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Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Top Ten TuesdaysAhh… the beach. I have heard of this mystical magical place where summer isn’t miserable. The sun is actually a pleasant thing and the water is beautiful and inviting. It is hard to remember such a place when you live in one of the hottest places in the United States. While that sun is boiling down on me, I can dream of sand and waves even if ten minutes in the sun here means heat stroke. A beach read for me is something enjoyable but not something I’m going to shoot someone for interrupting me in the middle of it. While it is interesting and a great read, it is not so intense that I would growl or snarl at the person who dares to pull me from my fictional existence. If I were going anywhere near a beach this summer, I would take the following books with me for a re-read.

1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – Love this story and its rich details. It’s a great read and glimpse into a secret world of mystery and beauty. I think I might re-read this one even without the sun, sand, and sea.

2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – Interesting story and great characterization. Highly entertaining as it plods along giving the reader a view of circus life.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – A lighter read that is entertaining and fun. If you somehow missed this one, it’s a great one to take with you.

4. Quiet by Susan Cain – I know what you’re thinking – nonfiction on the beach read list? Really?? I say yes. It’s a great read and will give you a good reason for not wanting to talk to the overly social people sitting on the next blanket. It might also be on my summer re-read list.

5. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Okay, another one that I know might sound a bit strange but this one is a book that I personally find comforting. While this might not be on your beach read list, it is on mine. It takes me back to my childhood in a way few books do.

6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – This book is one that no matter where you are could be read over and over again. The setting for this one makes for perfect waterside reading. Definitely one everyone should experience.

7. Anything by Nicholas Sparks – Yes, I read his stuff. No, I’m not entirely proud of that fact but they are great beach reads even if they are more than a bit predictable. Honestly, he needs to get a new formula. Of course, if it’s not broke and all that…

8. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery – Sweet story that always makes me smile. Also Kilmeny of the Orchard or pretty much anything by this author would be a great choice for enjoying on the beach.

9. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova – This is a great read. If you are looking to be transported while you tan, this is a great one.

10. Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama – A book about mermaids read by the ocean. This is a no brainer 🙂

What books would be on your summer read list?

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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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The Queen insists on quiet!

Book: Quiet

Author: Susan Cain

Recommend: This is an absolute must read!

I came across a bit of fluff floating through my Facebook and pinterest accounts as friends shared it over and over again. I decided to read it and was astonished to find that it was almost a perfect description of myself. I had seen the book Quiet on the shelves at my favorite local bookstore but hadn’t given it much thought since I hadn’t really given much thought about being an introvert or an extrovert before. After reading this post, I knew that I had to find out more about this! So I sat down at my bookstore last night intent on reading through the book for free, coming back the next day if necessary to finish. I never dreamed that I would get so little of it read in the free hour that I got and that I would need to finish it so badly that I would buy it because I needed it to be part of my library.

Quiet tells the world why being an introvert in an extrovert dominated world can be difficult and how important the introvert is to our culture. The first example of an introvert that she brings to your attention is the least likely candidate at first glance and yet when the reader learns more about her, you realize that everything you had assumed about this important historical figure had been wrong. She had done exactly what she claimed to do but everything that compelled her was very different than what many of us had been raised to believe.

This book was a huge help to me. I had always claimed to be an introvert. I am the girl who sits in the corner of the room during a party, perfectly content to  be reading a book or watching the crowd. I didn’t understand why I never felt able to jump into everything that was going on around me like others could. I didn’t get why I didn’t want to be around people all the time and why I felt so guilty for not being more involved at my church. It is because I am a textbook introvert. The realization has been extremely freeing and I for the first time in my life feel like I’m not a freak but someone who is just as normal as all the outspoken people I know. I think I’ll be reading this one again and can’t wait to pick up a book mentioned in here about introverts in the church, an area where being an introvert can be a very hard place to be.

If you are an introvert, are close to an introvert or just want to understand that ‘weird’ employee in your office, this book is something you need to read! The only thing I can say that might be negative about this book is that there were about three instances where I found that it bogged down a bit and got slightly too technical. They were easy to push through but there were a couple times I definitely found my mind wandering. Other than that it is one of the fastest paced informational persuasive books I’ve read in quite some time. Definitely something to pick up.

If you’ve seen the musical the Princess and the Pea, it finally explains why Winnifred could claim to be shy even though she seemed like the most outgoing creature anyone had ever seen. Why the queen’s request to leave her alone and to have quiet through the castle backfired and why she won the shy prince after all. I wonder how many extroverts I know are actually just introverts who are amazing actors? I wonder how many are screaming at the top of their lungs that they are actually shy, quiet and reserved?

I wonder if I can get my more extroverted husband it read it?

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

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