Stuff and Nonsense: top ten tuesday

Showing posts with label top ten tuesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label top ten tuesday. Show all posts


Top 10 Tuesday: On a Whim

Two Top Ten Tuesdays in a row? Am I getting back in the saddle? Probably not, but this week’s theme -- “Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim” -- seemed awfully timely as I’ve been selecting most of my reads based on whim. Some really random stuff coming into my house, lately, selected mostly on the strength of their covers. Will I read them all? Honestly, no.

  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate by Susan Calman
  • The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
  • The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
  • Detective Inspector Huss by Helene Tursten
  • Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema, 1908-1934 by Laura Horak

  • The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel
  • Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman w/ trans by Henning Koch
  • The Story of Mrs. Lovewright and Purrless Her Cat by Lore Segal w/ illus by Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle


Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Webcomics I Love

It’s been a rather long time since I participated in Top Ten Tuesday, but this week’s topic -- “Ten Websites I Love That Aren't About Books” -- caught my eye. I’ve gone with web comics I love and want you to love, too. Where possible I’ve noted how long the webcomic has been running to make it easier for you to guesstimate how much time you might need to to set aside to do a weekend blitzread.

Agents of the Realm by Mildred Louis. “Shortly after starting their first year at Silvermount University, five young women discover they've each been chosen to protect our world and its newly discovered sister dimension. Volume 1 begins at the start of their first year of college as they learn about this new responsibility and try to find out exactly what’s going on.” Running since March 2014. Louis ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Agents of the Realm, Volume 1 earlier this year.

Ava’s Demon by Michelle Czajkowski. Set on distant planets far into the future, Ava’s Demon follows the adventures of a 15 year old girl named Ava Ire who has the misfortune of being haunted by a demon who takes great joy in making Ava's life as miserable as possible. Running since May 2012.

Bad Machinery by John Allison. “Bad Machinery consists of cases running around 100 pages, where six child, then teen, detectives solve mysteries. Each case takes place over a school term. The kids were 11 when the comic started, and are now nearly 16 - the tenor of comic seems to change a little with each passing term.” Bad Machinery has run since 2009, but is currently on hiatus. John Allison is also the author of the popular new(ish) print comic, Giant Days.

Blindsprings by Kadi Fedoruk. “A lost princess named Tamaura survives a revolution by making a deal with the Spirits of the forest. Pledged to them for three hundred years, the princess is about to fulfill her pact when a young man finds her and decides for himself that she is meant to be saved, whether she likes it or not. His ‘rescue’ pulls Tamaura out of her timeless sanctuary and into a world that advanced hundreds of years without her...where a civil war is brewing over the same magic that flows through her veins.” Running since October 2013. Fedoruk just completed an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign for Blindsprings: Volume 1.

Cut Time by Judy. “Cut Time is a fantasy adventure comic about Rel, a tiny nomadic protagonist who carries a bird on her head. The comic will span her journey past and present, including her relationships with her friends and enemies. It focuses on the character interactions to tell the overarching plot, but there’s going to be action, too!” Running since October 2013.

Daughter of the Lilies by Meg Syverud. “What happens when a man who kills monsters falls in love with a girl who thinks she is one? Brent, a brutish, freelancing adventurer, realizes that he's fallen for his coworker, Thistle: a shy, talented Mage who considers herself a monster, and who is relentlessly pursued by a tyrannical dictator.” Running since October 2013.

Far to the North by Allison Gregory. “Check back every Sunday and Wednesday to see Kelu run, see Kelu jump, and see Kelu save her captive family (with maybe a little help from a scaly, fire-breathing neighbor or two.)” Running since February 2015.

Love Not Found by Gina Biggs. “Love Not Found is a story about a young woman living in a time where touching has become outdated. She has recently moved to a new planet and finds that touching might not be such a bad idea. Now she is on a quest to find someone who wants to do things the old fashioned way!” Running since June 2014.

Oglaf by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne. “This comic started as an attempt to make pornography. It degenerated into sex comedy pretty much immediately. Even so, there are some things depicted that are best kept away from children and work.” NSFW.

Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen. “From toys to workshops to birth control and much more, no stone will be left unturned, no vibrator left unused, no nipple left unpinched. With the aid of guest reviewers, this comic will cover products for ALL the different anatomies people possess, from vulvas to penises and beyond. OJST strives to be relevant to all different genders, body types, and sexualities.” NSFW. Running since April 2013. Moen is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of Oh Joy Sex Toy, Volume 3. Hooray.


Top 10 Tuesday: Most Recently Added TBR

Inspired by Jamie's New to the Queue posts at The Perpetual Page-Turner, this week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books we have most recently heaped upon our already teetering TBR piles.

  • Among Others by Jo Walton. A Welsh science fiction novel reading protagonist with an absent magic-working mother and dead twin is sent to boarding school in magicless England by her distant father and starts mucking around with magic. It ticks nearly all the boxes needed to make it a book I can’t not add to my TBR.
  • Bitsy’s Bait & BBQ by Pamela Morsi. Two sisters sink all their money into purchasing a twee bed-and-breakfast down in the Ozarks … except it turns out “b & b” stands for “bait and barbecue.” Run-down, roadside rattletrap bait and barbecue. I was looking for something quirky and fun and Bitsy’s Bait & BBQ looks like it fits the bill.
  • Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield. Japanese-American mother and daughter are sent to the Manzanar concentration camp in the weeks following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Unsurprisingly, they do not have a good time. Garden of Stones seems like a timely read and is sure to leave me tearful and angry, yet at the same time I know it will be a good story, because Sophie Littlefield knows how to write.
  • The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman. The gay, lesbian, and trans rights in the United States from the 1950s forward. Also a book likely to leave me tearful (and a little angry, because why must we struggle so long?), but I adored Faderman’s Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers and Surpassing the Love of Men so how could I pass this book by?
  • Goddess by Kelly Gardiner. Based on a true story of Julie d'Aubigny, swordswoman, opera star, lover of men and women ... destined to die alone in a convent in her tender 30s ...

  • Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale. I enjoyed Hale’s love letter to Jane Austen, Austenland, when I read it way back when … so much so that I borrowed the film adaptation from my library when I stumbled open it last week. While the film was merely meh, it did inspire me to check out Midnight in Austenland.
  • Owl by William Service. I discovered Owl -- the true story of a family who takes an orphaned fledgling screech owl into their home in the 1960s -- after I’d finished reading Martin Windrow’s The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar and it sounds charming.
  • Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye. Bill. Nye.
  • The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen. A young woman falls in love with a handsome and wealthy young man, who gets her pregnant and then skives of. Feeling it his duty, his brother marries her ... I can’t decide if the story is thoroughly ridiculous or just promising a good time.
  • Recipes for Love & Murder by Sally Andrew. South African recipe and advice columnist, with the help of an ambitious young investigative journalist, looks into the murder of one of her readers. Although the book deals heavily with abuse (and, obviously, murder) Kirkus tells me it is “a delightful debut, tender and funny” so I’m taking the risk.


Top 10 Tuesday: 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

Another Top Ten Tuesday and we're talking about the 2015 releases that got away -- the books we really meant to read, but somehow didn't get around to. At one time or another, I've checked out or downloaded each of these books from the library and then returned them unread. I wanted to read these books. I was excited about these books. But I could never bring myself to read them. Never the right time or mood or phase of the moon.

  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

  • Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik


Top 10 Tuesday: Resolutions

It’s the first Top Ten Tuesday of 2016! The best (or worst?) time to set goals and make resolutions. A mix of bookish and personal resolutions this year.

