Tuesday Top Ten

historical fiction

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 in a specific genre.  I chose historical fiction since it’s a genre that I never thought I really liked until it quickly became one of my favorites over the past couple of years.

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – The most touching book I have ever read, it takes place during WWII in Germany and provides unique perspective and an even more unique narrator.
  2. The Son by Philipp Meyer – The history of Texas, from 1836 through the present day, from the attack of Native Americans through the rollercoaster of the oil industry.
  3. Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies – From early-1800s New York City to the farms of upstate NY to San Francisco during the Gold Rush this is the story of a woman and her life.
  4. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – A coming of age story in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950.
  5. Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein – The story of two women, two friends, a pilot and a spy, during WWII.
  6. Brewster by Mark Slouka – A beautifully written story of friends growing up in upstate New York in 1968.
  7. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – The last public beheading to take place in Iceland in the early 1800s.  A devastatingly beautiful story.
  8. A Good American by Alex George – The story of immigrants to America in 1904 and their lives, and the lives of their descendants, as told by their grandson.
  9. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – Ursula’s story allows you to travel through various scenarios throughout the early to mid-1900s as she is born and dies again and again.
  10. Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – Epic in scope, from the mid-1700s through most of the 1800s, this story also travels the globe, from England and American and Amsterdam to Tahiti and the jungles of the world.

Tuesday Top Ten

top ten authors title

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 authors that were new-to-me in 2013.  While most of these authors are not new, they were new to me, and these were all books that I loved this year!

top ten new to me authors

Brewster

brewster

Brewster was my latest book from my Indiespensables subscription and I was hopeful, yet tentative, after struggling through the previous installment.  I was more than pleased – I was amazed, captivated, enthralled, humbled.

Brewster is an amazing story, beautifully written, about two boys growing up in small town Brewster, NY in 1968.  When Jon is four, his older brother dies due to a freak accident, and his parents, survivors of the Holocaust, disconnect, moving into a permanent state of mourning, often forgetting or resenting their remaining son.  Ray has grown up without his mother, living with his cruel drunken father, an ex-cop and WWII veteran.

Now these two boys are teenagers – the studious Jon finding solace on the track team as he is torn between loyalty to his family and running away for real while Ray alternates between being the “bad boy” at school and protecting his baby brother from their father – and they form an unlikely, but deep and beautiful friendship.  In their friendship they find everything that they don’t have at home – love, loyalty, kindness, understanding, solace.  There are characters that are horrible – Jon’s nearly catatonic mother who is emotionally cruel to her son and Ray’s sadistically cruel father.  There are characters that are likable – Ray’s girlfriend, the kindly auto-mechanic, Ray’s little brother, Jon’s friends on the track team, the friend who is a religious zealot.  But in the end it is a story, hurtling towards a painfully devastating conclusion, of two friends trapped in inescapable circumstances and their love for one another.

Title:  Brewster
Author:  Mark Slouka
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 288
Publication: W. W. Norton & Company, August 2013