Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

 
Check out how Top Ten Tuesday works & the future schedule of topics HERE.
 
Hi everyone! This week’s topic is great book club picks. I hope you agree with me that these would spark some great discussion, even if you don’t particularly like the books themselves. Sometimes that sparks the best discussion, don’t you think?
  1. William P. Young’s The Shack
  2.  Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 LadiesDetective Agency
  3.  E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View
  4.  Kathryn Stockett’s The Help
  5. Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  6. Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land
  7. Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for real: A little boy’s astounding story of his trip to heaven and back
  8. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
  9. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  10. Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

 

 
 
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Judy Blume’s Forever. . .


Blume, J. (1975). Forever: A novel. Scarsdale, N.Y: Bradbury Press 9780027110302

Reasons for Reading : I remember loving all the Judy Blume books I read as a child – Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Just As Long As We’re Together, etc. As I grew, I read Deenie and It’s Not the End of the World. When I read Wifey as a high school senior, the book scandalized me. From what everyone told me about Forever…, I decided not to try it until November 2011. I requested and checked it out from HCPL.

Summary: When Katherine meets Michael at a New Year’s Eve party thrown by best friend Erica’s cousin, she immediately catches his eye. Soon, the two high school seniors are dating and can’t get enough of each other. Michael wants to “go all the way” with Katherine. Ready for true love, Katherine agrees that their love is a “forever thing” . . . but is it really?

What I Liked : I wish Judy Blume had been my Life Science teacher. She doesn’t back away from the pros and cons of teen sex. The book even began with a note from Blume on how Forever… was published before HIV prevalence. The characters were identifiable, especially narrator Katherine.

What I Disliked : I didn’t care for Michael. I thought he pushed Katherine around the proverbial baseball diamond. Simply put, he pressured her into having sex with him.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: The Shirelles – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Setting : New Jersey

You might also like:

For more on Judy Blume’s Forever…, check out the following sites:
 

John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story


Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story by John D. Luerssen | LibraryThing

Luerssen, J. D. (2004). Rivers’ edge: The Weezer story. Toronto: ECW Press. 9781550226195

Reasons for Reading: As a child, one of things my family saw to was that I listened to good music. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about classical, opera, or show tunes. No, I mean Oldies – real Rock ‘n’ Roll,  MoTown, Rhythm & Blues (rather than R&B), and Jazz. Country Western wasn’t considered music 🙂 . So, while I owned  Debbie Gibson and MC Hammer tapes, I also heard my dad’s records of Elvis Presley, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Animals, etc (not an exhaustive list). On road trips, we listened to one of his favorites – Buddy Holly. Let’s just say the other kids weren’t down with these old guys, especially that nerdy guy on my t-shirt.

Fast forward to 1994, my classmates and I weren’t just listening to Nirvana and Ace of Base, but to Weezer, a new group where frontman Rivers Cuomo crooned “I look just like Buddy Holly.” Like the pioneer rocker, Cuomo also wore horn rimmed glasses. Yeah, life went on but Weezer continued to resonate. Thus, growing up listening to Weezer made me want to read a book about one of my all-time favorite groups. At first, I requested John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). Ultimately, I purchased the book from Amazon.

Summary: Undeterred by the group not endorsing his proposed biography, Luerssen set out to write about Weezer, a music group he enjoyed. He describes Weezer’s ascent to super stardom and chronicles the bands ups (Blue Album, Green Album, and Maladroit)  and downs (Pinkerton – “El Scorcho,” and “The Good Life.”)

At the center of this narrative is founder Rivers Cuomo, a brilliant musician and introvert who dons “Buddy Holly” glasses and other articles of nerdiness. Other founding members are the humorous drummer Patrick Wilson (definitely in “Keep Fishin‘”), “not second string to anyone” bassist Matt Sharp (check him out in this performance on The Late Show), and guitarist Jason Cropper. When Cropper left, he’s replaced by “Sass Master” Brian Bell (see the “The Impossible Bend“). Sharp left and was replaced by Mikey Welsh (Green Album – can be seen in “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun“.) Welsh exited, his void being filled by current member Scott “Shrine Dog” Shriner (look at “Photograph” and “Dope Nose.”) Luerssen offers a “no stone unturned” account of this contemporary group.

