Tuesday Top Ten

unique

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 most unique books that I’ve read.  They can be unique for any reason – the narrator’s voice, the point of view, the setting, the characters – whatever it is that made them stand out in my mind as unique.

  1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick – Told through both words and beautifully intricate and moving illustrations, Selznick’s works are like nothing else I have ever seen.
  2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – OK, nearly anything by Neil Gaiman!  But this adult fairy tale is in a class of its own.
  3. Maus by Art Spiegelman – A graphic novel about the Holocaust.  Sounds strange, but it works, amazingly.
  4. Monster by Walter Dean Myers –  Steve is in juvenile detention, awaiting trial, and tells the story of how he got there through a screenplay running through his mind, along with journal entries.
  5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Alternate chapters tell the stories of two women through their email correspondence.  It sounds like it could be clunky, but it worked.
  6. ttyl by Lauren Myracle – The entire novel is told through instant message transcripts between a group of teenage girls, it at least left me with a better vocabulary of messaging shorthand!
  7. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – Edward Tulane is a conceited china rabbit (yes – you read that right, but trust me – it works!) who is lost by his owner and goes on a journey of redemption, to learn of love and loss, from garbage piles to the bottom of the ocean to a hobo camp and beyond..
  8. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – The first book that I’ve ever read about historical Iceland and the beheading of women.  Definitely different.
  9. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – Ursula Todd is born on a snowy night in England 1910.  Strangled by the umbilical cord she does not survive.  Until she is born again, and dies again, and is born again…  Through each of her lives she is born into the same family, and meets many of the same people, but her life is different each time.
  10. Mr.  Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – An unique melding of the ancient and technology with one of the quirkiest cast of characters.

 

Tuesday Top Ten

top ten history

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 pick a particular setting and then list our favorite books in that setting.  Since my book choices tend to be all over the place I chose to list my favorite books that take place in the past, that have some type of historical setting.

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Masterfully crafted (in case I haven’t said it enough!) story that takes place in Germany during WWII.
  2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – Moving story about a Lithuanian family taken by the Russians during WWII.
  3. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – I loved the characters in this novel that takes place in French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950.
  4. Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – Beautiful yet horrible story about the wars in Chechnya.  OK, so much of the story does not take place too far back in history (1994-2004), but there is much to be learned about the history of the area through this novel.
  5. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty – A great look at the early twentieth century as Cora becomes a chaperone to the young Louise Brooks in New York City before she becomes a silent film star.
  6. A Good American by Alex George – An epic novel following three generations of a family beginning with their immigration in 1904.
  7. Thieves of Book Row by Travis McDade – An amazing story of a ring of book thieves during the Great Depression.
  8. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power  by Jon Meacham – One of my favorite figures in American history and a engrossing portrait of his life.
  9. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – A masterful work of art and a touching novel which travels back and forth between New York City in 1927 and Minnesota in 1977.
  10. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman – A gritty detective novel set in 1960’s Brooklyn by one of my favorite mystery authors.

Top Ten Tuesday

toptenbookcovers

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 it’s all about book covers.  And let’s all admit it, whether we mean to or not, we do judge a book by its cover once and awhile…  I really try not to, and there are few that stand out in my mind, so this was a tough list for me, but here it goes!

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I love all of these covers, the colors, the illustrations – don’t make me pick just one!

beautifulmystery

  1. Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny – Not only is this probably my favorite mystery series, and my favorite book (to-date!) in the series, but I love this cover.  Something about the sun shining through the trees reminds me of home and peaceful summer days.

 
 

borrower

  1. The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai – I would like a street made of books…

 
 

 
 
 

 
firefly

  1. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – Reminiscent of summers in the country…

 
 
 
 
 
 
flying books

  1. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce – One of my favorite books for the illustrations, hands-down, and the cover is no exception.  I could easily do a whole list of my favorite covers from picture books, but I’m trying to be at least a little bit grown up!

library

  1. The Library by Sarah Stewart – OK, so I’m not trying that hard!  Another great illustrated book with a fantastic cover (may be that it reminds me of myself – or the way that I would like to be some days!).

wild things
 
 

  1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – Now it appears that I am not trying at all, but just a couple more and I will get back to some covers of adult books!  How can you not love the cover of this classic?

wonderstruck

  1. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – While the illustrations in the book are amazing (The Wonders of Brian Selznick), I also love this cover, the blue of the sky, the lightning, being struck…

 
 
 
 
midnight

  1. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt – The desolation and the beauty together and that statue – I love that statue – my husband bought me a replica of that statue for our backyard.