  • Catch up on the reviews I've been meaning to write. So many read-but-unreturned library books piled up, because I haven’t written about them yet.
  • Listen to more audiobooks.
  • More art. Whether it’s watching documentaries, reading art books, or actually going to museums/galleries, I would like to get more art in my life. It makes the world more interesting and, weirdly, I feel better when I experience art regularly.
  • Get outside more. Even if it’s just reading on the porch.
  • Never ever, ever sign up for another reading challenge. They’re all just giant DNFs and I end up feeling so ridiculously guilty and yet I keep signing up for them even after I've told myself I shouldn't.
  • Schedule time to read. Otherwise everything else eats away at the time until I feel I'm snatching fifteen minutes here or there or burning sleep.
  • Stop staying up until 2 am (or later) reading. I’m too old for that! And Red Bull is not the answer.
  • Engage in literary tourism. Edith Wharton’s The Mount is only 90 minutes away. Ditto Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Steepletop and the Emily Dickinson Museum.
  • Never ever, ever sign up for another reading challenge. For realsies. Just. Don't.

There are only nine?! I swear there were ten before! Fine. Ten: get better at math.


Top 10 Tuesday: Exciting New Novels Jan-June 2016

It's another Top Ten Tuesday! Huzzah! This week we're talking about the ten new books we most look forward to reading in the first half of 2016. That's January through June, you know, and it turns out two of the books I reallyREALLY want to read in 2016 -- Nisi Shawl's Everfair and Allie Brosh's Solutions and Other Problems -- aren't out until the second half! I shall just have to console myself with these ten as I count down the days ...


  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Two old acquaintances, trying to fix the world’s problems in completely opposite ways (science v. magic), are drawn together to either save the world ... or destroy it. Could be awesome. (Could be dreadful).
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. A book about books, bookshops, letters, and friendship. Of course I want to read this.


  • These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker. 1880s England. Evelyn travels to London to find her missing sister and falls in with a mysterious, if charming, young gentleman who is also looking for her sister ... and who claims Evelyn and her sister have secret powers.


  • The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester. 1912 London, suffragettes, corset fetishists, circus freaks, and a mysterious disappearance. Yes. Yes. YES.
  • Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. I’ve been told it’s a bit like Jane Eyre if Jane had been a (wholly justified) serial murderer. People on Goodreads seem to like it but ... well, I’ll see. I entertain high hopes.
  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. I loved Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and have been looking forward to The Summer Before the War for what feels like ages. Pretty female Latin professor arrives in Sussex during the summer of 1914. Yeah. WWI, educated female protagonist, English countryside ... it ticks most of the boxes.


  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. The interconnected lives of three women -- a New York socialite, a Polish teenager, and a German doctor -- during World War II. Based on the true story of Caroline Ferriday.
  • Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown. 1930 modern Jewish American girl has a one-time fling with a hot but inappropriate man and (surprise) gets pregnant. Meanwhile, her Yiddish-speaking mama who, after birthing and rearing five children yearns for a little freedom of her own, finds she’s pregnant, too.


  • Mer by Katie Schickel. Still grieving the “accidental” death of her sister two years ago, Jess gets by as a cook on a fishing boat ... until one day she is transformed into a mermaid and reborn a stronger, more confident, powerful Jess who must choose between land and sea.
  • Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley. In a 19th-century Victorian South African fantasy world, a steeplejack investigates the murder of her apprentice.


Top 10 Tuesday: Santa, Please Bring Me

It's Christmas time! Unsurprisingly, this week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books we wish Santa would leave under our tree this year.

Graphic novels I would love to receive, because they sound awesome (or I already know are awesome based on previous volumes in their series):

  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson w/ illus. by Brooke Allen
  • Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid w/ illus. by Terry Dodson
  • Thor, Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer by Jason Aaron w/ illus. Russell Dauterman
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel by Ryan North w/ illus. Erica Henderson

Novels I would love to receive:

  • The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Been told it’s a sweet and beautiful illustrated story about a Fox who goes searching for his missing Star. I love Bickford-Smith’s artwork and can’t wait to see what she’s created within the pages of The Fox and the Star.
  • A Taste of Nightshade by Martine Bailey. 1800s England, an isolated manor house, a young bride, a secretive husband, suspicious servants ... yum.
  • The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins VINTAGE CLASSICS EDITION because the cover is so delightfully atmospheric. Also, it’s Wilkie Collins so I expect a delicious blend of the mysterious, the spooooky, and the thrilling.

