Top Ten Tuesday: Paper to Screen

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you each week by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish.
Go check them out and see what books others have chosen for this week’s topic:

Books I’d Like to See Made into Movies

(assuming that you know, everything is perfect about the adaptation)

A Mercy, Toni Morrison. This book has some great visuals. I still think about a scene in the beginning where a man rides his horse through Virginia’s early morning fog. There are some horrible images too, like that sinking of a slave ship.

A Heart So White, Javier Marías. First of all, great settings! Spain, Havana, New York. And a dancing monkey! Who doesn’t want to see that? Plus, that scene with the women on her stilettos is just aching to be brought to film.

The Protector of the Small Quartet, Tamora Pierce. This would be a great tv series. A young girl pretends to be her brother so she can become a knight and eventually, a hero.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Mararet Atwood. I know this one was a movie with Aidan Quinn and Natasha Richardson, but it’s due for an updated retelling, especially with all the new restrictions on reproductive rights.

Visitation, Jenny Erpenbeck. This book, centered around a vacation house in eastern Germany, would be great for a miniseries.

The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater. Really, I just want to see an awesome portrayal of the water horses.

The Taste of Salt, Martha Southgate. Josie Henderson is a top marine scientist originally from the midwest. Great opportunities for exploring themes of family and identity, with an ocean backdrop.

Kindred, Octavia Butler. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but I think it could make a really good movie. A contemporary black women somehow begins to time travel to the antebellum South where she meets some of her ancestors. There’s one scene in particular

Caleb’s Crossing, Geraldine Brooks.  It would be really cool to show the beginnings of Harvard University, before it was the huge institution we see in movies from today. Plus, Martha’s Vineyard and the American Indian villages would make great settings.

Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward.  Some kids in a neighborhood try to prepare for Katrina.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted each week by the lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the bookish. This week’s topic is the top ten

Books You Wish Were Taught in High School

Nerdish confession: I liked nearly all the books I was required to read in high school. Nearly all. I’m looking at you, Dostoyevsky. You, too, Joyce.

My main concern with required reading in high school is that I know I, personally, lacked to knowledge to really understand and appreciate some of the books. Sure, I could give you a spotless literary critique of Beloved or Their Eyes Were Watching God, but I did not have the understanding of institutional inequities that is such a big part of reading many books. So, along with the following books to be taught in chool, I am waving a magic wand and gifting my students with a critical understanding of history. `*`*fairy dust*`*` I’m also adding a couple non-fiction books, any of which would be a great addition to a history or other class.

Orlando, Virginia Woolf. Gender, sexuality, science fiction, oh my! (my review)

Brother, I’m Dying, Edwidge Danticat. Memoir about growing up in Haiti and the US. Terror in the Tonton Macoutes, and the US immigration system. (my review)

A Mercy, Toni Morrison. The infant days of this country.  (my review)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot. Medical research and the exploitation of vulnerable populations.

The Hanging of Angelique, Afua Cooper. Canada was not the runaway slave haven US textbooks made it out to be. (my review)

A Happy Man, Hansjörg Schertenleib. It’s short! That alone should make kids love it. (my review)

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood. High schoolers love a good dystopia, right?

Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates. Could be interesting to read in conjunction with The Handmaid’s Tale, especially the focus on children and pregnancy.

The North of God, Steve Stern. Another novella, would be a worthy addition to a Holocaust unit. (my review)

Assata, Assata Shakur. Ok, I know there is no way in hell this is being taught in school, what with her face plastered on Most Wanted billboards in New Jersey, but a girl can dream. (my review)

Most Wanted Billboard for Assata Shakur

Top Ten New to Me Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the lovely bloggers over at
The Broke and the Bookish
This week’s theme is
Favorite New-To-Me-Authors 2012 

A lot of my top books this year were from authors I’ve read before, but there were still some new-to-me authors I’m looking forward to revisiting. Here are some of them:
Leslie Marmon Silko. I read Ceremony, which is a classic for a reason. Up next: maybe Garden in the Dunes. Sounds pretty interesting.
Afua Cooper. I read The Hanging of Angelique, which was excellent. Apparently she also writes poetry. I’d try Memories Have Tongues.

