Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Based on Their Covers

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

September 15: Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art)

We all know we’re not supposed to judge them that way, but every once in a while you see a book cover that’s so pretty that it’s just love at first sight. Sometimes it’s not pretty but something about it grabs your attention and you need to know more. You know you need to read this book. So here are some book covers that put their books straight on my TBR. Some of the books lived up to the cover hype, some didn’t. But something about these covers drew me in.

  1. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss – This one has the advantage of looking like a wild celebration of nature, while at the same time looking like a skull. It’s beautiful and sinister at the same time. As it turns out, that serves the content of the book well.

2. Educated by Tara Westover– This is another book cover that’s sort of two things at once. First I saw a pencil, and I just thought it was a book about education, with a pencil on the cover. Kind of boring. But when I looked closer, I saw it was also a silhouette of a person against the backdrop of a mountain, and I became more intrigued. Is it a pencil or a mountain? And which is more of an important instrument in the author’s education? It’s up to the reader to decide. The fact that the ground (or paint on the pencil, depending how you see it) is also red. I think that you can read into that too. Red of course suggests blood. Which could mean family, or spilled blood. Again both might be appropriate.

3. Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour- The current cover of this book looks a bit different, but I love the colors of this one. The green and black evoke the natural world at night and the gold lettering and edges suggest something artificial as well. The nettles look like they’re warning you off and yet the leaves feel like it’s drawing you in. And what about the girl? Is she sleeping? dead? comatose? I also like that the shape of this book is different from most (it’s a perfect square) which makes it stand out a bit.

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs– When I first saw this cover I couldn’t figure out why the little girl was so eerie. Was it because she was brighter than the black and white background? Then I realized that she was floating! But even that doesn’t really explain why I find this cover unsettling. But it did intrigue me!

5. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray– I could see how someone might look at this book cover and think they were getting a bodice ripper. But for some reason that wasn’t what I thought of when I saw it. Instead I thought “that girl looks like she’s realizing her corset is too tight” which as it turns out, is a metaphor for a theme in the book. I wasn’t into reading fantasy when I read this book, so I’m glad they didn’t go that direction with the cover. It might have put me off, but this book pulled me back into the genre after some time away.

6. Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews– The audiobook edition is the only one I could find that still has this cover. The current cover is a bit different. I think I was about 11 or 12 when I saw this cover, and knew that I had to read the book to find out who the girl was and why she was trapped in what looked like a dollhouse. To make matters even more intriguing, it was a peephole cover. When you opened it, you saw this image. So I had to read the book to find out what that was about! It probably wasn’t a remotely appropriate book for a kid that age, but the cover sure made it look intriguing!

7. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- Whatever your opinion of sparkly vampires, I think credit goes to the designer who created a really alluring cover. The pale hands against the black background make a great contrast. The apple offered has suggestions of forbidden fruit and loss of innocence. The red against the white and the black also draws you in suggesting blood. It’s natural to see it and think “I want to know what that’s about!”

8. The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen– Sometimes I’m just a sucker for a pretty dress. This quartet features some very pretty dresses on the covers. Check them out (is it cheating to include all 4 in one space on my list?) Actually they’ve changed the covers since these came out, which is kind of a shame IMO. These books were total guilty pleasures, and the dresses on the covers sort of played into that. I’d like to think I’m above such shallow lures, but really, I’m not.

9. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson– I love that this cover sort of fools you. You don’t quite trust your eyes. You think you’re seeing a man and a women locked in a passionate embrace. But then you realize that you’re seeing hats and coats on a coat rack! Oddly I didn’t find that disappointing though, I appreciated the trick. It showed a sort of humor on the designer’s part, and I wanted to see if that humor was continued through the book.

10. The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth– This may be a cheat because I may have read the book even if it had a different cover, because I like the author. But this cover also really drew me in. I think one reason is that blue is my favorite color, and the cover has a lot of it! But also because blue roses are something you don’t see every day. The title refers to a Chinese fairy tale about a man searching for a blue rose for his beloved.

Honorable mention- Persephone ClassicsPersephone Books is a London based bookshop and publisher that reprints neglected works by mid twentieth century writers (mostly female). Most of their books have a plain grey cover. However, they have reissued twelve best sellers with colorful art. The drawback to these is that they don’t have the full color end papers that other Persephone titles have, but the cover art is pretty enough to draw my in on it’s own!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Get TV/Film Adaptations

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

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August 18: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies (submitted by Nushu @ Not A Prima Donna Girl)

Just a note that I don’t limit this to Netflix. Anyone who wants can make these movies/shows.

