Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read list

This week’s Top Ten was tips for new bloggers, but as I have no idea what to tell them because I only do this for fun and my love of books, I’ve chosen to do Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read list! Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I recently got this book (a signed hardback) from BookPerk! I am excited to read it, I’ve heard its quite good.

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

I’ve been meaning to read this for months and months! I just haven’t gotten around to it, but its on my list to read as soon as possible!

Catherine the Great by Robert Massie

I received this book for Christmas and haven’t tackled it yet, I’ve read amazing things about it though!

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Been waiting forever for this one! It comes out in May and I’m very excited to read it.

Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

I just started this book and its great so far! I’ve had it for at least a year now and haven’t gotten a chance to read it. So I’m glad its going to finally be read.

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vailiant
After reading Born to Run again and loving it, I thought I’d look up books that are suggested as ‘similar’ types of reading. This one came up and looked fascinating, so its on my list!
A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World
Books about books! This one has been on my list for ages. Can’t wait to read it.
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
My friend suggested this book to me last week, so I must go find it at a library this week. It sounds great!
Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
Another May book! Third in the Kane series, not quite as good as the Percy Jackson series but still a lot of fun. Excited to see whats going on in the world of Egyptian gods and magic.

A Year and a Life, in Books

If you grew up reading piles of books like me, then looking through your bookcase can be like flipping through a photo album spanning the years.

Maybe the first time you realized books could make you feel better even when you were sick and miserable (Harry Potter.) Or the first time a book made you seriously heartbroken and you realized that books could actually change you (Anna Karenina.) The first time you read a classic and actually enjoyed it (Jane Eyre.) The first time you realized you don’t have to like a book just because its a classic (Pride and Prejudice.) The first time you read a book and wanted to meet/stalk the author (Sleeping in Flame). The first time you wanted to buy a first edition because you loved the book so much, you wanted one that felt timeless (84, Charing Cross Road.) And even that first time you read an author who loves books as much as you do (Ex-Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.)

There are a million milestones with books that happen in our lives. The books that helped you get through a breakup and the books that helped you escape as a kid when your parents were fighting. The books you read instead of studying because you couldn’t help it and the books that you bought instead of food because you couldn’t resist. And even, the books that you discovered at different points of your life, which are now more important than anything, because they are all that has lasted.

So I decided that my best of 2011 post wouldn’t be only debut authors or only books released this year. They’re going to be the absolute best books I read this year, whether they were written 50 years ago or yesterday. So here’s the books that will always be, to me, the best of my 2011: (in no particular order)

             

The Art of Fielding     The Night Circus     Ready Player One     My Reading Life

                                

  The Tiger’s Wife     A Visit from the Goon Squad    I am Half Sick of Shadows

             

       A Game of Thrones          Bossypants

The Lover’s Dictionary

If I forgot any that I told you were amazing earlier this year, feel free to tell me! I know there were plenty of other amazing books I had the pleasure of reading in 2011. I look forward to another great year of discoveries and old favorites.

Top Ten Tuesday: Aww (shucks!) Moments

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

This week’s Top Ten is “Aww” Moments In Books. (Those cute lines, charming actions, kisses, or any other sentimental moment that made you say “AWW!”) I didn’t think I’d be able to think of ten because I don’t read a lot of romantical books, but then I realized a lot of the great stories have a little aww in them. So here goes!

Pride and Prejudice

I admit the first thing I thought of was when Elizabeth finally admits her love for Darcy and he reacts “Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his face, became him; but thought she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings, which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.” You spend the whole book waiting for it so when it finally happens, even as restrained and polite a love it is, the elation of the moment is palpable.

Little Women

When Jo is walking home with professor Bhaer and he tells her that hes going away and she cries (Jo! crying!), which finally shows him that she wants to be with him. I am always overcome with emotion when I read that. Them holding hands under the umbrella in the rain, all muddy and disheveled, but happy.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

When Dash and Lily spend the night in The Strand together and she surprises him with the full Oxford English Dictionary… most adorable romantic gesture ever.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

When Juliet runs to Dawsey while hes working and she just says “Would you like to marry me?” “I’m in love with you, so I thought I’d ask.” Shes just so free and straightforward, I loved that. And then he practically falls off the ladder in his enthusiasm to say yes and sprains his ankle. Which is also completely precious.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

When Harry finally kisses Ginny and as you’re reading it in your head you’re yelling “FINALLY! FINALLY!” Or was that just me? Well, I admit it, in my head I was definitely yelling it. So maybe it wasn’t an “Awww moment” so much as a “HELL YEA!” moment. But still.

Prodigal Summer

When Garnett Walker, the crotchety neighbor of Nannie Rawley, finally admits after a whole book of complaining and feuding with Nannie, that he came over to confront the scarecrow (who he thought was a man looking at her in her shorts) out of jealousy. She realizes he likes her and gives him a hug. Its so damn cute, I can’t help but smile just thinking about it.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

When Henry says goodbye to Clare because he knows that its the end for him. Shes upset because he let her have a party at their house but he said he wanted them there so she wouldn’t be alone when it happened. Sigh. So sweet.

The Lover’s Dictionary

“I want my own books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together.” One of my favorite entries in this book (mostly because its book nerdiness) but also because its something I genuinely ‘aww’d at.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

At the end of the book (and btw, so sorry to anyone if I’m ruining awesome moments in books you haven’t read.. but its hard to do this post without ruining something!) when she has no where left to go and Miss LaFosse tells her that she wants her to move in and run the house for her and Michael!  (it really is a Cinderella story) Its a very sweet scene that ends this gem of a book on a positive note.

Before I Fall

Ok if you are planning to read this book, do not read what I’m about to write! Look away! Avert your eyes! Scroll down the comment section and leave me a nice note or something.. If you have read it: When she says goodbye to Kent and kisses him for the last time. Then hes chasing after her when she goes to save Juliet’s life and give up her own.. that just about killed me. Excruciatingly sad. My favorite part of the whole book.

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.