Tag Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Tropes

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I had such a good time putting this list together. How many of these tropes do all of you also enjoy?

1. Unseen Antagonist

This trope tends to be most common in the horror genre. The main characters either never meet the antagonist or have encounters with him or her that the audience only gets a partial viewing of. Sometimes it’s scarier to imagine what the bad guy looks like than to have that character described in full detail. 

2. Don’t Go Into the Woods

My family lived in all sorts of places when I was growing up: on farms, in the suburbs, in a bigger city, and in small towns. Sometimes we lived right next to a forest, and sometimes we had to drive for a while to find one. Either way, I was so comfortable in nature growing up that I’m now fascinated by the thought of the woods being a dangerous place.

Yes, in some plots it absolutely is something to be avoided. This trope is just so different from my personal experiences that I can’t stop reading about it. 

3. The Old Beggar Test

Do you remember how many fairy tales include a scene where the main character comes across an old beggar who asks for help but who can give you nothing in return for your kindness? I love seeing character react with empathy and kindness to these interactions. 

4. Helpful Aliens

This isn’t a plot twist that happens as often as I’d like it to, but I always enjoy reading about aliens who want to help humanity in some way. 

5. Spooky Paintings

Going to the art museum is my idea of a good time, especially when it comes to the anything from the Romantic era. There’s something about Victorian paintings in particular that I really like. This is even more true when an author describes them in spooky ways. 

6. Unsympathetic Victims

Occasionally, I like to read short murder mystery stories. The most interesting ones to me involve victims that were honestly pretty terrible individuals when they were alive. Anyone can have sympathy for a victim who was pleasant and helpful. I appreciate the much greater effort it takes for a writer to create sympathy for a victim who had trouble getting along with others. 

7. Historical Fiction that Explains Our Past

For example, I truly enjoy reading stories about how humans built Stonehenge, domesticated dogs, or invented ships. Fiction can be a great way to explore why and how they did these things since not everything they knew about these topics was passed down through history. 

8. Feminist Retellings

I love fairy tales…even the ones that can have some problematic elements. So it’s always cool when authors retell those old classics in ways that remain true to the original message while at the same time changing the parts of the plot that are understood in a totally different light now than they would have been many generations ago. 

9. Humorous Twists in Serious Moments

I’ve discussed my general loss of interest in the horror genre on this blog before. One of the reasons why I still do read it on occasion is that some authors are really good at mixing humour with horror. The gory stuff still doesn’t appeal to me, but I do like laughing and feeling a little fear at the same time. 

10. Drool-Worthy Fictional Food

The butter beer and many different types of magical candy in Harry Potter is a classic example of this. Basically, I like reading about types of food or drink that didn’t exist in our universe when that book was first printed. Often, the really delicious-sounding stuff eventually becomes as real as it can be in our universe either through companies mass-producing it or through fans coming up with recipes that make it taste as close to the descriptions in the book as possible. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s prompt required some brainstorming for me because I’m the sort of reader who is drawn to characters and plots that I would not actually want to spend much time with in real life. For example, I love rereading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but I would never want to join Dr. Frankestein as he sewed pieces of various corpses together and then electrocuted them to see if they could be reanimated.

Needless to say, watching Netflix and ordering in a Hawaiian pizza is much closer to my idea of a relaxing date night. If I’m leaving the house, I’d rather go on a long, exploratory walk than buy tickets to something that must be attended at a specific time. The characters I’m about to discuss are the sorts of folks that I think would at least occasionally enjoy my laid-back approach to life.

1. Lyra from Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass

What we’d do together: 

Visit a museum on one of the nights when they offer free or half-price admission. She’d try to sneak into one of the employee-only rooms. I’d attempt to convince her to give up on this plan and probably not succeed at that. We’d have a wonderful time comparing what I’d seen in the official exhibits and what she’d found in the archives, though!

2. Fern from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web

What we’d do together: 

Visit a local animal shelter, adopt two of the dogs there that no one else wanted to take home, and live happily ever after.

3. Liesel from Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

What we’d do together: 

Bake chocolate chip cookies, spend a few hours reading in companionable silence, and then talk about what we read.

