Tag Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Cozy Reads


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Person wearing red mittens and a a red and white striped shirt holding a red mug filled with hot cocoa and a white star cookie sprinkled with red sprinkles that is sitting in the cocoa. Here’s a confession for you all: I don’t quite understand the difference between comfort reads, which we all discussed last May, and the cozy reads we’re supposed to talk about today.

These are terms for what is essentially the same experience in my opinion. Both comfort and cozy reads describe books that feel like the literary version of a warm hug or a kind word from someone who loves you. I’d say that they both describe books where characters might get into embarrassing situations sometimes but where the reader knows that nothing terrible will happen to them and that everything will turn out well for them by the final scene.

If you interpreted these terms in other ways, please let me know.

Since I discussed specific books in my comfort reads prompt, I’ll focus on types of literature and storytelling in this post.

To me, a cozy read might be:

1. A Reread

For example, I’ve reread C.S. Lewis‘ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe every winter for the past few years. I experience seasonal depression due to the lower levels of light in Ontario over the winter, so it makes me happy to read about a world where winter ended so abruptly and beautifully.

 

2. Something Humorous

There’s nothing like reading something uproariously funny when you least expect it. I have been known to wander into genres I don’t normally visit like romance novels simply based on how humorous other people have said they are.

 

3. A Cozy Mystery

I enjoy the lighthearted writing style and often pun-filled titles that occur in this genre.

 

4. Something Exciting and Genre-Bending

Look, I’ve been an avid reader since I was a small child. It takes a lot for an author to surprise me, but that only makes it only more delightful when they steer their story in a direction I’d never expect from that genre.

 

5. A Poem

I loved poetry as a kid and teenager but wandered away from the genre in college. A well-written poem can be such a wonderful gift when you need a quick read.

 

6. Something Hopeful 

Yes, I read and review plenty of stories with dark themes, but I’m always on the lookout for hopeful speculative fiction, too. That is a big part of the reason why I spent so much time chatting about Becky Chambers’ last couple of books here earlier this year, and i still think the Monk and Robot series is one of the coziest things I’ve ever read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I’m Thankful for Books


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A white plate covered with a grey napkin that has a sprig of red and brown berries and a card that says “thankful.”Credit for this Thankful freebie blogging idea goes to Rain City Reads who blogged about it in 2019.  It was a great idea for a post, and I’m grateful to use it today.

I will be mentioning the Covid-19 pandemic briefly in this post.

1) Meeting Likeminded Folks

Life can feel isolating and lonesome sometimes. There is nothing like getting to know a character, author, or fellow reader who shares your identity, or your diagnosis, or any other number of labels and realizing that you are not alone. Other people have been through X, too, understand even the parts of it that can be difficult to explain to those who haven’t had those same experiences.

 

2) Answering Common Questions about Group X

I’m the sort of person who is shy about asking people questions about the differences between us because I don’t want to be the tenth person to ask them that question this week or to make them feel uncomfortable. I’d much rather read a variety of perspectives about that topic so that I’ll at least have a framework of what is and isn’t appropriate to ask someone who may be from a completely different religion or culture (or what have you) than mine.

 

3) Providing an Education 

No one is ever too old or too young to learn new things. I think books are an excellent way to learn about so many different topics, from dark matter to math to the stories that I never learned in history class. In 2020, I found comfort in reading about the 1918 Flu of all things. Seeing how people dealt with that pandemic helped me figure out some good coping skills for this one.

 

4) Making Me Laugh

I know I talk about my love of humorous books a lot here, but I’ll say it again. Humour is an important part of life, and I think there’s value in seeking it out as often as you reasonably can.

 

5) Distracting Readers

This is related to #4, but we all need distractions from the troubles of this world after we’ve done what we can to reduce suffering and push things in a fairer and more peaceful direction. Reading something spectacular is one of the tools in my toolbox when I need to rest.

 

6) Showing a Better Future

Not to sound like a Pollyanna, but I think there’s something to be said for dreaming of the way things could be changed for the better in the future. People need hope, and stories can be a wonderful place to replenish that feeling if we read the right sorts of books.

 

7) Meeting Folks Who Are Nothing Like Me 

Whether they’re found in biographies or fiction, I think there’s a lot of merit to purposefully seeking out stories about people who might appear to have nothing in common with you at all at first glance. You can learn all sorts of interesting and useful things about them if you quietly listen to what they have to say.

