Tag Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

There are two things I really like to read on rainy days: poetry about stormy weather and humorous books. Why does my brain work this way? I have no idea, but it has strong opinions on this topic that I’m going to honour.

This week I’m going to be recommending five comedic books and five poems that somehow reference rain, storms, or similar topics.

The Books

1. Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica

Most people understand that folks who work in the service industry are fellow human beings and should be treated with the same basic level of respect and kindness you’d offer to any other stranger. The individuals who choose not to follow this social more for whatever reason provided endless fodder for a hilarious blog that eventually lead to this book, too.

It’s the perfect thing to read if you’ve ever worked in the service industry or wondered what that experience can be like on the not-so-great days. I started reading it during a thunderstorm years ago, so that may be why I associate it with rainy days so much.

2. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Mr. Halpern’s dad is the sort of person who says whatever outrageous thing is on his mind without thinking about how others will react to it. I should warn you that some of the quotes in this book might be offensive to some readers due to the stereotypical things the dad says about certain groups.

With that being said, most of these quotes are simply odd statements about society shared by a man who either can’t or is purposefully refusing to understand that the world has changed a lot since he was young. (It was never clear to me which one of these explanations was most accurate, and I definitely don’t want to shame him if he has some sort of health problem that affects how he thinks or relates to others.)

As someone who has a couple of relatives who act a lot like this dad, it feels nice to know that I’m not the only one dealing with this situation. Sometimes laughter truly is the best response to things you cannot change.

3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I read this book several years ago. The only things I remember about it is that it was quite funny and I believe I might have read it during a very rainy weekend in my city.

4. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Ms. Brosh is one of the funniest cartoonists of our generation. If you haven’t checked out her work yet, you really should. Sometimes I save her latest blog posts specifically for stormy days because of how much I enjoy savouring them for a while.

5. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

This was the first book I ever read from this author, and it happened in a bookstore on a stormy day. I loved his descriptions of trying to learn French, among other adventures. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Sedaris’ work ever since then.

 

The Poems

1. April Rain Song by Langston Hughes

If you read this blog long enough, you’re going to notice me mentioning Langston Hughes a lot. He was an incredibly talented poet that I try to introduce new people to as often as possible.

2. Peasants Waiting for Rain by G.S. Sharat Chandra

It can be easy for those of us who aren’t farmers to forget just how important rain is for agriculture. This poem is a nice reminder of that.

3. Rain in the Desert by Walter Lowenfels

If you’ve never seen a downpour in the desert, this poem is an excellent description of one.

4. To the Rain by Ursula K. LeGuin

I love the cleansing imagery in this poem. The world does seem like a cleaner, brighter place after a good thunderstorm!

5. Sheep in the Rain by James Wright

The last line of this poem was what made me realize how great it is.

Top Ten Tuesday: Outrageous Things I’ve Done for the Love of Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

You’re all about to hear some funny stories about the outrageous, silly, and memorable things I’ve done for the love of books.

For anyone who didn’t already know, I was a preacher’s kid growing up, so the church’s building was basically my family’s second home.  We were there two or three times a week on average, and sometimes way more than that if there were weddings, funerals, potluck dinners, vacation bible school programs, or other events going on.

This fact only makes the first two items on my list even more amusing than they might have been for the average kid. The rest of my list is about non-church-related stuff. I will (probably) not use gifs for the next Top Ten Tuesday, but I couldn’t help but to use them again this week.

1. Snuck Out of Church to Read in a Closet

I believe this happened on one of those weeks when we’d spent way more time at church than usual. At any rate, I quietly walked out of the service, hid in a closet, and read a book about missionaries for a while. It was a good story, I enjoyed the break, and I did not tell this story to my parents until many years later. (They were amused by it).

