Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads!

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As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by the bloggers of The Broke and the Bookish.  To join in, head on over to their link-up page.

The theme of this week’s Top Ten list is beach reads!  Now that Memorial Day has marked the unofficial start of summer, it’s time to start thinking of those books that make for great summer reading.  These are the books at the top of my list:

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Top Ten Tuesday! Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish.  To join in on all the Top Ten Tuesday fun, link up over at their blog.

This Tuesday’s post is about books that have caused a change of heart after some time has passed.

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I have always loved Pride and Prejudice.  Despite my first reading of it having been assigned in a high-school English class, I loved it.  (For me, there is nothing like having a book assigned that can guarantee it won’t be enjoyable – but despite that, this one was.)  But, over time, and perhaps two or three more readings, I have come to love this book even more.  I seem to notice more and more nuance in each re-reading, and it seems to mean something different to me at each stage of life that I’ve read it in.  And for me, that is the mark of a truly great book.

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As such a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, when I first read this modernized update of the novel, I really liked it.  But then the sequel came out, and I started to see Bridget in a different light.  While at first she had seemed to be the first chick lit heroine, I started to view her portrayal as more of a farce.  It almost seemed as if Helen Fielding was poking fun at Bridget, as well as her fans.  To be honest, I haven’t bothered reading the third book in the series – and I’m not sure I ever will.  Although, I have to say, I will always appreciate Bridget for introducing me to the chick lit genre.

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I really enjoyed this book.  I thought it would be the first in a long series of “zombie apocalypse” books that I would read and enjoy.  But the second book in the series, The Dead-Tossed Waves, wasn’t nearly as engrossing, and I couldn’t even make it through the first third of the next book in the series, The Dark and Hollow Places.  It made me feel differently about the whole series, unfortunately.

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So, as a middle-grade reader, The Baby-Sitter’s Club books were my go-to reads for any and every occasion.  Oh, how I loved Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey.  And I eventually came to love Dawn, Mallory, and Jesse, too.  After a decades-long hiatus from keeping up with the girls and their baby-sitting adventures, I picked up one of these cherished favorites at a library I was working in at the time.  And, it just wasn’t the same.  Reader beware: much-loved childhood favorites sometimes look different when viewed from an adult perspective.  

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I remember reading this book in elementary school and really enjoying it.  Years later, I read it for a children’s/YA literature course in college, and was shocked by the rape scene at the end of the book.  It flabbergasted me that it was virtually hidden in the pages of a children’s book – it obviously went right over my head as a younger reader, as I’m sure it did for many others.  But it forever changed the way I look at this book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Love Quotes from Our Wedding!

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Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is hosted by the awesome bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish.

So, I’ve been sort of AWOL lately, because…I’m getting married in less than two weeks!  So, I’ve been doing pretty much zero reading since last month, which makes me a really bad book blogger.  And I’ve also totally fallen behind on reading and commenting on other blogs, which I promise I’ll totally make up for soon!

So, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, instead of doing my top fave inspirational quotes from books, I’m going to share with you something that I will be featuring at my wedding.  I’m lucky enough to be marrying a guy who shares in all of my bookish tendencies, so we’re having a literary/library-themed wedding.  All of our tables will feature the names of a literary couple, along with a quote.  All of the quotes will be on the inside of the menu and will look like this:

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Top Ten Tuesday Time! Top Books from Childhood That I Would Love to Revisit

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As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

I am, and have always been, a huge fan of revisiting favorite books.  For me, there is so much more that can be discovered in a second, third, or even twentieth reread.  I’m going to limit myself to the books I’d most like to reread, and perhaps even blog about, this year.

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I remember reading The Giver at some point in elementary school, and it completely blew my mind.  It was the first dystopian society I had ever read about, and I have such vivid memories of Jonas’ world.  I feel like now would be the perfect time for a reread because I never read Lowry’s companion novels, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.  If I have any excuse, it’s that I sort of grew out of the YA genre by the time the second book was published, and it’s only just recently that I’ve gotten back into it again.  Also, I really want to see the movie version of The Giver!

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Oh, I have such love for Anne.  These books some of tweenage me’s favorites.  For some bizarre reason though, I don’t think I ever read the last two or three books in the series.  I’d love to read the series as a whole and see what happens to Anne as she grows older.

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When I was in elementary school, I felt like Ramona was one of my best friends.  Reading about her was always such a comfort to me.  I related to her childhood angst in ways that I felt I couldn’t even relate to my own friends.  I remember coming across a new title, Ramona Forever, years after I had outgrown these books and I just about passed out from sheer happiness.  I wish there were a million more Ramona stories to discover.

