Posts Tagged ‘ The Fault in Our Stars ’

What Are Your Favorite Love Stories?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

I am anti-Valentine’s Day even though I have a wonderful husband and happy life. Why? Because one or two bad experiences with Cupid are stuck in my mind and heart and determined to torment me forever. I’ll never get over it. I’ve been married for almost 10 years, and now the nice Valentine’s Days outnumber the bad ones. So I’m listing a few of my favorite love stories below to get me in the mood for this romantic day. It’s working. I just think about Eleanor and Park’s first kiss or how much Scarlett really loved Rhett but couldn’t show it. Below is an eclectic mix of new and old, young adult and literary. Don’t just wait for Valentine’s Day to get sappy–these books are great for all year round.

What are your favorite love stories? Here are mine:

1. Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell

2. Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

3. The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

4. Lolita
by Vladimir Nabokov

5. Twilight (Don’t judge me. The love in these books is epic and the pace is time-stopping.)
by Stephenie Meyer

6. The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

7. Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell

8. Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon

9. Eat, Pray, Love
Elizabeth Gilbert

10. The Lover’s Dictionary 
David Levithan

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Valentine's Day Felt Hearts Garland Craft
Valentine's Day Felt Hearts Garland Craft
Valentine's Day Felt Hearts Garland Craft

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The Staff of Parents Picks 2012′s Best Books

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Who cares what The New York Times picked as the best books of 2012? Forget what the editors at Oprah chose (their list came out today). What you really want to read are the books that the editors of Parents and American Baby magazines loved. Why? Because these people are down-to-earth, time-crunched, fun and all-around super cool. In short, these are the best books of 2012 picked by readers who are just like you.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers
by Katherine Boo
“This was by far my favorite because she managed to really capture the essence of the Mumbai society she was profiling. Her characters were three-dimensional and not caricatures and the portrait of their life in the slums captured the dignity and hope as well as the challenges and disappointments they live with every day.”
–Michael Kress

Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
“Ah, Thomas Cromwell. This book, and the one before it, Wolf Hall, may be
about Henry VIII’s right-hand man when he was annullding his first wife and
then marrying and divorcing Anne Boleyn, but the character description
of Cromwell is so well-rounded and rich, I found myself imagining he was
walking down the street to work with me in the morning. Cromwell was a
man of the future and I think he would be proud to see what the world is
like today, especially that women have made so much progress.”
–Mindy Berry Walker

by Liz Moore
“I couldn’t put down Heft, by Liz Moore, a beautifully written book about a 550-pound former teacher who no longer leaves his home, and the relationship he develops with the teenage son of one of his students.”
–Diane Debrovner

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
“Her hilarious, biting passage about the mythical ‘Cool Girl’—the male fantasy of the woman who loves football, burping, and chili dogs, all while wearing a size 2—alone made this book worth reading!
–Gail O’Connor
*also favored by Erica Clark, Jessica Hartshorn, Taryn Mohrman, Chandra Turner, Sarah Sebastiano

How to be a Woman
by Caitlin Moran
“It claims to be an update of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, but its feminism is delivered with a sense humor over a good beer, with its stories in turns hilarious, heartbreaking, wise, frustrating, and utterly rabble-rousing.”
–Julie Taraska

In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson
“It’s the true and compelling story of William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Nazi Germany in the years before WWII, and his 20-something daughter, who had numerous affairs while the family lived there, including one with an Soviet spy.”
–Diane Debrovner

Paris in Love
by Eloisa James
“This light-hearted, authentic read is formatted from snippets of the author’s blog posts about her year abroad with her family. (Plus, the short entries and loose plot line made it a great grab-and-go book for whenever I found a few extra minutes.)”
–Maryn Liles

Tell the Wolves I’m Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt
“Tell the Wolves I’m Home hurt my heart (in a good way); it forced me to take a closer look at the relationships in my life and make sure I was giving those I care about the love they deserve.”
–April Rueb

The Fault in Our Stars 
by John Green
“Intelligently and carefully written, John Green weaves a delicate story of truths and young love beneath the hovering cloud of sickness and fate.”
–Ruthie Fierberg

by Laura Hillenbran
“As a mom of an active young boy, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand especially got to me. It’s a true story about a World War II airman who beat incredible obstacles to survive with skills—speed, resourcefulness, determination—learned from a mischievous, defiant boyhood. It showed me that the very things that sometimes drive parents crazy can, when harnessed for good purpose, help turn kids into adults who are able to overcome anything.”
–Gail O’Connor

