Tuesday Top Ten

top ten cry

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 that make me weep…  I’m getting a little teary just thinking about them…  But I’m not going to tell you WHY they make me cry, if I do that it’s like giving away the ending and I wouldn’t want to do that!

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  4. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  5. America by E.R. Frank
  6. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  7. The Fault in our Stars  by John Green
  8. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  9. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Tuesday Top Ten

top ten worlds

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 worlds from books that we wouldn’t want to live in.  The first part of the list was easy, I’ve haven’t met many dystopian societies that have much to recommend them…  After that it got a little tricky since I don’t read a lot of books that take place in different worlds so I included some that take place in times/places that I wouldn’t want to live in.

  1. Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – There’s nothing good about a world that pits teenagers in a televised contest to the death.
  2. Delirium series by Lauren Oliver – Love as a disease?  Not cool…
  3. Divergent series by Veronica Roth – Being forced to choose a faction, serums that affect your brain, fighting, death – doesn’t sound like all that much fun to me.
  4. The Giver by Lois Lowry – While things do improve some, eventually, in later books, who wants to live in a world without color, beauty, memory, emotion?
  5. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – Iceland in the early nineteenth century is brutal enough before you consider the whole beheading thing…
  6. Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore – Disgusting aliens shooting up everything and trying to take over the planet so they can ultimately destroy it – need I say more?
  7. Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – Lots of fighting and really repulsive creature hanging around in creepy places.
  8. I Am A Man by Joe Starita – Being a Native American in this country in the nineteenth century is not something I would recommend.
  9. Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – Taking place throughout the wars in Chechnya, the brutality and poverty and fear are heartbreaking.
  10. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park – The story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, this heartbreaking tale brings forward this horrific war and its effect on the innocent and the children in the country.

Allegiant

AllegiantAllegiant is the final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. The trilogy focuses on a dystopian society which is divided into different factions, each holding a human trait – selflessness, knowledge, honesty, bravery, kindness – as core to their values and their existence.  The books focus mainly on Tris, who has left Abnegation, where she was raised, to join Dauntless where she meets Tobias (aka Four).  Tris discovers that she is Divergent, having no singular trait which defines her.  Throw in the factionless, outcasts who live on the edges of society, power hungry leaders trying to destroy the Divergents, betrayal, mind control serums, battles, death, and the inevitable romance between Tris and Tobias, and things get interesting…

Don’t get me wrong, this is pure guilty pleasure reading, fast-paced, romantic, just plain fun.  It may not be great literature, but pleasure reading doesn’t always need to be, and this was an enjoyable trilogy.  I loved the first book in the series, Divergent, and the second book, Insurgent, was better than I expected, leaving both my daughter and I anxiously awaiting the release of Allegiant.  Were we disappointed?  Ultimately, I don’t think so – we both still love the trilogy – but there were moments…

Tris, Four and their friends are ready to head out of the city to see what lies beyond the gates.  Once they make it out it seems a bit like an M. Night Shymalan movie for a while – everything you thought you knew (and that the characters thought they knew) turns upside down and inside out.  There is secrecy and betrayal and revolution.  There are genetic experiments and societal experiments gone awry.  In the middle of all of this, Tris and Four are discovering new truths about themselves, their pasts, and their families as they try to figure out who they are and where they belong.

There is no way to review this book while ignoring how the trilogy ends, especially since it has been the focus of so much discussion.  So while I will attempt to avoid giving away all of the gritty details, consider yourself warned…

So, ultimately, the biggest hurdle to liking this book is the ending.  I had heard rumblings in the bookish world, so I was not completely surprised.  When I walked in on my daughter one morning, tears streaming down her face while she held the book in her hands, I knew that she had not seen it coming.   First impressions on reading it, from both of us, was that the death seemed pointless, done simply for shock value without any real meaning.  Given some time away from it, and a chance to chat about it with my daughter, I do believe that there was meaning there, we just didn’t like it!  But ultimately, it was about love and sacrifice, bravery and selflessness.

There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”

Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Publication:
Katherine Tegen Books, October 2013

WWW Wednesday

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Tuesday Top Ten

top ten Maddy

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 we would recommend to a particular person.  I picked my 12-year old daughter for a couple of reasons.  I love to share books with her, to read the same things and then take the time out to talk about them.  And I think being a 12-year old girl is exceedingly difficult – as a time of transition it is a time when it can be hard to pick things to read that are interesting, challenging, and appropriate.  To be completely honest, some of these she has already read, or I have already read them to her, but I couldn’t leave them off the list!  And my list for her is actually much, much longer – as is my own list – if only there were more hours in the day!

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – A wonderfully fantastic and engaging series with kids who are in the middle of growing up – just like she is… (although I try to deny it!)
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – My favorite book of all time, and one that I think she is now mature enough to understand and enjoy.
  3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery – One of my favorite series when I was a kid and I think she would connect with the spunky main character.
  4. All Creatures series by James Herriot – This series would appeal to my daughter – a real country girl and animal lover whose wondering if her heart is too soft for veterinary work.
  5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Just because it was my favorite book through my childhood.
  6. Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter – Tough girls – teenage spies – with just enough romance thrown in to cause a blush…
  7. The Giver series by Lois Lowry – She has read The Giver, and loved it, so I’m hoping she will like to see the rest of the story unfold.
  8. Allegiant by Veronica Roth – My motive here is selfish – she’s reading it now and I want her to finish so I can read it!
  9. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – We’ve been promising to read this one together for a while now, but we need to actually do it!
  10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – A classic, and a story about a strong girl overcoming the odds.