Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read In a Day

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish.

Let me just say that I’m not really good at reading books in one sitting. I’m not even very good at reading one book at a time. If I’ve “lost” my current book around the house, I’ll just pick up another one. This usually leads to a lot of library books nestled in strange corners of the couch or atop precarious laundry piles or hidden under papers I just took off my desk. I’m also not that focused as a reader, reading for an hour before getting up to do something else and then coming back to my book. Or I’ll switch a chapter on and off with one book with another book or another task. So reading a book in a day for me is very unusual. Here are ten (recent-ish books) that overcame all the odds. Or were very short.

 

Chasing the Rose: An Adventure in the English Countryside by Andrea di Robilant

I’ve talked about this book before on the blog, but it sticks in my mind. I read it years ago now, but it was one of the first books in a long time that I felt utterly consumed by. If you’re interested in Italy (and why wouldn’t you be), and you like people who chase down weird family history and/or roses, you should read this.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

I sat down to read a few pages of this at the library, and didn’t look up until the whole thing was finished. Fun and clever.

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl

I was just captivated by the stories along with the recipes. One of the better cookbooks I’ve read in a while.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

This book is pretty depressing, but it’s very short and well-written. So that’s something.

Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt

I really liked Possession, so when I saw another book by Byatt at the book sale, I knew I needed to read it. It’s definitely nothing like her other work, but it was really interesting and immersive (even if maybe you didn’t want to be immersed in it)

Butter Celebrates! Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions by Rosie Daykin

I read this book quickly, as there wasn’t much to it besides the recipes. I’ve only tried one so far and it didn’t really work out. This is why I get cookbooks from the library instead of buying a bunch of them. But I have hopes for the next recipe anyway.

Patience by Daniel Clowes

Read it fast to get it over with–I didn’t feel like I could not finish the graphic novel since it takes such a short time to read them, but it wasn’t my favorite by a long shot.

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Another graphic novel, which I read quickly because it was very good.

A-Z of Wedding Style by Kate Bethune

Another very short book, with lots of pictures and white space. I really enjoyed the illustrations though. A good book for people who like fashion.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I’ve done a lot of ranting and raving about this book, but it definitely deserves it. In addition to being a great book, it was also a very quick read.

 

So there’s 10 recent book I’ve managed to complete in a reasonable amount of time without getting too distracted by anything else. What’s the last book you read in a day or in a single sitting? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: A Conversation About What Makes For Good Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and The Bookish.

I’m not going to lie–this week’s topic was really difficult for me. There are sometimes books where I wonder what this would have been like with more female characters, or wished a book had a little more resolution or a different ending. But these feelings are so few and far between, so fleeting, that I wouldn’t even have enough of them to make any sort of cohesive list.

My mom and I were talking about this topic on the phone. I told her I’d given up on this week’s post because I had no idea what to write about. We started talking about books and what makes a book good and what makes a book enjoyable. I wanted to share some of our thoughts with you instead of a normal list-type post. These thoughts aren’t all that organized, so I hope you will excuse my rambling.

In general, I abide by the rule that there is always more to read. So, if I don’t like a book, I don’t sweat it and I just set it aside. But I also know that there is a book for every reader and a reader for every book. If I two-star a book on Goodreads that someone else gave five stars to, does that make either of us a bad reader? I don’t think so. We just have different tastes.

A lot of reading is subjective. What do you enjoy, and how do you find books with those attributes? Everyone has individual preferences. But writing is not just something done for entertainment. It has its “low” and “high” Art sides, but any way you slice it, literature is an art form. Every book is a cultural artifact, striving to teach us something about humanity and our own times or times past.

Sometimes I’ve felt pressure to feel certain ways about books by peers or by professors. Ulysses, for example, is not my favorite book. Not even close. But how do you tell that to a professor who has spent his whole academic career grappling with a single author? I appreciate James Joyce’s brilliance–and I understand he deserves acclaim and readership. He created a masterwork. He’s a Michelangelo of the written word.

