What Do YOU Say Is A Must Read In A Lifetime?

I love lists…. little check boxes to see where you land…  those ridiculous addicting quizzes on Facebook that tell you what House you are sorted in, that movie star you are most like, or the one that predicts what will happen in 2018 for you… 

silly really.. but still.. occasionally I do them. (insert blush here)

Yesterday I posted Amazon’s 100 Books To Read In A  Lifetime list.  A meme has been made and it going around so you (me, whoever) can check off the ones that we have read on this list.  I liked that – however it made me look at the books that were not on the list that I thought would be.. or should be.

Being me (yes.. still me, I checked this morning 😉 ) I wondered if we… the BIG READERS of our communities would have other suggestions.  What if you or I were asked to say what we thought was a book that we feel should be read in one’s lifetime.  How would our list differ?  Or how would it be the same? 

So… yeah.  Here we go.  I am asking…  because I am curious what we would come up with.  You do not have to be a book blogger to do this.  If you LOVE books, please share a title or two or three of what you would tell someone is “a must read in a lifetime”.  I will compile these responses for a few weeks and then release our top choices.  I know I value my friends and other book reviewers opinions when it comes to books.  I have read many an amazing title or been introduced to a new author that way. 

I for one – would LOVE a list like this.  SO…..let’s do it. 

Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the form below.

Books & Beans: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova


Books and Beans is a book discussion I host at a local coffee shop once a month.  This is our second month doing this and this mornings discussion (with a great cup of coffee) was with the book Left Neglected by Lisa Genova.

If you have not read Lisa Genova, you are certainly missing out.  Lisa is the author of Still Alice (which was also a movie), and Inside The O’Briens ; both of which I have read, as well as the author of Love Anthony and the soon to be released, Every Note Played.  she is one of those authors that once you have read one of her books, you will more than likely be searching for another.

Today’s discussion was good.  We had a great group of women who were highly engaged in discussing the novel.  Left Neglected, the story of Sarah Nickerson, a highly driven business woman who while trying to squeeze in one more phone call while driving looks away from the road a second too long and her overfilled life suddenly comes to a halt.  When Sarah awakens in the hospital she finds that she has had a traumatic brain injury, one that has left her without the use of the left side of her brain referred to as left neglect.  Sarah finds that her once carefully scheduled to the minute world is now one she must release to the control of others while she struggles to rehabilitate herself in a whole new world.

We touched on some pretty important topics through our discussion.  One of these topics was status and what drives people to the point of feeling they need that acceptance form the outside world to feel complete, useful.  One of the ladies in the room said something that stuck with me.  She said,

Status, relies on other people.

I had never really thought of it like that before.  The discussion continued on that this need of acceptance/approval can stem back to childhood. 

Another one that stuck with me was about the loss of a child. 

Losing a child changes how you view the world.

 

This is also something that hit me.  It’s true… 100%, I just never quite put it into these words.  But yes.. absolutely yes, the world becomes a different place.

We had a wonderful 2 hour discussion on this book and probably could have went longer.  Left Neglected brings much to the table to talk about.  If you have not read Left Neglected, I highly recommend it.

 

Morning Meanderings… Thirteen Reasons Why will be the discussion of the week


OMG you all… check it out.

Three days in a row…. crazy stuff.  😉

Its been raining off and on in Central Minnesota for days now it seems…  I woke up to a very wet deck and lawn… but the air feels like it is going to get HOT today…
Tomorrow evening is the June Books, Burgers and Brews discussion for June.  We are discussing Thirteen Reasons Why, the book over the Netflix series of course. Although I have been watching the Netflix series (started episode 11 last night) as well as I am sure I will have some in attendance who have read the book and watched the series, and probably some who have just watched the series.  While this will be a different discussion, I think it will be an important one.

I reviewed Thirteen Reasons Why in February of 2010.  I thought the book was very well done and hard to put down…so much in fact that six days later I interviewed author Jay Asher about the book.  Who knew seven years later this title would be known to many due to the Netflix series and apparently much negativity towards the series as they are saying it is glamorizing suicide.  I talked with a friend of mine who is a School Principal lately and he said this is true, letter have gone home to parents regarding this… one girl has gone even as far as to make the tapes….

My point in discussing this book tomorrow evening is most importantly, I am telling people do not judge the book by the series.  While I am finishing the book today to refresh myself on it as it has been seven years, I never once though it glamorized suicide.  Here I go again… preaching book over movie/TV.

Tomorrow also kicks off the Annual Children’s Book Sale for the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library.  We sell all the Children’s books for 25 cents each and there are some BEAUTIFUL books.  It is not about making money on this sale.  It is about putting good books in little ones hands.  I will be helping with the set up of the sale and may be there for the first hour but then will need to head over and set up for Books, Burgers, and Brews….

Yeah – tomorrow will be bookish… but in good ways.  🙂

Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why?  If so what did you think?  If you have watched the series what are your thoughts on that?

