Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Five Books I've Read So Far In 2015

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Five Books I've Read So Far In 2015

The original prompt was to list my top ten books, but considering I've only read 21 books so far this year (!) I thought a top five list would be more reflective of my favorites so far.  Note to self: now that you're over your April/May reading slump, READ FASTER.  

Such a beautiful, simple, honest, heartfelt story.  This is the only book to have made me cry this year.

Just when I thought I couldn't love Ms. Maas any more, she gives me this phenomenal Beauty and the Beast retelling.

This was my biggest surprise this year.  I'm no sucker for love stories, but this one got me good.

How I loved this poignant and funny look into how memory and time affects identity.

I think everyone should own this book of poetry.  It really hit home for me.

What are your favorite books you've read so far this year?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekly Words: Annonymous


Friday, June 26, 2015

Feature Friday: 10 American Authors' Homes Worth Visiting

This post gave me some serious wanderlust.  I so badly want to visit so many of these homes.  Especially Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Too bad none of them are anywhere close to where I live!  
Click over to read the full article, including more information, history and highlights of each author's home.
1. Edith Wharton and The Mount
Location: Lenox, Massachusetts
Website: www.edithwharton.org
2. The Mark Twain House & Museum
Location: Hartford, Connecticut
Website: www.marktwainhouse.org
Photo courtesy of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
3. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Location: Hartford, Connecticut
Website: www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org
4. The Emily Dickinson Museum and The Homestead
Location: Amherst, Massachusetts
Website: www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org
5. The Eudora Welty House
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Website: eudorawelty.org
6. William Faulkner and Rowan Oak
Location: Oxford, Mississippi
Website: www.rowanoak.com
Photo courtesy of Sarah Becker Lillard Photography.
7. Frances Parkinson Keyes and the Beauregard-Keyes House
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Website: www.bkhouse.org
8. Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum
Location: Mansfield, Missouri
Website: www.lauraingallswilderhome.com
9. Edgar Allen Poe and the Poe Cottage
Location: The Bronx, New York
Website: www.bronxhistoricalsociety.org
Photo of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne’s writing scratched on a windowpane courtesy of The Trustees of Reservations.
10. The Old Manse, Home to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Sophia Peabody Hawthorne
Location: Concord, Massachusetts
Website: www.thetrustees.org

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty


The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read.

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves."

ReviewI am so glad I found Liane Moriarty. Her work is as insightful and as thought-provoking as it is funny, and this book is no exception. I'm always impressed how she is able to organically infuse so much humor into her books, which all tackle serious, heavy topics. 

Despite the humor, though, this book was a little too sad for me. Even while I was admiring Moriarty's craft, I still felt like the book as a whole carried an overarching feeling of hopelessness.  You're reading from multiple perspectives.  You glimpse the world through the lives of three different women, all with some large-scale challenges in their lives.  Their lives don't intersect too much - they're not best friends, nor do they spend much time together- but they are still connected in a way that makes it impossible for them all to be happy.  And, as with all Moriarty's characters, you want them all to be happy.  So knowing that won't be possible is both gripping from a reader's point of view as well as discouraging from a humanist point of view.

I suppose that's true to life: this world has just as many sad stories as happy ones.  And this book was still really well done, I just would have liked to have been able to trade the sadness I felt while reading with a few other emotions along the way.  So I knocked off a star for that reason, as well as because, generally speaking, it didn't grip me as much as her other work.  I wasn't quite as compelled to keep reading as I was in What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies.  Also, I felt like a few of the issues were resolved a bit too neatly.  Not nicely, per say, just too neatly.  The rest of the book was too messy and complicated (in a realistic way) for a nice, tight ending. 

But, still, I'm glad I read it.  It made me consider the gravity of our choices in life, even the small choices, and how they change and shape our lives. As always with Moriarty's books, this would be a great book club book.  (Though I'm more likely to choose Moriarty's Big Little Lies or What Alice Forgot over this one, just because I enjoyed them more.)

Review in a GIF:
mitt romney animated GIF

Bottom Line: A thought-provoking novel about choice and identity and family.  A sad and poignant story that will fuel many future conversations.  I'd recommend reading it with strawberries and chocolate, just to balance your emotions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

(Not A) Book-to-Film: The Ghostbusters Gender-swapped Remake

From Pink Is The New Blog:

Back in January, we learned officially that Melissa McCarthy,Kristen WiigLeslie Jones and Kate McKinnon have been cast as the leads in the upcoming all-female reamake of Ghostbusters. Today we learn that actor Chris Hemsworth has been cast in the film as their male receptionist. ...for this gender-swapped remake, it will be Hemsworth sitting at the front desk at Ghostbusters HQ answering all the calls. 

