Top Ten Tuesday: Before I Was Born

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

February 2: Books Written Before I Was Born (These can be books you’ve read or want to read!) (submitted by Davida Chazan @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog)

Well, they didn’t have books before I was born, they carved them onto stone tablets… Just kidding, I’m not quite that old! These are the books on my TBR that were written and published before I was born:

1. Armadale by Wilkie Collins (1864-66)- Collins wrote mystery/thrillers way back in the 19th century. I loved his Woman in White, and I really enjoyed No Name and The Moonstone, so I look forward to giving this one a try. Together these are considered Collins’ four great works

2. The King’s General by Daphne DuMaurier (1946) Over the years I’ve been slowly reading all of DuMaurier’s life’s work. This one is next on my list (unless I unexpectedly come across something else!). It’s set during the English Civil War, which I don’t really know much about.

3. Maggie-Now by Betty Smith (1950) Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an all time favorite of mine. I also loved Joy in the Morning. I haven’t heard much about this one, but I’m hoping it’ll be one of those unknown classics.

4. The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf (1925-1932) This series of essays was originally published in two volumes (one in 1925, the other in 1932) but I’m counting it as one because it’s my list and I can do what I want! I think I like Woolf best as an essayist.

5. The Lark by E Nesbit (1922) I love E Nesbit’s children’s novels like The Railway Children and Five Children and It, and I’m really looking forward to diving into some of her work for adult readers.

6. The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann (1936)- I loved Lehmann’s Invitation to the Waltz, and this sequel revisits two primary characters from that book, ten years later. From reviews, it seems they’re both older but not all that much wiser. But would it be any fun to read if they were?

7. Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker (1940)- A friend of mine recommended this recently and it sounded delightful.

8. The Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967) I’ve been fascinated by the 1975 film adaptation of this novel for years, but I’ve never read the source material! Haven’t seen the Amazon prime remake either. I must get to both of them soon!

9. Miss Buncle’s Book by DE Stevenson (1934) The first of four Miss Buncle novels this one has been on my TBR for a long time. I never seem to get to it, in spite of hearing good things about it.

10. The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart– For a long time, I’d thought that I’d read all of Stewart’s work. Then I discovered a whole list of novels that I hadn’t read! I’m rationing myself and working my way through slowly to savor them! This is next on the list.

Movies That Were Better Than The Book

Yes, 9.8 out of 10 times the book is better. But there is that 0.2 time…

The Princess Bride by William Goldman- [book] [movie] I actually like the book more than most fans of the movie do in this case, but the movie always puts a smile on my face.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding [book] [movie] I liked the book a lot, but I think the casting pushes this over the top for me. Colin Firth was pretty much perfectly cast as Mark Darcy (I mean, the man is Mr. Darcy!) and I’m not usually a huge Hugh Grant fan, but I really liked him in this.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton- [book] [movie] Again, very good book. But some things work better on the big screen, and I think this is one of them. If nothing else, the music is so memorable. I hear it and right away think “Jurassic Park!” I remember seeing it for the first time and sitting there, stiff with tension as I watched, waiting to see if the characters I’d come to care about (I hadn’t read the book yet) were going to be eaten by dinosaurs.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman- [book] [movie] I think that this book has a very different feel to it. so it’s almost not fair to compare them. But the movie added some charm and humor and expanded things in a way that really worked.

To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han- [book] [movie] I actually saw the Netflix film before I read the book. It was sweet and enjoyable and I looked forward to a similar experience in book form. Instead, I found a very irritating narrator who didn’t seem to learn/grow/develop/mature all that much before the end of the book.

The Prestige by Christopher Priest- [book] [movie] This is another case where I almost think it’s unfair to compare them because the movie does something totally different. It takes similar characters/premise and develops them in its own way.

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg [book] [movie] Again, in this case the movie took the premise of the book and made it’s own thing.

Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown- [book] [movie] The book felt very “blah.” Not bad, just “blah.” The movie, and specifically Reese Witherspoon’s performance, elevated it.

So what movie (or TV series) do you think is better than it’s source material?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

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November 26: Thankful Freebie

91jxemsjivl._ac_uy218_ml3_1.  Beautiful by Fran Laniado– How obnoxious is it that I included my own book on here? Well, in my defense, publishing this book has taught me a lot about writing and publishing in general and I’m grateful for the experience, everything that I’ve learned, and the ability to carry it forward into my future career.