The Grief Books… A Shelf of Tears and Love

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Books.

They serve many purposes.  They take us on adventures.  They teach us.  They make us laugh and cry and think and dream…

In April of 2015 after Justin’s accident, friends sent me what you are seeing above and what has come to be known as “The Grief Shelf.”  Books were sent to me in the mail, and handed to me in person.  Each book came with a story of its own…. it may have helped the giver personally when they were going through something.. .as I look at each book even today I can recall the wonderful message that came with it, or the person who sat by me in those early hard days and shared their own story as they handed it to me…

And while each book I know came from the heart….

honestly to this day I have not read any of them.

And here is why….

One set of books is a series of the stages of grief and what a person will go through… and what is to be expected, and what the next stage is…..
To this day I have not opened these books.  For me… someone who has lived out large GRIEF moments throughout many stages of my life – I did not want books to tell me how I should be feeling or what was the next step to that feeling…

I opened the others… I could not do it… I did not want to read someones take on grief…. I had my own… I didn’t want to read how to get from A to B to C…. because my journey was my own…  and I knew I could not do it on anyone’s time line…

I still can’t

I know everyone who sent a book meant well and I love each one of these people for that.  Maybe I will never be able to open some of these books… but I know the thought and love that was behind each one – and that in itself is enough to make my once again be so thankful for the amazing people in my life.  I can not even put into words what you love has meant to me and led me to where I am today.

A couple of days ago I was drawn back to the shelf where a particular book had caught my interest and I had  read a little… but now.. NOW I feel like maybe I could read more.

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Her parents called her Lenya Lion because of her ferocious personality and hair that had been wild and mane-like since birth. But they never expected that, five days before Christmas, their five-year-old daughter would suddenly go to heaven after an asthma attack. How do you walk out of an emergency room without your daughter?
In Through the Eyes of a Lion, Pastor Levi Lusko shares the eye-opening truth of the power of hope in a world that is often filled with pain, suffering, and loss. He says, “This book isn’t a manual for grieving, but a manifesto for high-octane living, and through it I want you to see that God made you for a purpose. There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life, a microphone in your hands. Jesus wants you to look at the adventure of your life through His eyes, the eyes of a Lion.”
This book.  THIS story of continuing to (try) live life to the fullest…. be an example… this is where I find myself.  I think I can relate.

Now, almost two years later (I can not believe it has been almost two years….)  I pick up this book… off the Grief Shelf….

and I began to read…

I am completely different… I see things so differently now and I can believe I have done this for almost 2 years.  I laugh…a real laugh….when I thought I never would again….  I do and go and be… when I thought for sure I would not.

Doing, going, being, laughing does not come free.  Each step I take is strategic and meaningful and I do it with him in mind.  I look at the pictures of me laughing and being with friends and I know that unless you are close to me – you do not see what everything I do and write costs me….  I am still torn and destroyed… I still cry daily and hurt even when I am throwing myself into the next big thing.  However there is a seed of hope within me…  I hope my actions through this crazy newness help others to see you can manage to go on.  It is not easy – I admire anyone who can get up and do it as I know for myself more often than not each step of the way still brings with it tears and pain and whispers…

“Lets do this kid.. this one is for you….”

I am still here.  I don’t plan on going anywhere and I hope you do not either.  I am reading… I need to get writing.  SO much to share….

Morning Meanderings… Me, Myself, and Scarlett O’ Hara

meme

I mentioned a little while back that my book club is reading Gone With The Wind for our classic read month in October.  This is a book that has been on my “hit list” FOR-E-VAH.

Yup.. that long.

I have never seen the movie, holding out for the book version first and then perhaps I will dabble with the movie.  I have friends *cough cough Gail cough* that SWEAR that this is THE book.. so we shall see.

No matter what – I always find classics fun to discuss.  I thought perhaps I would do a weekly check in here with how Scarlett and I are fairing, and now at 111 pages in… I thought I would share.

So…

to bring you up to speed, Scarlett and I are now currently on our way to the barbecue at Ashley Wilkey’s home.  Scarlett is quite full of herself, positive that once she confesses her love for Ashley he will drop his announcement of his engagement to his cousin (yes cousin… there is slim pickins in this neck of the woods).  Scarlett has squished herself into a dress that she is glad her mother is not in attendance to see and she has just caught the eye of one Rhett Butler at the gathering (ahhh… so this is how they meet… the ol’ “pick up a chick at the cousins marrying cousins engagement party barbecue”  … very sly Mister Butler… very sly.

So that is where I am at.  I know I am early on in the story.  I like Scarlett’s story line, (she’s a little like an old school YA read), found the early on LONG description of Scarlett’s father and his lack of height and his love for the drink a bit drawn out and skim worthy.

Hopefully today I will find out what actually happens at the party.  I had nothing to wear as fancy as Scarlett… I am all about the jean capris and a kicky peach colored short sleeved shirt…. probably not worthy of catching the eye of someone like Rhett, unless he wants someone to possibly refill his drink or walk his horse.

