Reading, Reviews, Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Beach Reads

Is there any felicity on earth that compares to reading a great book on a quiet beach? No. There is not.

I’m linking up to the Top Ten Tuesday meme over at thebrokeandthebookish.com to share my five favorite beach reads from the past and the five books I’ll be reading this summer. What’s even better is I’m also including the five books you must read with your kids at the beach! Fifteen for the price of ten! Hang on to your sunhats.

Favorite Past Beach Reads

  1. The Pilot’s Wife – Shreve is like Piccoult: she may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but read at least one of her books. Her writing is beautiful.
  2. Jacob Have I Loved – YA that you’ll never leave behind
  3. The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans – I think this will be considered a classic in fifty years. (more about this book here!)
  4. What Alice Forgot – Light hearted, yet thought provoking.
  5. Orphan Train – A great piece of historical fiction!

Bonus: If you have not read these, these two off my Favorite Books List are best by the beach!

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  2. Anne’s House of Dreams

What I plan to read this summer:

(though probably not on the beach—I have three kids 7 and under…reading on the beach is a thing of the past and the future, but not the present).

  1. The Forgotten Room – Karen White is best read by the ocean! I especially loved Long Time Gone
  2. Everyone Brave is Forgiven – The book of the year, apparently! It’s often compared to All the Light We Cannot See.
  3. At the Edge of SummerAt the Edge of Summer – A new book by the author of Letters from Skye.
  4. Birds of a Feather – I read the first Maise Dobbs book a while ago, and it’s high time I moved on with this fabulous series.
  5. Deerbrook – An old book I’ve never heard of til recently! It’s compared to works by Gaskell and the Brontes, so sign me up! Also, it’s available for free on Project Gutenberg.

 

Great beach reads for you and your kids!

  1. The Maggie B. – I am in love with this book.
  2. Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat – Great for little boys!
  3. Amy's EyesAmy’s Eyes – I read this chapter book in an old beach house when I was 10 or so and thought it was awesome.
  4. The Nickelplated Beauty – Such a good book about a family who lives near the sea, their rusty stove, and their love for their mama.
  5. The Golden Venture – Out of print, but an absolute treasure. I checked it out repeatedly in the library as a kid. It’s about a girl who stows away to follow her dad to the California Gold Rush and ends up living in San Francisco.

I think I could go on forever! Beach reading is absolutely the best. I’m looking forward to a great summer of books and beaches. Share your favorite beach reads for you or for children!

[Side note: My brain is already on vacation. Seriously, it thinks it’s lounging on a beach chair sipping lemonade in a tropical oasis. The only problem with this is, it’s totally not true. We are not done with school yet (two more days), we are still in the middle of a million house projects, and life is very busy. I am trying my hardest to focus and get motivated to get stuff done, but my brain is saying, “Sorry. I’m done. DONE.” And my body is not far behind it. I’m tired, and it’s a weird tired. An “I’ve been sitting by the pool for three hours and can’t will myself to move” kind of tired. Except I have most certainly not been sitting by the pool. I’ve been staring at unfolded laundry and stirring macaroni and cheese. Hence the quiet on the blog. I can’t think an original thought, even though I’m off Facebook, so hang tight…something will come to me eventually. But maybe not til the rest of me joins my brain at the beach.]

Reading, Top Ten Tuesday

Spring To Be Read – A Top Ten Tuesday List

It’s been eons since I’ve joined in on a Top Ten Tuesday link up, but I’m back at it today because I’m excited about several books coming out this Spring! For more ideas on what to read this Spring, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and explore what others are reading!

~My list~

  1. The Summer Before the War, Helen Simonson

The Summer Before the WarAfter reading Simonson’s first book, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, I knew she was just the kind of author I like. Her new book follows a small town’s and a few of its inhabitants as the WWI looms over and then burst into their lives. I think Simonson will do a great job of capturing the setting and the characters, just as she did in Major Pettigrew, and I can’t wait to find out how her first attempt at  historical fiction turns out.

