Tag Archives: Alexandre Dumas

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I recommend Most

Top Ten TuesdaysThis topic is actually going to be rather difficult. To come up with only ten that I recommend most is tricky. Part of the reason that I did this blog was so that I could give better recommendations of what to read to people who asked me quite often what to read. Not everyone enjoys the same kinds of things and since I think the most important thing about reading is that you actually do it, I recommend whatever people are most likely to enjoy. That being said, there are some books I recommend more often than most. Here is the ones I suggest the most often in no particular order.

1. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Great science fiction with wonderful characters and the start of two fabulous series of books that are still being written. Yep. Worth reading.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I grew up on these books. I love them so much that I wore out multiple copies completely and had to get new ones. Definitely the one I recommend to my female students who are looking for something new to read.

3. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer – I usually recommend this to people who have refused to read it before I tell them to. Normally these are people who have only seen bits of the movie and have no idea what the story is really about. While it isn’t the best thing ever written by far, the plot line is wonderful and the characters are so much fun to read. It was the first light reading that I fell in love with and was the books that got me started on YA fiction.

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – I loved this series. The feels. Oh the feels that go with the story of Jace and Clary, especially in the first three books. Wow. This book is the definition of angst.

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – This is probably my favorite book of all time. The story is wonderful and complex and tragic and amazing all at the same time. There is something for every mood you might be feeling at any given time. It is epic wonderfulness. Am I gushing? Yep. Is the book completely worth gushing over? Oh yes.

6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – This is a wonderful story of what happens when everyone betrays you and you seek revenge only to realize that living a life and being happy is more important than revenge. I ALWAYS recommend the unabridged version. There is so much that you miss out on in the abridged version of this classic. So much of the priest and his time in prison which makes the whole book make more sense.

7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Completely tragic love story that ends so very badly. A cautionary tale of how love can ruin you completely. So wonderfully written with parallel stories running through it that capture the imagination. The ending is tragic of course but the whole thing is a wonderful read.

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This is a wonderful book that will caught my imagination completely and wouldn’t let go the whole time I was reading. Competing magicians who have no idea what is going to happen or how the competition will end.

9. Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind – If someone is looking for really good fantasy, this is where I send them every time but I’m sure those of you who read my blog know this by know.

10. Quiet by Susan Cain – I recommend this to every single introverted person I know and anyone who knows someone introverted and doesn’t seem to understand them. As someone who is an introvert, this book helped me understand myself so much better.

Okay, I’m sure there a bunch I would recommend that I didn’t include on this list but these are the ones I can come up with right now. What are the books that you recommend most often?


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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Bookish Memories

Memories when it comes to books are easy for me. I’ve been readingย  obsessively since I learned how to read. By the time I was out of grade school my library was almost as large as my parents and since then it has only grown to be massive. Books and reading have always been a big part of my life.

Top Ten Tuesdays1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – I’ve talked about this before on my blog but I learned to read with Charlotte’s Web. We were riding in a car headed somewhere and I started sounding my way through the first two pages of the book. By the end of the second page I stopped reading out loud and was completely transitioned to reading in my head and worked through the book.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I was eight or nine when my grandmother sent me the Anne of Green Gables books as a kid. I devoured them and found my first literary sister or kindred spirit as Anne would say. something about this character really connected with me. I wore out two more sets of the books until my grandmother started finding them for me in hardback because I just destroyed them so quickly due to the massive number of rereads.

3. When reading made me cool – I’ll never forget the time I got my teacher in trouble because of my reading speed. Almost every year my mom would get the same phone call at the beginning of the year. The teacher would call and say that they were having a problem with me lying about reading. My mom would tell them to ask me comprehension questions and call her back. They would. I would answer correctly and they would call my mom back and apologize. In junior high though I had a teacher with a temper. She didn’t like me from day one. The first time we were to silently read came up. This teacher though didn’t think to call my mother. Instead she asked me comprehension questions and then after I answered correctly, called me a liar in front of everyone and was rather nasty about it. I was furious and told her to call my mother. She did, thinking she was going to get me in more trouble. Instead, they had me read something else and asked me to retell the story. I watched the instant the teacher’s face fell because she had finally realized I was in fact telling the truth. The rest of the class was in awe. I went from being a nerd to being kind of cool. I had gone up against a teacher – and won. I had been bullied so badly by my peers before that and this event stopped it all. For the first time in my school life, I wasn’t being picked on. Of course, less than six months later we moved and I was back to nerds-ville and bullies again but those few months were awesome! As a teacher, this experience really helped me learn to give kids the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

4. The Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – The book itself was never something amazing to me but until I read this book I really struggled with symbolism. For some reason this book pulled back the veil for me an I was able to understand the hidden meaning behind what was being written. It gave me a whole new perspective on some of my favorite authors.

5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – This book helped me discover my love of reading after spending four or five years doing very little free reading due to college and my music education. Well, very little reading for me.

6. The Twilight Series – Did anyone really think I would create a list without it? This helped me discover less intense reading. I needed a way to keep reading without it being in depth, heavy material with my job which was taking a lot from me. This book captured my imagination in a way that very few books had before and got me writing again.

7.ย  Hitting 250,000 readers – When you hit a quarter of a million readers with your fiction as an amateur author, it definitely leaves a lasting impression. That so many people would read something you wrote is amazing. It made me want to explore writing more. While I have a long way to go, I definitely feel like anything is possible.

