.
  8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – a middle aged man returns to his hometown for a funeral.  He visits the home of a childhood friend and the memories and stories that haunted as well as protected him come flooding back.
  9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Things have never been easy for the overweight Dominican nerdy Oscar, but may never improve due to the Fukoe curse that has haunted his family for generations.  
  10. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld – set in an ancient stone prison where a man is on death row visited only by a priest and the Lady, an investigator.  Evil and magical collide in the novel where dark truths are uncovered.

 

 

TTT: Top 10 Favorite Books I’ve Read in 2017, So Far…

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.  Anyone can play..  just check out their site for the weekly theme.  This week’s theme is favorite reads of 2017 thus far.  Mine are listed below, each with a short synopsis, date of publication, and a link to my review.  Have you read any of these?  Did they rate as one of your favorites?  I would love to hear about your favorite reads of this year too!  Please share.

  1.  Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (April 25, 2017) – A novel  of short stories.  These interconnected stories are about people who all grew up in the same rural town.  
  2. The Refugees by Viet Than Nguyen (February 7, 2017) – A novel of short stories of or pertaining to refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s.
  3. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (January 31, 2017) – A novel of friendship and the power of art to illuminate, transform and heal the past.
  4. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway (1929) – A beautifully written book about an American serving in the Italian army during WW1.  A beautiful love story as well.
  5. We Shall Not All Sleep by Estep Nagy (July 4, 2017) – A beautifully written book about two families with homes on an island off the coast of Maine and interconnected histories that finally come together over a period of days.
  6. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti  (March 28, 2017) – A story of a father daughter relationship and a coming of age story.  This is a story of triumphing over the past and becoming a hero. 
  7. Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez (February 21, 2017) – A collection of horror stories that bring to mind the horrors of Argentina’s Dirty War lurking just beneath the surface of normal life.
  8. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (November 9, 2014) – A crime thriller with great character development and a couple of unexpected twists.
  9. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen  by Christopher McDougall (January 2009) – An inspirational book about running and how we are meant to run.  We have evolved to be runners and cultures such as the Tarahumara who continue to run as part of their culture do so with joy and without injury throughout their entire long healthy lives.
  10. Ill Will by Dan Chaon (March 7, 2017) – Dark psychological thriller alternating between different viewpoints.

TTT: 10 Running Books I’ve Recently Added to my TBR (to be read) List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week it is about 10 books in a particular genre that you’ve recently added to your TBR list.  I recently read Born to Run and loved it.  I found it very inspiring and it has changed my whole perspective on running.  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall is probably the most acclaimed and  most widely read book on running out there. Not only does it have great running tips within it, but it is a fascinating story.  As I’ve been running more as a result of that book, I had added other running books to my TBR list hoping to give added inspiration and motivation to continue running.  Have you read any of these?  Did you enjoy them?  Are there any other running books you’ve read and enjoyed?

  1.  Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
    by Dean Karnazes – a memoir of a ultra-marathoner
  2. An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age by John Bingham – a memoir of an unlikely marathoner
  3. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman – a memoir of Scott Jurek’s running experiences and whole food plant based diet

4.  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator) – acclaimed contemporary writer talks about the effect running has had on his writing
5.  Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated
by Dana L. Ayers – humorous memoir of an unlikely runner6.   My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman – a memoir of a man who, at the age of 51, rekindles his love for running7.  Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsleya memoir of a woman in her 30s who turns her life around with running8.  Running with the Mind of Meditation:  Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham A book about incorporating mindful meditation into running to take it to the next level9.  Night Running: A Book of Essays about Breaking Through by multiple authors – a book of essays on running focusing on the power of running to make us feel more and see our lives in a new perspective, with an emphasis on female voices.10.  Run the World by Becky Wade – a memoir by Olympic hopeful about exploring the geographic world of running and unique cultural approaches to it

TTT: Top 10 Most Anticipated Books to be Published in the Second Half of 2017

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about books we are looking forward to in the second half of 2017.  This was a fun post for me investigating all the books that are about to come out and getting excited for them!  Which of these appeals to you?  What is on your list?

  1.  We Shall Not Sleep by Estep Nagy“The entangled pasts of two ruling class New England families come to light over three summer days on an island in Maine in this extraordinary debut novel.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  July 4, 2017.

Why? It is interesting sounding debut novel about two WASPish families sharing an island and interconnected history off the coast of Maine.

 

 

2.  Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward“In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  September 5, 2017.

Why?  I’ve not read anything by this author before, however, she has won the National Book Award in the past, and this is being touted as her best work yet.

3. Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang “Centered on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City, Zhang’s exhilarating collection examines the many ways that family and history can weigh us down and also lift us up.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:    August 1, 2017.

Why?  This is a collection of short stories about adolescent girls from China and Taiwan living in NYC. It sounds fascinating.

