The Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

Popping in for a Top Ten Tuesday post today. These are the top ten places books have made me want to visit (whether fictional or real).

Hogwarts

I am still waiting for my letter. I don’t care if I’m 31.


Scotland

I’m crediting Jeri-Smith Ready for this one.


1920s Paris

I’m just gong to go hang out with Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Don’t mind me.


Regency England

I’m going to go looking for Mr. Darcy. But I’ll settle for Colin Firth.


Boarding School

Too many boarding school books to give any single one credit for this dream.


Ancient Ireland

I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland, but Edward Rutherford made me want to go to pre-St. Patrick Ireland.


Deep Valley, Minnesota

Betsy-Tacy makes turn-of-the-century Minnesota seems warm and inviting.


The Hundred Acre Wood

One of my very first literary travel dreams. It has never faded.


The Book World

I don’t necessarily want to risk my life as often as Thursday Next, but I wouldn’t mind hanging out with some literary characters (probably not Hamlet).


Imperial Russia

I’ve got a thing for Russian classics. But I also have a thing for warmth, so maybe not.

***

Where would you like to visit?

The Sunday Salon: September in Review [10.12.14]

Seeing as it is October 12, it is probably time to quickly recap September. It was a busy month yet again, despite the absence of airports and hotels. I read a little, I blogged a little, I worked a lot, I parented a lot, I watched my college football team fall apart, and that’s about it.

I shared my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes; gave a one star review; shared a photo of Vanderbilt Beach; listed the books I am most looking forward to this fall; read and reviewed my first comic book; bloggiesta-d; hid Green Eggs and Ham; reviewed the last book in a recommended series; and shared another one of Evan’s current favorites.

I read these:

Time is just flying. Pretty sure Evan will be 16 next week.

The Sunday Salon.com

Girls in White Dresses [Book Review]

TitleGirls in White Dresses
Author: Jennifer Close
Genre: Short Stories; Women’s Fiction
Pages: 304
Year: 2011
Publisher: Knopf
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 5/5

Publisher’s Summary:

Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working a dead-end job, Mary is dating a nice guy with an awful mother, and Lauren is waitressing at a midtown bar and wondering why she’s attracted to the sleazy bartender.

My Thoughts:

You guys, this book.

I haven’t so thoroughly enjoyed a book like I enjoyed this one in ages.  I would yell at you all for not making me read it sooner, but you all tried. Jen even sent me a copy. THREE YEARS AGO.

I thought this would be a novel, but this is really a book of inter-related short stories (along the lines of The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing). Which made it even lovelier. I love a good short story collection.

The characters were well-developed, realistic, and relatable. I wanted to be friends with them. It made me wish I had moved to New York City after college and lived in a crappy apartment and dated the wrong guys. It was like Sex and the City when Sex and the City was at its best.

If you’ve left this one lingering on your shelf, like I did, you are making a mistake.

****

What book did you wait too long to read? What book has been waiting patiently on your shelves for you?

My Favorite Episodes of My Favorite Show

In honor of Netflix streaming all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls (someone tell my boss I’m not coming in tomorrow?), and because this blog only every started because of a Gilmore Girls inspired bookish forum where I found my first real home on the internet, and because this show has been on constant circulation at my house for a decade, I have decided to share with you ten of my favorite episodes of my absolutely favorite show.

2.13 A Tisket, A Tasket

Jess over Dean. Any day. Also, cute Stars Hollow traditions. They never get old.

2.19 Teach Me Tonight

Like I said, Jess over Dean. Always.

3.6 Take the Deviled Eggs

Mostly for the squealing sounds Lorelai and Rory make as the peel away from the scene of the crime.

3.7 They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?

Dance marathon + Jess and Rory tension + Dean finally getting a clue. And still I was heartbroken for Rory.

3.22 Those Are Strings, Pinocchio

Rory’s graduation speech is the best television graduation speech of all time. Hands down. Although Buffy’s graduation was pretty epic…

4.2 The Lorelais First Day at Yale

I like this one because it sets up Rory’s new life but demonstrates that their mother-daughter bond is unbreakable.

5.3 Written in the Stars

Clearly I love Rory’s story lines more but I was waiting for this day for years. Luke brings Lorelai to his Luke’s. Aww.

5.7 You Jump, I Jump Jack

This is where I fell for Logan. I’ll admit it. I’m always surprised when this one doesn’t make everyone else’s favorite episode list. Also, I think this might be my blog’s first GIF.

5.8 The Party’s Over

No. Wait. THIS is where I fell for Logan.

7.22 Bon Voyage

I was DEVASTATED when Gilmore Girls ended. Absolutely crushed. Words can’t describe my love for this show. But I still love the finale (partially because Rory and I both went off to work for Obama). And I love that this ending just means I get to start all over again from the beginning.

***

You will note there is nothing from the mostly-awful 6th season where the Gilmores were estranged. There also isn’t anything from the first season. But that’s just because I don’t care much for Dean.