  1. 91ewbiftngl._ac_uy218_The Secret History by Donna Tartt– I think that if it’s done right, a film adaptation of this novel would be an exercise in creating dramatic tension. The viewer would stay with the limited point of view of Richard, the protagonist, so that we can only know what he knows and see what we sees. It would be frustrating, yes, but deliciously so, just like in the book.
  2. 41xfknijvel-_ac_us218_Villette by Charlotte Bronte– While I love Jane Eyre, it’s been adapted enough. Let’s give some of Charlotte Bronte’s other work a shot! This also has mystery and romance, and I think some of the Gothic/supernatural(?) scenes have the potential to look great on screen.
  3. 51lcp5zpnnl._ac_uy218_A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray– The Victorian Gothic setting combined with secret societies, magic, coming of age drama and romance makes me wonder why this hasn’t been adapted before! Ideally I think I’d want a series with one book per season.
  4. 91jgf9xfe0l._ac_uy218_The Luxe by Anna Godbersen– Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, this would look just lovely onscreen. The plot involves friendship, backstabbing, forbidden romance and betrayal. It would be a wonderful guilty pleasure to watch with a talented cast. Again I think this lends itself to series format with one book per season.
  5. a1d-o9itg-l._ac_uy218_Night Film by Marisha Pessl– Yes, this would turn into a bit of challenge because elements in the book are ambiguous. Film is a more concrete medium and there would certainly be the temptation to give the viewer answers. But other films have handled ambiguity well, so it can be done. I also think the films within the book could be turned into some great films within a film. How a director chooses to interpret those (via casting, visuals, etc) could really say a lot about the events in the story.
  6. 911-t2bi6l._ac_uy218_The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon– I think setting (post war Spain) can lend itself  to some great visuals. The plot, complete with mystery and forbidden love, would easily hold viewers attention. Other books in the Cemetery of the Forgotten series could be done as follow ups (I’m thinking 2-3 episodes per books, so the whole show could be 4 seasons of mini-series, if that makes sense)
  7. 91vfadbawnl._ac_uy218_The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye– I think that this would appeal the the same audiences that are fans of The Alienist and Gangs of New York. We get the corrupt, constantly changing melting pot of 19th century, a compelling hero in Timothy Wilde, and two sequels that serve to make later seasons on a TV series.  Given the (rightful) scrutiny that many police forces are coming under, a look at the roots of the NYPD (good, bad and ugly) could be timely. The story deals with a murder mystery, social issues, family drama, and historical elements.
  8. 81ku7zgvnzl._ac_uy218_Kindred by Octavia Butler– This has a lot to recommend it. It’s an exciting time travel story about a woman trying to ensure that her family is able to exist. That time travel story brings her (and her white husband) to a southern plantation, where they must pretend to be a master and his slave in order to survive. There are a lot of moral dilemmas here too, that can provoke thought and conversation in audiences.
  9. 81q2madzv9l._ac_uy218_ml3_Doomesday Book by Connie Willis– This is actually the only Oxford Time Travel book I’ve read (To Say Nothing of the Dog is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to start it!) but I think that the series could do well on TV. Since there is a common universe (as opposed to characters) they could have a different creative team each season and really mix it up a little bit.
  10. 71rl3ufz0wl._ac_uy218_Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee– This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion but I think that this could be a great and perhaps necessary look at how racism shows up in people who we don’t usually think of as “racist.” To most people (including his daughter) Atticus Fitch is the epitome of a good man. So when she finds out about her father’s racist sympathies Scout is crushed, and tries to reconcile this knowledge with the man she loves. She also looks at her own behavior and the assumptions that she’s always made. I think a lot of people are starting to realize how deeply entrenched racism is in society. This book looks at how it hides even in “good” people, and what happens when heroes are toppled. That’s something that people need to see, even if, (especially if) it’s uncomfortable.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Books I Read With Colors in the Title

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

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August 4: Books with Colors In the Titles

For this week’s topic I decided to go with the last ten I read with colors in the titles.

