Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Associate With Summer

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

July 12: Book Covers That Feel Like Summer (Submitted by Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm)

For this one I decided to go with books that I associate with summer rather than just covers. For many of them, they were books that I read in the summer and with which I have strong seasonal memory associations.

Sweet Valley series by Francine Pascal- In this case the setting, sunny California, feels very summery. I read these books throughout my childhood (Kids first, then Twins, then High.) I was about ten when I read the Sweet Valley High books and they, along with other things (looking at you, Saved By the Bell) set up some very unrealistic expectations about what high school would be like!

Chain Letter 2 by Christopher Pike – I read this on a camp trip to a baseball game when I was about eleven. I was never much of a sports fan, but I think I actually found a copy of this on the bus on the way to the game. I never read the first one. I read this on the bus ride, through the game, and on the way back. It was dark by then, but I only had a few pages left so I squinted. I remember being scandalized by some of the content!

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Did anyone else live for summer reading at the library? I did, and I remember one summer they were doing some remodeling/reorganizing at the library and these were being kept in what was essentially a large closet. I was really into these books at the time though, so whenever I went to the library I’d have to ask special permission to go to the closet and get these!

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati – I worked in a library the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, and I think I may have read more than I worked! This is a standout from that summer. I remember feeling resentful when I had to stop reading to help patrons.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – I was working at a Barnes and Noble the summer this was released, and it was all hands on deck! I remember it was July 21, 2007 (yes, fifteen years later I remember the exact date) and we had a midnight release party at the store. It was packed with people (probably a fire hazard) and at one point I had to dress up as a witch for some kind of a potions skit. I may have blocked that part out!

The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer – One summer when I was in college, I got some kind of insect bite. It was itchy and annoying at first, but no big deal until it got infected. They put me on a medicine for it that didn’t work, so it started to spread. That lead to me being put in the hospital for three days so they could give me meds through an IV. I was reading this at the time, and will always associate it with summer in the ER: lots of waiting and lots of injuries!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – My book club picked this as our latest read because we got beachy, summery vibes from the cover. It was a fun book that would make a good beach read, but a bit of a let down for me personally after I loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I didn’t feel like this quite reached that quality.


Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel – I read this one the summer before I started high school. And by “read” I mean devoured in about two days. It lead to a fascination with anthropology, ancient societies and human evolution ( all of which I still find very interesting.) I read the rest of the series that summer – well all except the last which hadn’t been released yet – and found the quality to vary, but this was definitely the best of them.

The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon – When I was about 12 or 13, my cousins and I went to Florida to spend a some time with our Grandma one summer. I picked this book up in her apartment, and I don’t think I put it back down for the rest of the trip! In retrospect, it was probably pretty rude of me to have my face buried in a book the whole time…

Beautiful by Fran Laniado – I went back and forth about putting this on the list, but I finally decided to do it! Beautiful was released on July 4, 2018. It was supposed to have a book sibling by now, but the best laid plans… But I will always associate the fourth of July with a dream come true for me.

Advertisement

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Epilogues and Endings

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

For this one the topic was:

June 14: Books I Wish Had An Epilogue

But I went with just best epilogues and endings. Basically, there were some that I wasn’t sure were epilogues or not! Warning for SPOILERS here:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I think of this as “how to do an epilogue properly.” It’s set 200 years after the events of the story and is narrated by a historian who found and transcribed it. It gives us a glimpse of the world after it changes from what Offred knows. It reminds us how civilizations rise and fall.

And then There Were None by Agatha Christie – The epilogue moves this book from the “frustrating” to “satisfying” category. Basically, this is where we learn whodunnit and why.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – People seem divided into those who like this epilogue and those who don’t. I do, because we learn in it that Harry’s son is named Albus Severus Potter. In other words his initials spell ASP. Snakes are usually significant in the Harry Potter universe and don’t usually mean good things are coming. On an entirely different note, it’s always nice to get a “where are they now.”

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – For three books a threat loomed over the heads of these characters. A character from the future had learned something bad happens to them, and warned them. It doesn’t play out in the way we expect though. In the epilogue we learn why. It’s a reminder of how historical record often gets things wrong, and no one ever knows.

Animal Farm by George Orwell – This allegorical novel depicts an animal revolution against humans on a farm, led by pigs. As time goes on the pigs create laws that oppress the other animals, until the end, when the pigs are sitting at table talking to the humans, and it’s hard to tell which is which. Because with power we can become our enemies.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – This is another “love it or hate it” ending. I loved it, because it went against everything we’ve expected all along. People who dislike this ending call it a deus ex machina. Which it is, but it’s done in a thought provoking way. The film adaptation changed this to the ending that felt expected which (I thought) missed the whole point.

Atonement by Ian McEwan – It’s almost impossible to discuss this ending without major spoilers. The book finishes off with an ending that feels conclusive and then there’s “just kidding!” that totally makes sense given character and circumstances. I often feel like those kinds of endings are cop outs, but in this situation it was done right.