Oy with the poodles already…what are you waiting for. Go watch all of these RIGHT NOW er tomorrow.

The Sunday Salon [9.28.14]

After spending all day yesterday in sick toddler hell (13 hours of puking and a lethargic little boy who just kept saying, “I don’t want to be sick anymore”), I am ready for a peaceful Sunday.

The upside of staying home all day yesterday and having a child who just wanted to lie on the floor and stare into space was that I got quite a bit of reading done and I think I will finish One Plus One today. I finished American Gods on audio earlier this week, so this is a pretty successful reading week for me. I managed to post a bunch this last week. Can I keep the pace going?

Other than that, it was an uneventful week for me. I am looking forward to a visit to Michigan at the end of this week – we’re dropping E off with grandparents once we get there and taking a weekend for ourselves on Lake Michigan to go to a wedding. We have yet to both go away without E (we have only done so separately) and we are staying with some old friends that unexpectedly moved to the area. There are so many aspects of this trip that I am looking forward to.

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.

The Sunday Salon.com

Hemingway’s Girl [Book Review]

Title: Hemingway’s Girl
Author: Erika Robuck
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Year: 2012
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 1/5

Summary (from publisher):

In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match…and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway. 
 
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation…even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most.  Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams?  As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths…and the possibility of losing everything she loves.

My Thoughts:

So this book and I didn’t really get along. I wanted to love it, so I kept reading when I probably should have put it down. But I read it painfully slowly. And even put it down for an entire year with less than 100 page to go. Very odd behavior for me as I will usually either DNF a book pretty quickly or push through.

I swear I had notes lying around somewhere, but they must have gone missing during the year and a half I was reading.

I think the problem is that I didn’t connect with Mariella. I didn’t really feel the attraction between her and Hemingway (perhaps because they call each other “papa” and “daughter”). And I didn’t feel the love at all between her and Gavin.

It was also one of those books where I felt like things were over-explained. My rule: either tell me something or show me something, but don’t do both.

This book and I did not click. But some other bloggers I trust adored it. So check out their reviews before taking my word for it: Anita Loves Books (5/5 stars); Devourer of Books (Highly Recommended); Jenn’s Bookshelves (Highly, Highly Recommended).

The Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List

It’s been ages since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post, but here you go: the top ten books I am anticipating this fall, in order of publication. Looks like I’d be golden if I could read a book a week (which I can’t).

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | August 14

This one actually came out in August, so maybe it shouldn’t count. But it’s still high on my fall list as I’ve been waiting for it for so long.

2. Chasing Before (The Memory Chronicles) by Lenore Appelhans | August 26

Another August book. I am excited to see Lenore’s next installment in this series.

3. The Jewel (Jewel Series) by Amy Ewing | September 2

Pretty cover. Sold.

4. The Children Act by Ian McEwan | September 9

New Ian McEwan always makes the TBR.

5. Party Games: A Fear Street Novel by RL Stine | September 13

I don’t think words can describe how much I adored the Fear Street series when I was younger. I no longer like being scared one bit, but I won’t be able to resist this one.

6. Made for You by Melissa Marr | September 16

I haven’t finished the Wicked Lovely series and I did not love Carnival of Souls, but Melissa Marr but I’ll give this one a shot.

7. Rooms: A Novel by Lauren Oliver | September 23

Lauren Oliver is another automatic add to my TBR.

8. The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control by Walter Mischel | September 23

I was a psych major. I can’t help it.

9. On Immunity: An Inoculation | September 30

Recommended by Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves for those of us who prefer science to internet logic.

10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler | October 28

Amy Poehler needs no explanation.

What books are you looking forward to this fall?

Runaways [Book Review]

Title: Runaways (Complete Vol. 1 Collection – 2003 issues 1-18)
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Genre: Comic Book
Pages: 448
Year: 2003
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Public Library
Rating: 4/5

Summary (from Amazon):

They were six normal teenagers linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting…until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: their parents are the secret criminal society known as the Pride! For years, the Pride controlled all criminal acti vity in Los Angeles, ruling the city with an iron fist…and now, with their true natures exposed, the Pride will take any measures necessary to protect their organizati on – even if it means taking out their own children! Now on the run from their villainous parents, Nico, Chase, Karolina, Gertrude, Molly and Alex have only each other to rely on.

My Thoughts:

I am 31 years old and this is the first comic book I have ever read. Swapna mentioned it on twitter one day and a few other people chimed in to recommend it and the next thing I knew, I was reading a comic book.

And enjoying it.

Runaways is funny and dramatic and witty. It captures the feeling of being a teenager and learning that your parents are not infallible and takes it to an extreme. They fight, they kiss, they complain, they make hasty decisions, and they think they can do things they shouldn’t be able to do.

But although the teens live inside the Marvel universe, where super heroes and super villains are everyday figures, finding out that your parents are the ringleaders of the bad guys is still shocking, so I can cut them a little slack.

I am pretty sure this volume included both a West Wing and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference. So, naturally, I will be reading on.