Top Ten Tuesday: My Five-Star Reads

In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing our latest five-star reads: the best of the best, la creme de la creme, our very own A-game! As luck would have it, in the five years that I have been blogging, I have only given a five-star rating to exactly ten books, out of 107 books total!

I’d say that less than 10% is reasonably selective, so if you’re searching for a perfect springtime read, make sure you pick up one of these!

5 Star Collage

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  3. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
  4. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ed note: sequels not recommended, so read at your own risk!)
  7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
  8. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  9. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

So which books would give five out of five stars? Share your top recommendations in the comments!

Advertisements

Top Ten Books With Characters Who Commit Infidelity

Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, is pretty much a free-for-all, since the topic is “Top ten books which features characters who…” and it’s up to us bloggers to finish the sentence.

Why did I pick the oh-so-controversial subject of adultery? Because my first thought turned to English class during my junior year of high school, the theme of which I had dubbed, “Women who cheat on their husbands.” Not all the required reading fit into this category, but a whole lot of it did.

Call me a harlot if you want, but there’s something so captivating about women trapped in loveless marriages and seeking passion outside of them. Many of these novels were written during historical periods in which it was taboo for women of a certain age to be unwed, and I don’t blame these characters for rebelling against the prison that society coerced them in. No one gave the husbands any grief for cheating, so I say down with the double standard!

Thus, here are my top ten books with characters (both men and women!) who commit infidelity:

TTT Cheaters 1

TTT Cheaters 2

Women Who Have Wandered

1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
3. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Men with Mistresses

6. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
7. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
8. Medea by Euripides

Classic Cheaters I Need to Read

9. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
10. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Top Ten Books For People Who Like Romance

Let’s get right to it! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has bloggers recommending ten books for readers of a particular genre, and I since love reading about love, I decided to choose romance as my category.

Love stories come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so I’ve broken my list down into several types. Without further ado, here are my top ten books for people who like romance!

Classic romance: Love doesn’t get any better than this

 

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Romantic tragedies: Bust out the tissues

 

3. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Romantic comedies: Love that makes you LOL

 

5. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
6. Talk Nerdy to Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Sexy romance: It’s about to get steamy

 

7. Something About You by Julie James
8. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Unique romance: Love outside the box

 

9. Every Day by David Levithan
10. The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

I would love to hear recommendations of your favorite love stories! Which type of romance do you like the best, and which other novels would you suggest?

Top Ten All-Time Favorite Books Since I Started Blogging

Image hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I created Book Club Babe in July 2011, and it’s crazy to think that three and a half years have flown by since then. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, the oh-so-fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has bloggers discussing their all-time favorite books in the past three years, and I thought to extend that timeframe a bit longer to celebrate all of the amazing stories that I have read since I started blogging.

Divided into their respective categories, here are my all-time favorite books since founding Book Club Babe!

  

Comedy

  1. Bossypants by Tina Fey (2011)
  2. Yes Please by Amy Poehler (2014)
  3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2014)

 

Young Adult

  1. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (2011)
  2. Every Day by David Levithan (2013)

 

Historical Fiction

  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)
  2. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (2012)

  

Classics

  1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1921)
  2. 1984 by George Orwell (1949)
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Top Ten Favorite Film Adaptations of Books

When it comes to blogging memes, I don’t follow any consistently, but I like jumping in when I like the topic (not to mention, when I’ve got the time!). It’s rare that I post on a Tuesday, but Alison Doherty at Hardcovers and Heroines inspired me to discuss my favorite movie adaptations of books.

Without further ado! In order from good to greatest:

  • Fight Club, based on the book by Chuck Palahnuik

I was surprised to find out that Daniel Day-Lewis starred in two of these films…but then again, I shouldn’t be because he’s an amazing actor! So which movies would you add to your list?

If you’d like to follow this Top Ten meme, check out The Broke and The Bookish!

4 Literary Archetypes You Shouldn’t Love IRL

If you’ve been living under a rock since 2012, you’ve probably woken up to find said rock covered in pink glitter and heart confetti, because today is Valentine’s Day. Many book bloggers have been discussing the best or worst romances in literature, but I’d like to talk about the sorts of characters that are totally swoon-worthy in novels, but I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole in real life:

The Age of Innocence: Nothing says danger like an affair with your wife’s cousin!

The Bad Boy/Girl

You’ve always been warned against them: the rough-around-the-edges type that will get you into trouble and break your heart. You wouldn’t bring them home to your parents, and that’s exactly their allure. Whether it’s taking you to that seedy bar on the back of a motorcycle or convincing you to get a tattoo, everything about them is exciting and a wee bit dangerous. Unfortunately, that adrenaline rush of passion only leads to equally explosive fights and breakups.

Heathcliff: Convincing women around the world to ignore red flags–like hanging your beloved’s dog!