What I Liked: It was good finding out what Cuomo’s songs meant to Cuomo and what they all felt about making videos, particularly “Undone – The Sweater Song.”

I admired Bell’s support of Cuomo during their hiatus and the loyalty of unofficial fifth member Karl Koch, fans Mykel, Carli, and the Rebel Weezer Alliance.

Lastly, I loved how I could recall where I was when most of these events took place – definitely when reading about NASA Commander William McCool.  In other words, we’re contemporaries.

What I Disliked: This book was published in 2004. That means the book predates the following:

Also, I didn’t care for the tangents of the band member’s other projects. Sorry, I’m not that crazy about “Friends of P.” Doesn’t the title suggest that it should focus on Rivers Cuomo, anyhow?

Then, there’s the belaboring of Cuomo’s affinity for Asian women. Of course, the book came out before Cuomo married in 2006. Cuomo address this in the general media in 2007 “Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo on Asian Women.” Luerssen paints Cuomo as a fetishist control freak, too.

Oh, and before I forget, I would’ve loved for this book to have an index!

Three Out of Five Pearls

Setting: United States

Song: Weezer – Say It Ain’t So – YouTube

You Might Also Like:

  • Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Sidney Bechet’s Treat It Gentle
  • Jack Kerouc’s On the Road

For more on John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ edge: The Weezer story, please check out the following links :

Some More  Weezer Links:

Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | LibraryThing

Perkins, S. (2011). Lola and the boy next door. New York, N.Y: Dutton Books. 9780525423287

Reasons for Reading  – Reading Anna and the French Kiss left me wanting …So, I requested Stephanie Perkins’ second novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door from HCPL.

Summary: Lola wishes for three things in life – 1) To arrive at her winter formal dressed in a Marie Antoinette-inspired ballgown she created, 2) For her parents to approve of her older, rocker boyfriend, and 3) To never again see the Bell Twins, Calliope and Cricket. Yet, as she constructs her fantastic costume, her folks won’t approve of her boyfriend Max, and the Bell Twins return to the house next door. Now, Lola can no longer avoid old feelings for Cricket, the boy next door. With a great set of colorful characters, Lola endeavors to navigate these troubled waters.

Review: I got a kick out of most of the characters in this books. I enjoyed their quirks and their extraordinary talents – Lola’s costume design, Cricket’s inventions, Calliope’s ice skating, etc. I also liked seeing Anna and St. Clair from Perkins’ first novel – Anna and the French Kiss. The only thing I didn’t care for about Lola and the Boy Next Door was Lola’s very mature relationship with her boyfriend Max. I thought Max was a real jerk and felt he knew better than to pursue a relationship with a minor. Nonetheless, all of this was real enough with just a dash of girlhood fantasy. 

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: “Lola”- The Kinks – YouTube

Setting : San Francisco

You might also like:

For more on Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door, check out the following sites:

Top Ten Books Jorie Hopes to Finish


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

 
Check out how Top Ten Tuesday works & the future schedule of topics HERE.
 
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie…meaning YOU pick whatever topic your heart desires! Did you miss a topic you wanted to participate in or have a really specific topic that will probably never be a general Top Ten Tuesday topic? This week is for YOU!
 
So I chose “Top Ten Books Jorie Hopes to Finish” –
 
  1. Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
  2. Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen
  3. Jeffrey Eugenides’  The Marriage Plot
  4. Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
  5. Isak Dineson’s Out of Africa
  6. George Orwell’s Animal Farm
  7. The Bible
  8. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey
  9. Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers
  10. Richard Blackaby’s Putting a Face on Grace: Living a Life Worth Passing On

January Reader of the Month – Don M.


A new feature of Jorie’s Reads is Reader of the Month.  So, here is our first guinea pig – Don M.

Around Labor Day Weekend 2005, I began my first course in library school. I remember Donald being there. I also recall the amusing posts he made on the bulletin board.
My clearest memory, though, came from a course we both took at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Spring 2007. Each student presented on accessing Database A through Database B and compared it to an antediluvian one. When Don listed Pros and Cons between accessing Database A through Ebsco and the Relic, he said folks might find Ebsco too easy.
Since 2007, we’ve been friends on Facebook and I’ve looked forward to Don’s commentary on my food photos as well as his profile pics. When I decided to begin “Reader of the Month” interview on Jorie’s Reads, Don’s name was one of first subjects I asked. His immediate response and cooperation was greatly appreciated. So, without further ado . . .