Nonfiction I would also love to receive (because information is power … or something like that, anyway):

  • New German Cooking: Recipes for Classics Revisited by Jeremy & Jessica Nolen. Come, let me feed you the food of (one of) my (many) people(s). Kartoffel-Gurkensalat! Pilzgulasch! Entensuppe!
  • The Everyday Rice Cooker: Soups, Sides, Grains, Mains, and More by Diane Phillips. I keep saying I’d like to do more with my rice cooker and the most adventurous I’ve been so far is to cook pearl barley in it …
  • The Calm Coloring Book, Flights Of Fancy, or Natural Wonders coloring books because COLORING BOOKS I HAVE MISSED YOU.


Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Best Graphics I Read in 2015

Another Top Ten Tuesday! As the year draws to its close, we consider the top ten best books we read in 2015. Because I've read too many books and it's hard to winnow them down to ten, I narrowed my list to "just" the best graphics (mostly) published in 2015. I've kind-of cheated by putting two volumes from the same series on my ten best list, but if you've read Rat Queens then you'll understand why it's impossible not to put both on the list ... and if you haven't read Rat Queens, then you need to get yourself to the library right now. And you might as well pick up the rest of my list while you're at it.

  • Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Lady Killer, Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones
  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
  • Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
  • Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

  • Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe
  • Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction
  • Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  • The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff

Wow. Put all those covers together and ... that's a lot of pink.


Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Debuts

Another Top Ten Tuesday! Hooray! We're talking about our most anticipated debut novels of 2016. New books by new authors. Fantastic!

  • Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti
  • Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
  • The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
  • Look at Me by Sarah Duguid

  • The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
  • Noah’s Wife by Lindsay Starck
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
  • Relief Map by Rosalie Knecht
  • The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Huh. That's a lot of blue ...


Top 10 Tuesday: Thankful

Since it's Thanksgiving this week (in the US, anyway), Top Ten Tuesday is all about thankfulness! Just so we're clear, mine is by no means an exhaustive list of things I'm thankful for. Some are obvious (tea!), some are relevant (books!), some are random (you'll see). But I'm thankful for all of them.

  1. I am thankful for books. I mean, obviously. There’s no book blog without books! But seriously I cannot imagine who I would be if I had not been introduced to books so early in life or what my life might be like, even now, without books in it.
  2. I am thankful for libraries -- most especially my library consortium and state-wide interlibrary loan system. Between the two, I can usually get just about any book my greedy bookish heart desires. This means I’m saving money! That I then spend at Amazon on the comic books and manga I can’t get through the library. The Husband would argue it’s no savings at all, but I’d argue he knows nothing about the economics of books.
  3. I am thankful for The Husband. How I got so lucky so early in adulthood, I’ll never know … especially as I was dead cert I’d never get married or, heaven help me, get sucked into some complicated intercontinental romance with a man. Silly me. He’s awesome -- kind, quirky, beautiful, brews a mean cup of tea, gives excellent hugs, and warms my soul.
  4. I am thankful for that pure thrill of pleasure that runs right through me when I see that a book I’ve really been anticipating has finally come out. The joy of it can carry me along for days.
  5. I am thankful for the quiet afternoons spent curled up with a cozy quilt, purring kitty, big “cuppa tay,” and a good book. I used to think such afternoons were pure decadence and that I should be doing “more important things,” but now I realize there’s times when nothing is more important.
  6. I am thankful for tea. Green. White. Herbal. Black. Hot. Cold. Even room temperature, half-forgotten, and possibly (probably) tainted by kitty whiskers. Thankful for it all. As the quote goes: “Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”
  7. I am thankful for my health. I know, considering all the things that have gone wrong happened lately, I might not be thankful for my health. However, while they’ve all been pretty discomforting and OHMYGODWHY, they could have been so much worse. (Yes, that’s right, universe. I’m tempting you to make my life Even.More.Eventful).
  8. I am thankful there are only 37 days left in 2015. Even though I know the year could have been so much worse, quite a lot of 2015 made me want to make rude gestures at the universe and the longer year’s gone on, the more I’ve want to pull the blankets over my head and pretend I’m just not here.
  9. I am thankful for the WQXR New York online streaming classical music wotsit. I can’t read to music, but I find I must write to it. Classical music works best and WQXR plays some great selections. I don’t know what it is, but music just gets my writerly juices flowing. Suddenly the book I’ve been avoiding talking about for two weeks becomes the things I must talk about today.
  10. I am thankful for audiobooks. There are books I’ve, time and time again, to read but ultimately had to set aside, because I simply could not find my way into them. But, with audiobooks, the most impenetrable text opens right up.