 

Closeup of pages fanning up and out from an opened book. 8) Finding Good Quotes

I have not always been that reliable at writing down meaningful quotes from books, but I’m striving to be better at it. Quotes come in handy for all sorts of things, from reminding you about key moments in a story to providing motivation in difficult times and more.

 

9) Having Something Interesting to Talk About

This pandemic has made every day bleed into the last for me because of how repetitive so much of it has been as I dodged germs and avoided in-person socialization for most of it. There are only so many conversations I can have about the weather before I feel the urge to talk about something else, and books are a great place to start if the other person is at all bookish or interested in fiction.

 

10) Enjoying Some Non Screen Time

No, I’m not going to be putting down television, smart phones, or the film industry here. I think it’s silly to pit them against books as if one is better than the others.

Sometimes I watch TV or films. I surf the Internet a lot, too.  At other times, reading appeals to me more. I’m grateful for all of these forms of entertainment and how they’ve gotten us all through the past few years.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite “Aww” Moments In Books


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A drawing of a little white rabbit standing on it’s hind legs in a garden or meadow. The rabbit is standing on it’s hind legs and holding a red heart. About a dozen little pink hearts are rising up from the bunny and into the yellow background. I don’t read many books with mushy, sweet, or cute moments in them, so let’s see what I can come up with.

Please note there are spoilers in this post and that some of these books discuss difficult topics like what life was like in British workhouses in the 1800s. Even sometimes painful stories can include happy moments or end on a blissful note, though!

1. A young girl in Farewell to the East End” by Jennifer Worth  was terribly abused and neglected while she spent her entire childhood in a British workhouse. After she grew up, she was sort of unofffically adopted by the nuns of St. Nonnatus. They made sure she always had a job and a welcoming place to spend Christmas and other holidays. What really warmed my heart, though, was what happened when she fell in love with a wonderful man who gave her the happily ever after she’d dreamed of since she was a little girl.

2.Roderick Ayers was dealing with chronic pain, stiffness, and weakness in his leg as a result of a World War II injury in The Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters. Seeing Dr. Faraday take his injury seriously and try a brand new therapy for it gave me an aww moment because sometimes modern doctors don’t do a good job of treating these sorts of things. Even though this is fiction and set about 80 years ago, it still made me smile to see a doctor listen and do his best to help. Compassion is so important.

3. There was a hilarious and adorable scene in A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot Series Book 2)” by Becky Chambers that showed the robot hemming and hawing over whether it would be acceptable to replace a broken part of his body that was necessary for him to function. He worried he would break robot law by accepting it and tried to convince the humans to make that part out of something biodegradable so it would feel more natural. This illuminated an entirely new portion of his personality and made me love him even more.

 

4. The first page of To Walk About in Freedom: The Long Emancipation of Priscilla Joyner” by Carole Emberton described how Mrs. Joyner reacted when two strangers from the Federal Writers’ Project approached her in the 1930s to record her biography as the biracial daughter of a southern white woman in the 1850s. Mrs. Joyner said, “That’s nice. Would you like to see my garden?” and proceeded to show them her garden before telling them anything about her unique childhood. Wasn’t that a sweet answer?

Those are my answers. I look forward to seeing what you all came up with.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Should Read Someday


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

IBooks lined up against a yellow wall. The books are placed so that their spines are facing upwards and they’re all touching a book on each side. Every book is closed. have mixed feelings about series.

When they’re well written, they’re my favorite sorts of books to dive into because of how deeply you can get to know the characters throughout the course of them. It’s thrilling to see a character slowly evolve over the course of several adventures, especially if they maybe weren’t particularly likeable at first. I love it when characters are given space to become three-dimensional individuals who feel just about as real to me as anyone I’ve met. This is difficult to accomplish for any author, but it’s so rewarding when it does happen.

Series that try to stretch out their original storylines too far are disappointing, though. I’d much rather read a tightly written standalone novel that wraps up all of the major conflicts and ends on a high note  than I would something about the exact same characters that had clunky pacing, or not enough going on in each book, or that put their characters in the same sorts of conflicts over and over again to justify creating a series when the protagonist really should have learned his or her lesson on that topic in book #1.

I’ve had experiences with both of these sorts of possibilities (and many grey areas in between then), so I never know what to expect when I start a new series. Will it horribly disappoint me two or three or six books from now? Is it worth my reading time? Will I find the first book pretty decent only to be shocked by how much I adore the rest of them after the world building and character development has been firmly established?

