Books I’m so happy were recommended to me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the BookishThis week’s top ten tuesday is:

Books I’m So Happy Were Recommended To Me

(all those books you probably wouldn’t have picked up without a good recommendation)

1. 84, Charing Cross Road

Now, not to offend anyone, but I can’t for the life of me remember who recommended this book to me. But whoever you are, out there in my life, I love you. Ever since I read it last year, it has been a book that I have treasured unconditionally. I have loaned it out, bought multiple copies as gifts and recommended to many other readers in my life. Its a beautiful little book that introduced me to a writer that is now one of my all time favorites. After I read all her books, I googled Helene Hanff and was heartbroken to realize she died in 1997. If I had known of her sooner I would have found her and given her a hug for her books.

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

My friend Kathy recommended this to me. To be honest, I already owned it. It was sitting on my kindle for months before she wrote me an email that said “you must read this immediately!” I thought it sounded familiar and lo and behold, it was on my kindle already. (anyone else compulsively download books you heard were good and then forget about them?) So one dreary day I sat down to read it and it was surprisingly lovely. It made my day. It was so amusing and comforting that I couldn’t help but be extremely thankful that she pushed me to read it when she did. Who knows, it might have still been sitting on my kindle if she hadn’t.

3. In a Sunburned Country

My father told me that since I love traveling so much I’d enjoy Bill Brysons books. I randomly picked up In a Sunburned Country as my first Bryson. I laughed so many times from this book. I was giggling at the bookstore as I read it and my friend kicked me under the table multiple times to shut me up.  I couldn’t help but wonder, where had this man been all my life? Were his books sitting on the shelves all these years while I passed them by? What a horrid thought! I went out, bought, borrowed and checked out all his other books one by one.  After reading them all though, In a Sunburned Country is still my favorite and it inspired me to travel to Australia for 10 days and see what Bryson talked about. I had never thought about going to Australia before reading it and after reading it, I couldn’t help but buy a ticket. I think it was a year later when I actually got to go, but I had Bryson’s words in my head the whole time. I’ll never forget that.

4. Sleeping in Flame

When I was a fresh-faced young lass who had only read literature and some fantasy handed down from my dad, my sister gave me this book by Jonathan Carroll and said she thought I’d like it because it reminded her of me. To this day I’m not quite sure what she meant by that (read the book, you’ll be confused too) but I think she meant was that it reminded her of something I’d enjoy. And boy did I. Reading Jonathan Carroll was an experience I’ll never forget. His books were surreal, inspiring, beautiful, terrifying and most of all, completely unexpected. I never knew how his stories would end or what would happen next. In Carroll’s world, anything and everything goes. No book ever left me with the same feeling. Some of them would end on a note that made me smile for days, some would horrify me to the point where I thought I’d have nightmares. But that is what I love about them. They are so unique, no one could write Jonathan Carroll’s books but him.

5. Jane Eyre

Oh bless thee Jane, for teaching me not all ‘classics’ are boring things full of conversations and subtle machinations. When I was younger I avoided a lot of the ‘classics’ and went straight for the literature and fiction. Jane Austen made me feel like all classics would be these long conversations that intertwined into a happy ending. Her books were good, but they were all the same flavor. Eventually, I was bored. Then someone told me to read Jane Eyre. I hesitated, daunted to think I’d be reading another english romantic novel because so often when you hear ‘austen’ you also hear ‘bronte.’ But I picked it up anyway and went for it like the open minded champion reader I am. I was so happy! Now here was a novel with some imagination. There was darkness, gothic settings, nightmares, death, betrayal, drama and yes, there is some love when all else is lost. Jane taught me that not every classic is an ‘Austen’ and I am endlessly grateful.

