Top Ten Books of 2014

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is –

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

This was a little hard for me- some books jumped out at me, while others I really had to consider.

1.  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

2.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

3.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

4.  The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

5.  Bag of Bones by Stephen King

6.  One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

7.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

8.  We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

9.  The Green Mile by Stephen King

10. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

What was your ABSOLUTE favorite book of 2014?

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry- She Reads April Selection

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

published Algonquin Books

by April 2014

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

My Review

A.J. Fikry is a major bookworm and a major grump.  He is the owner of the independ bookstore, Island Books, on the fictional Alice Island, and he is extremely unhappy.  He is grieving for his dead wife, Nic, and struggling to keep the floundering bookstore going.  One day, he discovers someone has left a baby in his store, with a note asking him to take care of her.  The change in A.J.’s life is truly amazing.

This is a wonderful novel from the author.  I love stories about books, book lovers, and bookstores, and this encompasses all three.  As snarky and obnoxious as A.J. is, the reader really comes to love him.  I want to go into Island Books, and shop around!

She Reads truly picked a winner in their April Book Club selection.  Head over there to read more reviews of this wonderful book.

http://www.shereads.org/april-book-club-selection-5/

Some great quotes:

“You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question: What is your favorite book?”

“Why is any one book different from any other book? They are different, A.J. decides, because they are. We have to look inside many. We have to believe. We agreed to be disappointed sometimes so that we can be exhilarated every now and again.”

“Remember, Maya: the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in books and also in life.”

“Why is any one book different from any other book? They are different, A.J. decides, because they are. We have to look inside many. We have to believe. We agree to be disappointed sometimes so that we can be exhilarated every now and again.”

 

“I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be—basically gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful. I do not like genre mash-ups a la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children’s books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and — I imagine this goes without saying — vampires.”

Bookish ( & Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  It was finally nice the other day, so I grabbed the book I was just starting (Blood & Beauty by Sarah Dunant) and sat outside.  A few hours later I came in half way done with the book and nicely sunburned.  Ouch. Now it’s cold again and I am hot.

2.  I managed to finish 2 books so far this week-including the afore mentioned Blood & Beauty, which was about the Borgias.  Now I want to get to the bottom of this question- were they as awful as I have always heard in history classes, or, as in the book, were they just as awful (if not slightly more so) than everyone else around during that time?

3.  Can anyone recommend a place where I can get some really awesome bookmarks?  I used to have so many, but those evil fairies who always come in the house and throw things out must have targeted them.

4.  I read this article on Book Riot about whether you have ever read a book that haunted you, one that really stayed with you, and I got to wondering which books really stayed with me.  This was a tough question for me.  I think The Stand will stay with me for awhile.  What about you- what book haunts you?

5.  My local library is having their semi annual book sale this Saturday and I am SO excited!!!

6.  I finally ran more than 5 miles this week, and of course the next day my achilles was aching.  Thank god darling hubby put KT tape in my xmas stocking this year.

7.  I finished the She Reads April Book Club Selection- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and I loved it.  Unfortunately, I kept having to pick it up and put it down, and it was really bothering me that I just didn’t have a chance to read for any good block of time.

8.  I posted a review of a wonderful book this week that was sent to me by the author, fellow blogger Andra Watkins.  She is an amazing person and a wonderful writer and you should really look for her book To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

9.  This is the first weekend since November that we don’t have something to do-yeah!!  I see a lot of reading-and some playoff hockey- in my future.  Let’s Go Rangers!

10.  I am tired of the appearance of my blog and want to spruce it up.  I am thinking of taking the plunge and actually paying $ for a new Theme.   Any suggestions?

Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  Spring is here!  I began running outside again (not pretty to see) and I made up a new playlist, which is pretty awesome.  It includes the oldie “Bat out of Hell” by Meatloaf.  As I was listening to it this morning, all I could think of was Stu Redman, from The Stand.  That would be the perfect song to play, as he is leaving Boulder and Frannie on his way out west.  And yes- I have too much time on my hands.

2.  She Reads announced that its April Book Club selection is The Storied Life of A.J Fikry, which excited me very much.  I requested it a while ago at my library, but had no luck so far, so I downloaded it from Amazon onto my iPad.  Within 5 hours, I got an email from the library that it was in.  Life’s a bitch.

3.  BookRiot ran a great article On The Perils of Feeling Dumb While Reading.  This has definitely happened to me- more than once.

4.  I grabbed the first Harry Potter while I waited for above mentioned book from library.  It was- so nice.  I missed the whole HP world so much, it was very difficult to not immediately pick up the next (then the next) book.

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5.  I am SO excited to go see Cabaret at Studio 54- with Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams this SUnday afternoon.  He is one of my FAV actors and I am sure he will be an amazing MC!

Here is a link to him singing Wilkommen.  

I tried to put the little you tube screen, like I have seen so many savvy bloggers do- then I realized I don’t know how to do that.

6.  I have been watching Glee since it started (even though this year was pretty meh).  My daughter (14) was home sick, and asked if we could watch a few episodes from the beginning.  Wow- this show was pretty amazing in the beginning. If you have a chance, watch some of the early episodes-though it is so sad to see Finn.

7.  The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is not good for my health.  I am over 40-I can’t stay up so late.  But he is SO DAMN FUNNY.

8.  I finished The Green Mile last week and I loved it.  I am hoping to get the review posted within the week, but until then, know this- you should read it.

9.  This sucks.1924725_10152377522211757_398497141_n

10.  What’s going on with you??  Please leave a comment- I love hearing from you!