Tuesday Top Ten

gateway

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten books and/or authors that were gateways in my reading journey, ones that introduced me to a new genre, reinvigorated my interest in reading, somehow changed or affected my reading journey.

  1. Dystopian Books – The Giver by Lois Lowry – My first foray into dystopian novels, The Giver will always be my first and my favorite!
  2. Young Adult – Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – It wasn’t my first YA book, but the first one that dealt so directly with difficult issues that matter to young adults, the first time I realized what great literature exists for teens.
  3. Stories told in a series of books – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling –  They’re everywhere!  Prior to this series, I don’t ever remember reading books where you needed to wait until the series was complete to be able to finish the story! I do love many of these series, I just have taken a vow not to start one until all of the books are released so I don’t have to wait so long between pieces of the story!
  4. Historical Non-Fiction – Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – Historical non-fiction has never really been my thing – I don’t want to read the equivalent of a high school social studies textbook – but this book proved that there was historical fiction out there that would tell me a story while teaching me about the past.
  5. Current Non-Fiction – Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – Too much of current non-fiction is just someone trying to turn their opinions into fact or someone trying to catch the wave of popularity associated with the issue or personality of the day.  But this story grabbed my interest and held it, teaching me about the past and the present.
  6. Mysteries – Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Giving credit where credit is due, Nancy and the gang were my first introduction to the mystery genre, one that I still love today.
  7. Cozy Mysteries – Kinsey Milhone series by Sue Grafton – My first cozy mystery series, there are still a number that I regularly read and enjoy – they are always a fun, quick escape!
  8. Detective Stories – Moe Prager series by Reed Farrel Coleman – Another part of the progression, the jump to grittier detective stories, this series continues to be a favorite.  It will be bittersweet when the last book comes out next month.
  9. Historical Fiction – A Good American by Alex George – I had not read historical fiction in a long time, didn’t really consider it a genre that I liked that well, until I read this and now I find myself reading all kinds of historical fiction!
  10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – The book the reinvigorated and affirmed my love for the written word.  The funny thing?  I walked by it in the bookstore for months, picked it up and put it back down, before I finally decided to give it a try – and it is my favorite book.
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Tuesday Top Ten

toptentravel

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list my favorite books featuring travel, travel of any kind whether it’s airplanes, cars, or by foot – travel across town, through time, or across the world – these are books about travel that I liked.

  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – Although I found Gilbert’s story annoying in some regards – in reality who can take a  year off to focus on themselves while traveling around the world – I did love the stories of her travels.  Her stories of her time in Italy, India, and Bali were amazing tales of what it’s like to become immersed in different cultures around the world.
  2. Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson – Ginny gets a ticket to London from her deceased aunt along with 13 little blue envelopes that she needs to open at various points throughout her trip.  What will follow is an adventure throughout Europe that will teach her about herself and her aunt and give her new perspectives on life.
  3. The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found by Don J. Snyder – When the author loses his job at Colgate University as a professor, with three kids and another on a way, and receives over 100 rejection letters he ends up building a house in Maine and working as a day laborer to support his family.  Both a personal and a physical journey it was a moving memoir.
  4. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer Harrer’s memoir tells the story of the time he spent in Tibet after escaping from the British during WWII.  He gains acceptance within the Tibetan culture, ultimately becoming a friend and tutor to the Dalai Lama, fleeing the country with him when the Chinese invaded.  A wonderful and beautiful story with amazing insights into the Tibetan culture.
  5. Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger – One of my favorite novels ever – and if we’re talking about travel why not talk about time travel?  This is the story of Henry, a librarian who travels through time (and not voluntarily) to meet up with Clare, an artist who is living a normal life.  The story of their love, crossing through time, is told artfully.
  6. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – I love Steinbeck and this is one of my favorites.  A heart-wrenching tale of the Joads during the Great Depression as they are forced to leave their home in Oklahoma and travel to California to seek their future.
  7. On the Road by Jack Kerouac – It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book – but isn’t it the ultimate road-trip book?  Sal and Dean wandering their way across the country, free, hippies, and all the things that sound romantic until you realize they’re really not?  That eventually they tire you out and drag you down?
  8. Born to Run by Christopher McDougallMcDougall provides an engrossing story about ultra-runners, from scientific research to the Tarahumara Indians in an isolated part of Mexico that run hundreds of miles, to a race between those very natives and the world’s best ultra-distance runners.  An interesting story with travels all over the country and an in-depth look at an isolated and private tribe within Mexico
  9. Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce – Harold is recently retired and living in a small English village with his cranky wife when he gets a letter from an old friend who is dying of cancer.  Instead of stopping at the post office to send his response he keeps walking, deciding to walk across the country to deliver it personally.  I found the book to be humorous, poignant, and charming.
  10. Abundance of Katherines by John Green – I have admitted to a love for John Green and this is one of my favorites.  Colin, a former child prodigy, has only dated girls named Katherine (and always with a “K”, never a “C”), and has been dumped by all of them, nineteen times.  He takes off on a road trip with his best friend in search of a provable Katherine Theorem.  What follows is funny and insightful, a story of friendship, love, and figuring out who you are.

Top Ten Tuesday

toptennonfiction

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week the challenge was to make any list we wanted.  So, in honor of my friend Nate, lover of all things non-fiction, I decided to make a list of my top ten favorite non-fiction books.  They may not be ones that he would like, but it goes to show that I do read and enjoy non-fiction now and then!