 
 
 
stevejobs

  1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I don’t like this cover because I have a thing for Steve Jobs!  I love the way that the cover is so… Apple!  Stark and clean and simple like Apple packaging it seemed more than appropriate for this biography.

The Wonders of Brian Selznick

I had to write a post about the works of Brian Selznick because I wanted to share how utterly amazing I find them.  These are more than simple children’s books – they are works of art like no other.  These books combine text and illustrations magically, with the illustrations telling portions of the story seamlessly and artfully, yet without words.  As is apparent, the written word is at the heart of what I do and what I believe and what I love, so I have to admit to being doubtful when hearing of the concept.  Have no doubt; these are books worth reading, worth owning, and worth looking at again and again.

hugoAt the turn of the 20th century Hugo Cabret is hiding in the train station in Paris, keeping the clocks running now that his uncle is gone, and stealing to provide himself with food.  His deceased father left him a notebook full of drawings and a non-working automaton – in Hugo’s spare time he works on bringing it back to life.  When he meets a strange girl and her grandfather in the train station he becomes embroiled in the mysteries of their lives while still trying to preserve his own.

“Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do…Maybe it’s the same with people,” Hugo continued. “If you lose your purpose…it’s like you’re broken.” 

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 533
Publication: Scholastic Press, January 2007

wonderstruckWonderstruck adds another level of complexity to a story told largely through illustrations.  It tells of the story of two different characters, Ben and Rose, fifty years apart in time.  Ben’s story is told through words while Rose’s is told through the illustrations.  Both embark on a quest to find what is missing in their lives and eventually their stories will come together.  The transition between the stories, and their ultimate intertwining, is seamless.  What could be confusing is instead artful and beautiful.

“Maybe, thought Ben, we are all cabinets of wonders.” 

Title: Wonderstruck
Author: Brian Selznick
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 608
Publication: Scholastic Press, 2011

Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

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 list the books that we recommend the most.  Each experience with a book is intensely personal, recommending a book is dangerous business.  What you love may not be loved by others since every person’s experience with a book is distinct.  You may not love the books that I love, but these are those that I love enough to recommend to others…

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – If I had to pick one book that has impacted me the most, which I found to be the greatest book I have ever read, this would be it.  I believe that we are watching a classic be born and someday I will be telling my grandkids that I remember when it was a new release!  If you have not read this book please do so, immediately.
  2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – A fantastic coming-of-age story about two boys (all they have in common is the name) who are figuring out who they are, how to be that person, and how to find acceptance.  There are a ton of coming-of-age books out there, but I have never read one that tells the story so beautifully.
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry – Can a utopian society really exist?  What has to be given up?  And is it worth the price?  What if you decide it isn’t worth the cost?  There are a lot of books out now that deal with dystopian societies, but this is definitely my favorite, dealing with the core questions artfully.
  4. The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny – I love the Inspector Gamache series and it only gets better with each book that is released.  While there are a lot of mystery series that I enjoy, this series has a depth and beauty that I have not found elsewhere.  The character development, history, settings, depth of interactions and emotions, make this my favorite to recommend for mystery lovers.
  5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick – An inspired work of art.  The story is told through a combination of words and amazing illustrations and is done seamlessly.  His second book, Wonderstruck, is just as wonderful and I recommend both of these books to children and adults alike.
  6. Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough – I am passionate about the importance of education, particularly literacy.  This book about Geoffrey Canada’s work in starting The Harlem Children’s Zone is information and inspiring.
  7. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – The story of Louis Zamperini’s life, from his delinquent childhood to the Berlin Olympics through harrowing experiences during World War II, is an amazing tale of perseverance and faith.
  8. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – My favorite DiCamillo book and the book that I enjoyed reading to the kids the most.  A new fairy tale – another one that I will tell my grandkids about someday!
  9. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – Both humorous and heart-wrenching, the story of people as told from the point of view of a dog.  Sounds a hokey but somehow it really does work, leaving you loving the soul of this amazing animal.
  10. Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh – I love the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk exiled from Vietnam.  This book is a conversation between Jesus and Buddha, centered in compassion and the similarities that are at the core of both beliefs.