2. The Song of Hartgrove Hall, Natasha Solomons

I immediately put this on my TBR list after reading The Captive Reader’s early review of it. Natasha Solomon’s  The House at Tyneford was something of a Jane Eyre tale set in WWII, and it was beautifully written.  Now Solomons is in that same time period with her book The Song of Hartgrove Hall. In the UK, its title is The Song Collector, and I wish the publishers would have kept that title here in the States! It sounds like the title of a poem. But I’ll settle with the U.S. version and try to enjoy it anyway. =)

3. Keep Me Posted, by Lisa Beazley

Keep Me PostedSisters reconnecting through old fashioned letters in the modern age of social media? Sounds like a great read! I can think of all kinds of themes this book could explore, but I’ll have to wait til April 15 to find out what this book is really like. (Thanks to Memories From Books for alerting me to this new title!)

4. The Flood Girls, Richard Fifield

Set in Montana, The Flood Girls follows the coming home story of Rachel Flood as she tries to re-forge ties with her mother and slide back into the hilarious and quirky small town of Quinn. The Flood Girls is being compared to A League of Their Own and Russo’s Empire Falls — that’s enough for me to put it on my library hold list and give it a try!

5. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly

Another title with “girls” in it, but a completely different kind of book, Lilac Girls is based on the true story of Caroline Ferriday, an American woman whose post in the French consulate in 1939 led her into the fray of WWII and the pursuit for justice for two other women, German doctor Herta Oberheuser and polish girl Kasia Kuzmerick. This book tells the story of some unsung heroes of the era, and I’m looking forward to it!

6. Present Over PerfectShauna Niequist

I love Niequist’s books – she paints pictures with her words while lending perspective on embracing the beauty of this life while loving well and following hard after God. Bread and Wine gave me a better perspective on feeding my family and friends and even taught me a few things about cooking. Present Over Perfect doesn’t release til August, but I’m hoping to get an early copy. Fingers crossed!

7. Longing For Paris, Sarah Mae

Longing for Paris: One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure--Right Where She IsAs a mom, it’s easy to feel like all you do is give everyone in your family what they need while ignoring the dreams that have been building inside of your for a lifetime. Sarah Mae gets this. She wrote Desperate from that place (one of my favorite books, by the way!), and now her new book is another exploration into finding hope in current situations. She has always wanted to spend time in Paris, but she’s never come close to that. Her book is about how all of us have ideals of places or positions that we think will truly fulfill us, but the art of living wholly here and finding joy right where we are is a worthy pursuit in this phase of life. I’ve got this one on my Kindle, just waiting for me to be brave enough to see what it’s all about.

8. High Rising, Angela Thirkell

I have not yet read anything by Angela Thirkell, but she is always mentioned in the same set as some of my favorite British authors, D.E. Stevenson and Barbara Pym, so I’m making it my goal to finally read High Rising this spring.

9. Last Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Pena

Winner of the 2016 Newberry Medal, this is one to go along with my Three Book Thursday series on children’s books. Stay tuned!

10. Many other books I have not discovered yet!

My reading lists are always fluid. I will stop reading some of these books I’ve listed today, or I will find other books that look better…but it’s always good to have goals and my goodreads.com to read list is always growing, despite how many books I check off!

Have a wonderful Spring full of books and outdoor reading, with lots of running around in the warm weather mixed in!

Reading, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Best and Worst Book Worlds

Today’s Top  Ten Tuesday theme was one I couldn’t resist: book worlds where you’re glad not to live. But I’m going to tweak it a little and do five places where I’m glad I don’t live and five book places I would like to live. If you think this topic is as much fun as I do, check out The Broke and the Bookish blog. The ladies there host this meme every week and have lots of great bloggers chime in on all kinds of book topics.

So here goes!

Worst Book Worlds: Or, Books Worlds Where I I Don’t Want To Live

1. The United States featured in The Hunger Games. Yikes.

2. Charles Dickens’s London. The coal, the fog, the rain, the damp, the poor….eesh. When I read The Old Curiosity Shop, I cheered internally when Nell and her grandfather leave London to go to the country. And then there’s the danger of being put in the Debtor’s Prison, like Little Dorrit’s family. Talk about hopelessness.

3. The United States in Matched. I still haven’t read the third book in The Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. If you’re unfamiliar with it, basically everything is decided for your in life by The Society: your spouse, your vocation, your house, your food, everything. And that’s really all you need to know about why I don’t want to live there.