  1. Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder – My geekiness comes out here, part of me will always be an engineer and I loved this story of a group of brilliant and dedicated engineers at Data General as they design and build a new computer in just one year.
  2. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – Thomas Jefferson is probably the figure from American history that I most admire and this biography was engrossing and enlightening.
  3. Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough – Although the task is daunting and the statistics sometimes overwhelming and depressing, the story of the work that Geoffrey Canada is doing for literacy and learning through the Harlem Zone is inspiring.
  4. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – McDougall provides an engrossing story about ultra-runners, from scientific research to the natives in an isolated part of Mexico that run hundreds of miles, to a race between those very natives and the world’s best ultra-distance runners.  Makes me want to run and fell the wind in my hair and the earth beneath my feet…
  5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand The story of Louis Zamperini’s life, from his delinquent childhood to the Berlin Olympics to harrowing experiences during World War II and his recovery upon returning home, is an amazing tale of perseverance and faith.
  6. Ghost in the Wires by Kevin MitnikNow the dork in me comes out again… For years Kevin Mitnik was the most elusive computer hacker in the world, and hacking was a game to him, a cross between a puzzle and a con.  This story of his escapades, his run from the authorities, and his ultimate capture is an amazing thrill-ride.
  7. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – A fascinating biography about a fascinating man – a jerk and a genius, one inseparable from the other in his pursuit of absolute perfection.  A technological revolutionary who connected art and technology and consumers as never before.  This story of his life is well-balanced and interesting (and the geek in me loved to read about the development of some of the most famous products in technology history), providing an unbiased glimpse into the life of a unique man.
  8. Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls – I found Jeanette Walls’ memoir, Glass Castles, to be compelling, but I absolutely loved this story of her grandmother, a tough, no-nonsense woman who was breaking horses when she was six, travelling along to an isolated town to teach when she was fifteen, learning to fly planes and running a vast ranch through both personal and natural disasters. A truly captivating story about an amazing woman and her life.
  9. Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma – I love to read with my kids, and although I do try, we don’t manage to make it every night.  In fourth grade, Alice and her father decide that they are going to read together for at least ten minutes every night for 100 nights.  After the 100 nights are over, they keep going, reading together every night until Alice goes to college.  This book tells the story of their relationship through the stories that they shared together, making me hope that the stories I have shared with my children will have an impact as well.
  10. The Outermost House by Henry Beston – For years my husband and I would take the kids and stay for a week in a small ramshackle cottage on the dunes of Cape Cod on the National Seashore.  Henry Beston’s descriptions of his solitary year spent there are beautiful and captivating; they always take me back to one of my favorite places to be.

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week the challenge is to create a list of the books that were my favorite before I was a blogger.  Since I’ve actually only been blogging for a couple of months most of my favorites are from before I was a blogger, and I’ve already talked about most of them in other top 10 posts.  So I decided to change it up a little bit and make it a list of some of my favorites from before I was a blogger that I haven’t already mentioned in some other top 10 list.

  1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce – Harold is recently retired and living in a small English village with his cranky wife when he gets a letter from an old friend who is dying of cancer.  Instead of stopping at the post office to send his response he keeps walking, deciding to walk across the country to deliver it personally.  I found the book to be humorous, poignant, and charming.
  2. Good American by Alex George – Frederick and Jette travel to America in 1904 and what follows is the story of their lives, and the lives of their descendants, as told by their grandson.  I loved the story of this immigrant family against the backdrop of the history of our country.
  3. Abundance of Katherines by John Green – I have admitted to a love for John Green and this is one of my favorites.  Colin, a former child prodigy, has only dated girls named Katherine (and always with a “K”, never a “C”), and has been dumped by all of them, nineteen times.  He takes off on a road trip with his best friend in search of a provable Katherine Theorem.  What follows is funny and insightful, a story of friendship, love, and figuring out who you are.
  4. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – I’m not a runner – I wish that I was – but that is not something my orthopedic surgeon would recommend.  But you don’t need to be a runner to love this book.  McDougall provides an engrossing story about ultra-runners, from scientific research to the Tarahumara Indians in an isolated part of Mexico that run hundreds of miles, to a race between those very natives and the world’s best ultra-distance runners.  Makes me sometimes think that even I could be a runner…
  5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I had to add this one – my favorite from the time when I was a little kid – one that I tried to re-read at least once a year while I was growing up.  I always wanted to be Jo!
  6. The Messenger by Markus Zusak – I have to give a shout out to my favorite author, even if I have stopped myself from carrying on again about my absolute favorite book (The Book Thief – in case you forgot).  When Ed mistakenly stops a bank robber he receives his first playing card in the mail with an anonymous message – more will follow – a great adventure into the why and how and who… and does he change the lives of others or of himself?
  7. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – Artermis Fowl is a brilliant and evil criminal mastermind, and he is twelve.  The first in this series is certainly the best as Artemis embarks on a plan to rob the fairies of their gold, combining fantasty, myth, adventure, and technology along with a good dose of humor this was a great read from beginning to end.
  8. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz – Odd Thomas is a 20-year old fry cook who can see the dead.  Throughout the series, Odd Thomas will try to stop a number of disasters and resolve a number of mysteries, but what is greatest about these books is Odd himself, a humble and courageous character, and the humor that is combined with the grotesque.
  9. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss – Probably my favorite Dr. Seuss book, and certainly one of my favorites to read-aloud (although they are all great for reading aloud!).  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – How can this not be on everyone’s list??  Of all the series, the first is still probably my favorite since it was what introduced me to the world of Harry Potter, a world I so desperately wanted to be real and wanted to live in.  My eleven year old daughter has been reading the series for the first time and she wept when the first book was over and she realized that the world J.K. Rowling had created would never be real for her…