Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie

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

Happy Halloween!

It’s so strange–as a kid you’re excited about Halloween no matter what day of the week it falls on, but as an adult I feel like I’m usually more excited about the weekend closest to it. This year, our friends threw a party and everyone dressed up as their childhood dream job. I dressed up as an archaeologist a la Indiana Jones, and Paul dressed up like a fighter pilot.

The atmosphere of disguise and pretending to be someone else is my favorite part of Halloween, so in honor of that, here are 10 memorable costumes from my childhood and 10 books to go with them.

Archaeologist—Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones

This book is probably the best (as well as only) book that I’ve read recently that features archaeology as its subject. The protagonist acts as a translator for the dig, helping them secure permission from the government. Also a great love story

 

Esmerelda—Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies

Oh I loved this costume. My mom didn’t make it, but it was homemade by someone. The cotton fabric had this rich, watery quality to it.

Anyway, I think of Esmerelda as a character who stands up for those in need, even at great personal cost. I can’t think of anyone who exemplifies that more than Miep Gies, who helped hide the Franks with her partner at great personal risk.

 

Belly Dancer—Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher

My family did make this costume. It felt like everyone had a hand in it. Unfortunately we lived in Oregon, which meant I had to basically ruin the costume with layers or I’d get wet from the rain.

This YA book was one of my favorites around this time in my life (5th grade or so). I loved the emphasis it placed on storytelling and the intrigue. The life it depicted was as enchanting as it was disturbing.

 

Cleopatra—Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff or watch the movie with Elizabeth Taylor

This was probably one of my more memorable costumes. My hair was the right length and the right color to fit all the images you probably have in your mind of the Queen. My makeup was a bit sloppy, but that didn’t matter because I felt incredibly regal.

I like this biography of Cleopatra because it tries to rescue the woman from behind the legend created for her. I also love the movie with Liz Taylor because it does exactly the opposite.

 

Delores Umbridge—Matilda by Roald Dahl

It would be too easy to choose a Harry Potter book for this character. Instead I chose one with another despicable school administrator.

 

Bumblebee—Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

I don’t really have any memories of this costume, but it’s featured in lots of toddler pictures, so it definitely existed. I chose a book that’s sweet but also stings.

 

Pink Power Ranger—Bossypants by Tina Fey

Not that Tina Fey would have ever dressed up as a Power Ranger, but the message behind the costume is I will clearly kick your butt while defying all of your expectations–hence Tina Fey’s book.

Did the Power Ranger costume not say that to you? Maybe it’s just me.

Alice—Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

This book seems like the perfect counterpart to Alice in Wonderland. Not only does it have a quintessentially English feel (complete with footnotes), there’s also some traveling via mirrors going on. I will rave about this book more later. But it and the show are perfect Halloween reading.

 

50s housewife—Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

This book is a really interesting look into the mind of a woman who seems to be a perfect 50’s housewife, but is really a person with her own complications, flaws, and concerns.

 

Snow White—The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

I didn’t actually consider this costume to be a costume for Snow White. My mom and I found a bunch of these pretty German-style costumes at the thrift store, and the three of us (Mom, me and my best friend) went around dressed up as Bavarian beauties or something–we never quite settled on that. But I went dressed up that way to the preschool where my aunt worked, and all the kids called me Snow White, which was flattering.

Anyway, Angela Carter’s not-so-fairy tales are perfect for Halloween or really any time of year.

 

What was your most memorable costume? Let me know in the comments.

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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: 10 Books I’m Eager to Read Next Year

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2016 is drawing to a close, and 2017 is right around the bend (so obviously it’s time to start outlining book choices for the new year). As you will know if you’re a regular reader, I rarely keep up with new releases, which is the theme of this week’s topic. Instead, I thought I’d share with you 10 books that I’m really excited to read in the first half of next year. Many of them were published this year, but some of them are older and I’m just looking forward to finally reading them.

  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo–Amy Schumer

I really enjoy Schumer’s comedy, and I’m interested to see how she brings humor to her writing in a longer format.

  • Hag-Seed–Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood + Shakespeare= Happy Dance

  • Swing Time–Zadie Smith

Not only is it named after a great Astaire/Rogers musical, it’s also a book by an author I admire greatly. Can you believe she published her first novel at 24? I’m totally in awe of her.

  • After Alice–Gregory Maguire

My TBTB Secret Santa gave me an ARC of this book, and I can’t wait to dig in. I’ve really enjoyed a lot of Maguire’s work like Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, so I’m interested to see what he does with this iconic story.

  • The Underground Railroad–Colson Whitehead

I love the cleverness of this idea–a metaphor turned into a literal railroad.

