Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What I've added to my TBR

Are you ready for another monster TBR adds list? Well good, because I've been finding things left and right and tucking them away like a magpie. I'll try to keep my comments here short--for my sanity and yours.


I've decided that I've got to know what all the buzz is about with Me before You. With almost 14,000 reviews on Amazon, I do feel like the last person to pick up the book. I've added the second Mary Russell mystery, A Monstrous Regiment of Women to my list, because I want to give the series a fair shot. I can't say that I'll finish all bazillion of them, though, based on the intensity of the first one. And I've added two Booth Tarkington books to my list because they've both won Pulitzer Prizes and both been made into movies. Alice Adams, which I've only heard of and The Magnificent Ambersons which I always thought was about a family of acrobats, but it's not. Fun fact, the guy I dated before meeting my husband was an Amberson. We shall not go into his degree of magnificence.

Children's Fiction

I've added Anne of the Island to my list though I still haven't finished the second Anne book, Anne of Avonlea. I'll be reading it soon, though. (Don't you just love the covers in this particular series?) I've also, surprise of surprises, added the second Harry Potter to my list. And I've added James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein's Jacky Ha-Ha. I've never read anything by Patterson, and it's just like me to begin with his children's literature.   

Celebrity Memoirs

Long ago I owned the hardcover edition of Me by Katharine Hepburn, but I decided I'd never read it and got ride of it. So I had to re-buy it when I decided I'd like to read it for my second/final chunkster memoir to meet one of my reading goals this year. I also owned The Making of The African Queen but sold it, and it's no longer in print, so I'll have to dig up a copy somewhere. And I recently bought a copy of Drew Barrymore's Wildflower. I'm not sure why, but it kind of appealed to me.



I'm feeling a little starved for some good ole-fashioned memoirs right now, so I've been snapping them up. I'm beside myself with excitement over Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Her Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is one of my favorite books ever. I recently bought Lost Among the Birds about a man's "big year" (what they call a birding year in which you try to spot as many species as possible). And I'm anticipating reading Living with a Dead Language about a woman who is learning Latin. I've always wanted to learn Latin. So stoked.

A couple years ago I read YouTube star Hannah Hart's cookbook My Drunk Kitchen (my review). She's coming out with a memoir this fall, Buffering, which I may check out, depending on how much she talks about lesbian sex (there was enough of that in the cookbook for me!). As leery as I am of books about dogs, I'm also a sucker for them, so I've added Free Days with George to my TBR. It's highly rated on Amazon, so I'm going with that. And I recently ordered Jen Hatmaker's For the Love even though I'd vowed to never read Hatmaker again after the whole Duck Dynasty brouhaha awhile ago. But I guess I've forgiven or forgotten or both.

I'm not quite sure what My Father & Atticus Finch is about other than what Amazon's description gives. I won't commit to it until I read an excerpt, but I'd be interested in learning more about the court case at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird. I have no idea who Steve Hely is, but I'm a sucker for a wide-ranging travel memoir, and they're hard to find about South American travel. The writing in his The Wonder Trail seems decent, so I'll give it a chance. And I recently bought a copy of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap. It sounds like a nice, quiet memoir about books and community, which really appeals to me now.

History / Biographies

I don't know how I missed the release of First Dads, but it's definitely at the top of my list now. It's about the presidents as fathers. I'm all in. I'm waffling over Game of Crowns about Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, and Kate Middleton. It doesn't have the best rating on Amazon, but it seems most of the reviews are grumbling that there's no new information here. Since I have only basic "old" information about the trio, that may not bother me. I just don't want a trashy tell-all--that's my concern. I'd never heard of A. Scott Berg's Max Perkins: Editor of Genius until I heard a movie is coming out soon. I've never read a giant Berg biography, but I've meant to. Still, I'm not sure a biography about an editor will be all that stimulating.   

