TTT: Summer Freebie

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is a Summer freebie, and i have chosen to focus on the Top 5 book I recommend for your summer reading list, and the Top 5 books I have on my summer reading list!

However, before I get into my TTT, I want to take a moment to show my respect and profound sadness over last night’s bombing at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. I had a highly unusual evening last night; I was at my local Target when a fire started inside the store. I was among the hundreds of people safely evacuated; the inside of the store has sustained major water, fire and smoke damage and will be closed for the foreseeable future. I came home slightly shaky, feeling like I missed a close call, only to look down at my phone and see a Washington Post alert about the Manchester bombing. That quickly put things in perspective.

I have a 9-year-old who loves Ariana Grande, and to hear one of the first two named victims was an 8 year-old child separated from her family is heartbreaking. My thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy.

There was some good news hiding amongst the headlines this morning, which I would also like to highlight. A group of 82 girls who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram in the town of Chibok , Nigeria back in 2014, have recently been freed. This is only a small number of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, but it is heartening to see some of the girls reunited with their families. I can’t imagine their ordeal, and I hope they are on the path towards healing and recovery.

Top 5 Books For YOUR Summer

Reading List

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Young Adult: I like quick reads in the summer, but they don’t necessarily have to be light and fluffy. The Hate U Give is a thought-provoking story that I can’t help but continue to mention on my blog! It is THAT good! And I am definitely not alone, THUG has spent the past 11 weeks at the top of the NY Times YA Hardcover Bestseller List.

Mystery: Maisie Dobbs has been my summer go-to for fun mysteries over the past two years, and I typically read two or three of them each summer. This is an easy series to binge-read, but I have enjoyed taking my time with it. The series starts in post-WWI England, with flashbacks to Maisie’s life before and during the war.

Psychological Thriller:  If you haven’t read All The Missing Girls yet, this was my favorite book from Summer 2016. If you are already an established Megan Miranda fan, The Perfect Stranger is a great choice for your beach or pool tote.

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Award Winner: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has been getting a lot of renewed attention recently, which is extremely well-deserved! If you enjoyed that book or the Hulu series, I highly recommend checking out some of her other novels! The Blind Assassin won the Man Booker Prize in 2000 and is a fascinating novel that also contains a “story within a story” called…The Blind Assassin.

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Dysfunctional families: I’m currently in the middle of reading Commonwealth right now, but I am far enough along to definitely recommend this as a fun summer read! The summer scenes with both the Cousins and Keating kids hanging out in Virginia are quite unforgettable!

Top 5 Books on MY Summer Reading List

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

What reading plans do you have for this summer?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Tough Mama’s

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is a Mother’s Day freebie. I chose to focus on my favorite strong and tough mothers in literature. These mother’s can be fierce, tough on the surface but sacrificing everything for their child underneath. Or they are the sweet and kind mother that exudes happiness and warmth, but without her, the family would fall apart. There is more than one way to be a tough mother.

Top Ten Tuesday: Tough Mothers

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Marmee is the glue that holds the March family together.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Despite her community’s condemnation, Hester shows strength throughout her punishment in the story.

Dreaming in Cuban – Follows three generations of del Pino women: grandmother, mother, daughter, in the shadow of the Cuban Revolution.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan – Esperanza’a Mama is emotionally and physically tough. After losing her husband, her home, and all of her money, she manages to escape with Esperanza to evade marrying the baddy in the story, Tío Luis.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – You can’t help but love Fantine, the single mother who does everything in her power to try to provide for her daughter, Cosette.

Stuart Little by E.B. White – Mrs. Little treats her son just like any other member of the family, despite the fact that he was born a mouse. She is quite protective of her smallest child.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery – Behind the tough exterior of Marilla Cuthbert is a hidden warmth and heart of gold. Taking in orphan Anne Shirley, she definitely deserves a place of her own on the list of awesome fictional momma’s. Foster mothers are mom’s, too.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – coming from a family of strong women “made out of thin invisible steel”, Katie is hardworking and loves her children fiercely. Life has given her a tough, hard exterior that doesn’t change much throughout the novel, but she makes any sacrifice she can to give both her kids an education.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – I love Mrs. Frisby. She’s kind, sweet, and tough and brave as can be.

What fictional mother would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Turn-offs

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is top ten things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book. This is a hard list to come up with, as I don’t like sweeping generalizations. So there may be an exception or two, but in general, these are the things I usually avoid when picking out a book!