2. Snuck a Book Into Church and Read It

This happened at a religious conference I attended when I was about twelve. I was a dancer then and loved the dance portion of that conference that showcased all sorts of new moves and styles for worship service dances.  After a few days of spending hours listening to sermons on unrelated topics, though, I decided to sneak a book in and read it when no one was looking. What makes it even funnier is that I was reading a sometimes-steamy series of romance novels that weekend!

3. Worn Out My Flashlight Battery

My family was on a camping trip when this happened, and I’d brought along a short story collection with me because who wants to go on vacation without a book?!  (This theme will repeat again later on because I am a creature of habit). I wanted to read just one more tale  before bed, but I ended up falling asleep with my flashlight on. When I woke up again, the battery was completely worn out.

4. Hid Books Under My Pillow

Not only was I a preacher’s kid, I was homeschooled as well for several years. One of the first things I did once I started attending public school was borrow books from the school library and hide them underneath my pillow. For some reason, I thought I wasn’t allowed to read them. It was a relief when my mom discovered them and didn’t make a big deal out of it at all.

5. Picked My Colleges (Partially) Based on Their Libraries

There were obviously other factors I considered as well, but the libraries were the very first spots I visited on my unguided tours of these facilities. The fact that I liked those libraries so much made it easier to pick the institutions of higher learning that I did.

6. Researched Where the Local Libraries Were Before Moving to New Neighbourhoods

Yes, being situated close to a nice library has been a factor when I decided where to move to in the past! I’ve found that any neighbourhood that has a well-tended, busy library tends to have a lot of other perks, too, like having more free community groups/events and the neighbourhood cultivating a friendly, welcoming attitude towards newcomers.

7. Chosen Video Games Based on Their Storytelling Skills

The gif above is from an amazing puzzle game called Monument Valley that also asked its audience to solve a mystery about  a civilization that had disappeared. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Monument Valley set a high standard for me as a gamer. These days I’m only interested in games that have tight, engaging storytelling woven into whatever else they happen to be about.

8. Matched People with Their Literary Doppelgangers

I like figuring out which literary character is most like the various people I know. You’ll never hear who I’ve pegged you as unless you ask, but there’s something satisfying – if also occasionally a little unusual – about deciding that someone reminds me most of Hermoine, Bilbo Baggins, Jo March, or any other number of characters.

9. Touched Hospital/Medical Office Waiting Room Books

Sometimes it has taken so long to wait for a medical appointment or visit a loved one who has been admitted that I must overcome my aversion to germy waiting room books and see what a hospital/doctor’s office waiting room has to read.

Then I imagine all of those bacteria multiplying on my skin and wash my hands with lots of soap and hot water because the thought of getting sick from touching the wrong types of germs makes me nervous. Ha!

10. Left the Perfect Beach to Visit a Bookstore

One year when my family was on a beautiful beach vacation, teenage Lydia convinced my parents to drive to a local mall so I could pick up a few new books when I unexpectedly finished reading everything I’d brought with me. I was thrilled when they agreed to do this and portioned out my reading time better for the rest of that trip.

How many of these things have all of you done? I can’t wait to read your responses to this prompt. It sure was a fun one.

Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Some weeks I struggle to come up with enough items for a Top Ten Tuesday list, but this sure wasn’t one of them. I could have easily given you all twice as many answers to this question. There are so many different things in our world that make me say, “Ooh! I want to read all about that.”

Also, I decided to accentuate my list with gifs this week. I hope you all enjoy them.

1.  It’s Historically Accurate

I love it when authors research the time and place they’re writing about in precise, accurate detail. For example, they might include descriptions of foods that truly were staples in the diet of that culture then, describe how people hunted/grew their food, or show what the average day was like for ordinary folks from that era. If I immediately know or later find out  that they got all of those little details right, I’m going to be quite happy with that writer.

2. It Includes Non-Romantic Types of Love

If the main character’s relationships are with their best friend, sibling, pet, or some other living being that isn’t a romantic partner, I get excited. There’s something refreshing about fiction written about these things, and I wish we had more books that explored why and how platonic relationships enrich all of our lives.