4. Matthew Cuthbert from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. 

What we’d do together: 

He’d teach me how to fix farm equipment and take care of livestock. I’d teach him how to turn on a smart phone and surf the Internet. Hopefully, we’d both be able to swap tips about living with social anxiety. (I genuinely believe he would have been diagnosed with it if he lived in our era!)

5. Alice from Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love

What we’d do together: 

Since Alice is asexual, I’m demisexual, and we’re both biromantic, we’d probably start off comparing notes on what dating and relationships are like for queer people on the aro spectrum.

After that, I’d invite her to play cooperative board games with me. She struck me as the sort of person who might really enjoy working together so that everyone wins.

6. Faythe from Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series

What we’d do together: 

We’d discuss feminism and gender equality. I loved this character, but I really disliked the were-cat culture she’d been raised in because of how much the men in her pack tried to control the women around them. She deserved to be treated so much better than she was by most of the men around her.

I’d also be interested in watching her shift between her human and were-cat forms if she was comfortable doing it in front of me. The book’s descriptions of this process were fascinating.

7. Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

What we’d do together: 

Cook a feast, invite friends over, and have a big, cheerful dinner party. Hopefully, there would be some dancing and joke-telling, too, after everyone had eaten their fill.  I know there are far larger and more powerful characters in this universe, but I’ve always identified with the hobbits more than anyone else. They knew how to live a simple, happy life.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Covers I Like

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Officially, this week’s topic was Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated. I generally don’t notice – much less have strong opinions about –  book cover redesigns, so I tweaked the topic to be Summer Covers I Love instead. Since August is a hot, humid month here in southern Ontario,  I thought it might be fun to look at some pretty book covers that evoke this time of the year.

I haven’t read all of these books, so this post is only an endorsement of their eye-catching covers.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

What I liked about it:

Including beach chairs without showing people in them allows every reader to imagine themselves sitting at the beach. There’s nothing more refreshing than cooling down at the beach on a hot day!

The Sign for Drowning by Rachel Stolzman

What I liked about it:

Listening to the ocean in a seashell is magical no matter how old you are. I never grow tired of doing this or looking at book covers that depict it.

Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bowman 

What I liked about it:

I have trouble running, jumping, or diving into water I know is going to be cold even on a hot summer day. Seeing the woman doing that without hesitation on this book cover makes me smile.

Shug by Jenny Han

What I liked about it:

Normally, I try to stick to a sugar-free diet. This summer I have not been following that rule so well. There’s nothing like having a popsicle or some ice cream on a day that is unrelentingly hot and humid.

Ndura: Son of the Forest by Javier Salazar Calle

What I liked about it:

As tired as I can get of the heat waves at this time of the year, I always appreciate being surrounded by greenery.  Ontario is a brown, drab place for half of the year, so it’s always nice to see lush leaves, plants, flowers, and other signs of life in August. The time is coming when we won’t have those splashes of colour on the landscape again for many months.

The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region by Wayne Grady

What I liked about it:

Water is something we kind of take for granted here in Ontario because there’s generally plenty of it. There’s actually been a lot of flooding in Toronto this spring and summer! I love the way this cover shows how beautiful our Great Lakes can be during the warm months, though. They’re definitely something I need to learn to appreciate (and visit) more often.

Thank You for Flying Air Zoe by Erik Atwell

What I liked about it:

Sandals, shorts, and t-shirts are what I spend as much time wearing as possible during the summer. I love the relaxed sense of fashion that a lot of people have during this portion of the year. It’s too humid to worry about looking anything other than comfortable if you’re going to be outdoors.

Top Ten Tuesday: LGBT+ Books I Want to Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week is a Freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday, and it took me ages to decide what to write for it.

There are so many books out there that I’d like to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. Today, I’m narrowing my focus to those titles that are about LGBT+ characters because I haven’t been doing a good job of keeping up with these stories. There are a lot of good ones that have been published recently!

1. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

I knew someone whose parent committed suicide when we were in middle school. That experience drew me to this plot even more than the queer content.

2. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been to realize you were gay during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Wow!

3. The History of Living Forever by Jake Wolff

The Elixir of Life is something I never grow tired of reading about. It will be interesting to see how these characters react to the thought of possibly living forever.

4. The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro.

It’s rare that a romance novel catches my attention, but the summer camp setting and adult protagonists of this one are unique enough that I’m curious to read it.

5. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

A dystopian retelling of Little Red Riding Hood? Sign me up, please!







6. The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos.

The strong focus on family history in this blurb was what first grabbed my attention. My family has all sorts of stories about our ancestors that have been passed down through the generations. I love reading about other families that do the same thing. This seems to happen in every corner of the globe. I can only assume families from every culture occasionally disagree on specific details of their stories, too, just like mine does!

7. Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

It’s been a long time since I read a small town murder mystery. This sounds like it could be a good read.

8. A Queer History of the United States for Young People by Michael Bronski

Oh, how I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a teenager. I’ve always enjoyed history, but I also couldn’t help but to wonder why none of the history books I read or museums I visited every talked about people like me. They barely discussed women at all. Queer women (or people in general) were basically erased entirely.

9. Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

There’s something a little magical about wandering around in the woods. As much as I love my city life, I’m also irresistibly drawn to books that explore what might be living in the parts of forests where humans rarely venture.

10. Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

As soon as I heard this was a feminist Guardians of the Galaxy type of story, I was intrigued. I’m not normally into space operas, but this one might change my mind about that.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? How big are your TBR lists in general?

Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Unlike last week, I had no problem filling up the list this week. Honestly, I could have shared twice as many ideas!

1. Prehistoric Africa. 

I’ve read dozens of prehistoric novels over the years. The vast majority of them were set in Europe or places very close to that continent. It would be really nice to read more books set in other parts of the world.

2. The Moons of Jupiter. 

I’ve read many books about Mars and the Earth’s moon. It would be interesting to see how authors imagine life might be on other planets or moons. 

3. Dirty Jobs.

That is, I’d love to read more books about characters who make a living as custodians, maids, sewage treatment plant workers, professional cleanup crews who are sent to clean up crime scenes, or other jobs that involve dealing with what can be difficult working conditions.

4. Hospital Waiting Rooms. 

Seriously, think about all of the dramatic things that happen in hospitals: births, deaths, elective surgeries, emergency surgeries, and more. I’ve read plenty of books set in the emergency room, but not so many that focus on what it feels like to sit and wait to find out how a loved one is doing when the outcome is uncertain or you’ve been kept waiting much longer than expected.

5. Somewhere Beyond the “Staff Only,” “Closed for Construction,” or “Do Not Enter” Signs

Have I ever ignored one of these signs in real life? No, of course not.

Am I a little curious to see what those places look like? Yes, especially if they’re in a library or bookstore. What new books might be hidden behind that door? If only we could know!

6. Cruise Ship Stops.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was on an Alaskan cruise with my spouse and extended family earlier this year. All three of our stops were in small, Alaskan towns where tourism had become one of their major sources of income and employment.

I think it would be incredibly interesting to read a book set in one of these stops in the off-season. I wonder what they’re like when all of the tourists stop visiting for the season and only the locals remain?

7. Subway Tunnels. 

Have I ever ignored the “keep out” signs and wandered into one of Toronto’s subway tunnels? No, of course not.

Would I sign up for a guided tour of them in a heartbeat if the TTC ever offered such a thing? Heck yes!

(Have you noticed the pattern here yet?)

8. Vegan Restaurants and Bakeries.

I’m not vegan, but I do go to vegan restaurants and bakeries on occasion because I like their cuisine and because it’s basically impossible to have an allergic reaction to something that is never on the menu! Based on the wonderful personalties of the people who work at the places I visit, I think this would make a fantastic setting.

9. Magic Show Rehearsals.

The cruise I went on with my family included shows from a talented magician. I can’t help but to wonder what the rehearsals for some of his tricks looked like!

10. National Parks. 

As a diehard city person who loves her air conditioning and soft bed, I find the idea of disconnecting from the Internet and all other modern conveniences to go spend time in nature to be as interesting as it is slightly bewildering.

Maybe there are lots of books about spending time in national parks already and I’m not looking in the right places for them? At any rate, I wouldn’t mind having more of them.

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Last week I unfortunately didn’t have time to leave comments on everyone’s Top Ten Tuesday posts. Thank you to all of you who commented on mine! I’ll be back to my regular commenting habits again this week. I’m a frugal, minimalistic, and environmentally conscious person, so this week’s list… Read More