97801437861601. The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth-Shortly before the Terror of the French Revolution, Viviane, daughter of the Marquis de Ravoisier, falls for David, the landscape architect at her family’s chateau in Brittany. Though he returns her feelings, her father will never allow her to marry the young Welshman. When they’re parted, Viviane is forced to marry another, and joins the court of Louis XVI in Versailles, where she becomes a lady in waiting to Marie Antoinette. Meanwhile David joins a trip to China, with a British ambassador who hopes to open up trade with the east. Though his job in China is to get seeds, in Canton, David hears a fable of impossible love, called The Blue Rose. This inspires him to find Viviane again.

51hxtrvunwl._ac_uy218_2. Sapphire Skies by Belinda Alexandra– Natalya Azarova grew up privileged and happy in Stalin’s pre-war Russia. During WWII, she became one of Russia’s top fighter pilots, before her plane was shot down. No plane or body was ever found, but her reputation in Russia was tarnished by rumors that she was a German spy. Her lover, Valentin Orlov, does his best to combat these rumors and discover the truth of what happened to her. In his 80’s, in the year 2000,  the remains of her plane, along with her sapphire broach are discovered. But still no body. Meanwhile, the same year, Lily, the daughter of a Russian refugee in Australia, who works and works in Moscow, meets and old woman who may know the truth of what happened to Natalya all those years ago.

91i5spgjyyl._ac_uy218_3. Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller– Frances is a middle aged spinster in 1969, when she goes to Lytons, a recently sold British country estate, to catalog antiques. Her only companions are her colleague, Peter, and his wife, Cara. Frances finds herself enthralled with couple and the three become fast friends. But Peter and Cara have secrets that trap them, and may entrap Frances as well.

 

 

81vo0svb2l._ac_uy218_4. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith– This  is the fourth Cormoran Strike book. It begins when a young, mentally ill man named Billy, asks Cormoran to investigate a crime that he witnessed as a child. In spite of the man’s troubled mental state, Cormoran is worried enough to investigate further, even though Billy flees the agency in a panic. Along with his now partner, Robin, Cormoran sets of on an investigation that brings them from the streets of London, to Parliament and to a manor house in the country. I’ve got some not so positive feelings about the author at the moment (Galbraith is a pseudonym for JK Rowling) but if you like the Cormoran Stike series (which I do), you’ll probably like this one.

a1q86cjvzxl._ac_uy218_5.Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik– Miryem’s father is a hopelessly inept moneylender. So, desperate to do what he cannot, she takes over the business. She collects what she can from everyone. From one farmer, she takes the service of his daughter, Wanda, until his debt is paid off. Miryem also makes a boast that is overheard by the Staryk, magical, wintery creatures that control the forest lands. To protect her family, she must complete an impossible task. Meanwhile, Irina, daughter of a duke, is turned into a pawn in her father’s desire to gain power. All of these plots come together in a unique and complex Rumpelstiltskin retelling.

81njuluy7cl._ac_uy218_6. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -Set in Nigeria, this book tells the story of 15 year old Kambili and her older brother Jaja. Kambili and Jaja are wealthy and privileged. Their father is an important person in their local community, known for his generosity. But with his family, he is a religious fanatic and a tyrant. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent outside the city to stay with their aunt. Aunty Ifeoma is a progressive university professor whose home is a relaxed place of laughter and lightness. In her home, Kambili and Jaja experience life without their father’s oppressive presence for the first time. When they return to his house nothing can be the same again.

817roardvyl._ac_uy218_7. The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen– In The Emerald Circus, Jane Yolen includes stories about existing stories and historical events and people. The title story is about Dorothy Gale’s return to Kansas, seven years after the twister took her away (the delay was due to amnesia from a bump on the head.) In another story we read about a feminist labor organizer who travels to Neverland and leads the lost boy’s female counterparts in a strike. We see a geriatric Alice attempt to return to Wonderland one last time. In other stories Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe and Hans Christian Anderson all take center stage. Yolen also includes poems and notes about each story

81susx6ql-l._ac_uy218_8. White Hot Grief Parade by Alexandra SilberActress/singer/novelist/blogger Alexandra Silber turns her skills to memoir, in her most successful literary venture yet (IMHO anyway.) At the age of 17, Silber lost her father to cancer. This intimate memoir covers the year after that loss, during which her three best friends move in with her and her mother to help out. The household supports Silber and her mother through the most difficult period of their lives. Silber recalls the year in many forms, using “straight” prose to tell parts of her story and telling other parts in the form of a play, lists, puzzles and more. She offers us stories and snapshots of her life with her father, interwoven with the “now” of the text, exploring the year after his loss. This book is sad, but it’s surprisingly funny too. Much like the titular “parade” the emotions come one after another in this, sometimes with seemingly little logic. But we’re left with an understanding that’s ultimately hopeful: grief is the price we pay for love, and it’s worth it.