Where’d You Go Bernadette?
by Maria Semple
“This was my favorite book of the year because of its unconventional style (the drama unfolds largely through letters and emails written between characters) and its surprising mystery element that made it unputdownable!”
–Sumana Ghosh-Witherspoon
*Also favored by Kara Corridan

Wherever I Wind Up
by R. A. Dickey,
“It’s about the Mets’ knuckleball pitcher who took an unlikely journey from failed minor leaguer to star pitcher for the Mets (he won the Cy Young Award just months after climbing Mt. Kilmanjaro to raise money to fight human trafficking. A totally entertaining and inspiring story that teaches us to never give up on our dreams.”
–David Sparrow


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My Roundup: Best Books of 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

I love December. Sure, the presents, cookies and family time are great. But what gets me really excited? The Best Books of 2012 lists. I don’t usually agree with the (snobbish) book world’s top picks, but I relish in reading their carefully selected and politically correct choices. You know in high school when the coach would post who made the cheerleading squad? Book picks are like that for me because I’m a geek.

Below, I’ve compiled Best of Lists from The New York Times, Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly. I saw several repeats such as Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Building Stories by Chris Ware and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.

Have you read any of those three? I haven’t. How many of the books below interest you? I’ve read four of them, and three others are in my to-read pile. Is it PC to write that several of these seem kind of boring? I only speak the truth.

I’ll write about my own picks next week, and I promise they’re more fun. Also, stay tuned for a post about the books Parents staffers loved this year.

Most importantly, what’s your favorite book of 2012? Bare your soul to me in the comments. 

The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012

Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel

Building Stories
by Chris Ware

A Hologram for a King
by Dave Eggars

by Zadie Smith

The Yellow Birds
by Kevin Powers


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YA Friday: NPR Tells Us Which Kid Lit is Best

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I’m kind of confused on why NPR is rating children’s literature, but rate they did. They came out with a “scientific” list of the top 100 young adult books of all time. I’m still scratching my head. Shouldn’t they be broadcasting the European debt crisis on BBC and pondering the makings of a gunman on All Things Considered? Whatevs.

Then all the book writers had something to bitch say about it. The Atlantic applauds the NPR list for being dominated by female authors and protagonists but manages to put down the reasons why we all love the genre so much. (It’s not that simplistic, and we’re not “adverse to nuance.”) The Guardian ponders why Diana Wynne Jones is all the way down at number 36. And one of my favorite websites, Forever Young Adult, complained that there was’t enough Meg Cabot while John Green got five nods–and why did NPR think Lord of the Rings is YA?

Best-of lists always stir controversy, and that’s probably what NPR intended. They got a lot of attention, and who doesn’t love getting some of that? But my point is that NPR’s opinion is this week’s big book story, and I’m not complaining. I’m always thrilled to see people–adults no less–obsess over young adult literature.

So, how many of the 100 have you read? I checked off 36.

Below, see NPR’s Top Ten YA Novels of all time (with links to Forever YA’s book reviews):


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Facebook, Goodreads Best Books for Summer

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Looking for the perfect book can be like trying to find the right dress for your high school reunion. You want something that fits your taste and mood–one that doesn’t poke or jam you up. You need a read that’s ravishing and deeply personal. A good book–like a fab frock–should make you say, “Gazonga. Me likey.”

The social networking site Goodreads can swoop in and become your own personal book shopper. You input your literary likes and dislikes, and it generates on-point recommendations for you based on real people’s ratings and opinions. It’s also an addictive way to share your picks and pans–especially with your friends on Facebook. In fact, Goodreads has teamed up with Facebook to create an app that’s much more exciting and way less stressful than clothes shopping.

To show their mutual love, Facebook is helping Goodreads promote up-to-the-minute book recommendations. Below is a list of reads that real people love (including me because I’m a long-time user). All of them were rated four stars (out of five) or above. Some–like Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened–I totally loved. This is a great summer reading list. But you’re on your own when it comes to that dress.

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
4.27 Average Rating
This psychological thriller is the highest rated adult novel getting shared on the Goodreads app right now. When Amy disappears on the morning of her anniversary, suspicion is cast on her elusive husband, Nick. Readers must choose sides as they read the couple’s conflicting accounts. (more…)

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