Tuesday Top Ten

spring tbr

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 on our TBR list for this spring.  I stuck to books that are being released this spring.  What are you looking forward to reading this spring?

  1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – A novel about bookstores – how can I resist?!  And it sounds like an interesting story, too.
  2. Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy – One last book from a master storyteller…
  3. One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern –Ahern’s books always have a unique perspective on life.
  4. The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt – The next book in my Indiespensables subscription which rarely disappoints!
  5. The Ninja Librarians by Jen Swann Downey – Sorry, I can’t help it!  When I told my husband I wanted this book, he told me I already have too many books.  My argument?  None of them are about Ninja Librarians!

And a bunch of books in series that I read are coming out this spring!

  1. Field of Prey by John Sandford – I didn’t love his last book, but I have always liked the Lucas Davenport books in the past, so I’m giving him another chance!
  2. Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins – Ahh… the chance to hang with Spencer and Hawk again!
  3. By Its Cover by Donna Leone – I’m looking forward to the opportunity to travel the streets of Venice again with Commissario Guido Brunetti
  4. In the Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty – The last book in The Trouble Trilogy, it will be interesting to see where Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant police force in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s, will end up.
  5. The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman – I am so excited to read this book, but so sad to see the end of the Moe Prager series, one of the best detective series ever written.

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.

Stories within Stories

I read a couple of books in the last week that contained stories within the story.  You know the type, each chapter from a different character’s perspective, each telling their own story, but their stories all come together somehow.  In the case of the books that I read, their stories came together in a cooking class and at an inn in Ireland.  Although very different in many ways, I liked both of these books for the same reason.  Regardless of where people (or characters in a story!) come together, many of the messages are very similar.  We will have an impact, sometime in the future, on people that we have not yet met.  Our lives are bound to others in ways that we cannot foresee.  You never know the burdens that others carry.  Everyone’s personal story is unendingly complex, truly personal.  There is always hope.

ImageA Week in Winter, the last book written by Maeve Binchy before her death, was certainly my favorite of the two books.  Knowing that it was the last Maeve Binchy book made me a little melancholy before I even started reading, and a book set on the rocky and stormy Atlantic coast of Ireland will have plenty of melancholy already!  I love books set in Ireland, and while this one offered no surprises to fans of Maeve Binchy, it transported me to Stone House, an inn opened by Chicky Starr with the help of Riggy (a troubled young man who needs to find his way) and Orla (Chicky’s niece trying to find her place).  Separate chapters focus on each of these characters as well as an American actor who ends up there on a whim, a couple of doctors that are trying to recover from the tragedies they’ve witnessed, a psychic librarian, a cantankerous school principal, a Swede torn between family duty and his love of music, a young girl and her not-happy future mother-in-law, and a prize-winning couple.  Each has a different story and separate reasons for being at Stone House, where they will hopefully (mostly) find hope and a way forward in their lives.

Unfortunately, Maeve Binchy did not get a chance to finish editing the book before her death, and in places, it shows.  There are several awkward transitions, some characters that are not as well-developed as in her previous works, and some storylines that seem to be left unfinished.  However, it is still Maeve Binchy, comforting and thoughtful storytelling.

  Title: Week in Winter
   Author: Maeve Binchy
   Genre: Fiction
   Pages: 336
   Publication: Knopf, February 2013

ImageThe Art of Mixing, the sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, is now on the shelves at the library and I decided it was time to bump the first book up to the top of my to-read list!  The story focuses on a cooking school being taught at a restaurant owned by the instructor, Lillian.  There are chapters in the book devoted to the back story of each of the students – the struggling teenager, the shy computer guy, the beautiful Italian woman, the harried mother, the forgetful elderly woman, the sad widower, and the older married couple.  Other chapters in the book focus on the cooking class each week and the interactions that the students have with the instructor, each other, and food.  Food is certainly a character of its own in this novel, and there are beautiful passages describing food and the art of cooking that could cause me to gain twenty pounds!  There are parts of the book that may be a little too saccharine, and maybe things end a little too neatly for everyone, but ultimately it was entertaining, a light set of stories about people and the way that food touches our lives.

   Title: The School of Essential Ingredients
   Author: Erica Bauermeister
   Genre: Fiction
   Pages: 240
   Publication: Putnam, January 2009