Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top Ten Best Debut Books

In no particular order....


For many years after reading Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg,
I eager awaited new Berg books, though
I've been disappointed with the last couple of reads.


In contrast, I loved Stephen L. Carter's
brilliant first book Civility, but
I never liked anything else.

Operating Instructions wasn't Anne Lamott's first book,
but it was her first nonfiction book and it took my breath away.
I still love her nonfiction and
shy away from her fiction.


The Lightning Thief was not Rick Riordan's first book either,
but it was his first children's novel and the first book of his that I had read.
I love his kids' books. Not so much the grownup mysteries.


Apparently I will never read Tracy Kidder's first book,
The Road to Yuba City. Kidder hated it so much
that he bought the rights to it,
saying he did not want it to "see the light of day."
I've loved everything else he has ever written, however,
including my current read, Home Town.


I was crazy about the first Douglas Adams book,
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
I just acquired the Dirk Gently series.
Hope I like it as much.


I was crazy about Amy Krouse Rosenthal's debut book.
I went on to love all of her children's books, too.


Not only did my love for this debut novel of Wally Lamb
send me off in search of more Wally Lamb works,
but it also sent me off in search of more Oprah novels.


Can a book be your debut novel if it's your only novel?
In any case, GWTW is fantastic.


Pirsig's debut book changed the way
I see the world. In a good way.
I liked it so much that I wrote Pirsig
my first and only letter-to-the-author.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Ten Books I Wish I'd Read as a Kid

Ready...set...GO! 

The first ten that come to mind...

Stargirl
It's okay to be quirky.

Anne of Green Gables
It's okay to be quirky.
(You can't hear this often enough when you are thirteen.)

The Giver
A Utopia might not be Utopian. 

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
How different my life would have
been if my dad's family in the Deep South
had been born black.
The Hiding Place
Not all Christians
put on their Christianity
on Sunday morning and
take it off
after Sunday service.

Because of Winn-Dixie
Just the simple act of
loving people
can solve a lot of troubles.

Where the Red Fern Grows
This book was my initiation into
the Amazing Fun Boys Were Having
while we girls sat home and crocheted doilies.

The Phantom Tollbooth
Brilliant.
Clever.
Words can be delightful.

Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis
(For those who do not know this story,
it's about a caterpillar who falls in love with a tadpole.
"Promise me you'll never change," Caterpillar whines to Tadpole.
See where this is going?)
A cute fellow is lovely,
but let's hope there's more to him
 than just a pretty face.

Zen and the Art
of Motorcycle Maintenance
There's more than one way
of seeing the world.


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book a Day



I finished a book a day last week. All were nice solid reads. Nothing that's going on my Best of 2011 list (the two best reads were rereads and therefore not eligible), but nothing I wish I'd abandoned at chapter one either.

Here are my seven Very Quick Reviews:

Anna and the French Kiss...Anna is forced by her parents to spend her final high school year at a school in Paris. Oh poor Anna. The miseries of adolescents these days. She meets a clever and cute boy (those are always the best) but he seems to be taken. Sigh. Still, they can be friends. Very good friends.

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy...On the cover, the author's name is significantly larger than the title. This is important, fellow readers. Alarms always go off in my head when I see the author's name displayed in type that is significantly larger than that of the title. Silly me, I had assumed this was a new Conroy book. Wrong. It's a collection of recycled essays that are (mostly) about Conroy's reading life. Lots of nice pieces.

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik...I loved this book when I first read it about ten years ago. This time, not only was I murmuring, "Oh, lucky ducks, this family is in Paris," but I was also gushing, "Yes, yes, I went there, too!"

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster...A reread, a happy reread. You must bear in mind that I adore silly wordplay and this book is the King of Silly Wordplay.

The Devil in the White City...I don't like scary books and this book has the subplot of a mass murderer with the kinds of gruesome details that give me bad dreams. I must honestly say that I raced through the scary parts as fast as I could and spent most of my time relishing the parts about the world's fair. The world's fair was a very cool idea. Do we still have these world's fairs?

Table of Contents...Short chapters of interviews with authors about the writing process and what motivates the authors to write and, best of all, favorite recipes of the authors. I was surprised to see that most of the recipes were very elaborate; the recipes are probably more fun to read about than to actually cook. Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book.

One Day by David Nicholls...A novel that is getting a lot of buzz these days as it is being made into a movie. Our main characters, our contemporary Harry and Sally if you will, meet in college and continue to bump into one another as the years pass. Dexter, our Harry, spends way too much time pursuing drugs and women for my taste, and Emma, our Sally, falls into writing and fame and fortune way too easily for my belief system to accept, but, other than these flaws, it's a nice little read.

That's it. A lovely reading week. What did you finish this week?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Required Reading: Don't Get Me Started....

Welcome to this week's Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

This blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of
literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.


Literary Blog Hop


Discuss a work of literary merit that you hated
when you were made to read it in school or university. Why did you dislike it?

 
 
   
 Required Reading...
How can we go so wrong
in the name of doing something so right?

How many people now loathe reading 
 as a result of Required Reading?

If a book is so wonderful that
 it should be Required Reading,
why can't we trust that
people will flock to the book on their own?


And are there really books that
should be Required Reading?
 Why?

And for everyone?

If I could share tales of the horrors
of Required Reading
I've heard as a librarian,
it would make you,
 my fellow readers,
sob.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Ten Inspirational Characters



My Top Ten Inspirational Characters are
all real beings who
I discovered in books.


Wangari Maathai
who started a program for replanting trees in Kenya


Wilma Rudolph
who became an amazing runner despite being born premature and suffering from illness

Sammy Lee
who became a champion diver though he was not allowed to
use the public swimming pool as a child because he was Asian-American

Dewey the Cat
who brought comfort to a town suffering from a deep recession

Louis Zamperini
who survived days on a rubber raft and a Japanese POW camp

Cesar Chavez
who fought for justice for migrant workers

Martin Luther King, Jr.
who sought Christian peace for an angry world

Dr. Paul Farmer
who treated the poorest of the poor

Greg Mortensen
who built schools for girls in Afghanistan

The Maasai Tribe in Kenya
who sent 14 of their most prized possessions to America
after hearing about the fall of the Twin Towers in NYC


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Unbroken

Are you like me? Do you ever read a book that is so amazing that all you want to do is tell people to go read this book?

I'm not just talking about telling other big readers like me and you. I'm talking about telling everybody. My brother who loves WWII. My eighty-four year old dad who never reads books. My friend who reads mainly mysteries. My checker at Kroger. Everybody.

When I woke up this morning, I felt so happy: I had finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand yesterday and I had loved it. I wanted to write a Sunday Salon post about Unbroken, a post so brilliantly written that everyone who read my post would zip out and buy the book and read it today.

I tried writing down my favorite parts of this amazing book and I tried writing lines and lines of enthusiastic prose about this amazing book and I tried writing entreaties to go buy this amazing book because it's, yes, amazing....but nothing seemed right.

Finally, I came across this fifty page excerpt of Unbroken and I realized that I could simply post part of the book and let you read the book for yourself and decide for yourself. In fact, I'll go further....I challenge you to simply read the two page preface of the book (pages 18 and 19) and see if this book works for you.

I'd love to hear what you think.