Top Ten Tuesday: What Books?

Top Ten Tuesdays

Hola!
How goes internet peeps?! I am back! Hopefully? Maybe? In an attempt to create some regularity and scheduling in my life, but I’ve made these promises before, so lets be forgiving shall we? At the very least I feel like I can do my memes. So lets take a trip back in time to the world of Top Ten Tuesday hosted over on The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year, and unfortunately I’m going to have to cheat. See problem is this year has been 100% bunk in the way of reading. I’ve barely gotten any in, and some of it has been re-reads, and the rest hasn’t necessarily been awesome, so realistically this is going to be The Only Books I’ve Read In the Last Little While. But hey, its a start?

1. The Circle by Dave Eggers: Bought this book on a whim when I was in Costco, I cant seem to stay away from that giant isle all covered in books. As mentioned before, I 100% judge books by their covers, and this one drew me in. Flipping it over I saw a glowing quote from Margaret Atwood, a very strong point in its favour. But then I opened it up and saw the following quote, emphasis mine:

The Circle is Brave New World for our brave new world . . . Now that we all live and move and have our being in the panopticon, Eggers’s novel may be just fast enough, witty enough and troubling enough to make us glance away from our twerking Vines and consider how life has been reshaped by a handful of clever marketers . . . There may come a day when we can look back at this novel with incredulity, but for now, the mirror it holds up is too chilling to LOL.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

I knew I had to read it. I fell into this book and emerged a couple of days later more wary of Facebook then I had ever been. It was eerie in that this could be today, or tomorrow or 5 years from now. Its the future but today, and nothing is so blatantly wrong, but everything is just off enough to make you feel super uncomfortable, like someone shifting your furniture 3 inches to the left. It was marvellous.

2. Codex Born by Jim C. Hines: OK remember a million years ago? I had Libriomancer on my TBR for fall list? (OMG I looked it up, its from way back in Oct 2012) Well I read it, and I loved it. And I will be the first to admit that its not perfect. It gives into fan service a little too much, and all of the references will make no sense to anyone in 1o years, but dear lord was it fun. The premise is filled with potential, and despite some of the characters being a little flat, I loved just how nerdy Isaac is. So I read the first book and this year I devoured the second, Codex  Born. I would not say that it was as good as the first one, but I was glad to see old friends come back into the picture and have a chance to get fleshed out. The biggest downer to this book were the flash backs. I get it, Lena is a dryad created from a sci-fi smutt novel, she is going to be sexy and have some sexy times, but i feel like it got a little out of control at times. Lena is trying to grow from that, become a person in her own right so to keep throwing her own trope at her time and time again felt a little defeating. Don’t get me wrong, I will read the next book. And I will likely read just about anything that Jim C. Hines put out, I just wish he would trust his readers to be a little more intelligent and less hormone driven.

3,4. Orxy and Crake/Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: So in an attempt to finish off the MaddAdam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, I’ve gone back and done a little rereading. It was great going back and falling into the amazing world Atwood has made for us. Also, because I read them in quick succession it was easy to pick out all the places that the stories crossed over. I had initially read each book after it had been written, meaning I had a hefty 6 year gap in between, so getting the chance to read them both so closely together was a treat. Sneaky references to characters I loved and hated popping up all over the place. I’ve started reading MaddAdam, but shortly after starting reading it, I found The Circle, and if you cant tell from my love letter to it above, it consumed all my reading. Its back on my radar, but is playing second fiddle to The Cloud Atlas, which i need to crack out for book club this month.

5. Wandering Son by Hōrō Musuko, illustrated by Takako Shimura: There is always room in my life for manga, but I feel like I’ve completely ignored this medium as of late. So when we had Graphic Novel up for EOG Book Club last month, I decided to renew this passion and dive head long into this beautiful manga. Manga in general gets a lot of criticism for looking the same, and I cant agree more. A majority of the titles have a very similar quality to character design and plot, which means that you can have two characters from two different titles look identical. With that being said, I feel that i gravitate to the more unique drawing styles. This title isn’t vastly different, but the sketchy style and slow, very natural pacing of the story makes it stand out. The story (in as far as I am, because I am only at volume 4) follows two children, a boy and a girl, who are struggling to come to terms with their gender identity. Without going into it too much just let me say that its beautiful. The author broaches a very delicate subject with charm and tact, and like i said a slow plodding pace that is absolutely essential to the material. To have children come to conclusions and figure everything out at a normal manga style clip, would do the characters a total injustice. I will 100% continue to follow this series.

