Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday for May 24!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish each week. 
I participate if I have time and feel inspired by the topic, which this week is...
"The Top Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed." 
I do find that sometimes my thoughts or opinions about a certain book can and do 
change over time, at least somewhat. Though I've never really considered this in depth.
I'm not much of a rereader, so that doesn't happen all that often for me, 
and that might make a difference, as it did with One Day.

 A perfect example was the subject of one of my recent blog posts, 
The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel. 
This was an instance when I am so glad I 'review' a book to compose a 'review'! :)
Once I finished reading this one I was not thrilled, to say the least, but then as I started to reread the bits I had marked to compose a review, I realized I really did enjoy it. I honestly think that my own personal experience played into my more negative perception of it at the end. Mainly, the fact that I was left with a really ugly thought to consider in the aftermath of this book. Have I yet forgiven my ex-husband? Granted, he was wrong, on so many levels, in so many ways, and yet... Now, don't get me wrong. There is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever consider having any type of 'relationship' with him. Relationship-wise, I wasted 22 years of my adulthood with this one man. That is much different than the six months or less that Cecile and Philippe were together, and therefore, I could easily see the possibility to basically take pity on him some 27 years later. But my ex? Well...<sigh>...obviously, there is much more baggage, history, disappointment, frustration, and just plain pain involved for me. But...where is my sense of forgiveness? Am I "taking care"?

Another book for which my feelings changed a bit upon rereading was 
One Day by David Nicholls. 
As you can see from my review, I reread this years later for the book club I facilitate. I was a bit wary of rereading since there is a real plot twist just near the end and when I read this the first time, of course, I was not expecting it, so it really made the book so much more memorable and poignant for me...then. However, in a reread, I know what happens near the end, and for me, in this case, that made a lot of difference. I found that I was concentrating on other things much more as I read than I had the first time around. I actually became very tired of Dex and his immature behaviors that were sometimes physically dangerous to others, as with his own young daughter when he was a drunk 'babysitter.' Honestly, I really wish I'd not reread this, but that's the risk you take. I just keep trying to remember just how much I loved this one the first time around. Because I really did!!

I am sometimes amazed by the impact a book 
can leave on me. 
Such is the case for The Color Purple by Alice Walker. 
(I really must complete that blog post--it's almost done!)
Thank goodness for Emma Watson's Feminist Book Club, 
Our Shared Shelf, on Goodreads, otherwise, 
I might have missed the opportunity to experience this book. 
It is so complex and yet so readable! So dense! 
I found it to be deeply compelling and meaningful to life. 
There is so much more to this 
than what I thought there was... 
That is what makes it so difficult for me to distill my feelings about this one down to just one review
This book is inscribed upon my memory, forever and forever... Powerful stuff!

It is much easier for me to note those books that remain 'etched upon my heart' 
throughout time and mean even more to me as time passes.
That is true for many books I read.

The Harry Potter series is definitely one of those!
I have reread the whole series three times through, and just sent my hardback copies 
out west with six of my grandchildren when they moved. 
I really am getting the itch to reread them again. It has been at least 5-6 years 
and I just need a good dose of Harry and the gang!
I find this series to be all-consuming, all-encompassing, and inspirational!

We read this for the 
Borders Book Club I facilitate 
and I cannot begin to adequately express all the intense feelings 
and emotions this book 
still brings up into my mind. 
I think it becomes more endearing to me as time goes by in the almost four years since I first read it. 
I cannot tell you how often this book is mentioned in our discussions since we read it. 
It made an indelible impression upon all of us! 
It was truly a spiritual experience!
If you have not yet read this, are at all curious about 'animals' and their 
communicative abilities, or are just curious, do yourself a it! 
Elephants can and do communicate over many miles. 
They communicate through stomach rumblings. 
They are thinkers. They are compassionate. 
We humans are clearly not worthy of sharing their world...on so many levels. 
This is the sixth installment in Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series. 
I have a review 'drafted' of the first book in this series, 
Maisie Dobbs, but have yet to complete and post it.
Why, you might ask? Why is it not yet completed? It is a fair question.
Trust me, it is due to nothing other than the 
impact this series has had upon me.
I have had to take a break after reading Among the Mad simply because it was so very powerful to me. 
It has taken me months to adequately "digest" it.
When I read one of these books 
I am literally transported in time. 
I have no sense of time or space. 
I am there, wherever Maisie is...
with her...that's all I know.