3. There Are Spaceships and Space Exploration

I grew up watching reruns of various Star Trek shows, and they taught me to look forward to the day when humans will be able to explore the universe. Any book that takes a similar approach to all of the wonderful things we might find if we ever visit other planets – or, better yet, meet other intelligent forms of life – is something I’m going to want to read.

4. It’s Willing to Poke Fun at Itself (and/or Its Genre)

If a story or character has enough self-awareness to make jokes about themselves, I immediately become even more interested in following them until the final scene. I love it when narrators realize they’re following the same old tropes in their genre and do something to let the audience know that they’re doing this on purpose.

5. There’s Compassion for and from Everyone

It’s much easier for me to read about terrible things happening to characters if they have compassion for each other and if the author has compassion for them, too. If even an antagonist manages to do this like Inigo Montoya did in The Princess Bride, I’m going to read (or watch) that story over and over again.

6. LGBTQ+ People Get Happy Endings

This is starting to slowly shift, but I used to have the hardest time finding books about LGBTQ+ characters that had upbeat endings for them (when I could even find them at all!) I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to finally read stories about people like me who get to live happily ever after in the last scene. We need many more examples of this, please.

7. It’s About Palaeontology and/or Anthropology

So you all already know that I like reading about history. I also enjoy reading fictional and non-fictional books about the things we’ve learned about what happened on Earth long before anyone started writing stuff down. Whether we’re talking about   ancient humans or dinosaurs that went extinct millions of years before hominids existed, I want to read about all of it.

8. At Least One Character Has an Allergy to Something

I’m not allergic to 109 different things, but I do have multiple allergies. It is so rare for me to read books about people who are like me in this area that I get ridiculously excited when authors not only mention a character being allergic to something but describe it in medically accurate detail. We desperately need more representation in this area.

9. At Least One Character Has a Mental Illness

There are books out there about characters who have mental illnesses, but as someone who has personal experience with this topic I’d definitely like to see more stories that discuss it without using it as an excuse to vilify anyone. I feel like having more characters who have a mental illness will help reduce the stigma associated with it. It might also encourage more people to seek help when they’re struggling with something.

10. Someone Has a Beloved Pet (and That Pet Doesn’t Die or Get Injured)

I’m allergic to many of the mammals that people commonly keep as pets, including cats, dogs, and rabbits. Since I can’t live with any of these creatures, the next best thing would be to read about characters who live happily ever after with their pet(s). There’s something so wholesome about that.

What do you all look for in a book? How much do we have in common here?

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Stuff That Might Convince Me to Try Audiobooks

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I’ve never been able to get into audiobooks for two reasons: I’m a fast reader who finds the pacing of most audiobooks far too slow, and I like coming up with my own ideas about what any particular character’s voice might sound like.

So this week’s prompt needed to be fiddled with a little in order for me to come up with a (mostly on-topic) response to it. If I had to listen to audiobooks for some reason, these are the things that would make that experience more interesting for me.

Hot Tea

My grandmother likes to brew two cups of tea, one for each of us, from the same teabag when I visit her. If there’s no one around to share her teabag, she’s been known to save it until later on in the day and use it again. I credit her for my love of tea.

 

Healthy Snacks

I’m a nibbler. Rather than eat two or three big meals a day, I’d prefer to graze my way through several little ones. There’s something so emotionally satisfying about eating bits of various fruit, vegetables, or nuts while you’re in the middle of a story.

Reading Socks

The bookstores in Toronto sell warm, thick reading socks that look something like the socks in the stock photo above. If I didn’t live in such a warm and cozy apartment, I’d buy a pair in a heartbeat!

Adult Colouring Books

Few things are as relaxing to me as colouring. I love picking out which shades to us and slowly seeing my picture come to life. If I could colour while I was listening, I think I might be able to finish an audio book or two.

