Writes of Passage

downloadToday is World Book Day

So, inspired by their “Writes of Passage” for YA readers, I thought I do my own little list of of important literary books. These books are sure to create a well rounded, cultured, and mindful reader.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…
The man who never reads lives only one.”

~George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

So here are my 10 must-reads for early readers:

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

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Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing “Of Mice and Men” (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness.

Though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal; a friendship and a shared dream that makes an individual’s existence meaningful.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

One of the most moving and eloquent accounts of the Holocaust, read by tens of millions of people around the world since its publication in 1947. This book had a huge impact on me as a person as well as as a reader.

The Diary of a Young Girl
is the record of two years in the life of a remarkable Jewish girl whose triumphant humanity in the face of unfathomable deprivation and fear has made the book one of the most enduring documents of our time.

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Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, she finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and at 13 is put on trial for murder!

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Christie’s most famous book, the bestselling mystery in the world.
“Ten . . .”  Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious “U. N. Owen.”
“Nine . . .”  At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.
“Eight . . .”  Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die.
“Seven . . .”  Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested.
His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium–a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster–except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s perfect comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. “Pride and Prejudice seems as vital today as ever, ” writes Anna Quindlen, and I couldn’t agree more.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

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Now go do something booky! 🙂

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Oregon Reads & Portland Perks

“She Flies With Her Own Wings”

I love living in Oregon, I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSo I thought I’d put together a list of Oregon books. Whether by a local author or set locally, these Oregon rooted reads are sure to entertain, amuse, and/or inspire readers of all varieties. Just like the state itself. I’ve also included a few special Book*Beans that are specifically found at local shops. So please, enjoy the weird and wonderful world I live in.

Here are my very special hometown selections:

Fugitives and Refugees
Chuck Palahniuk provides answers to all these questions and more as he takes you through the streets, sewers, and local haunts of Portland, Oregon. According to Katherine Dunn, author of the cult classic Geek Love, Portland is the home of America’s “fugitives and refugees.” Get to know these folks, the “most cracked of the crackpots,” as Palahniuk calls them, and come along with him on an adventure through the parts of Portland you might not otherwise believe actually exist.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Café De Olla
Revolucion_logo_OK-300x205@ Revolución Coffee House
I could hardly choose just one from this colorful cafe
1200px-Café_de_olla_-_Restaurante_Don_Chon,_Mexicobut the Café De Olla won.
Its distinct flavor is provided by the ingredients of rich mountain grown Mexican coffee beans that have been ground and Italian roasted, added cinnamon and piloncillo or brown sugar. Cold bottled version coming soon!!

Bone River

From award-winning author Megan Chance, Bone River is a haunting tale of passion and identity. This beautifully written, lyrical literary novel engages with the themes of the despoliation of the Pacific Northwest’s native culture, and 19th-century concerns about race, degeneration and miscegenation.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

258sBook Bean: Orange Mocha
@ Rimsky-Korsakoffee House
A decadent real chocolate mocha made with orange infused sugar. It is delicious!
Rimsky is a Portland must visit:
8d864085662f5cacfccd899571098620An eerie, quirky, strange, and unique ambiance fills this old pdx style house turned cafe, and it is an experience you will not forget. You’ll wish you hadn’t gone to the bathroom alone (inside joke, sorry you’ll just have to visit to understand 🙂

Astoria
In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation’s landscape and its global standing.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

1915511_58034154945_7993784_nBook Bean: Homemade Ginger Lemonade
Ginger-Lemonade@ Random Order Coffee
Fresh and delicious, a great treat for spring and summer!

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Starvation Heights

In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanatorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

DragonflyLogolamar copyshotdark2Book Bean: Shot In The Dark
@ The Dragonfly Coffee House
Double shot of espresso added to Drip. Great for a pick-me-up!


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

email_signature_69b1f996-c18a-49ae-97a4-80fa94d8b035_95xBook Bean: Cascara Soda
@ Case Study Coffee
You heard it right, cascara soda, try it! There is also a Lavender Cold Brew 😀20150614_191603.jpg
Cascara = coffee cherry, an herbal tea is made from the dried skins of dried berries of the coffee plant. The word originates from the Spanish cáscara, meaning “husk.”

