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.

The Impossible Knife of Memory

impossibleHayley and her father have moved back to his childhood home after spending five years on the road.  He’s been trying to escape the demons that have followed him back from his time in Iraq and is hoping that settling down will help, finally offering Hayley a more stable life for her senior year in high school.  As her father struggles with alcohol and drugs, blackouts and anger, depression and unemployment, Hayley struggles with romance and friendship and schoolwork and well… her father.  She becomes the responsible one, trying to make sure her father is OK while trying to manage all of the complexities of being a teenager.

I am a big fan of Laurie Halse Anderson’s work.  Speak was fantastic and Wintergirls still haunts me – they both make me want to lock my 12-year old daughter inside the house for the next ten years or so!  So it was with great anticipation that I grabbed The Impossible Knife of Memory the minute it hit the library shelves.  And while the addressing of PTSD is important and uncommon in YA literature, and while I liked Haley, loved her boyfriend Finn, and felt for her father – for some reason it just fell short for me.  I can’t even explain exactly why, I just never truly connected with the characters or their pain.  I wanted to, I really did.  I kept waiting for it to grab me in the gut and not let go, but it just never did.  And the ending seemed to come and go quickly, with things wrapped up more nicely than I expected.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good book and worth reading.  It addresses an important issue as our veterans continue to come home, and it provides an excellent vehicle for meaningful conversations about the surrounding issues.  Unfortunately, it just won’t stick with me the way her other works have…

Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Publication:  Viking Juvenile, January 2014

Wednesday WWW

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WWW is hosted by Should Be Reading.

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Wednesday WWW

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WWW is hosted by Should Be Reading.

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Tuesday Top Ten

top ten debuts 2014

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 debuts for 2014.  I wasn’t sure if that meant debut authors or just debut books, so I went with books since it’s hard enough for me to come up with my top ten list of new books for 2014 (I haven’t looked out that far into 2014!) without adding the complication of needing a debut author as well!   These are actually probably the top ten books I am looking forward to this winter since I haven’t really explored too much of what is coming out later in the year…

  1. Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – While I loved The Secret Life of Bees I admittedly never have read The Mermaid’s Chair (and even sadder, it might be in my TBR pile, but I’m not sure…), but I am not going to let this one slip by!
  2. Perfect by Rachel Joyce – I adored The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye and am looking forward to her next book!
  3. Orfeo by Richard Powers – My next Indiespensable that will be arriving this month!
  4. The Museum of Extraordinary Things  by Alice Hoffman – While I have not read all of her novels, she has never disappointed me!  Her prose is always beautiful, thought-provoking, and engrossing.
  5. Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy – LOVE her books and grateful for the opportunity to read her one more time…
  6. One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern – The concept sounds interesting, and while my enjoyment of some of her previous books has varied, I am looking forward to seeing where she takes us in her latest.
  7. Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters by Diane Jacobs – I believe that Abigail Adams is one of the most interesting women in American history and after reading Book of Ages I am ready to re-immerse myself in this time in women’s history.
  8. Fortunate Son: A Novel of the Greatest Trial in Irish History by David Marlett – This novelization of true events, combining Irish and American history, with results that still impact our judicial system today, sounds fascinating to me.
  9. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson – Her gritty and realistic YA novels are disturbingly wonderful.
  10. Landline by Rainbow Rowell – The best new-to-me author that I discovered in 2013, I thought Eleanor & Park and Fangirl were both wonderful real books for teens and I’m looking forward to seeing if she will do the same when writing adult fiction.