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Top Ten Tuesday – Book Palate Cleansers

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, a literary list with a new bookish topic every week. This Tuesday’s topic is a freebie, which means I get to do whatever I want! This week I’m going to focus on some of my favorite palate cleansers.

And while this means something in the food world (my other favorite topic), I’m actually referring to those in the book world. Book palate cleansers can mean be used for various reasons. You just finished an intense read and are looking for something easy or fun. You’ve been having trouble getting into everything you pick up and need a story that will draw you in. You’re a little stressed in real life and want a book that is the exact opposite, an escape.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Take Place In Another Country

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, a literary list with a new bookish topic every week. This Tuesday’s topic is Books That Take Place In Another Country; for me, that is anywhere other than the United States.  

I love this topic because one of the best parts of reading is the ability to experience a life that’s different from your own. They also provide the opportunity to travel without leaving the comfort of your favorite armchair. While foreign settings often just feed my desire to travel, the food inspiration they provide at least allows me to experience the culture in some tangible way. I decided to look back on books I’ve already read, and when I’ve done a review (and recipe), I’ll link to it below.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested in Reading

Hi everyone, and happy Tuesday! Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at The Artsy Reader Girl. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

This week’s topic is Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading, which is kind of a funny one. I’m warning you ahead of time I’m not going to have much to say about any of them…because I haven’t read them yet! If you stopped by for my list of Books I Really Liked but Don’t Remember Much/Anything About, I imagine this list will be similar.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Really Liked But Don’t Remember Much/Anything About

Hi everyone, and happy Tuesday! Welcome to my first Top Ten Tuesday of 2018. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at The Artsy Reader Girl. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Today’s list is kind of funny, in that I’m not sure how much I can say about each book on it – I guess we’ll just have to see! To arrive at the 10 Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Anything/Much About, I culled through my Goodreads, starting at the highest rating and going down. (Reminder: here’s how I rate.)

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2018

Hi everyone! We’ve made it to the end of year (almost)! What a wonderful year in reading it’s been… and now since it’s Tuesday, it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

This week’s topic looks to the future and all of the books that await us on the other side of the new year: Books I’m (Most) Looking Forward to in 2018. This list skews a bit towards the early part of the year, and also includes a few books-becoming-movies that I’ve been meaning to read.

 

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd – releases January 2

In the remix tradition of the cult favorite movie Clueless and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible comes a modern retelling of the beloved story of the March sisters, delivered with Anna Todd’s signature style. With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls is the perfect chance for you to revisit Little Women or discover this cherished story for the first time.

I’ve always loved the story of Little Women, thanks to the 90s movie starring Winona Ryder (among others). When I read the book for the first time years later, I felt like I struggled through it. I’m hoping this modern retelling ends up evoking the spirit of the story that I’ve always enjoyed.

 

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – releases January 9

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Like They Both Die at the End before it, I’m always interested in books that explore the topic of death (you can blame my college writing teacher), and this concept looks like a good one.

 

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas – releases January 16

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

If you’ve been a blog reader for a while, you know feminist dystopias are in my wheelhouse. I’m just hoping I like this one better than The Power.

 

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure by Shoba Narayan – releases January 23

When Shoba Narayan, a writer and cookbook author who had lived for years in Manhattan, moves back to Bangalore with her family, she befriends the milk lady, from whom she buys fresh milk every day. These two women from very different backgrounds bond over not only cows, considered holy in India, but also family, food, and life.

In this charming true story about two women and the animal they share, readers are treated to an insider’s of view of India. The Milk Lady of Bangalore is also a window into our universal connection to food and its sources, the intricacies of female friendship, and our relationship to all animals.

This is the first of a few memoirs on this list, and it also appears (from the outside) to be the most light-hearted. Honestly, it had me at “writer and cookbook author.” It sounds wonderful and I’m looking forward to cooking some Indian food to go along with it!

 

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover – releases February 20

An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

I’m always drawn to stories about those who live just outside mainstream society. I love learning about those ways of life, and this one is told not from an outsider’s perspective but from the perspective of someone who lived it. Doesn’t this one sound fascinating?

