Top Ten Books That Made Jorie Swoon


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

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Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

(Wow, this was kind of a rough challenge for me. I don’t swoon much so don’t be overly critical in your responses this time!…Thank you,  LibraryThing for the images)

1.  Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie…

2. Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility 

Sense and Sensibility (Arcturus Paperback…

3.  Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre 

Jane Eyre (Collector's Library) by…

4. Anya Seton’s Katherine

Katherine by Anya Seton

5. Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly…

6. Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember 

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

7. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants 

Water for Elephants (Thorndike Paperback…

8. Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook and The Wedding (Calhoun Family Series) 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks     The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

9. Ann Brashares’ Sisterhood Everlasting

Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel (The…

10. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and Committed…

   

Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon


The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen | LibraryThing

Allen, S. A. (2010). The girl who chased the moon. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 9781444706611

After reading her two previous books, I couldn’t wait to read Sara Addison Allen’s third – The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I requested the book from HCPL.

Seventeen-year-old orphan Emily Benedict, travels to Mullaby, North Carolina. She moves in with her maternal grandfather, gentle giant Vance. Grandpa Vance does not talk much of the late Dulcie, Emily’s mother. Soon, Emily finds many folks in Mullaby hold a grudge against Dulcie. However, Emily discovers friends as well. One of these is Julia Winterson, a woman paying back her late father’s debt and once a girl Dulcie bullied. Julia bakes delicious cakes at her dad’s old BBQ restaurant. There’s Win, a boy just about Emily’s age who hasn’t inherited his family’s grudge against Dulcie. Then, there’s this amazing light show at night.

I liked The Girl Who Chased the Moon almost as much as Garden Spells and more than The Sugar Queen. The characters are more my speed – especially Julia. Maybe it’s the cakes.


Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: Van Morrison – Moondance – YouTube

Places : North Carolina

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For more on Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon, check out the following sites:

Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen


The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen | LibraryThing

Allen, S. A. (2008). The sugar queen. New York, N.Y: Bantam Dell. 9780553805499

I enjoy Garden Spells so much that I checked out Sarah Addison Allen’s second novel, The Sugar Queen from HCPL. I looked forward to returning the enchanted world of Allen’s North Carolina.

Josey Cirrini leads a predictable life in ski resort town Bald Slope, North Carolina. The twenty-seven year olds lives with her mother, the quintessential Southern Belle, whom Josey serves hand and foot. She loves winter and enjoys her stockpile of candy and romance novels in her closet. This all changes when Josey finds local waitress Della Lee Baker living in her closet. What should Josey do?

While I didn’t adore The Sugar Queen the way I did Allen’s Garden Spells, I liked this book. Characters from the warm Josey and Chloe to the chilly Margaret Cirrini are of the slice of life variety. I wasn’t terribly crazy about the mystery of Jake’s one night stand. Still, I appreciated that Allen didn’t tie all loose ends neatly – making this an authentic novel about everyday life with a dash of magic.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: YouTube – ‪The Archies Sugar Sugar‬‏

Places : North Carolina

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For more on Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen, check out the following sites:
 

Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic


Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman | LibraryThing

Hoffman, A. (1995). Practical magic. New York: Putnam. 9780399140556

I admit – I approach Alice Hoffman with trepidation. My freshman English teacher assigned us the task of reading At Risk, a story of a young gymnast who contracts AIDS from a blood transfusion. After finishing, I cried and cried. Twelve years later, I read Blue Diary as one of her characters bore the name Jorie (like me). Okay, so she doesn’t write the happiest literature. Yet, numerous colleagues and friends encouraged me to read Practical Magic. It pleases me that I managed to read this book without copious tear shed.

When their parents die in a fire, sisters Sally and Gillian Owens come to live with their eccentric aunts in a 200-year old house built by their ancestress, Maria Owens. Their aunts are witches and help many “upstanding women” by casting spells on the sly.

Sally and Gillian grow up without rules but virtual outcasts. Gillian elopes, heading west of the Mississippi while Sally falls in love with a local guy, Michael, marries, and has two daughters – Antonia and Kylie. Michael dies and Sally blames the family heritage – witchcraft. Sally and her young girls move to New York. Ultimately, Gillian nor Sally can outrun their roots and must admit who they are and what they can do.

While bittersweet at times, Practical Magic is my favorite Alice Hoffman work. Hoffman created clear, likable, and relatable characters in Sally and Gillian. Her vivid settings acted as characters as well.  My favorite part came towards the end and involves Aunt Frances and Aunt Jet and the girl next door.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Coconut by Harry Nilsson

Places : Massachusetts, New York, Arizona

You might also like:

For more on Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, check out the following sites:

Top Ten Best Debut Books | Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme 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 complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. 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 post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can’t come up with ten, don’t worry about it—post as many as you can!

