Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about second chances and changes of heart. Here are ten books that I’ve changed my mind about over the years, for better or for worse.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

 

wutheringheights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – When I first read this novel in 9th grade I must have been going through a brooding, melancholy phase (I was; I was 14) because I really enjoyed this book. When I reread it a couple of years ago, I was baffled at how I could have ever enjoyed a book whose characters were so unlovable. I do give Emily Brontë credit for two things, however: she cultivated my love for classic lit and she wrote a story that was intriguing despite its despicable characters.

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Emma by Jane Austen – Oh, Emma Woodhouse. She’s such a spoiled brat, but I feel that I’ve matured along with her and even though I didn’t like this book as recently as 3 years ago, now I actually enjoy it. I love watching and rewatching the movie and miniseries (except for the Box Hill picnic. I always fast-forward that whole scene).

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Twilight by Stephanie Meyer – I started this series when I was a college freshman and I really enjoyed it at the time. But now it’s one of those stories I no longer feel comfortable advocating or recommending to other readers (especially teens). I know I’m probably stepping on a lot of toes by saying this, but Bella and Edward’s relationship is so unhealthy it’s dangerous. Two things I do like about Twilight, however; are Jasper (<3) and the movie soundtrack.

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Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin – Ok, I loved these books when I first read them back in college. Maybe I identified with Rachel’s personality. But the more I think about it now, the more absurd I find it is to sympathize with someone who has an affair with her best friend’s francé. I will admit, though, that I do like the movie. Probably because it has 3 of my favorite actors.

c6b3625ef9060e64ed4bbc8588586476Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery – It is no secret that I love this series. Anne of Green Gables is my favorite book and I reread several, if not all of the books every other year. Anne of Windy Poplars, however, has always been my least favorite and I typically skip over it. Younger me would say it’s because it was seriously lacking in Gilbert! I think if I reread it now, though, I could appreciate the Gilbert-less events more than my teenage self could.

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The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien – This is a series I did not finish several years ago. I know how beloved it is, but I found it…boring. *waits to be pelted by rocks* I did read all of The Fellowship of the Ring and the first half of The Two Towers and I think that’s giving it a fair chance. Anyway, lately I’ve been having a change of heart and I’m thinking about reading The Two Towers and Return of the King sometime. Mainly it’s because I feel like a bad nerd for not having read the entire series and seen all of the movies!

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I’ve read one novel by John Green and was not impressed. I was actually really into Paper Towns until Margo showed up and then it went seriously downhill for me. But last week a friend encouraged me to give John Green a second chance and he specifically recommended The Fault in Our Stars. I already know the story but I think I’ll try to read it sometime, anyway.

How do you feel about the books on my list?

Jane Austen Book Tag

I was tagged by Deanna at Deanna Writes to do the Jane Austen Book Tag! I know I’m seriously behind in my Jane Austen posts for this month, but I’m back now with something fun and festive for Austen in August :)

Sense and Sensibility
A book with a dynamic sibling relationship

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I love the complex relationship between the March daughters :)

Pride and Prejudice
A book that didn’t seem interesting at first

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The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (part of My True Love Gave to Me) – This short story took me a  few pages to get into, but by the end it had become my favorite addition in this book!

Emma
A book in which two close friends fall in love

Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens – I’ve only seen the miniseries adaptation of this book, and I know there is much, much more to the story than the romance, but I still enjoyed that aspect of the novel :)

Mansfield Park
A book with a ‘rags to riches’ storyline

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – I feel like the theme of “rags to riches” can be applied multiple ways in this story. Obviously Jane goes from having nothing besides her good conscience and kind heart to having everything that could make her happy and more, but Mr. Rochester also has a bit of this story line himself, he just has to lose all of his material possessions in order to realize it.

Persuasion
A book involving second chances

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The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom – most of Albom’s novels revolve around the theme of second chances, but this one also shows us the importance of each person’s life in the grand scheme of things.

Northanger Abbey
A book with an imaginative character

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Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – Let’s be honest…Anne Shirley’s Haunted Woods fiasco is right up Catherine Morland’s lane (and mine, too!).

And now I tag anyone else who wants to make their own Jane Austen Book Tag post :) Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

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It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish :) This week’s topic is about authors we’ve read the most books from. I have quite a varied list: some classic authors, a few YA authors, and even a children’s book author.

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

Ann Brashares – I’ve read 5 of her books: the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series plus Sisterhood Everlasting.

Jane Austen – I’ve read all 6 of Austen’s completed novels: Sense and SensibilityPride and PrejudiceEmmaMansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey, and Persuasion.

Lee/Elle Strauss – I’ve read 6 of her books: ClockwisePerception, Sun & Moon, Flesh & BoneHeart & Soul, and East of the Sun.