I own all of the books in this series, 
except the most recent release, 
Journey to Munich, the 12th installment. 

I am about ready to restart with 
the seventh installment.

I cannot adequately describe 
how powerful 
Winspear's writing 
is for me.
What I can say is...
you should try the first one 
just to see what you think, 
if you are at all interested 
in historical fiction 
or mystery.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This book is truly 'bigger than life,' as is the author. 
I cannot say enough good things about it! 
I am in the midst of drafting a review, though I really think this will likely involve 2-3 blog posts. 
There is so much to consider and discuss!
If not for the Social Just Book Club, founded by 
Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm and
Shannon of River City Reading
I might not have read this yet.
Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. 
Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. 
Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and 
doing God's work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, 
the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, 
and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.
John Grisham
Bryan Stevenson is my hero. He makes me aware that my life is accomplishing little to nothing good in this world, especially by comparison. I celebrate that there are people like him determined to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. These stats and stories are heartrending. It makes me question our "humanity" overall. It is amazing what might have never changed in our society...If not for this one man... 

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
Yapa uses fiction to depict complex aspects of our 'global' society on both a macro and a micro scale.I doubt these individual stories and the 'word pictures' Yapa creates will ever leave my mind. And that is a good thing! As varied and multi-layered as our political systems are, no less so are the lives of individual world citizens. And is this how subjugation and exploitation of the masses is still perpetuated in our world? 
I would rather think not, but...I have no illusions, either. 
And if I did, Yapa has eliminated them!
Again, as I have asked of myself so many times--
why must humans treat each other so inhumanely?
Interview of Sunil Yapa with Steve Inskeep on NPR's Morning Edition.
Michael Schaub's NPR review--I would disagree with his critique--
each reader has their own unique perspective.
From his interview with BookPage:
I think the essence of compassion is to hold 
two contradictory feelings for someone at the same time.
You should really experience this book for yourself, in my opinion. 

Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings
This is a book the Borders Book Club I facilitate read 
a few years ago, based upon a recommendation from 
one of our members' then 13-year-old grandson! :)
We still mention this book every once in awhile during discussions/meetings! 
It had a heartfelt impact upon each of us.
For those who rarely, if ever, read juvenile literature, it was 
rather a shock to discover such "adult" themes in a "kid's book."
But as we talked, I realized that at age 13 
I was reading Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn's books! 
I think exploring such issues at a young age can provide a 
'frame of reference,' if you will, in the future. 
As a young person with little life experience I believe we can actually read such atrocities without absorbing them as deeply or internalizing them as intensely as we may do in adulthood. At least that is how it worked for me. 
We may have the 'awareness,' but the reality isn't absorbed as a child.
That comes later in life.

The School of Essential Ingredients and The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister
The Borders Book Club I facilitate read 
The School of Essential Ingredients 
quite a few years ago and then 
The Lost Art of Mixing when it was published.
The first of these was one of those rare books 
I felt I could recommend to any book-purchasing customer without reservation...and I did! 
All. The. Time. 
I never once heard anyone who had read 
this book have a negative thing to say about it. 
I believe it is it's own magic!
That same powerfully unique writing skill 
inhabits the second novel as well.
It is not uncommon for us to end up using Bauermeister's books 
in discussions throughout the years, many times as a comparison. 
These books remain in our hearts and souls...

For me, personally, I rarely grow to dislike a book over time, rather it is the opposite--
I tend to internalize the emotional and intellectual aspects of what 
I have read and liked or loved.
More often than not, my initial impression is my overall opinion.
How about you? 
Does a book change over time for you?


  1. I've been meaning to read The Color Purple, for YEARS, but I still haven't got to it yet. Hopefully I will soon! I'm glad you enjoyed it soo much! :D
    My Top Ten Tuesday!

    1. yourself a favor! It was amazing! I'll see what you listed... :) Thanks for stopping by!