Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read in the Summer


As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, I remember so many of the books I read in the summer as a kid so much better than those assigned in school. As an adult I’ve kept a reading log for many years. As a librarian I am skilled in dredging up books whose title’s I’ve forgotten. It all combines to make book lists like Top Ten Tuesday a passion for me.–in case you didn’t notice already.

From My Teen Years

Note: Whenever possible I’ve used “my” covers for these books. If you purchase one thru the link in this post, (I do NOT make any money) the cover may be different.


Eric–who didn’t fall in love with the sweet, kind, jock who died of leukemia back in the ’70s. Patricia Neal played his mother in a worked over tv movie version of this book later in the decade. I read and re-read this book!  And he played….soccer! So exotic in Indiana in the early 1970s when soccer was a sport played at schools with “Prep” or “Academy” in their names and most were in New England and charged ridiculous tuition to students with Kennedy, Buckley or even Roosevelt as last names. Eric by Doris Lund. [Note: Doris Lund’s picture book was featured in this summer fun post last year].

I love big, sprawly multi-generational family sagas or other big, sprawling books. The 1970s were a fabulous decade for such books. R. F. Delderfield and Herman Wouk were among the best-selling authors of this type book. Belva Plain hit the scene with her first, Evergreen, too. These books more than stand the test of time. I highly recommend these–an others by the same authors.



Wednesday’s post told about this book–which I read in the summer of 1976, including while at band camp. In those days I could read with all kinds of chaos around me. Today, I can rarely do that. I usually need earbuds or white noise if there are people around. Show Boat by Edna Ferber and Giant by Edna Ferber–a later summer read.

Later Summers

I’ve chosen randomly from my reading logs to introduce books I enjoyed that I haven’t written as much, if anything, about before.

These are all such compelling stories! Two are historical, one very recent history. All three are so worth the time.


Looking forward to reading during this summer…





I’m reading this with a not-really-a-book-club-book-club. Totally out of my comfort zone, but I’m going to try.

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan.






I loved Julie Murphy’s Dumplin (read my post on it here) so I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! Ramona Blue






Why not go to the Broke and the Bookish and enjoy other great Top Ten Tuesday lists from this week? Or, read the rules and post your own!


Top 10 Tuesdays: Favorite Fictional Mothers


Little Women has saintly Marmee, and Gone With the Wind has selfless grande dame Ellen O’Hara and self-sacrificing Melanie Wilkes as model mothers of the Civil War era.  Laura Ingalls had her devoted “Ma” and the Von Trapp family had a step-mother sent from God in Maria (well, at least in the movie version) who helped save the family from the Nazis. Hard to top those, but….I did find fictional mothers I admire more.

The Winner! The #1 Fictional Mom…….Mrs. Weasley!


Photo: Harry Potter the Chamber of Secrets

Probably everyone’s favorite fictional mom these days is Mrs. Molly Weasley from Harry Potter! I agree! I love her! I love the wonderful chaos of her home, the way she ignores her husband when he’s being stupid, the way she feels for poor Harry. My vote is a double because Julie Walters, who plays Molly, is one of my all-time favorite actresses, too. From Educating Rita to Billy Elliott to the Mama Mia  to Calendar Girls to HP–I’ve loved her roles!

2. Mrs. Eve Casson


Photo shows the series with the old covers

I’ve written several posts on this blog praising this very fun, middle grades chapter book series by Hilary McKay! I adore Eve! Other than Molly Weasley Eve is my mothering soul mate! Sequestered in the garden shed painting pet portraits for ready cash, she is the ever-patient wife of Darling Bill–her big time, society artist husband who lives in London and leads an independent life. She still adores him. She adores her children, too. This is a happy, modern family and Eve is its heart and soul.

Saffy’s Angel (first book in the series) by Hilary McKay


3. Jess Thomas



Scrappy can-do single mother Jess Thomas is doing her best to support her kids and earning money is the least of it. I love her “Right, let’s get on” attitude. Poverty? Life goes on. Husband leaves you? Good things happen!

