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Books to Be Read for Erin’s Book Challenge 7.0

Books to Be Read for Erin’s Book Challenge 7.0

This will be my first “official” entry into Erin’s Book Challenge 7.0.  I found Challenge 6.0  three weeks before it ended, so I wasn’t able to intentionally pick my books ahead of time, rather I used the books I had read during the challenge period and tried to make them fit into the categories that were given.  This time the categories were posted June 1st and the Challenge starts July 1st.  I looked through my “To Be Read” list on Goodreads and found books that fit into each category. I’m looking forward to this!

5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages

  • To Be Determined

 10 points:  Read a book that starts with the letter “B”

  • Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan

10 points:  Read a book that has a (mostly) yellow cover

  • The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley

15 points:  Read a book that has a picture of an animal on the cover (submitted by Mattie)

20 points:  Read a book that was published in 2017 (submitted by Olya)

  • Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick

 20 points:  Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title (submitted by Mary)

  • Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South

 25 points:  The ALA’s “Banned Books Week” occurs while our challenge is happening.  Read a book from this list of the most commonly banned books in America: 

 30 points:  Read a Book about Mental Illness

  • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

30 points:  Read a book with a non-human main character; i.e. animals, elves, gods, robots, merpeople, etc. (submitted by Bev)

35 points:  Read a book a Disney movie was based on OR a book based on a Disney movie (submitted by Kirsten); Don’t forget to check that the book is at least 200 pages:

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Thirteen Reasons Why: Book vs.Series

Thirteen Reasons Why: Book vs.Series

Thirteen Reasons Why.

Everyone has been talking about the TV series on Netflix.  It has gotten a very bad rep because it deals with the topic of suicide.  Teenage suicide.  Ugg.  Quite a heavy topic and not one I was super gung-ho to delve into, but many of my friends on FB kept talking about it.  I was intrigued.  If you’ve been hiding under a rock, it is the story of Clay Jensen, a teenage boy who was left with cassette tapes that his friend Hannah Baker had made, explaining thirteen reasons why she committed suicide.  He is instructed to listen to the tapes in order, each highlighting a specific person who had created turmoil for Hannah up until her dying day.  Pretty morbid, eh?

Of course, being the bookworm that I am, when I found out that the series was based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, I had to read the book first.  A big thanks to Krysten for offering to let me borrow her copy.  If I were to wait for the ebook to become available at my library, it would’ve taken another 6 months! So I read the book.

I liked the book.  It was quite easy to read.  Each chapter told the story or “reason” that led up to Hannah’s suicide, as told by Hannah via the tapes.  Hannah seemed quite sweet and although few teenage girls would enjoy having a reputation as a “slut”, I found it hard to believe that all these things would lead to a girl committing suicide.  She was not outright bullied or taunted.  The characters on the tapes were mostly able to move on after her death.  The ending wasn’t super sad.  My thoughts were, “Really, Hannah? Was it really that bad??” I know the teen years can be hard but I also know it can be much worse than Hannah had it.  Certainly not life-ending.  I still gave the book 5 Stars because it was different than any other book I’ve read.

Then I started watching the series on Netflix.  

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know what happens!!

Wow,  The series on Netflix took this story to a whole new level.

The story starts very much the way it did in the book; Clay comes home to discover a box of cassette tapes.  Obviously the producers needed to embellish the original story to create a good TV drama but they changed soooooo much!!!! I didn’t take notes as I read or watched, but several differences stood out.

Tony.  He was not a super huge or important character in the book, but he played a very big role in the series.  Everywhere you looked, there was Tony.  Observing everyone and being the savior when needed.  

Hannah’s parents. In the series they were pursuing a lawsuit against the school, alleging that the school was at fault and that they didn’t do enough to stop Hannah from being bullied. 

Clay.  He was portrayed as a nerd in the series and they had him looking like he was going off the deep-end (ex. the scene when he is riding his bike away from Blake’s house, all bloodied up and looking crazy as hell).  He beat himself up mentally about Hannahs death and how he could possibly be involved. Also, his mom was an attorney representing the school district in the series.  That was never included in the book.

Courtney.  In the book she was a very naughty girl who was excited about the idea of a creeper watching her through the window.  The scene with her and Hannah basically had the girls pretending they had a drawer full of sex-toys that they were excited to use.  In the series, however, Courtney was a somewhat shy Asian girl who was raised by gay dads.  And she was hiding in the closet herself.  In the series she and Hannah were making out and the creeper took photos of them in action.

Zach.  In the series he was this handsome, smart jock.  A much bigger part of the overall story than he was in the book.

Alex.  Alex had a much bigger role in the series.  The series also ends with Alex blowing his brains out. WHAT?!! Then they just left us hanging.  

Hannah.  In the series, Hannah was raped by Blake.  This never happened in the book.  My theory is they needed a really strong reason to really push Hannah over the edge.  This did it.  In the book she never lost her parents’ money, and she died after taking pills.  The series showed a graphic scene of Hannah slitting her wrists in the bathtub. 

The entire group.  In the series they conspired and even plotted against Clay.  They never planted marijuana on him in the book. In the series there were even references of taking him out because they were afraid he would share the tapes with school or the authorities. They also called Hannah a liar and would hardly admit any involvement or wrongdoing

These are just a few of my takeaways.  Has anyone else read the book and watched the series?? What did you think?  I hear there will be a second season to the Netflix series.  

