Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Laughter is the Best Medicine

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Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle).

This list was actually a little harder than I expected it to be, as I apparently tend to go more for the suspenseful type of fiction than light-hearted and humorous. But I think I picked some good ones here.

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle):

  1. Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster – On last week’s Top Ten I included Jen Lancaster’s first memoir, Bitter is the New Black, which is still one of my favorites. So instead of repeating that, I decided to include her second which I enjoyed just as much. Honestly, I love everything she writes (though I prefer her memoirs to her novels), and every book will make you laugh out loud.
  2. The Martian by Andy Weir – I feel like I find a way to put this on nearly every Top Ten list, or talk about it as much as possible. But I had to include it on this list because one of my favorite parts of the novel – and the reason I loved it so much – is the humor. While it has it’s dramatic moments when you really worry about Mark Watney,  the highlight of the novel is his sense of humor.
  3. Storm Front by Jim Butcher – One of the things that really struck me about Butcher’s Dresden Files novels is Harry’s sense of humor. In order for first person POVs to really work, you have to have a narrator with a personality, and I loved Harry’s personality. Sure the novels have mystery and suspense, but Harry manages to add an element of humor to even the most dire situations and it’s one of the reasons I love this series so much.
  4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – I don’t read a lot of younger fiction (with the exception of Harry Potter of course) but since I love Greek mythology I had to check these books out while I was working in a different bookstore several years ago. I read through them in no time, but loved them. Riordan infused these stories with so much humor that they’re just fun to read, no matter what age you are. The humor was one of the things I found the movies really lacking.
  5. Is Fat Bob Dead Yet? by Stephen Dobyns – I dare anyone to read this book and not laugh out loud at least once in every chapter. At the very least, the character Vaughan is always good for a few laughs every time he shows up. In fact, he had my favorite line of the entire book, but I forgot to write it down and now can’t remember it.
  6. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler – I didn’t want to duplicate books from last week, but I really enjoyed reading this one. I discovered Parks & Rec late (about 6 months before the final season) but immediately developed a huge girl crush on Poehler. She’s just fantastic and I really enjoyed reading this memoir.
  7. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – There are several books by each of these authors that could be on this list (actually, basically all of Pratchett’s Discworld series would count) but I decided to go with their joint venture because I really enjoyed this book. I hadn’t read anything by Pratchett prior to this, but I was already a huge Gaiman fan. I loved everything about this novel and am actually hoping to get a chance to reread it again soon.
  8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Addams – This is one of my favorite books to read when I need something to make me laugh. It’s so random and ridiculous and fun; I absolutely loved it. It’s a scifi classic, so if you’re a fan of science fiction and haven’t read it yet, I can’t recommend this highly enough.
  9. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone – This book is one of the most fun books I read last year. If you’re looking for gritty, hardboiled detective novels, this is not that. However, if you’re a nerd looking for a fun mystery to read, then definitely check this book out. Yes, it can be ridiculous and over-the-top, but that just adds to it’s charm.
  10. Red Shirts by John Scalzi – This novel is for anyone who enjoys meta stories, and anyone who is a fan of scifi televisions shows such as Star Trek. This novel capitalizes on the long-running tradition of the expendable red-shirted character. The novel is a fairly quick and easy read, but definitely humorous especially if you can pick up on all the nods to scifi culture.

Since I admit to not reading a lot of humorous novels, what would you recommend? What are your favorite books that make you laugh? Share your titles and your own TTTs in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: So You Wanna Try Some Nonfiction…

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Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books Every ____ Should Read.

The goal here is to fill in that blank. Now, these kind of topics are hard for me, mostly because while I (like most of you reading this) read A LOT, I don’t feel qualified to give general advice like this. So I spent a lot of time thinking on this topic, and finally came up with one that is actually kind of long: Top Ten Books Every Person Who Doesn’t Think They Don’t Like Nonfiction/Memoir But Want to Give it a Chance Should Read.

Like I said, rather long, but a good topic for me, since I’m not really a huge nonfiction fan myself, but in the last couple years have discovered several books (mostly biographies and memoirs) that I have enjoyed. (Plus, I’ve been on a nonfiction kick lately.)  I’m sure there are many others out there who have felt the same way about nonfiction as I have, so this list is for you.

