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.

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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.'

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In Memory: Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

asd91293999912068737_675553362583783_3874657731296420745_o-676x447The headlines are aglow with news of the deaths of Carrie Fisher Dec. 27th 2016 and her mother Debbie Reynolds just one day later Dec. 28th 2016. Both were renowned actors and famous for iconic roles. However remarkably they were both incredible authors as well.
So as is fitting for my book blog…

 

Here are a couple of there works to remember them by:

“…I wrote things to get them out of feeling them, and onto paper.
So writing in a way saved me…”
carrie-fisher-035Carrie Frances Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)
An American actress, writer, producer, and humorist. 

 

Playing off her iconic roll as Leia, Carrie Fisher writes this intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time. Full of plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized.

 


I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness.

This bestselling novel was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.

When we first meet the extraordinary young actress Suzanne Vale, she’s feeling like “something on the bottom of someone’s shoe, and not even someone interesting.” Suzanne is in the harrowing and hilarious throes of drug rehabilitation, trying to understand what happened to her life and how she managed to land in a “drug hospital.”

debbie-reynolds-carrie-fisher-sag-awards-ap-640x480
“Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and childbirth were the two
hardest things I ever had to do in my life.”

h-DEBBIE-REYNOLDS-SEX-628x314.jpg
Mary Frances “Debbie” Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016)
An American actress, singer, businesswoman, film historian, and humanitarian


Named after her iconic role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, actress, comedienne, singer, and dancer Debbie Reynolds shares the highs and lows of her life as an actress during Hollywood’s Golden Age, anecdotes about her lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Taylor and her experiences as the foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia, and intimate details of her marriages and family life with her children

“That’s what a writer does; they make things up and that makes for good reading.”

For a little bit more in depth and personal account of her like Debbie writes this autobiography. It tells her story of growing up in Hollywood during its golden age in the 50’s, and what it was like to share center stage with stars such as Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. She also describes her marriages with Eddie Fisher and Harry Karl.

I hope you will honor there memory
by learning
a little more about them, than what meets the eye.

Tribute to Amy Tan

Honoring Amy Tan, born today February 19, 1952.tan0_image
Amy Tan has a unique and personal style of writing. I find her work to be deep and compelling. She often writes with a rawness that can feel a bit gritty, but at the same time it makes the novel feel more real and attractive.She has a lovely way of lacing history and culture into her stories, it is an added appeal (for me at least.) Amy Tan is a beautiful story teller, whose writing will capture and enrapture you.

 

On my favorites Amy Tan novels:
 http://cafebookbean.com/2016/01/10/admiration-for-amy-tan/

She also wrote a book of musing on her own life which I look forward to reading.

The Opposite of Fate:
Memories of a Writing Life

An autobiographical book about the life, challenges, thoughts, and memories of Amy Tan. From amazon: Amy Tan has touched millions of readers with haunting and sympathetic novels of cultural complexity and profound empathy. With the same spirit and humor that characterize her acclaimed novels, she now shares her insight into her own life and how she escaped the curses of her past to make a future of her own.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Have you read any of Amy Tan’s work? 

Share your thoughts.

Noteworthy Non-Fiction

I love reading great non-fiction books. I enjoy reading about historical events and people. I love memoirs and biographies of interesting and diverse characters. I also will read an occasional self-help book, if it’s applicable and not too overly cliche.

Here are some great noteworthy non-fiction books:
(Click any photo or title for more info.)
 If you haven’t already read this book I highly recommend it. This girl wrote so well in her journal, and told her story so exceptionally. – semi-spoiler alert! – For her to be able to tell her story in the midst of such hardship and have it survive in her place, is beautiful. It’s a bit haunting knowing that she wrote this leading up to what was likely a very horrendous end. I felt a bit of a knot in my core that was hard to shake. I tend to get very attached to the lives and stories of protagonist in books, and
it’s always very difficult when bad
things happen. The eeriness with this book was that I couldn’t tell myself
(it’s just a book.)
Diary of a Young Girl
Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com
Book Bean: Simple Tea
You may not feel like spoiling yourself with anything decadent while reading about such hardship.
On a much lighter note there is this delightful book about the real life happenings of one Ellen Degeneres. Now, I am a fan of Ellen’s, I love the style of her humor and wit. So I am quiet a bit biased going into this little mini review. This book is a breath of fresh air. It is pure Ellen genius, and I sped right through it. At the end I was sad it was over, the light-hearted gentle humor was such an endorphin rush. I don’t know if other people will feel as I did reading it,
but I sure hope so. 🙂
The Funny Thing Is
Rated: a shocking 3.9 on amazon.com
Book Bean: Alppuchino
I know I’m not Ellen, I need to drink more Iced Green Tea.
This is a fantastic book. I purchased it because it was inviting and looked really interesting. It is about chief Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanche tribe. Being of Native American heritage myself, I am drawn to historical books such as this. What I love about this book is that it reads like a novel. The story is so engrossing and interesting. It was well written, informative, and entertaining as well. If you are interested in Native American Culture and/or History (or even if you’re not) this is a must read.
Empire of The Summer Moon
Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com
Book Bean: Trail Mix Mocha Latte
Espresso with steamed milk, flavored with chocolate, almond extract, and cherry. Keep it natural for a better more earthy flavor.
 I know, another book about the Holocaust, but it is such an exceptional book. This particular book is written by Victor Frankl an Austrian Neurologist and Psychologist. He writes about the events that took place from a different point of view than other books I’ve read, which I really liked. He would break down the why’s and woes of each person’s action/reaction, and I  found that fascinating. This book is part Holocaust experience story, part “what I’ve discovered because of it.” It’s like getting a mini-documentary and a self-help book all in one.
Man’s Search For Meaning
Rated: 4.7 on amazon.com
Book Bean: Plain Brewed Coffee
Again you won’t feel like indulging while reading this painful memoir.
And to end with another light-hearted note. Lucile Ball, the comic legend and genius. This autobiography was discovered randomly after her death. Again I am probably a bit biased here, because I ADORE Lucy. I Love Lucy was iconic. I grew up watching it, and to this day it is my favorite! Lucille ball and Ricky Ricardo are a match made in heaven (on screen at least.) I love the behind the scene detail, and the great pictures that accompany this book. I am so happy that this gem was discovered so that we could enjoy her legacy.
Screen-shot-2012-04-30-at-9.46.00-AMLove, Lucy
Rated: 4.8 on amazon.com
Book Bean: Vitameatavegamin!
But seeing as it’s so hard to find, how about a mouthful of
Truffle Cocoa, to get in the Lucy spirit 🙂

 

I know there are so many other lovely books that I’m leaving out. Books that I just haven’t read yet, or wasn’t thinking of. However, these are the ones that stood out to me. 🙂

What non-fictions book/s stand out to you?