Book Challenge by Erin 6.0

Book Challenge by Erin 6.0

Despite being busy working full-time, mom to two young boys, running a side business, and just living life, I also make time whenever possible to read.  I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 30 books this year.  That equates to 2 1/2 books every month.  So far I am slightly ahead of schedule.  I found this fun Book Challenge by Erin 6.0 early in April this year and even though I missed the first three months of time to intentionally partake (Jan 1-April 30, 2017), I jumped in anyway.  I used only books that have been read in 2017, but was able to make several of them count for the different categories 😉  I got 140 points of a possible 200

Here is the link to Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 Wrap-UP

5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages. Thirteen Reasons Why. Very good! Different than the series in many ways.

·         10 points:  Read a book that starts with the letter “W”.

·         10 points:  Read a book with six words in the title.
So many numbers of words in titles but none of them had 6. Bummer!


·         15 points:  Read a book that has a (mostly) green cover.

·         20 points:  Read a book with a homonym in the title
Didn’t get this one
·         20 points:  Read a book by your favorite author.  I absolutely loved The Nightengale and have read several others by Kristin Hannah.  Chose this one for the challenge.
·        25 points:  Read a book set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live.  I found a list that has books grouped by the State they are set within.  The Shoemaker’s Wife was on the list for Minnesota and was also on my TBR list, so I gave it go. Loved it!! Historical fiction.  It also took place in Italy and then later the Iron Range of MN.

·         30 points:   Read a “Rory Gilmore” book.  The character of Rory from the Gilmore Girls was shown reading over 300 different books throughout the series. 
I’ve read 59 of the books on this list but didn’t read any since Jan 1st.
·         30 points:   Read a book from a genre that you’ve never read (or rarely read.) This is a ROMANCE novel, which I did not realize until I started reading it.  I have no problem with romance novels, but it’s been YEARS since I’ve read one.  I prefer books with depth and substance.  This wasn’t the type of romance that had me quivering with passion or anything, it was actually quite boring but I had time to kill and limited ebooks to read when I got sick with the Flu back in March.
·         35 points:   Read a book with time travel.  This was one of the most interesting books I read so far this year!! The characters use a machine to travel to parallel universes, with a feel very much like time-travel.  I loved it! And I am not at all a sci-fi girl.
The following people also participated!
Books I’ve Read from Rory Gilmore’s Booklist

Books I’ve Read from Rory Gilmore’s Booklist

I love the Gilmore Girls and I’m also a big bookworm (let’s be friends on Goodreads!).  I was debating what I would blog about today but then I was super inspired by Tex Erin in Sydney’s post today about books, which then led me to her Book Challenge 6.0.  There is a list of specific challenges to fulfill, all related to books.  One of the challenges on BC6.0 is to “Read a “Rory Gilmore” book.  The character of Rory from the Gilmore Girls was shown reading over 300 different books throughout the series. “.  I just finished watching the entire series of GG about 2 months ago and I’ve always been curious what Rory was reading.  I had to copy the list and compare which books I’ve read on this list!!

Here is the official list in ABC order. Many of them are classics and they are all at least ten years old (show ended in 2007), but there are some modern titles as well.  Titles that are BOLD are ones I’ve already read.  There are several others on this list that I own but have not read yet, or I’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book.  I didn’t count those. Several have been on my TBR list for a long time, others I will now have to add. LOL.

Overall, I have read 59 of the 339 books.  

1. 1984 by George Orwell
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9. The Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16. Babe by Dick King-Smith
17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21. Beloved by Toni Morrison
22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23. The Bhagava Gita
24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
30. Candide by Voltaire
31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
32. Carrie by Stephen King
33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
37. Christine by Stephen King
38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
41. The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
42. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
43. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
44. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
45. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
46. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48. Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
49. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
50. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
51. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
52. Cujo by Stephen King
53. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
54. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
55. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
57. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
58. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
59. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
61. Deenie by Judy Blume
62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
63. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
64. The Divine Comedy by Dante
65. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
66. Don Quixote by Cervantes
67. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
68. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
69. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
70. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
71. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
72. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
73. Eloise by Kay Thompson
74. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
75. Emma by Jane Austen
76. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
77. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
78. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
79. Ethics by Spinoza
80. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
81. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
82. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
83. Extravagance by Gary Krist
84. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
85. Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
86. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
87. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
88. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
89. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
90. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
91. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
92. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
93. Fletch by Gregory McDonald
94. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
95. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
96. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
97. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
98. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
99. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
100. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
101. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
102. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
103. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
104. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
105. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
106. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
107. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
108. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
109. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
110. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
111. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
112. The Graduate by Charles Webb
113. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
114. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
115. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
116. The Group by Mary McCarthy
117. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
118. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
119. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
120. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
121. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
122. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
124. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
125. Henry V by William Shakespeare
126. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
127. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
128. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
129. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
130. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
131. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
132. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
133. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
134. How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland
135. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
136. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
137. The Iliad by Homer
138. I’m With the Band by Pamela des Barres
139. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
140. Inferno by Dante
141. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
143. It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton
144. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
145. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
146. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
147. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
148. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
149. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
150. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
151. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
152. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
153. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
154. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
155. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
156. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
157. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
158. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
159. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
160. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
161. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
162. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
163. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
164. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
165. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
166. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
167. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
168. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
169. The Love Story by Erich Segal
170. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
171. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
172. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
173. Marathon Man by William Goldman
174. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
175. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
176. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
177. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
178. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
179. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
180. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
181. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
182. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
183. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
184. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
185. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
186. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
188. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
189. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
190. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
191. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
192. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
194. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
195. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
196. Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
197. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
198. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
199. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
200. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
201. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
202. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
203. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
204. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
205. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
206. Night by Elie Wiesel
207. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
208. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
210. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
211. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
212. Old School by Tobias Wolff
213. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
214. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
215. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
217. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
218. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
219. Othello by Shakespeare
220. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
221. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
222. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
223. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
224. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
225. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
226. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
227. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
228. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
229. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
230. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
231. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
233. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
234. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
235. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
236. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
237. Property by Valerie Martin
238. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
239. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
240. Quattrocento by James Mckean
241. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
242. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
243. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
244. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
245. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
246. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
247. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
248. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
249. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
250. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
251. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
252. Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
253. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
254. Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
255. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
256. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
257. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
258. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
259. The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
260. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
261. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
262. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
263. Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
264. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
265. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
266. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
267. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
268. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
269. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
270. Selected Hotels of Europe
271. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
272. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
273. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
274. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
275. Sexus by Henry Miller
276. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277. Shane by Jack Shaefer
278. The Shining by Stephen King
279. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
280. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
281. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
282. Small Island by Andrea Levy
283. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
284. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
285. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
286. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
287. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
288. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
289. Songbook by Nick Hornby
290. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
291. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
293. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
294. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
295. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
296. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
297. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
298. Stuart Little by E. B. White
299. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
300. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
301. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
302. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
303. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
304. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
305. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
306. Time and Again by Jack Finney
307. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
308. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
309. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
310. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
311. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
312. The Trial by Franz Kafka
313. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
314. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
315. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
316. Ulysses by James Joyce
317. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
318. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
319. Unless by Carol Shields
320. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
321. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
322. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
323. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
324. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
325. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
326. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
327. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
328. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
329. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
330. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
331. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
332. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
333. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
334. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
335. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
336. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
337. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
338. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Books I’ve Read So Far in 2016

