Top Ten Tuesday: Remember Remember

Top Ten Tuesdayis 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’s topic is “older” books we don’t want anyone to forget about.  Often readers get caught up in the excitement of new releases (“The Casual Vacancy,” anyone?) and the books that came out two or three years ago tend to lose steam.  I’m splitting this list into two sections: those recent releases that need to be refreshed, and classics that should not under any circumstances be allowed to fade, whether or not they’re actually in danger of doing so.

First, the modern:

1. “Shadows of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  Every time someone mentions “The Name of the Wind,” this is the book I think of.  It has mysterious deaths, unique books, forbidden romance, Spanish history…basically exactly nothing that is in “Name of the Wind.”  I have yet to read its two sequels, but since the third supposedly connects the first two, I’m interested in finally reading them.

2. “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri.  “The Namesake” will probably live on as Lahiri’s most famous novel, but since she won a Pulitzer for “Maladies,” her very first collection of stories, I think this deserves to be remembered more.

3. “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer.  I got my mom and sister to read this one and we all loved it, but I’m afraid of it fading away as another one-hit-wonder summer-book-club read.  It deserves a place among well-read comfort-food books like “Pride & Prejudice.”

4. “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I haven’t read anything else by Ishiguro yet, and although he’s most famous for “Remains of the Day,” I would hope this one survives as one of his most popular works.

5 “The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril” by Paul Malmont.  This one may not get remembered much since I don’t think many people read it in the first place, but I loved it.  It’s shameless bibliophile pulp fun.

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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: Readalikes

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, the theme is readalikes.  The original prompt asked for ten books similar to each other, but unless I did a list comprised solely of Alan Furst or Ray Bradbury books, I wouldn’t be able to come up with much.  Instead, I’m doing pairs of readalikes.

Dark Angels by Karleen Koen reads like The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.  These probably read like a host of other books – royal intrigue doesn’t vary much – but they share a lot of similarities.  Both feature young female protagonists, based on real women, who establish themselves as ladies-in-waiting in a court buzzing with rumors of the king wanting to divorce his barren queen.

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont reads like The Serialist by David Gordon.  Both books feature slightly shlubby protagonists teaming up with beautiful women to solve dastardly crimes, with a bonus homages to the magic of books and writing itself.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Quotes

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 we’re discussing our favorite lines!  Being an English major has sort of turned me off from making note of good quotes – being required to do something has that effect – but it hasn’t stopped me from pausing to re-read a particularly beautiful line.

I’m reading “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck right now and I’m guessing I’ll be reading it for another few weeks.  It’s a long, dense book, and I want to absorb all of it because it’s also darn beautiful.  I’ve been marking a few favorite lines as I read:

1. “The direction of a big act will warp history, but probably all acts do the same in their degree, down to a stone stepped over in the path or a breath caught at sight of a pretty girl or a fingernail nicked in the garden soil.”

2. “To a man born without a conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous.  To a criminal, honesty is foolish.  You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”

3. “Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on.”  This was in a paragraph about the passage of time and how it’s the parts of our lives where a lot happens that seem the longest.  By contrast, it’s when nothing noteworthy occurs that the time seems to disappear.  It’s an interesting idea and of course Steinbeck expresses it succinctly and cleverly.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Spring To-Be-Read

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.

My entire life is a gigantic to-be-read list.  I can’t sort them out seasonally like I can with upcoming movies.  Even though I’ve been on a reading roll, I’m not sure I can pull off another ten books in three months.  A couple of those were YA and not the heavy stuff I intend to read now.

Realistically I’ll probably only get to five books this season, so I’m going with a short list so I don’t feel like a failure when I don’t read another 10 books.

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