But here’s the issue: we can agree Michelangelo was a master and not like his work. Even the not-so-subjective ways we have of judging art (and books) are, in some ways, subjective. We can agree that there are certain things we look for in books: character development, plot, description and narrative style, etc. But there’s no gold standard or formula for great literature, and in the end art is judged individually. Hopefully critics understand the context and are well-versed enough in their area to give a good opinion, but ultimately appreciating art is about values. Do you value characters over plot the way that I do? Do you value experimentation? Description or word play? In other words, what do you put up on a pedestal?

Chances are, the books that you feel are missing something are simply books that don’t value the same things that you do. Not every book can do everything at 100%. In art, some aspects take a back seat to give others emphasis. Whether you agree with those decisions or not decides in a large part whether you’ll like the book.

I think it’s always important to read with an open mind. If we’re always trying to make a book something that it’s not, we miss out on what it is. Sometimes maybe it’s better to miss out, and that’s okay. But I think it’s important to remind ourselves that someone took the time to put those words on paper, to create a part of culture. Whenever I read I try (and this is not always easy) to think not what does this book need, but what does it already offer?

 

What do you think makes a book great? Let me know in the comments.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: My Experiences with Graphic Novels

 

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My 5 all-time favorite graphic novels to date. All pictures from Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

What I love about graphic novels is the way they use pictures to evoke mood in a more immediate way than words alone. So much of communication is non-verbal and graphic novels let you experience the importance of a significant look or gesture.  If the story is a memoir, they provide a kind of self-portrait. Like a comic they are guided by pictures, but unlike a comic they are focused on narrative rather than action.

Since I’ve spoken about all of these graphic novels before, I thought I’d spend today’s post talking about my renewed interest in graphic novels and how I’ve become a pretty big fan over the last year or so.

The first, and for a while the only, graphic novels I read were Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Art Spiegelman’s Maus books. I was introduced to Satrapi via the film Persepolis, and it was only from there that I went to read her work. I remember being blown away–not just by the nature of her experience–but by the young woman herself: cool, rebellious, full of conviction but also doubt, intelligent and never parroting. She was the person I had always wanted to be. In an interview with Vogue, she said she didn’t consider her work to be autobiographical because “…normally an autobiography is a book that you write because you hate your family and your friends and you don’t know how to say it to them, so you write a book and let them read it themselves.” Instead her story is a family history, and the history of the 70s and 80s of Iran told through the lens of her personal experience. It was an immensely important work, and even as a freshman or sophomore in high school I recognized that.

Part of me wanted more of this new medium I’d discovered, but I wasn’t sure where to get it. Our library wasn’t all that good of keeping up with the times, and there wasn’t much in the graphic section except for manga and comics. I admire both of these art forms, but they’ve never really spoken to me. So I went back to reading other things that spoke to me instead.

Then in college someone told me (or maybe I overheard someone speak about) The Maus series. I went looking for these specifically, and I was blown away. Art Spiegelman has said in many interviews that “the Holocaust trumps art,” and I think by and large he’s right about this. And yet his graphic novels are so full of emotional power,I cried reading them (which is not something I normally do). Maus II won a Pulitzer prize, the first and only graphic novel to do so.

I came to the graphic novel through other ways too. My brother was in the process of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, and his Sunday school/Hebrew school teacher took his group to see an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum about a graphic novel that depicted the entire book of Genesis. The artwork wrapped its way throughout the room and you could make out both familiar and not-so-familiar stories. It reminded me of the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah, during which the entire scroll is unwrapped (taking up the entire room), supported by the congregation. The end of the Torah and the beginning are supposed to be read in the same breath, showing that it has no beginning or end. It’s one of my favorite Jewish holidays, though I’ve only actually attended a couple of times.

Beyond this encounter though, most of my reading was relegated to school reading and various novels, and I didn’t seriously start looking at graphic novels again until after my fiance and I had moved to Idaho.

In the end, it was a Podcast that got me into graphic novels more seriously. The Bridechilla podcast interviewed Lucy Knisley about her book, Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride, and I was already reading all these wedding books, and I knew I’d have to add it to the list. So I read it. And then I read two more of her books. And then I started finding them all over the library in the new books section, in the staff recommended books section, and in the obvious place, the graphic novel section.