4. Life After Life‘s setting: a world where you can keep on living alternate versions of your life. This book gave me waking nightmares. Very vividly written and thought provoking, but not a read I enjoyed!

5. C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy worlds. Basically, anything that includes science fiction is somewhere I do not want to be. I like normal life. The ability to travel to other planets is nice to read about, but man am I grateful not to live there when I’m done reading!

Best Book Worlds: Or, Books Worlds Where I Want To Live

1. C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. For those of you who have only read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, you won’t get this one. Or maybe you will, if you can get past the beginning when it’s a perpetually frozen iceland. Like Bree in The Horse and His Boy, if I lived anywhere else but Narnia in the world of these books (say, Calormene), I would be high tailing it to Narnia. I want to see a Dryad, talk to a Beaver, dance with a Faun, all of it.

2. Tolkein’s Rivendell. Or anywhere but Mordor. Actually, I’d probably just like to visit Rohan, but not live there. I’m not exactly keen on horses.

3. Green Gables. Sigh. Green Gables.jpg

4. Guernsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. After the German occupation, of course. Living on an island that’s not too far from the mainland sounds great.

5. Hogwarts. But just for a visit. =)

 

Reading, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Forced Literature

I’m not sure if I should make a list of books I’m glad I was forced to read or if it should be books I wish I hadn’t been forced to read…either way, today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic by The Broke and the Bookish is all about books you read that you didn’t choose for yourself. My list is going to be a mix of books I did and didn’t like.

1. Bonhoeffer — This is one of those books that many of the intellectual people I knew were reading so I thought I’d better read it if I was going to keep up with them. Silly, I know. Though I felt a little bit like a fish out of water with such a huge biography, it was a great book. And Eric Metaxes looks great on my “have read” list.

2. Man’s Search For Meaning — I would never have picked this book to read. It was horrific in many ways, because what Nazi prison camp memoir isn’t? It’s a great philosophical read, though.

Madame Bovary3. Madame Bovary — I really hated this book, but I had to read it for World Lit in college. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even if it is a world famous classic. Yes, it’s an amazing piece of writing and very insightful, but I have no love for that Madame.

4. Seeds of Change — Another college class book. In my senior year I needed two more History classes to get a minor in History, so I thought, why not? I took The History of the British Empire, taught by an overzealous visiting professor. One of the hardest classes ever. And this is one of my least favorite books ever. But definitely check it out if you’re interested in how timber was a crucial commodity to England and a main reason for colonizing the New World.

5. The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Boy, did I roll my eyes at this one when mom said I had to read it for school. I don’t know why I thought that it wouldn’t be applicable to me, but now I would like to have the time to read it again.

6. The Hunger Games — My friend forced me to read this book. It turned out okay. 😉

7. The Count of Monte Cristo — My husband told me I should read this one, and it was awesome.

The Icarus Hunt8. The Icarus Hunt — My one venture into Star Wars literature. I was laid up after knee surgery and my then boyfriend (now husband) gave me a book he had enjoyed. So of course I’m going to read it! And though I will probably never read another Zahn book again, it was a good venture into that realm of books.

9. The Great Gatsby — I liked this book very well the first time I was required to read it in high school. And then we deconstructed it, reconstructed it, examined every symbol that probably wasn’t really a symbol, and on and on in college. I read it at least 10 times in one semester. I still think of it as one of the greatest pieces of literature of all time, but I’ll never enjoy it as a good read again.

10. Jane Eyre — I love it when required reading turns into a favorite list. This is another one I read more than once in college (three times, I think?), but I still love reading it now. On a side note, one of the craziest things about Jane Eyre is almost every movie I’ve seen is fairly accurate, even though they’re all so different. I didn’t realize it was so open to interpretation! There are varying degrees of Gothic themes in the movies based on the book that I’ve seen.

All in all, I’m usually glad to have read a book that I didn’t choose for myself, though I don’t always enjoy the actual reading of  it while I’m in the middle. Let’s just state once and for all that no book I recommend should be considered required reading! This is a no guilt zone. =)

Have you read books you didn’t want to read that turned out great? Or terrible?

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