America in Literature II

downloadThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here continues my list of quintessential American literary works:

PART II of II

The Things They Carried 

by Tim O’Brien
A classic, life-changing meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Catcher in the Rye
By J.D. Salinger
A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.
Wikipedia

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Moby Dick

By Melville
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville, published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller’s play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau
An essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Sound and The Fury
By William Faulkner
The tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

 

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12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 2 of 12:
Candy Cane Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

The Legend of the Candy Cane
by Lori Walburg & Richard Cowdrey

This charming and pious story about the origins of the candy cane is definitely a change of pace.
A stranger arrives in town one dreary November and begins hammering and sawing away at his newly rented storefront.


When a small girl offers her help, she’s in for a childhood fantasy-come-true, as it turns out all the shelves and counters are being built for a candy shop. After offering young Lucy gumdrops and lollipops, Mr. Sonneman launches into the history of the candy cane.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Candy Cane Cream
In a sauce pan heat up milk and vanilla extract. Add white chocolate and candy cane pieces (or candy cane Hershey kisses work marvelously.) Whisk together until smooth. d2bbd5ab8d46516ae7d69e94998c9279-edited
Add mixture to blender and blend until frothy. Add in a dollop of whip and blend (you can also whip up your own whip cream which is double delicious.) Serve with a candy cane to swirl in extra yum.

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Portland Woodstock ‘08

A420AA7D-E419-4FE3-9476-3D96385B409AThis weekend was Portland’s 2018 book festival Wordstock. The event was held at the Portland Art Museum and featured over 100 authors. Their was books signings and readings for all ages all and numerous historic locations in the area. It was a great day for writers and readers alike.

I came home with lots of information and goodies.
I chose to go the exploratory route and pick just a few random new books.

My 2018 Wordstock spoils:

Arms From The Sea by Rich Shapero

A young sculptor from the State of Salt swallows a poison pill that transports him to a watery heaven, whose monstrous, seductive creator reveals to him what it might mean to redeem a desolate world.

A confusing and interesting read so far, but I haven’t given up on it.

A Doctor A Day by Bernard Mansheim
Under white coats, behind caring eyes, beneath sterile stethoscopes is the human within the doctor. The one that bears bad news, holds pain and mires in a stream of death and the dying. In this fictional story, Dr. James is in crisis as his practice is further burdened by a crushing lawsuit. Unmasking the psychological burden experienced by many practicing doctors this work portrays one physician’s unbearable experience as examined and articulated by a seasoned MD

My choice cafe drink of the week:

Book Bean: Eggnog Spice Latte
98014BCE-D8F0-4832-98A9-C058CCBD4DEBStart with 1-3 shots of espresso to taste (or for the ‘Au Lait’ version try 4-6 oz of strong black coffee, 1-2 oz eggnog, and 1oz milk) stir in a tiny pinch of cayenne and pinch of pumpkin spice. Pour in steamed eggnog mix: 1 part (2-4 oz depending on number of espresso shots) rich creamy eggnog and 1 part non-fat milk (or milk of choice.) Finish drink off with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Vampire Boy (Adventures of Alex Vambarey)
by Aric Cuching

I chose this book because, first off books have no age, and secondly it seem like a clever synopsis. We shall see.

It seems it has also won quite a few awards, so I’m hopeful that it will not disappoint 🙂


Which local book events do you look forward to?

Savory Seasonal Suggestion

The leaves have almost all fallen and the colors keep changing all around us. The crisp cool breeze of Autumn will soon begin it’s transformation into a winter chill; this is the season for spices, warm hugs, and yummy pie slices.

So with rosy cheeks and cozy feet here are some falltastic books and treats.

(Click pictures and titles for more info.)


The Wretched of Muirwood
– Jeff Wheeler
This is the first book in a trilogy (of which I have not finished) I cannot speak for the series but as for this first installment, it does not disappoint. This is a great fall book. The likable characters and murky undertones are perfect to read on a rainy day. Being the first of three it leaves you wanting more so if you’re shut up on a stormy weekend or need a holiday bundle, this is the book for you.

The Wretched of Muirwood Rated: 4.4 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
This book screams apple cider. If you read it you will be happy to have some within your reach.


Chicken Soup For The Soul

Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen

An oldy but a goody. There is something unbelievably cozy about sipping a warm drink reading Chicken Soup for The Soul. This book warms you from the inside out, it is full of classic uplifting stories that anyone can enjoy.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

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B
ook Bean: Sip some creamy butternut squash soup in a mug to really get in the spirit. Or try some honey ginger tea for just the right zing.

