Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR

Winter is such a lovely reading time. Curling up under a thick blanket with a cup of tea and a good book, all nice and cozy, while it is anything but cozy outside….it’s pretty heavenly.

In order to achieve such a picture perfect scenario, a truly superb reading list is required. Here’s my top ten books I want to read this winter:

  1. Huck Out West. I found this when looking through the Tournament of Books long list, and it just seems so cool.
  2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I feel like I need to read this before I get started on #1.
  3. A Christmas Carol. A Christmas tradition!
  4. The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place.  I love this series, and I can’t wait to read the newest.
  5. The Dark Dark.  A nice set of short stories.
  6. Force of Nature.  A sequel to the fantastic book The Dry.  A thriller is great for those cold winter nights.
  7. Lincoln in the Bardo.  A read/listen with both the book and the audio version.  I’ve been dying to take on both mediums together.
  8. Winter.  The Ali Smith series is coming out with its next season, and winter is the perfect time to read the winter segment.
  9. Surprise Me.  A cute Sophie Kinsella to brighten those dark winter nights.
  10. Origin.  I haven’t read the latest Dan Brown yet.  How could this be?


I feel like I’m missing a nice, long epic story to get lost in while hiding under a thick blanket.  Any suggestions?

My List of Classics

So last year I posted my list of Classics that I wanted to read in the future. The reason I posted this list was because I’ve always wanted to read more classics. I discovered book blogs back when I was in undergrad, and the blogs I was fascinated with and checked daily for new posts were the ones that featured reviews of literary classics. Particularly, the blogs I loved were the ones written by the authors that eventually created the Classics Club. From the Classics Club I was introduced to so many other blogs with similar goals to mine of reading the classics and all their lists of the classics they wanted to read in the forthcoming years. This all inspired me a few years ago to create my own list. It wasn’t until last year that I thought I should actually throw my hat in the ring, post my list, and get to reading like all those other bloggers.

A year later, and I still haven’t made much progress, and the progress I have made, I almost don’t count, because I didn’t blog about it. Part of this is because I’ve been going through a reading slump, and the other is I have failed to keep an updated blog. Work kept me busy, and I was forgetting to have a life outside of work and the people surrounding me.

Things have changed, though, and I am making huge efforts to take care of myself, which includes spending large portions of time reading and relaxing at home. So, with that in mind, I would like to renew my efforts to read the classics I have listed on my blog, and many other books that will contribute to my well-being. I will take my time with this list, really dig into them, and hopefully regain a new appreciation for the world of literature.

Why I Follow the Tournament of Books

I have always been fascinated by bookish awards. I would pick up children’s books when I saw the little silver emblem stamped on the front cover and hand them to my parents to buy without even attempting to find out what the plot was. Now, as an adult, I tend to do the same thing. When the Man Booker longlist is released, I feverishly scour the internet for the best deals on the books already released, and search for the ones that aren’t on NetGalley. The goal is to always read all the books before the shortlist is announced, and if not that, by the time the winner is crowned. Unfortunately, I lose interest when I do not have enough time to order and read thirteen books in six weeks, especially when half of them are arriving from overseas, and I fail to finish even half of them by the time the longlist is whittled down to half. I like collecting the Man Booker selections, because it is a chance to discover new books I haven’t heard of yet, and sometimes even get a heads up for something good soon coming to the U.S. Usually I’ve only heard of a few books and read even less.

Now, with the Tournament of Books, the novels selected are usually more popular and discussed online more often; they’re almost bordering on mainstream. They are books that I’ve picked up at the bookstore numerous times, telling myself I’ll get around to reading them someday. Well, someday comes during the Tournament of Books season.

The long list has been released. Seventy-two of the year’s best books, as decided by the staff at The Morning News. I’ve heard of well over half of the long list selections, and actually own a large portion of them. I’ve read very few this year, however, and now I will take a slightly strategic approach to reading the selections. Strategic because my goal is to read the books that will end up on the shortlist, which won’t be released until January 3rd. There are a few that are pretty safe bets, like Fever Dream (the Summer Reading Challenge winner) and Lincoln on the Bardo (the winner of the Man Booker this year). But there are others that I really want to read that have less of a chance, like Huck Out West and My Favorite Thing is Monsters (I don’t think there’s ever been a graphic novel on the short list).

So, here’s my plan for the next month leading up to the release of the shortlist: read whatever I want, and keep an eye out for online discussions of longlist selections that are favored to be selected for the shortlist. And when in doubt, I’ll read the short books I can get through quickly so I can get to more books!

Any others out there who will be reading along with the Tournament of Books? What are some from the longlist that I shouldn’t miss?

Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to the U.S. readers! This week’s Top Ten theme is perfect for the holiday.