  1. Zombies. I hate zombies, and they give me nightmares, which is why I avoid The Walking Dead and almost all books that are primarily about the undead who walk around in the night.
  2. Womanizing, misogynistic men – If the primary character in a novel is a complete douchebag, especially in a romance, I will avoid it. If the male character glorifies women as objects and this is written by the author as romantic, I will not be a happy reader.
  3. Christian fiction – nothing is wrong with this genre, it’s just not for me.
  4. Apocalyptic contagious viruses – I love dystopian novels, but write a book about a flesh-eating virus that kills 99% of the population, and I will run far, far away.
  5. I find out the author is problematic – if an author says or does something that is sexist, racist, etc. I am not very inclined to pick up one of their books again.
  6. Same goes for the content – If a book is glaringly problematic in its treatment of PoC, people with disabilities, religious minorities, etc., I will avoid it, unless I am reading it for critical analysis purposes.
  7. Princess stories – I have never been into the pink, pretty princess books. Throw a huge, beautiful dress and crown on the cover, and I might never pick it up.
  8. Sappy animal stories – I love my pets dearly, but I’m not very interested in reading books about how much other people love their pets (or how much their pets love them). Therefore, I have never read Marley and Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, or A Dog’s Purpose.
  9. Master/slave, or Nazi/prisoner “Romance” – I HATE this. See #6.
  10. Crafting books – I struggled coming up with #10, but there are a ton of non-fiction topics I don’t like, and crafting is pretty much at the top of the list!

What are the things that instantly turn you off from a book? Happy Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday: Fandoms

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is Top Ten Fandom Freebie.

This will be my last post for the next week or two, as I will be taking a hiatus for Spring Break. And what a fun topic to talk about before going on a break..FANDOMS!!! Narrowing it down to my Top Ten was quite a challenge, so I have a few runner-ups as well.

Studio Ghibli

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I love all of Studio Ghibli films, and have for years! For those who haven’t heard of Studio Ghibli, you will probably recognize at least one of the movies that they have made: My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arietty, Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service. A majority of the films made by the studio are written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Harry Potter

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I am most definitely still a Potterhead, ever since I read the first Harry Potter back in college, not too long after it was first published. I love the books and movies.

Superheroes

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Okay, I’m cheating by combining Marvel and DC together, but I love them both! Although, Marvel definitely has a slight edge. My current favorites in the superhero universe are: Ms. Marvel comics, Wonder Woman (especially the upcoming movie!), Supergirl, Flash, Doctor Strange, Thor….okay let’s just say that I love them all (except for possibly Hulk).

Hamilton

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There are times I feel like I live, breathe, and sleep Hamilton. The music is on in our home 24/7 some days, and it just gives me all the good feels when modern-day politics make me want to hurl. And with the recent release of a new batch of tickets, I am so excited that I will FINALLY be going to see it on Broadway!!!

Once Upon a Time

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The last two seasons have really grated on my nerves, but I still have a soft spot for a show based around fairy tale retellings. If Lana Parilla (Evil Queen/Regina) ever leaves OUAT, though, I’m out.

Jane Austen

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“How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book.” ~Jane Austen, 1813

More than two centuries after the publication of her most well-known book, and she still inspires millions. Preach it, sister.

Star Wars

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I have to admit to leaving this fandom during the dark years that were The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith. Honestly, I still don’t particularly like any of the prequels. But I was won back, and then some, with The Force Awakens. And Rogue One was also pure amazingness. I’m still devastated that we lost Carrie Fisher last year.

Lost

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This one is more of a flashback and paying homage to a past fandom that has fallen by the wayside since Lost wrapped up. I used to have so much fun thinking and hypothesizing about each and every episode! I still love when Lost characters pop up elsewhere, and I like tuning in to Hawaii Five-O occasionally just to get my Daniel Dae Kim and Jorge Garcia fix. When I first spotted Henry Ian Cusick on Scandal, I was SO thrilled, and equally disappointed when he left the show. Naveen Andrews will forever be my favorite, despite his underwhelming adventure that was Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Lunar Chronicles

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Some of my favorite fanart I have ever seen is done by those in the Lunar Chronicles fandom!

Gilmore Girls

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What bibliophile doesn’t love Gilmore Girls? I still have the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge tucked away that I chip away at every so often, and I have always loved the fast-talking duo, and all the pop culture references that get worked into the show.

Runners-Up:

There are three hugely popular fandoms that I am incredibly late to the game for, but slowly getting drawn in:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Sherlock
  • Doctor Who

I know, where have I been?

And a few other fandoms that just missed the cut:

  • West Wing – I will always, always love West Wing. Now I’m regretting not putting it in the Top Ten!
  • My Little Pony (I enjoy this one with my daughter)
  • Friends
  • Hunger Games
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Percy Jackson

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on my Spring TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR. There are…ahem…a ton of books that fall into this category! But I will list the ones that I truly hope to finish by the Summer Solstice, and I am not including the two books that I am reading right now.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I have an eARC from Netgalley, and Megan Miranda also happens to be one of my neighbors, so I absolutely hope to have her latest book finished by the April 11th publication date!

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. Another book set to be published on April 11, and I also happen to have an eARC of this one. I really enjoyed The Historian, so I have high hopes for Kostova’s latest novel.

The Murder on the Links and The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie. Both of these are part of my long-term personal challenge to read all of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels in publication order.

A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – I had planned on reading the first few books in the Game of Thrones series this year, but for some reason I keep procastinating…especially when the shiny eye candy of new releases draws my attention away from older fantasy series (ahem…Conjuring of Light). We’ll see what happens with these two, but I do hope to at least have read the first one by the start of summer.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – I am slightly ashamed to admit I have never read any of David Levithan’s novels, and this is one of two that were on my list for this year. I already know and love John Green!