 

 

91jl3hfvm4l._ac_uy218_ml3_2. Beauty by Robin McKinley– My first week of college, I knocked on a classmate’s door to ask a question and saw her reading this book. That was how I made my first friend on campus. It’s true what they say: when you see someone reading a book that you love, it’s like a book, recommending a person.

 

 

51cbwb1nmql-_ac_us218_3. Fairy Tales– OK this is less a book than a literary category but it was what first made me fall in love with literature. I think that fairy tales taught me some very important lessons that I’ve carried through life: that appearances can be deceiving, that dragons can be beaten and that witches can be good or bad depending on the circumstance.

 

51nvefbi7wl4. Curious George by HA Ray- I remember a point in my early childhood when I thought of Curious George as a friend. Like me, he was curious but unlike me, he was brave. I was often scared, so I let George do the exploring and get into trouble! In a way he was the literary character who showed me how to live vicariously through a character’s experiences on the page. While that’s not always a good idea by any means, at times (particularly in early childhood) it’s the wiser course. So thanks for the friendship George, and thanks for getting into trouble for me!

51f8te9sbwl-_ac_us218_5.Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell– I think that reading this book made me think a lot about the connections that I have to people and my ability to communicate with them. Karana, the heroine of this book is stranded on an island alone for many years. Even after she’s found she’s still isolated because there’s no one left alive who speaks her language. It made me think for the first time about being understood, and how grateful I am to have that ability. It’s something I’ve always valued and this book highlighted why in a way that few things had previously.

41h2mph7rbl._ac_uy218_ml3_6. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume- I think that this book normalized a lot of being a growing girl. Not that it was all accurate: I read it when I was about 9 or 10 and it made menstruation seem like a wonderful treat girls earned when they reached a certain age: that led to a major disappointment a few years later! But it also let me know that what I was thinking and feeling was normal and that a lot of other kids were just as confused about the whole experience of growing up as I was.

51avlw-rakl-_ac_us218_7.Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie– I think that this book gave me an awareness of my privilege and I’m grateful for that. I’m not grateful for the unfair advantages that I have as a white, American born citizen. I don’t think it’s right that I have those privileges due to accidents of birth and I wish that we lived in a more equitable society. But I’m grateful that this book gave me a view of life without them. That view made me more aware of them and  how they’ve played a role in my own life. I don’t know if I’m explaining this very well!

71markoye3l._ac_uy218_ml3_8.The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion– A few years ago I lost several loved ones in the space of a few months, including someone very close to me. A lot of books about death and grieving seemed to offer platitudes and trite promises. Joan Didion’s memoir of her husband’s death (while their daughter was in a coma fighting for her life) didn’t wrap it up in any false comfort. Losing a loved one is hard. Grief is confusing and scary. It doesn’t follow any rules. But it’s often the price we pay for loving people.

51dxbewzuil-_ac_us218_9.Anne of Green Gables (series) by LM Montgomery- I’m using these as a stand in for several books that feel like old friends. They’re the books I’ve read so many times that reading them feels like coming home after being away for a long time. I’m thankful for the knowledge that whatever terrible things may happen in real life, these books are always there. They won’t always make everything better, but they’ll help me feel less alone through whatever happens.

41z63vm8bwl-_ac_us218_10. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott– I’ve never been a very organized writer. My process (insofar as I have one) involves me writing down whatever pops into my head, and then fixing it and making it presentable later.  I don’t outline. I don’t have formal “drafts,” I just write and rewrite until I have something. Lamott’s advice to writers is essentially “whatever works.” There’s an understanding that that won’t look the same for everyone. It gives my messy, chaotic writing style a sense of validation.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been on My TBR Forever

For That Artsy-Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday

February 6: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

Initially, I thought “this is good because it allows me to revisit my vast TBR and see if there’s anything on it that no longer interests me.” Unfortunately, it seems like I won’t be able to make the list any shorter. Doing this just reminded me of how much is out there that I still haven’t read!

51u90swjwl-_ac_us218_1. Jane of Lantern Hill by LM Montgomery- Added June 10, 2010- Basically, I’m almost always up for LM Montgomery. This was one of the last books that she completed. It was published in 1937. She began writing a sequel, but she didn’t finish it before her death in 1942.

 

 

51nqwdcdk1l-_ac_us218_2. Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson- Added May 6, 2012- Initially, my impression was that this was an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Anne of Green Gables for its 100th anniversary. But the reviews are, for the most part, good, so I decided to give it a chance. I just haven’t done so yet!