Books I’ve Read So Far in 2016

One of the things I’ve missed about my blog is being able to document books I’ve read and sharing ideas with all of you.  I often get book recommendations from other blogs I read and I have a very long list of books I want to read on Goodreads 😉

I switched from hard copies of books to digital books about two years ago (how else do you read when connected to a breast pump? lol) and I haven’t looked back. I have the Kindle app on both my iPad and iPhone and they sync up when connected to wi-fi.  Its awesome!!! I use the Overdrive App to connect to my local library system, so I “borrow” ebooks and have them delivered straight to my devices.  It has been life-changing for me as a reader 😉

So what have I read so far this year??


I’ll admit these books were all read before July so I don’t remember every detail of every book.  I give myself an F on these reviews!!! LOL

The Rosie Project- Funny, interesting characters. 4 stars

Big Little Lies- Quick, suspenseful read.  Tons of characters to keep straight but a fun book. Big twist.

The Husband’s Secret- By the same author above, also quick and suspenseful.

All the Light We Cannot See- Wow!! WWII story that was very beautiful.

The Girl on the Train- Again, very suspenseful.  Loved it! Couldn’t put it down

Paper Towns- Young Adult fiction by John Green.  I enjoyed it

Looking for Alaska- Young Adult fiction by John Green

Me Before You- Took awhile to get into it but it has the saddest ending of any book I’ve read in a LONG time.  Made me cry for hours after I put it down.

The Good Father- A young, single father has to make some tough choices

The Nightengale- Another absolutely amazing book!!! WWII fiction. So good!!

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane- Juvenile fiction.  Super fast read, incredible story.

The Storied Life of AJ Firky- Very sweet story

The Language of Flowers-  Somewhat of a Romance

The Goldfinch- This is a Pulitzer prize winner.  It is incredibly LONG.  I almost abandoned it half way through but the premise and plot is incredible.  Really cool story but I think it could’ve been shortened by at least 200 pages! lol

I’m always looking to add books to my reading list.  What good books have you read so far this year??

NY Times Best Sellers this Week

NY Times Best Sellers this Week

I have been obsessed with books and reading lately.  I have been adding a ton of books to my “To Be Read” list on Goodreads and have also been snooping around on Twitter and blogs during my lunch (when I’m not reading Kindle books on my Ipad 😉
Books that I have already read are in BLUE and books on my “To Read” list are in GREEN
February 7, 2016
1 THE REVENANT, by Michael Punke. (Picador.) Left for dead after a mauling, the master tracker Hugh Glass is consumed by a singular desire for revenge; an inspiration for the 2015 film. 5
2 THE MARTIAN, by Andy Weir. (Broadway.) Separated from his crew, an astronaut embarks on a quest to stay alive on Mars. The basis of the movie. 65
3 MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, by Elena Ferrante. (Europa Editions.) The first installment in the author’s Neapolitan series, about the lifelong friendship between two women. 21
4 BROOKLYN, by Colm Toibin. (Scribner.) An unsophisticated young Irishwoman leaves her home for New York in the 1950s. The basis of the movie. 13
5 THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho. (HarperOne/HarperCollins.) A Spanish shepherd boy ventures to Egypt in search of treasure. 390
6 A MAN CALLED OVE, by Fredrik Backman. (Washington Square.) An angry old curmudgeon gets new next-door neighbors, and things are about to change for all of them — and others. 4
7 ROOM, by Emma Donoghue. (Back Bay/Little, Brown.) The entire world of the 5-year-old boy who narrates this novel is the 11-by-11-foot room in which his mother is being held prisoner. 42
8 THE CHOICE, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central.) How a North Carolina man’s decisions about love and death play out in his life. 22
9 TRUTH OR DIE, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan. (Grand Central.) A lawyer discovers a shocking secret that must be kept out of the wrong hands. 3
10 THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, by Philip K. Dick. (Mariner.) In this alternative history, the Allies lost World War II, and America is ruled by Japan and Nazi Germany. The basis of the Amazon TV series. 9