Greetings from Don!

 What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?

I’m currently reading Blood Meridian, which has me absolutely mesmerized.  Blood Meridian integrates language and theme as well as any book I’ve ever read.  Also, for a story in which blood and gore are prime constituents, it’s never excessive or gratuitous.  Equally remarkable is that McCarthy puts the lie to the notion that a story needs a sympathetic character – Blood Meridian doesn’t have one. 

 I could go on an extended screed about this book, but I’ll give you the short version:  this books posits, among other things, that mankind will design and implement its own demise.  We don’t need to worry about something like global warming – we’ll tend to the task ourselves just fine.  I don’t fully subscribe to this, but I will say that I don’t believe men can exist in a state of noble savagery. 

It’s not only the best thing I’ve read this year, it’s also the best thing I’ve read in recent memory.  Perhaps a Moby Dick for our time? 

Don ponders his quirks

Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?

One is likely common among all readers:  obsessing over a piece of text that I didn’t get the first or second time around.  Another is misplacing my reading glasses, if you can call that a quirk.  I can’t read a billboard without them.

 

Now he knows!

I don’t own a special pair of reading slippers of anything.  Maybe I should take up reading in a Snuggie, which I DO own and endorse heartily.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?

Loads of stuff on my Kindle:  Wuthering Heights (which I put down in favor of Blood Meridian),  Don Quixote, Ulysses… these are the titles that spring to mind immediately.  There are plenty of others.  Oh yes!  Moby Dick

Who supplies your reading material?

As for recommendations, I get them from friends or critics, and I take the pronouncements of the latter with a big grain of salt.  In terms of where I get my books, the usual:  Amazon, Half Price, those sorts of places.  Unfortunately, Houston, it seems (and correct me if I’m wrong), doesn’t have much of a reading culture, so there aren’t many independent book stores, with the exception of Brazos Books, which really is a great place. 

 

Don shares his favorite reading.

 

What type of reading do you usually enjoy?

Ho boy… this is the question that’s going to land me in hot water…

Without trying to sound like a pompous nitwit, I do consider myself a discerning reader.  I don’t devour everything I can get my hands on.  My reasons are simple.  First, I expect to get something out of any given book, something of lasting value.  Second, life’s too short to read lousy books.  More than any art form, books require tremendous expenditures of one’s time and energy.  A worthwhile book typically places great demands on its readers – they don’t reveal themselves readily, which, of course, is part of their appeal.  I can say that two authors whose works I’ll likely never read are Ayn Rand’s and Dave Eggers’. 

 Having said all that, I also read a lot of cookbooks, and sports, music, and artist biographies/histories/criticisms.  I’ve also read my fair share of Mad Magazine

Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?

At one time, there were certain authors I fixated on to the exclusion of most others:  Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Joyce.  Not so much anymore.

What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Don Quixote (I staggered through a quarter of it before putting it down), Ulysses, which I’ve attempted too many times to count now, Finnegan’s Wake, The Bible in greater depth,…

Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?

Sure.  I was going through a real rough patch in my mid-to-late twenties when I read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, whose name I always have to look up to spell.  To make it easy on myself, I usually just call him Freddy Neato.  Really, Nietzsche calls us to our higher selves, ultimately.  That book helped to lift me out of a profound funk, and to set me on a path of self-discovery that is ongoing.  I’d call that a book of lasting value.

What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?

I have to confess something here:  I read precious little growing up after fifth grade or so.  Why this is, I don’t know.  However, language has always been important to me, even at that age.  I don’t understand the origins of its fascination for me, but it is what it is.  I enjoyed word games, for example, and I was a good writer, notwithstanding that I read very little aside from Hit Parader magazine.  I did watch a lot of comedy on HBO, too.  Maybe that’s part of it.  I’m not sure.

It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I started to get it.  I have a brilliant English instructor to thank for that.  Thank you, Mrs. Moeller!