 

The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum – releases March 6

In this genre-bending novel, there is no such thing as chance and every action is carefully executed by highly trained agents. You’ll never looks at coincidences the same way again.

What if the drink you just spilled, the train you just missed, or the lottery ticket you just found was not just a random occurrence? What if it’s all part of a bigger plan? What if there’s no such thing as a chance encounter? What if there are people we don’t know determining our destiny? And what if they are even planning the fate of the world?

Enter the Coincidence Makers—Guy, Emily, and Eric—three seemingly ordinary people who work for a secret organization devoted to creating and carrying out coincidences. What the rest of the world sees as random occurrences, are, in fact, carefully orchestrated events designed to spark significant changes in the lives of their targets.

I love that the author decided to explore this topic! I expect this to be one of those books that sticks with me even after I’ve put it down – hopefully not as haunting as The Word Exchange, but given that it’s not dystopia, I’m sure it will be lovely. 🙂

 

Too Afraid to Cry by Ali Cobby Eckermann – releases March 6 (in US)

In Too Afraid to Cry, Ali Cobby Eckermann—who was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world—describes with searing detail the devastating effects of racist policies that tore apart Indigenous Australian communities and created the Stolen Generations of “adoptees,” Aboriginal children forcibly taken from their birth families. Too Afraid to Cry offers a mirror to America and Canada’s own dark history of coerced adoption of Native American children, and the violence inflicted on our continent’s Indigenous peoples.

It looks like this book has been out in Australia for quite some time, but it’s being released in the US this year. When I was looking at upcoming books this one caught my eye.

 

The Elizas by Sara Shepard – releases April 17

When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?

The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.

I’m not usually drawn to mysteries outright, but given that the protagonist is an author, I’m intrigued. I adore stories that explore the blurred line between what an author writes on the page and what could happen in the real world as a result.

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – movie release August 17

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

I’ve heard wonderful things about this book and honestly have been meaning to pick it up since it’s debut – now that the movie’s coming out, I need to make sure to get it from the library before everyone else catches on!

 

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – movie release 2018 TBD

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

This book has been on TBR and on my shelf for at least two years now, and I’m excited the movie is finally coming out to get me motivated to pick it up and read it. With Julianne Moore involved, I’m hoping for the best.

What books are you looking forward to?

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’m Thankful For

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

If you’re in the U.S., it’s also almost Thanksgiving and this week’s topic gives me a chance to reflect on the books that have made a difference in my life. That is, the Books I’m the Most Thankful For.

Obviously, I’m extremely thankful for books in general and the authors that write them, those who so deftly create worlds and characters and scenarios different from my own (and even those that mirror my own experiences), allowing me to walk away with a new perspective, or in some cases, the comforting feeling that someone else gets me. I appreciate the entertainment or escape they can provide and the empathy and emotions they illicit. I think we can all agree, books are amazing things, right?

That being said, I’ve culled down the list of books I love and tried to take a look at books I really appreciate and why. Let’s check it out:

1. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – Though I’d already been reading for a while, this was my first chapter book as a child. It immersed me in a story that went beyond what I had ever read before, one that continued beyond one short story. Not surprisingly, it also sparked a love of (obsession with?) horses that would last through middle school. Black Beauty absolutely cemented my already-budding love of reading, and I will forever be grateful for that.

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – This classic taught me that books can deserve a second chance, even if you didn’t like it the first time. In middle school, my best friend Katie and I decided to read this together, and while she adored it, I got frustrated with the complicated language and slow narrative (just before it got good, it turns out) and didn’t finish it. She explained the rest of the story to me, and I felt like I’d missed out. Years later, during college, I picked it up, stuck with it and fell in love with it too.

3. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – Somehow this novel ends up on every list I make lately, but that just shows the impact it’s had on me. I didn’t expect to like this book, let alone love it as much as I did. I’m thankful for this story because not only does it tackle tough issues in a relatable way, above all, it helped me look at the world – and myself – differently. I haven’t stopped recommending it ever since.

4. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks – This is the first book I remember both laughing out loud at and crying about while reading it. Aside from The Notebook, it’s the only Sparks book I’ve enjoyed (and I have since stopped reading them), but it is still one of my favorite books overall. This is one of the first books I ever recommended – to my dad, and I still remember both of us laughing to the point of tears over one of the passages – and being able to share in the appreciation of a story together has led me to join in several book clubs (virtually, and in real life) and, ultimately, start this blog. And, of course, I still recommend books constantly.

5. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – I’m including this novel because it taught me not to give up. I don’t remember exactly what led me to read this book a few years ago, and looking back, it’s not something I’d normally choose. The story is kind of bizarre (as magical realism can sometimes be) and it works with split narrators/points-of-view and, oh yeah, it’s a thousand pages long. Despite not always being sure what was going on, I stuck with it and ended up rooting for the characters and becoming completely absorbed in the writing style. While I have nothing against DNF-ing a book that just doesn’t work, I’m glad I stuck with this one. When the payoff is worth it, it’s usually really worth it.

6. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling – It probably comes as no surprise Harry Potter made the list. There are so many reasons to be grateful for Rowling’s bestselling series, but for me, it was a chance to be a part of something bigger than myself for the first time. I tore through the first four books, long after the rest of the world fell in love with the boy wizard, and I was shocked and awed to see the turnout at my first (and certainly not last) midnight release for the fifth installation. Each new release gave me something to look forward to, and even now, the series provides me with a comforting world to dive back into whenever I want.

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I’m eternally thankful to Cline’s sci-fi novel for keeping me entertained on the bus ride from NYC to Philadelphia and back again, when I had to travel there for my best friend’s wedding a few years ago. This book was so immersive, time just flew by and the four hours I spent on the crowded buses didn’t seem so bad. Beyond that, this is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s forward-thinking and nostalgic all at the same time. It’s versatility has led me to recommend it countless times, and as a result, I’ve enjoyed many spirited conversations about its various plot points. For me, RPO is a book that keeps on giving.

8. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon – This dystopian novel surprised me when we had to read it for book club recently. It combined the importance of language and our reliance on technology in a way that entertained me and freaked me out at the same time. It made me examine how dependent I am on my cell phone (and I know I’m not alone in this). I’ll go into more detail in my full post next week, but it’s on this list because I appreciate that it’s prompted me to take a break from my phone now and then and to be more conscious of having a reason to pick it up.

9. Voracious by Cara Nicoletti – I threw this food/book memoir on my wish list one Christmas without much thought aside from it seemed like something I would like. (Thank you to my wonderful then-fiance, now-husband Scott for actually gifting it to me!) Of course, I enjoyed it and it’s still a book I think of often. While everyone knows food often plays a role in great literature, it was the first time I’d seen such a blatant combination of food and books. It planted the seed in my mind that eventually became this blog, and I would not be here writing this post if I hadn’t read it two summers ago.

10. On Writing by Stephen King – As an aspiring writer and an insatiable reader, I’m so grateful for this memoir. Not only does Stephen King share stories of his own ups and downs as an author, he instills it with excellent advice about how to hone your craft and persevere. When I first borrowed it from the library, I was so excited to find his lengthy list of book recommendations at the end that I took pictures of it until I could procure my own copy. A dedicated reader himself (for one cannot write well if one does not read), his suggestions have prompted me to discover some books I may not have otherwise picked up.

Which books are you most thankful for? I’d love to hear some of your picks in the comments below 🙂

I hope all of you enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving with friends and family! Until next time…

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Top Ten Tuesday – Yummy Food Mentioned in Books

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Usually the topics each week are very book-focused, but today’s is right up my alley! Combining food and books, we have Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books – yay! It actually took me a little while to compose the list because I wanted to try to pick foods that are more integral to the story or iconic because of their inclusion within the book, rather than just something mentioned in passing (as is often the case with my typical posts). I think I did a pretty good job coming up with this list, but what do you think? Anything you would’ve added?