  1. RADIANT ANGEL, by Nelson DeMille (Grand Central)
  2. ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow/HarperCollins)
  3. 14TH DEADLY SIN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Grand Central)
  4. THE STORY OF A NEW NAME, by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions)
  5. THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND, by Katarina Bivald (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Have you read any of these books? I’ve heard The Revenant was an awesome movie, not sure about the book?

Book Talk: Current NY Times Best Sellers

Book Talk: Current NY Times Best Sellers

I have always prided myself on being well-read and I like to try to stay on top of the Best Sellers.  I guess I am slipping these days because so many of these books I have not yet read!!!  (Although quite a few are on my Wish List).  The books I have already read are highlighted (sad that there are only 6 and 3 of them are the Fifty Shades series).   How about you??? Have you read any of these books? Do any stand out?

I loved Life of Pi and The Alchemist.  Both magical and great!!

These are the Top Trade Fiction paperbackBest Sellers

1 REFLECTED IN YOU, by Sylvia Day. (Berkley, $15.) The sensual story that began in “Bared to You” continues, as Eva and Gideon learn more about each other and deal with unexpected challenges.
2 FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James. (Vintage, $15.95.) An inexperienced college student falls in love with a tortured man who has particular sexual tastes; the first book in a trilogy.
3 FIFTY SHADES FREED, by E. L. James. (Vintage, $15.95.) Reunited, Anastasia and Christian face a world of possibilities, and unexpected challenges; the final volume in a trilogy.
4 FIFTY SHADES DARKER, by E. L. James. (Vintage, $15.95.) Daunted by Christian’s dark secrets, Anastasia ends their relationship — but desire still dominates her every thought; the second book in a trilogy.
5 CLOUD ATLAS, by David Mitchell. (Random House, $15.) Six linked stories involve myriad characters and conflicts: from New Zealand in the mid-19th century with a stowaway Moriori, to a Belgian estate in the 1930s, to 1970s California with a plucky journalist.
6 THE INNOCENT, by David Baldacci. (Grand Central, $14.99.) When something about his latest mission seems wrong, the government assassin Will Robie refuses to kill. Now he’s a target himself, trying to protect a 14-year-old girl at the center of a vast cover-up.
7 * BARED TO YOU, by Sylvia Day. (Berkley, $15.) Eva and Gideon, recovering from difficult pasts, develop an intense, obsessive relationship.
8 LONE WOLF, by Jodi Picoult. (Atria/Emily Bestler, $16.) On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision.
9 LIFE OF PI, by Yann Martel. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin, $14.) An allegory on the high seas, in which a teenage boy and a 450-pound tiger are thrown together in a lifeboat after a shipwreck.
10 THE HARBINGER, by Jonathan Cahn. (FrontLine, $16.99.) A man tells of his encounters with a mysterious figure who has given him a series of messages that hold the secret of America’s future.
11 THE BEST OF ME, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Twenty-five years after their high school romance ended, a man and woman who have gone their separate ways return to their North Carolina town for the funeral of a friend.
12 * WOLF HALL, by Hilary Mantel. (Picador, $16.) Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell clash in the court of Henry VIII; winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
13 GUILTY WIVES, by James Patterson and David Ellis. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Four friends in Monte Carlo for a luxurious girls’ vacation find themselves in prison, accused of an unthinkable crime.
14 THE MARRIAGE PLOT, by Jeffrey Eugenides. (Picador, $16.) Three Brown graduates in the early 1980s — the beautiful, uncertain Madeleine; the charismatic Leonard; and the mystically inclined Mitchell — wrestle with love, religion and coming of age.
15 BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, by Jamie McGuire. (Atria, $15.) Abby believes she has enough distance from her dark past, but at college she’s quickly challenged by an attractive but dangerous man.
16 THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern. (Anchor, $15.) At a magical circus that whirls through major cities at the turn of the 20th century, two young rivals become collaborators as they fall in love.
17 * THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. (Ballantine, $15.) A young woman’s gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others, even as she struggles with her own troubled past.
18 SEVEN YEARS TO SIN, by Sylvia Day. (Kensington, $15.) Seven years after an unexpected encounter, Lady Jessica Sheffield is reunited with Alistair Caulfield — once a scandalous rogue, now a successful merchant — on a ship bound for the West Indies.
19 THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, by Julian Barnes. (Vintage International, $14.95.) An unexpected bequest causes a man in his 60s to question his understanding of the past; winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
20 * DARK PLACES, by Gillian Flynn. (Broadway, $14.) A woman who, as a child, was spared when her mother and sisters were murdered begins to reinvestigate the case against her imprisoned brother.