Fidget Spinners

I’m not a wiggly person in any other scenario, so why am I so wiggly at the thought of sitting down and listening to a book being read to me? No idea, but a fidget spinner might also help.

How many of you listen to audiobooks? Who else might need distractions in order to fully enjoy this type of storytelling experience?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring 2019 TBR

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Most of the new books I read come from the local library, so what I’m planning to read next at any given point all depends on  how long the wait lists are for titles and how close I am to the top of the lists for the really popular ones.

I hope to read all of these books eventually. Whether that happens this spring or later in the year is anyone’s guess at this point!

1. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

My family didn’t watch a lot of TV when I was a kid, but Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was always on the short list of approved shows. I’ve been waiting forever to read this biography of him. Hopefully, it will turn up soon.

2. Not One of Us by Neil Clark

All I know is that this is an anthology of stories about aliens and first encounters between us and them. That alone is enough to pique my interest!

3. Ask: Building Consent Culture by Kitty Stryker

I love hugging and cuddling with friends and relatives so much that sometimes I wonder if I were a Labrador Retriever in a previous lifetime. Ha!  Not everyone is a hugger like me, so I always get permission first before touching folks. I’ll usually wait until I get to know someone well before platonically snuggling up to them just to make sure they’re really okay with that sort of affection. This book is about why consent is so important and how we can build a world where people feel free to say no or yes to all sorts of experiences. I can’t wait to read it.

4. A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver

Sadly, Ms. Oliver died earlier this year. I’ve slowly been reading her poems ever since then. She had such a simple and accessible way of describing the world that her poems are often what I recommend to people who haven’t had any good experiences with this genre so far. What a wonderful writer she was.

5. Slayer by Kiersten White

Some of you Top Ten Tuesday bloggers have given this book rave reviews. You’re only making me more excited to read it! I might have to go rewatch all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again while I’m waiting for the library to tell me that my copy of it is available now.

6. Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem by Joseph Burgo

This spring I want to build my self-esteem and confidence by, among other things, taking risks and trying new things. I’m thinking this book might help, too. Have any of you read it?

7. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this book in previous Top Ten Tuesday posts. No exaggeration, there are almost 200 other people waiting ahead of me before I’ll get a chance to borrow it from the library. In the meantime, I’ll remain patient and hope the Toronto Pubilc Library orders more copies of it soon. It’s awesome that Angie Thomas is getting so much love from her fans, though! She deserves every ounce of it.

8. Little Dancer Aged Fourteen: The Truth Behind Degas’ Masterpiece by Camille Laurens

As those of you who have followed this blog for a while already know, I love history and art. The thought of combining those two interests together into an exploration of the life of the real-life model for a famous painting fills my heart with joy. I can’t wait to find out who this little dancer was and what her life was like.

9. Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets and Honeybees, The Natural History of Where We Live by Robb Dunn.

I’m both fascinated by the number of species that share living spaces with humans and a little grossed out by it.

10. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer

I feel like I might have blogged about this anthology before. It’s something I’ve been waiting a very long time to read, and I’m finally almost at the top of the library wait list for it. Is it time to start getting excited yet?

What are all of you looking forward to reading this spring? Were there any similarities between our lists this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Last year, I wrote a (non-Top-Ten-Tuesday) post about books that need prequels. Today, I’ll be talking about some standalone books that need sequels. This list is shorter than usual because of how many authors and publishers are eager to publish sequels to stories that do well. There simply aren’t… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to Switch Places With

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl My list this week is going to include several characters from TV shows. All of these shows have had books or graphic novels written about them, though, so they still fit the criteria for Top Ten Tuesday. 1. Biff from Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Places Mentioned in Books That I’d Like to Visit

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl One of the coolest things about this week’s prompt is how nicely it complements tomorrow’s prompt for the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge. Today I’m going to be talking about places mentioned in books that I would like to visit, and then tomorrow I’ll get to talk about fictional places… Read More