Books About Books and #TheReadingList [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

January 21, 2022

Do you love Books About Books?

Favorite Books About Books (white text alongside a tall stack of hardback books on a blue painted wood table)

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Books About Books.”

Do you have a favorite Book About Books?

I fall hard for Books About Books and it’s one of my favorite and most read categories! Following today’s review, find a list of a few of my favorite “Books About Books” titles.


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “books about books” read:

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Ode to Books and Libraries, Multi-Generational Friendship, London (suburb)

My Summary:

The Reading List is a memorable debut novel about a list of library books, the magic of reading, and unlikely friendships. A widower, Mukesh longs to connect with Priya his bookworm granddaughter. He ventures into the local library and meets Aleisha, a lonely and sometimes surly teenager who is a volunteer at the library for the summer. Aleisha has discovered a reading list in the back of one of the books she was shelving and decided she would read the books on the list. When Mukesh asks her for a reading recommendation, she remembers the list and recommends the first book on the list. Mukesh and Aleisha strike up an unlikely friendship and connection through discussing the books on the list as they read them (she reads one book ahead of him).

My Thoughts:

Debut: The Reading List is a beautifully written and all around wonderful debut novel. Sara Nisha Adams is definitely on my “new authors to watch” list!

Main Characters: Mukesh and Aleisha are both lonely and start out as nonreaders. Aleisha begins to read books on the “found” list out of curiosity and boredom while Mukesh thinks he “should” read because his late wife was a reader and now his granddaughter is a bookworm. He hopes that reading will help him keep alive the close connection he had with his wife and make new connections with his granddaughter, Pirya. Mukesh and Aleisha form a bookclub of sorts as they look forward to sharing their thoughts about the recent book that Aleisha has recommended for him (from the list). Their conversations are sweet, a friendship forms, and reading becomes a lifeline for both of them.

Other Characters: The story includes other colorful and interesting characters from the library and the community. However, when the author devotes an entire chapter to a random character, I found it to be a distraction that took me out of the story and away from the main characters. Each one is an interesting character and the sections of random characters exhibit the same quality of writing, but I’m not sure of the purpose except to establish the sense of a broader reading community.

The Reading Life: The author captures so much of the magic, satisfaction, and enjoyment of the reading life! Books have the ability to create strong connections between people….even strangers! How many times have you been in a public place and found yourself trying to read the title of the book the person next to you or across from you is reading? Or when you notice a person reading a book you loved, do you feel compelled to start a conversation? Do you ever feel that a book is recommending a person? I.E. if this person is reading that book, they must be a great person! Book people really are the best people, and I think this a universally recognized fact!

Favorite Quote:

“Priya was reading a book he knew all about. He knew the world Priya was in right now. There was something magical in that…in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.”

A Mystery: There is a bit of intrigue in the story, also. Where did the list come from? Who created it? For what purpose was it created? Is there a reason that certain books were selected?

Structure: The story is loosely structured around the actual reading list as Mukesh and Aleisha work their way through. Each book is discussed to varying degrees and your reading enjoyment will be enhanced if you’ve read some or all of the books (but it’s not necessary to have read any of them). However, there’s more to this story than a simple reading list. It’s a story of found family, community, grief, connection, and moving forward.

The Books: Mukesh’s reading experience starts with The Time Traveler’s Wife (a book Mukesh found while cleaning after his wife died). He wants to read the book she had last read before he returns it to the library. This in turn leads him to meeting Aleisha and receiving his first recommendation.

(if you’re curious!) The Reading List:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Rebecca
The Life of Pi
The Kite Runner
Pride and Prejudice
Little Women
A Suitable Boy
Beloved

Themes: the joys of reading, connecting with others through books, the book life, friendship, support, loneliness, sibling relationships, mental health, grief, complicated family dynamics, connection, and community.

***contains spoilers***
Content Considerations: mental health, suicide, cancer

Highly Recommended: I’m enthusiastically recommending The Reading List for fans of books about books and the reading life, for those who appreciate an uplifting story (except for hard hitting issues as mentioned above), for readers who may have read any or all of the books on “the list,” and for book clubs.