1. Raspberry Cordial from Anne of Green Gables: This is my second Top Ten Tuesday mention of Anne in a row (I told you she made an impression), but I think it’s apt. The scene in the book where Anne mistakenly gets her BFF Diana drunk off not-raspberry-cordial is one of the more memorable in the book, and I remember the scene very vividly from watching the mini-series when I was a kid too. Though the actual drink never gets drunk within the story, Marilla’s raspberry cordial is famous in Avonlea and apparently quite delicious. I’ve always wanted to try it.

2. Fizzy Lifting Drinks from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: This is the only food (or drink) I’m including where I can’t remember if I’ve actually read the book rather than seen the movie, but either way this scene is so iconic. As a kid, thinking that there might be a drink out there that lets you fly was the most amazing thing I could think of. It’s such a fun concept, definitely the most imaginative food on the list.

3. Pumpkin Pasties from the Harry Potter series: You show me something made with pumpkin, and I can guarantee it’ll be gone before you know it. Ever since I started reading this series (which somehow makes it onto almost all of my lists…), I have been itching to try a pumpkin pasty. If I could only take a ride on the Hogwarts Express, my dreams could come true. Writing this little blurb prompted me to see how doable it was to make them myself, so I found this wonderful post with recipes for them (two ways!) – excuse me, while I run to the kitchen.

4. Cinnamon Bread from Once Upon a River: This recipe for cinnamon bread was one of the first ones I made for the blog, after reading Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Michigan-based story for one of my book clubs. I remember the description of this bread being so vivid it made me hungry. It was a much-loved recipe, perfect for this time of year, so I should probably revisit it.

5. Boeuf Bourguignon from My Life in France: Picking just one food from Julia Child’s memoir wasn’t exactly easy, but this dish is so indicative of French cooking and whenever I hear or read about it, I instantly think of Julia. I knew it had to be the one. It’s also a dish I have yet to tackle, though every winter I think to myself I should give it a try. It’s not hard, just time-consuming. Maybe this will be the year that I break out my Mastering the Art of French Cooking and finally make it… maybe.

6. The Fat Burger from 11/22/63: This historical fiction/time travel story is one of my favorites, and it all starts with a questionably cheap burger in a diner. The secret to it’s price lies in a closet that leads back in time – to September 9, 1958, to be exact. It’s there that Jake starts his journey to rescue JFK from his impending November assassination. Though this book is really long, I was riveted when I read it forever ago and it went by much more quickly than I expected. The burgers sound really delicious, and wasn’t food better in the good ol’ days anyway?

7. Dumplings from The Joy Luck Club: When I got the opportunity to make dumplings because of this novel early on in my blogging career, I was super excited. They may not have turned out as well as I hoped, but that doesn’t mean the ones Amy Tan is referring to in The Joy Luck Club aren’t absolutely delicious. After all, they’re made by experts for their weekly Mahjong game.

8. Minny’s Fried Chicken from The Help: While Minny’s “special” chocolate cake is probably more entertaining and memorable, I opted for an actually edible option instead – the scene where Minny teaches Miss Celia to make fried chicken for her husband is touching and makes me hungry every time.

9. Potatoes from The Martian: Truly, the potatoes in The Martian are a matter of life-or-death, and while they may not be served in the most appetizing manner, due to the culinary limitations on Mars, they are so clearly an important part of this novel. Cook yourself some yummier potatoes – mashed with butter, baked with all the fixings, or cut into delightfully crisp and salty french fries – and thank your lucky stars you’re here on Earth instead.

10. Swedish Dream Cookies from My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry: These cookies are mentioned often in this wonderful Fredrik Backman novel, usually referred to as just “dreams.” Until I did the research, I wasn’t sure they were an actual thing, but it turns out they’re quite common in Sweden. I made them for a blog last year, and as it turns out, they’re as easy to make as they are delicious!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Feature Characters Who Love Books

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Today’s topic is a bit of a freebie, where we’re able to fill in the blank in Ten Books That Feature Characters ___________, so I’m going with a super bookish list here. Books about books are among my favorites, but sometimes there are characters that come along in other kinds of stories that love books as much as I do, and I wanted to recognize those wonderfully bookish characters in Ten Books That Feature Characters Who Love Books.

