Top Ten Tuesday: The Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2017

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I’m a fairly eclectic reader, though I’ve no officially given up even trying to like fantasy or sci fi. Life is too short. Here then are the Top Ten Books so far in my 2017 reading. Well, 10 plus a few bonus titles. Math isn’t my strong suit.

 

Fiction

 

 

 

Nonfiction

 

 

You can read my reviews of any of these books by searching the title or by clicking on Book Reviews in the word cloud in the right sidebar.

All books show are available from Amazon. Remember, I do not make any money when you click on a link.

Want to play along with the next Top Ten Tuesday? Here are the rules.

Click here to read all of this week’s great lists at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Series I Want to Start Reading–Well, not quite!

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The One New Series I’m Anxious to Try:

 

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With only one series I wanted to start, I had to tweak this week’s topic just a bit. Here are 10 (plus a bonus since I can’t count) series I look forward to or am trying to catch up on.

I have a lot of series that pepper my year as new volumes come out. Most I listen to on audio and they give me an experience like commuting with a carpool of good friends. Other are NOT like that at all, but make me grateful I don’t work in anything related to law enforcement or private investigation!

Here are the ones I’m looking forward to soon:

 

 

For more on Charlotte Holmes (Last of August) see my earlier posts here and here.

Here are ones I’m a little behind on:

 

 

Here are the titles that are next for me in these series. I got a little put out with the Stephanie Plum books–in real time she’s my age and would be expecting grandchildren by now, but she’s still getting hot you-know-what from Ranger! Babe….

 

Here are the ones I need to give a second chance:

 

The World War I era is a favorite of mine, and, obviously, I love another of Anne Perry’s series, but this one just didn’t really grab me. And the first book in Lindsay Davis’ series was the same–it didn’t grab me. But first books are often burdened with having to thoroughly introduce the characters, the setting and the time or time period, so I’m pretty sure I will give both a second chance.

 

Why not take part in Top Ten Tuesday? Here are the rules.

Here is the link to all of this week’s great lists at the Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Father’s Day Freebie

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This week is a freebie! Something relating to fathers or Father’s Day.

 

Sorry but it is only top FIVE Tuesday this week.

Classics

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Kids today with their crazy ideas…. that’s the shortest summary of this great novel that stands the test of time. I read it in ’81 and still love it. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

Fiction

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You’ve heard of “home schooling?” Well, Libertad was “truck schooled” by her college-professor-turned-truck-driver-Dad. Along with learning to drive a big rig, Libertad learned to love literature, to hide in it, to find her nonexistent home in it. Then a change occurred in her life and she landed in a Mexican women’s prison where money equals privilege. She starts a “library club” to spin her life story and we are invited along for the ride. And what a road trip it is! No matter the book she chooses from the prison’s scant book collection her story pours forth like the nightly soap operas. Even the warden wants to listen. A great story of family, self discovery, rebirth and so much more. Gonzales and Daughter Trucking Company: A Road Novel With Literary License by Maria Amparo Escandon.

 

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Patsy Jefferson had the unenviable role of being her father, Thomas Jefferson’s, daughter and hostess throughout nearly all of his career. But there was another woman in his life–a woman we didn’t hear of until recently. She was his slave–he owned her, Sally Hemmings. Hemmings was also a blood relative of Patsy’s late  mother. Imagine having to share your father’s house with your half-aunt who was also your father’s slave and mistress. Then imagine the mistress was giving birth to your father’s younger family at that time. Somehow they made it work. America’s First Daughter.

 

 

 

 

Nonfiction

 

 

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In postwar upper-class America, Johnny Gunther was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His father, John Gunther, was a famous journalist and so, naturally, was observant and took notes. He was not the greatest of fathers–he was separated from Johnny’s mother and constantly traveling for his work as a writer and journalist made famous for his “Inside” books offering an in-depth look at various countries or regions. Johnny, Gunther’s only child, was brilliant and enjoyed a privileged upbringing in Europe and in the best parts of New York and Connecticut. He attended the exclusive prep school, Deerfield.

By telling the story of his son’s death, Gunther helped to slowly remove the stigma attached to the word “cancer.”  Used to tirelessly following any lead for a story, accustomed to long hours of difficult research and unintimidated by the famous, John Gunther helped to prolong his son’s life by idetifiying the best doctors and the most promising (and not-so-promising) treatments of the late 1940s.  Death Be Not Proud: A Memoir by John Gunther

 

 

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Theodore Roosevelt had 6 children. “Princess Alice” as she was known was born to his first wife who tragically died soon after giving birth. Theodore was not much of a father to Alice. After leaving her in the excellent care of his sister, upon remarrying, the little girl was abruptly taken from her aunt and her aunt’s staff and put in the care of her new stepmother (well, her new stepmother’s staff). He once famously said he could run the country or he could run Alice, but not both. His heartbreak on his first wife’s death was such that he never once spoke to his their daughter about her. Sad. His other five children, born to his very happy marriage to his second wife (and childhood love) , Edith, were greatly beloved. These letters are to all six, but mostly to the later five. Theodore Roosevelt: Letters to His Children.

 

 

Why not take part in Top Ten Tuesday with us next week? Here’s the link to the rules. And, here’s the link to all of this week’s posts at the Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books Coming Out Later This Year

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Like any big reader, I do scan the “forthcoming” listings on Goodreads or elsewhere, hoping for releases from favorite authors or for debuts that sound like my kind of book.  Reading Challenges also come to mind as I look at these lists–Challenges are a great way to broaden your reading horizons. Here then are a few books I’m looking forward to in the last six months of 2017.

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 Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read in the Summer

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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.

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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.

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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…

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

Three

 

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

Four

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

 

Five

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

 

Six

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

 

Seven

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

 

Eight

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

 

 

Nine

The book has amazing food in it.

 

Ten

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!

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

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Current Day Authors

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Jamie Ford-

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

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Anne Tyler

Never a bad book.

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Barbara Kingsolver

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

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Zadie Smith

Powerful writer.

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Louise Penny

Vive Gamache!

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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…..

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Downton’s Sir Anthony Strallan

 

 

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