 

 

51stziqnlpl-_ac_us218_3. Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan- Added June 8, 2013- I blame my Bronte obsession for this one. I’ve read several of Jude Morgans novels, finding some better than others. But I haven’t read his imagining of one of literature’s most famous families.

 

 

418ggw4js1l-_ac_us218_4. The Seance by John Harwood- Added June 17, 2013- I added this after reading and enjoying one of the author’s other novels, The Ghost Writer. I still plan to read it at some point!

 

 

 

51-yojeobol-_ac_us218_5. Grange House by Sarah Blake- Added June 17, 2013 – This is pseudo-Victorian gothic novel, which is one of my favorite genres. According to Amazon, it features a ghost story, a love story, a family saga, and a mystery.

 

 

 

51hzkq6uiel-_ac_us218_6. Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart- Added  June 17, 2013- I’m a big fan of Mary Stewart but I’ve somehow managed to miss one of her most famous novels. I’ve also managed to have it on my TBR  for almost five years and not get to it!

 

 

41ymby0gnxl-_ac_us218_7. Anna by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles- Added  September 20, 2013- I really enjoyed the first two books in Cynthia Harrod-Eagles The War at Home series (note to self: make sure the other three books are also on your TBR) but I didn’t like the start of her Morland Dynasty series. I decided to give her work another chance though with The Kirov Trilogy, about a young Englishwoman who goes to St. Petersberg to be a governess to the children of a count.

 

51ziknwmo7l-_ac_us218_8. Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue- Added November 1, 2013- I put this on my list after reading Donohue’s debut The Stolen Child. Since then, I’ve also read and enjoyed his The Boy Who Drew Monsters. But this book seems to revisit some of the themes that Donohue dealt with in The Stolen Child- particularly missing children, parental grief, and children with unexplained origins.

 

51uhbuwfkkl-_ac_us218_9. Palisades Park by Alan Brennert– Added November 2, 2013- I added this book to my list after reading Honolulu and Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. Unlike those two novels, this one doesn’t take place in Hawaii. It’s set in New Jersey in the 1930s, at and around the Palisades Amusement Park.

 

 

51ucsihmw9l-_ac_us218_10. The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith- Added December 22, 2013- I think that I decided to read more of Dodie Smith’s work after finished (and loving!) I Capture the Castle. But I didn’t get farther than putting several titles on my TBR! I think this one especially appealed to me because it was set in the London theatre world.

A Few Things I’ve Learned/Grown to Love

A lot of the things that I love have been instinctive, day one, passions for me- stories, chocolate, snow… Something inside me screams “yes!” to all of it. But there are other things that I’ve grown into over time.

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  • Nonfiction– Fiction will always be my first love (I can’t abide too much of the real world!) but as an adult, I’ve also embraced several forms of nonfiction. I like memoirs and biographies of people whose lives interest me for whatever reason. I like some history books as well. My nonfiction reading tends to veer toward narrative nonfiction. You can’t keep me away from stories too much!
  • Exercise– I used to hate working out. While I’m not exactly a gym rat now, I do sometimes enjoy a low impact cardio workout or some yoga or pilates. I find it’s a good way to de-stress when I’ve got too much nervous energy to do something more “relaxing”
  • Naps– I hated naptime in preschool. Now I wonder what I was thinking! How could I not have suspected that a whole life lay ahead of me, full of days of school and work where I would be cranky and tired and need a nap but not be able to take one?
  • Tea– I used to think it was just kind of “blah”. Now I can barely go a day without it. I think the change had something to do with discovering the fact that tea was more involved than a bag of Lipton, and that I could make it just to my liking.
  • Coffee– Or more specifically iced coffee. For some reason, I still haven’t learned to love hot coffee. So usually I just drink iced coffee in the summer.
  • The Holiday Season– As a little kid it was somewhat stressful because I was afraid of Santa (what? he’s  a creepy old man who breaks into people’s houses?!) and hated rehearsing for the inevitable holiday concert at school. Once I got over, that I quickly learned to embrace the cheesy holiday movies, family, decorations, music, and festivity that seems to start with Thanksgiving and end with the New Year and a fresh start.
  • Rain– At some point, I realized that a lot of my favorite activities take place indoors and that sometimes there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book and some tea on a rainy afternoon. I love the sound it makes as it hits my windowpane. It makes me feel like the world has taken a shower and is now clean!