A blog about books. Oh, and some other stuff too.

Top Ten Tuesdays (well, almost): 10 Books to Play Hooky With

*Note: This would have been a Top Ten Tuesday on Tuesday, except that my scheduled posting thingy? Yeah, not so much. So… going on the presumption that it’s still Tuesday somewhere, I’m posting it now. Forgiven?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. Are you a blogger as well? All that’s asked 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! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it!

Today’s Top Ten:

The Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With.

There are so many new books coming out every month that it’s kind of surprising to me that I have so many on my “keeper” shelf. However, there are still some books that I go back to again and again … kind of like a palate cleanser between books.

Here, then, are just a few from the “keeper” shelf that I can (and do) read over and over, leaving behind thoughts of cleaning my apartment, meeting my friends for coffee and even, in university, foregoing attending lectures for a few days.

10. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery – It’s Anne. What else do I need to say? I try to read this every summer, just so I have that sense memory of being seven years old, curled up in a chair in my Grandmother’s house in Nova Scotia. My mother has finished reading the first book to me as a bedtime story, and I’m ploughing through the rest on my own. Shhhhh, now. Don’t disturb me. Can’t you see I’m reading?

9. The Cinnamon Peeler’s Wife by Michael Ondaatje and Get the Poem Outdoors by Raymond SousterI’m throwing these in here because these poems are my favourites from a greatly-revised poetry book I used in university entitled 15 Canadian Poets x 2. I had a wonderful lecturer for this course; a gentle and quiet man who shared his love of poetry with diffidence and a slight stutter. When he read the poetry aloud, however, he was transformed and he imbedded in me a deep and pervasive love of Canadian poetry that exists today. I pull this nearing-ancient tome off the shelves all the time for a mental break, and use it extensively every April for poetry month.

8. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes Yes, there was a movie made of this. No, I didn’t see it. I have no desire to do so, either. Whenever I feel that urge to travel – to pick up and go and make my own way around the world – I pick up this book instead, losing myself in the wonderful story of a woman and her husband who buy a rustic old farmhouse in Tuscany, then spending years (and buckets of money) to restore it and to become part of the community. Many prefer Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, but to me this and it’s companion book Bella Tuscany are the better ‘foreigner living abroad’ books on the market. Hey, it even contains recipes for delicious Tuscan food so you won’t starve as you read it!

7. Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford A cookbook – I know!! Duguid and Alford were an incredible writing team who traveled the world together, immersing themselves in the culture of the area in order to best understand the people and the food of the region. The resulting cookbooks (and there are six that they created together) are beautifully photographed and thoroughly researched. The recipes are detailed and sooooo good. I get lost in this book about the cuisine of Southeast Asia every time I take it off the shelf to use … as evidenced by the abortive dinner party that I attempted to throw. Thank heavens for Thai delivery!

6. Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead. This was the first urban fantasy/paranormal series that was true crack to me when I read it. The protagonist is as flawed as they come – she’s a demon succubus who works for the side of evil, turning good men to the dark side – but she’s also the very definition of an old soul. The supporting cast is also amazingly detailed, and you care what happens to each of them. I shed real tears during books three and four of the series, and loved how she wrapped up the series. I adore everything about the Georgina Kincaid saga, and even though it’s not all that old, I’ve already re-read the whole thing twice. After this summer, it will be a third.

5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith This book was introduced to me by my then-sister-in-law, as it was one of her favourites. There’s something about the story of Francie Nolan and her poor Irish-American family as they suffer through the Great Depression, war, loss, triumph and ultimately some measure of joy that makes for a compelling read. Long before Angela’s Ashes, this story of abject poverty and the will to survive against all odds compelled me, and I can pick it up and get lost in its pages anytime.

4.  Bitten (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong – This is an extraordinary book. When you consider it’s a first novel by Armstrong, it’s even more impressive. The storytelling is tight and compelling, the setting is partially Canadian (yay!), and the characters grab hold of you by the throat and don’t let you go. I love this entire series, and Armstrong has made the unusual but fitting move of changing her narrators throughout the series, allowing for multiple perspectives and a greater depth to the world she has created. I’ll mourn the ending of the series (that is, beyond the occasional novella) as Armstrong will release the final book this year, but I know I can the world of Elena, Paige, Savannah and company at any time.  I could bury myself in their world for hours – and often do!

3. Harry Potter and the … [insert favourite HP book title here] by J.K. Rowling I refuse. I absolutely refuse to pick just one HP book, because, let’s face it, once you dive into the series, you just want to keep going. I can’t say enough about this series. Not only has it inspired a host of children to read, but it’s also encouraged a host of authors to keep the dream of writing an excellent novel alive. Anything that can attract so many students to the love of reading – and a series, to boot! – deserves my undivided attention for a lost weekend (or two). Hogwarts forever!

2. The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice, A Mixture of Frailties) by Robertson Davies While most would
select Davies’ Depford Trilogy as the better written of his series (and I’m not necessarily going to argue that point), I find myself going back to these three books again and again. The stories are set in the southern Ontario town of Salterton (a thinly veiled Kingston, Ontario), a town with one university, two cathedrals and a host of interesting people. Poor put-upon Solly Bridgetower becomes the consistent thread between the stories, while each book examines the role communities play in the lives of individuals. There are the Old Families, who still receive visitors “at home”, and the newer residents of town, and when the two mix, Davies deft touch is evident as he (lovingly) skewers the conventions I grew up, mixing the surreal with the satiric.

1. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde Perhaps you may have noticed somewhat of a liking for this book in my blog name. Yep. I’ll admit it. I LOVE the books of Jasper Fforde, and, while I did love the first in the series “The Eyre Affair”, I really enjoyed this one even more. Here, Thursday Next and her husband, Landen Parke-Laine are embroiled in a mystery involving ChronosGuards, book jumping, the wonderfully brilliant literary police force of the Jurisfiction and, of course, the mysterious and powerful Goliath Corporation. Confused? You won’t be once you pick up this smart, witty and wonderfully inventive series. Now excuse me – I believe I have some books to read!

Next Week:

April 3: Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

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Categorised in: Personal Musing, Top Ten Tuesday

2 Responses »

  1. I totally agree with you about Bitten (and the whole series in fact) it is definitley worth playing hooky with. Great list.


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