6. Prodigal Summer

My younger sister did not actually recommend this to me per say, it was more of that she was reading it incessantly one day when we were together and like many slightly obsessive book lovers, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was, who it was by and if it was good. I kept peering as it curiously. I’m sure I was annoying as hell. She then told me it was one of her favorite books and she reads it a few times a year. That was enough for me! I went out and bought a copy later that week and have never looked back. Barbara Kingsolver has become one of my favorite authors. She is another I’d love to sneak up upon (or you know, meet at a signing, either way) and give a nice big hug. I love her books. I actually did not love The Poisonwood Bible (insert gasp here) but I think it was because I read it after Prodigal Summer, Animal Dreams, The Bean Trees and her other books. The Poisonwood Bible may be her most famous book, but I don’t believe it is her best. Kingsolver will always shine through to me in her other books in a way she never achieved in Poisonwood.

7. My Reading Life

I reviewed this a couple entries ago, as Shannon at Books Devoured sent me this as a RAK this month. I loved it! I was so happy that she sent it to me because it introduced me to a wonderful new author. I haven’t gotten to ready any more Conroy yet, but I can’t wait.

. . .

I can’t think of any others right now, so I guess its my top 7 books I am so happy were recommended to me! But those are the ones that stick out in my memory, so I figure those are the ones that really matter.


Are you ready to BOOK BATTLE?


(terrifying, aren’t I?)

The Book Battle hosted by The Shady Glade is getting ready to commence. As I am going to be a judge and will have to read at least 10 of the books nominated, I encourage all those who love YA to nominate great books so I have awesome things to read and praise.

Here is the timeline for the Book Battle:

Close of nominations: April 5th
Announcement of Longlist: April 7th
Round 1 Judging period: Present-April 30th
Announcement of Shortlist: May 3rd
Start of Round 2 Judging: May 8th
Announcement Posts for Round 2 brackets : Beginning May 22nd

Please go to Shady Glade to nominate and/or get more information on this fun event. I am looking forward to reading lots of great books in April because of your brilliant nominations.

Happy Reading!

Books I just had to buy.. but are still sitting on my bookshelf: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Books I just had to buy.. but are still sitting on my bookshelf (hangs head in shame) Note to self, you probably shouldn’t buy 10 books at a time. It leads to shameful confessions such as the following list.

1.) The Lotus Eaters: A Novel by Tatjana Soli
I bought this a few months ago and it is still waiting for me. I have had numerous people tell me its awesome but I have yet to get to it.
2.) A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
I love burroughs, i’ve read all his books but this one which has been lurking on my shelf. Why? why? I have no excuse.
3.) Shadow Country by Peter Matthessen
I remember thinking how amazing this book looked and I was so excited to read it. Still excited, but still.. not yet.
4.) The 24th Hour by David Benioff
I read Benioff’s other book and adored it so I bought this one and was all ready to dive in. Then I probably got distracted by something shiny, a cup of coffee or another book. Something.
5.) The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
Yes, yes I hear your cries of horror. How?! (you wail) Well, honestly, I started this but it didn’t grab me right away and I ended up reading The Hunger Games instead (yes, this was a few years ago) and then moved on without thinking about. Its still there.
6.) Palace Walk by Maguib Mahfouz
So many people recommended this series to me! I have it, I’m sure I’ll get to it soon. Really, I will.
7.) Until I Find You by John Irving
I have read the illustrious Mr. Irving on many an occasion but I have yet to pick up this small tome of a book and devote myself full to it. I blame not the book, I’m sure its wonderful.
8.) Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
I love, adore, fawn and am irresistibly drawn to Ishiguro’s books but I haven’t been in the mood for one lately so this has languished on my shelves for a bit.
9.) The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
One of my friends told me this was their favorite book of all time so I bought it and I do look forward to reading it. Someday Bulgakov, someday.
10.) Atonement by Ian McEwan
Famous, bestseller, intrigue, betrayal, love, sisterhood. What else do you need?  I just know this book will make me sad, so I am waiting for a sad kind of day to read it. Give me some credit though, I haven’t seen the movie yet either. I’ll wait.