8. When someone you know gets published – A friend getting a publishing deal is almost as cool as getting your own – almost ๐Ÿ˜‰ At least I think so since I haven’t gotten one – yet.

9. Every time I read to my kids – As a teacher, one of the best things I get to do is share my love of reading with my students. I get to show them that reading is a part of everything they do and how important it is. I also get to share how fun it can be as well ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Getting my first nook – When I realized I could carry hundreds of books at once and never had to carry a separate bag for my books on vacation again. Overjoyed doesn’t quite cover it. Now if I can only convince someone to get me a simple touch with glowlight…

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Books that shouldn’t hit the big screen

Okay, I like a great movie based on a book just as much as the next girl. I can’t tell you how much I love the current trend of turning much-loved YA books into film series. I currently can’t wait for Cassandra Clare‘s series to make it to film, starting with The City of Bones. I’m also eagerly awaiting November and the final Twilight movie. Not to mention Catching Fire!

Even when a book doesn’t follow the book exactly, many movies based on books are enjoyable. Some eclipse the popularity of the book (Gone with the Wind or The Silence of the Lambs are good examples).

However, just because a book is wonderful, doesn’t mean that it always belongs on-screen. For one reason or another, these books should never make it to film:

  1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that there is no love lost between me and anything related to fish. This book however is mostly a guy sitting in a boat by himself thinking and trying to catch a fish. Might be interesting reading to many (not me but many others) but it makes for some of the most boring stuff ever put onto a reel of film.
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I’ve seen the movie. It was entertaining. Then I read the book and realized how bad the movie is in comparison. While Hitchhiker isn’t among my favorites, the book has far too much to ever make sense in film!
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – While my review of this book isn’t up yet (it’s coming soon), I was writing the review and realized that I really didn’t want to see the movie. This book is a whole lot of people sitting around talking and the action sequences wouldn’t make much sense. I have a feeling that a lot of the depth would be missing as well. I just don’t see that one going well.
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I love this book. It is an amazing read. I accidentally read the abridged version first and was appalled when I found out how much I was missing! There is simply no way to condense this story for film without losing too much of the story!
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Again, far too long to condense down without losing too much of the story. Plus so much of the emotion in this piece would be too hard to translate into film.
  6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 300 characters. Do I need to say any more?
  7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Okay. I love this book. I am going to go see the movie. My problem is that there is NO WAY they are going to find kids that are smart enough and young enough to play these parts convincingly. Plus the chance that it is going to be very cheesy is extremely high.
  8. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – I know you haven’t heard about this one on my blog yet. I have two reviews scheduled for this one because it is just that good! This one is all about a guy taking a very LONG walk. Definitely not something that I think will translate to film well. Internal dialogue books rarely do.

What books do you think should NEVER be turned into films?

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Obsessive List of Books that Should be turned into Musicals

One of my favorite book based musicals

What makes a book a good candidate for musical theater?

  • plenty of action
  • fresh material
  • intense emotion
  • where bursting into song at the drop of a hat isn’t awkward ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here is my list of books that I think would make for a fantastic musical experience.

  1. Hadassah by Tommy Tenney – This book tells the story of Esther through the eyes of her descendants. The powerful portrayal of a young Jewish girl forced to become the wife of a king who will save her people from extinction. The movie did a great job of telling the story but song might be a better way to communicate some of the raw emotion of the situations Esther ends up in.
  2. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma – H.G. Wells? Check. Funny Narrator? Check. Time Travel? Check. Con men? Check. Overly emotional and dramatic characters? Double check. Tons of Great Roles for Men? Check. I think you get the point ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss – I’m shocked this one hasn’t been done yet! There are already some great songs associated with the story. Add in a few more and bam! Instant musical!
  4. Songmaster by Orson Scott Card – The way this book talks about music alone makes it musical worthy. The whole time I was reading, I wanted to hear the music going through the author’s mind at the time. I can’t even imagine how powerful a musical based on this book would be! Some of the scenes might be difficult to transfer to the stage but if they could figure it out…
  5. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson – I know I’m getting some very puzzled looks right now. People are going what is she thinking? Sweeney Todd is what I’m thinking. A musical about a whole town who sacrifices one person just because it is the way it has always been. The turmoil of having to give up your life, your friend, your family member, etc. How people deal with the grief. This would require some expanding by a talented writer but it would be a powerful story.
  6. Fairest of All by Serena Valentino– What made Snow White’s stepmother hate her so much? is the basic idea behind this book. It’s a powerful story and I love seeing fairy tales from the villain’s point of view ๐Ÿ™‚
  7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – A book about a spider saving the life of a pig. Great stuff. With the stylized musicals about animals that Disney has done as a template, this could make a great musical. If it is done well.
  8. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett – The story of a little girl who has it all, losing her life completely but never giving up hope. It’s a great story but finding a young actress to play Sara might prove difficult.
  9. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – A musical all about getting revenge on the people who wronged you. The only trick would be cutting down the source material while allowing the story to still make sense. This one would be a LONG musical but has the potential to be the next Les Miserables if done correctly.
  10. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Okay, I debated putting this one on the list but decided to for the purely selfish reason thatย  would love to see this as a musical. I don’t know how many others would, but to me, this would be great fun with songs worked in. Good luck finding a kid to play the title role though. **note – after writing this article I found out that there is a musical based on this book but it hasn’t made it to the US.

What do you think? Love my list? Hate it? Did I miss one (or more) that you thought should be included?

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