Books with geographical terms

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, are books with geographical terms in the titles. Here are the one that came to mind for me.


Books I loved so much I had to own a copy

There was a time, way back when, I used to go to the library for all my books and would only buy something if I absolutely loved it. So when this week’s Top 10 Tuesday’s prompt asked us for the books we loved and had to own a copy of, I knew exactly what books would make the list.

This was the first book that I ever read and immediately needed a copy. It was high school senior year. This book didn’t seem like much when I first started reading it but then the ending…just hit me. I remember asking the high school librarian if I could keep the book and I have had it on my shelf since. I have also read Marshall’s “Christy” which was just as good.

I took this book out of the library. It was a random pick from browsing the shelf. It sounded interesting and didn’t realize how much it would hit me. I have since read more of Ann Hood and loved everything so far. I happened across a copy of “The Obituary Writer” during a library book sale soon thereafter and immediately picked it up.

Behold the Dreamers” had an impact on me that I wasn’t expecting. This books further morphed my perspective on the immigration story, how we treat those come here to live and what they have to go through. In this story, we follow a husband and wife’s struggles as they try to make a life in America and the impact it has on them. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Another gem hidden among my local library’s stacks. “The Snow Child” is a fairy tale becoming reality. A couple isn’t able to have children and the morning after they make a child out snow, they find the snow melted and a strange child in the woods. Could it be the child come to life or just coincidence? They take the child in and her impact on the family is unforeseen.

I read “Wild” as an audiobook about two years ago. I found Strayed’s journey inspiring and emotional. I knew that this was a book that I would want to go back to in the future. I have thought about it occasionally throughout the years.

Anyone who has never dealt with Alzheimer’s should have to read this book. In “Still Alice“, Lisa Genova tells the story of a woman who suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s and her journey through the diagnosis, her decline as the disease progresses and the impact that it has on her family. I listened to it on audio and I felt like I was having a conversation with someone I knew. To say that this is an emotional read is an understatement and it has stayed with me ever since.

This was another random pick from the library that shocked me when I read it. Given the political climate today and the stuff going on with Roe v. Wade, this book is so timely. I recently recommended it for book club and everyone enjoyed it. I can’t stop recommending it so it seemed only fitting I have a copy for my shelves.

There is just something about this book that is heartwarming to me. I have read it a few times and I just can’t help feeling like being wrapped in a hug by the end of it. The main character goes through a series of trials but it’s how she deals with them and how turns out in the end, that makes this book so worth it.

This was the first Nicholas Sparks book I ever read back in high school. I remember reading in a laundromat waiting for my clothes to dry and tears spilling down my cheeks. And thus my love of all things Nicholas Sparks was born. I now own a copy of every one of his books.

The Watergate scandal is what solidified my career into journalism back in college so it is only fitting that I own the book by the reporters that broke the scandal wide open. This will always be a fixture on my shelves.

Back to School Series: Books I remember reading in middle school

It has been 20 years since I graduated 8th grade and moved on to high school. Yet, I can still remember some of the books that I read in middle school like it was yesterday. I still remember watching some of the movies that went along with the books, some of which made me cry my eyes out in front of my peers. I remember some of the discussions that we had and my personal feeling with them. As we are now in the part of summer when most families are getting ready to go back to school and as part of this week’s Top 10 Tuesday’s school freebie, I thought I would kick off a series about the books I read during my school years. Today’s post are all the books that I remember reading in middle school.

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls

This book was a sixth grade read and one that I have never read again since. Why? Because it involves dogs and we all know what happens to dogs in books. And it wasn’t enough that the teacher made us read the book, but she also played the movie in class. Yep, yours truly was a sobbing mess by the end. For this reason I will never forget this book as long as I live.

Old Yeller

The same teacher in the same sixth-grade English class had us also read and watch Old Yeller. I think she had a thing about books with dogs. Like seriously? Don’t get me wrong, the story was good but I think she just wanted to make me cry at this point. I don’t remember any other books that we read in that class because of this.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This was a summer reading option for us. I remember being hesitant about this book but it intrigued me. I still remember this book totally not being what I thought it was going to be about. I actually did enjoy it and was glad that I read it. Funnily enough, this book continues to be on the summer reading list for the school district I went to.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This was another summer reading book in middle school for us and another book I thoroughly enjoyed. I would never have read it had it not been for school. The district now has “Brian’s Winter” on the reading list which is the third book in the Hatchet series.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

If there is one thing I remember from seventh grade, it is that we did a whole Holocaust unit. During that period we read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and subsequently watched the movie. The Holocaust was always interesting to me and I tried to learn everything I could about it. I think I even ended up taking out Maus I during this time. I really don’t understand why parents are against it, I really don’t.