So its only five, but its a start.
Here is to trying again!

Much Love!
Micheline

Top Ten Tuesday: Not Listening and Making Goals

Top Ten Tuesdays
Not even going to apologize for my horrendous absence, they keep happening and I keep apologizing, and as my mom always told me “Sorry means I’m never going to do it again.” And I really do feel bad for being gone all the time but to be completely honest its probably going to happen again on more then one occasion.

I am also going to be sneaky and not do this weeks Top Ten Tuesday, and do the one from last week. Partially because I cant think of any debut novels I am really looking forward to, the other part is because its my first book blog of the year and I should probably lay down some goals and plans or what have you.

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

1. Continue running the EOG Book Club: This last year has been so amazing with the book club, while some of the ladies have floated in and out and are kinda irregular we have a pretty strong core of about 4 of us that have been keeping strong. Every month brings new insights about new books and genres, and way more laughing then is entirely healthy.

2. Give the EOG Book Club a stronger online presence: I’ve been absolutely awful this year when it comes to blogging consistently, both with Top Ten Tuesday and with the book club. I’d like to at the very least have this happening regularly again. Its once a month I have zero excuse. We also discussed in our December meeting how much fun we think it would be to record our discussion and pop them online. I have no idea how realistic that is, or if we will actually do it, but its something I’d love to explore. I think we are all intelligent and hilarious and I think would make for good listening.

3. Explore more Canadian authors and Canadian settings: I love this great big country of mine, its beautiful and diverse and has so many lovely delicious differences. This month for book club we have Canadiana for our genre, we agreed to choose either a Canadian author or a book set in Canada, which if we are going to be honest are probably going to be pretty mutually exclusive. There just are not a lot of non-Canadian authors flexing their brainpower in a Canadian setting. When i was a kid I was obsessed with Canadian authors, and if I could find them, Albertan authors. I was lucky enough to stumble onto Kit Pearson, and Monica Hughes, two authors who were not only from my home province, but who also lived in Edmonton, which was the closest major city to me. They continue to be my two favorite authors over a decade later.

4. Read more to my niece and nephew: Sadly i live about an hour away from my niece and nephew, and therefore i dont get to spend a tonne of time with them. One thing I have thankfully been able to do is read to them. My sister has been very good about making sure my darling babies have lots of books around and love reading. I go out of my way when I’m in town to be at her house before their bed time so we can sit together, one tiny person on each side and read 3 or 4 books. I love it and I want to do it more!

5. Blog at minimum once a week: I’m not perfect and I know it, I want to blog so much more, but I want to nail myself down to at least one a week.

6. Join a couple of reading challenges: There are a whole bunch of reading challenges over at A Novel Challenge, so far I am interested in the Kidlit Read and Review challenge as well at the YA challenge. Obviously if I do the Kidlit one its going to involve extra blogging, but I mean I dont think thats a huge issue on such little compact books. And even if I do some of the others I dont need to necessarily do a full review but just check in and let you know what i’ve been reading.

7. Get Growing Up Without Harry off the ground: I mentioned it a long, long, long time ago, but believe you me I definitely haven’t forgotten about it. I’ve kept on reading, and will honestly probably need to go back and get a refresher, but I want to write this so so so so so so bad! I cant even pin point why, but it just feels right so I hope to get it right.

8. Get Sequential Genesis off the ground: This is another project I mentioned super briefly. I have found comics due to the beautiful lady who lives over at FacelessMasses, and I have been absolutely enthralled by the medium. I am by no means an expert on the topic of comics and sequential art, but I am loving it none the less. I’d really like to give this some perspective as an outsider looking in. Comics were not something I was into, manga yeah, but comics are a whole different beast.