 

Don shares where he likes to read.

Where do you like to read?

I get a lot of reading done on the bus and at work.  It seems like I have to be away from the house to get any reading done because I’ll distract myself with something else.  I think I just need to get out more.

 

Other than reading, what do you like doing?

I enjoy cooking, writing once in a while, playing tennis (although I haven’t played in a long time), hanging out with family and friends, taking pictures of weird things, strange noisy devices, and making music, which, and I make no bones about it, I would like to do as a career.

 Where can we find you online?

Several places:

 Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?

My lovely wife Mercedes, an avid reader herself; my friends Mike, Eric, and Shawn; finally, several teachers:  Mrs. Harrison, my kindergarten teacher, who gave me a pile of books when I told her that no one would play with me (I sat in the dirt with that pile of books and looked at the pictures), Mrs. Ellen Brumback, the aforementioned Mrs. Moeller, and Dr. Rafael Saumell, a dear friend.

And gee whiz, my mom and dad!  How could forget my mom and dad!?  My mom would take me to the post office once a month to pick up my Dr. Seuss books, and it was a treat every time.  Mom and dad also spent a lot of money ordering books for me from Scholastic.  I have to say that they really were a source of encouragement, although I didn’t appreciate that until much later. 

How about sharing five random facts about you?

I’m always at pains trying to come up with things like this.  I could name favorite foods, but everyone does that.  I’m counting all this as the first random fact.

I hate yardwork.  It’s not relaxing, and I don’t feel like I’m in communion with nature while I’m doing it.  If anyone knows an enterprising youngster who wants to make some walkaround money, please contact me.

Lately I misplace things, which worries me somewhat.  I’ve misplaced shoes, for Pete’s sake, and a copy of Blood Meridian during our last move.  it’s gotta be around here somewhere, I keep saying, but it hasn’t turned up yet.

I’m double-jointed.  It makes for a fine party trick that’s guaranteed to clear the room of all but the other double-jointed people.

 

My favorite food is meat.

 

What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?

I’m currently reading Blood Meridian, which has me absolutely mesmerized.  Blood Meridian integrates language and theme as well as any book I’ve ever read.  Also, for a story in which blood and gore are prime constituents, it’s never excessive or gratuitive.  Equally remarkable is that McCarthy puts the lie to the notion that a story needs a sympathetic character – Blood Meridian doesn’t have one. 

 

I could go on an extended screed about this book, but I’ll give you the short version:  this books posits, among other things, that mankind will design and implement its own demise.  We don’t need to worry about something like global warming – we’ll tend to the task ourselves just fine.  I don’t fully subscribe to this, but I will say that I don’t believe men can exist in a state of noble savagery. 

 

It’s not only the best thing I’ve read this year, it’s also the best thing I’ve read in recent memory.  Perhaps a Moby Dick for our time? 

Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?

One is likely common among all readers:  obsessing over a piece of text that I didn’t get the first or second time around.  Another is misplacing my reading glasses, if you can call that a quirk.  I can’t read a billboard without them.

 

 

 

 

I don’t own a special pair of reading slippers of anything.  Maybe I should take up reading in a Snuggie, which I DO own and endorse heartily.

 

What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?

Loads of stuff on my Kindle:  Wuthering Heights (which I put down in favor of Blood Meridian),  Don Quixote, Ulyssess… these are the titles that spring to mind immediately.  There are plenty of others.  Oh yes!  Moby Dick

 

Who supplies your reading material?

As for recommendations, I get them from friends or critics, and I take the pronouncements of the latter with a big grain of salt.  In terms of where I get my books, the usual:  Amazon, Half Price, those sorts of places.  Unfortunately, Houston, it seems (and correct me if I’m wrong), doesn’t have much of a reading culture, so there aren’t many independent book stores, with the exception of Brazos Books, which really is a great place. 

 

 

 

 

What type of reading do you usually enjoy?