Top Ten Books Every Person Who Doesn’t Think They Don’t Like Nonfiction/Memoir But Want to Give it a Chance Should Read:

  1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – This is a great book for writers, or anyone interested in writing. My favorite chapter was one titled “Shitty First Drafts” that made me feel so much better about my writing, and how bad I feel my original drafts are. Plus Lamott has a great sense of humor that makes this a fun and quick read.
  2. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – Despite many personal recommendations from people I know, I avoided reading for quite some time because I saw her as just another “chick lit” type author and at the time I thought I wasn’t interested (I’m learning to branch out more now). However, when I finally gave Lancaster’s first book a chance I loved it immediately. Her sense of humor and the way she tells anecdotes from her life make this such incredibly fun reading, plus I picked this up at a time when I really needed a good laugh.
  3. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – This is as much a book about writing as it is a memoir of King’s life. This book is a must read for any aspiring writers as well as any King fan. It gives a fascinating look into the life of the man himself, as well as touching on the accident that nearly killed him – which occurred while he was in the middle of writing this book. It’s a fairly quick read and I highly recommend it.
  4. Maus by Art Spiegelman – This is a perfect choice for graphic novel fans who want to add more nonfiction to the bookshelves. I admit I’ve only read the first volume at this point, but I really enjoyed it and hope to get to the second part soon. Despite the characters being drawn as animals, I think something about the story being portrayed in a graphic novel format just makes it so much more real – you can see the images instead of just picturing it in your head. This is a very powerful read.
  5. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – This is another fantastic non-fiction graphic novel, and much like Maus, reading it in this format just makes the story that much more powerful, in my opinion. I have several other nonfiction graphic novels on my TBR that I can’t wait to read, simply because these two were so well done, and the medium is such a fascinating choice for sharing about someone’s life.
  6. The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes – I thought about making this list all books every writer should read, but really it would have come down to just the three of this list, because I haven’t read many myself. But if you’re going to read one book about writing, make it this one. I loved the way Keyes wrote, it was so simple and straightforward, and felt like everything he was saying was spoken directly to me. It really helped me overcome my fears of my writing not being “good enough.”
  7. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacey Schiff – I know I’ve already promoted this book several times on my blog, in addition to posting a review, but I just really loved this book. I will admit to some bias because it’s always exciting to read about one’s own ancestors, but Schiff’s writing is just so readable – it’s not like reading a history book at all. This is probably the very first nonfiction history book I’ve read from beginning to end and I loved it. I really liked how Schiff wasn’t trying to solve the mystery, or lay blame on anyone, she was simply trying to make the stories of all the women from that time period heard.
  8. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes – This is an absolute must-read for fans of The Princess Bride. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time and I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the movie. The best part is, it’s not just Elwes recollections (which are quite often humorous) but he also includes comments and memories from other cast members, producers, etc. who worked on the film. This is definitely a great read.
  9. All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks – This was a recent read for Our Shared Shelf and it may be my favorite selection so far. I have never read anything by hooks previously, but I really enjoyed her style of writing and everything she had to say in this book.
  10. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler – After reading this book I really wanted to be Amy Poehler’s new best friend. I already loved her from Parks & Rec, but this just made me love her even more. So much of her humor and personality shines through in this book, and there were several laugh out loud moments.

That’s just a sampling of the nonfiction and memoirs that I have read and enjoyed, and thanks to these books I’ve been discovering more and more that I actually do enjoy reading nonfiction more than I thought I did. In fact, I am currently reading three other nonfiction books (Living History by Hillary Clinton, An Outsider in the White House by Bernie Sanders, and Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem) that I may not have even considered picking up if it hadn’t been for my enjoyment of some of these books first (and I have a lot more on my TBR).

So, what good nonfiction have you been read and would recommend to someone who thinks they aren’t interested in nonfiction? Share those recs and/or links to your own TTTs in the comments!


Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read Recently

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Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads or Top Ten Of The Best Books I’ve Read Recently. Since I rarely give a book a 5 star rating, I’m going with the latter.

I’ve added some stipulations for this list. I didn’t include sequels and if the book made it onto last week’s list of books I loved but don’t talk about enough, I kept it off this list in order to avoid repetition (I also held some of these books off last week’s list because I knew I’d be talking about them this week).

