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 Execution of Noa P. Singleton

execution

Noa P. Singleton is on death row for shooting Sarah Dixon, a young pregnant woman.  Six months before her scheduled execution, Sarah’s mother, an attorney, Marlene Dixon shows up to tell Noa that she has started M.A.D (Mothers Against Death) and that she wants to petition the governor to grant Noa clemency.  What she really wants is to hear Noa’s story, a story that Noa has never told to anyone, not during her trial or her incarceration.

There were moments of beautiful and wrenching writing, but there were just as many times where the writing was awkward or it felt as the author used ten-dollar words just to prove she knew them.  Unfortunately, most of the main characters are often annoyingly pathetic – Noa, her father, Marlene, even Sarah in her brief appearances.  The only character that might be consistently likable is Ollie, Marlene’s assistant attorney, and even he disappoints in the end.

It is a story full of guilt and remorse, for all parties involved, that goes back and forth in time between the present and Noa’s past, as well as alternating between Noa’s story and Marlene’s as told through letters she writes to her dead daughter.  This does not confuse the story, although I admit to getting bored by it about half way through.  The story grabbed me again, but ultimately disappointed in the end.  I do not need, nor did I necessarily expect, everything to get tidied up neatly, but it seemed like nothing was really resolved and what was revealed was not startling, just sad.

I really wanted to like this novel, there was a lot of positive buzz around it, but much like Gone Girl, I didn’t think it lived up to the hype.  That’s not to say that I didn’t like it, it was OK, it just didn’t grab me and leave me wanting more.

Title:  The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
Author:  Elizabeth L. Silver
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 320
Publication: Crown, June 2013

Tuesday Top Ten

toptenwords

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 list the top ten phrases or words that draw you to a book – that cause you to pick-up a book at the library or buy it at the bookstore.

  1. BOOKS!  Books about books, bookstores, book groups, libraries, authors – I am truly a bibliophile and will pick up anything that mentions books.  I probably could’ve made my entire list out of book-related phrases, but it felt like it would be cheating…
  2. The Beach – If I could spend my days on the beach, watching the ocean (no matter the weather) with a book in my hand I would be exuberant!
  3. Ireland – The only Irish thing about me is my husband, but I love to read about Ireland, whether it’s a story of work-weary folks struggling to survive or a story of mysticism and belief, it always seems to be a world in which I become engrossed.
  4. Italy – Although I’ve never been there, I love books about Italy – the art, the music, the architecture, the history, the food…  I really need to plan a trip!
  5. Food – I love books about food, especially those that so artfully describe the art of creating it and the joy of consuming it.  I love to cook and while these books always make me hungry, they also inspire me to try new culinary creations of my own!
  6. The South – Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life shivering in upstate NY, but I always love stories of the south – the relaxed pace and the warm air.
  7. Road Trip – There’s something about the idea of heading out on the road, leaving your cares and responsibilities behind, and heading out on an unknown adventure that is always appealing.
  8. Mystery – I admit it, I love a good mystery, and even some not-so-good mysteries – be they thrillers or fun cozy-mysteries I love a whodunit.
  9. Founding Fathers – I am always intrigued by our founding fathers and others from the revolutionary time in our country’s history – admittedly Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Abigail Adams are my favorites, but I will take more than a passing glance at a book about anyone during that time period.
  10. Tech Stuff – Must be the engineer in me still lives on to some extent, I love geek books (maybe not the technical volumes anymore, but still geeky nonetheless) – Skunkworks by Ben Rich and Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder are two that I found inspiring and fascinating.