Top 5 Wednesday: Classics I Wish Had Modern Adaptations


I must add that I see this topic as: Classics I Wish Had Modern Adaptations That Follow My Ideas–a little mash-up, a little interpretation, a little improving on the original.



First of all, this image is from the University of Central Florida’s Quidditch Club/Team Facebook page.

This would be a Harry Potter version–with Quidditch instead of jousting.

Too Kill A Mockingbird


Re-done with an African American Evangelical Atticus representing a framed Muslim refugee.

Tom Brown’s School Days

51+qDE-j4jL._SY346_Retold as  the story of a boy from a sink estate (housing project) attending a famous British public (private) school on a government scholarship. Since most are now co-ed, he’d fall for a Princess or Duke’s daughter or something and would be denied the captaincy of the rugby 1st XV in favor of a legacy.

Black Beauty and War Horse

This one would tell the story of a rescue horse now happily living out her days doing a Riding for the Disabled sort of program. She is permantly loved by a little boy named Simon with Down’s Syndrome and lives happily ever after. She also gets a merchandising deal worth millions. She would be in a relationship with Joey, a horse rescued from the war zone in Afghanistan and brought home to live out his days happily grazing.

Two That Have Already Been Done to My Satisfaction

Timon of Athens


I saw this play done with Timon being on the cover of big magazines and buzzed in popular culture–sort of a Bill Gates of Howard Hughes sort of rich recluse.

Grapes of Wrath

Tortilla Curtain tells the story of undocumented immigrants (aka illegal aliens) in Southern California. Great recreation of the pathos of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

Join in! Join the Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday group and post a video or blog post on the week’s topic. You can read all the posts at the group, too.


Top 5 Wednesday: Books For My Younger Self



This week’s topic: Books For My Younger Self …..Books that you wish your younger self would have read to learn a life lesson, get more self confidence, open your eyes to a new perspective, etc.


Perks of Being a Wallflower



First it would had to have been written 20 years earlier for me to have read it as a teenager. You can see how it affected me when I read it as an adult past 50 HERE.


Julie Murphy’s Books

I’m currently listening to , and loving (as I expected) Puddin’. I don’t want to do the math on how many years earlier these would have had to be written for me to have read them in the 70s. Lest you think a YA label means no one over 18 can read them, my 81 year old mother also loved Puddin’. I will be reviewing it next week, but you can read my reviews of Ramona Blue and Dumplin’ now if you’d like.


Most of the Books on This List



The Books I Wish My Kids Would Read Except for Auntie Mame and the 2000 Year Old Man, I had to grow up to find these books. I’d probably have ignored them, too, if someone had given them to me at that age, but here’s hoping I’d have at least picked one I could stand and learn from.


You can be part of Top 5 Wednesday by joining the group on There you will find the weekly topics. Write a blog post or shoot a video and post it. That’s all! Then check back with the group to read other great Top 5 lists each week.


Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Friend Groups



Favorite Friend Groups–here’s what the announcement says: “… let’s discuss our favorite ensemble friend groups!” Ok, then! Here are my picks:




Circle of Friends may have been my introduction to Maeve Binchy–I can’t remember now. I read not long after it came out–I was about 30 so I could still feel a bond with the 20-something friends Benny and Jack and Eve and the others. I even loved the movie–rare for me.




College for women was still more of a great privilidge than a rite of passage in 1933, the year these ladies graduated from Vasser. This book shocked in its day, but still holds up well. The idea of a young woman obtaining an illegal (or newly legal–I can’t remember which) birth control device to enjoy life to the fullest–well, that was immoral! The book held my attention completely even though I was over 40 when I first read it. The Group is a classic of friends’ literature.