Also Selling

  1. RULES OF CIVILITY, by Amor Towles (Penguin)
  2. THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho (HarperOne)
  3. ALEX CROSS, by James Patterson (Grand Central)
  4. THE KITCHEN HOUSE, by Kathleen Grissom (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster)
  5. THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE, by Adriana Trigiani (Harper)
  6. SHARP OBJECTS, by Gillian Flynn (Broadway)
  7. THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2012, edited by Heidi Pitlor and Tom Perrotta (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin)
  8. 11/22/63, by Stephen King (Gallery Books)
  9. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein (Harper Paperbacks)
  10. DAMNED, by Chuck Palahniuk (Anchor)
  11. STATE OF WONDER, by Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial)
  12. CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese (Vintage)
  13. WORLD WAR Z, by Max Brooks (Three Rivers)
  14. THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, by Junot Díaz (Riverhead)
  15. CARRY THE ONE, by Carol Anshaw (Simon & Schuster)


On this date I have blogged about:

Recent Reads….

Recent Reads….

Okay, so it isn’t Friday today but this post will still be here in a few days when it IS Friday 😉

The week before Christmas I picked up a stack of books I had been wanting to read from my local library…..

Three weeks later and I have made it through 4 & 2/3rd of them plus another that was not in this stack;)

Ape House By Sara Gruen.  I loved Water for Elephants and was very excited to read this second book by the same author.  It was an intriguing story and a very quick read (not as good as WFE though)

Girls in Trouble.  This was a sad story of a teenage girl who gets pregnant and her parents force her to give her baby up for adoption and all the repercussions of open adoption.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.  Beautiful story of a teenage girl who immigrates to American from Hong Kong and her struggles in the new country.  I loved this, highly recommend.  I spent three consecutive nights reading this, I enjoyed it so much.

The Beach Trees by Karen White.  Another great story that was a mystery.  The uncovering of family secrets and missing persons reminded me a lot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo except this book was much better written! Highly recommend.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  This is a juvenile fiction but it is a very quick read and another fun mystery.  I read it in about an hour

We Is Got Him by Carrie Hagen.  This is a true-crime novel about the first child abduction for ransom in America (1874).  Interesting story but is dragging.  I am not as in to non-fiction but I am determined to get this one finished in the next couple of days.


On this date I have blogged about:

Swapping Books {Great Service for Book Lovers!}

Swapping Books {Great Service for Book Lovers!}

Everyone should know by now that I am a book-lover at heart.  I am not a collector of anything but I think I may have been a book hoarder if you had seen all the books I owned a few years back.  I used to spend tons of money buying every great novel out there but about three years ago I changed my ways.  I sold a giant bookcase I had and needed to do something with my books.  If it was a wonderful book, I kept it.  If not, I listed it on (Which also has hardcover and audio books for swap!) I started swapping books at that time and haven’t looked back since.  By that, I mean that I have not purchased a new book in over three years.  All I pay is $2-3 for shipping a book out to the requestee.  I pay not a dime for the books that are sent to me.

Check out my stats:

Where have these books come from?? All over!

Map of where books were sent to me from

Sometimes you have to get on a waiting list for a book you want and it can take several weeks or even months, but I don’t mind.  I always have a stack of books to read 😉 I typically request a book as soon as I hear about it and wait patiently for it to come.  Once the book is sent to you, it is yours to keep.  Several I have kept for myself, several I have re-listed for someone else to enjoy.

If you are interested in swapping books, I highly recommend Paperbackswap.comMy bookshelf is here, several of these books have been listed for a long time but slowly but surely they are finding new homes.

Are you already using paperbackswap?  If so, please let me know so I can check out your bookshelf and possibly request books from you 🙂

Current NY Times Bestsellers (Mass Market Paperback Fiction)

Current NY Times Bestsellers (Mass Market Paperback Fiction)

I like to pull the NY Times list of Bestsellers from time-to-time to see what has been popular and to get ideas to add to my bookshelf/wishlist. I am an avid reader yet I was surprised that I have only read 8 of the current Top 35 Mass-Market Fiction.  How many of these have you read? Anything good? What should I add to my list?? The ones I have read are marked with ***.