Your Book List: If YOU were to curate a reading list to leave in random places for other readers or non-readers to find, what books would you put on your list and why? Wouldn’t it be fun to start finding book lists lying around?! Hummmm….perhaps this will be a future blog post!

My Rating: 4 Stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

The Reading List Information Here

Meet the Author, Sara Nisha Adams

Author Sara Nisha AdamsSara Nisha Adams is a writer and editor. She lives in London and was born in Hertfordshire to Indian and English parents. Her debut novel The Reading List is partly inspired by her grandfather, who lived in Wembley and immediately found a connection with his granddaughter through books.



A Few of My Favorite Books About Books/Bookshops/Libraries

(the first section are my most favorite and most highly recommended)

The Printed Letter Bookshop
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
The Last Bookshop in London
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
The Librarian of Auschwitz
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
The Reading List

* * *
The Last Chance Library
The Paris Library
The Lost and Found Bookshop
The Jane Austen Society
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Library of Lost and Found
The Night of Many Endings
Cloud Cuckoo Land
The Personal Librarian
84, Charing Cross Road



 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the January installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Do you love Books About Books?
Do you have a favorite?
Is The Reading List on your TBR or have you read it?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

#6Degrees of Separation: From Rules of Civility to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

January 1, 2022

#6Degrees of Separation: From Rules of Civility to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

#6Degrees of Separation (collage of covers)

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Young women living in or near New York City (late 1800s to early 1900s)

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, and even though it’s not one of my favorite stories, I have an idea for a chain that features…

“Young women living in or near New York City from the late 1800s to the early 1900s…”

I love New York City and stories set there (or near there) in the late 1800s and early 1900s are fascinating!

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (cover) Image: a woman in a long dress lies back in a lounge chair and a man sits beside her.....drinks are on a small side tableEven though Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is beautifully written and has received high praise, I remember feeling rather meh about the story when I read it years ago.

Amazon Summary: “On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.”


the way of beautyFIRST DEGREE. From Rules of Civility, it’s an easy leap to another young woman living in New York City, Vera in The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio.

My Summary: “As a child in the early 1900s in New York City, Vera Keller falls in love with a childhood friend who is nine years older than she. Through the years, they remain close. Although Angelo acts like her older brother, Vera is convinced that someday they will marry. One day she is shocked when he introduces her to his fiance, Pearl. Despite her heartbreak, Vera and Pearl become friends and Pearl introduces her to the Suffragette Movement. As Vera becomes entangled in their lives, her love for Angelo never dies. As a result of her love for Angelo and her commitment to Pearl’s cause, Vera has many challenges and difficult choices to make. The latter half of the book is told from Vera’s daughter’s perspective. Her daughter, Alice, enjoys benefits from the Suffragette Movement but also faces her own challenges in caring for her ailing father and in choosing between two men whom she loves.” My review of The Way of Beauty.


The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (cover) Image: a woman in a yellow dress stands with an open book inside a large museum type roomSECOND DEGREE: Another story of a young woman living in New York City features Laura in The Lyons of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. One other fascinating aspect is that the setting features the New York Public Library.

My Summary: “Told in two timelines, The Lions of Fifth Avenue tells the stories of Laura Lyons (1913) and Sadie Donovan (1993) and their experiences at the New York City Public Library. In 1913, Laura’s husband is the superintendent of the library and their family actually lives in an apartment inside the library. Laura wants more from life and is bored at home with her two children, so she enrolls in journalism school and becomes involved with a radical group of  women feminists meeting in Greenwich Village. Meanwhile, valuable books are stolen from the library and her family is under suspicion. In 1993, Sadie is the Curator at the New York City Public Library and also shares a secret connection with the famous essayist, Laura Lyons. The library experiences the theft of a few valuable pieces and Sadie’s job is in jeopardy. Truths come to light regarding Sadie’s family history as the case is investigated.” My review of Lions of Fifth Ave.