In no particular order, let’s begin:

1. Matilda from Roald Dahl’s children’s novel of the same name: She is many children’s first exposure to how wonderful the world of books can be and how sometimes it can be a welcome escape. I think I actually saw the movie as a kid before I read the book, and since then I’ve also seen the Broadway musical, but the message remains the same – it’s okay to be different, you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, and of course, there’s nothing quite like a good book!

2. Hermoine from (do I even need to say it?) the Harry Potter series: Hermoine is synonymous with reading. She can often be found in the library, or at the very least, pouring over a large volume somewhere. Books are an important part of many of her adventures (thank you, magical bags!) and usually hold the answer to help her and her friends get out of a sticky situation.

3. Anne of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved series, Anne of Green Gables: Anne has always been one of my favorite characters. Like Matilda, she used stories and her imagination to get her through tough situations, and like Hermoine, she is a lover of learning. Anne is a precocious trouble-maker who is also utterly charming, and as a result, worked her way into the hearts of readers everywhere.

4. Jo from Little Women: Not only a reader, but a writer as well, Jo was modeled after Louisa May Alcott herself. She is “boyish” and strong-willed, eschewing the traditional trappings of young women of her time in order to pursue a literary career. Jo is one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer when I was a young girl.

5. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird: The daughter of a lawyer, Scout is intelligent with an inquisitive mind and reading comes as second nature to her. In fact, this wonderful quote is attributed to her: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” I mean, that pretty much sums it up.

6. Hazel from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: Hazel and Augustus’s relationship blossoms after they agree to read each other’s favorite novels. Her last wish is to meet her favorite author, whose novel she gave to Augustus, and much of the story takes place in pursuit of that dream.

7. Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife: Henry has a disorder that causes him to involuntarily travel through time, and his position as a librarian allows him a quiet place to disappear when he happens to. Not only does he work in a library, but Henry meets his wife Clare there for the first time, leading to one of my favorite love stories.  

8. All 6 main characters from The Jane Austen Book Club: This novel is full of Jane Austen fans and one newbie, who nevertheless dives into her novels wholeheartedly. This book makes me want to read Austen every time, and I love how deeply they feel about her novels.

9. AJ Fikry from The Storied Life of AJ Fikry: AJ Fikry owns a bookstore. He transforms many of the people into his town from non-readers into readers. The entire book is like a love letter to reading and he’s at the center of it.

10. Emilia from How to Find Love in a Bookshop: Another bookstore owner, Emilia Nightingale, rounds out my list. Like her father before her (also a wonderful bookish character), Emilia loves reading and spends much of the novel rescuing her father’s and their town’s beloved book haven.

Who are some of your favorite characters who love books?

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Top Ten Tuesday (Back to School Edition) – Books to Spark a Love of Reading in Anyone

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Due to a short hiatus, I haven’t participated since June (here’s a refresher), but TTT is back again – just in time for back to school! Can you believe it’s that time of year already? All of the school supplies in the stores makes me wish I were going back to school, or that I had kids to get excited about it with… we’ll get there eventually. Excuse me while I go put a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils on my desk.The month’s theme is a “freebie,” so anything back-to-school is fair game. I’ve actually been thinking about what to do for a while now, and after going back and forth on a few options, I finally settled on: 10 Books to Spark a Love of Reading in Anyone. I know not everyone loves to read, but I truly believe it’s just because they haven’t found the right book (or type of book) yet. While many kids love reading as they grow up, it often becomes a chore in school, and sadly, that love dies.

This list includes some of my favorites, in a variety of genres, that hopefully – when recommended to the right person – can help them fall in love with reading all over again 🙂 Let’s get to it!