Top 10 Tuesday: Quotes

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a list of quotes I've loved from books I've read in the past year or so. I used to be a great scribbler of quotes -- had notebooks dedicated to the keeping of them -- but fell out of the habit well over a decade ago now. Wow, how did it get to be so long ago?

"Some people say we shouldn't give alms to the poor, Shirley."
"They are great fools for their pains. For those who are not hungry, it is easy to palaver about the degradation of charity, and so on: but they forget the brevity of life, as well as its bitterness. We have none of us long to live. Let us help each other through seasons of want and woe as well as we can, without heeding in the least the scruples of vain philosophy."
― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

"Doors are a classic example of that ‘I hate this – it’s fucking great!’ mantra that seems to be part of the permanent internal monologue of all cats. Cats hate doors for the opportunities doors deny them to do exactly what they please, but they love them in equal measure, due to the opportunities they present to make humans their sniveling slaves."
― Tom Cox, The Good, The Bad and The Furry

"I miss you," he whispers. It’s been six months since she died. But Ove still inspects the whole house twice a day to feel the radiators and check that she hasn’t sneakily turned up the heating.
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

"As Shakespeare says, if you're going to do a thing you might as well pop right at it and get it over."
― P.G. Wodehouse, Very Good, Jeeves!

"We often believe the truest measure of a relationship is the ability to lay ourselves bare. But there's something to be said for parading your plumage as well, finding truth as much in the silly as the severe."
― David Levithan, Two Boys Kissing

"I think love is caramel. Sweet and fragant; always welcome. It is the gentle golden colour of a setting harvest sun; the warmth of a squeezed embrace; the easy melting of two souls into one and a taste that lingers even when everything else has melted away. Once tasted it is never forgotten."
― Jenny Colgan, Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams

"She said that you always have to choose between the path of needles and the path of pins. When a dress is torn, you know, you can just pin it up, or you can take the time to sew it together. That's what it means. The quick and easy way or the painful way that works."
― Rosamund Hodge, Crimson Bound

"Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say "My tooth is aching" than to say "My heart is broken."
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

"I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep."
― Charlotte Brontë, Villette

"We sleepwalk through our lives, because how could we live if we were always this awake?"
― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men


Top 10 Tuesday: Books to Film

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about film adaptations we're looking forward to watching. I'm going to risk your censure here and confess that sometimes I don't read the book before I watch the movie and I don't automatically think all film adaptations are inferior to their literary parent. So there goes all my bookish street cred!

Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

The Jungle Book (2016)

Lady Chatterley's Lover (2015 BBC series)

Madame Bovary (2015)

Partners In Crime (2015 BBC series based on Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence characters)

Poldark (2015 BBC series)

Carol (The Price of Salt)

A Walk the Woods

I'm also looking forward to watching MaddAddam (TBA HBO series adaptation of Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam) and A Monster Calls (probably out sometime in 2016).


Top 10 Tuesday: Haunted Houses

Halloween is almost here! Naturally, this week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about the spoooooky and strange! I focused on haunted houses for my list, because a well-written haunting can genuinely creep me out. While I do not at all accept that hauntings exist in the real world (because Science), I still delight in the fiction of them.