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This was required reading for me in the fourth grade, which was the easiest way to insure that I would hate a book.  But, this book surprised me.  I started it fully prepared to loathe every last sentence, but somewhere along the way, I really started to enjoy it.  So much so that I started my very own spy book and landed myself in a heap of trouble when my teacher discovered it.

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This book touched me in a way that no book had touched me before.  I felt such compassion for both Patty and Anton.  I think their relationship inspired many, many years of enjoyment of forbidden romances.

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I think every reader girl of my generation goes through Judy Blume’s complete oeuvre.  I don’t think I’m very unusual in that I did, sometimes multiple times.  Years later, I worked as a page in a moderately-sized suburban public library when I was in high school, a job which I completely loved and inspired me to go into library science as a future career.  One of my favorite things to do while working was “shelf reading,” or going through each shelf to make sure the books were in the right order.  It sounds completely menial, and in a way, it was.  But it appealed to my OCD tendencies and also allowed me to discover new books by much-loved authors.  Imagine my surprise when I encountered these titles in the ADULT fiction section.  By this time, I had already devoured Forever, which felt like such a scandalous book.  But these books shocked me in a way that has never left me.  I’d love to read them again and see how I feel about them now.

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I have virtually no memory of this book, other than that I enjoyed reading it very much.  I don’t think I could recall an ounce of the plot of this one, even if my life depended on it.  So I think it’s time for a reread, if only to see what it was that I enjoyed so much when I was younger!

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I have always loved to read anything scary, and there was a period of time when I was around twelve or thirteen that Christopher Pike was my go-to author for something guaranteed to keep me up into the wee hours of the night, either reading, or being kept awake by what I had just read.  His books were always able to fill me with an indescribable dread.  His books typically weren’t the gory sort of scary, but more the tension-filled, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a Hitchcock movie.

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My Dad gave me these books when I was in elementary school, and I read and enjoyed them so much.  But at that point in my reading life, I was reading solely for plot.  I had no conception of things like symbolism and allegories.  I’d like to reread these, perhaps followed by Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and see if I can figure out each author’s position on religion.

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This is another book that I’ve largely forgotten, but the general feeling of it has stayed with me.  I’d love to revisit this one, if only to remember what it’s actually about.

Honorable mentions to:

The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Anastasia Krupnik books, by Lois Lowry

A Wrinkle in Time series, by Madeleine L’Engle

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines

Okay, so I am SUPER excited today because this is my first foray joining in with a weekly feature/meme.  I chose this one from one of the blogs that first inspired me to start a book blog of my own: The Broke and the Bookish!

I realized as I was creating this list that SO MANY of these heroines are from books I read and loved as a child.  I think this is because those were my formative years as a reader, and those heroines are the ones that had the most impact on me.  But I also think that I just haven’t read that many adult books with strong, memorable heroines.

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Oh, Eloise.  I just love her.  I love that she never allows herself to get bored.  I love that she has such a rough life (her mother is never there, she’s essentially raised by a nanny), but she never allows herself to feel down.  And I love that she knows that an empty tissue box makes a very good hat and that paper cups are very good for talking to Mars.

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Ramona was, and will always be, one of my very favorite book characters.  She is also the one I could relate to the most at her age.  She struggles to find her place in her world, as the younger sister to “perfect” Beezus and the big sister to new addition Roberta.  She does everything she can to please her parents and teachers, but struggles with mistakes and challenges along the way.

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I remember my mother getting me this book when I was in the sixth grade, and I sort of turned my nose up at it because it was a “classic,” and therefore I didn’t think I would like it very much.  How wrong I was!  I related to Jo in a way I couldn’t imagine relating to any character from a stodgy old classic.  At that age, I wanted to be a writer more than anything else in the world, and Jo was such an inspiration to me.

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Anne Shirley will always have a special place in my heart.  I loved how spunky she was, how she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself, and how her imagination always seemed to run away from her.

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I feel like Elizabeth came into my life right when I needed her most.  In high school, every one of my friends was as boy-crazy and short-sighted as Elizabeth’s sister Lydia.  Elizabeth was the perfect contrast, and I loved how she approached her relationships and life.

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I loved how Matilda turned to books to find the companionship she lacked in her life.  I love how she has such a strong sense of right and wrong, and how she believes that she can change things for the better – and does!