Top Ten Tuesday: Stepping Stones

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

Today, we’re looking back on our lives as readers and giving shout-outs to the books that led us along our way.

1. American Girl books. I owned (okay, still own) tons of these books. They were often educational, sometimes inspiring, and always interesting.

2. “Amelia’s Notebook” by Marissa Moss. I’ve slacked off on journaling over the last several years, but when I was younger, I journaled constantly. “Amelia’s Notebook” helped me sort out growing-up issues and also inspired a little more personality in my own diary writing.

3. Animorphs by KA Applegate. Remember Scholastic book orders? I think I can safely attribute my discovery of written science fiction to these books. I was very pleased to see that they had been reissued in the last year or so.

4. “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. I read almost all of Crichton’s books between seventh and eighth grade, but “Jurassic Park” stands out.

5. “Insomnia” by Stephen King. This was in eighth grade. I was feeling pretty grown-up now that I was reading stuff like Michael Crichton books, so I thought I would dive into Stephen King. I think I made it through this book and part of “It” before I realized I had completely overshot.

6. “Illustrated Man” by Ray Bradbury. I wish I could remember exactly when I first read this because it’s had a huge impact on both my reading and writing lives ever since.

7. “Arrows of the Queen” by Mercedes Lackey. I got this trilogy for my 13th birthday. My mom had been asking her friends for suggestions for fantasy authors, and Lackey’s name had come up. Thus began a years-long journey to acquire full bookshelf of Lackey books, and a certain guilty-pleasure appreciation for cliché fantasy novels.

8. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Originally I read this for high school. Much discussion of the green light ensued, and I didn’t read it again until college – only to discover that I really enjoyed it. That re-read encouraged me to revisit some of the other classics that I had written off in high school.

9. “The Castle of Crossed Destinies” by Italo Calvino. I might have enjoyed this one more if I had more of an understanding of tarot cards, but even without that, this book makes for a very interesting read. It helps me keep an open mind when approaching other surrealist/meta works.

10. Sandman by Neil Gaiman. I knew there was more to graphic novels than just Marvel and DC superheroes, but I had no idea where to start exploring them. I don’t remember what prompted me to pick “Sandman,” but it opened the door to less mainstream graphic novels, and made me unashamed to start adding more graphic novels – including lots of X-Men – to my shelves.


Top Ten Tuesday: Vivid Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week I’m listing my top ten place books – books that had such a realistic setting that I felt like I was there, no matter when or where that setting was.  Whether or not I’d actually want to be there is a whole ‘nother issue.

1) The Arena, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  Even more so than “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire” made me feel like I was struggling through the arena with Katniss.  The arena designed for the Quarter Quell is unique, terrifying, and scarily easy to visualize.

2) Paris, The World at Night and The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst. Atmospheric settings are Furst’s specialty, but he writes about Paris with a dark and aching nostalgia that stays with you.

3) New Crobuzon, “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville.  This grimy mashup of Cairo and Industrial Age-London is built beneath the towering ribs of a giant dead creature.  It’s inhabited by eagle-people, bug-people, cactus-people, people-people, genetically modified people, crime lords, artists, prostitutes, totalitarian soldiers, and scientists.  It’s hot and smelly and sprawling.  How all of this came out of one dude’s head is beyond me.

4) Battle school, “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.  Assuming you weren’t Ender, and you weren’t responsible for defending Earth from alien invaders, and no one was out to cause you terrible injuries, having organized battles in zero gravity would probably be pretty awesome.

5) Salinas Valley, “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck.  The valley’s varied colors, unpredictable weather, and precarious relationship with water make it a beautiful, timeless, and ever-so-slightly ominous setting.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Places

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week is a freebie, so I’m revisiting my favorite settings!

1. Gatsby’s house, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It’s the ultimate party pad!  Huge, expensive, tastefully decorated, located on the water, flowing with champagne, packed with beautiful people cutting loose…and all that drama seething under the surface.  Ahhh.

2. MerytonPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Their lives consist of going to balls, going on walks, reading books, and conversing through witty banter.  I could deal.

3. The Capital, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I know you’re not supposed to like the Capital, but who wouldn’t like a place where food popped out of the wall at a push of a button?  And imagine all the outfits you’d see – it would be like walking into a Vogue photo shoot directed by Tyra Banks on LSD.

4. The Abhorsen’s house, Sabriel by Garth Nix. This comfy fortress is perched on the edge of a waterfall and contains a library, a flying machine, and an irritable cat-spirit.

5. The Dreaming Realm, the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman.  I think this place would only be fun if you were Dream himself, with the ability to manipulate every detail of your reality, but let’s say Dream was just letting you chill with his powers for a while.  You could hop from mind to mind, collecting things from people’s dreams, then return to his realm and do whatever fantastic things struck your fancy.

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Links Lundi

For anyone else who’s read “The Magicians.” SO TRUE.

Nine women and the anonymous care-package business they kept a secret for 30 years.

The delicate dance of control issues in terms of self-image.

You have until tomorrow night to enter the giveaway celebrating Reading In Skirts’ first birthday!

Also from Reading In Skirts: check out Fatsronauts, a new series taking on fat stereotypes.

Use your mornings better.  Pretty useful for me, considering the only thing I’d be able to put on a list like this is “drink more coffee.”

How to drink like your favorite writer.  Hopefully Ray Bradbury drank something that sounded tastier, because gin and whiskey concoctions aren’t really my thing… (via Desktop Retreat)

Homemade Pixie Stix.  HOMEMADE. PIXIE. STIX.

Links Lundi

Why – and more importantly, how – to get rid of “booth babes” at tech conferences: “What you end up with is the situation where you, as a conference goer, walk up to a booth and, because you’re no stranger to how this works, ignore any attractive woman and talk directly to a male at the booth. You assume immediately that any attractive female is there simply for their physical appearance, not for the value that their knowledge brings. This is wrong on every level, and it’s an insidious form of objectifying women – it happens gradually, over time, and the more booth babes you see, the more ingrained it becomes.”

From the Department of Awesome Girls: 11-year-old chases off armed burglars with curtain rod.

A good visual argument for wearing sunscreen, even if you don’t think you’re going to be in the sun.

I didn’t think I would, but I’m kinda digging the new Trina Turk collection at Banana Republic, especially this dress and the accessories.  What do you think?

Anglophiles and foodies will enjoy a glimpse at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee lunch menu.

In other England news, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of Shakespeare’s original, pre-Globe theatre!

Life lessons from a former Starbucks employee.

Brittneigh has been getting fit and feels awesome about it, so yay Brittneigh!  And Sarah just did a 5k, so yay for her, too!

The Book Of The Future.

Neil Gaiman writes about Ray Bradbury’s passing.