  1. Nancy Drew and the Clue in the Diary. This book turned my like for Nancy Drew into an obsessive love of the series and of reading in general.
  2. Gone with the Wind. This was the first book where I stayed up until five in the morning because I just had to read one more chapter (then one more, and one more…)
  3. A Time to Kill. I have a deep love of the law and of John Grisham. This book started it.
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird. I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It taught me so much when I was a teenager.
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The third book was how I got completely hooked on the series.
  6. An Offer You Can’t Refuse. The first chick lit book I ever read and loved. I now own so many copies of Jill Mansell.
  7. Lady Audley’s Secret. This was the first university assigned read in my English degree. I loved it, and it eased my nerves and made me feel more confident in my choice of major.
  8. Tiny Beautiful Things. There is so much valuable advice packed into such a small book.
  9. Walden. Possibly my favorite non-fiction read.
  10. The Long Winter. My favorite Little House book that helped transition me into more difficult reads.

Can’t wait to see what everyone else is thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving! This is a week to be grateful!

What I’ve been Reading Lately

Here’s a quick wrap up of my recent reading conquests and what’s up next on my nightstand.

Recently Read:

We’re Going to Need More Wine. I’m a sucker for celebrity memoirs. This one was pretty great.

Lumberjanes Vols 1-3. I wanted to keep going with the series after binging last year. I had to blow through the first volumes to remind myself of what’s happened. Still delightful the second time around.

The Royal We. I listened to this on audio, and while it’s not the mot though provoking read, it was a pleasurable experience.

Currently Reading:

The Graveyard Book. I was halfway through the audio when it got returned to the library. Now I’ve got it back and need to finish.

Death by Coffee. I keep hearing about this cozy on the Internet, and decided to take the plunge into this series. It hasn’t disappointed so far.

Up Next:

Magpie Murders. This book seems right up my alley, and it just came in through the library!

Grunt. Mary Roach is always a fun read.

Dunbar. Shakespeare retellings are always intriguing to me.

What have you all been reading lately?

New Release Tuesday: Artemis by Andy Weir

Today is the release day for Artemis, long-awaited sophomore release of The Martian’s Andy Weird. While both novels are of the science fiction genre, there are very few similarities between them.

This is a story about the City of Artemis, the only city on the Moon. The star of the book, Jazz, is a criminal of sorts who gets involved in a crime where the reward far outweighs the risk. Unfortunately, things obviously don’t turn out as planned, and bigger problems arise.

This book is fantastic. It wasn’t a stay up all night, read in one sitting kind of book like The Martian was for me, but I absolutely loved it. Everyone need to read this book!

Read this book if you are a fan of Andy Weir, science fiction, or just books in general.

Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read

When trying to think of the best books for my future children to read, I can’t help but think of all the great series I read as a kid. I didn’t read too many standalones; I typically got hooked on a series and binged on them all at once. While some of these series (like the Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High) seem like they may be a bit dated and won’t likely be enjoyed by my children, here is a list of series I hope my children fall in love with like I did. If not, I’ll make them read them anyway.

  1. Harry Potter. This is a no brainer. These books are timeless and magical and everything good about reading.
  2. Nancy Drew. The reason I love to read stems from my obsession with Nancy Drew. I can only hope my kids take after me in this respect. Also, what else am I going to do with my Nancy Drew collection than pass them on to my kids?
  3. Hardy Boys. See Nancy Drew.
  4. Archie comics. My gateway into comic books and graphic novels.
  5. The Series of Unfortunate Events. A great series.
  6. The Little House on the Prairie series. When I was little, my dad would read these with me every night. It would be lovely to continue that tradition with my own kids someday.
  7. A Wrinkle in Time. I didn’t read this until recently, and I really wish I had read it sooner.
  8. Jane Eyre. An accessible classic.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird. This was such an important book for me growing up.
  10. Winnie the Pooh. Always a solid choice.

I hope everyone else has got some other books to give to your kids!



The Austen Escape

This week’s new release I want to tell you all about is: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

There are tons of books coming out this season about Jane Austen and retellings of her novels. One that I was most excited about was The Austen Escape. This novel, the story of two childhood friends, isn’t a retelling of an Austen novel, but instead takes us to Austen’s time, in the form of one character losing her memory and imagining she is in Regency London.

I felt as if the story started slow, but the plot and writing more than made up for it. This is the story of childhood friends, who have since lost contact, traveling to Bath on a once in a lifetime trip. Staying in an ancient, eighteenth century home, one of the friends, Isabel, loses her memory and honestly believes she has living in the past. Her friend Mary must rely on the people of the house to help take care of Isabel until her memory comes back.

This is the story of a friendship. The two friends in this story aren’t as close as they used to be, and readers get to see how the relationship evolves into. This novel has plot twists, excellent writing, a beautiful setting, and a lovely, reliably happy ending.

Read this if you are a Jane Austen fan, or if you’re a fan of nice, feel-good stories.

Mini Review: The Heirs

I received The Heirs from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

I wanted to read this book because I love stories about privileged people in Manhattan and what they perceive to be major problems in their lives. At times, this story felt a bit ridiculous, funny, and much like a soap opera, but that’s exactly what I expected from it. While I did enjoy this novel, it didn’t stick out as special to me like some similar books, like The Nest. I didn’t connect with the characters quite as much, and the overall plot was a bit predictable. I liked it a lot, but it’s not one of my favorite reads. 

Read this if you like stories about dysfunctional families in the wealthy part of NYC.