Night by Elie Wiesel

We read this book either in the same unit in seventh grade. Parts of this book will forever stay with me. As an adult, I have not only bought this book for my personal shelves but his other books as well.

And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie

The district is now reading Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” for summer reading going into eighth grade, but in my time, we had to read “And There Were None.” It was this book that made me fall in love with Agatha Christie and while I have a lot of her books yet to read, I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I did read. I still remember getting to the last part of the book and being shocked by the way it ends.

That Was Then This Is Now/
The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

Eighth grade was a year of great books starting with these two. I can’t talk about one without the other because we were taught them right after each other. I can vaguely remember That Was Then This is Now being about violence but The Outsiders will always be a favorite. Who can ever forget Pony boy and the gang? Oh god and the movie with Patrick Swayze. C’mon! These are definitely classics.

The Red Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane

Crane is known for his use of imagery in this book about the Civil War and it is probably for this reason that I can still bring up images from this book.

What books do you remember reading in school? Stay tuned for when I delve into the books that were required reading in high school.

Books from past seasonal TBRs I still have yet to read

I am not sure why, but when it comes to my seasonal TBR lists, I always have the best of intentions. I usually put the books that I really want to read, and yet, for whatever reason, I just don’t get around to them. However, when I went to write up this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, I was pleasantly surprised by how many books I did manage to get to after the fact. I didn’t include any books from my spring 2022 list because I didn’t get to the list at all. The following are all titles from prior lists

“The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson – I got through a quarter of this book and then put it down. It was interesting while I was reading it, but I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

“The Distant Hours” by Kate Morton – Every Kate Morton book I have read, I have thoroughly enjoyed so I am not sure why I have yet to pick this one up.

“Still Me” by JoJo Moyes – I think I am just tired of this story to be honest. The second book was not that great and while people have said the third book is better, I think I am just over it. Maybe some day I will pick it up.

“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders – I have a feeling this is going to be a book club pick before I pick it up. It sits on my bookshelves waiting for me to pick it up.

“The Hazel Wood” by Melissa Albert – I put this on my list back when it was all the hype. I have moved on.

“A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf” by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney – I had forgotten all about this one but this is one that is definitely staying on my TBR list. I am intriqued.

“Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks – I am determined to get through all of Brooks’ writing so I will get to this one eventually.

“The Glass Hotel” by Emily Mandel St. John – I was just gifted a copy of this book for my birthday so I am sure I will be getting to this one, sooner rather than later. I also added it to my summer TBR list again so hopefully I have better luck this time.

“Infinite Country” by Patricia Engel – I can’t wait to get to this one. This is definitely a keeper on my TBR.

“How Beautiful We Were” by Imbolo Mbue – I did try to read this in February for book club but I hit a slump and only managed to get a quarter of the way through. The topic was interesting but I just had no desire to pick it up again once I put it down. Maybe another time. I loved Mbue’s “Behold the Dreamers.”

What books have you missed on your TBRs? Are there any on this list I should prioritize? Forget about? Let’s discuss

TTT: New releases in the second half of 2022 I want to check out

I am always surprised when I do these posts about new releases during the year, how many are from authors that are on my automatic read list. I am actually really excited for the books that are coming out. I might go broke this fall because they all sound fantastic and I want to read them as soon as they are released.

Horse” by Geraldine Brooks

This book came out in June but since it wasn’t on my list for the first half of the year, I had to include it on here. As I am trying to read all of Brooks’ novels, I need to read this one. I love how she weaves history with fiction. Her stories are always engaging and interesting.

Released: June 14, 2022

The Marriage Portrait” by Maggie O’Farrell

I read most of “Hamnet” last year and plan on finishing it. O’Farrell’s writing is so fluid and vivid that she takes the reader back in time and sets them down in period of time as if they live there. This time she takes us back to Renaissance Italy.

Release: September 6, 2022

All the Broken Places” by John Boyne

This is the sequel to “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” so of course I have to read this. However, this latest novel is for adults. I definitely want to see how this story continues. I remember being left with a lot of questions at the end of the first book.

Release: September 15, 2022

Dreamland” by Nicholas Sparks

Every year, Nicholas Sparks ends up on my fall TBR because that is usually when his books get released and this year is no different. I own every single one of Sparks books and none of them fail to disappoint. I am especially excited about this one because not only do you have the love duo that usually make up his books, but now he throws in a third story line and all three will eventually weave. Oh the anticipation. This is definitely getting pre-ordered.