The Angsty Outsider

Unlike the bad boy/girl, the angsty outsider might have a heart of gold. At least you hope so, because their moodiness is downright depressing. They blame their me-against-the-world attitude on their parents’ divorce, school bullying, or impoverished upbringing, and since they’re just so pitiful, you want to be the one to bring  joy back into their lives. All that pressure to be their beacon of light will eventually drain you so much that you’ll abandon them–giving them yet another reason to believe the worst in people–or you’ll end up just as dark and gloomy as them. Misery sure does love company!

Missing: One glass slipper and one actual personality

The Prince(ss) Charming

They’re stunningly good-looking, intelligent, and kind-hearted. They have a lucrative job and a gorgeous home. They really listen to what you say and can always make you laugh. Perhaps their spare time is spent helping the elderly across intersections and taking in stray kittens. All your friends and relatives love them and are counting down the days until your nuptials. But…you want there to be a but. All this perfection is driving you crazy and feeding into your worst insecurities. You wonder what’s wrong with them, what’s wrong with you, until your paranoia sabotages the whole thing. Beware of people who never have bad hair days or get flat tires. They might actually belong in the next category…

Vampire love: When you want to kiss and kill someone at the same time!

The Mythical Creature

Vampires, werewolves, elves, merpeople, even zombies have been re-imagined in literature as lover material. I had no idea that blood-sucking and brain-devouring could be considered sexy but books have come a long way since Dracula. If monsters started appearing in our daily lives, here’s how it would play out: (1) Only you would know their secret, making you feel oh-so-special, until your loved ones start to wonder why your mate doesn’t have a reflection…or a pulse. (2) Someone spills the beans, and you spend the rest of your life keeping your mythical creature away from greedy scientists and rival demons. Don’t worry about it too much, as odds are, your life isn’t going to be very long anyway now.

Any other tropes I’ve missed? What’s a turn-off in books that would be a turn-off IRL? Sound off in the comments!

The House of Mirth (Book Two)

Cover of "The House of Mirth (Signet Clas...

Cover of The House of Mirth (Signet Classics)

Rating: 3 out of 5

I’ve finally finished my 25th book of the year! I’m so happy to reach my 2012 reading goal, as well as cross another novel off my “5 Classics I Really Want to Read” list (which leaves Anna Karenina and Catch-22 for next year). I posted my review of the first half of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, so today I’ll offer my thoughts on Book Two:

Book One left off with Lily Bart slipping down the social ladder due to her increasing debt and failed attempts of nabbing a husband. Book Two begins with a cruise around the Mediterranean, where Lily joins the Dorsets and Ned Silverton. This is all the master plan of Bertha Dorset, who wishes for Lily to keep her husband George distracted while she pursues Ned.

When Bertha humiliates Lily by kicking her abruptly off the yacht for allegedly having an affair with George, Lily’s reputation is ruined. Her ego becomes even more bruised when her aunt dies, leaving her a fraction of what she originally was to inherit. Facing a life of poverty, Lily desperately seeks salvation by assimilating into a new social circle and revisiting suitors she previously snubbed.

Eventually, Lily finds herself cast aside into the working class, suffering from financial trouble and emotional turmoil. Her attitude that she was more superior to less beautiful women and less promising men backfires as people of lower rank surpass her, gaining prosperity and happiness where she could not. And although the ending is ambiguous, the reader learns that Lily’s fate is as much due to her own follies as the elite’s oppressive and alienating conventions.

Unlike other female protagonists created by Austen or Chopin, Lily is characterized as a woman who realizes much too late the consequences of believing that she could always do better and marry richer. When your motive is not directed by personal happiness, tragedy is bound to ensue, and Wharton paints that harsh reality. The House of Mirth is obviously titled ironically, because it’s not some fairy tale where a knight rides in to rescue the damsel in distress.

Rather, it’s an apt depiction of social Darwinism, where only the most handsome, charming, wealthy, and powerful individuals survive. For females of the human species, according to authors of this time period, marriage is the key to successful social mobility–another way of looking at cultural “evolution,” one might say.

There’s so much more to this story in regards to themes, motifs, and symbols, so I recommend it to someone who is a fan of the “fallen woman” genre. However, for those who are new to experiencing these types of classics, I believe that The Age of Innocence, The Awakening, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights portray the battle between love and money just as well, but also offer a more emotionally investing read because of their characters.

I’ll be making a nice transition into next year, since my first novel in 2013 will be a modern adaptation of The House of Mirth, called Gilded Age by Claire McMillan. How will Wharton’s tale play out over 100 years later? I’ll have to read and see!

Favorite Quote: 

Lily: “That’s unjust, I think, because, as I understand it, one of the conditions of citizenship is not to think too much about money, and the only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it.” 

Selden: “You might as well say that the only way not to think about air is to have enough to breathe. That is true enough in a sense; but your lungs are thinking about the air, if you are not. And so it is with your rich people–they may not be thinking of money, but they’re breathing it all the while; take them into another element and see how they squirm and gasp!”