Class Reunion is one of the first “adult” (as in grown-up) novels my Mom and shared that was a new best-seller at the time. I devoured it. I loved it all. This was the first time I’d encountered gay characters who weren’t merely femininized men, but real men living (yes, and hiding) their sexuality. Alexander’s room left me fascinated more than shocked. I was blessed to have parents who answered ANYY question honestly on subjects such as this, so I felt a lot for Alexander. I still love this book! There is a sequel, After The Reunion, which was fun as well.




The Brotherhood of War series by W.E.B. Griffith. Wow! This series is a blast. I happened to love military men, so when I found this series in my twenties, I hung on for dear life. I admit I lost interest after the original series–the author went on and on with new characters, Marines, police, etc. But I still LOVE Craig Lowell who reminded me of one of my college boyfriends. What can you say about a guy who is that rich and that manly and gets to do what he loves–be a soldier! The rest of the guys also great. Don’t expect much in the way of women though. The author actually changed one “gal’s” name mid-book! It’s that kind of series. I love it though.


All my series favorites


I couldn’t decide which of these groups of friends I like more. So, I’ll just put them all!


Ok,  ok, I’ll include them–as a Bonus




I haven’t read the last few books, but I still ADORE Harry, Hermoine, Ron and all the others.  Harry Potter series.


You can do your own Top 5 Wednesday post or video! Just join the group on Goodreads to get the topics, then post your link to the group. It’s fun.

Top 5 Wednesday: Book List for Class on Foodie Life


So math isn’t my strong suit. Today you get a Double Top 5 Wednesday!

This week’s topic is books for a class–I choose a class on living a foodie life! I may just teach this someday–maybe at a public library? A foodie book group? Fun!


Just one of my reminders that, even when you click on a link to book in Amazon, I do not make any money off this blog.




1. A Boat, a Whales & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson &Jess Thomson. My review.

2. My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life by Luisa Weiss. My review.

3. On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Hermann Loomis. My review.

4. Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julia Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child [I’m counting these as one since both are Julia]. The movie Julie & Julia is one of the few movies I’ve ever enjoyed as much or more (yes, More!) than the book!

5. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

6. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This gets a tad precious in places, but is still excellent.


Foodie Life for Normal People:

5.  Dinner a Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. My review.

6. Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes by Shauna Neiquist. You can read my thoughts on this book in this post.



7. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stadal. My review.

For those who enjoy a little touch of fantasy or paranormal (neither of these are my thing, but I LOVED these books.)

8. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

9. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

10. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel


Join the Top 5 Wednesday group at and then do your own Top 5 post of video! It’s fun!

Other Foodie Posts:

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books


Top 5 Wednesday: Freebie–Dear Mrs Byrd & More Books Using Letters or Diaries in Storytelling



This week’s Top Five Wednesday is a Freebie week–choose your own topic, use one you skipped, etc. I happen to love novels and nonfiction that use diaries or letters or emails or texts to tell stories. I’ve done posts with collections of these that you can read, too. They are linked at the bottom of this post.

First, the Brand New Smashing Debut!


Dear Mrs. Byrd: A Novel

World War II is a very frequent topic in my reading life. So, when I found a new novel that uses letters for some of the telling and it was set during the Blitz in London–well, I had to get it. Dear Mrs. Byrd: A Novel by AJ Pearce was was so fun and so spot-on I found it hard to believe this was a debute novel, but it is!

The Story

Emmeline Lake answers an add for a “Junior” at what she thinks will be a big London daily newspaper. Instead it is for a woman’s magazine doing the typing for the advice column, Dear Mrs. Byrd. While also doing her “bit” for the war effort manning the phones for the fire brgade, Emmy spends her days reading the letters of depressed, scared, lonely and perplexed women and girls of war-torn Britain. Along the way she and her best friend Bunty have a spot of bother. All of it adds up to a sort of “workplace coming of age” story. Or is it a “wartime coming of age” story? Whatever–it’s simply wonderful.

If you enjoy this one, check out a classic: Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark. My review is HERE.

Now the Others

Each of these are epistolary novels or nonfiction I’ve read recently–or at least read since my last post on this sort of book.