9. Show my e-reader some love: I have a pretty awful/awesome habit of buying books. Like copious amounts of books. I love to be surrounded by them. Mix this with my growing love of comics. My very very very tiny apartment is running out of space. So what I’d like to do, with the exception of books that continue a series I’ve already begun, or by authors I religiously follow, I am going to get the book in a e-reader format whenever possible. I figure this will save me a lot of space, as well as save me a bit of money.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Who are you?!

Hello again everyone!! Its been a while since I have updated this blog, I do apologize, I even have a giant update to post about last months EOG Book Club (Spoilers: It was epic). But seeing as my brain is currently a wad of cotton-pudding hybrid, I figure I should start out with a Top Ten Tuesday to get me going. This weeks topic: “Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving (those covers or titles that don’t fit the books, a book that was totally different than its summary, or those books you thought were going to be fluff that turned out to be more serious etc etc.)” Me likey this topic! Its one where I can pick favourites or disappointments. Though in retrospect maybe I should call it misconceptions in a few places.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Spent years trying to muscle my way through this novel, but in the end Cole’s Notes’ed my way to  a passing grade. I adored both the movies, (Colin Firth have all my babies please) and was determined to read the book. About a year ago I stumbled on a cheap copy of the book (my previous attempts were from school or my enormous complete works of Jane Austen 20lb tome.) It was simple, clean, and hard cover bungee bound, which meant it could survive the various abuse it was sure to suffer during its travels in my purse. When I got it home to finally read it I was delightfully surprised that the otherwise very boring cover hid some treasure, the book had not only the novel, but several essays, graphs, and character synopsis’s that helped me to see Austen’s world in context, and know who the heck everyone was. With this new knowledge and understanding I was able to pound through Pride and Prejudice and actually enjoy it, pick out the little jokes and laugh and feel Elizabeth’s emotions.

2. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Had heard a lot of really good things about this book, and the synopsis made it sound like it would be an engaging and thought provoking book into the mind of a mother dealing with the guilt of a son jailed for a school massacre. Opened the book, tried reading, and found myself face to face with some of the densest and (in my opinion) the most pompous writing I’ve ever read. Its supposed to be written in the style of letters, but to my knowledge no person on earth writes personal correspondence   as though they are trying to write the next great Russian novel… I was super disappointed and gave up after the first letter.

3. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham: Bar none one of my favorite novels. Bar none one of my least favorite covers… OK, there’s a cuckoo, on someone’s head, whose lying on the ground, with their eyes open, staring all creepy at you. Granted after reading the book I get the symbolism , but for a person picking up the book for the first time it looks like crazy birds are running around killing people, and while that is an awesome story, it is not this story.

4. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde: I found this book by asking around my local book store. I wanted another fairy tale retelling and had hit a wall in my search. Not a fairy tale but nursery rhyme retelling I was game to try something new. Though billed at a detective story I really didn’t expect it to have much of a mystery involved. Boy was I wrong, I have never in my life been more surprised by an ending. The twists and turns were wild and unexpected and lead me on a epic romp that I will never forget. Something I expected to be quick comedy turned into a delightfully complex mystery.

5. Mine Until Midnight by Lisa Kleypas: I apologize to the world!!! I actually liked this book!! They synopsis and cover quickly lead the observer to draw all sorts of conclusions about the quality and content of the book. It was my pick for our mandatory romance book for last months book club, I picked it cause it looked like it would be hilariously silly… not so friends, not so. The story was well thought out, and while not perfect by any means, much better then I had anticipated. I found myself getting invested in the well being of the main character and when it wrapped up suddenly, running to the book store to pick up the rest of the series.

6. Door in the Dragons Throat by Frank Peretti: Its a kids book, I read it when I was 14 because it looked interesting, and like a quick light read. It was in fact quick, light not so much, what I had not anticipated, absolutely terrifying. Frank Peretti is a fantastic suspense/thriller writer. 14 year old me did not know this, 14 year old me did not expect this, 14 year old me had nightmares that had me sleeping with the light on for at least a week.