Poetry, Poetry, and More Poetry

Okay, I know you all probably aren't as into poetry as I am, so I won't belabor this. Just know that I didn't include all of the poetry books I've recently added to my TBR here. You're welcome.

I don't know how I feel about this, but Kim Addonizio has a new collection of poetry and a memoir coming out the same day. Addonizio is another writer I'd blacklisted because I'd read some truly ignorant and hateful things on her blog long ago (so long ago, they weren't even called "blogs" yet). Still, I think she's a phenomenal poet, so I'm torn about getting the poetry book (Mortal Trash), the memoir (Bukowski in a Sundress), or both.

Two collections I am completely excited about are Sharon Old's Odes (I love a good ode) and Billy Collins' The Rain in Portugal. Could you get a more perfect title for a poetry collection? I'm telling you, poets bring the teasing on themselves.


I've been trying to find one collection by many poets to create a great sampler platter of poetry for future reading. Some of these include: Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems, Dorianne Laux's Facts about the Moon, and Jim Daniels' Show and Tell. All three are poets I'm familiar with but want to explore further.

A couple anthologies: Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, favorite poems introduced by famous and literary men, and If Bees Are Few, poems about bees. I have to tell you, I'm miffed about this one. I've always wanted to edit a collection of poems about bees. Can you believe someone beat me to that dream? (The title comes from one of my all-time favorite Emily Dickinson poems.)

I don't quite understand how someone can love poetry and hate poetry at the same time. I know that's one of those things that's supposed to sound profound and literary, but I think it's bunk. At any rate, I'm willing to hear Ben Lerner out by reading his The Hatred of Poetry. Lastly, there's Philip Levine's My Lost Poets, essays and whatnot about a lifetime spent in poetry.


Do you know about the tiny house craze? I don't think it's just something that HGTV drummed up, although they certainly did help, I'm sure. I've been intrigued by this style of living for years, but I'm not ready to take the plunge. (My husband already lives tiny. When I met him, everything he owned pretty much fit in an apple box and a guitar case.) Anywho, I love books that take you into peoples' homes, and Tiny House Living does that.



I think one of my goals for next year will be to "read" more books of photography. As much of a word person as I am, I'm very much a visual person, too, in fact, perhaps more so. I tend toward portrait photography, and I've added five books to my list: Jordon Matter's Dancers after Dark (I believe all the dancers in this one are nude) and his earlier Uncovered (featuring bare-breasted women), Tim Flach's More Than Human (animal portraits), and Rachael Hale McKenna's The French Dog and The French Cat.  

My next TBR posting will be all cookbooks and foodie memoirs. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (best 2016 releases so far)

This week the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish are asking for our top ten favorite 2016 releases so far. Well, I've read exactly 10 books released in 2016, so I'll give you a list of all of them, with a short explanation of what I thought.

Link your post up here.

99 Poems: New & Selected by Dana Gioia
One of my favorite poetry books read this year. Lots of form poems that don't make you hate poetry.  

A Doctor in the House: My Life with Ben Carson by Candy Carson
Not a stellar book, but it did what it meant to do very well. You get a full picture of the Carson family, their faith, and Ben and Candy's marriage. Candy is such a generous person, and the portrait of her husband is a very loving one.

Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson
One of my favorite books about presidents. Period. 

First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies
by Kate Andersen Brower
I haven't quite finished this, but I'm prepared to say it's one of my favorite reads of the year.

Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson,
Nixon, and Ford by Clint Hill
Another of my favorite books about presidents. I highly recommend this wonderful book (as well as the other Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin books).

Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen
This book really affected me when I read it, but it's since faded away to almost nothing.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
I think the lessons were much too brief for me to feel like I took anything away from them.

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo
Don't bother with this book if you've read her The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. There's nothing new here except for weirdly juvenile drawings of bunnies folding things.

The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson
One of the best novels I've read.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I was just not impressed by this book. I feel bad saying that, but it's the truth.