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

My review.




4. Mrs. Frank B (Lillian) Gilbreth

Ok, ok! She’s NOT fictional. She’s real. But the stories of her family were helped with a little poetic license!Lilly Gilbreth has been a favorite of mine since I first read Cheaper by the Dozen in about the 6th grade. A graduate of Cal Berkeley in Psychology, she became a pioneer in the field of motion study–workplace efficiency, with her husband Frank. She bears 12 children (burries one) and then, after her husband’s sudden death, keeps the family and the family business going. My grandfather met her when she lectured at Purdue. She even was honored with a postage stamp.


5. Grandma Mazur




Bail Bonds-Person Stephanie Plum has the wackiest Grandma ever. Stephanie’s Mom quietly makes meatloaf and irons, but Grandma is in on the action–especially at Steva’s Funeral Home.  She loves a good open casket viewing like nothing else! Except maybe for her love of men.




Why not go to the Broke and the Bookish and enjoy other great Top Ten Tuesday lists from this week? Or, read the rules and post your own!

Top Ten Tuesday: What Makes Me Instantly Quit Reading a Book


What instantly makes me DROP a book and forgot it:

  1. Graphic sex
  2. Graphic violence
  3. Overuse of profanity
  4. Animal cruelty
  5. Historical inaccuracies
  6. Diversity rammed in just to have diversity
  7. Modern views in historical characters
  8. Sleazy covers
  9. The words “dystopian” or “science fiction” or “fantasy” or “vampires” or “zombie” used anywhere.
  10. Weird Names  or Nicknames No One Has in Real Life

You can read more about a few of these and learn about a few others in a previous post: Top 5 Book Trends I’m Tired of…..

Top Ten Tuesday is held each week at the blog the Broke and The Bookish. Why not post your own list and join the fun?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly get-together of bloggers posting book lists on a theme. You can join fun each week at the Broke and The Bookish blog.

This week it’s 10 things that make me instantly want to read (or listen to) a new book.

Number One and Number Two (random order)

Photo Credit Jeremy Irons Photo Credit Sean Connery

Having either of these two read an audio book means I not only will listen I might even BUY the audio book!



Edwardian racingKingsParty

Photo credit

The word “Edwardian” is used in the description of the story.



Photo credit

The terms “between the wars,” “country house,” or “aristocracy” are used in the description of the story.



The book was written by any of a dozen or more favorite authors.



The cover features a man looking like Jeremy Irons or Sean Connery.



Photo credit    Photo credit


The book has something to do with a royal, a Roosevelt or a Churchill.



One of my like-minded reader friends says I must read it and they are the friends who know what I really will like.




The book has amazing food in it.



The book just somehow attracts my notice for another reason.


What instantly makes me DROP a book and forgot it:

  1. Graphic sex
  2. Graphic violence
  3. Overuse of profanity
  4. Animal cruelty
  5. Historical inaccuracies
  6. Diversity rammed in just to have diversity
  7. Modern views in historical characters
  8. Sleazy covers
  9. The word “dystopian” used anywhere.
  10. The words “zombie” or “vampire” used anywhere.


Why not go to the Broke and the Bookish and enjoy other great Top Ten Tuesday lists from this week? Or, read the rules and post your own!


Top Ten Tuesday: The Authors I’d Most Like to Meet


Current Day Authors


Jamie Ford-

[Number 1 is because he’ll be in three cities near me so I MIGHT actually get to meet him!]

vinegar girl

Anne Tyler

Never a bad book.


Barbara Kingsolver

I’ve loved all but Lucuna. Plus she went to DePauw in Indaiana.


Zadie Smith

Powerful writer.


Louise Penny

Vive Gamache!


Lisa Scottoline

Honestly, every time I listen to a book by these two (mother/daughter) I feel like we’re on a road trip together!

Claire Cook

Her book, Never Too Late, got me working toward my own dreams of being published. I also love that she’s remaking her career as a self-published author–having left traditional publishing. She just plain inspires me!

