All in Listorama
For the next 2015 List of Awesome, I wanted to spotlight some of the the best comics and graphic novels of the year.
For the first 2015 List of Awesome, I wanted to spotlight some of the fabulous television that I've enjoyed this year. It goes without saying that we're spoiled for television these days--so much so, it sometimes seems overwhelming.
The following are 11 smart big-R romances (read: happy ending of a central love story, as defined by the Romance Writers Association) I recommend for Clever Ladies who are interested in the genre. Keep in mind that there's just about something for everyone in this genre, so if there's not something that's up your alley on this list, there's probably something out there--leave a note in the comments and I'll see what I can do.
Adult crossover appeal is huge in the YA market at the moment (though I question this on some level, since the numbers aren't as huge as we're lead to believe), so it makes sense that these are the books that get attention, especially in the online reviewing world. But Lisa's comment got me thinking about that space in 7th, 8th, 9th grade where there's definitely a gap in terms of attention to the appeal of that audience in online reviews. So, I thought it would be useful to put together a list. (Please add your recommendations in the comments, if you're so inclined.)
And thanks to Lisa for helping with some suggestions!
It’s been ages since I’ve posted one of my beloved “List-o-Rama” posts, and I can’t for the life of me recall why I quite creating them. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d revitalize Listorama and bring a few of my favorite fictional couples.
Some of these are from straight up romances, while others are from novels with significant or memorable romantic elements. No worries, though, all of these picks have either a happy ever after or a happy for now ends--no one gets hit by a bus at the end in an attempt to make the novel appear to have more literary significance.
You can find previous installments linked in our Reading Lists section right over here.
Buying books for other people can be a bit of a challenge. I always want to be sensitive to not imposing my taste and preferences on other people--just because I like something, doesn't mean that they'll love it too. But at the same time, I love putting good books in people's hands, so I strive for recommendations that will appeal to a broader audience.
My list of 20 books (I'm so not getting to all of these--let me know if you've read any of them so I can prioritize) and my comments are below.
Click on the book cover image for more info.
Here are my picks in Storify form, including links to blog posts on CEFS (or an Amazon page for more information). Thanks to Dahlia for prompting this fantastic whirl of enthusiasm for lesser-known novels.
“The red light blinks. Welcoming me home. What’s the exact opposite of blaze of glory? I look around my dusty Subaru, cut-off jeans, and think: me. This. This is what the exact opposite of a blaze of glory looks like.”
In the next couple weeks I'm going to talk about some deliberate changes I'm hoping to make to my reading (and writing about reading) habits in the new year and we're pulling together our 2013 List of Awesome at the moment. And, we already have a super-fantastic guest scheduled for a podcast later this month, so things are happening around these parts.
“‘Oh dear,’ said Jesus.
Walker was able to ask ‘What?’ They’d stopped in front of a Balk’s Hardware. A sign in the window said,
ALL KINDS OF NAILS
Jesus stared at his hands. ‘I mean nails are a miracle and God is in them, but they still give me the shivers.’”
Ron Koertge specializes in strange stories and he's an author whose books reliably work for me. Koertge's known for his verse novels, but this is more of a fractured prose (my term) style that works for this odd little story of a boy who seeks, and receives, divine intervention in coping with his brother's death. This is an irreverent little story with one of the more unusual doses of magical realism I've read. It's a short book at 128 pages, so if you're looking for something completely outside your normal wheelhouse that'll make you laugh, check out Coaltown Jesus.
I also recommended Koertge's Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses, a collection of fairytales retold in poetry, if you're looking for more Koertge weirdness.
In lieu of an actual exhaustive review of The Dream Thieves (you can read our not-review of The Raven Boys here, by the way), I thought I'd completely cop-out and provide you with a list of five things I'm still pondering after reading The Dream Thieves.
It was mint and memories and the past and the future and she felt as if she’d done this before and already she longed to do it again.
These novels are rooted in their atmosphere, intricate mythology and tangled relationships that they're going to either work for readers or leave them wondering what the hell they just read. And I mean that in a good way--I adore this series and believe it's different from anything else on the shelves at the moment. Reading this series feels more like I'm experiencing the story, rather than reading a book--it's just that immersive.
•Portland, Oregon–––––October 14, 1918•
The day before my father's arrest, I read an article about a mother who cured her daughter of the Spanish flu by burying her in raw onions for three days.
Thus begins a truly fine fantastic debut novel about sixteen-year old Mary Shelley Black. Her father’s been arrested for treason, her boyfriend’s fighting overseas, influenza threatens to deplete the population–it’s a fearsome world, a bleak reality for Mary.
Cat Winters captivated me with her unusual historical novel, In The Shadow of Blackbirds.
Interspersed throughout the book are photographs of the era. Images of this bleak period in American history bring stark life to the words skillfully woven into a story of a young girl who sees the spirit of her lost love crying out to her as she struggles to maintain her own balance in a world twisted with fear and injustice.
But one thing I had in common with everyone else was my love for the Buffalo Bills, the NFL team that played in a stadium a located a scant 45 minutes northeast. During football season, our school walls were plastered with articles and photos on the Bills from the local newspapers. We had mini pep rallies where each class had to make up a song to go with a different player. A particularly catchy one my fourth grade class came up with went, “Andre Reed, he’s number 83! When the ball gets thrown, he’s sure to receive!”
I know. We were so clever.
In the early 90s, my family moved to Buffalo itself, right in the midst of the Bills glory days when they, as everyone probably already knows, made it to four consecutive Super Bowls, but didn’t manage to win one. In the years since, as life has taken me 2500 miles away from my hometown, my attachment to the Bills has never waned, despite their current ignominy as a team in the throes of a 13 year playoff drought, the longest in the NFL.
A strange thing happened though, something that I never expected. While I was always a fan of the Buffalo Bills, the football team, I was not necessarily a fan of football, the sport itself. But, with the help of my SHO, who understands football in a way that I never will, I’ve grown to appreciate its complexity, its strategy, its status as the ultimate team sport, its unabashedly arrogant theatrics, its history, and its place in our country’s history, both as a pastime and microcosm of American culture and society.
Unfortunately for me, the football season, both for college and the NFL, is relatively short, the regular season spanning only four months from September through January.
Fortunately for me, in addition to the countless number of football documentaries available on Netflix (Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is a particular favorite of mine), there is a plethora of books on football for me to read during the off-season. This is especially handy now, when every other sport that I enjoy is also on hiatus, a convergence affectionately known as Laura’s Summer Sports Slump.
A lot of books on football are more akin to reference guides, covering stats and exciting topics like the development of the West Coast Offense. However, my favorites, as follows, are the ones that aren’t just about football, but about the special, everyday moments that make up life.
Just like FNL.
This is an interesting topic to me because after a lifetime of being a compulsive book finisher--I believed I was obligated to finish reading something I started--I am now a committed book abandoner. It’s funny, I can remember very clearly the first time I said to myself, “You know what? Life is too short to read something that’s making me miserable,” and close a book without finishing. It was The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and I hated everything about it (your results may vary).
Here are my most common reasons for saying adios to a book.