Top Ten Tuesday: (2014 Years) June 10, 2014

Here we are, dear readers, at the half way point in the year.  Which, if I were a good bookish blogger would mean I would be on book number 24 at this point.  I am not on book number 24 at this point.  That’s life folks.  Of the books I’ve read (or are actively reading at this moment) here is a list of the best.

Top Ten Books of 2014 (thus far)

  1. Burning for Revenge (Tomorrow Series #5) by John Marsden
    First of all, I have been loving this series in the first place, but the fifth book is perhaps the most intense plot line and action / adventure so far (I’m halfway through the sixth at the moment).  This is really the opportunity for the main characters to come into their own, being welcomed into the war by proper authorities gives them a sort of agency in the fight for Australia, and ultimately makes them adults and soliders in their own right.
  2. Insurgent (Divergent Series #2) by Veronica Roth
    I haven’t completed the final installment yet, but I found this novel to be sprisingly good.  Generally the second novel in a trilliogy can be filler- perpetuating the plot but not really enriching the story.  Insurgent was an exception to this rule, giving us a lovely independant plot, full of rich characterizations, real emotions and the harsh realities of a heronie not getting what she wants.
  3. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (reading-in-progress)
    The idea of a story set in the poorest slums of Mumbai may not be a great beach read, but Katherine Boo has turned this tragic story into one where elegant prose illuminates the small rays of hope and dignity found within a landfill town.  The story itself reminds us that life’s little details are futility precious.
  4. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
    Okay, last years NYT Best Seller is probably on everyone’s 2014 list because of the movie, but I re-read on a sleepless night a few months ago (before the hoopla for the movie got so intense) and cried a bucket of tears.  Heartwrenching and honest, and a reminder of the life behind the diagnosis- this is the book Green will be remembered for.
  5. My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart
    An early memoir, I was expecting Mormon propaganda, but instead got a straight to the facts no fluff, filler, or sugarcoating account of the worst year of a young girls life.  Smart (with Stewarts help) narrates her time in captivity in a way that reminds us not only of the horrors of her captors, but also of the inadequate nature of the response system.
  6. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
    Okay, truth is its c**p from a literary point of view, but I still turn to it like Lays Origional potato chips.  (Read my actual review here).
  7. The Butler by Wil Haygood
    The origination of the Lee Daniels / Oprah Winfrey film this fast book is a more journalistic approach to the story of one man who went from a field slave to watching the first black President elected in the US in his lifetime, all while standing by watching history unfold every day.  This book is a great reminder that domestic work is not forgone, or forgotten.
  8. Growing Up Duggar by Jill, Jana, Jinger, and Jessa Duggar
    An enlightening memoir / instructional on the highly Evangelical beliefs and teachings in the Duggar Family (of 19 Kids and Counting Fame).  I picked this up in part because of my interest in the subculture of Extreme Christianity in the US, but kept with it largely because once you remove the biblical passages, they open a lively and important discussion about the way we choose to interact with the opposite sex.  I dont always agree with them, but they are some of the few people in the world even bothering to discuss this topic.
  9. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (book-in-progress)
    Half science fiction, half woe-is-me teen lit this book is far from high literature, but it never claims to be anything other than one big game of “what if.”  What if Cinderella lived in the future?  What if cyborgs existed?  What if there was an epidemic?  What if Cinderella could actually offer something to the prince, more than a pretty face and a dance in the woods?  What if this re-imagining ignites the love of fairy tales for a whole new generation of cell phone carrying, internet using tweens?
  10. Tuna fish on Banana bread with extra Mustard and Sauerkraut” by me
    Okay that’s not a book.  But I wildly amuse myself, and I’ve started telling people that instead of “I dont know.”  My favorite part is most people at work walk and talk and so they never notice, or they make it all the way down the hall before turning back and asking.

 

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday: (Books About Friendship) May 20, 2014