(more…)

December 2021 Reading Wrap Up

December 31, 2021

December 2021 Reading Wrap Up

December Reading Wrap Up (collage of titles)

How was your December reading?

Welcome to the last monthly wrap up of the year!
My December reading consisted of mostly light, escapist reads.
Out of 8 books completed, I had one 5-star read, six 4-star reads, and one 3-star read.
I’ve now read 119 books towards my year end goal of 100. Do you set a year-end goal?
(see my reading stats and new goals post here)

My favorite fiction read of the month is Sisters of Night and Fog (for it gripping content).


Did we read any of the same books?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Titles are Amazon affiliate links or my linked reviews
.
ARC=Advanced Readers Copy (complimentary copy for review)


Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck (two women wearing hats and business suits walk away from the camera in a field of low fog)

Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck

5 Stars. (ARC) Historical Fiction, WW11, France, Resistance Movement. (Pub Date: 3/1/2022)


Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner (cover) Image: three young women walking arm in arm toward the camera, red text and ...

The Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

4 Stars. (ARC) Historical Fiction, London. (Pub Date: 5/17/2022)


A Vicarage Wedding by Kate Hewitt (pink text over

A Vicarage Wedding by Kate Hewitt

4 Stars. #3 in a Series, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance.


The Golden Girls Getaway by Judy Leigh (cover) Image: white text against a blue sky and three women sitting in camp chairs with their backs to the camera on a green expansive lawn area

The Golden Girls’ Getaway by Judy Leigh

4 Stars. (ARC) Contemporary Fiction, Coastal England and Wales. My review of Golden Girls.


The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

4 Stars. Contemporary Fiction, Book About Books, Diverse Read.


A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland (pinkish red text over a background picture of a country gazeba decorated for a wedding)

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessical Redland

4 Stars. (ARC) #4 in a Series. Contemporary Fiction, England. (Pub Date: 1/6/2022)


A Vicarage Homecoming by Kate Hewitt (a young man and woman walk through a quaint rural village)

A Vicarage Homecoming by Kate Hewitt

4 Stars Contemporary Fiction, England, Family Drama, Romance.


The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith (cover) Image: graphic drawing of a blue bus with orange markings drives along a country road...rust colored trees and scenery including a statue of a rooster

The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith

3 Stars. (#22 in a Series) Contemporary Fiction, Botswana, Diverse Read.



QOTD:

What was your favorite December read?
Did we read any of the same books?
Which of these books is on your TBR?



ICYMI:

December Blog Posts:

2021 Reading and 2022 Goals
Top 5 Memorable Hisfic Reads 2021
Most Memorable Reads of 2021
Top 5 New-To-Me Authors 2021
“Uplit” Recommendations and A Vicarage Christmas Review
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Review
Winter 2021 TBR
Meet the Blogger, Christmas Version
The Golden Girls’ Getaway Review
The Girl With Seven Names Review
Christmas in Briarwood Review
Book Ideas For Gift Giving
#6 Degrees of Separation: Ethan Frome
The Stranger in the Lifeboat Review
The Beekeeper of Aleppo Review



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book covers are credited to Amazon.

© http://www.ReadingLadies.com

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Memorable Histfic Reads 2021 [Book Reviews] #T5T

December 28, 2021

Top 5 Memorable Historical Fiction Reads 2021

5 Memorable Histfic Reads of 2021

Background Image Source: Canva

*Titles are links to my reviews which contain Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday. This week I’m narrowing the prompt of Top 5 Books of 2021 to Top 5 Historical Fiction Reads of 2021.

ICYMI: See all my most memorable reads of 2021 in this Top Ten Tuesday post.

Top 5 Histfic Books

1.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

a woman dressed in a rose dress stands with her back to the camera overlooking a balcony and a gold wall

Well written and researched, historically interesting, compelling characters with a side of mystery, England.

2.

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Gold and Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi (cover) Image: white text against a dark blue background

Page turning escape, refugee, found family, Afghanistan.

3.

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner (cover) Image: blue-toned picture of a woman and young girl holding hands and walking down railroad tracks with backs to camerai

Histfic (SF earthquake) with a side of mystery and page-turning suspense.