1 ***THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett. (Berkley, $16.) Three women — a white socialite and two black maids — work on a tell-all book about black domestic servants in 1960s Mississippi.
2 SARAH’S KEY, by Tatiana de Rosnay. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95.) A contemporary American journalist investigates what happened to a little girl and her family during the roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942.
3 THE FIFTH WITNESS, by Michael Connelly. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Falling on tough times, Mickey Haller expands his legal practice into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home.
4 * CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese. (Vintage, $15.95.) Twin brothers, conjoined and then separated, grow up amid the political turmoil of Ethiopia.
5 ROOM, by Emma Donoghue. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $14.99.) The entire world of the 5-year-old boy who narrates this novel is the 11-by-11-foot room in which his mother is being held prisoner.
6 THE SIXTH MAN, by David Baldacci. (Grand Central, $14.99.) The lawyer for a man suspected of being a serial killer is murdered, and two former Secret Service agents are on the case.
7 * FREEDOM, by Jonathan Franzen. (Picador, $16.) Franzen’s first novel since “The Corrections” (2001) is both an absorbing portrait of a dysfunctional Midwestern family and a telling snapshot of our troubled times.
8 DEAD OR ALIVE, by Tom Clancy with Grant Blackwood. (Berkley, $18.) The covert intelligence expert Jack Ryan Jr. and his black ops team face their greatest foe: a sadistic terrorist known as the Emir.
9 * THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein. (Harper Paperbacks, $14.99.) An insightful Lab-terrier mix helps his owner, a struggling race car driver.
10 SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK, by David Sedaris and Ian Falconer. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $13.99.) The humorist looks at human nature through darkly comic morality stories enacted by animals.
11 DON’T BLINK, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan. (Grand Central, $14.99.) A magazine reporter accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces.
12 A SECRET KEPT, by Tatiana de Rosnay. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99.) A Parisian brother and sister return to the island of their childhood summers, triggering a deeply disturbing memory.
13 ONE DAY, by David Nicholls. (Vintage, $14.95.) Checking in year by year on the confused, halting romance of two children of the ’80s.
14 * THE RUM DIARY, by Hunter S. Thompson. (Simon & Schuster, $15.) Thompson’s first novel, written in his pre-gonzo days and published in 1998, chronicles the escapades of a morose New York journalist in Puerto Rico in the 1950s.
15 ***THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho. (HarperOne, $14.99.) In this fable, a Spanish shepherd boy ventures to Egypt in search of treasure and his destiny.
16 * ***SAFE HAVEN, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central, $14.99.) A mysterious young woman, while putting down roots in a small North Carolina town, is still haunted by a dark secret from her past.
17 A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, by Jennifer Egan. (Anchor, $14.95.) Time is the relentless “goon squad” in this rock ’n’ roll novel, which explores the tattered lives of a cynical record producer and the people who intersect his world; a 2011 Pulitzer winner.
18 ***THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $14.95.) A hacker and a journalist investigate the disappearance of a Swedish heiress; the first volume in the Millennium trilogy.
19 FALL OF GIANTS, by Ken Follett. (NAL, $25.) Five interrelated families from five countries are caught in the upheavals of World War I and the Russian Revolution.
20 ***WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen. (Algonquin, $14.95.) Distraught after the death of his parents in a car accident, a young veterinary student — and an elephant — saves a Depression-era circus.
  1. ***THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
  2. ***HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (Ballantine)
  3. MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND, by Helen Simonson (Random House)
  4. LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
  5. A DOG’S PURPOSE, by W. Bruce Cameron (Forge)
  6. COURAGEOUS, by Randy Alcorn (Tyndale)
  7. A CLASH OF KINGS, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
  8. A FEAST FOR CROWS, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
  9. THE MERCY, by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House)
  10. THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011, edited by Geraldine Brooks and Heidi Pitlor (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin)
  11. THE KITCHEN HOUSE, by Kathleen Grissom (Touchstone)
  12. ***THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
  13. A GAME OF THRONES, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
  14. THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, by Kate Morton (Washington Square)
  15. FLY AWAY HOME, by Jennifer Weiner (Washington Square)
The Millenium Series {Book Bandwagon}

The Millenium Series {Book Bandwagon}

Have you read any of the books in the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson yet?

After hearing a lot about these books last year, I had to jump on the bandwagon.  I am a total book-worm and I will often read books that everyone else is reading too, just to see what the B.F.D. is all about, you know?

I started The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at the beginning of Jan 2011.  I got this book at after waiting several months for a copy to become available.  It took some time and patience to get into the beginning of the story, it was very obviously written by a man.  About 1/4 of the way through I became totally sucked in.  There were three main story-lines that were woven together throughout the story, that of journalist Mikael Blomkvist, that of the girl with the dragon tattoo aka Lisbeth Salander,  and that of the Granger family and the mysterious disappearance of their young Harriet.  Excellent book, my favorite of the series.  It took me a few weeks to read this.

I read a couple of books in between TGWTDT and The Girl Who Played with Fire, before I decided to buy the mass market paperback.  This story started off with a bang and the next thing you know Lisbeth Salander is accused of murder and there is a massive manhunt to find her while she tries to take down a criminal named Zala.  This book was suspenseful but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book.  I started it at the beginning of March and it took me probably 2-3 weeks to read it.

I read a few more books in between TGWPWF and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  I requested this book at the library months earlier and was finally able to get it at the beginning of April.  This book was a continuation of the storyline from the second book, TGWPWF, and picked up where the other left off.  I read this one fairly quick and enjoyed the second half the most.

Overall I thought the series was an interesting read, although it took me four months to read them all (with a few books in between).  I am glad I read them but it wouldn’t be the end of the world had I NOT read them.  The flow of the books was very back-and-forth between story lines and characters and just about the entire series took place in Sweden.  I found myself tuning out names and places because I couldn’t make any connection to them.  Definitely a different experience than “my usual” to read foreign novels written by a man.  The first book was the best one, in my opinion.

I watched the first two movies as well (streamed through Netflix) and thought they were pretty accurate but far less detailed.  Very graphic, they don’t hold much back in Sweden!

Have you read any of these books yet? What did you think?

Tuesday Top 20: Current NY Times Best Sellers

Tuesday Top 20: Current NY Times Best Sellers

I have been gathering books for my summer reading, has anyone read any of these latest Bestsellers??? The one I have read are highlighted.