Apparently I was ready to embrace this medium. The art felt so immediate, so closely tied to the words on the page. Some of them were heavily researched, others were tales of personal journeys. Beyond the fact that they were often quick to read, making them a bit of a relief from a year largely spent reading books that weren’t all that special, they were a new world you could escape to in a single sitting.

Of course, I’ve also read some that I didn’t enjoy very much, and I’ve found that my favorites are either brutally honest personal narratives or meticulously researched but still lighthearted histories.

I still have a long way to go. But now I’ve gotten better at finding these books, and I’m more open about them finding me.

 

What’s your experience with graphic novels? Have you read any of my favorites or do you have a recommendation for me? Let me know in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’ve Read Recently that I Wasn’t Looking For But Glad I Found

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish.

I think that you find books at the right times to read them…or you don’t and you miss out on that book. Sometimes the book is the right one for you, and you can read it over and over again without it ever feeling stale. Sometimes you try to read it again, and the magic is gone. The books you find at the right time just by chance stick with you. Did someone in the know recommend it? Did you find it on a bookshelf while looking for something else? Where do you find books that you aren’t looking for?

These are some of my favorite books, even if they aren’t that great, even though they don’t do anything to help my TBR list. Sometimes it’s the right time to find a book that you weren’t looking for.

In addition, this list of books also only includes those that have fewer than 15,000 ratings on Goodreads.

In the “New Books” Section of the Library

Even when I tell myself that there should be a limit to the number of books I should be checking out, I always look over at the “new” section–just to see what’s there.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

About: A sort of Arabian Nights meets the digital world. Alif is the equivalent of a code   name, one he uses online where he protects anyone’s presence on the internet from the eyes of the Hand for a price. When weird things start to happen, Alif is shown an entirely new world that he never could have believed to exist, one that is far from virtual.

Verdict: This was a really fun read that I probably never would have come across if I had stuck to my reading schedule. It had really interesting things to say about technology, magic, and censorship–not to mention religion and government.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

About: This book is about Truman Capote through the eyes of the society women he captivated and later betrayed. The story is told through the women’s perspective and paints an interesting portrait of both society in question and of the writer.

Verdict: I read this book before In Cold Blood, and it actually gave me the determination I needed to start what I thought would be a pretty daunting venture (it really wasn’t, but I’m glad I was able to get into the book and see that). If you don’t like to read about wealthy women, you probably won’t enjoy this, but the characters, for all their privilege, are extremely vulnerable and interesting.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

About: An eccentric young boy with a reclusive authoress as his mother and a nanny who’s been sent by the publisher to give his mother time to write. The book follows the nanny’s perspective (who in her regular job isn’t a nanny at all), her frustrations and trials as she deals with a child who dresses like he’s 30 years old in the 1930’s, knows everything there is to know about his favorite old movies, and doesn’t like his things being touched.

Verdict: This book is all about personalities, the most captivating one being Frank’s. This woman loves this family that doesn’t really accept her into it, at least not right away. I found this book to be charming. The plot moves slowly, but plot isn’t really the point here.

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

About: The last living descendant of the Bronte sisters enters a venerable old British institution. She’s told everyone that there’s no mystery fortune that’s been passed down from the Brontes, though the press refuses to believe it. But when she starts to receive copies of the Bronte’s books–books that should have been burnt in her father’s library years ago when it caught fire–she thinks maybe someone is trying to tell her something different.

Verdict: A modern, and only slightly gothic, romance/mystery that fits into the Bronte tradition. For anyone who likes Austen or the Bronte sisters.

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

About: A classic trying-to-have-it-all story about a mother who thinks she can make everything balance until life starts getting crazy.

Verdict: This is a great beach/vacation/cozy time read. It’s not all that serious or difficult, and you could be finished with it in a couple sittings.

 

Found Wandering the Library

There are times when I’ll just wander through the shelves and see what strikes me. Some of these were found in specific sections (graphic novels are great for browsing, since there’s usually a limited number of them).

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

About: The book moves backward in time and follows the lives of two ex-pat families living in the Mediterranean. It’s sort of a Romeo and Juliet story with an olive grove twist.