 

4.  A Catalog of Birds by Laura Harrington“Lyrical and affecting, Laura Harrington has written an artful family drama about innocence lost and wounds that may never be healed. This is a tale of forgiveness: of ourselves, of those we love best. Illuminated by grief and desire, the novel is full of spirit, wonder and the possibilities of the future.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  July 11, 2017

Why?  A novel set in the 1970’s, a family drama that sounds uplifting by an award winning author… yes please!

 

 

5.  High Heel by Summer Brennan“Fetishized, demonized, celebrated and outlawed, the high heel is central to the iconography of modern womanhood. But are high heels good? Are they feminist? What does it mean for a woman (or, for that matter, a man) to choose to wear them? Meditating on the labyrinthine nature of sexual identity and the performance of gender, High Heel moves from film to fairytale, from foot binding to feminism, and from the golden ratio to glam rock. It considers this most provocative of fashion accessories as a nexus of desire and struggle, sex and society, setting out to understand what it means to be a woman by walking a few hundred years in her shoes.” – Goodreads.   Expected publication date:  September 7, 2017.

Why?  This is the only non-fiction book on this list.  It is an essay about high heels and is part of an essay series published in partnership with The Atlantic.  I am curious to see what conclusions the author draws on this subject.

6.  The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld“Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as “the Child Finder,” Naomi is their last hope.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  September 5, 2017.

Why?  Rene Denfeld’s The Enchanted  is one of my favorite books.  I’m very excited to read this new novel of hers.

 

 

7.  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng “When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  September 12, 2017

Why? Having really enjoyed Everything I Never Told You I’m really looking forward to this new novel of hers.

 

 

8.  Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan“Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  October 3, 2017

Why?  I never read Jennifer Egan’s The Goon Squad, but had heard such great things about it.  I’m really looking forward to reading this next novel of hers.

 

 

9.  The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas -“Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  August 29, 2017.

Why?  The description alone is thoroughly enticing to me.  Also, the reviews I’ve seen thus far have been glowing.  This is the author’s first novel.

 

 

10.  Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss – “One of America’s most important novelists” (New York Times), the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The History of Love, conjures an achingly beautiful and breathtakingly original novel about personal transformation that interweaves the stories of two disparate individuals—an older lawyer and a young novelist—whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert.” – Goodreads.  Expected publication date:  September 12, 2017.

Why?  Having loved The History of Love,  I’m very much looking forward to this new novel by the same author!

TTT: Beach Read Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  Anyone can play, so go ahead and check it out.  With Memorial Day rapidly approaching, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is based around the theme of beach reads.  What is a beach read?  Most people think of beach reads as light books that are not to emotional or mentally taxing as to distract from the vacation.  However, what people choose to read on beaches varies greatly.  I agree that I’m not interested in reading anything incredibly academic while attempting to relax, but I prefer to avoid overly light and fluffy as well.  I enjoy well written, emotionally and mentally engaging works of literary fiction when I relax on the beach.  Normally, I very much enjoy non-fiction and historical fiction, but I avoid these on vacation.   If you are like me, you might enjoy some of these too!  If you have any to recommend to me based on my beach preferences, I’d love to hear your recommendations!  Next to each book, I’ve included a brief excerpt from the Goodreads description of each.  I’ve also linked to my review for those of which I’ve written reviews.

  1.  Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – “Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.”
  2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Temple -“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.  Then Bernadette disappears.”
  3. Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout – “Written in tandem with My Name Is Lucy Barton and drawing on the small-town characters evoked there, these pages reverberate with the themes of love, loss, and hope that have drawn millions of readers to Strout’s work.”
  4. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – “Brimming with all the insight, humour, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler’s work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity.”
  5. Commonwealth by by Ann Patchett – “One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.”
  6. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld -“This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.”
  7. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – “A lush, raw, thrilling novel of the senses about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant.”
  8. The Girls by Emma Cline – “Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted.”
  9. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti – “After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.” 
  10. Ways to Disappear by Idra Novel – “Deep in gambling debt, the celebrated Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda is last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree. She abruptly vanishes.”

TTT: Favorite books about Motherhood & Identity Crisis

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about motherhood.  I have chosen the theme of identity crisis in motherhood.  This is the first time I have strayed away from using ten books, but I could only think of 3 great ones that fit the bill.  Please help me and add some others!  I know there are lots more out there and I’d love to hear from you.

  1.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – This is a hilarious book about a stay-at-home mother who disassociates herself from the social niceties of the other private school parents.  She had been an incredible revolutionary architect, but her dreams were dashed by a neighbor who bulldozes her award winning design.  She abandons her career as they move to Seattle with it’s uninspired architecture.  She is married to a Microsoft guru and starts to feel small.  She finally disappears.. to Antartica.
  2. Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin – This is the story of a little girl growing up in Russia with big dreams and aspirations of becoming a poet.  She moves to the United States for college.  She ends up marrying and then having children without fully intending to.  The line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred as she is not sure of who she is, what she was, and if she ever was destined to be a great poet.  My review.  
  3. Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki – This is a novel about art, identity and motherhood.  It is about identity perceptions and truths behind the perceptions.  It is about mothering different children differently.  It is about questioning one’s one identity and decisions.   My review.