Top Ten Tuesday: Vacations: Good, Bad, and Ugly

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

Today’s topic was:

October 11: Books I Read On Vacation (bonus points if you tell us where you were!) (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer)

But decided to change it a bit and make it books about vacations:

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim – Four different English women decide to rent a home in Italy for a month. Things are tense at first, but then they start to bond and find ways to bring their vacation back home with them.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – A group of college friends reunite every year for a New Year’s trip. This year, they’re spending the time at a Scottish highlands estate. But then a body is found, and long festering resentments and secrets amongst the group flare up.

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – Nora is invited to the English countryside for a bachelorette party for a friend she hasn’t seen in about a decade. Then, she wakes up in the hospital with the knowledge that there has been a murder, but not much more than that. They time frame of the novel moves back and forth, eventually revealing what happened.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – This is about six teenagers at summer camp at a summer camp in the Berkshires who form a lifetime bond. The novel follows them over the next thirty years, but their experiences of that summer vacation are always central to their characters. Eventually a few of them make it back full circle.

The Sanitorium by Sarah Pearse – Le Sommet is a former TB sanatorium turned minimalist hotel in the Swiss Alps. Elin’s brother and his fiancée, Laure, are celebrating their engagement there, and invite Elin and her partner. But then Laure goes missing and a storm cuts off the hotel…

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – A New Yorker heads to Singapore with her boyfriend, to go to his best friend’s wedding, and also to meet his family. Unexpectedly the family turns out to be insanely wealthy, and not thrilled about this relationship.

A Room with A View EM Forester – Lucy and her cousin, Charlotte are on vacation in Florence, Italy when they realize that their room doesn’t have a very nice view. Another guest offers to swap, and this acquaintance ends up changing the course of Lucy’s life.

The Light in the Piazza by Elizabeth Spencer – The above book made me think of this one, also set in Florence. In this case, it’s the destination of Margaret and her daughter, Clara. Visiting from North Carolina, Clara finds a romance that draws her mother into a moral quandary.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – When her daughter Bee wants to go to Antarctica as a reward for good grades, it presents a challenge for her reclusive mother Bernadette. But the planning ends up throwing Bernadette over the edge and she disappears. To find her mother, Bee goes to the ends of the Earth…


Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Hungry

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

September 1: Books that Make Me Hungry (They could have food items on the cover, foods in the title, be about foodies or have food as a main plot point… they could be cookbooks or memoirs, etc.)

I actually did a list like this a few years ago. But I took up the challenge again and came up with ten more. I must confess, I’m not much of a foodie. Oh, I like food, don’t get me wrong! Give me something I like, and I’ll eat plenty of it!. But I can by a picky, finicky eater. I don’t like to cook. And there are lots of foods I don’t like. So making me hungry is an uphill battle for a book. But here are some that have accomplished the task!

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl- This is sort of a no-brainer! I mean there’s a whole room made of candy! I used to fantasize about eating my way out.

2. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson– There is a character in this who is homesick for England and it’s food. Actually, a few of the descriptions of British food, did make me a bit peckish (though a few also make me wonder what that character was thinking!). The description of some of the Brazilian foods and fruits also sounded good.

3. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor– This book make me crave fried plantains! Actually it made me want to try several of the African dishes.

4. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber– A lot of the food served at the Blackbird Cafe sounds wonderful, but if I had to pick just one thing I’d want to eat, it’s the pie.

5. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan– I pretty much craved really good Chinese food, the whole time I was reading this book.

6. The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert– Basically any food involving apples sounds appealing when reading this book. Apple pie, tart, sauce, and cider of course.

7. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee– This doesn’t stand out in my mind for food related reasons, but at the same times of the food descriptions definitely made my stomach growl.

8. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen- Confession: I have a terrible sweet tooth, that wasn’t helped by the sweets that the title character of this book also loves.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer 2020 TBR

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday


June 16: Books on My Summer 2020 TBR (or winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere)

91kikzx6cdl._ac_uy218_1.Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- I love the idea of setting a Victorian-eque Gothic in 1950’s Mexico. (June 30)





81lfpkdhvql._ac_uy218_2. Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan– I enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians but I didn’t feel the need to read more of Kwan’s work, until I head that his newest was an homage to A Room with A View. (June 30)




a1qw7wbt5l._ac_uy218_3.Crossings by Alex Landragin-This book consists of three separate stories that can be read straight though, or out of order, using a secret key. They can also apparently be read as a story, within a story, within a story. I want to see how the author pulls off the concept! (July 28)



71wscsoaygl._ac_uy218_4. Summer by Ali Smith– The conclusion of Smith’s seasonal quartet. I don’t know much about this one but if the previous books are any indication, I expect an innovative sociopolitical tale set in, and illuminating the season in an unexpected way. (August 18)




91hgjcuezql._ac_uy218_5.The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner– I’ve heard really good things about this novel about a group of strangers who put aside their differences to preserve Austen’s legacy in post- WWII England. It sounds like it has the potential to be both intelligent and uplifting (rather like Austen herself!) (May 26)



91dl5yyl84l._ac_uy218_6.Home Before Dark by Riley Sager– I’ve read a few of Sager’s novels this past year and really enjoyed them. I’m looking forward to this tale of family secrets and old (and perhaps real?) ghosts. (June 30)




81jbrqqbgl._ac_uy218_7.Beach Read by Emily Henry– This tale of writers who swap genres looks like a light beach read  itself. (May 19)





91lq27bv9zl._ac_uy218_8. Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton– I’ve enjoyed this author’s other books, Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba, so I’m looking forward to her new one. (June 16)




81hegtntrcl._ac_uy218_9.The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti– This tale of backstage drama a theater in the Berkshires seems like a fun, escapist summer read for a theater-geek like me! (May 12)




81yn5yv9-l._ac_uy218_10.Or What You Will by Jo Walton– I love the premise of this one: a character realizes that once his writer dies, he does too. The writer is in her 70’s, so the character figures it’s time to take matters into his own hands… (July 7)




Looking over these picks it seems like (with one or two possible exceptions) I’m looking for escapism this summer. But as long as I live in the real world, a bit of fictional escape is allowed, no? Of course these are just the newbies on my TBR. They’re joining a looooong list!