Verdict: I’d seen this book many times at one of the bookstores I frequented in college. It always caught my eye, but I never bought it (mainly because I don’t usually buy books randomly). When I saw it on the shelf, I knew it was time. It wasn’t one of my favorites. I liked the time flow and loved the setting, but on the whole I found the characters difficult to either root for or summon much dislike for (with some exceptions). I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, but it was really a 3.5 I rounded up.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua

About: The story/alternative history of the first computer.

Verdict: As I’ve mentioned before, this was one of my favorite books of the year, and I only found it by browsing the shelves.

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

About: One woman’s journey with her favorite book throughout her life. It’s part memoir and part literary criticism.

Verdict: Since I read Middlemarch the year before, it was definitely the right time to read this book, which turned out to be interesting and well-written and researched. Reading books like this is a holdover from my college days, and I always enjoy bringing new perspectives to a text.

 

Staff Picks at the Library

I gave this it’s own section because it’s more like getting a book recommendation rather than just strolling along a shelf.

James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner by Alfonso Zapico

About: The life of James Joyce in graphic novel form.

Verdict: A really great biography of a complicated man. Translated from Spanish.

 

Mom’s Recommendation

There actually would be more books in this section if I had been more dedicated to reading at the end of the year. My mom and I share books back and forth a lot, and she is really good at picking things out for me and vice versa.

Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones

About: An archaeologist hires a translator in China to help him in his quest for dig approval. (There’s no connection to the Bill Murray film just in case you were wondering)

Verdict: This book was so good! If you like archaeology and romance and a little history thrown in I think you should give this book a try. The characters are really interesting and the writing is atmospheric and sensual.

 

Reading is all about discovery. What have you “discovered” lately?

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 2016 Releases I’m Really Excited About

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is all about what 2016 releases we really meant to get to, but weren’t able to read for whatever reason. My reading is almost always at least a year (if not a century) behind, so I actually like waiting for the best-of-the-year lists to come out, and a lot of times I build up my to-read list from these compiled lists by people who do actually read the books when they come out. In particular, I really like NPR’s list because it’s super fun and visual and easy to sort through (I am a huge nerd about good indexing and cross indexing), not to mention the blurbs are written by people like librarians and NPR staffers instead of publishing houses. I like the different perspectives. So here are ten books that I mostly haven’t mentioned yet, but that I can’t wait to read whether that’s this year or years down the road when they happen to find me.

  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson–Starts on the brink of WWI in a small English town–a book about manners and how they’re affected by the chaos of war. Sounds like a great read. (in the Book Club Ideas Section)
  • Umami by Laia Jufresa–I love reading translated books (part of the enjoyment being thinking about how the book is different in the native language–pure speculation), and this debut novel about loss and connection in Mexico City seems like a great read. (in the Staff Picks Section).
  • Patience by Daniel Clowes–Graphic novels are so interesting and moving, and I like the change of pace from regular novels every now and again. This book is supposed to be a love story, but also involves time travel. Can you really ask for more than that? (in the For Art Lovers section)
  • Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung–A boarding school story set in Australia with a young woman who struggles to find a place for herself and her heritage, a YA with plenty of nuance–my favorite kind. (in the Tales From Around the World section)
  • The Vanishing Velázquez: A 19th Century Bookseller’s Obsession With A Lost Masterpiece by Laura Cumming–a nonfiction book about a man obsessed  with a work of art. (in the Seriously Great Writing section)
  • The Glass Universe: How The Ladies Of The Harvard Observatory Took The Measure Of The Stars by David Sobel–A group of female astrologists, long relegated to the sidelines are brought to the forefront. This books talks about the women themselves as well as their contributions to science. (in the It’s All Geek to Me section)
  • The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg–A spin on the 1,001 Nights, and that’s all I have to know to be interested in this graphic novel. (in the Ladies First section)
  • The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer–A nonfiction book about brave librarians who risk everything to save books…um yes please. (in the Identity & Culture section)
  • The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman–YA historical fiction that takes the historical part seriously but isn’t afraid to throw a few demons in. (in the Rather Long section)
  • The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to Enlightenment ed. by Brian Copenhaver–I love reading about magic and how the perception of it has changed over time. This book looks like something of an undertaking, but a good one. (in the Eye-Opening Reads section)

 

How do you find new books for your TBR lists? Was there a book you missed this year that you really were looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2016

 

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish.