You never know what might happen. Here are some series I hope to read someday. Just don’t ask me exactly when that will be. Ha! Have you read any of these books and, if so, did you enjoy them?

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1) by Robert Jordan book cover. image on cover is a drawing of knights riding horses under a full moon.

1. The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1) by Robert Jordan

Multiple people have told me I’d love The Wheel of Time series.

 

His Dark Materials (His Dark Materials #1-3) by Philip Pullman boo cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of a child sitting on top of a polar bear.

2. His Dark Materials (His Dark Materials #1-3) by Philip Pullman

I once read that Pullman wrote this series partially as a response to the Chronicles of Narnia series. While I don’t know for sure if that’s true, it does make me curious to see what all of the fuss is about.

 

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of a castle with a moat around it. There is a green dragon between the castle and the moat.

3. A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Her short stories make me smile, but I’ve never explored her longer works. Maybe this is a good place to start?

 

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1) by Diana Wynne Jones book cover. image on cover shows a drwaing of a house that has legs and is walking across a green field.

4. Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1) by Diana Wynne Jones

This has been on my TBR for so long that it has apparently become a series now!

 

 

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin book cover. Image on cover shows an ornate metal carving on a door. The carving looks like curled ferns lying on top of each other.

5. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin

Top Ten Tuesday: Unlikable Characters You Can’t Help but Love


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Drawing of a grumpy man slamming a door shut as several much smaller people run away. The image credit for today’s post goes to Edward Lear, an English artist and poet who lived during the Victorian era. The grumpy man in this sketch made me chuckle.

Let’s see how many answers to this topic I can come up with as I often have trouble finishing books that feature unlikeable characters.

1. Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Why: I didn’t actually end up finishing this book because of how Evelyn behaved. She was ruthless, self-absorbed, and not a narrator I necessarily trusted to tell me the whole truth.

With that being said, I loved her grit and determination. From what I could tell, she found a way to thrive in a sexist society that was at best deeply hostile to women. I don’t know how her tale ends yet, but I think I will someday go back and finish it.

She wasn’t someone I’d ever want to invite into my inner circle or trust to treat me fairly, but she was a very interesting person for sure.

 

2. Marilla Cuthbert from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery 

Why: I pride myself on being able to get along with just about everyone, but Marilla was such a rigid and grumpy person when she was first introduced in this series that even I would have trouble finding common ground with her.

What made me eventually love her was seeing how she softened and mellowed as a result of her relationship with Anne. Yes, she was still someone who saw the world in pretty black and white terms, but she also learned to appreciate other perspectives as she grew older.

I admire people who continue to work on their weak spots throughout their lives. That’s exactly the sort of person I hope to be when I’m her age.

 

3. Sookie Stackhouse from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris 

Why: Sookie was not the sharpest crayon in the box, and I often felt annoyed with how often she put herself into danger in this series instead of listening to the reasonable advice of the folks around her who knew more about vampire and werewolf culture.

I deeply admired her creativity and resourcefulness, though, and kept reading because of how invested I was in what would happen to her next. Just like with Marilla, my first impression of her was much less encouraging than how I felt about her a few books later. Some characters need to grow on you!

 

4. Eva from We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver 

Why: Eva irritated me because she never wanted to have kids, agreed to have them anyway, and then complained about raising them every step of the way. There was a big reveal later on in the storyline that completely changed my opinion of her, though, so keep reading.

I thought it was interesting to go back and look at her previous complaints after that twist. It made me see her life in a completely different way, and that’s all I can say without sharing spoilers.

 

5. Ove from  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 

Why: Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, this is also a book I need to go back and finish sometime.

When I left off with Ove, he was a grumpy, negative man who looked for the worst in everyone around him. That’s the sort of character I prefer to take in small doses, although I know from reading other reviews that his personality will change as the plot moves forward. I do expect to love him once he stops being so pessimistic, though!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Words

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I tweaked the themes of the last two Top Ten Tuesday posts, but this time I’m sticking to the script! Some of them will have explanations, but it didn’t feel necessary for others. 1. Vorpal Okay, so this is technically only a word because Lewis Carroll said it was….but… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Typographic Book Covers

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl To be perfectly honest, I generally prefer book covers that include some sort of picture on them over the ones that have a fancy typographic font and nothing else. Pictures, drawings, and other visual representations of what a book might about play an important role in helping me decide… Read More