Diary of a Provincial Woman


This class commedic dairy tells the story of the wife of an Estate Manager (think Downton Abbey, but more down on it’s luck). I loved it start to finish. You can read my review HERE.     Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield.

Sarah: Letters and Diaries of A Courtier’s Wife 1906-1936 (non-fiction)


Sarah: Letters and Diaries of A Courtier’s Wife 1906-1936 is a slim volume telling the story of the wife of one of the primary members of the Royal Household in the days of Edward VIII (the current Queen’s uncle), George VI (her father) and today’s Queen, Elizabeth II.  There’s an interesting tie to the 90’s sitcom The Nanny with Fran Drescher! My review is HERE.

Two Steps Forward: A Novel


Rosie Project author Graeme Simesion’s newest novel is a light novel on walking a pligrimage route in France and Spain. It includes texts and emails. You can read my review HERE.

Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel by Tom Perrotta



When her son Brendan goes off to college Mrs Fletcher tries to find a life. It includes texting to tell the story. You can read my review HERE
Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel by Tom Perrotta.


My Posts Collecting Epistolary Books and Novels

Epistolary Books Part I

Epistolary Part II

Favorite Epistolary Books and Novels

Fictional Diaries


You can join Top 5 Wednesday on then post about the week’s topic on your blog or in a video on Youtube. It’s fun!


Top 5 Wednesday: 5 Fictional Tropes I’ll Never Tire of



First of all, I had to research “trope.” I found this helpful article that gave some examples. Sadly, the examples it gave were most of the books using those tropes that I’d read!


1. Lady Who Lunches Finds Purpose


Ok, Willa isn’t really a true Lady Who Lunches, but she’s a lady of a certain age, is a bit lost for a purpose and isn’t wildly happy. Close Enough? I thought so! You can read my review HERE.


#2 The Old Guy Saved by the Kid



Bringing an orphan to her only remaining relatives is just another day’s work for Jefferson Kidd. Or is it? Read my review HERE.


3. The Fat Girl Gets the Guy




And soon her story becomes a movie with music by Dolly Parton and starring Jennifer Aniston! What’s not to love about any Julie Murphy book? Read my review HERE.


4. Cinderella aka Just For One Night




After “borrowing” that iconic little black dress from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a new star is born! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. You can read my review HERE.


5. The Off-Beat, Unlikely Hero




Frank just knows what music people need. He just does. But he does so much more than that for the community without ever realizing it. Loved this. Here’s my review.



You Can Be Part of Top 5 Wednesday!

You can join in the fun any Wednesday by joining the Top 5 Wednesday group on to see the rules and list of weekly topics. Then post on your blog or put up a video on Youtube! It’s fun!

Top 5 Wednesday: Road Trip Reads 2018


You can participate in Top 5 Wednesday-just join the group at to learn the topics each week, then publish your post or video!

Like last week’s Ice Cream Books post,  and yesterday’s What the Class of 2022 is Reading, Road Trip Books are an annual summer topic here on my blog.  You can read the past posts at these links:  2017 Road Trip Reads, 2016 Road Trip Reads2017’s list included a River “Road” Trip and 2016’s included the road trip of an ex-POTUS. That may be hard to top!


The One With the Mysterious Charm Bracelet



Arthr Pepper is lost without his beloved wife. Life as a widower is tough for him. Since Miriam’s death he’s stuck to a safe routine to navigate his days. Until he finds a charm bracelet he did not give her. Then his life changes as he seeks out answers. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.


The One Two to Hollywood



How about the story of not one, but TWO roads trips involving Hollywood taken a generation apart by mother and daughter? That’s the jist of Woman Enters Left.


The Ocean “Roadtrip” With the Kennedys, the Composer, the Conductor, and more



Rosemary Kennedy has grown up and become a “problem” for her family. Father Joe Kennedy, Sr., decides to send her home with her mother and two younger siblings to avoid the war in England, where he is winding up his days as a controversial American Ambassador. This journey and the journey-the-journey tells a fictionalized version of part of Rosemary Kennedy’s last days before her tragic labotomy. The Ocean Liner.