Well I'm generally in favor of Chris Hemsworth cast as anything, but this one has me particularly giddy.  With the cast they have lined up, I have a feeling this film is going to be as hilarious as everyone wants it to be.

Vulture also released a couple of photos shot from the set of the three leading women.  It's looking awesome, folks.  Awesome enough to deserve its own post, even if this film isn't based on a book.
Kristen Wiig films 'Ghostbusters

Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Kristin Wiig all together for 1st day of filming all girl 'Ghostbusters' in Boston with slime on pants and ghost trap

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics I've Ever Done

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

My Ten Favorite Top Ten Topics I've Ever Done

This week's prompt is in honor of the folks at The Broke and the Bookish, who are celebrating five years of hosting this meme.  Congrats, guys!  I've only been participating for a little less than two years, though.  But although I haven't been around as long, there are still some really great topics I've been able to make lists for.  Here are some of my favorites:

I may be a tough critic when it comes to romances, but even I have been known to swoon in the case of these books.

I'm not one to cry easily, but these books about did me in.

I love a great villain.  They are often my favorite characters.

Because talking about Harry Potter is always a good idea.

So many of my "all time favorite" books are books I first read a long time ago.  I liked that this prompt forced me to consider my more recent favorites, and wonder if they might beat out some of my old favorites if they also had the added nostalgia factor.

I am a self-proclaimed curmudgeon when it comes to romance in books.  This post gave me the chance to explain why, as well as giving me the chance to talk about what I do like in a bookish romance.

One common refrain I often hear is that people want more friendship in books.  Happily, I can now point to several books that all feature lovely friendships, should you be in the mood.

I love analyzing a book's cover art.  This prompt let me highlight my favorites and generally gush over some really lovely and often under-appreciated art.

Because everyone needs a good book club book suggestion up their sleeve.

Just looking at this post makes me wish it was my birthday or Christmas soon.  Alas, both events are in December.  And it's June.  Woe to me.

Do you have a favorite prompt?  Is there a prompt you've always wanted to do, but haven't seen come up yet?  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekly Words: Annonymous

Friday, June 19, 2015

Feature Friday: A Book Recommendation for Every Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Any other INTJs out there?  *virtual high five*  I thought this list from flavorwire was pretty clever.  Tell me what personality type are you, and do you agree with your recommendation?  I agree with mine! 

See the full article here.

ISTJ: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
With interest in traditions and loyalty, and an ability to make a huge impact despite being quiet, ISTJs will appreciate Wharton’s masterpiece of manners.

emily post
ISFJ: Emily Post’s Etiquette
Conscientious, thorough, and neat, this manual dots every I and crosses every T on the page of life — as does the ISFJ.
Pride and Prejudice
INTJ: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The INTJ is fiercely independent, like a true Austen heroine, and skeptical like the novel’s creator.
The Origin of Species
ISTP:The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Evidence, facts, and observation, all building to a rational argument. Darwin’s groundbreaking and lively scientific text is emblematic of this type.


ISFP: Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
You love your own space and are not a fan of conflict, much like the hero of this classic Russian novel — who won’t even get out of bed for the first section!


INTP: White Noise by Don DeLillo
Clinical and ideas-oriented, the INTP will appreciate DeLillo, the writer as philosopher-scientist, who has a knack for observing and even predicting the fate of our times.
INFP: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A deeply loyal seeker of understanding will appreciate this classic book that’s full of empathy and loyalty to its battered but unbroken characters.
INFJ: Ulysses by James Joyce
Like an INFJ, the classic by Joyce is hard to get into and definitely intimidating, but once you discover its world, you find it warm, humanistic, and even a little bit silly.
ESTP: Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
The ESTP values experiential learning and living, much like D.H. Lawrence and his randy, earth-loving characters.

ESFP: The Anne of Green Gables series, L.M. Montgomery
A positive force who makes boring tasks fun and brings people together, the ESFP is as spunky and beloved as the world’s most cherished redheaded orphan.
harry potter
ENFP: The Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling
Much like the ENFP, the Potter series ends up messily and flubs a few key details, but also takes everyone on a joyful and wild ride.
huck finn
ENTP: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Resourceful, quick, and clever ENTPs will find much to appreciate about Huck and Twain both.
ESTJ: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Practical, take-charge types will enjoy Sandberg’s exhortation for women to find the leader within before the system changes to embrace them.

MAO.7375.cvr comp
ESFJ: Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
The classic novel’s humanistic refrain — “only connect” — appeals to this type, who thrives on idealism and harmony.

ENFJ: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The March family’s warmth and willingness to sacrifice for each other and the Union are bound to hold a treasured place in the heart of ENFJs, who are known to give themselves to others.
ENTJ: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
A brilliant and imaginative critique of race in America will be a great fit for this pathfinding and galvanizing type.