Sometimes a Great Notion
A bitter strike is raging in a small lumber town along the Oregon coast. Bucking the strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers: Henry, the fiercely vital and overpowering patriarch; Hank, the son who has spent his life trying to live up to his father; and Viv, who fell in love with Hank’s exuberant machismo but now finds it wearing thin. And then there is Leland, Henry’s bookish younger son, who returns to his family on a mission of vengeance – finding himself fulfilling it in ways he never imagined. Out of the Stamper family’s rivalries/betrayals, Kesey crafts a novel with the mythic impact of Greek tragedy.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

home-home_page_slider_04.jpghome-home_page_slider_02Book Bean: Dragonfly Chai
@ Bipartisan Cafe
Sweet Black + Spicy Black + Spicy Red (no caffeine)
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Ricochet River
Set in a fictional Oregon town in the late 1960s, Cody’s superlative coming-of-age novel is the story of Wade, Lorna and Jesse–teenagers preparing to break out of their small-town lives. Wade is the local sports hero. Jesse is his friend, a mythical athlete and the Indian kid who applies his own rules to sports and life. And Lorna is Wade’s sweetheart who knows there’s no hope in Calamus for a bright, independent girl. The river rushes past the town, linking the three friends with their pasts, their plans and the world beyond.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

lede_Klatch_TOV_EmilyJoanGreeneBook Bean: Karkadeh
Sweet Hibiscus Nectar (best iced)
and The Winey Mocha:
Mocha w/ a hint of wine.
I had to pick 2 for this location, the Winey Mocha is just too unique!
Tov-Caffeination-795x400

@ ToV Coffee and Tea
They also have tradition Turkish coffee and tea for the daring and adventurous 🙂
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My Abandonment
A girl and her father live in Forest Park, the enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. There they inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, bathe in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week, they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight. Inspired by a true story My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins, and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

woodlawn.0.0Book Bean: Gassato
@ Wood Lawn Coffee and Pastry
woodlawn-coffee-pastry-portland-front-counter-1600x1067In addition to a regular iced Americano or latte, they also offer Gassato, an iced espresso with a little sweetened milk and a float of fizzy water, all made with Stumptown Hairbender.

The Lathe of Heaven
A classic science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greatest writers of the genre, set in a future world where one man’s dreams control the fate of humanity.
In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

0b516eed815d1d264f654f54855cd07fBook Bean: Macciato
@ Common Ground Coffeehouse
ec915cf577ce9ecfb4996b9986d8cd0bSometimes called espresso macchiato, an espresso drink with a small amount of milk, usually foamed. In Italian, macchiato means “stained” or “spotted” so the literal translation of caffè macchiato is “stained coffee”, or coffee with a spot of milk.

Mink River
Like Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Brian Doyle’s stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.

In a small fictional town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Cardamom Lattedownload.png
348s (1)
@ symposium coffee
Symposium coffee is Sherwood and Tigard’s finest coffee house featuring Flag & Wire Coffee Roasters, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Steven Smith Teamaker.

A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon, 1845
I was drawn to this book because of it’s title, which is from my Longfellow favorite, the poem “A Psalm of Life”
Based on the history of a company of real pioneers, this book tells the story of the King family, whose careful plans are challenged by the harsh, unforeseen realities of overland travel. The family makes the unfortunate decision to follow guide Stephen Meek, who leads them into blistering weather, drought, and treacherous river crossings along a shortcut that becomes known as the Terrible Trail.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

png;base642027a94ca3229fdd.png348s (2)Book Bean: Lavender Latte, Mocha, or Cocoa
@ Rain OR. Shine Coffee House
A seasonal specialty worthy of a Nobel pallet!

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“I wanted to go to Portland because it’s a really good book town.”
~Patti Smith

Indeed it is.

What are some of your hometown favorites?

Tsundoku Treasures

As I was at the Beach this weekend I of courses had to scope out the local hole in the wall bookshop. I found Bob’s Beach Books in Lincoln City, ORIMG_0026
It’s the sister store to Roberts Book Shop, the biggest books store on the Oregon Coast. Though I have not yet had a chance to visit that store, I was most intrigued by what I was told of it. I may just have to make a special trip back, solely to seek it out.
However, I did enjoy Bob’s, it was a perfectly quaint little books shops filled with new and used books; I loved the cozy Atmosphere and friendly staff. I (to no one’s surprised) picked up a couple of new books as well.

Here is what piqued my interest:

imagesThe Woman in the Dunes
By Kobo Abé
Translated by Dale Saunders

A book on which the highly acclaimed motion picture was based, is one of the most famous contemporary Japanese novels. It’s a story of a man held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit in a remote seaside village which is in constant danger from the advance of the windblown dunes. It strikingly combines the elements of a suspense story with those of modern existentialist novel.