  1. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – This book got me out of the reading slump I’ve been in the last couple months. It’s a great fantasy with a little bit of Oceans Eleven mixed in. I loved it.
  2. The Witches, Salem 1962 by Stacey Schiff – Thankfully this book was just as good as I was hoping it would be. I couldn’t wait to read Schiff’s account of the Salem Witch Trials, given my personal connection to that piece of history. I found Schiff’s writing style and extensive research made for an interesting read.
  3. The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – I’m a huge fan of Butcher’s Dresden Files, so I couldn’t resist reading the first novel in his new steampunk series. The world Butcher has created is huge, and I really had a lot of fun reading this book. I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.
  4. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – This is probably one of my favorite YA novels of last year. I loved the multi-media aspect of the book – the fact that it’s told as a collection of recovered documents, transcripts, etc. instead of in the standard novel format.
  5. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin – I haven’t read many middle grade novels, but this one was terrific. It was heartfelt, and honest and I loved the protagonist.
  6. The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick – This book reminded me a lot of Sarah Addison Allen’s novels; a light, fun and easy read with just the right amount of magical realism thrown in. The fantastical elements made this a really pleasant read and it’s a perfect book for fall (not that you should wait until then to read it if you you’re interested).
  7. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I usually prefer my YA reading with some sort of fantasy/scifi aspect to it, but I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the characters and the story. If you’re a fan of John Green, I highly recommend this book, which I found even better than The Fault in Our Stars.
  8. Armada by Ernest Cline – This may not have quite lived up to Ready Player One, but I still really enjoyed Cline’s follow-up. It was engaging and fun, and a great read for nerds like me. Sure, at times it felt like he may have been trying to hard to put those references in there, but they still made it a lot of fun.
  9. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – This was probably one of my favorite reads of 2015. I loved this book about a man who decides to take his floating bookshop on a trip. I loved the characters and the references to books. This is a great read for booklovers like me.
  10. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller – This was an interesting read; it’s different from the post-apocalyptic fiction I’m used to reading, but I still really enjoyed it.

There’s some of the best books I’ve read recently. What books are on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Spreading the Love

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Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough/In A While.

Since I just started to focus this blog on books less than a year ago, there are a lot of books I’ve read over the years that I don’t get much of a chance to talk about on here, unless they make it onto one of these lists. So this is mostly a list of some of my favorite books, and a couple I’ve read recently that I talk about enough.

  1. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – I read this toward the end of the summer and loved it. Of all the books that claimed to be the “next Gone Girl” this was probably the best, but unfortunately it got lost in all the Girl on a Train hype.
  2. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone – A quirky and fun geek mystery, this is one that may have easily escaped my attention but I’m glad it didn’t. Fans of dark, gritty mysteries probably wouldn’t be interested, but it really is a lot of fun.
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir – Ok, so I have given this one a lot of love, but I haven’t talked about it in a while so it technically still fits the topic. If you haven’t already read this book you really need to, whether you’re a fan of science fiction or not. This is one that can appeal to anybody.
  4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This is another book I absolutely loved, and which you really should read now if you haven’t already. Especially since it will soon be a movie, and I always recommend reading the book before the movie.
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – This book was my go-to recommendation for years whenever someone came into the bookstore asking for a book recommendation. I loved Henry and Claire and they’re story is so wonderful and tragic. This book is excellent.
  6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman – I could probably put a lot of Neil Gaiman’s books on this list, because I love nearly every one I read, but Stardust is probably my favorite. I love the fairy tale feel, with Gaiman’s own personal twist. This is a fun and whimsical story that I’ve enjoyed every time I’ve read it.
  7. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – This book is just brilliant. I don’t know what else to say about it. I found the entire premise fascinating and just could not put it down. And North’s follow up, Touch, is even better.
  8. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – Lancaster is one of my favorite authors. I love her style and her sense of humor. Her first memoir is actually the first memoir I ever read and it made me realize there was a whole genre of writing that I enjoyed but had never given a chance. If you need a good laugh, check this out.
  9. Storm Front by Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files are one of my all-time favorite book series. I absolutely love Harry Dresden and the world Butcher has created. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and want something more adult this is a great choice.
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I know this one may be obvious, given my reading habits. However, I feel like I don’t talk about my love for the Harry Potter series nearly enough. This series is just utterly fantastic and something every child should experience. I sometimes wish I could go back and experience my first read of these books all over again, though they’re just as good on every subsequent reread.