1 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen. After his parents die in a car accident, a young veterinary student — and an elephant — save a Depression-era circus. 116

2 THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett.  Three women — a white socialite and two black maids — work on a tell-all book about black domestic servants in 1960s Mississippi. 2

3 THE 9TH JUDGMENT, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.  A mother and her child are gunned down, and Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club have only a shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled in lipstick. 1

4 CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese. (Vintage, $15.95.) Twin brothers, conjoined and then separated, grow up amid the political turmoil of Ethiopia. 64
5 THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein. (Harper Paperbacks, $14.99.) An insightful Lab-terrier mix helps his owner, a struggling race car driver. 97

6 SOMETHING BORROWED, by Emily Giffin. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99.) A maid of honor to her charmed friend, Rachel White has always played by the rules. But that changes on her 30th birthday. 2

7 THE POSTMISTRESS, by Sarah Blake. (Berkley, $15.) A tale of two worlds and two women delivering the news in 1940: Iris James, a spinster who runs the post office in a coastal Massachusetts town, and Frankie Bard, a reporter in London with Edward R. Murrow. 11

8 HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford. (Ballantine, $15.) A friendship between a Chinese-American boy and a Japanese-American girl in Seattle during World War II. 47

9 * HEART OF THE MATTER, by Emily Giffin. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99.) Two women in a Boston suburb have little in common beyond a fierce love for their children, but their lives converge after a tragic accident. 5

10 EVERY LAST ONE, by Anna Quindlen. (Random House, $15.) After a shocking assault on her family, a woman must discover how to live the rest of her life. 3

11 * THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO,by Stieg Larsson. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $14.95.) A hacker and a journalist investigate the disappearance of a Swedish heiress; the first volume in the Millennium trilogy. 95
12 THE JUDGMENT, by Beverly Lewis. (Bethany House, $14.99.) In Lancaster County’s Amish country, an engaged woman still pines for a man who has left the community under a cloud of suspicion. 2
13 LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave. (Simon & Schuster, $14.) The lives of two women collide: a Nigerian refugee and an English magazine editor to whose home the refugee escapes after fleeing an immigration detention center. 61
14 THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $15.95.) In Volume 2 of the Millennium trilogy, the Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander becomes a murder suspect. 56
15 * MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND, by Helen Simonson. (Random House, $15.) Love and cultural conflict among characters loosed in an English village. 20
16 APE HOUSE, by Sara Gruen. (Spiegel & Grau, $15.) Bonobos disappear from a research laboratory and turn up on reality TV, to the consternation of a scientist who studies them. 2
17 PRIVATE, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Jack Morgan, a former Marine and the head of an investigative firm, pursues the murderer of his best friend’s wife. 8
18 A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, by Jennifer Egan. (Anchor, $14.95.) Time is the relentless “goon squad” in this rock ’n’ roll novel, which explores the tattered lives of a cynical record producer and the people who intersect his world.
19 THE ISLAND, by Elin Hilderbrand. (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay/Little, Brown, $14.99.) A woman, her daughters and her sister take refuge from life’s complications on a tiny island near Nantucket, but their time there is far from quiet. 6
20 * THE IMPERFECTIONISTS, by Tom Rachman. (Dial, $15.) The goings-on, presented from myriad points of view, among the neurotic staff of an English-language newspaper in Rome. 13


Chilled to the Bone and other Random Stuff

Chilled to the Bone and other Random Stuff

Hello there, blogging peeps.  Have you forgotten about me since I have practically fallen from the blogging sphere?  I haven’t forgotten you, I promise!

Just Busy, Busy, Busy.  I started this post 10 days ago and never got around to finishing it.

I hate that overwhelming feeling that you have too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  Something’s got to give.  First on  that list is the Photo Hunt Challenges.  I passed the buck to another hostess because I haven’t had the time or desire to work on it for several months now.

Anyway, here are some random things I have been too busy to blog about lately

  • It has been the LONGEST WINTER EVER.  I am so sick of the cold and all the snow, I am just dying to go somewhere warm.  If I could, I would leave tomorrow!!! My parents just got back from a  2 1/2 week Panama Canal cruise.  I am uber jealous!! I have no plans to go anywhere this year.
  • Have been reading a lot because this is the only time I feel relaxed.  It is something I make time for in order to keep my sanity. These are all the books I have read in the past 6 weeks: The Kite Runner, Middlesex, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shadowland & Dark Flame (#3-4 in Immortals series), Extremely loud and Incredibly Close.  Currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire.
  • My birthday is tomorrow.  My man is taking me out for a fancy dinner at Heartland, the #1 restaurant in the Twin Cities.  We have had these plans for quite some time now, you have to make reservations well in advance.  Celebrating with my family on Sunday.
  • I did my taxes last weekend, just waiting for the 14th for the IRS to accept itemized returns.  I don’t get much of a refund anymore and every penny goes in the bank for summer living….. still a shortfall of thousands.  Hopefully I will be working full-time again this summer.
  • Speaking of work, my schools will be officially merged next year  with a new name (Saint Paul Music Academy) and they are extending our school day by one hour to help increase achievement.  Not sure what my actual schedule will look like (an hour earlier or later?) but I will be getting an 8% salary increase because of it.  Score!
  • I went to dinner with my bff last weekend and it was great to sit with her and talk for hours.  Really great! I really miss a lot of my girlfriends, feeling lonely for companionship.  Nobody makes much of an effort anymore, including myself and it makes me very sad.  I resolve to make a better effort, hopefully it is reciprocated.
  • I need to start taking more non-food photos.  One of these days when I can miraculously steal some hours I will post all of my favorites from 2010 that were taken with my Nikon D5000.
  • I DID do a photo shoot a few weeks ago for some friends…… an outdoor hockey photo shoot.  It was fun! Will post those this weekend.
  • I think this long winter is making me very unmotivated.  Something is, anyway.  Maybe it is my Vitamin D deficiency? I didn’t make that up.  I had blood tests done a few weeks ago and I am perfectly normal in every way except for the Vit D.  I think my DR should have prescribed a sunny, hot vacation.  That would be awesome if insurance would pay for that! It would definitely improve my health.
  • The Packers beat the Steelers in the Superbowl.  I don’t like either team, I wore Purple all day.  I didn’t really watch the game although I was at a Superbowl gathering.  Didn’t even catch any of the commercials but I did make cream cheese jalapeno wontons from scratch that were delicious.  I will make them again and post the recipe. We also had hamburgers and brats on the grill and brownies for dessert.
  • Anyway, that is all I’ve got for now, I better post this before the draft sits in my dashboard for another two weeks!
Best Books of the 21st Century