  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII–Alison Weir

Another gift from my Secret Santa, this book has been on my TBR list for an embarrassingly long time.

  • Wolf Hall–Hilary Mantel

I read one of Mantel’s short story books last year and loved it, so when I found a copy of her historical fiction at my library’s used book sale, I knew I had to pick it up.

  • Homegoing–Yaa Gyasi

This is the story of two half-sisters from Ghana and the separate paths their lives take–one becomes a slave and the other marries a slaver. The writing was compared to Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi, so I was on board from the moment I heard that.

  • Paper: Paging Through History–Mark Kurlansky

Paper is so ubiquitous, but I don’t always stop and think about where it comes from and how amazing it is to have it around all the time. I love reading nonfiction about the things I use every day.

  • Wide Sargasso Sea–Jean Rhys

I feel like this book and I have been circling each other in the pool, but it’s high time I caught up with it. This adaptation of Jane Eyre has been on my radar forever it feels like, but I only recently added it to my official TBR list.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 New-To-Me Authors I Can’t Wait to Read More From

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

Today’s topic is all about new-to-you authors. I’ve read quite a few books this year, but this post is all about new authors that stood out and that I look forward to reading more from. These are in no particular order (starred authors are those I read more than one book by this year).

Lucy Knisley*–I’ve read graphic novels before this year, but never so many. I really enjoyed my foray into this genre, and particularly enjoyed the graphic memoirs by Lucy Knisley. Her writing is honest and authentic and bittersweet (though never bitter). My favorite work of hers was her memoir about planning her wedding called Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride.

Elena Ferrante*–I have one more book before I finish the four Neapolitan Novels, but you don’t have to read much of her work to know that Ferrante is a very important writer. Her books about friendship are some of the most real (and most uncomfortable) I’ve ever read, dealing not only in connection and support but bitterness and jealousy and misunderstandings. I didn’t always find the books easy to get through, but I felt like I accomplished something each time I finished one and that I’d had to confront my own understanding of what friendship is and the many ways it can materialize.

Anthony Doerr–There’s so much I could say about All the Light We Cannot See–the writing is great, the story is spectacular, and there is plenty to talk about from the motifs to the setting. It’s a wonderful book. If you haven’t read it, it should really go on your list. It lives up to all its hype.

Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me won the National Book Award for nonfiction and the prize was well deserved. A father’s conversation with his son, Coates shares his perspective on blackness in America with devastating honesty. It may be a very short book, but it will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Lev Grossman*–I’m a huge fan of fantasy in general, but The Magicians Series was one of my favorite things that I read this year. Grossman takes some of the most influential writing about magic for children (think C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling) and turns all of it into a book about what happens when you’re a magician and you grow up. Somewhere between a fantasy novel and a coming of age story, Grossman has a talent for making some of the most beloved fantasy books of all time come alive again for adults.

Rebecca Mead*–I read plenty of nonfiction this year, but most of it had to do with weddings. Mead’s take on the subject, One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, was more serious than most, all about how our society has been influenced (as well as influences) by an industry that makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year. I also read Mead’s take on Middlemarch, which was part memoir and part literary criticism and enjoyed it immensely, having tackled Eliot’s opus last year.

Chinua Achebe*–We read this trilogy in my book club, and without a doubt the first book, Things Fall Apart, is the best of them. It’s an important story about colonialism and human dignity written by a Nigerian author.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery–I don’t know why I’ve never read The Little Prince before now, since it’s been on my list for a very long time. It’s not a book I was familiar with as a kid, but if I ever have children it’s one I’ll be sure to share with them. I love how it deals with imagination, beauty, goodness, and childhood. And I really enjoyed the Netflix movie (the soundtrack is gorgeous).

Kevin Wilson–Has anybody seen the movie adaptation of The Family Fang? I didn’t even know they’d made it into a film until I’d finished reading the book. It’s definitely a weird story about a family who does crazy performance art pieces in public spaces. It’s all about art and family dysfunction and screwing up your kids.

Isaac Asimov–Though I read a lot of science fiction I’ve actually been a little nervous about getting into Asimov. Either I like him and now I have a million books to read or I hate him and then I hate one of the most important science fiction writers of all time. I guess I shouldn’t have worried–it was definitely the former. I’m still catching up with this book club series (Foundation), but I can’t wait to read more.

 

Interested in last years post? You can find it here.

What author discoveries did you make this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books On My Fall To Be Read List

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

This week’s topic is about the books you want to read this fall. I’ve read a lot of books this year, but I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with my challenges, so this fall will be all about catching up the best I can.