I’d also love to have been able to know Sir Winston Churchill, all of the Brontes, Marquerite Henry, Gene Stratton Porter, Louisa May Alcott and many, many others–both dead and alive and kicking!

Join the fun of Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Minor Characters I Love


1. Tristan Farnon

Whether its creating the image of a driver-less car, howling back at a Labrador coming out of anesthesia or magically waking up and shaking a bottle of something to prove he wasn’t sleeping, slacker little brother Tristan Farnon is my all-time favorite minor character. The haze of Woodbine smoke emanating from behind the newspaper, the delight in bell ringers’ and Licensed Victullars’ outings, to prank calls about Clancy “womatting” he is just plain fun. That he has an eye for the ladies and a greater taste for the bottle than for studying for parasitology is all to our luck.

2. Tofu and 3. Cyril


Tofu is little Bertie’s friend at the Steiner School whose mother may or may not have starved to death as a vegan. Tofu is streetwise and speaks his mind. I especially loved it when Tofu announced he was going to make lots of Tablet–a Scottish sweet like fudge and Bertie had, as always, to suffer with his mother’s version of what he should do for their class sale. Cyril is the artist Angus’ dog with the gold tooth. Cyril has his own adventures. Both are awesome minor characters.

4. Will Benteen



A cracker–they knew this as surely as they new the little military school cadet they buried had been a planter’s son, Will stays on at Tara where he landed with exhaustion at the end of the war. A peg leg doesn’t stop him. In the end, to stay at Tara, he marries the nasty O’Hara sister, Suellen (no mistake that you likely started to read this as “sullen”). He was cut out of the movie, but there is a scene of a peg legged soldier with Melanie’s baby, Beau, that is supposedly Will.  He has a much larger role in the book.

5. Charlie




Ever the apprentice, never the mechanic, Charlie eventually tries a new role. It’s his ongoing antagonism of M’Makutzi that keeps and his girl-chasing that always lands him in hot water. But under it all, Charlie has a heart of gold.

6. Miss Gooch



After Beau’s death, Mame decides to write her memoirs and hires a ghost writer, Brian, and a secretary, Miss Agnes Gooch. The very ordinary Miss Gooch lives in Kew Gardens with Mumsie and Edna, but finally loosens up on New Year’s Eve after Mame comes down with a deadly cold and sends her to a party in her stead. Unforgettable.




Of course we all know who my all-time favorite is…..


Downton’s Sir Anthony Strallan



Top Ten Tuesday is held at the blog The Broke and the Bookish.




Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Books I Liked More or Less Than Other People


Topic:Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time) — or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else.

Books I Liked LESS


I do not understand the women who rave about this idiotic book. Heroin is cool? Sex with strangers? Honestly??? I threw it back and  won’t even link to it any more.


Too many modern characters. I threw it back.

italian wife.jpg

Not only does a man “unzip” his trousers before there were zippers in trousers, but we are then treated to a description of his erstwhile member. ICK. I loved Ann Hood until this dog. But I will give her next book a try.


Cause this cover just says “incest” to no one ever…… UGH.


Two evenings of my life I’ll never get back.  And a two-hour retreat discussion that didn’t even make it to my performance review!! I stayed awake. I contributed politely. That deserved a mention.


From my most popular Review: “ Gave up on this mess of a book–didn’t finish it. Chapter 1 reads like she watched the movie the “Right Stuff” and that’s about it. It is written in that trendy, annoying new, “sassy”/hip/disrespectful tone that is starting to ruin non-fiction reading. Like aging Valley Girl does Master’s thesis. …The women themselves ARE interesting, just the style of writing that grates. Astro-everything is really wearing me down. The story itself IS interesting. But it’s like Jr. High School history with a hip teacher who practices his stand-up routine. Enough with the glib-non-humor and just TELL THE DAMN STORY already. Sadly the tone continues and the “depth” is sadly lacking…



There were some parts of this one that I liked. I got tired of the fly-over mentality about the Midwest, the Southern accents in freakin’ IOWA, the constant screed against Christians and religion, the ridiculous idea of being shocked that people in IOWA, not Manhattan drive cars everywhere….oiy, I could go on and on. Another of my most popular reviews. But, I’d be very willing to give this author another try–there were good things in here. I gave it 2 stars.