J. K. Rowling – I’ve read (and re-read) all 7 books in the Harry Potter series.

Karen Witemeyer – I’ve read 7 of her novels: Short-Straw BrideA Tailor-Made BrideTo Win Her HeartHead in the CloudsStealing the Preacher, Full Steam Ahead, and A Cowboy Unmatched (which is really a novella).

L. M. Montgomery – I’ve read all 8 Anne of Green Gables books. I still want to read her other books as well!

Laura Ingalls Wilder – I’ve read her 9 Little House on the Prairie books.

Nicholas Sparks – Every now and then I go through a Nicholas Sparks phase ;) I’ve read 9 of his novels: Dear JohnThe Lucky OneSafe HavenThe RescueThe GuardianA Bend in the RoadThe Best of MeThe Choice, and The Longest Ride.

William Shakespeare – I’ve read 14 of his plays: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and Richard II (plus dozens of his sonnets).

Dr. Seuss – loved Dr. Seuss growing up (and I still do), and even though I couldn’t give you the exact number of books by him that I’ve read, I know it’s more than 14 :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Bookworms

toptentuesdayI didn’t get to do last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, so I’m doing it today in lieu of this week’s topic (favorite fairy-tales & fairy-tale retellings). This topic is all about book nerd characters.

As always, this meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Fellow Bookworms

Lizzie Bennet Jo March

Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jo March – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Hermione Anne Shirley

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery

Molly Gibson Catherine Morland

Molly Gibson – Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Catherine Morland – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

senseandsensibility meanttobe mara dyer To Win Her Heart

Marianne Dashwood – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Julia Lichtenstein Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Mara Dyer – Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
Eden Spencer & Levi Grant To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Who are some of your favorite bookworm characters? 

July Highlights!

This year is flying by. I can’t believe it’s already August. Before I know it we’ll be in October and I’ll be a mom! I was a little bit busier this month so I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked, but it does feel amazing to be a bookworm again.

I read 3 books:

The Martian Anne of Avonlea Wives and Daughters

Anne of Avonlea is a well-known favorite of mine, but The Martian and Wives and Daughters are new favorites that I LOVED reading! I am now on a Classics-craze which is perfect because I need to get a move on with my Classics Club list.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases

What I Watched

Wives and Daughters BBC Little Dorrit

I watched and loved both the Wives and Daughters and Little Dorrit BBC miniseries last month. Matthew Macfadyen is always lovely in a period drama and Andy Serkis will freak you out with his acting talents. And Wives and Daughters is a beautiful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s unfinished last work. I watched the ending several times :)

July Highlights

  • Hanging out with friends! – We had several movie and game nights this past month. It’s been an important goal for Matt and I to hang out with friends as much as possible before the baby arrives, because then we probably won’t be able to for a while.
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    Playing Ticket to Ride for the first time :)

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    Spending a summer evening downtown with friends watching an 80s cover band (The Breakfast Club)

  • Reading! – Last month I finally felt like a bookworm again. I started a new book as soon as I finished an old one, I carried my Kindle around with me everywhere, and I had a “book hangover” for the first time in months :) I’ve really been into Classics lately and I wish I could be reading them all at once. I also finally organized the bookshelves in our living room:
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  • Surprise trip to Atlanta! – Last month I drove to Atlanta with my best friend Jae to surprise our other best friend McKenzie after she got engaged :) Her fiancé coordinated everything and he did a fantastic job. It was so thoughtful of him to ask McKenzie’s close friends to be there and I know it meant a lot to all of us.
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    After dinner selfies with my friends Caroline and Jae.

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    With my newly engaged BFF McKenzie!

July Challenges

  • Being uncomfortable – I was at the end of my second trimester in July, so things are starting to become more and more uncomfortable for me. I have such a short torso already so that doesn’t help. Bending over to put on shoes or pet the dog cuts off my circulation a bit and most nights I can’t find a good sleeping position. But as of today I have 12 weeks to go! Little Baby French Fry will be here before we know it :)

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    27 weeks & 1 day

  • Longing for autumn – I’m so tired of summer and I can’t wait for my favorite season to arrive! I’ve already seen so many autumn decorations out in the stores and last week I even bought a fall-themed monogrammed banner for our front door on sale at Joann’s :) I can’t wait for cooler weather, changing leaves, college football, Thanksgiving, and a sweet baby boy to arrive!

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    It’s hard to enjoy the lingering summer months when autumnal candles bombard me with their lovely scents.

Looking Forward To in August

  • Read-alongs – I’m participating in a read-along of Villette with my Goodreads group this month. I’m also joining a 4-month read-along of the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter) hosted by The Book Addict’s Guide. Both of these read-alongs just started so feel free to join in :)
  • Austen in August – This year I’m participating in two different Austen in August events! One is month-long and the other is a week-long. I plan on reading Sense and Sensibility as well as some modern Austen-inspired adaptations. I’ll be posting several Austen-themed blog posts, and I’m even hosting a giveaway at the end of the month :)
  • Preparing for my baby shower – It’s in just over a month from now and I can’t wait! My mom and my dear friend Robin are helping plan it and already I’m overwhelmed by all the love and support I’ve felt from them and from all my other friends during my pregnancy.