7. Identical by Ellen Hopkins: I had read one book by this author before on  suggestion from a friend. I had greatly enjoyed the book despite my less favourable attitude towards the writing style. When I went to the book store to look into more of her titles I found them to revolve mainly around drug addiction, something that didn’t peak my interest. Then a few months later Identical came out. Nothing, and I repeat nothing could have prepared me for how this book wrecked me. Without saying too much about the plot lets just say the synopsis and cover while accurate are insufficient.

8. Secret Six – Unhinged by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Doug Hazelwood: Woo, a delicious comic for everyone out there!! 😀 I have had the great luck of finding a large company of nerdy comic book type friends in the last couple of months. They are amazing. ❤ I however am a nerd of a different sort, more sci-fi and manga then comics and super heroes. One lovely friend did me the great honour of borrowing a few trades of one of her favorites. It was DARK! I had anticipated the fighting and the nitty gritty, but it was infinitely darker then I could of imagined. I was thinking back to my cousins comics with Spiderman stopping kids from doing drugs and busting smugglers in Manitoba (an issue I still love and cherish). Not to say I didn’t like them, the writing was superb and the characters dynamic,  it was just so much different then I thought.

9. The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C Hines: If you’ve never read a book by this author then you are really missing out. His obvious love and care for his characters bleed through the pages, while his imagination takes you on wild adventures filled with magic and sword play. I was lucky to have stumbled onto this series by accident when trolling the science fiction/fantasy section at Chapters, their system while nice does not allow for searching by plot or theme like the magic card catalogue at the library. The cover makes it looks like silly fluff, fantasy written specifically for girls, with no real meat or substance to it. The synopsis while not horrible does nothing to dispel this myth. These characters were some of the most complex and interesting ones I had found in a long time, and the stories while they did have their share of fluff, were complex and interesting.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusack: I know, I know here it is again! 😀 And if it wasn’t such a good book then maybe I would feel bad, but its awesome so I dont… This book is marketed for tweens and teens, thus a lot of adults shrug it off as inconsequential. A person could never be more wrong. I have harped on the awesome that is this book in almost every Top Ten Tuesday because it is so well written and moving, so honestly if you haven’t read it get off your butt and get on it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Non-Readers

Hey Everyone, sorry for the day late on the Top Ten Tuesday. I cant even comprehend how busy yesterday was. It was great, don’t get me wrong on that one, just zero time to pump this out. I have a little time today so I will throw this at you!

This weeks topic is Top 10 Books I’d Hand to Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read and is one near and dear to my heart. I’m a reader, I LOVE to read, always have. So I find it strange when people say they don’t like to read, or that they find it boring. If they’re bored, then they obviously arn’t reading the right thing. You should read what interests you!

I had a foster sister years go who wasn’t a huge reader, she simply wasn’t interested. I took it upon my self to get her interested, that is when I found out that there was a Mary-kate and Ashley Olson series of books. At this time (oh 90’s you precocious decade) the Olson twins were everywhere and were a current obsession of said foster sister. It took one book and we were off. She eventually grew to love reading and branched off into other books and interests. Now she has a college degree in Library Technology and is a Librarian… Who is awesome… I am awesome. Now with my new foster brothers it was the same process, finding something they’d like to read about, and with all the action heroes, spies and demi-gods gracing the pages of kids books it wasn’t hard. Now the youngest brother who we were told was excessively delayed by teachers is reading books two and three years above his class level. Take that teach.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that there really isn’t a set of blanket books you can throw at anyone and expect them to suddenly love reading. You have to meet them where they are at and find there interests. Therefore I am going to do 10 books and their target audience.