Best Books of the 21st Century

I have recently gotten my bookshelf in better shape over at….. as far as updating books I have read.  I could spend hours on that site adding books I have read to my bookshelf, there are literally hundreds if not thousands.  I came across this Goodreads list of The Best Books of the 21st Century and I am sharing the Top 35 with you today (the ranking goes MUCH higher than 35, so you’ll have to visit Goodreads to find out about the others).  I have read 20/35 of these books (as marked) and I have to say they were definitely some of my most favorite books.  I may not watch much TV but I do pride myself on being well-read and I am going to make it a point to read the ones I haven’t read yet (Especially The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns).  There are many other lists of books at Goodreads too, check them out!

What I Have Been Reading Lately

What I Have Been Reading Lately

My last post about books was a few months ago and I have since  added a few books to my “READ” list.

These two I read mostly while I was in TX & Traveling:

Definitely entertaining! I actually read the 3rd memoir (Such a Pretty Fat) by Jen Lancaster last summer and then went back and read these first two.  If you are interested in reading any of these books and you belong to let me know and I will post the books for you.  They are slightly worn on the cover but in otherwise good shape.  If you don’t belong to, I highly recommend it.  My bookshelf can be found here.

Then by recommendation of the lovely Krysten at After ‘I do‘ (HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRYSTEN!!), I read the classic Valley of the Dolls written in 1966. 54 years ago!  This was a long but quickly paced book about three young women in 1945 who make it to the big time  in NYC.  The story surrounds their dramatic lives which includes plenty of sex (including homosexuality) and prescription drugs.  Very racy for its time.

I am currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.  This is the book from which the movie Simon Birch was loosely based on.  Do you remember that movie?  This is also a book from the Lifetime Reading List.  My goal is to continue reading one book on this list for every other book I read.  I don’t read as often as I used to but should hopefully make a small dent in the list as long as I make the effort.  How is your progress on this list?? Do any of you have another reading list you use? If so, please share.

Books that I recently ordered and plan to read next are:

  • The Cider House Rules by John Irving (loved the movie!)
  • The Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Evermore (Immortals Bk 1) by Alyson Noel
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver (started it while in TX but abandoned it after a few chapters, need to try again)

What have you been reading lately?? I often order new books based off your suggestions, so please share!

PS  Make sure to add me as a contact on if you’re a fellow member.  Not a member? What are you waiting for, go sign up!!!   Make sure to tell ’em I sent ya!

Two Books in One Week…..

Two Books in One Week…..

It appears I have finally gotten over my reading slump!

All it took was finding a good book I could get into and making the time to read it.

Book 1: Push by Sapphire.

I have never seen the movie Precious, but this is the book that the movie was based on.  My girl Rolana sent this to me at least 6 months ago and I put it away and it got lost on my bookshelf until last week.  The book is an easy read however it is graphic, somewhat shocking and upsetting.  It is a fictional story of a teenage girl who is sexually abused by both her mother and father, producing two children by the time she is 15 or 16 (fathered by her own father), but wants to rise above it all.

Book 2:  The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage

This one was another really quick read, a psychological thriller. The story takes place in a small conservative community outside Albany, NY and is about a twisted connection between a local Dr, his wife, a famous local painter and the painter’s wife.  Some of the storyline

includes abortion, affairs and a kidnapping.  Very suspenseful!

Next up is We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Thoughts for Thursday: Amazon Kindle and Electronic Reading Devices

Thoughts for Thursday: Amazon Kindle and Electronic Reading Devices

I have made it no secret over the years that I am an avid reader.  I love to read and I have been a bookworm my entire life, you can see the long list of books I have read in the past few years in my sidebar or even see some of my book talks here. I love BOOKS, I have hundreds of them and yes, they do take up a lot of space.  Despite all of that, I don't think I could ever replace my beloved printed books with a digital reading device such as Amazon Kindle or Sony eBook or  Papyrus or any of the other devices currently out there.

I can see how these reading devices are convenient, especially if you travel a lot, but I would genuinely miss the action of turning the pages, the smell of a book.  I know it might seem weird but some of my best memories as a kid are of reading Little Golden Books and the smell they had.  There are so many wonderful picture books out for kids now that I cannot even think about how these devices would be used with children.  All I know is that it would be a travesty if picture books ever disappeared.

What do you think about electronic reading devices? Do you have one or would you like one? Or are you a traditional printed-book-person like me? Do you think these devices will increase in popularity in time and eventually put printed books out of business or will man-kind return to the simple things liking reading real books after this craze has ended?

Other TFTs this week:

Kim on Inadequacy

Little Readers….

Little Readers….

My parents had a little brunch this past Sunday and I got to spend a little bit of time with my nieces.  It is amazing to me how smart they are and how quickly they catch on to things.  They are smarter every time I see them!

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The girls had fun reading their books and they looked so cute while doing so!

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IMG_8858 copy That's all for now…. I just wanted to brag for a minute about how cute and smart they are 😉