Walnut Spice Cake Inspired by Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea

“Poor Anne got her hat and her twenty dollars and was passing out when she happened to glance through the open pantry door. On the table reposed a nut cake which she had baked that morning…a particularly toothsome concoction iced with pink icing and adorned with walnuts. – Anne of Avonlea, Chapter 2

Yummmm. That was my thought when I read this passage from one of my all-time favorite books. Anne Shirley has many baking catastrophes when we first meet her in Anne of Green Gables, but every now and then she creates some truly delicious “concoctions” and pregnant me started craving this particular nut cake as soon as I pictured it with pink icing and walnuts. So I became inspired to bake my own! I know it’s summer and this cake has more of an autumnal taste to it, but it’s delicious all the same!

I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for an Applesauce Cake that I tweaked a bit

Walnut Spice Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (I didn’t measure it out; I drizzled it)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • For icing: 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (add more or less, depending on your sweet-tooth), 4 tablespoons water, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, red food coloring. Side note: next time I make this icing I will probably use a butter cream icing instead.
Messy Kitchen

I love messy kitchens while baking! (I also love cleaning it up as fast as I can once the cake is in the oven)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

  2. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Beat in applesauce. Fold in walnuts.

  3. Generously coat a nonstick 9-inch tube pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (but slightly wet), 60 to 70 minutes (I moved the pan to the bottom rack after 60 minutes so the middle of the cake would bake faster).

  4. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Turn out of pan onto a cutting board or baking sheet; invert cake onto rack, top side up. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, or top with icing and chopped walnuts, if desired.

  5. For Icing: Mix melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, water, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 1-2 drops of red food coloring to get the pinkness you desire. Stir until blended. Pour over cake and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Tip: reheat icing just before pouring. Halfway around the cake I noticed that my icing wasn’t “dripping” enough.
Walnut Spice Cake

Ta-da! Walnut Spice Cake, inspired by Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery.

Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, features my most recent book purchases! This was a fun post to write because my books are rather diverse (science fiction, nonfiction, mystery & thriller, classics, and YA classics). Some of these books I have already read, some I’m in the middle of reading, and others are still waiting to be picked up!

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession (I didn’t include library check-outs, because I honestly forgot about them!)


Amelia ElkinsAmelia Elkins Elkins
by A. M. Blair (via Kindle) – One of the bloggers I converse with regularly recently published a retelling of Jane Austen’s PersuasionAmelia Elkins Elkins is a modern “courtroom drama” version of one of my favorite Austen novels (I haven’t started it yet, so I may be exaggerating on the courtroom drama aspect, but it is a legal mystery/thriller!). Hop on over to The Misfortune of Knowing to read more about this Persuasion adaptation!

The Lost WorldThe Lost World by Michael Crichton (paperback)- After racing through Jurassic Park a few weeks ago, I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the sequel. I had hoped to read it during my vacation two weeks ago, but I was immersed in another book on this list. The Lost World is still on my immediate TBR list, though!

Elizabeth GaskellCranford and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (via Kindle) – I’m desperately trying to get through my Classics Club list, and I have just started Wives and Daughters after hearing about the Victorian Celebration event A Literary Odyssey is hosting this month. The only other Gaskell novel I’ve read is North and South, which I ADORED, so I’m hoping I like these two novels as well.

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir (paperback) – I’ve been trekking through this book for a few weeks now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s anything but boring, but it is highly technical and therefore I can only pay attention when I’m reading in absolute silence (which wasn’t easy to do when I brought this book along on my cruise vacation two weeks ago).

Jane Austen DevoA Jane Austen Devotional by Steffany Woolsey (hardcover) – I picked this book and the succeeding one up from Lifeway the last time I was there a few months ago. Each entry starts with a page-long excerpt from an Austen novel, followed by an important moral lesson from the story. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Austen :)

Marriage AdventureThe Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony and Lauren Dungy (hardcover) – My husband and I started going through this devotional together, but it’s been hard for us to find a consistent time to read it so we’ve been slacking.

IMG_0746What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Monroe (hardcover) – I mentioned this book on a non-fiction themed Top Ten Tuesday a while back and I am pleased to say this one was very entertaining and enlightening. If you like science or just like to ponder ridiculous hypothetical questions, please check out What If?!

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery (paperback) – I bought these three personal favorites a few months ago, anticipating a spring reread. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to doing that, but I do enjoy admiring the gorgeous artwork every time I see these books on my shelf. I wish the whole series was published in this format, but there’s only these three plus Anne of Windy PoplarsAnne’s House of Dreams, and Anne of Ingleside.

What was the last book you purchased?