Top 5 Wednesday – Books I Want to Re-Read!

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It’s time for Top 5 Wednesday! This week’s topic: Books I Want to Re-Read!

These are five books I absolutely loved! I finished these and immediately told friends and family members to read them. I’d like to re-read these one day to see if I’d have the same reaction the second time around.

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Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I count this as one of the best books I’ve ever read. I had a emotional reaction to this book that I rarely have. Blurb:

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

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The Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers: This book is amazing! I loved every second of reading it! Premise:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt: This book made me want to visit Savannah. I immediately recommended this book to my mom and she didn’t like it nearly as much. I thought it was fantastic.

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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris: I’ve read most of Sedaris’ books and this is my favorite. I’ve also heard a him read a few stories on NPR and watched him read live. I think he’s hilarious.

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Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer: I managed to get a signed copy of this when I was working at Borders. I couldn’t get into the first time around but picked it up maybe a year or so later and loved everything about it. Description:

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man — also named Jonathan Safran Foer — sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

I have so many books on my to-read list that I rarely re-read books but I know I’ll eventually get around to the 5 listed above.

What books do you want to re-read?

Top Ten Tuesday – Movie Freebie!

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is not book related, but should still be fun – Movie Freebie! With the weather getting colder and December only a few weeks away (yikes), I’m going with Top Ten Movies I Watch Each Winter.

Now, some of these wouldn’t necessarily make a film critic’s greatest-of-all-time list but I still love them!

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Harry Potter – Because the year just doesn’t feel complete with out a HP marathon!

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Little Women – I love this one! Now if I can just convince my husband to watch it with me.

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Die Hard – It’s technically a Christmas movie, right?

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Star Wars – A Star Wars marathon is great on a snow day.

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The Holiday – This is total fluff and I love it.

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Anne of Green Gables – I must watch this every winter. No matter what.

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A Christmas Story – Tradition.

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Elf – I love Elf! It cracks me up. My neighbors have a huge Buddy cutout they put up every year that is awesome. They also have a HUGE blowup Stay Puft marshmallow man they put out during Halloween. Basically, they have amazing taste in holiday decor.

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Home Alone – A classic.

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Love, Actually – I have a very serious love of this movie. My favorite story line is probably the Colin Firth one but they are all great.

Do you re-watch movies during the winter months? What are some of your favorites?

Songs Inspired by Literature

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Friend: “There are a lot of songs about Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
Me: “Huh?”
Friend: “The book. George Orwell.”
Me: “Okay…”

Thus began a Google search, which turned into a ridiculous amount of time spent on You Tube listing to songs inspired by books. There are, in fact, a lot of songs inspired by Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four; several by David Bowie (1984 and Big Brother, for example.)

Here is a small list of other songs inspired by literature:

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If I Die Young by The Band Perry was inspired by The Lady of Shallot by Lord Tennyson – You’ve probably heard this song on the radio. The band’s lead singer, Kimberly Perry, said in an interview that she read this poem multiple times before writing the tune. I only know this poem because of Anne of Green Gables, I’m not gonna lie.

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Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons includes lines from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing including “Serve God, love me, and mend,” “For man is a giddy thing,” and, of course, “Sigh no more.”

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Off to the Races by Lana Del Ray references Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov including the line “Light of your life, fire of your loins.”

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Jamaica Inn by Tori Amos is clearly inspired by the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name. A good book, by the way, if you like du Maurier’s other stories like Rebecca and The Birds!

There are so many other songs inspired by literature as well. What are some of your favorite songs inspired by a novel, play, poem, etc.?

October 2016 Reading Recap

Happy Halloween! I’m officially one book away from completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 30 books this year (yay!) This month I read:

passenger

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz: I really like Lutz’s Spellman series so I gave this a try. It is a totally different type of book (the Spellman books are really funny while this much darker in tone.) I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love the ending. I also found myself more interested in one of the secondary characters than the main character.

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: This was not my favorite. The premise sounded really interesting:

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

I was drawn in at the beginning but by the time I reached the middle of the book, every single character was annoying me. Also, the ending was just unnecessary to me. So I wouldn’t recommend this one.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve finally read a Rainbow Rowell book! I see what all the fuss is about – I really liked this book! Here is a blurb:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Out of the three, I definitely had the most fun reading Fangirl! Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

toptentuesday

Time for Top Ten Tuesday! This week is a Halloween related freebie so I’m going with my top ten books to read before/during Halloween! These are books I found to be eerie, suspenseful, dark, and/or just plain scary!

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Jamaica Inn (honorable mention to Rebecca!) – I really like Daphne du Maurier’s books and Jamaica Inn is one of my favorites.

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The Shining – I  read this because I was too scared to watch the movie and thought the book wouldn’t freak me out as much. I was wrong.