4.

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman (cover) Image: two girls sit on a wing of a plane

Women in the war effort (WW11, Hawaii), friendship.

5.

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

The Invisible Woman by Erica Robuck (cover) Image: a woman stands with her back to the camera and shadows of airplanes on the ground surround her

Biographical, a brave woman in the Resistance Movement (WW11), France.



QOTD:

Have you read any of my Top 5 Histfic reads?
What is one of your Top 5 Reads of the year?
If you read histfic, what was your most memorable read in that genre?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Most Memorable Reads of 2021 #TopTenTuesday

December 28, 2021

2021 Memorable Reads:
The Top Ten List and The Categories

2021 Most Memorable Reads

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Best Books I Read in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday (winter) graphic

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

I mostly love the angst of creating top ten lists! Although it can be a daunting task, it’s my most anticipated post of the year! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was an enjoyable, memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.”

I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in top ten list form and in categories. The categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provide some runners up and books that didn’t make it to my official top ten. Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a few were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2021

Based on the qualities of enjoyment, engagement, compelling, unputdownable, and book hangovers.

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

1

 The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

2

Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack

3

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

4

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi,

5

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
(finished on 12/31/2020 so it didn’t make last year’s list)

6

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

7

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

8

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

9

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

10

 Project Hail Mary (the audio version) by Andy Weir

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede

The Day the World Came to Town



* * * * * BONUS *****

(more…)

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 New-To-Me Authors 2021

December 21, 2021

Top 5 New-To-Me Authors 2021

New-To-Me Authors in 2021 (white text over a background of library shelves)

Background Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Five New-To-Me Authors in 2021.

New-To-Me-Authors

Andy Weir

OK….I think I might be the only one who didn’t read The Martian?! After I read all the enthusastic reviews for Project Hail Mary, it was time to read Any Weir. Well, I was not disappointed! Project Hail Mary made my Top Ten Best of 2021 List (published on 12/28/2021).

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (cover) Image: an astronaut floats in space tethered to a gold and black object

Marilynne Robinson

I have had Gilead on my TBR for years now! I decided this was the year to finally read Gilead and I fell in love with Marilynne Robinson, and now I have plans to read the next three in the loosely connected series in 2022.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (cover) Image:

Jose S. Kilpack

After I accepted the ARC for Love and Lavender and posted my review, I had several readers comment that they love Kilpack. However, this is my first book by her and I loved it (made my top ten list this year), so I know I want to explore her backlist! If you’ve read her, what book would you recommend next?

Love and Lavender by Jose S. Kilpack (cover) Image: a woman in a long dress and bonnet stands alone in a field of lavender

Jason Reynolds

I have heard of Jason Reynolds and I have seen his poetry (For Every One), and I decided then that I wanted to read one of his middle grade novels. I made that happen this year when I read Ghost (and the other three in the “Track” series). I’ve heard him interviewed and was so impressed by his purpose and mission that I’ve love to read more of his work.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (cover) Black text on a yellow background....a young African American boy is running off the page

Angeline Boulley (debut author)

Boulley is my only debut author on this list (although not the only debut author I’ve read this year). I was impressed with Firekeeper’s Daughter and I’m interested in reading her next work….especially if she continues writing as an “own voices” author for Indigenous People.

The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (cover) Image: the profiles of two native american young People (man and woman) in cultural dress


These are the first five new-to-me authors I found in my list. I’m sure there are more!



QOTD:

Have you read any of my new-to-me authors?
Who is your favorite new-to-you author?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

“Uplit” Recommendations and #AVicarageChristmas [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

December 17, 2021

Do you have “Uplit” on your bookshelves?

UpLit What's On Your Bookshelf (white text in a blue text box against a background of reddish pink balloons against a blue sky

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Uplit.” If this term is new to you, here’s a definition I found online:

‘Up Lit’ is the new literary buzz word, described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism.

Although I regularly and intentionally seek out “feel good” books with some substance (more in 2020 and 2021 than ever before!), I first became aware of “Uplit” as an official term and subgenre in this blog post by Lynne @ Fictionophile.