91jnmkvum3l._ac_uy218_9. The Ruby Brooch by Katherine Lowry Logan– This was the first in Logan’s Celtic Booch series.I haven’t read any of the others. Make of that what you will. Kit MacKlenna is the only survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents. Grief stricken, she discovers a legacy that includes a faded letter and a journal that reveals that Kit was abandoned as a baby- 160 years earlier. She is also left a blood spattered shawl, a locket with a portrait of a 19th century man inside, and a Celtic booch with magical powers. Kit decides to use that brooch to travel back in time and get some answers. Cullen Montgomery is a San Francisco lawyer, who seems familiar to Kit. He helps her join a wagon train headed West. But on the dangerous journey he becomes convinced that there’s something that Kit isn’t telling him. Like how can she save lives with medical knowledge no one else possesses? His accusations are dangerous. But the fact that she’s falling for him may be even more so.

51htvi6il._ac_uy218_10. The Blonde by Anna Godbersen– In 1949, Alexei Lazarey met Marilyn Monroe, before she was famous, at Schwab’s in Los Angeles. By the end of the day he got her signed with a talent agency, and the poor, unknown actress was on her way to being a household name. Ten years later, at the peak of her success, Alexei contacts her for repayment. His instructions to her are to find out something about the favorite for the Democratic nomination for President; John F. Kennedy. Something no one else knows. This book re-imagines history in a combination of biography, spy novel and love story.

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books In Need of a Sequel

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

March 12: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

For the record I think some of these were intended to have a sequel which, for whatever reason, didn’t work out. They’re not all standalones though. Sometimes they are a sequel to something else and another sequel is needed. Just a warning, I tried to avoid SPOILERS but there might be  some minor ones here and there.

51islkdgaql-_ac_us218_1. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway– I think the author definitely intended to write a sequel to this book. The ending sets it up and leaves us with a cliffhanger. But  it came out in  2013 and there’s still no word of a sequel, so it’s not looking promising…

51polcsfrl-_ac_us218_2. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor–  Like Gone With the Wind (a book it recalls in several ways), this leaves the characters in a transitional place. What will they do next? Gone With the Wind had an authorized sequel (not a very good one, but it existed…) whereas this doesn’t even have that much.

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3. Love Me by Rachel Shukert– This is the sequel to Shukert’s Starstruck. She was clearly intending this series to be a trilogy at least, but no more books in the series came. I tweeted her once and asked her about it. She said that there were no current plans for anything more in the series.

41xfknijvel-_ac_us218_4. Villette by Charlotte Bronte– I’m going to try not to give away spoilers here, but come on! Did he make it? Didn’t he? If so (or if not!) what happened next! The first time I read it, I actually thought that my copy had pages missing! But I think Charlotte Bronte was pretty daring to end the book this way.

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5. Splendor by Anna Godbersen– Really I just wanted this series to end a bit differently. There were things I liked about it a lot, and things that few really random, contrived, and, in  a few cases, out of character. I’d just like to see some of the loose ends that the book tried to tie up, explored.

51mh-wvb8l._ac_ul436_6. Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs- This ended with one of the characters in a difficult, devastated position. How does he respond? What does he do next? I  understand why it ended where it did. The story this book was telling was over but I think there’s more more the characters.

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7. Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier– This was the sequel to Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing. It was a pretty good read but according to Marillier her publishing company didn’t want to ask for a third because the sales of this one weren’t that great.

51xk9vlpl-l._ac_ul436_8. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue– This had a fairly open ending with the main character about to embark on a quest. It’s a valid choice to end that way, but I want to know what happened next! Did he succeed?

51-eyayn0ol-_ac_us218_9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern– I’m sort of torn because while the ending left the door open for a sequel, I felt like this did have a sense of completion in spite of that. But the setting is so vivid and colorful that I think you could easily tell a few more stories about it.

51j8xsssd0l-_ac_us218_10. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber– This book ends with the anti-heroine doing a bad thing that could potentially have good results. Or it could have really bad results! I’d like to know which!