The One in a Horse and Buggy



News of the World moved me like few other books. This tale of a bounty hunter taking an orphan to relatives is so much more than it’s small number of pages seem to promise.  The story of the Captain and Joanna’s road trip (even when there weren’t actual roads) is not to be missed.


The One With Folks Fleeing The Red Army




Women in the Castle tells the story of the wives of some of the Valkyrie conspirators fleeing the advancing Soviet Army which raped anything female along the way.  This is not a book for the faint-hearted, but it IS a novel–a ficitonalized version of events.


Do you have a favorite road trip read? Leave me a comment–I’m always interested in fun new trips to take via fiction.

Best Books Read in the First Half of 2018

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the Best Books of the First Half of This Year.  So, here’s my list–aside from #1 the others are not in any real ranking order. My reviews are linked.


#10 The Atomic City Girls: A Novel by Janet Beard



My review

#9 The Heirs: A Novel by Susan Reiger



My review

#8 Girls in the Picture: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin



My review

#7 The Ocean Liner by Marius Gabriel



My review

#6 That Kind of Mother: A Novel by Rumaan Alam



My review


# 5 Mademoiselle Chanel by C. W. Gortner



My review

#4 The Seven of Us by Francesca Hornak



My review


#3 The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport



My review


#2 The Music Shop: A Novel by Rachel Joyce



My review

#1 Every Note Played by Lisa Genova



Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year


Here are my top 5 books I hope to get thru by the end of 2018

I have two I want to read and three I want to finish! Four are classics and one is a recent novel of historical fiction. Yes, it LOOKS wildly ambitious, but read on!

1. The Robe


I want to participate in this great reading venture–the [Year] Club in which you pick a book from that year to read. This time it’s the 1944 Club and The Robe was one of the best-sellers of that year. This book is also one I’ll cross off in reading from Ambleside Online. I chart my reading from these lists at my little blog A Lifelong Reader in Ambleside.


2. East of Eden


I promised a dear friend I would read this one–she loved it and recommended it to me. I bought it, but decided to listen to it. So, it’ll be up soon for my commuting pleasure. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.


3. Les Miserables


I was doing very well with this on Serial Reader until my phone died and messed everything up. Now it’s sorted out and I’m back at it so I want to FINISH reading this (I’m about 50% done right now) by the end of the year. I don’t read daily on Serial Reader–I paid the tiny fee for an upgrade so you can keep reading and not have to wait for the next day’s installment. This book has been both frustrating and well worth it, so I’m anxious to finish. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

4. Kenilworth



This is another one I was enjoying but it got pushed aside. It’s time to finish it. The story is very compelling. Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott. This is another title I’ve chosen from the fabulous Ambleside Online curriculum.


5.  The Accidental Empress



I’ve been half-way thru this book for two years. It IS good–truly. I just own it so I get sidetracked reading library books that are due quickly. The Accidental Empress by Alison Pataki.


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Top 5 Wednesday Rewind: Authors You Want to Read More From



This week is the last “re-wind” week here at Top 5 Wednesday. All of May we’ve done topics we missed in past years. Next week it’s back to new topics.

Do you ever find an author and then read all/any prior book’s of theirs? Their “backlist” that’s called. I love to find authors whose writing compellsme to do this.


#1 Jojo Moyles

So far I’ve read:


# 2 Fredrik Backman

So far I’ve read:

I did have to give up on My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry though. It just wasn’t for me.


#3 Joanna Trollope

So far I’ve read:

Yes, the “Queen of the Aga Saga.” And an early nonfiction book by her that I read in the Peace Corps years ago.


#4 Elizabeth Buchan

So far I’ve read:

#5 Helen Rappaport [non-fiction]

So far I’ve read:



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