The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve – This has a tie-in to another of Shreve’s books, The Weight of Water. All through this book, I thought that a character was lying about something mentioned in The Weight of Water. It turned out to be true.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – This is probably another unpopular choice. A lot of people feel like the second half of the book is a let down after the first, and movies frequently end the adaptation after the first half! But I think the second half brings everything full circle. Without it, the narrative lacks balance. I wish there was a less boring word than “symmetry” to describe what I mean!

#WyrdandWonder Challenge (Part III)

My next set of prompts for May’s Wyrd and Wonder Challenge

May 20Fantasy creature on the cover

(bonus points if it isn’t a dragon)

Well, the most recent fantasy book I read with fantasy creature on the cover, was Crown of Crystal Flame, by CL Wilson. It’s the final book in Wilson’s Tarien Soul series and it has a Tarien (sort of like a giant cat with wings) on the cover in the background. The first book in the series, Lord of the Fading Lands shows a Tarien a bit more clearly.
May 21Fantasy in translation

Fridays are all about celebrating fantasy from around the world – this week focuses on books that weren’t originally written in English

The one that leaps immediately to mind is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, because it’s a favorite (well really the whole Cemetery of Forgotten Books series counts) The fantasy elements are stronger elsewhere in the series, but as I said, this one is my favorite, and it has those elements as well, to a lesser extent. It was originally written in Spanish.
Another book that, well, let’s say it made a strong impression on me was Troll: A Love Story by Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo.
Actually I’m a big fan of magical realism, which I suppose is a subgenre of fantasy. It has strong associations with Latin America, so a lot of the books are in translation from Spanish. Some favorites are Like Water For Chocolate, Eva Luna, and The House of the Spirits.
I suppose many classic fairy tale collections count as well. The Brother’s Grimm and ETA Hoffman were originally in German. Hans Christian Anderson was Danish. Charles Perrault was French. They all originally wrote in their native languages.
May 22Get in the sea

Seaborne fantasy, mermaid tales, the lady in the lake – make it watery for World Maritime Day
…or if you’re feeling bitter, what fantasy would you consign to the depths and why?


I really enjoyed Carolyn Turgen’s Mermaid. It’s based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid (which is very different from Disney’s version!) and follows the point of view of both the mermaid and the princess who the mermaid’s beloved marries.
May 23Book rainbow

book spines arranged in the colours of the rainbow

Some of the colors didn’t photograph as well as I would have liked, but I didn’t have a chance to play with the lighting.
May 24On the shelf

how long has that been on your shelf / TBR?? a book / books you really should have read by now

I think these have been on my shelf for the longest:
White As Snow by Tanith Lee
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
The Blue Girl by Charles DeLint

Hopefully I can get to them soon!
May 25Chosen one #TropeTuesday

Double-edged prophecies, irresistible destiny, a plot stick you just can’t dodge – let’s end the month on a classic

Well, this month these are the books I’ve read that use that trope:
Crown of Crystal Flame by CL Wilson– This is the final book in the Tarien Soul series and the heroine, Elysetta, has every characteristic of a “chosen one.” She has a mysterious past, she was found in the woods as a baby, she has a supernatural/fantastic origin story, and she is destined to either save, or destroy, the fey.
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness-This is the second book in the All Souls series and I think that Diana has some “chosen one” characteristics too. She knows she’s a witch but she didn’t have any sense of connection to her heritage before the first book in the series. In this book, she starts her magic training, and it turns out she’s a “weaver,” a rare kind of witch that can make up spells. It’s been hinted that she might save supernatural creatures from extinction. She’s also married to a vampire, and there are prophesies about their offspring.
May 26All the feels

We all love an emotional rollercoaster – a book that gave your feelings a full on work out

I’m often an emotional wreck as I read, so this might be a long-ish list with major spoilers. Be warned…

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman- The end when Bod leaves the graveyard, and the ghosts who raised him, and goes out to pursue his future as a living person.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro– I’m counting this as a fantasy, even though you could make the argument for it being sci-fi. Really just the whole thing once we learned what the characters were and their inevitable fate.
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon- A lot of books in the Outlander series have given me all the feels on a semi regular basis, but this one totally destroyed me when Jamie sends Claire back through the stones, to the future (they both think forever), and goes off to die (they think) at the battle of Culloden…
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling– This was another series where I got emotional at many different points (the end of The Prisoner of Azkaban, the end of The Goblet of Fire, the end of The Half Blood Prince…) but if I had to pick one part of the series, it would be this book. When people we love die in battle, when Harry goes into the forest, Dobby, Snape, and really everything!
The Keeping Place by Isobelle Carmody- Once again, the Obernewtyn series has given me all the feels at several points. But this one features the Misfits getting betrayed by people they thought were allies. Many important and beloved characters are murdered in an ambush I didn’t see coming. My friend, who recommended the series warned me that we’d lose some people in this one, so I was semi-prepared, but the scope and depth of the betrayal was what destroyed me.