Erik Larson. I read The Devil in White City. My former book club recently read In the Garden of the Beasts, so I might try that one next.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I read  The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories. Next: His Religion and Hers: A Study of the Faith of Our Fathers and the Work of Our Mothers sounds like something I’d enjoy.
Jenny McPhee. I read No Ordinary Matter and was charmed. Up next: probably her first book, The Center of Things. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is
Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List

So, I really need to step up my challenge reading, or I’m not going to finish by the end of the year. If I put them at the top my my to be read list, I’ll get to them quicker…right?

Beloved, Toni Morrison. A reread.

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. This on scares, me, to be honest. I really don’t know why, but it’s always been one of those books I think I’m not going to like. I’m planning on taking a deep breath and diving in.

The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton. This is probably cheating, since I’ve already started it! (it’s good).

The Remains of the Day, Kazou Ishiguro. I just picked up a copy of this on sale, so I need to read it. I love the cover, which certainly helps me want to pick it up.

Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters. I just put in an inter library loan request, so hopefully it doesn’t take too long to arrive.

Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway. I haven’t read any Hemingway in far too long.

Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehernreich. Another book that’s been on my shelf, unread, for far too long.

Divergent, Veronica Roth. Something fun and quick. And something I can borrow from a friend. Free is good!

Black Boy, Richard Wright. I just read two books by Zora Neale Hurston, a contemporary of Wright’s with supposedly completely different views of the racial issues of their time. It will be interested to make comparisons.

Midnight’s Children, Salmon Rushdie. This really should be the book I’m most looking forward to finishing, as I started it months ago and then abandoned it. Not because I didn’t like it, just because, well, I don’t know why. I’m going to finish it!

Do you have any suggestion as to where I start? What are you looking forward to reading for fall?

Top Ten Tuesday: Picture of Me

Top Ten Tuesday is host each week by the lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish
This week’s task is to pick the 
Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU 
as a reader and a person

Welcome! This is where I introduce myself and my blog, so I hope it gives a pretty good picture of me. I *am* trying to get better at the book snobbery – and think I’m making progress!

Books Meet Art at the Brooklyn Museum My nerdy side reveals itself.

Books Through Bars Hey, I do criminal defense.

Audiobook Success with Toni Morrison This is what happens when I’m just in love with a book. Not must beyond YOU MUST READ THIS. READ THIS, NOW. What can I say? Words fail sometimes.

Lord Help Us What happens when I really do not like a book. Like, REALLY don’t like it.

Best of 2011, Thoughts on 2012 In which I get all contemplative.

New York, New York A tribute to some of the best books featuring the Big Apple.

In Which I Discover Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Pin It, Do It, Take 1 I get crafty!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters I feel a list a favorite characters says a lot about myself.

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Just in time for summer sunning season, the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish are having this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants list 

10 Great Beach Reads

Well, what is a “beach read”? They have the reputation for being easy breezy books, not requiring much thought, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. I want something that I care about, that sucks me in and makes me forget that I’m baking in the sun. Here are some ideas:

The City of Thieves, David Benioff. Compelling story about a Russian teenage boy on an impossible wartime mission. The constant tramping through the snow will make you appreciate the heat.

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norman Juster. This childhood book stands up to an adult rereading, and could be finished in an afternoon by the water.

The Thief of Always, Clive Barker. Creepy and suspenseful, you won’t want to stop until you find out what Holiday House is hiding.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. This super popular series certainly sucks you in, but you might be inspired to get off your towel and play some volleyball or practice open water swimming to build skills and endurance, lest you get caught up in the reaping.

Salt, seaside.

The Taste of Salt, Martha Southgate. I did read this on the beach last summer – and that was before I knew the main character, Josie, was a scuba diving marine biologist! Very fitting setting.