Top Ten Books About Friendship

  1. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
    Where could you start with a list about friends, except where it began?  Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and Christopher Robin reminding us that the important things are the people (or stuffies) around us.
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
    A story about two outcasts and the love of reading is enough to make a book girl think twice about killing that spider in the shower.  Maybe.
  3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series) by Ann Brasheres
    A story whole based on the idea of friendship, and making it work as childhoods conclude- these characters grow together and apart in real ways, showing the dirty truth of young women in friendship.
  4. Paper Towns by John Green
    Road trips are a keynote of young adult friendship- the first glimpse of freedom, with the safety of someone you’ve known forever.  Paper Towns is especially poignant because it’s about friends coming together to help someone from their group who is a little lost.
  5. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
    WARNING: This is not the Judy Blume of your childhood.  Okay it is, but its not appropriate for small children.  This is the intensely truthful examination of childhood friends who never fully fit together and their transition into adults who still don’t fit.  Its devastating in some places, heart warming in others, and keeps a place on my reread a million times shelf.
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
    While most think of this novel as solely a romance, it is just as much a novel about friendship.  Friendship between the Bennett sisters, their friendship with the Bingly family, and ultimately Elizabeth’s ability to make friends with William Darcy.  Ultimately, without friendships the novel would simply be silly girls.
  7. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Born out of the childhood adventures of life long friends Truman Capote and Harper Lee, Mockingbird is at it’s core about friendship and the desire to have them.  The relationship between Scout, Jeb, and Dill is central to Scout’s understanding of the world, and provides her the stability to engage with Boo.
  8. Frog and Toad (series) by Arnold Lobel
    Two similar but oh so different characters, grating on one another’s nerves, but still being friends?  These books should be required reading for every 22 year old!  These are lessons we were meant to learn in kindergarten but need reminded of daily.
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
    While friendship and love are the central unifying theme of the whole Harry Potter series, it is in this last book that we learn how very important it is. Harry, Hermione and Ron, are incomplete as wizards and characters without one another, and the Battle of Hogwarts would not have been the final battle, had the three of them not come together.
  10. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
    One of the saddest books you will ever read about love, loyalty, and friendship- and it’s deemed a children’s book!  This book makes me tear up a little every time, only because the truth is there: friendship can take all shapes, and we must honor them all.

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Ten Books About Friendship

Top Ten Tuesday: (Bookish Wish List) April 15, 2014

Top Ten Bookish Things (that aren’t books) That I Covet

One of the best part about being a member of the bookish community isn’t the books, it is the intense relationship we have with everything tied to our books.  These are the things that make up our handshake-wink-lapel pen of the book girl (or boy) secret society, a tiny mark that screams “I’m one of you!” to those who will only quietly judge a book by its cover.  I’m just sad I don’t already own all this stuff!

Darcy & Lizzie, of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

  1. The Lizzie Bennett Diaries DVD set at DFTBA.com
    I’ve been waiting, patiently with bated breath, for this Kickstarter campaign item to arrive in my mailbox for a year.  I have not gone postal for only 2 reasons a) the Pemberley Digital team is very honest about the delays b) they will never ever use this vendor again, so we won’t face this trouble next time.  Haven’t seen Bernie Su and Hank Green’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation?  Check it out for free at YouTube and LizzieBennett.com.
  2. Billy Bookcases in Brown/Black by IKEA to complete my Beauty in the Beast / Biltmore Estate Library (and also the house to hold all said shelves).  There are never enough books, and there are never enough book cases to put them in.
  3. TIFIOS Preparedness Kit by DFTBA.com is a brilliant idea that yes, all of the New York Times Best Seller for ever readers (and Nerdfighters) will a) see the movie at least twice and b) cry the whole time.  I also love that this is a brain child of Papa Green (The Vlogbrothers / DFTBA Record Owner / TIFIOS’s author’s Dad).
  4. Muggles into Wizards Hoodie by DFTBA.com and the http://thehpalliance.org/  because um, yeah… Books do turn Muggles into Wizards, and kids into readers, and readers into agents of social change.
  5. Halve Fish Bowl bookends at Generate, though I wouldn’t fill them with fish (dead fish sort of kill the library’s ambiance).  These would be awesome repositorys for random collections like sea shells, matchboxes, ticket stubs, or whatever little trinkets you have lying around.
  6. Classic Clothbound Editions and Drop Caps Editions by Penguin because they are beautiful.  And yes I know these are books, but they are extra, erroneous books because I already own most of them in less pretty editions.  But they are so pretty!
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Postertext a picture drawn with the text of the work, which occasionally results in a piece so beautifully representative that I can’t imagine how they do it.  I like this classic Austen version, because it fits the them of my current home, with the silhouettes- but I would really love any of them.
  8. Edgar Allen Poe Magnet Set at Gone Reading for a little late night horror-able poetry.  Pun intended 🙂
  9. I am Figuratively Dying Mug at Literally Gift Company because I would literally die laughing if my boss asked for an explanation.  She doesn’t always get my booky jokes.
  10. Stack of Books Earrings at Literally Gift Company so I can complete my Mrs. Frizzle impression.  I’m a big Mrs. Frizzle fan, and I sort of want to be a teacher just so I can be Mrs. Frizzle everyday on Halloween.