NEXT WEEK THE TOPIC IS: Top Ten Characters I’d Name My Children After. Click HERE for a list of future Top Ten Tuesday topics.

Top Ten Best Debut Books (of any year..just your favorite debut/”first from an author” books. If you want, you can focus on debuts of a specific year but it’s open to debuts of any year).

* Since I’m suffering from severe congestion at the moment, I’m only listing my picks. Please ask why I chose them and I’ll explain when I’m feeling better.

  1. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. Sense and Sensibility by A Lady (Jane Austen)
  4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  5. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  6. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
  7. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  8. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  9. La Princesse de Clèves by Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, comtesse de La Fayette
  10. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits


* 1001 Books Book

Allende, I. (2005). The house of the spirits. New York: Dial Press. 9780553383805

Allende, I. (1985). The house of the spirits. New York: A.A. Knopf. 9780394539072

Having enjoyed Allende’s writing in the past, I checked out The House of the Spirits from HCPL. Before I proceed, I must state that I’ve never read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. From what I’ve seen online, this will color the reader’s opinion of The House of the Spirits.

This work is the saga of the Truebas, a family living in an unnamed South American country (presumably Chile). It follows the Trueba family for  four generations against a backdrop of political definition, struggle, and upheaval of the twentieth century. There’s also a talk of The Politician (Salvador Allende) and his fall from power.

Allende tells the story through two different voices – a third person narrator and Esteban Trueba, the elderly patriarch. The latter was engaged to Rosa del Valle, also called Rosa la Bella. When Rosa dies from an accidental poisoning, Esteban throws himself into the reconstruction of his family’s hacienda, Las Tres Marias. Esteban takes out his rage on the peasants, raping many of the females.

The matriarch of the House of Trueba is Clara del Valle, who is introduced in the first line of the book. Clara possesses all sorts of ESP and she’s sister of Rosa the Beautiful. Inadvertantly, she predicts the death of Rosa. When this happens, Clara falls silent for years. She only communicates through writing while maintaining a family history.The next time Clara talks, she announces that she’ll marry Esteban Trueba.

When they do marry, they reside in the house on the corner. Soon, they have children (Blanca, twins Jaime and Nicolas) in this house. The house  where many gather around Clara. This group includes both living and dead folks. Among the living are the Mora Sisters and the Poet (thought to be Pablo Neruda).

I was amazed by this work. As I’ve mentioned in reviewing Island Beneath the Sea, Allenda is a gifted storyteller. These characters are so real that I can almost see them. The magical elements almost offer the book the feel of fairy tale. For example, Rosa the Beautiful has green hair and yellow eyes. Esteban and Clara’s granddaughter, Alba, also has green hair. Yet, Allende gets down to business such as Pinochet’s coup on September 11, 1973. Of all of her works I’ve read, this one is the best.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: Chile, Peru, Europe, United States, Canada, China

Literary Ties: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

For more reviews of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, please click on the following links:

Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate


 

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel | LibraryThing

*1001 Books Book

Esquivel, L. (1992). Like water for chocolate: a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies. New York: Doubleday. 9780385420167

            When I began my ill-fated study of Spanish in high school, my awesome Spanish teacher suggested we watch movies or TV shows in Spanish. Soon after, I stumbled upon the movie version of Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate. For the prudish sophomore I was, this was both eye opening and jaw dropping.

A couple of years later, some of my college friends raved about the book. The numerous recommendations and the accolade of being a 1001 Books book reinitiated my interest in reading Like Water for Chocolate.

A grandniece tells us the story of the protagonist – Tita de la Garza. Tita is the youngest of three daughters who live in early twentieth century Mexico, close to Texas. Mama Elena de la Garza has a ranch and rests easy in the knowledge that her spirited youngest daughter, Tita, will take care of her. This is tradition – the youngest daughter cares for her mother until death.

When Tita and a young man named Pedro fall in love, Mama Elena bars it and foists her second eldest daughter, Rosaura, on Pedro. In a world of pain, Tita’s only release is cooking. Tita cooks with all of her heart and this can be experienced by the consumers of the food. Similar to the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy. . .” Tita’s emotions become the eater of Tita’s food.

Perhaps it’s the magical realism but I sensed this to be a fairy tale. I liked Tita’s expression and use of the little control she has in her life. She’s no slouch.

Also, I liked that the book offered recipes – sort of going along with something Francis Ford Coppola said about making the first Godfather movie. Originally, the book was published in a magazine over a twelve month period. I considered myself fortunate to have all the stories and recipes condensed to one book.

Still, I did feel some sympathy for Rosaura; I don’t know if Esquivel had that in mind. She seemed to be in the way of everyone and used as a weapon against Tita and Pedro.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Places: Mexico, Texas