A Salty Piece of Land, Jimmy Buffett. Of course a Jimmy Buffett book is going to be good on the beach. And bonus: you learn about old lighthouses.

Life of Pi, Yann Martel. You’ll be glad you’re safely on land.

The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger. Fun, snarky glimpse into the world of high fashion.

Tell Me Lies, Jennifer Crusie. Here’s another light-hearted novel that’s got a little mystery to boot.

Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie. You’ll be glad this is one boat ride you missed! A ton of characters end up dead in this Hercule Poirot mystery.

Be sure to go check out other people’s choices for this week’s topic 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind

This week the fine bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish have
invited Top Ten Tuesday participants to “rewind” and blog about a previous topic. I had wanted to participate the week of “Top Ten Childhood Favorites” but somehow the time got away from me. I’m happy to take to opportunity to post some old favorites now.

The Berenstain Bears, Stan & Jan Berenstain. I loved this series, especially The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food. I still overdo it with the junk food and make myself sick on occasion. You think I’d have learned my lesson by now!

Beauty, Bill Wallace. What can I say – I was one of the completely horse-obsessed girls growing up. I dreamed of being able to spend the whole summer with a horse of my own.

The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. I’ve mentioned this book on other lists, but this is one it really needs to be included on. Something about the sparse drawings and the simple, sad story have always captured my imagination.

Ferdinand the bull sits in a field enjoying the breeze

The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf. Okay, I read this book not long ago and I realized how absolutelycompletelyridicuously unrealistic it is. A pacifist bull goes out of control when he’s stung by a bee, but sits calmly while he’s provoked in a bull ring? I think not. Still, the illustrations are beautiful and I have fond memories of reading it when I was younger.

The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Kathyrn Jackson. My favorite Little Golden Book! The poor saggy baggy elephant is all alone and in danger until he finds more of his kind.

The Nancy Drew series, Carolyn Keene. Enough said.

The Babysitters Club, Ann M. Martin, Enough said, redux.

The Little Princess, Frances Hodgsen Burnett. A privileged little girl loses everything, but stays sweetly uncomplaining, and is rewarded in the end.

The Velveteen Rabbit, Beatrice Potter. Who doesn’t secretly hope their favorite toys come to life?

The Billy and Blaze books, C.W. Anderson. Did I mention the love for horses?

I could go on – how did I not include anything by Marguerite Henry? Or Madeline L’Engle? Or, or, or… you get the point. I’ve always been a reader 🙂

What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That
I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely bloggers over at
The Broke and the Bookish

I thought this was going to be a difficult topic for me, because many of my favorite books were written more than ten years ago. I’m not the book blogger that has my hands on all the latest releases – or early releases! I often wait until a book’s been vetted and has a good chance of standing the test of time. However, once I got started I realized it wasn’t as challenging as I first thought. Keeping track of my recent reads on goodreads is coming in mighty handy!

Mr. Fox, Helen Oyeyemi. (my review) I just love well written books that are multilayered and smartly deal with important issues. Yay feminism!

Feminism for Real, Edited by Jessica Yee. (my review) Actually, I hope people won’t need to be reading this book in thirty years, but considering the chances are slim, I’m glad to know this little volume is out there, ready to inspire, educate, and challenge its readers.

A Happy Man, Hansjorg Schertenlieb. (my review) The hope for what life could be like, maybe, one day.

A Mercy, Toni Morrison. (my review) A beautifully written novel imagining the birthing pangs of this country, and the lives of some of those who suffered greatly as it was brought into being.

Visitation, Jenny Erpenbeck. (my review). I love small books that pack a big punch, and there’s so much to discuss in this book about place and time and war.

The Taste of Salt, Martha Southgate. (my review) An update on the everyday American family novel, with characters dealing with their problems and struggles.

The North of God, Steve Stern. (my review) Alternately hilarious and horrifying, it is a tribute to the power and limitation of storytelling.