(These are in no particular order this week, just numbered so I can keep track.)

1. For the video game lover or people who like to get nostalgic about the 80s: Ready Player One

For a while I was recommending this book to everyone because I loved it so much. (And, yes, everyone who I told to read it loved it too.) It was immersive and imaginative and so good I didn’t want to put it down – everything a reading experience should be.

2. For fans of The Big Bang Theory and/or romantic comedies: The Rosie Project

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this one, but it’s another one I’ve recommended widely since reading it. It’s a nerdy love story about an out-of-touch scientist trying to find “the one.” It also features a strong female character. It’s quirky and funny – I remember laughing out loud on the NYC subway as I read it. As a bonus, it’s a super quick read, so it won’t bog you down.

3. For someone looking for a beach read: We Were Liars

This young adult novel has intrigue, gossip and a surprising twist I didn’t see coming. Because it’s YA, it’s written in a really relatable way that’s easy to get into and stick with, and it’s not too long. It’s also won tons of awards and has almost 4 stars on Goodreads. Do yourself a favor and avoid spoilers!

4. For history buffs: 11/22/63 or The Nightingale

These are two very different books, but I really enjoyed them both.

Stephen King’s 11/22/63 tells the story of a man who goes back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination, so it takes place mostly in the last 50s and early 60s (over and over again) and can get a bit into the nitty-gritty of the events leading up to that fateful November day. I was riveted and learned some interesting things too.

I read and posted on The Nightingale last year, but briefly it’s about a pair of sisters in France during WWII. It’s well-written and the story is worth reading, but given the subject matter, it can be tough to barrel through. This book has become a recent favorite for a reason, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in WWII-era history. (Full thoughts and recipe here.)

5. For someone who wants to get into the classics: The Jane Austen Book Club

Classics are often tough nuts to crack – the language and references can be obscure and sometimes the pacing is slower than our modern attention spans are used to. That’s why I love this book. The readers in this book love (and I mean love) Jane Austen. You get to know a bit about each of her novels as the book club reads through them, but only enough to get you interested because you’re so engrossed in what the characters are doing. It always leaves me wanting to pick up a Jane Austen novel. (I recommend Pride and Prejudice, but this lovely book recommends Sense and Sensibility – you decide.)

6. For Leslie Knope-wannabes: Yes Please

Amy Poehler’s memoir is not only funny and endearing, it makes you think. Amy fills it with stories that will keep you entertained, but she also talks about what it’s like to succeed as a woman in a man’s world, how to have an amazing female friendship and why it’s ultimately rewarding to follow your passion (even if it’s hard). A quality read for any budding feminist.

7. For sci-fi lovers, or someone who was obsessed with yesterday’s eclipse: The Martian

Honestly, from page one of this novel I was hooked. People who don’t usually even read sci-fi (and I can probably be counted among them, since I read it pretty rarely) love this book. I don’t know much about science, but from what I’ve heard, the science is actually pretty solid so people who do know something about it won’t roll their eyes as they read it. It’s a survival story too, so once you’re in it, you won’t want to put it down until you know how it ends.

8. For your friend who’s always hungry: The Omnivore’s Dilemma or I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

I was a little nervous to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma initially, but I was too intrigued not to. I loved that it really dug into where your food comes from and why quality is important. It wasn’t like a scary documentary, and it’s definitely not about giving up meat. Best of all, it’s written in a really approachable way, so you don’t slog through it like some other nonfiction books. So if you know someone who cares about what they eat and wants to learn more, this one’s for them.

On a slightly different part of the food spectrum, Giulia Melucci’s memoir pairs humorous bad relationship stories with delicious and comforting recipes that will have you wanting to run to the kitchen. It’s funny, uplifting, and there’s food. What more can I say?

9. For citizens of the world: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

This true story by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon follows young female entrepreneurs in war-torn Afghanistan. Lemmon helps to expand on what we usually see in the media, showing Muslim women as individuals, not necessarily beholden to the men in their lives. They are optimistic, savvy and resourceful. They are survivors. It’s nonfiction that reads like fiction, and it will leave you enlightened and inspired.