Release: September 20, 2022

The Winners” by Fredrik Backman

The final book in the Beartown trilogy is coming! I have yet to read the second book but since I read “Beartown” so long ago, it will be nice to do a catch up before the final book comes out.

Release: September 27, 2022

Best of Friends” by Kamila Shamsie

I loved “Home Fire”, even though it absolutely wrecked me. I really need to read more of Shamsie’s work and it helps that she now has another book coming out. And it sounds like it is going to be just as soul wrenching as the other.

Release: September 27, 2022

Our Missing Hearts” by Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng immediately became an automatic author for me after reading “Everything I Never Told You”, a book that has stuck with me since I read it and one that I recommend to everyone and anyone. I can tell that this book is going to hit close to home since it sounds like it touches on some issues that are at the forefront in America right now.

Release: October 4, 2022

Demon Copperhead” Barbara Kingsolver

I think I have most, if not all of Kingsolver’s novels. While I haven’t yet read them all, the ones I have read hit me hard and left me to think about so many things. I have to thank my university for introducing me to her. Ever since, I have been a fan. The fact that this book is being compared to Dickens just tells you the scope of Kingsolver’s writing.

Release: October 18, 2022

Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me” by Ralph Macchio

I grew up with the Karate Kid and have been thoroughly enjoying the Kobra Kai series, binging through it as soon as it’s released. So you better believe I am going to read the book that gives all the behind the scenes details about the movie, which has become a pop culture classic.

Release: October 18, 2022

Fourteen Days: An Unauthorized Gathering” by Margaret Atwood

The fact that the cover has yet to be revealed is driving me crazy. The premise of this sounds so interesting and the fact that it involves so many other writers has me so excited to get my hands on it. I really hope that the expected date of publication is finalized because I don’t know how long I can wait for this.

Expected: November 1, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

My 2022 Summer TBR

Summer is here and so to comes another seasonal reading list. Over the spring I have acquired many books, many of which were from the library book sale, but I have acquired a few in June since it was my birthday. So I decided that my summer reading would be about getting through some of these since they just increased my personal TBR. Here are the one I have chosen in this week’s Top 10 Tuesday.

Dune“, “The Exiles“, and the “Glass Hotel” were all birthday gifts from my husband. He had bought them for our vacation because he knew I always carried books with me. However, I already had my vacation reads packed by this time so I kept these for future reading. They were all on my wish list so bonus points for him.

The Stardust Thief” and “Woman of Light” were my June Book of the Month picks. I got a freebie because of my birthday and I glad because I don’t think I could have picked between the two. They both sound so good.

These were part of my library book haul. “Everything is Illuminated” has been on my TBR for awhile because I loved “Especially Loud, Incredibly Close” by the same author.

As you probably can see I am determined to read all Christina Baker Kline. I loved “Orphan Train” and I had yet to read “A Piece of the World” which was also on my Spring TBR that I didn’t get through.

The next three books all have a common thread. I was introduced to the writing of Lily King, Chuck Palahniuk and Octavia Butler through the Capital District Book Club and all three books we read, I loved. So now I have to read more by each of them. “Writers and Lovers” is King’s most recent, “Lullaby” sounded interested, and I have heard so much about “Parable of the Sower” in the last few months that I had to add it.

What are you reading this summer? Have you read any on this list? What did you think?

TTT: Books with one adjective in the title

Titles vary from book to book. Some are long and descriptive. Some are merely a word or two. For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, we are looking at the title that have one adjective. So here are a few books that are simple but the titles work.

TTT: Books on my Spring 2022 TBR

Spring is less than a week away and I couldn’t be more excited. As I sit here writing this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, all I can see is the snow outside my window, the result of a nasty snowstorm that hit us over the weekend. All winter long, we barely got any snow and then a few weeks before Spring and we are getting pommeled. Thankfully, the weather calls for temperatures to be in the 60s all week so that’s a start. Let’s hope that we don’t get any more false springs here in upstate NY.

Since I am more than willing to leave winter behind me, I am excited to share with you all my planned reading list for the spring season.

Beautiful Country” by Qian Julie Wang

I have been really interested in immigration stories of late and this memoir by Qian Julie Wang definitely feels worth reading. I have not heard much about this book in the bookish world but the synopsis has me sold. I think this is going to be a five-star read.