1. Action Adventure Teen: Unwind by Neal Shusterman – Call me crazy but growing up I loved books about girls my age doing whatever it was they were doing. I assume it is the same for everyone. This book therefore is suitable for any teenager. There is a male and female character both in their mid-teens. In a future where abortion is outlawed parents have the right to have their unwanted children unwound between the ages of 13 – 18. A five year stretch in which for any reason you parents can have you essentially farmed out for parts because, in their skewed logic, you never die, you continue to live just in a divided state. Full of action, thought provoking ideas, and little romance its a treat to read.

2. Action Adventure Adult: World War Z by Max Brooks – I really don’y like action books in general, adventure books yes. Too much shooting I think, and how can reading about people shooting off guns be exciting… I picked up this book on a whim via a suggestion from a friend and her knowledge of a pre-existing zombie love.  It was fantastic! Just enough suspense to keep me reading, but so so much as to scare me away. Plus the multiple and interweaving storylines with a cast of interesting and believable characters.

3. History Buff Adult: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – I mention this books really quick last week, barely gave a description. Its an amazing story that is very good with its facts. It focuses on a famous British comedic author and her correspondence with the people on the Island of Guernsey shortly after the end of the Second World War. The writing is both elegant and witty, the characters beautiful and three dimensional.  I’ve never had a book that made me fall in love with a character you never actually get to meet. So spectacular and amazing for the history buff and romantic alike.


4. History Buff Preteen/Teen: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
– This is such a strong book, I would honestly recommend it to just about anyone. I would love for even younger kids to read it, but the language can be kind of strong. Gives a detailed and heart breaking account of small town Germanic life during WWII.

5. Those Twilight People….: Forest of Hands and Teeth Series by Carrie Ryan – I know I rag on the Twilight people, I can’t complain I read 2 1/2 of the books in the series before I ran away. I can never go back though. I saw the light, and then found this series. Its brain crack too, I will maintain that it is better written and the characters are infinitely more developed, but it is a lie to call it a literary masterpiece.  The premise though is what grabbed me, a world over run by zombie like creatures and the civilization living on whatever land they can fence off. Throw in a little romance (or a lot)here and there and you’ve got a winning combo! 😀

6. People Who Liked the Show Lost (a good brainf***): Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner – This series was fantastic, and like it always happens, I stumbled into it when only the first book had been released, which meant annoyed anticipation between titles. This is technically a YA series but provided enough thrills, chills and nightmare fuel to keep me engaged. Teen boys locked in the centre of a maze, sent supplies and  new person by a box that lifts out of the ground. They strive to find a way out of the maze using only the best to run the maze, and only during daylight hours, heaven help you if you are in the maze once the sun sets. This book pushes to the line of insanity in the number of loops that are thrown your way, but is careful not to turn into a jumbled mess of writing you cant follow. A favorite.

7. Fairytale Freak: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire – I definitely fall under this category.  There is just something so delicious about them. We are fed them as children to teach us morals, or as a way to make a tv babysit. They are ingrained. So when we grow up what better way to pay homage then to twist them or reinterpret them. Its an engaging retelling of Cinderella from the point of view of those girls we’ve grown to hate, the ugly stepsisters. This is one of his tamer titles, so beware when venturing into his other titles as he has a tendency to include graphic (and completely unneeded) scenes out of no where.

8. Desperate TV Reality Addict: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren – We all know someone, or are someone who is addicted to our raunchy reality tv. Those people who are famous for no reason who we cant take our eyes off of!! This book is for you, or them… or whomever. The nitty gritty of a working girl drafted into the harem of a foreign prince along with dozens of other women from all over the world. The ins and outs, jealousy and mayhem play out like a night of Jersey Shore, but in then our heroine learns her lesson and smartens up.

I’d normally add a couple for Science Fictions Nerds but myself but the only books I have in my head right now are Wyndham novels, and while they are amazing the writing style can be really hard to push through the first couple of times. So sadly I leave you with only 8 titles this time around!

Much Love ❤

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books for Book Clubs

This weeks topic over at Top Ten Tuesday is the top ten books that would make great book club picks. Its a neat topic, it intrinsically asks for books that can be talked about, that can spark conversation, and so those at the books I’m going to aim for

1. Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley – This is an amazing re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. It takes a story we know and love and weaves so many new layers in. Gives rise to discussions on changes to the original story, deemed both good and bad; as well as her interpretation of familiar and loved characters.