10. For anyone: Harry Potter

Now, this may be a bit presumptuous – I get that not everyone loves Harry Potter, but I do think that it’s a series everyone should read (or at least try). If there are hesitant adults out there, find a kid in your life and read it with them. The quality time is unbeatable, and hopefully it will spark a love of reading and imagination in them too. JK Rowling’s books are not only entertaining, they’re insightful and full of lessons to be learned. If nothing else, there’s this: reading Harry Potter actually makes you a better person, so get on it. 🙂

I hope this list inspires you to share some wonderful books with budding readers out there, or even to create your own so you can wholeheartedly recommend amazing books you’ve read to others!

Until next time…

of interest

Top Ten Tuesday – Best Books You’ve Read in 2017 So Far

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, and it’s my first time participating in a Top 10 Tuesday list, which I’m super excited about. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I only plan to participate once or twice a month, due to other scheduled meme posts, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here. Now let’s get to it!

These are in no particular order except that the first one was my absolute favorite:

One. Small Great Things 

This has been my only 5-star book so far this year, and while I’ve really enjoyed others, I loved loved loved this one. I have also recommended it like a million times. It’s a tough read, but it’s worth it – one that gets you thinking and provides a great jumping off point for discussion and future learning.

Speaking of which, this article was brought to my attention by Tanya from A Mindful Migration. I found it so interesting. If you’ve read the book, definitely check it out. If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll get something out of it too. 🙂

Recipe Pairing: Trio of Bite-Size Appetizers

 

Two. Dark Matter

This fast-paced sci-fi book is another one that will get you thinking. Both Scott and I loved it, so it definitely has broad appeal! Recipe Pairing: Spanish Bean Stew with Chorizo

 

Three. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Ah, Lillian! This BOTM pick was one of the first books I read this year, and it was a lovely way to start 2017. I hope to be as vibrant and open-minded at the age of 85 as Lillian. Recipe Pairing: Oreo Cheesecake

 

Four. The Boston Girl 

This book was happy and hopeful, even though the lives of the characters were not at all easy. The first person narration drew me right in, and the simple, heartfelt story kept me interested through the end. Recipe Pairing: Chinese Fried Rice

 

Five. The Handmaid’s Tale

This book is a classic, and everyone should read it if they haven’t. I read it once a few years ago and liked it, but when I read it again this year, I loved it. So relevant right now. Recipe Pairing: Strawberry Pie

 

Six. The Royal We

Mostly this was a fun read, and I haven’t had a lot of those lately. It makes every girl think maybe one day they could be a princess. Recipe Pairing: Tea Sandwiches

 

Seven. Becoming Nicole/This is How It Always Is

I’ve read two books this year revolving around transgender children. Both were profound, and though the subject matter was similar, the stories were each unique. Both are very relevant today and are bound to lead to excellent discussions. This Is How It Always Is Recipe Pairing: Still deciding…any suggestions?

 

Eight. Lilac Girls

Set in WWII, this novel revolved around three characters following very different paths, all interesting in their own way. I’m always drawn to stories about this time period, and I couldn’t put this book down. Recipe Pairing: Poppyseed Cake (stay tuned!)

 

Nine. The Sisters Chase

Another BOTM selection, I started reading this book with high expectations, which it mostly lived up to. The twist towards the end made me want to go back and start reading it all over again. Recipe Pairing: Powdered Donuts (stay tuned!)

 

Ten. Kitchen House

Phew! I’ve been reading a lot of difficult novels this year. Another one for that list, this novel really blew me away with it’s intricate story and character development. Recipe Pairing: Cracklin’ Cornbread

 

Bonus. Beartown 

I don’t know if this truly belongs in my Top 10. I know everyone loves it, which is maybe why I’m on the fence. So much hockey, so much heartache. There’s no denying it was good, so it might be worth a second read down the road. Recipe Pairing: Almond Bear Claws (stay tuned!)