“It was the quality of a great myth, told with the exactness of realistic fiction. It reveals a talent unconditioned by geography: it is a major achievement.”
~ Chad Walsh (Book Week)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland
In a Ship of Her Own Making
By Catherynne M. Valente
Illustrated by Ana Juan

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, she of course accepts!

What made me buy the book was first, that I loved the title and second, was this printed on the back…

The Signpost before her now was made of pale wind-bleached wood
and towered above her. On the easterly arm, someone had carved the
deep elegant letters:
TO LOSE YOUR WAY.
On the northerly arm, pointing up to the tops of the cliffs, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR LIFE.
On the southerly arm, pointing out to seas, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR MIND.
And on the westerly arm, pointing up to a little headland and a dwindling of the golden beach, it said:
TO LOSE YOUR HEART.

Well, I’m intrigued! Are you?

Beach Books

beach_books2.jpgI am spending the weekend enjoying the gorgeous Oregon Coast while currently reading two sea-worthy books, and it’s got me thinking about Beach Books; novels filled with the lore and adventure of the sea. So, as I pondered the ocean’s beauty, I have compiled a list of books reminiscent of the vast and wonderful sea.
I have come up with a list of really great books that capture the ocean’s beauty, strength, and wonder.

Here is my list of oceanic beauties, shore to decorate many beach bags:

The Old Man and The Sea


by Ernest Hemingway

The endearing story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway tells the timeless tale of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

The Little Mermaid



by Hans Christian Anderson

After saving a prince from drowning, a mermaid princess embraces a life of extreme self-sacrifice to win his love and gain an immortal soul.

Over a century after its first publication, this tale persists as one of the world’s most enduring works of fantasy for children.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com


The Light Between Oceans

by M.L Stedman
Australian Tom Sherbourne returns home after fighting in the western trenches of World War I in Europe. He and his wife, Isabel, move to an isolated lighthouse, where they remain for several years. While there they informally adopt a baby girl who washes up in a lifeboat. When the child is two years old, Tom & Isabel return to the mainland on leave. There they discover that “there are other people in the world”, and keeping the child “has devastated one of them.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com


The Swiss Family Robinson


by Johann David Wyss

Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them. Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com


Life of Pi

by Yann Martel
Life of Pi, according to Yann Martel, can be summarized in three statements: “Life is a story… You can choose your story… A story with God is the better story.” A recurring theme throughout the novel seems to be believability. Pi at the end of the book asks the two investigators “If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for?” According to Gordon Houser there are two main themes of the book: “that all life is interdependent, and that we live and breathe via belief.”

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


 Gift From The Sea

by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Casting an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by lyrically recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, Lindbergh helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com


The Whale Rider

by Witi Ihimaera
Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather’s love and attention. But he is focused on his duties as chief of a Maori tribe in Whangara, on the East Coast of New Zealand; a tribe that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. Every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief, but now there is no male heir, only Kahu. She should be the next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl. Kahu will not be ignored and leads her tribe to a bold new future.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea


by Jules Verne

A classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian whaler Ned Land wash up on their ship. On the Nautilus, the three embark on a journey which has them going all around the world, under the sea.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com


English Passengers

by Matthew Kneale
In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania. His traveling partner, Dr. Thomas Potter, unbeknownst to Wilson, is developing a sinister thesis about the races of men.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com


Robinson Crusoe


Daniel Defoe

A castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called “Más a Tierra”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Jacob Have I Loved



by Katherine Paterson

Sarah Louise, who lives with her family on a Chesapeake Bay island, grows up feeling less important than her beautiful twin sister. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one, but she must begin to find her own identity.
This is a great book (and movie) that I really love, think Hemingway meets Fried Green Tomatoes.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

 

In The Heart of The Sea



by Nathaniel Philbrick

This novel brings to life the extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men, in the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex. An event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. A wealth of whale lore and a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. In a harrowing page-turner, Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

What sea-worthy book/s do you consider a beach bag must?

Blogger BookBean Favorites

depositphotos_55772445-the-magic-book-book-with-magical-stories-magic-book1Below is a composition of the favorite books and drink pairings of my fellow blogger friends. This special Mini Book Bean is very personal and interesting. I hope you will all love the diversity and intrigue of the different books. Not to mention there are a few lovely things to try a sip of.