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Harry Potter
– J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series is the perfect thing for fall. Start in October and you’ll have plenty of content to last you through. I personally was content after the first three but if you want more the series packs a wallop. Everything about the story is perfect for the season. Not only does it jive but it’s also the kind of book that you want to curl up with, escape from the world, and get lost in.

Harry Potter Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

Pumpkin-spice-latte


Book Bean:
Pumpkin Latte or any other spiced latte
pairs oh so nicely.



The Turn of The Screw
– Henry James
This eerie tale is dark and brittle and not for the faint of heart. It’s a classic but it does not fail to lift the micro hairs ever so slightly at the base of your neck. If you frighten easily read aloud with a friend for a fun twist. Make s’mores and sit around a fire pit take turns reading it aloud and see who squirms.

The Turn of the Screw Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

dsc_8551Book Bean: Hot Cocoa or Black Tea alongside your
s’more of course ; )



The Best of Poe
– Edgar Allan Poe
What could be better on a cold gloomy night than setting the candle ambiance for the romantic loom of short stories and poems by the great Poe. There is a dark and sexy quality to Poe’s work that matches the Autumn breeze beautifully. Sit out on your porch wrapped in wool and read his words as they whistle with the wind.

The Best of Poe Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Get some dark chocolate to nibble, and sip your favorite black coffee brew.

Fun Fact: 65% of adults read for pleasure.

Now light some candles, get those fluffy socks on, and grab something to cuddle. Tis the season for book nooks and reading hooks

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Amazon.com is the best place to get books fast and cheap
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With some yummy Mulled Cider!

 

Quick Getaway Reads

Last week I was given the opportunity to have a little adventure in Aruba.
So of course I was excited for the chance to do as much reading as possible.
imagesHowever, I suspected (and was right) that this would be less of a relaxation vacation and more of exploration adventure. I knew I needed to pick a few quick reads and at most one full sized novel.
This was the only way I would fit in any reading.

Here are my book picks for a quick tropical getaway:

Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
This collection of short stories was brilliant, beautiful and the perfect companion for any quick getaway. The wonderful characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant and touching stories, seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. A moving and timeless experience.
*

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Island of the Blue Dolphin
by Scott O’Dell
I could not have picked a better book to be reading while sitting on the beach in the Caribbean. This is a fantastic read, that is super quick, and the perfect tropical island companion. It is a Newbery Medal-winning classic about the transformation of  quiet courage, loneliness, and terror into strength and serenity.
*

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov
I don’t know what sparked my bringing this book along, it just felt right, and it was! This is a great vacation read for any destination. Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

So share your suggestions…

What are some great reading choices for that quick getaway?

Spooktastic Classics

This October I put together a little list of books I’d like to read to get me into the spirit of Hallows Eve. Here is my list, plus a few from past years. Any or all of these books make wonderful reading, but fair warning, some are not for the faint of heart.

Here is my mini list of spooky hair raising classics:

Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
This is such a fantastic story, I encourage anyone who has not already read it to do so. The story’s background is also really interesting. It’s impressive enough the Shelley could right a book from the perspective of 2 separate males, but she also started this book on a complete whim. She was given the challenge by a peer to right a ghost story while vacationing, and out of that came this iconic masterpiece.

turn.jpgThe Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
I have to admit I barely made it through this book, though it is very well written and a wonderful classic. My reason was purely that I am a big chicken and it scared the daylights out of me. I read it aloud, which really added to it’s eeriness.

The Shining
by Stephen King
I of course had to have Stephen on this list.9781501175466_p0_v2_s550x406 I could decide which book so I chose purely based on the fact that The Shining was one of my first Stephen King experiences. Now for those really looking for a good scare go with “It” though I personally will never be brave enough.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
This is a beautiful story and a classic that I feel is so under appreciated. Dracula represents everything the Victorians feared: the irrational, the pagan, the erotic and the foreign. If you love classic literature and/or gothic novels, I highly recommend you read this book!
*

The Legend of Sleepy Hallow
by Washington Irving
Washington Irving’s haunting, macabre stories will give wide-eyed readers delightful chills. This is a great story and such an awesome read for this time of year. It is especially great to read on particularly gloomy flog laden evenings.

Halloween is just a few days away…
What spooky book/s will you be curling up with?
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