Gone With The Wind, Book Journey, Bookies, Classic Month

In RL… this week has been fairly quiet and I am thankful for that.  I have helped out a bit at the library, had a fascinating get together yesterday with an amazing woman in town who is a force to recon with when it comes to literacy in our community and promoting the written word, and a long overdue lunch date with some good friends.  Ok, other than that it has been just me at home, working on the lawn, listening to audio…. trying to find a new normal and at the same time, stubbornly not wanting to.

Descent by Tim Johnston – Bookies Book Club Review w/ Discussion Questions

Descent by Tim Johnston review questions, discussion, Bookies, Book Club, Book Journey

Quick Synopsis…

While the Courtland family is on vacation in Colorado with their two teenage children, their daughter Cailtin is abducted while out for a morning run.  What follows is a three-year nightmare while the already struggling family tries to move on.  With no answers to what happened to Caitlin or even if she is dead or alive, each remaining member of the Courtland family battles this crushing weight in different ways.

Grant, the father remains in Colorado unable to leave the are his daughter disappeared from.  He stays at a ranch helping out an elderly man, making attempts to move forward but nothing happens.

Angela, the mother, has returned to their home state of Wisconsin but deals with great depression.  She lives with her sister after having had to sell their family home and has a hard time functioning from day-to-day.

Sean, the brother, now 18, the age his sister was when she was taken struggles with the guilt of having been with Caitlin when she was taken.  What could he have done differently?

And Caitlin.  Will they ever find her?  And if they do, what exactly will they find?

 

I reviewed Descent by Tim Johnston last week with my opinion.  This review is the thoughts of our book club as a whole and no spoilers 🙂

Descent brought out a lot of good discussion among our group.  While some of us really found the storyline realistic and engaging, others pointed out things that did not seem to fit.  There were questions of characters who suddenly did something completely out of their character which we all agreed did not fit, but some would argue that some things do not need to be revealed to the reader. Perhaps the author was giving the reader the feeling of “no control” and that not knowing what would happen could very well, as some argued, give the book a feel more real to life.  After all… life is messy and try as we may to figure out how things are going to go… we never do really know.

It was mentioned that the book synopsis that we read from the book when we chose it was not an accurate synopsis, of what actually happens in the book.  Some felt mislead to be told one thing and then read another.

Over all, on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, the ratings went from 2,s to 4,s and quite a few rating it in the 3’s (a standard read).  It was one of those books that bring out a lot of thoughts, opinions, and discussion.  We even reenacted a final scene (I can’t share… that would be a spoiler) when we questioned how one would do that.  One girl in our group even had a similar story to share of something that happened to a friend of her sons while hiking.  There is actually a book written about that true story, Bringing Jon Home by David Francis.  A book that I ordered on Kindle this morning.

 

Why Would This Make A Good Book Club Read

Descent is a book that could have been ripped from the headlines.  This leads to discussion like, “what would you do?” as well as discussion on how a strong family can be shattered by such an experience and a damaged family (such as the Courtland’s) have a good chance of falling completely apart.

If you look at reviews of this book on-line from some of the big name newspapers, New York Times, The Herald, etc… you will find diverse opinions, much like you can expect from a group read.  The writing style can be thought of as brilliant, or annoying.  (And in our group it was just that)

In the book, Sean is believed to be false when he is telling the truth.  Discussion can be made over when that has happened in your lives, when you are telling the truth about something and you are either misunderstood, or believed to be false and the frustration of when your character is questioned like that.

Themes of hope, faith, depression, denial, and survival instinct are all represented within this read.

Bookies, Book Club, discussion questions, Tim JOhnston, Descent

Food ideas… while not a lot of food is mentioned within the book, there is pizza at a birthday celebration, and Caitlin keeps snickers in her pockets when she runs for energy boosts.

Questions For Your Discussion

 

What Is Your Reading Style?

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Earlier this week I read a post at I’m Lost In Books and enjoyed a post about being a multi book reader.  I could relate to her reading style, as I am also a multi book reader.  I enjoyed the picture she had on her post too:

Booklikes, Book JOurney, What Kind Of Reader Are You

How cool is that?

Looking at this list I am pretty much everything listed on the left side.

 

Polygamist Reader:  I do usually have at least two books going at the same time and 2 to 3 audio books.  I pick up the book I am in the mood for, and often if one takes off, the other will be put aside until I finish the one.  Audio is for convenience and I have one in the car, one in the house and one on my phone.  I usually listen to a little of each of these every day.

 

Extrovert Reader:  I do like trying new genres, beautiful books call to me.

 

Altruist Reader:  Oh yeah.  If I like it, you know it.  I gush about it here, I tell my friends, groups I am involved in, and our library.  I have several friends who call me for book recommendations and I am happy to oblige.

 

So how about you?  Do one or more of these styles refer to the way you like to read?  Do you see any pro’s or con’s to your style?