Here are my Fellow Blogger’s Favorites:

“Memoirs of a Geisha”
MemoirsOfAGeishaby Arthur Golden.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

It is a beautifully written book of literary fiction, very poignant. Golden did quite a bit of research about Japan and Geishas, and the story takes us through the life of a poor Japanese girl who becomes highly successful at her profession. It also give an excellent look at the culture of Japan pre WWII, and a glimpse of the war.

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Why I love this book:
Having lived in Japan for several years, I enjoyed this tremendously, and wish he would have written another book.

P1010082 *

Book Bean: Hazelnut Coffee Creme 
I make Hazlenut Creme coffee fairly weak, then flavor it with Cafe D’Vita Cappucino Mix and and some whole milk or Half & Half. Very decadent!

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Submitted by Don Maker atdonmaker.com
Freelance writer and editor

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“Odd Thomas”

by Dean Koontz
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.”
But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different.

Why I love this book:
Dean Koontz is a phenomenal writer and I love everything he writes, but Odd Thomas stands above all others. The story is passionately alluring and really draws you into the characters and world of Odd. A vivid, exciting, and interesting story; with wit an d humor that has you laughing out loud! What’s not to love.

adbc10a5-32eb-4aff-a772-bd4174536173


Book Bean:
 Butterscotch Americano
2 strong espresso shots, hot water, extra cream/ half n half, and a shot or two of butterscotch syrup.

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Submitted
by
M.J. Gale at The Phantom Rem
(A unique and original collection of thrilling spine tingling short-stories)

 

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“Don Quixote”


by Miguel de Cervantes

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Widely regarded as the world’s first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain.

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Why I love this book:

For it timeless depiction of the human condition

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1348075953_49210ccf92Book Bean:
Café con leche

a Spanish white coffee beverage. It is somewhat more similar to the Italian caffè latte than to the French café au lait. A latte, however, is made with espresso

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Submitted by Antonio at antonioyrocinante.com

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“The Good Soldier”



by Ford Madox Ford, 1915

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

I’ve read it numerous times, and expect to read again.

The narrator, John Dowell, describes his life with his wife, Florence. They’re Americans, relegated to staying in Europe due to Florence’s heart condition, preventing her from making the ocean crossing home. At a spa in Germany they befriend the British Captain Edward Ashburnham and his wife, Leonora, Edward’s there to tend to his own heart ailment. Dowell’s narrative moves back and forth in time, revealing slices of the interrelationships of the two couples, following his understanding of what came to be a horrific combination of desire, deceit, misunderstanding and passion involving not only those four, but other men and women, destroying not only the two marriages, but the lives of everyone involved.

Why I love this book:
More than a tale of personal intrigue, the book is an ingenious problem — perhaps the ultimate exemplar — of “the unreliable narrator,” because we have only Dowell’s representation of complex human motives and relationships, and even at the end of the book, with all the outcomes made clear, we can’t know if what lay within the hearts and minds of everyone involved was as he depicts it. There is tremendous energy and horrific drama that ruins people, but we have only Dowell’s point of view from which to try to understand it. 

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In addition, it has one of the greatest first lines in all literature:
“This is the saddest story I have ever heard.”

espresso-one

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Book Bean: Espresso
If I could actually keep my eyes on my book and not on the scene, I’ll have an espresso at Florian’s in Piazza San Marco, per favore.

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Submitted by Brad at blaknissan
This blog is for travelers and would-be travelers, fans of reading, writing and literature, and anyone with a questing spirit.

 

“Leo the Late Bloomer”


by Robert Kraus.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com *
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Leo is a young tiger who can’t keep up with the other animals who are learning to read, write, draw, eat neatly and speak. Under the watchful eye of his parents, in due time, Leo makes the grade and his first words are “I made it.”
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Why I love this book:
I like the book because like Leo it took me a long time to find myself and the result was a book I wrote – my bio in kid form “Buddy Bloom Wildflower.”

My book is dedicated to another favorite author and teacher – Leo Buscaglia, he wrote some best selling books about Love and you can watch him lecture on You Tube.

18-1418876510-greenteaa **

Book Bean:Rocket Fuel.
AKA Green Tea!