2. With the Light by Keiko Tobe – Some of you will know what manga is, others wont. Manga is the Japanese equivalent to a comic, vastly different then the Archie’s you might be imagining, manga spans a huge range of content and emotions, from the Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon you grew up on, to this amazing title. With the Light follows the autistic boy Hikaru and his mother and their struggles to make their way in modern Japan. This book has made me cry, and laugh, and yell. The stigmas that we associate with autism here in North America are already pretty harsh, pile on top of that the culture of perfection and conformity that is Japan and your in for an emotional roller coaster. The topics of discussion are vast, and views varied, and make an amazing read for both book clubs and individuals. The mangaka (author and writer) did an amazing amount of research and  paints a accurate, beautiful, and sad picture for us.

3. The Guests of War Trilogy by Kit Pearson – Technically a young readers title but has a great amount of detail. Evacuated from England to Canada during the second World War, Norah and Gavin must adjust to living in a foreign environment without their family. The trilogy covers the five years they live in Canada and slowly adjust, and by the last book its time for them to return home. Norah who was 10 when they left is eager to see her family and childhood home, Gavin, 5 when he left, has little memory and is hard-pressed to leave the land he’s grown to love. Differences in culture, adjusting to new surroundings, the impact of the war on children and Canadian families are all great conversations to strike up.


4. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by  J. Randy Taraborrelli – Marilyn was an icon. Whether you love her or hate her, if there’s one thing you can credit her with its never being boring. What I loved about this biography is the writers keen eye for detail and not being afraid to shock us with the truth and shine light on some of the oldest rumours, all while giving us sources and documentation along the way. Speculating on how the various influences in her life pushed her one way or another, and speculating on what could have happened if someone had just stepped in.

5. The Gurnsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer – I know this is already a book club read, but common. Just read it, WWII, letters, an author, a book club, a lovable cast, everyone read this book and talk about it. Its amazing… That is all.

6. The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield – I love this book. I will be completely honest, when I first bought this book it was entirely because of how it looks… The dark beautiful cover art, the rough cut page edges. And then the story leaped out and grabbed me and never let me go. The dark and twisting tale lead me left, right and left again, ending in a way that is beautiful, subtle and completely unexpected. I’d love to book club this in parts, have everyone read half and speculate on it, then read the last half and react…


7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -I am 90% sure this book is already a book club pick too, but it deserves love none-the-less. This book takes a unflinching look at a childhood spent in Germany. It introduces us to a cast of characters that you fall in love with, and a setting that is unparalleled. Not to mention a narrator like no other. This book was the second book to ever make me cry. I bawled like a baby. I think it would be interesting to see how other people react to a group of people we are told we are supposed to hate for the things they’ve done, when they find out many of them were just like us.

8. Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham – I have a huge love and respect for every title John Wyndham title I’ve read. He does science fiction in such a subtle way. I think this one would be the best of his titles for a book club as it has the strongest questions to pose. Should anyone live forever? Who has the right to share or hide such a revelation? Should only certain people be allowed ? The implications raise in this book are fascinating. Layer that on top of  Wyndham’s complex and dynamic characters and you have a recipe for success. 


9. Some Girls: My Life In a Harem by Jillian Lauren – The title jumps out at you doesn’t it? I picked up the book for just that reason. Read the back, read the first few pages and was transported. When I think of a harem, my mind goes straight to the musical The King and I and the King of Siam and his big brood. Its not a concept that had any footing in reality. So reading the book was surreal following this woman into a world of jealousy, intrigue and money. Perfect for a book club, discussing her steps leading to where she got, the relationships between the people present, all interesting topics to explore.

Hmmm, seems I can only crack out 9 for this week. I have lots of books I’d recommend in  general, and would love someone to read and squeal with, but these are really best for group discussion.

Please chime in everyone! Get on board and let me know what your Top Ten are! 😀
❤ Much Love!