Ho boy… this is the question that’s going to land me in hot water…

 

Without trying to sound like a pompous nitwit, I do consider myself a discerning reader.  I don’t devour everything I can get my hands on.  My reasons are simple.  First, I expect to get something out of any given book, something of lasting value.  Second, life’s too short to read lousy books.  More than any art form, books require tremendous expenditures of one’s time and energy.  A worthwhile book typically places great demands on its readers – they don’t reveal themselves readily, which, of course, is part of their appeal.  I can say that two authors whose works I’ll likely never read are Ayn Rand’s and Dave Eggers’. 

 

Having said all that, I also read a lot of cookbooks, and sports, music, and artist biographies/histories/criticisms.  I’ve also read my fair share of Mad Magazine. 

Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?

At one time, there were certain authors I fixated on to the exclusion of most others:  Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Joyce.  Not so much anymore.

 

What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Don Quixote (I staggered through a quarter of it before putting it down), Ulysses, which I’ve attempted too many times to count now, Finnegan’s Wake, The Bible in greater depth,…

 

Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?

Sure.  I was going through a real rough patch in my mid-to-late twenties when I read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, whose name I always have to look up to spell.  To make it easy on myself, I usually just call him Freddy Neato.  Really, Nietzsche calls us to our higher selves, ultimately.  That book helped to lift me out of a profound funk, and to set me on a path of self-discovery that is ongoing.  I’d call that a book of lasting value.

What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?

I have to confess something here:  I read precious little growing up after fifth grade or so.  Why this is, I don’t know.  However, language has always been important to me, even at that age.  I don’t understand the origins of its fascination for me, but it is what it is.  I enjoyed word games, for example, and I was a good writer, notwithstanding that I read very little aside from Hit Parader magazine.  I did watch a lot of comedy on HBO, too.  Maybe that’s part of it.  I’m not sure.

It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that I started to get it.  I have a brilliant English instructor to thank for that.  Thank you, Mrs. Moeller!

 

Where do you like to read?

I get a lot of reading done on the bus and at work.  It seems like I have to be away from the house to get any reading done because I’ll distract myself with something else.  I think I just need to get out more.

 

Other than reading, what do you like doing?

I enjoy cooking, writing once in a while, playing tennis (although I haven’t played in a long time), hanging out with family and friends, taking pictures of weird things, strange noisy devices, and making music, which, and I make no bones about it, I would like to do as a career.

 

Where can we find you online?

Several places:

 

Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?

My lovely wife Mercedes, an avid reader herself; my friends Mike, Eric, and Shawn; finally, several teachers:  Mrs. Harrison, my kindergarten teacher, who gave me a pile of books when I told her that no one would play with me (I sat in the dirt with that pile of books and looked at the pictures), Mrs. Ellen Brumback, the aforementioned Mrs. Moeller, and Dr. Rafael Saumell, a dear friend.

 

And gee whiz, my mom and dad!  How could forget my mom and dad!?  My mom would take me to the post office once a month to pick up my Dr. Seuss books, and it was a treat every time.  Mom and dad also spent a lot of money ordering books for me from Scholastic.  I have to say that they really were a source of encouragement, although I didn’t appreciate that until much later. 

How about sharing five random facts about you?

I’m always at pains trying to come up with things like this.  I could name favorite foods, but everyone does that.  I’m counting all this as the first random fact.

 

I hate yardwork.  It’s not relaxing, and I don’t feel like I’m in communion with nature while I’m doing it.  If anyone knows an enterprising youngster who wants to make some walkaround money, please contact me.

 

Lately I misplace things, which worries me somewhat.  I’ve misplaced shoes, for Pete’s sake, and a copy of Blood Meridian during our last move.  it’s gotta be around here somewhere, I keep saying, but it hasn’t turned up yet.

 

I’m double-jointed.  It makes for a fine party trick that’s guaranteed to clear the room of all but the other double-jointed people.

 

He's double-jointed!

 

My favorite food is meat.

Top Ten Books Jorie Recommends to Those Who Don’t Like Non-Fiction


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists.

Click here to see the upcoming topics!

  1. Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
  2. Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
  3. Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life
  4. Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
  5. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
  6. Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  7. Scholastic’s A Wicked History Series
  8. Robert M. Edsel’s Rescuing Da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe’s Great Art – America and Her Allies Recovered It
  9. DK’s  Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides
  10. Julia Alvarez’s A Cafecito Story: El Cuento Del Cafecito