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Submitted by Jerry Snider at Theartofbecomingawildflower

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“Half Blood Blues”



by Esi Edugyan

Rated 3.8 on amazon.com


Shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
Half-Blood Blues is the story of a group of black musicians trying to record a jazz album in the middle of WWII. The story plays out in Nazi controlled Berlin and in occupied Paris. The band members are a motley group and the book follows their fears, hopes and tribulations during the war.
Fifty years after the war, two of the surviving band members, Sid and Chip, get together for a cinematic tribute to their most famous musician of the group. The screening of the film hints at a mystery surrounding his arrest and his suspected death. Sid and Chip set out on a journey across the Polish landscape to a surprising climax full of hope and compassion.
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Why I love this book:
I absolutely loved the feel of jazz all through the book. There is pathos and the characters are deeply emotional as all art and artists are supposed to be.
Half Blood Blues touched my soul, in a mess of wild joyous music that survived the personal misery and the fear that the war brought to the protagonists.
Half Blood Blues is my favorite book because of the varied characters, a rich vocabulary, plenty of history and a touch of mystery. The imagery and the frequently idiosyncratic language is very beautiful and an entire range of emotions are explored through the characters. The book has a very artistic and an intense feeling to it.
I also liked the use of an unreliable narrator which adds to a sense of intrigue.
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Book Bean: Aam Panna
A tangy summer cooler made from the pulp of green mango.
Season the cooked mango pulp with sugar, rock salt and cumin powder. Add chilled water and top with crushed mint and ice.

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Submitted by Writinlive at Read Write Live
Self Expression equals Happiness”

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“Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban”


by J K Rowling

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held the infamous prisoner Sirius Black. Convicted of killing 13 people with a single curse, and said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts . . . he’s at Hogwarts.”

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Why I love this book:

*SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN*

Do you ever read a really good book and just think “wow, this author must not be human because no human could’ve thought up this masterpiece”? Well, surprise surprise, I think that way with all of the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling can’t be human… so she must be a witch… IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

When I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I have to say, that is hands down my favorite Harry Potter book and here’s why: Remus Lupin’s background story.

I know there is SO much that goes on in the other books that can top anything that occurs in this book but for some reason, Lupin’s background story will forever stick with me as the best thing I’ve ever read.

Now, don’t get mad at me but I watched all of the movies before I read the books… I know, I know WHAT WAS I THINKING? Because of this idiot move, I saw how the movies kind of just brushed over the Shrieking Shack and what it was. I didn’t think ANYTHING of it. But then I read the book and saw that the Shrieking Shack wasn’t actually haunted, that villagers just thought it was but in fact it was because of Lupin occupying it during his transformations into a werewolf. *Explosion noise* MIND BLOWN! Now this might not be as interesting to anyone else but I find it so fascinating and the fact that the movies just brushed over the Shrieking Shack and didn’t even hear Lupin’s story astonishes me.
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Top-5-Moscato-Inspired-Rhymes-2Book Bean: Barefoot Moscato
So if you haven’t read Prisoner of Azkaban, why don’t you grab a nice glass of my favorite drink, Barefoot Moscato, and enjoy it. I assure you, there are some twists in there that’s going to have your mind exploding like mine!

Submitted by Carolyn at Mugglesforharrypotter
H
ead over to her site for lots of great insight to all things Harry Potter!

Since I commandeered the Sunday spot for this awesome collaboration
I’ll sneak in a Sunday Funny here:

'Oooh. By Emily Bronte. A very controversial book...Cruelty! Passion! Death! Risky territory for a woman author in the 1800s.'

Tale as Old as Time

0e958e7e610dd96f84c61b682acce421When he saw that she was beautiful he wanted only to cage her, but when he understood her true eternal beauty, he set her free.

She truly saw him; he had transformed from a beast who loved only beauty, into a beautiful beast, full of love.



The tale of Beauty and The Beast has always been my favorite,Swigning-Ladder-from-Beauty-and-the-Beast

for as long as I’ve been able to have favorites. I have read a ton of variations/ adaptations, and watched quite a lot as well. I had to pay homage to Beauty and The Beast today because tonight is the big premier of the live action Disney adaptation, and I am ecstatic!
This is such a beautiful story and I love finding and reading stories with it’s endearing theme; true beauty, real love, sacrifice, compassion, and acceptance. I also feel like Belle is a kindred spirit, my alter ego in a way; her passionate love of books, and her adventurous and compassionate spirit are all things I aspire to.

Here are some lovely book/film adaptation that I feel are worthwhile:

Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale. Its first published version was written by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in the middle 18th century. It was a novel-length story intended for adult readers and addressing the issues of the marriage system of the day in which women had no right to choose their husband or to refuse to marry.