What about ya’ll?  Is there anything you are coveting these days?

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren’t Books) That I’d Like To Own

Top Ten Tuesday: (Bookish Bucket List) March 25, 2014

My Bookish Bucket List Top Ten

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  1. Finish A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  2. Meet John Green (and his brother Hank!)
  3. Publish a poem or short in The New Yorker
  4. Change a kid’s reading life
  5. Finish the 52 books a year challenge (that I’ve yet to start)
  6. Finish the 100 Classics Challenge (again, haven’t started)
  7. Learn the words to Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown from reading it to babies
  8. Own a Biltmore-esq (visualize Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, if you’re not from the American Eastern seaboard) home library, and open to locals to check out books for free
  9. Retrieve all my books from my parents attic
  10. Be surrounded by books, and people who love them as much as I do.

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List

Top Ten Tuesday: (Books in YA) March 11, 2014

Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in Young Adult Literature

For this topic, I made rules for myself to ensure a diverse list.  Really, the top 7 would be Harry Potter books, and then we’d round out the house with John Green.  But that’s not really in the spirit of these sort of things- so I only allowed myself one book per author and series.  That being said… any of these authors or series could be and should be read in their entirety (for most of them I have or am in the process of doing so) because they are all awesome.

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green.  A poignant portrait of youthful indiscretion, and the consequences of impending adulthood.  The book sincerely examines friendship, romance, growing up, and the after effects of all of these.
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter Book 4) by J.K. Rowling.  Harry Potter should be required reading for all middle and young adults.   I chose to specifically list Goblet because it is the turning point in the series, where Harry and Voldemort really engage in the epic narrative, and the characters reach a point in their development where there is true opportunities to engage a reader with social, political, and moral issues, not just action.
  3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  A haunting exploration of the human mind, and hive culture at the heart of High School, this book is a great introduction to harder hitting literature as it discusses sexual assault, bullying, and other real world horrors.  The movie is also very good.
  4. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden.  A group of teen-aged friends heads out to camp at a beautiful spot called “Hell” and return home to find their country has been invaded.  Living and fighting as a small Resistance, these teens struggle to define themselves and their values in an age of war.  While they are instantly forced to grow up, they must come to terms with life and death, as citizens, friends and individuals.
  5. Catching Fire (Hunger Games Book 2) by Suzanne Collins.  With the world of Hunger Games well established, Catching Fire is able to explore the socio-political nature of the dictatorial world, and allows the characters to manipulate this new society they find themselves in.  It is my favorite Hunger Games book.
  6. Shade’s Children by Garth Nix.  A novel of dystopian nature, where children are left to fend for themselves after a horrible unknown has taken apart society as we know it.  Less focused on the romance and glamour of societies collapse this book is squarely in the action adventure knitty gritty reality camp.
  7. Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Another dystopian exploration of a young woman, this novel does a grand job of exploring more adult themes, including choosing one’s future, and the consequences of functioning outside the norm- while not specifically discouraging (or encouraging) young rebels.  It’s great for those who perhaps encounter things they don’t like, but aren’t ready to raise a voice about it.
  8. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.   Falling into the “it” crowd can change everything… and this novel examines how popular or desired isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Revealing some of the truth behind the perfect posse’s facade, Chbosky enlightens outsiders about what it means to be an insider.
  9. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  A child prodigy must balance the various traits he finds in himself to be the best student he can.  Ender recognizes what he could become, and actively strives for what is right instead of what is easy.  What is most interesting is the build up this internal conflict creates as he progresses in his schooling, and ultimately in the series.
  10. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.  An adventure story of epic follow the clues treasure hunt, where the whole point is to lose your self, and find out who you really are.  I read this book at just the right moment in my life, and it has followed me ever since.

What are your top ten favorites in YA?  Do you think I’m wrong?  Or did I just add to your reading list?

XOXO Mae

This regular feature here at A MaeDay Life is a part of The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday’s.  This week’s theme was “Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in X Genre(you pick the genre!)”

I’m wordstruck…

Which makes the fact that today is Wordless Wednesday fitting.

Watch The Fault in our Stars Movie Trailer.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/9ItBvH5J6ss” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Then freak out until June.

FREAKING JUNE, JOHN GREEN!
French the Llama that’s a long time to wait!

Loves, Mae

PS- Wordstuck is a synonym of speechless.  Even if I just made it up.
PPS- Between now and June is a great time to read TIFOS- mini review 5 stars!
PPPS- In case the embeded doesnt work… http://youtu.be/9ItBvH5J6ss