I took the week off of blogging for the holidays, but I couldn’t resist commenting on my favorite books last year (especially since this week’s topic is all about 2017 new releases and we all know that I won’t be getting around to most of those books this year anyway…). It still hasn’t quite sunk in that the year is over and the new one has begun yet. Maybe it will start to when we unpack our bags and finish unloading our car. Or maybe it won’t be until I make my ridiculously long list of New Year’s Resolutions like I do every year. Possibly I won’t be rid of 2016 until February. But now I’m rambling. On to the books!

Actually I read a lot of not-so-great books this year, along with a lot of things that I wouldn’t normally read (like wedding books), so this year I’ve divided my list of 99 books read into categories, and talk about the best books (and runner ups) from each one.

Best Fiction (read: 26)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

runner up: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I can’t say enough good things about Doerr’s book. It’s a stunning and heartbreaking look at one of the most devastating events of the twentieth century. The characters are fully alive and unique, and the story is mesmerizing, inviting you to take your time in the created world without any part of it moving too slowly.

Capote’s most famous work is most correctly called (according to the man himself) a non-fiction novel. I was at a loss whether to put it in the fiction or nonfiction category, but since some of the information was proved to have been falsified, I decided it belonged here. Nevertheless, it is an extremely well written work–a provocative look into the minds and motivations of two killers.

Best YA (read: 4)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I didn’t read much Young Adult stuff this year aside from the Divergent Series, which I was not all that fond of to be honest. I enjoyed the first book, but lost interest as the series continued. So, even though I didn’t read Riggs’ book until the very end of the year (after seeing the film), it became far and away my favorite. I love that the story was inspired by and freely incorporated old photographs and that the protagonist actually sounds like a young man (complete with bodily humor, sarcasm, and angst).

Best Science Fiction (read: 1)

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Before this book, I’d never read anything by Asimov, which is weird considering how much I like science fiction. It just seemed intimidating I guess. But this book was great–I’ve never really seen a book set in the future jump time periods like this one does and I was blown away by it. I can’t wait to finish the trilogy.

Best Series (read: 17 books)

The Magicians Series by Lev Grossman

runner up: The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

Can I just say how excited I am to watch The Magicians television series on Netflix? So pumped. These books were great–a mix of all my favorite children’s fantasy books but now decidedly grown up.

And Harkness’ books have become a favorite in my family circle. If the Twilight books had lived up to their best potential, it might have been this series which is full of magic, romance, and time travel.

Best Nonfiction (read: 10)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

runner up: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

I don’t think it would be overstating things to say that Coates’ small book was the most important thing I read all year. His words are difficult and challenging, but in this fraught time of police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement on the one hand and a denial that a race problem even exists in America on the other, his words are poignant and essential. Everyone should read this book.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has long been a source of inspiration to me (and women everywhere, I think), but I never knew all that much about her life until I read this book. The well written biography is juxtaposed not just with pictures but with artwork inspired by the Justice. It’s a great, quick read that’ll bring you insight into the court system and the life of this remarkable woman who never backs down.

Best Graphic Novel (read: 6)

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua

runner up: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

What if Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace were able to follow through on their project and actually build the world’s first mechanical computer…in the 1800s? That’s the line of inquiry the author/artist follows. What seems to have begun as a little bit of research into an interesting subject became a deftly drawn alternate reality rife with information about Victorian life, mathematics, and the biographies of these two fascinating people. Unlike most graphic novels, it’s not exactly a quick read, but it’s totally captivating.

Bechdel’s tale is one of identity and family–coming to terms with your father’s death is never easy–especially when he was a difficult man with a dark secret. This memoir tries to capture her father’s identity as well as her own struggle with her sexuality. Be warned that the content is very adult (and not very happy), but it’s a great book about how your family influences who you ultimately become.

Best Cookbook (read: 4)

My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl

I love reading cookbooks cover to cover, especially when they tell a story like this one does. Reichl is famous as a critic and magazine editor, and when her magazine folds, she feels adrift. She finds her way back with food, and these recipes are her journey. They’re a pleasure to read because they’re less blunt instructions and more of a conversation about food.