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Fun Fact:
The best-known version of the tale appeared sixteen years later. Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont simplified and shortened the Villeneuve’s work and published it in a magazine for young ladies. The new abridged version became more successful, and Madame de Beaumont is regarded now as the author of the classic story.

The visually new and unabridged edition of the classic. MinaLima, an award-winning design studio (Jungle Book, Peter Pan, etc.) re-imagined the beloved tale in this deluxe unabridged edition. It is illustrated with stunning full-color artwork and nine 3-D interactive features.

 

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This is a gorgeous coloring book I found that has a unique Beauty and the Beast story and art. A coloring book romance that features over seventy pages of evocative artwork, ready to be brought to life by your coloring skills and imagination. I love it. It is by artist Jae-Eun Lee.

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The movie that started it all for me. I fell in love with this movie when I was a kid, and as a grown woman it is still my favorite, I adore it. The story is full of so much wit, fun, and humor, and yet it is beautiful, deep, and enchanting.

 The music is beyond amazing as well, and I am not ashamed to say that I can verbatim quote the entire movie while watching it… Overall this movie is for everyone; a rich experience. Truly a charming and beautiful re-telling.

If you haven’t guessed here is my favorite scene from the movie 😉

maxresdefault (1).jpg“With a dreamy far of look, and her nose stuck in a book.”

This is probably my favorite novel adaptation. Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the pretty ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.


“As I have said, you have no reason to trust me, and an excellent reason not to.”

Yes I watched it, and I loved it 🙂 

Ron Koslow updates a classic fairy tale and places it in a modern and urban environment. Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler learns she has a protector watching out for her as she sets out to clear the New York City streets of its dangerous criminals. Turns out her “guardian angel” is a kind-hearted beast named Vincent, who lives in labyrinthine tunnels beneath the city.

Alex Flinn’s contemporary retelling.

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore.
I am a monster.

“Just because something is beautiful doesn´t mean it´s good.”

Now if you haven’t heard of Faerie Tale Theatre, check it out, because it’s amazing. It had the charm and richness of seeing a play, but with the uninterrupted smoothness of television. I grew up watching this show, and I LOVED the Beauty and the Beast act, staring Susan Sarandon, it was fantastic. Seriously if you haven’t seen these, you should. Deep, fun, dark, corny, classic!

 

An inventive and funny mystery with a dynamic lead, which will make you want to pick up the next book in the series.

This one is definitely a re-imagining and takes much more liberties, but that is the fun of it. I love it when authors get creative like this.

Personally I was a bit 60/40 on the Disney Broadway musical of Beauty and the Beast. Mainly because it was SO close to the original that it made hearing the songs a little difficult. I think that’s why I like it when there are variations that make it unique to the artistic abilities and strengths of a given writer/director etc. However, it was very well done, I just had to avoid parts of the soundtrack. I did see a performance of this, and it was fantastic live.

Here are a few fun new ones I will be reading ASAP:

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. Intrigued? I am, can’t wait.

 

Disney’s Belle is one of the best fictional bookworms around. But what exactly is on her reading list? In this unique literary journal, enjoy inspiring quotes from some of Belle’s favorite books, as well as her insightful notes and colorful drawings. I am in love with this idea, can’t wait to get my copy.

 

How about a little dark twist?
As Old as Time is the third book in a new YA line that re-imagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
When Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, memories flood through Belle’s mind-memories of a mother she thought she would never see again. And, stranger still…

 

So that is my tribute to an amazing classic and all the amazing artists and writers that have re-told and re-imagined this truly beautiful tale.

download (1)I am almost certain I will be adding Disney’s live action version to my list of favorites. There is so much talent invested in the project and so far it looks phenomenal. Thank you disney for taking the time to really put what it takes into this movie; I mean Emma Thompson! Ian McKellen! Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, the list goes on! So tonight I will be dressed up and fully giddy as I watch this, and I will be sure to update anyone interested as to my end thoughts on the production.

What are your favorite adaptation?

So I felt compelled to do an update now that I’ve seen the movie. 

I have to say it was a truly magical experience! I saw it in 😄 3D and I Highly recommend that, as it adds to the richness and depth of experience during the movie. This Beauty and The Beast was hands down the best movie I’ve ever seen. Everything about it; the cast, the score! the emotion, the cinemotagraphy, everything was gorgeous and enchanting. I am in eternal love with it, and can’t wait to see it again! I hope everyone will share their thoughts once they’ve experience it’s beauty 🙂