Uplit adds balance to my reading life.

Perhaps this is why I adore Middle Grade literature that often has strong themes of family, friendship, and hope.

However, “uplit” is not exclusively fluffy and light. The stories can include substantial themes but kindness, gentleness, empathy, and hope always shine through the darkness.

***Note of Caution: as with most subgenres, there can be a difference of opinion in the books that are included….the following list is not an “official” list and simply represents my personal opinions.

From my reading, here are a few of my favorite “uplit” titles (in no particular order):

Although those who curate lists often cite Eleanor Oliphant as their prime example of “Uplit,” I don’t know if I fully agree. Although there is kindness, quirkiness, and a ray of hope, the story is filled with trauma and has an unreliable narrator. The story is devastating. What do you think? Uplit or not?


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “uplit” find from The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series (Book 1)

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

My Summary:

A family tragedy that happened years ago has caused Anna, the third of four sisters, to suffer from shyness and some social anxiety. She works and lives in Manchester and for the first time in years she comes home for Christmas because her parents have a big announcement. Coming home is difficult for her yet she adores her family. One night to escape her busy and complicated family and bossy sister, she goes alone to a pub where she meets a handsome and kind stranger. Simon is easy to talk to and she ends up spilling her family secrets. She’s mortified to later learn that Simon is connected with her father at his Parish. Can Simon and Anna salvage their new relationship, negotiate family complications, and create a magical Christmas?

My Thoughts:

I first came across this series in a post by Lisa @ Hopewell’s Public Library of Life Blog just at the time I was comtemplating light Christmas reads for December and rounding out my novella reads for Novellas in November. At 182 pages, this is a quick light read for your busy December days! Thanks for the rec Lisa!

Setting: Who can resist a quaint village in England’s Lake District?

Characters: A Vicarage Christmas is a poignant story of a lovely family comprised of four adult daughters with four unique personalities, a wise and kind father who is also the Vicar of the village parish, and a compassionate and understanding mother who holds the family together and is a gracious hostess. Then, there’s Simon who would like a future with Anna, and I can’t forget about the beloved family dog.

Themes: Lovely themes in A Vicarage Christmas include family dynamics, sibling loyalty, taking risks, grief and childhood trauma, reconciling with the past, community, and parents who do the unexpected.

Lots to Love! I enjoyed this “uplit” story of family, community, and finding love. After reading this novella, I am eager to continue with the series. I’m now on book three, but I think I’m loving book one the most! It was a perfect December read and introduction to the series.

Content Consideration: one trigger warning for memories of the death of a child (sibling)

Recommended: A Vicarage Christmas is an excellent example of “uplit” in my opinion! I’m enthusiastically recommending this heartfelt story for fans of “uplit,” for readers who love gently told stories with themes of family, faith, and finding love, and for those looking for a novella or quick vacation/weekend read.

My Rating: 4 Stars (3.5 rounded up)

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-starhalf twinkle-twinkle-little-star

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

A Vicarage Christmas Information Here

Meet the Author, Kate Hewitt

Author Kate HewittKate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of both historical and contemporary fiction. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary issue-driven women’s fiction, and her novels have been called ‘unputdownable’ and ‘the most emotional book I have ever read’ by readers.

An American ex-pat, she lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways at http://www.kate-hewitt.com, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate’s Reads, to discuss all manner of books, movies, music and cooking.


 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the December installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Have you read A Vicarage Christmas or is it on your TBR?

Do you read “uplit”?

What is your number one “uplit” recommendation?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
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Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Winter 2021 TBR #TopTenTuesday

December 14, 2021

Winter Reading Season TBR (2021-2022) #TopTenTuesday

Winter 2021 TBR (white text over a background picture of a small show dusted pine tree in a small burlap wrapped pot....tree sits on a hardback book)

Image Source: Esther Hanten on Unsplash

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

For winter, most of the titles on my TBR are a result of the wonderful recommendations I receive from fellow bloggers, back list books that I’ve been meaning to read, and ARCs (advanced reader copies). Sadly, my most highly anticipated 2022 release, The Winners by Fredrik Backman (Beartown #3), won’t be available in the U.S. until September.