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NOS4A2 – The author of this bookhappens to be the son of Stephen King. This works well as a Halloween or Christmas read (if you like being terrified at Christmas.) Here is the blurb:

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

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Winter People – I’ve mentioned this one in the past so I won’t say too much on this other than than it was creepy. Definitely a good Halloween pick.

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Dracula – Of course!

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More Than You Know – I’ve mentioned this as well in the past so I’ll just say it’s a ghost story, a quick read, and I really enjoyed it.

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Emerson Hills – You can check out my author interview with Nicole here. Definitely a Halloween-appropriate book if you are looking for an indie author to check out.

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Devil in the White City – This is such a great book. This is a true story of the 1893 World’s Fair as well as a serial killer that used the fair to lure his victims. This book is incredibly interesting.

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Gone Girl or Sharp Objects or Dark Places – Obviously Gone Girl is the most popular but Sharp Objects and Dark Places are darker in tone, I think.

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In the Blood – Ugh. This book was keeping me up at night. The kid in this is just…no.

Do you like scary books? What are some of your favorites?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After!

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is fun – Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet after! [You can also do child, car, etc.]

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Addy (American Girls) – When I was a kid I loved the American Girl dolls. I had the Samantha doll and read the books for each girl that was out at the time. I named one of my cats Addy, after Addy Walker.

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Watson (Sherlock Holmes) – I feel like this would be a good name for a cat. Preferably one those cute ones with a smushed face.

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Finn (Huckleberry Finn) – Not much to say here, I just like the name.

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Milo (Catch-22) – A perfect name for a dog, if you ask me.

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Frankie (Frankenstein) – I had a cat named Frankie. The original owners named him Frankenstein because he had a white lighting bolt-looking patch of hair down the center of his face. He was adorable.

darcy

Darcy (Pride & Prejudice) – I think this could work for a male or female pet.

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Daisy (The Great Gatsby) – I have a little shih-poo (half miniature poodle, half shih-tzu) named Daisy. I’ve always liked the name, I think it’s sweet.

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Jo (Little Women) – When I got my cat Addy, I also got her sister, Josie. I was inspired by Josephine March in Little Women when I picked the name.

blanche

Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire) – Plus it would remind you of the Golden Girls, and that’s fun.Stella also works (probably a little better.)

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Blue (The Passenger) – I’m picturing a dog with this name but it could work for anything, really.

I can’t wait to read your lists! Feel free to posts links in the comments below 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Books Read Because of a Recommendation!

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: Books You Read Because of a Recommendation! The following books were recommended to me by friends and family – some I enjoyed, others…not so much.

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The Weight of Blood: This is a murder mystery/psychological thriller that takes place in the Ozarks. This was recommended by a friend who has similar taste in books and movies. I really enjoyed this book. It’s not a pleasant story but it’s well written and held my interest from start to finish.

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50 Shades of Grey: I had multiple friends and family reading this (and enjoying it) so I finally gave in and got the book. This was probably some of the worst writing in a published book I’ve ever read. I do not get why people love this. Well, I mean I get it but…no.

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The Hunger Games: This was recommended by a classmate. I saw her reading it before class one day and thought the title was interesting. I asked her about it (having never actually spoken to her before), and she raved about it. I bought it the next day and thought it was great!

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The Martian: This was recommended (and loaned to me) by a coworker/friend. We also went to see the movie together when it came out! Great book and a great movie.

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A Walk to Remember: I have a family member that is obsessed with Nicholas Sparks. When I casually mentioned I hadn’t read any of his books, she suggested I start with this one, her favorite. I didn’t become a Sparks super fan but it was better than I expected it to be.

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Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx: This was recommended to me by a high school teacher (he gave me his personal copy, now that I think of it.) It’s a true story and I could not put it down.

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My Sister’s Keeper: This was recommended by a cousin, who happens to be a big Jodi Piccult fan. I have mixed feelings about this book. I didn’t particularly care for the ending (at all) but it did tackle a difficult subject and raised some interesting questions. I don’t think I would recommend it to others though, just because I was so annoyed at the end.

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Marley & Me: This was recommended by my mom. I’ll start by saying I don’t like books or movies about animals because I usually end up crying. That being said, I really enjoyed this and it made me laugh out loud numerous times. And yes, I still wound up crying.

Shiver

Shiver: This was recommended by a friend and fellow fan of YA. She pitched it to me as “like Twilight but better.” I didn’t really care for it but I’ve read some really good reviews of other books by this author so I will give her books another try.

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Shutter Island: This was a recommendation by the same friend as mentioned above. I read it just before the movie came out. Since then I’ve read seven other Dennis Lehane books and plan on reading Mystic River in 2017.

Do you read books recommended by friends or do you prefer to pick them on your own?