I gave this turkey 3 stars because, let’s be honest, he can really write and deserves every award he’s won. I was just so not into this story. It was depressing. It was weird. It just wasn’t for me at all.

Books I Liked MORE


I found the crass, superior way in which Will walked away from the girl was just so typical of his true “type.” I liked it. No, it wasn’t Me Before You –that was too sweet and wonderful. But this was a good book.  After You.


I really, really liked this one. But then, I haven’t finished the Harry Potter books, don’t know which Hogwarts House I belong too and don’t have the Quiddich World Cup on my Bucket List (It’s fine if you do–I do love the early HP books, just couldn’t get thru the last ones). This shows that JK Rowling can think about something other than wizards and muggles. The movie was even “ok.” Book was better–of course. The Casual Vacancy

You can read about a  few more books I liked or disliked more than others here.

See all of this week’s lists at  Top Ten Tuesday.  Play along and post your ow nlist See the rules and topics at The Broke and The Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them


More of Their Home Life



What’s not to like about a man who almost always refers to his wife with respect as Madame Gamache? And, get this! She’s a librarian! More please of Madame and her husband. Their exchanges are glittering. Their home life so like I imagined mine would be long-ago when I thought of being married, before reality crept in. And, Monk! No spoilers for those who haven’t read these. But every stage of his home life is fascinating. More, please!

More of the Story–i.e. a Sequel



These are just three of the books I’d like sequels to–I wrote an entire Top Ten Tuesday post on this topic–click here to read it.

I so want Hilary McKay to write the “grown up” story of the Casson’s marriage. Darling Bill has such a fascinating life. Eve is so patient. I want to know this marriage from both sides! I want this so badly I’ve sent her a direct Twitter message to beg!


More Food–as in real recipes!



The food page for the Chief Inspector Gamache series is really sad. Gabri’s food is so amazing–as is Madame’s. I want to taste it. Where for instance is that cauliflower and Stilton soup with date and pear relish?? And that wedding cake in City Baker’s Guide! Bring it on, baby! I want real recipes!


Sorry, I couldn’t come up with the full 10 today!


Do you enjoy lists like this? Then join in Top Ten Tuesday each week at the Broke and the Bookish–where you can check out all of this week’s lists.


Top Ten Tuesday: Coffee Table Books I Want to Own


Over at The Broke and The Bookish, they slated “Visuals” for this week. Well, what can be more visual than a beautiful coffee table book full of lush photographs or beautiful works of art. Here are the twelve I’d most like to own. Yes, twelve–you get two bonus books. Like Ginzu knives on late-night tv ads only beautiful. Links are  below the whole collage of photos.



The Top Ten

Great Houses

Scotland Castles and Clans

Exuberant Calalog of Dreams

Curated House

Gentleman’s Farm

de Laszlo




Drawing Room

Two Bonus Books


Gilded New York


Why not post your own Top Ten today or next Tuesday? It’s simple. The topics are all listed at The Broke and The Bookish. You can see all of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday lists here.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Remember Noting About (but Have Read)



Today’s Top  Ten Tuesday is a Freebie Week! I’ve kept a reading log, on and off, for most of my adult life. I have several of these still, so I know I did actually read these titles! I just can’t tell you anything about them.



Some of these were read in desperation in the Peace Corps (1989–1991)–back before there was t.v. in the region and when a trip to the library took a bus or mini bus and miles of walking. Others were read before I was ready for them. Some were just read and, well, not memorable.



Do you enjoy this sort of book list? Join the fun of Top Ten Tuesday each week at the Broke and the Bookish.