I never plan more than ten titles for my quarterly TBR lists because I need to leave time for mood reading and review commitments. These ten books are a priority on a much longer general TBR.

What is your most anticipated read this winter?

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Winter To Read List.

Top Ten Tuesday (winter) graphic


Winter 2021-2022 TBR


Home by Marilynne Robinson

Home by Marilynne Robinson (cover) Image: a graphic pictures of greenery, a small section of brown fence, and the sun in a cloudy sky

After reading Gilead this year, I want to read the other three books in the loosely connected series.


The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith

(I’ve read all 21 in the series, so can’t miss the newest….holdover from fall TBR)

The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith (cover) a graphic picture in rust and blue colors of a bus filled with people driving along a country road

I love this gentle series!


Still Life by Sarah Winman

Still Life by Sarah Winman (cover) Image: blue text above and below an orange and blue bird.....a colorful blue and orange border around the center image and text

Thanks for the rec Mailread @ Swirl and Thread Blog


The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain

(hold over from last year….my library never obtained it…so I’ll need to purchase it)

The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain (cover) Image: a gazebo and a lake in a snowy setting

 This Christmas romance is a rec from Jo at The Book Jotter.


The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight For Freedom, and the Men Who Tried To Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

The Woman They Could Not Silence

Thanks to Shelleyrae at Book’d Out for the rec during nonfiction November!


I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird by Susan Cerulean

(another one my library doesn’t have…..hold over from last year…I’ll need to make a purchase)

I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird by Susan Cerulean (I(mage: one large and one small bird looking for food)

This NF memoir is a rec from Annie B. Jones @ From the Front Porch podcast.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain (Cover: red lettering on a soft blue background)

Thanks to Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books for reminding me (again!) that I have been wanting to read this one!


The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (ARC)

(ARC: PUb Date: May 3, 2022)

The Book Woman's Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (cover) Image: old work boots sit atop a stack of books

I was THRILLED to receive an ARC for the followup to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! I should technically wait until spring to read this, but I know I won’t be able to wait!

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Book Ideas For Gift Giving #EveryoneGetsABook #BooksAsGifts

December 7, 2021

Ideas For Books as Gifts

Book Ideas for Gift Giving (Christmas coffee cup and Christmas tree and lights image)

Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

***Most titles selected from newer releases***

When I look at my reading list, most of the books fall into stories that women might enjoy (hence, Reading Ladies); however, my reading occassionally spills over into books that both men and women might enjoy. So please understand that I lean heavily toward reads for women.

For this Book Gift post, I’ve drawn from my RECENT reads (even though they may have been published a few years ago) and from recently published books.

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie……
(more than ten books and ten categories….oops!)

TTT That Arsy Reader Girl Christmas

For Sister, Mom, Grandma, Aunt, or BFF

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce

Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack

For Husband, Brother, Dad, Granddad, or Uncle

Project Hail Mary (the audio version!) by Andy Weir,
performed by Ray Porter (same author as The Martain)

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
(published in 2011 but read this year on the 20th anniversary of 9-11)

This Tender Land by Willian Kent Kreuger

The Answer Is….: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebik

For Middle Grade

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (female main character & a male friend)

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (male main character but the team has girls and boys) ….this is the first book in a Track series
(published in 2016 but read this year)

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (male main character)

The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going (female main character & male friend)

***For ALL the Middle Grade book lists visit Afoma @ Reading Middle Grade.

For Young Adult ( 13-16)

All I Want For Christmas is the Girl Next Door by Chelsea Bobulski (male main character and female friend; contemporary teen romance)

For Mature Young Adult

The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (female main character)

Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (female main character)

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir–the audio version! (science fiction; male main character…some language)

For Fans of Design

Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

For Fans of Historical Fiction

(all of these are candidates for favs of the year)

Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

For Fans of Science Fiction

Project Hail Mary (the audio version!) by Any Weir and performed by Ray Porter
(this will be on my favs of the year list)

For Fans of Memoir

Dolly Parton, Songeller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
(published in 2017 but read this year)

For Fans of Christian Fiction

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon J. Mondragon

For Fans of Complex and Ambitious Stories (by a prize winning author)

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

For Fans of Nonfiction

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede (9-11 in Gander, Newfoundland)
(published in 2011 but read this year for the 20th anniversary of 9-11)….follow up with the musical, Come From Away (on Broadway and streaming on Apple TV +)

For Fans of Books About Books

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (my current read)

For Fans of Quirky Reads

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

For Fans of Complicated Family Drama

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

For Fans of Thoughtful Contemporary Fiction

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


a stack of three hardback books tied with silver and gold ribbon

More Ideas:

Books as Gifts 2020
Books as Gifts 2019


QOTD:

What books are on your gift giving list?

Please let me know if you found something useful on this list for gift giving!



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© http://www.ReadingLadies.com

#6Degrees of Separation: From Ethan Frome to The Deal of a Lifetime

December 4, 2021

#6Degrees of Separation: Ethan Frome to The Deal of a Lifetime

#6Degrees of Separation from Ethan Frome to The Deal of a Lifetime (collage of covers)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Male Protagonists and Their Yearnings For

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun! Honestly, I haven’t participated in this meme since last May because I haven’t felt a connection to the chosen books. Even though I have complicated feelings about Ethan Frome, I’m all in this month!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Ethan Frome, and even though I didn’t love the story because it was rather bleak, I have an idea for a chain that features…

“Male Protagonists and Their Yearnings For…”

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know how I absolutely fall in love with my characters! If I don’t feel that connection it’s difficult to recommend the book. Inspired by Ethan, all the male characters in my chain are yearning/searching for something. I also need you to notice that I worked TWO Fredrik Backman titles into this post….a master of memorable characters.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (cover) Image:Even though Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is beautifully written and has received high praise, I didn’t like the ending of the story which significantly affected my overall star rating of 3 Stars. I did like the main character, Ethan, though (until the end) and he did inspire me to think about other male protagonists who are searching for something. Ethan is pining/yearning for his soul mate and one true love.

Amazon Summary:

“The classic novel of despair, forbidden emotions, and sexual undercurrents set against the austere New England countryside.

Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a hired girl, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.

In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton’s other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read book.”


Jaber Crow by Wendell Berry (cover) Image: white text on a maroon background plus the graphic picture os a wide river cutting through rolling hillsFIRST DEGREE. From Ethan Frome, it’s an easy leap to another male protagonist, Jayber from Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. A similar story and similar desires in some ways, Jayber yearns for an unobtainable younger woman and shares Ethan’s burden of loneliness and desire. However, Jayber Crow is a more satisfying story.

Amazon Summary: “Orphaned at age ten, Jayber Crow’s acquaintance with loneliness and want have made him a patient observer of the human animal, in both its goodness and frailty.

He began his search as a “pre–ministerial student” at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with “Old Grit,” his profound professor of New Testament Greek.

“You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time.”

“And how long is that going to take?”

“I don’t know. As long as you live, perhaps.”

“That could be a long time.”

“I will tell you a further mystery,” he said. “It may take longer.”

Wendell Berry’s clear–sighted depiction of humanity’s gifts—love and loss, joy and despair—is seen though his intimate knowledge of the Port William Membership.”


Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler (cover) Image: a man runs on the street with a cityscape in the backgroundSECOND DEGREE: Although he doesn’t fully realize it at first, another story of a man’s yearning for a soulmate is Micah in Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler.

Amazon Summary:Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, cautious to a fault behind the steering wheel, he seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life.

But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a “girlfriend”) tells him she’s facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah’s meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.

An intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who finds those around him just out of reach, and a funny, joyful, deeply compassionate story about seeing the world through new eyes, Redhead by the Side of the Road is a triumph, filled with Anne Tyler’s signature wit and gimlet-eyed observation.”

(more…)