  • The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
  • The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
  • An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman
  • Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
  • The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
  • Starter House by Sonja Condit
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill


Top 10 Tuesday: Dear Book Genie ...

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, we've been granted ten wishes by the Book Genie. Supposedly, "if you dream it, the Book Genie can do it" but I've kept my wishes (kinda-sorta) realistic as my almost-forty sensible self is pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy that castle in Narnia or visit to the Dyson Sphere that is the Radch as much as my fangirl self thinks I would!

  • Dear Book Genie, please give me a secret, tax-free and unlimited supply of cash that I may spend on books and book-related things so that The Husband may no longer make sarcastic comments about how many books I've charged to our credit card this week/month/year.
  • Dear Book Genie, please make reading a heart-healthy exercise that also burns as many calories as, say, running and improves my vision, hearing, and general coordination.
  • Dear Book Genie, please grant me a side pocket in time that I could casually pop into whenever I wanted to catch up on my reading, without actually losing any time in this current timeline.
  • Dear Book Genie, please make all books waterproof (while still feeling completely normal to the touch) so I may take them into the bath or pool without being vaguely worried I'll ruin them.
  • Dear Book Genie, please open an independent bookstore in my city that sells the kinds of books I enjoy, has hours that are convenient to me, and will never go out of business for as a long as I continue to reside here.
  • Dear Book Genie, please organize my books in such a way that I can always find the book I'm looking for even when I don't know what book that is.
  • Dear Book Genie, please stop publishers from changing jacket designs or book formats in the middle of a series, because those of us who love our shelves to be all matchy-matchy get really upset.
  • Dear Book Genie, similarly to the above, please don't let audio book publishers switch readers in the middle of a series.
  • Dear Book Genie, I'm sorry to keep going on about series, but please don't let an author die before their series is complete and published.
  • Dear Book Genie, please convince my mother-in-law (and all similarly-minded people) that graphic novels are real books.


Top 10 Tuesday: Fall TBR

It's Top Ten Tuesday and autumn starts tomorrow, so you know what that means! It's time for another seasonal TBR post! So here's my Fall 2015 TBR. But, as you know, I don't always usually ever stick to my TBR ...

  • Dragon Heart by Cecelia Holland (carried over from Spring 2015 TBR)
  • Mother Russia by Jeff McComsey, November 18
  • The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (carried over from Winter 2015 TBR)
  • The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird by Tom Michell, October 27
  • Snapshots of a Girl by Beldan Sezen. First English language release, October 13
  • Spider­Gwen, Vol. 1, Most Wanted? by Jason LaTour and Robbi Rodriguez, November 17
  • Star Wars Princess Leia by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson, September 15
  • This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison, September 5
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (carried over from Spring 2015 TBR)
  • Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson, September 22


Top 10 Tuesday: For The Birds

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie! As I have become quite obsessed with the birds that visit our feeders, I've created a list of nonfiction books for bird lovers. I've actually only read three of the nine books on the list, but the other six are books I do want to pick up. Eventually. When my TBR pile isn't already threatening to consume the house.

  • The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose
  • Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds ed. by Billy Collins
  • H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • A Hummingbird in My House: The Story of Squeak by Arnette Heidcamp
  • The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar by Martin Windrow
  • The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird by Tom Michell (out in October)
  • Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds by Chris Chester
  • Red-Tails in Love: Pale Male's Story -- A True Wildlife Drama in Central Park by Marie Winn
  • Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien


Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Have YET to Finish

So many series left unfinished! My husband doesn’t understand this at all, but I get ... anxious ... about finishing series I love. Indeed, the more I love a series, the harder it is to complete it. One reason is that once I’ve read that last volume, that’s that. The end. Fin. No more beloved series. Another reason – what if the ending is just no good ?Disappointing? Flat out crap? That’s going to taint my memories of the series for all time!

(Also, there are just some series (Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc) that have grown so big and sprawling that the thought of continuing on to the end fills me with exhaustion and dread. Ugh. Reading should not be tiresome).

  • Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness. Yep. Still haven’t read the first or second book. When did I read the first? 2012. Did I love it? Yes, I did. Did it leave me emotionally wrecked? Yes, it did.
  • The Discworld by Terry Pratchett. I Shall Wear Midnight was the last book I read and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d anticipated so I keep putting off Raising Steam and The Shepherd’s Crown.
  • Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I’ve read the original trilogy plus the Harper Hall trilogy, Renegades of Pern, and Nerilka’s Story, but then I stopped because it seemed as if all the books that followed were there to flesh out Pern’s back-story and (at the time) I didn’t care about spaceships or computers.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I lovedlovedLOVED The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but keep putting off Mockingjay because it’s the last book and then there will be no more *cries* and I have been told, repeatedly, that Mockingjay’s not very good.
  • Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. I read up to and including The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Book Four), then skipped ahead to read The Mischief of the Mistletoe (Book Seven), and just stopped. The series was beginning to feel a little predictable and the contemporary framing story never interested me.

  • Sally Lockhart by Philip Pullman. I adored The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North. Found them in my school library and devoured them I don’t know how many times. It never occurred to me there might be more books.
  • The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. I’m not even sure where I stopped with this series. I remember the events of Dead as a Doornail quite clearly, but nothing after that feels familiar. We just started watching True Blood, so I might take the series up again. Or not.
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. It’s just so BIG and sprawwwwling. I’ve definitely read through Book Seven, A Crown of Swords, but it was so long ago I’m quite certain I’d have no idea what was going on if I picked up Book Eight, The Path of Daggers, today.
  • Time Quintet by Madeline L’Engle. I’ve read A Wind in the Door, Many Waters, and A Wrinkle in Time. I feel as if I should go back and read A Swiftly Tilting Planet and An Acceptable Time to complete the quintet but ... I haven’t.


Top 10 Tuesday: Books For My Syllabus

Top Ten Tuesday goes back to school this week and we're all working on our syllabuses! Here are ten books I would put on the syllabus were I to teach Magical Realism 101. What is magical (or magic) realism? Well, there are many definitions -- some of which are so broad, it could encompass most anything, while narrower definitions commonly limit it to works of Latin American authors like Allende and Garcia Marquez. For the sake of this syllabus, I’m just going to stick with the definition of magical realism provided by The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Seventh Edition:

A term used to describe a style of modern fiction in which the recognizably realistic mingles with the unexpected and inexplicable, and in which elements of dream, fairy story, or mythology combine with the everyday, often in a mosaic or kaleidoscopic pattern of refraction and recurrence.


  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston


Top Ten Tuesday: Always-buy Authors

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic -- authors we automatically buy, no questions asked -- was surprisingly difficult for me. Turns out there aren't that many authors I blindly buy, regardless of what their new book may be. I guess I'm just getting picky in my old age? I love my favorite authors, but that love isn't blind or unquestioning. CJ Cherryh, for example. I've loved her works since I was 11, for pete's sake, and have read so very many of them but I stopped buying them when I realized the Foreigner series was Never. Going. To. End. There are sixteen books (so far) in the series! It's too much for me.

So. I have a very short list:

  • Terry Pratchett
  • Patricia McKillip

That's about it, really. And, yes, I know Terry Pratchett's Discworld is umpty-umpth books long, but there's enough variation that it's not gotten to be too much.


Top 10 Tuesday: Authors I've Read the Most

Back in July of 2014, we did a Top Ten Tuesday on authors we own the most and now we're doing authors we've read the most! I expected more overlap than I actually ended up with. Much of this probably has to do with the sheer numbers of books I read as a money-poor-but-library-card-rich student. Also, there are authors I read so ... indiscriminately ... that it's just "smarter" to borrow their books from the library (Meg Cabot is a prime example). Otherwise, I'd even less shelf space than I already do.

  • Margaret Atwood
  • Alison Bechdel
  • Meg Cabot
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Patricia McKillip
  • L.M. Montgomery
  • Elizabeth Moon
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Sheri S. Tepper