For the A-Z challenge:

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (though if I’m not enjoying it, I’ll probably switch to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Player Piano)
  • QBVII by Leon Uris

For the Series Challenge:

  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (once I finish this one, I add another series to the completed category!)
  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (two more left!)
  • The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (there’s no way I’m going to be able to finish this series since there are nine books and three people ahead of me on the waiting list for the fourth book…but I’m still really enjoying them)

So that’s my fall TBR list. I have a feeling that I will be falling short of both reading goals this year, but I’ll do the best I can to finish the challenges.

How are you doing on your own reading challenges? Have you read any of these books/series? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: 5 of My Audiobook Experiences

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

This week’s topic is all about audio, so I thought I’d talk about audiobooks. I don’t tend to listen to a lot of them unless I’m actively doing something like dishes or folding laundry or driving because otherwise my attention starts to wander. But audiobooks when done well with a good voice actor can really transport you–like a movie does but you still get to imagine more. Instead of just listing books that I’ve read audibly, I thought I’d share some recollections of my experiences with audiobooks.

The Best Audiobook Experience Ever

Aka listening to all seven Harry Potter books being read by Jim Dale and Stephen Fry. Those voices! They transport you straight to Hogwarts. I actually want to re-listen to all the books this year. Do you have an opinion on which narrator is the best?

First Audiobook as a Couple 

My now fiancé and I listened to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo during a long car trip to California for my cousin’s wedding about five years ago. It was the first time we’d done that together and we enjoyed getting to read a book simultaneously and discussing it between discs.

They Abridge Audiobooks?

I was obsessed with Meg Cabot as a teenager and adored her historical romances geared towards young adults, Nicola and the Viscount and Victoria and the Rogue. When I first listened to these as a way to get myself to fall asleep, I noticed that the (fairly) short books had actually been abridged and parts of them were missing. I knew the books so well I couldn’t miss these moments, which to be fair were not crucial to the plot (but there wasn’t anything inappropriate about them–maybe they just didn’t want to have to shell out for another CD?).

Wait…What Happened?

My latest audiobook experience was with Chinua Achebe’s No Longer At Ease. While I really enjoyed Things Fall Apart, I struggled to get through this book (and now I have to get through the third one…). I was distracted basically the whole time while listening, and I think I ended up getting the essential plot, but really only about one third of the book I would vouch for understanding.

The Man at the Library

Lately I’ve been volunteering for my local Friends of the Library’s Mini Monday Book Sale (it’s great because the books are so cheap and when I’m not ringing people up I get to sit and read my book), and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and talking to them about books. One gentleman bought some gardening books and then told me that his daughter had told him about audiobooks. Not just that the library had a great selection them or that he could access them digitally from the library catalogue, but that they existed! He seemed so jazzed by the idea that it made my day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a particular book to recommend to him, but I loved how pumped he was by the idea that he could read on his commute.

 

So those are five of my most memorable experiences with audiobooks. Do you have any experiences to share? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

This or That Book Tag

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(I drew this using one of my DIY Crayons–see how to make your own here)

I was tagged by Ola @ Ola Reads Books. I love her blog; she’s always reading something interesting.

RULES

  1. Mention the creator of the tag (Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks)
  2. Thank the person who tagged you–Thanks!
  3. Tag other people and spread the love.

 

QUESTIONS

Reading on the couch or reading in bed? My favorite reading place is a big comfy chair that I can curl up in like a cat. But couch vs   bed? I’d have to say bed–I have the spare bed in my office and I tend to read there during the day and in my own bed at night.

Main character: Male or Female? Female. But I read plenty of both.

Sweet or salty snacks while reading? I tend towards salty. My favorite thing to eat while reading is buttered toast and tea followed closely by pretzels.

Trilogies or quartets? As many books as it takes to do the series justice. But I tend to read novels.

First Person or Third person POV? Definitely third person. If it’s first person it has to be twice as engaging for me to be interested. And every first person narrator is unreliable, so I have to spend the whole book figuring out how/why.

Night or morning reader? Night. But any time I’m awake is a good time to be reading.

Libraries or bookstores? Libraries! However, if I had a larger disposable income to devote to books you’d never pull me out of a used bookstore.

Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry? I like books that make me do both. It’s easier to find one that makes me laugh. I don’t cry while reading books very often (did cry reading HP 5&6 though).

Black or white book covers? A quick scan of my bookshelf reveals I have no preference on this issue. But I really like covers with strong typographic elements and minimal imagery.

Character driven or plot driven stories? Character driven–the plot doesn’t have to be anything special if the characters come alive and the writing is good. And even if though I don’t like pages and pages of description–a great setting or premise can also make up for a weak plot.

 

I tag: M Reads Books, Chantal @ Disappear Into Books, & Caitlin @ Caitlin Stern Writes

Anyone else want to join in the fun? Consider yourself tagged.