The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood

Ever since I acquired this book, it has been calling to me from my bookshelves. I loved Oryx and Crake, the first book in this trilogy and “The Year of the Flood” is book two. I think it is going to be just as good and deals with climate change, a topic that has been highlighted in society over the past few years.

Damnation Spring” by Ash Davidson

Another book that focuses on the environment. “Damnation Spring” focuses on a family that lives in a logging town who industry is being threatened. The husband is a tree-topper and the wife is determined to highlight the use of pesticides that could be harming their families, which puts them at opposite ends of a conflict. This sounds so interesting. I need to read it, just to see what happens.

The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro

I have yet to read anything by Kazuo Ishiguro but I am constantly seeing him on must-read lists. I figured that I should give him a try. I am not too familiar what this is about since the synopsis doesn’t really say anything. I just will have to read it to find out.

The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai

I had this book on my Spring TBR last year and then never got around to reading it. I know that it focuses on the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and the impacts of it. I have a feeling this book is going to break my heart.

The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair

This classic has been on my shelves for years and I have yet to get around to it. I thought now was a good a time as any. I know that this book is about the meat packing industry but other than that I am completely in the dark. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck

Another classic that I have had for years and never got around to. I have seen nothing but good things about this book except for maybe a few ultra critical reviews about it I remember reading the first page of this and getting sucked in. I have no doubts that I am going to fall in love with the writing of this book.

A Piece of the World” by Christina Baker Kline

I loved “Orphan Train” and have been wanting to read more of Kline’s work since. I picked up this title in the fall and figured now was as good a time as any. It sounds like this is another example of two storylines that end up weaving together. If she does anything like she did with “Orphan Train”, I am all for it.

Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty

The more I read of Liane Moriarty, the more I like her as an author. It’s funny I wasn’t too sure of her at first, but I am glad that I stuck it out. I have been wanting to read “Apples Never Fall” since it came out in September and I have been patiently waiting since it’s on our reading list for book club. This book is giving me “Big Little Lies” vibes and if I am right, I will love it.

Free Food for Millionaires” by Min Jin Lee

I loved Lee’s “Pachinko” which we read for book club a few years ago. I was surprised to learn that it wasn’t her first book. When I saw that this book was out, I immediately grabbed it. I began reading the first page and was instantly drawn by Lee’s writing. I found myself turning a page and had to force myself to stop reading. This may be a nearly 700 pager but I have no doubts I will devour it in a few sittings.

What are you reading for Spring? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

TTT: Books I loved but never reviewed, pt. 2

I have decided to switch it up for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday. Rather than talk about the books I never talk about (since I don’t think there are many), I wanted to focus on the books that I have enjoyed but never gave a formal review for over the last few years. The last time I did this type of post was in 2018 so I thought it was time to do it again.

I knew when I first saw the cover for this book that I was going to love it. And alas, I was right. This book was such an emotional and inspiring read that I would recommend to anyone. However, when it came down to writing a review, I just couldn’t seem to write down my thoughts. They were too scrambled and I didn’t know where to begin.

I still think about this book and I read it months ago. It’s the creepiest book ever and yet I want to read the other books in the series just to see how it ends. I had every intention of reviewing this book but just never got around to it.

Ok, so if you were following me when I first found this book, you know I was raving about it. Zakiya Dalila Harris brought so many issues to the forefront regarding women, race, competition, identity and more. However, trying to put them into a cohesive paragraph of sentences was too much for me. I felt a little overwhelmed by this book in a good way.

Another book I simply never got around to reviewing. Rebecca is absolutely a thrilling book to read as a new wife must compete with the former deceased mistress of the house. The writing in this book was so descriptive that I was definitely creeped out, especially by the servant. Ugh.

I really want to talk with my book club about this book. It’s been so many months since I read this and I still don’t know how to talk about it.

This was a complete surprise for me. I’m not one to gravitate toward Greek mythology and haven’t read any since college. But after reading this retelling about Circe, I am interested in checking out others. I somehow managed to talk about this book with my friends, but never wrote a review for it.

I am bummed that I didn’t review this book because I am beginning to read more and more of Moriarty. Big Little Lies is one of books with the twist at the end. However, now that I am thinking about it, maybe I should do a book vs. show comparison.

Ok so did I read this book in November 2019? Yes.
Did I write a review? No
Did an actual pandemic start spreading and killing people? Why yes it did
Need I say more?

Ironically when I last did this post, “The Night Circus” was on the list. There is just something about Erin Morgenstern’s writing that is so good that it takes the words away. Only those who read her can fully understand the magic.