Every Day by David Levithan – Both of these two books will also hopefully help meet two of the categories in the #DiversityBingo2017 Challenge that I am participating in this year.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I keep hearing so many great things about this book, I need to read it NOW.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – This contemporary YA novel will be published in May, but I already have my name on the holds list at the library!

Happy Tuesday! I look forward to seeing what is on your TTT this week. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Gratitude

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The Broke and the Bookish have decided to take a well-deserved break, so I thought I would focus this week’s freebie on gratitude. I feel we could all use a dose of positivity these days!

Top Ten Things I Am Thankful for Today

  1. For the delicious Bosnian food and new friendships found at last night’s fundraising dinner for Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency.
  2. The recent discovery that I have two amazing half-sisters. My heart is so full over this one.
  3. My 30 minutes of quiet in the morning spent drinking tea and reading a book, or listening and watching the birds in our backyard.
  4. For my 9-year old daughter offering to help me out in a moment of stress.
  5. For Victoria Schwab; I am knee-deep in A Conjuring of Light right now, and loving every minute of the journey (a few heart palpitations aside).
  6. The exhilarating feeling knowing that today is the last day of February, and one of my favorite months of the year is coming up next!
  7. For my husband, who planted a bunch of lovely flowers in the backyard over the weekend.
  8. The solidarity and show of support from the greater community after our JCC received its second phone-in bomb threat yesterday.
  9. The excitement on M’s face when she found out she will be playing the part of Esther in our synagogue’s upcoming Purimspiel.
  10. Lastly, I am grateful for the Chocolove Salted Almond Butter in Dark Chocolate bar.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Libraries

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is Ten Books I Loved Less/More than I thought I would. I’m going a bit off on the side rails with a variation this week…Top Ten Libraries I Love More Than Anyone Else (Because libraries are my favorite thing in the WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSE!).

I have lived in a lot of places. And when I travel, I am also known to wander into a nearby local library. It may known to occasionally drive my husband batty. “Why do you want to spend hours in a library when you already have that at home?” he says. “Who wouldn’t?!” I reply.

As you see, I am completely serious when I say I love libraries more than anyone else! And below, you will find my Top Ten Favorite Libraries That I Have Ever Visited.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Libraries That I Have Visited

Rosenbach Museum and Library

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I wanted to live at this Museum/Library during our time residing in Philadelphia. The Rosenbach is located within two 19th century townhouses at DeLancey Place in center-city Philly, and houses almost 400,000 rare books, manuscripts, and other fine arts and objects. From 1968 – 2014, the Rosenbach was also the sole repository for Maurice Sendak’s picture book illustrations.

The collection at the Rosenbach is AMAZING. Bram Stoker’s notes and outlines for Dracula; dozens of personal letters written by George Washington; William Blake first editions and original drawings; a first edition of Cervantes’ Don Quixote….I could go on and on with the treasures contained within the Rosenbach!

Princeton Public Library

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For three years, we lived about 15 minutes away from Princeton, in North Brunswick, New Jersey. This was my absolute favorite public library in the area, having only opened a few years before we moved to NJ. I loved the open layout, with lots of natural sunlight, and an incredibly fun tile mosaic at the entrance.

Cotsen Children’s Library

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Princeton definitely knows how to do libraries. The Cotsen Children’s Library, located on the campus of Princeton University (and just down the street from the Princeton Public Library) is a magical wonderland for kids. M loved climbing into the tree book nook and curling up with me to read a good book or two…or ten. The Wishing Well was another fun reading spot.

Maison de la littérature

Located in Québec City, Canada, The Maison de la litterature promotes Québec literature and authors. Housed in the circa 1848 Wesley Temple, the interior is gorgeously modern.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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Right next door to my undergrad alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, and so much more beautiful than the dated Hillman Library, I used to occasionally ditch Hillman and head to either the Cathedral of Learning or the Carnegie Library to study. Anyway, everyone knew that the Hillman was THE place for not getting ANYTHING done.

State Library of Queensland

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One of the newer buildings on this list, it’s hard to beat the State Library of Queensland, located adjacent to the Brisbane River, near South Bank, my favorite spot in Brisbane.

New York Public Library

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NYPL speaks for itself. A visit to NYC isn’t complete without stopping by the NYPL, at the very least, to say hi to the lions, or visit the infamous Rose Room.

Folger Shakespeare Library

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By Julie Ainsworth – Folger Shakespeare Library Digital

Everything Shakespeare! And randomly, considering it’s location in Washington, D.C., also home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works. This is the library that introduced me to the wonderful world of William Shakespeare.

Martin Library – York, PA

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This is the library where it all began. It’s nothing spectacular or special, but it’s where I fell in love with books. The Martin Library gave me my first library card, and my weekly trips to pick out new books as a child was one of the highlights of my week. This library will always hold a special place in my heart.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – North County Regional Branch

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This library isn’t very pretty, but it holds a wealth of treasure inside. We visit the North County Regional library at least once a week, and I hope M has as many fond memories of her childhood library visits as I do of mine. The librarians know her by name – and her reading tastes. We can always count on them for a great recommendation. And lucky for us, our branch is getting a multi-million dollar interior makeover next year!