Best Children’s Book (read: 6)

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

runner up: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

I’ve got one or two more books to go in Le Guin’s Earthsea books, and I’m enjoying them so much. I picked the second book as my favorite. I love how though it’s related, it’s so different from the first book and a nice departure from the usual quest narrative, bringing up entirely different themes and characters.

This was the first time I’d ever read this book, and man do I feel like I was missing out. It’s such a beautifully told story about imagination and beauty and death–big themes for such a little book that takes place on such a little planet (and I really enjoyed the Netflix film as well!)

Best Parenting (read: 2)

The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron, PhD.

runner up: In Defense of the Princess by Jerramy Fine

I checked out Aron’s book as research for my character–a highly sensitive child–and to my surprise it was not only really helpful as research, but it gave me so much insight into my brother’s character and my own when we were children. If you’re struggling with parenting but it’s not the usual struggles, and your kid is not the “usual” kid, you might think about picking up this book.

This book I picked up because of the title–never conscious that it was, in fact, a parenting book–and it contains a really interesting argument in favor of princesses and all things pink as an expression of feminine power. It’s really a book geared towards feminists who worry that all things pink make their daughters more subject to the patriarchy. While I really enjoyed this book, I do have issues with some of the arguments and I think it could have taken a stronger and more complex stance on objectification–particularly where Disney princesses are concerned.

Best Wedding Book (read: 23)

A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene

runner up: Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley

I guess I should have known that my research tendencies would not go away just because I got engaged. I read a ridiculous amount of wedding books (if you need a book for a specific case or type of wedding I probably can give you a recommendation…) and came out with two clear favorites. One is Keene’s pragmatic and level-headed guide, the companion to her wonderful blog. If you’re interested in creating an authentic celebration with emotions rather than stuff at the forefront–read this book. Her website and book are very open to all kinds of unions and are wonderfully helpful–much more so than 99% of the things I read this year.

In contrast, Knisley’s book is actually a memoir describing what it looks like to have a feminist, modern wedding. It shows with humor and charming illustrations struggles over budget, family issues, and what happens when ideas run amok. I think it’s a great read for anyone planning their wedding, or anyone who just likes reading about weddings.

 

Did you read a lot of books outside the norm this year? Or did you stick to your favorite genres? Let me know one of the books you loved this year in the comments!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books About Food I’d Love to Find Under My Tree

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish.

I’m not sure how many books I’m actually going to be receiving for Hanukkah/Christmas this year (considering that my fiance and I aren’t exchanging our usual bookish gifts–I got a computer instead and I’ve got different surprises in the works for him), but there’s always an insanely long list of books I’d love to have.

To narrow it down a little, I’ve limited this list to cookbooks/food memoirs. Because the holidays always make me hungry!

  • A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer

This is exactly the book I need to take my Game of Thrones obsession to the next level.

  • How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson

I like to think that I’m pretty much a domestic goddess already, but I’m eager to pick up some more tips. Maybe she has an idea of how to trick yourself into enjoying doing dishes…

  • Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia by Larousse

I don’t know how often I’d use this book, but I want to read it from cover to cover.

  • Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen

Food is memories–even if those memories aren’t always the warmest or most pleasant. Food is still home.

  • The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory–More than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike by Dinah Bucholz

Our friends actually gave us this cookbook for Christmas and I was so excited! I can’t wait to cook something from it.

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  • Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli by Ted Merwin

Even as delis are beginning to disappear, they’re such a big part of America’s culinary history (and they’re delicious). I miss the deli that used to be close to our house growing up. When it closed I was so sad.

  • Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons

I read some of Gibbon’s work for my food writing class, and I’d love to read his famous work.

  • Sugar Cube: 50 Deliciously Twisted Treats from the Sweetest Little Food Cart on the Planet by Kir Jensen

This Portland food cart has really fun desserts, and I’d love to see what in her cookbook!

  • Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Presents: The Cake Book by Cupcake Jemma

A book of recipes by my favorite YouTube baker, Cupcake Jemma (I love her Oreo cupcakes)

  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime–Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper by Ree Drummond

This is the only Pioneer Woman cookbook I don’t own. I love her step-by-step photos and down-to-earth nature.