Never Let Me Go, Kazou Ishiguro. It’s like the Twilight Zone of Novels – you know something’s not right, but it takes a while to figure out exactly what it is.

Calabash depicting Ezili Danto,
by Andre Pierre. Credit

The Salt Roads, Nalo Hopkinson. (my review) This novel consists of three main narratives that are connected via the experiences of the goddess Ezili. Each story line focuses on a black woman living in a different place and time. 

Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson. Cold reaches of Norway, an old man returning to his family’s summer house, mysterious abandonments to work through – my kind of book. Here’s the NY Times review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is
Top Ten Favorite Characters

I confess: I’m not a very character driven reader. Half the time I couldn’t even tell you the names of most of a books’ characters (sometimes even the main ones!) I don’t know why, it’s just how I read. But in going over some of the books I’ve really liked, I realized that some of the characters have stood the test of time. Here they are:
Jennifer Jones as Carrie

Carrie, from Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. I love this tale of a young woman from Missouri determined to get ahead and make it in the big city, no matter what. She has affairs, lives it up, and makes it as an actress, in spite of society’s disapproval.

Beka, from Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper series. A young girl from a poor background who wants nothing more than to become a loyal member of the police force protecting her beloved city and the man who saved her family from ruin.

Offred, as imagined by Erin McGuire

Offred, from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Offred is not the most revolutionary character. She’s not out on the front lines of the revolution, fighting against the regime. However, I related to her. If our society suddenly disintegrated into a world resembling hers, would I know what to do? Or would I just try to survive the best I could?

Anne, from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Who doesn’t like this spunky orphan who works hard and charms everyone she meets?

Lev, from The City of Thieves by David Benioff. He’s a scared teenager in The Soviet Union during World War II, who finally gets up his courage to protect his friends.

Owen Meany, from A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I think this book makes half the Top Ten Tuesdays I do, in one form or another. Owen is such a compelling character. He’s tiny, with a VOICE, and is unfailingly loyal, even after accidently taking out his best friend’s mother with a foul ball. He’s convinced of his mission in life, and carries it out whatever the personal cost.

Leah, from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. She’s not perfect by any means, and she’s a bit too willing to unquestionably worship the man in charge, but she fights for what she feels is right, and is not afraid to change when her mistakes are pointed out.

Lillian, from No Ordinary Matter by Jenny McPhee. Probably one of the more “unlikeable” characters in the book, I loved Lillian’s don’t-eff-with-me attitude. She knows what she wants and she goes after it.

Sula, from Toni Morrison’s Sula. Another “disreputable” woman I can’t help loving. Her best friend makes safer, more socially acceptable choices, but Sula’s the one who won my respect.

Aya, from the graphic novel series Aya by Marguerite Abouet. She loves her family and friends, and she helps those who need it. She’s focused on doing better for herself, but you know that she’ll never forget where she came from.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For today’s theme participants pick the 10 best of the category of their choice. I’ve gone with “Classics,” since they’ve been on my mind lately. I’m participating in a few classics projects at the moment, including a new 5 year plan to read 50 classics. So, if you ask me in a year or so, this list will probably have changed! Of course, that’s part of the fun of making lists like these.

Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson. I love this little novella of interconnected short stories.

Middlemarch, George Eliot. This is a chunkster, but it is so worth it. Eliot was such a fascinating personality, too.

Catch-22, Joseph Heller. The absurdity of war, perfectly captured.

The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot. Poetry! Yes, poetry. I appreciated that my copy had lots of notes, as that certainly helped my understanding.

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser. This book felt so modern. The main character has premarital sex! The scandal! I love it 🙂

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf. One day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a London housewife planning a party. It sounds trite, but it’s not.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde. Seriously funny play.

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner. It took until I was a good third of the way into this book before it clicked and I just flew through the rest.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway. One of the first Hemingway novels I ever read, it remains one of my favorites.

A Mercy, Toni Morrison. This book made me fall in love with Toni Morrison. Now I want to read all her books!