So there are 10 of the books that I absolutely love, and love encouraging people to read. which books made your list? Share in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR

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Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List. As always there are way more than 10 books on my current TBR list (more like 10 times 10) but I’m going to try to list the 10 that I am most interested in reading as soon as possible. Then, maybe since I’ve listed it here for you all to see I’ll actually stick to the list and read all these books this spring.

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List:

Spring TBR

  1. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – A friend of mine has been trying to get me to read this book for over a year and I finally picked up a copy last month.
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This would actually be a reread for me. I read this book years ago and absolutely loved it. I’m excited it was chosen for my book club’s April meeting as I love having an excuse to read it again.
  3. Night Study by Maria V. Snyder – I am actually surprised I haven’t yet read this book, as I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release for over a year now. I love everything Snyder has written, especially the Study series. After the way Shadow Study ended, I can’t wait to see what happens next for Yelena and Valek.
  4. All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks – This is the March book selection for Emma Watson’s book club. I love that this book club is getting me to step out of my comfort zone and read titles that I might not have considered otherwise.
  5. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin – This novel sounded really interesting, so I was excited when a free finished copy was sent to the bookstore and I was allowed to claim it. I’m looking forward to reading this one.
  6. The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle – The ARC for this has been sitting on my TBR pile for months and I meant to get to it before Christmas, but then I got super distracted and barely read anything for two months. Hopefully I’ll be getting to this one soon.
  7. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – I didn’t love the first book of this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I am still curious about the series. I’m hoping that all the setup in the first novel means that the second one will be a lot more interesting.
  8. The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston – I helped a customer find this book at the bookstore one day and it piqued my interest. Since then I found it in a used bookstore and couldn’t resist picking up a copy.
  9. Tell The Wind and Fire by Sara Rees Brennan – I received this ARC about a month or so ago and it sounds really interesting. I wanted to get to it right away, but naturally it’s been sitting in a pile. I’m hoping to get to it very soon.
  10. The Widow by Fiona Barton – This ARC arrived just before Christmas and I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. The comparisons to The Girl on a Train makes me nervous, because I really didn’t like that novel, but it still sounds interesting enough that I’d like to give it a chance.

So there is my Spring TBR list, as it stands right now. I have no doubt that it will change – books will be added, removed, replaced, etc. However, for the time being I intend to try to read these 10 books by the end of Spring (in addition to the four books I am currently in the middle of reading at the moment). Even now I can think of at least 2 or 3 books that I will likely be adding to this list.

Which of these books needs to be immediately bumped to the top of my list? Are there any that you don’t see, which you think I should add? What books are on your Spring TBR list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Outside My Genre Comfort Zone

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books I Enjoyed Recently (or in the last year or so) That Weren’t My Typical Genre/Type of Book.

Reading this blog you may have noticed that my typical genre tends to veer towards anything fantasy or scifi. I occasionally try to step out of that comfort zone and try new things, which is one of the reasons I’m trying to keep up with Emma Watson’s book club this year, because I really want to experience new genres. I couldn’t come up with a complete list of 10, but here are some of the books I’ve tried in the past year:

  1. Is Fat Bob Dead Yet by Stephen Dobyns – This was a book my boyfriend talked me into reading. He had read it and would occasionally supply me with anecdotes and quotes that made it sound hilarious. I hope to write an actual review for it soon, but this was a mystery unlike any I have ever read, and something I never would have picked up on my own.
  2. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem – The first book of Emma Watson’s book club was one I really enjoyed. I have never read anything by Steinem before, and now I really want to find more of her writing. I found her anecdotes about her life fascinating.
  3. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – I read a lot of YA literature, but I usually stick to the fantasy/scifi side of things. However, I picked up an ARC of this and decided to give it a chance. The plot of the novel was enjoyable enough, however I wasn’t very impressed with Dessen’s writing. It was kind of exactly what I expected, which wasn’t much. But it was entertaining enough.
  4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – Another YA book that didn’t fit my normal reading habits. I was hesitant about this one because the plot reminded me a little of The Fault in Our Stars and I was afraid it would be too depressing. However, I ended up really enjoying this novel, even more so than TFIOS.
  5. Vintage Hughes by Langston Hughes – I keep trying to read more poetry, because I’m not really a poetry reader and I’d like to be. I do however enjoy Langston Hughes because I like the rhythm of his writing.
  6. My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy– I enjoy reading memoirs; I think there’s something more interesting about reading about a person’s life when written in their own voice than a biography written by someone else. However, I attempted a reading challenge (and ended up failing it) where I would read a different genre each month. January was biography and I had picked this one up in Scotland because I was fascinated by Queen Mary. I actually found this book to be rather interesting, though still a little bit of a slow read.
  7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I am not a fan of romance or historical fiction older than the last century but after seeing the first half of season 1 of Outlander I had to read the novel too. I really enjoyed this first book and kept reading up to book 5. I’ll probably catch up with the rest of the series someday.
  8. The Witches by Stacey Schiff  – I don’t read a lot of historical nonfiction, but this was a topic that I am extremely fascinated in, mostly because I am related to two of the women executed during the Salem Witch Trials. This is probably the first history book I’ve read in a very long time and I found Schiff’s writing engaging and interesting. I really enjoyed this book.

So there are the books I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and tried in the past year. I’ve discovered that for most of them, I actually enjoyed them when I gave them a chance and may like to find more along those lines. It’s good to try new things once in a while. What books outside your comfort Zone have you read lately?

Top Ten Tuesday: Love is in the Air

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Valentine-themed freebie, so I decided to go with a list of some of my favorite literary couples.

You’ll probably notice there aren’t a lot of YA couples on this list. I was trying to stick to couples who I feel are timeless and I will love always; as much as I enjoy YA lit, I don’t feel like any of those couples fit that qualification.

  1. Henry and Clare (The Time Traveler’s Wife) – This is one of my favorite books ever; I loved it immediately the first time I read it. I love Henry and Clare, and the way their story is told.
  2. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) – Of course this one had to make the list. Elizabeth and Darcy are one of the greatest couples of all time.
  3. Yelena and Valek (The Study Series) – If you like fantasy novels and haven’t read the Study series yet, do yourself a favor and pick up Poison Study now. These books are wonderful, and you’ll fall in love with Yelena and Valek too.
  4. Ron & Hermione (Harry Potter) – I don’t care what Rupert Grint thinks (who, by the way, is officially not allowed to write any fanfiction). Ron and Hermione were perfect for each other from the start.
  5. Claire and Jamie (Outlander) – I avoided these books for so long because I don’t like straight romance books, and I thought these would walk that line a little to closely. I’m very glad I gave them a chance, as Jamie and Claire are now one of my favorite couples of all time.
  6. Beatrice and Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing) – This is my favorite Shakespeare play of the ones I’ve read so far (some day I’ll read them all). I really love the verbal sparring between Beatrice and Benedick, and I love how strong a woman Beatrice is. They’re a fascinating couple, and certainly equally matched.
  7. Westley and Buttercup (The Princess Bride) – Not only is The Princess Bride one of my favorite movies of all time, it’s also a fun book. Westley and Buttercup will forever be one of my favorite fictional couples.
  8. Odysseus and Penelope (The Odyssey) – I love the romance of the Odyssey – the story of a man who takes 20 years trying to get home to the woman he loves, and the lengths Penelope goes to in order to avoid remarrying because she believes her husband is still alive.
  9. Noah and Allie (The Notebook) – I am actually not a Nicholas Sparks fan, and I enjoyed the movie much more than the book (I actually enjoy all his movies more than the books – I think I can take the predictability and sappiness better in visual form than book form), but you can’t deny these two are a great couple with a great love story.
  10. Beren and Luthien (The Silmarillion) – I love Arwen and Aragorn, but the story of Beren and Luthien always got to me for some reason. I love the “Lay of Luthien.”

So there are some of my favorite literary couples. What couples would make your list? Anyone you think I should have included?