Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Actually Read (and Liked!) Because of a Recommendation

Confession: I’m the worst at getting book recommendations. My reading list is already so long and I read more by feel than by a particular order–if I finish a YA contemp, maybe I’ll feel like a sci-fi middle grade after it, who knows?! Plus I get weirdly obstinate when people tell I “need to write” a particular book. Even if I know I’ll like it and I trust the person who’s recommending it, I don’t want my reading habits to be tied to any particular person.

That said, there are some books I (eventually) read that I can remember someone specifically recommending to me. And I actually ended up really enjoying them! So I’m joining this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, to share my list of ten books that I read because of a recommendation. In no particular order:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
I never would have come across Garden Spells on my own, but a couple of librarian friends highly recommended it. Now I’ve read several of Addison Allen’s books and love them!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
I can’t remember if a friend recommended this to me or actually gave me a copy, but either way, it was my introduction to Hale and her beautiful storytelling.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok
A friend in high school recommended this to me, and I adore this story of fathers and sons and love and letting go.

The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
Walt found this quirky and sad book almost by chance, and passed it onto me afterward. We both ended up really enjoying Meno’s writing.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by by Laini Taylor
I think I was the last person to read this. One of my crit partners let me borrow her copy, and I finished it over a weekend.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
This is kind of a double recommendation, since a friend in high school recommended it to me after a teacher recommended it to her. Still one of my favorite short story collections.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
I remember a friend in fifth grade mentioning Babbitt, and this ended up being one of my all-time favorites.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters
I mostly get my graphic novel recommendations from librarian friends. This one is at the top of my favorites list!

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
A friend bought a copy for me, which is good because I probably wouldn’t have thought to pick it up otherwise. Ended up loving it and rereading it a couple of times.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, right?! I remember seeing the hardcover at my local Barnes & Noble when I was in like 9th grade and thinking, Oh, that sounds interesting, but I only had money for one hardcover that day and basically forgot about the boy wizard. Then my mom got a copy when she was travelling, read it in a day, and brought it back for me. We devoured the next two, and the rest of the series as they came out.

What books have you read because of a recommendation? Comment below or share your own post for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside The US

I love reading all the Top Ten Tuesday posts, a weekly blog link-up feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week, the prompt is ten books set outside the United States and, considering international vacations aren’t happening for me this summer, I’m happy to do a little bookish travel and share a few of my favorite internationally-set YA favorites. Although I could add a dozen other awesome international books, these are all novels I feel really capture a particular sense of place. In no particular order:

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
A surreal and terrifying story of trust, self, and survival in Antarctica.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
This powerful story of strength, family, and destiny centered around an arranged married wrecked me in the best way.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
It’s unfair how good Australian YA writers are, and Marchetta is the best of the best, and this book is her best.

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan
An arresting and touching look at child slavery in the chocolate industry, as narrated by a boy trying to protect the people he loves.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Nothing gets my Oxford-loving heart beating quite like Lyra’s thrilling adventures in this beautifully crafted story.

Sekret by Lindsay Smith
Spies, psychics, and secrets in Communist Russia–tell me you don’t want to see the movie version of this.

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
A charming and surprising story of a tiny European island and its royal family on the edge of WWII.

Caminar by Skila Brown
Told in verse, this stunning story of love and survival in Guatemala’s civil war in 1981.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Bright and charming and surprisingly touching, this Italian vacation has everything from love to grief to lots of gelato.

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
Powerful story of history, family, and sacrifice set in Ireland during the Troubles.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Resolutions for 2016

I love reading the Top Ten Tuesday series around the blogs, but I don’t often take part. What better way to kick off the year in blogging than with a set of reading and writing resolutions for 2016? I’m not a real resolution person, but I like the idea of focusing in on book-related plans for the here.

So here we go–my reading and writing resolutions for 2016!

Reading Resolutions

  1. Finish book series I’ve started: I’m the worst at series. Even when I love the first book, I have such a hard time finishing the second and the third. Usually it’s because I finish the first and want a book with a different feel (eg, contemp vs. fantasy, historical vs. sci-fi) immediately after. but then I feel like I can’t remember everything about the first one and I put the second off and start a new one and the cycle continues. This year I want to finish all the series I’m enjoying but just having finished yet before starting any new ones.
  2. Read a few books for grown-ups: YA is my thing. I love YA. But sometimes you gotta see what the adults are reading, right?
  3. Add some non-fiction to the list: I tend to read fiction, but straying toward non-fiction has been great in the past. I want to keep that up in 2016.
  4. Pick from books already on my shelves: I know, it’s hard to go to the library and not get a book or two or five. But there are already so many great books at home I haven’t read yet, and several of them could also help with resolution #1.
  5. Read more, tech less: it’s easy to get caught in the laptop/phone futzing cycle. Any time I spend at home, looking at a screen is time I could be reading.

Writing Resolutions

  1. Finish my current WIP: I wrote a full draft last year and am diving back into revisions now. I’d love to get it in a solid enough place to send it out on submission within the next few months.
  2. Complete a new first draft: I dipped my toe into another WIP at the end of last year, and want to have a complete draft finished by the end of the year. This one is still very much in the early phases, so we’ll see how it actually goes.
  3. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: even if it’s half an hour, I can get something done. You don’t need a huge chunk of time; little blocks of time add up.
  4. Start outlining new projects: because it’s easier to write the first page when you already have an idea of where things are going.
  5. Have fun: because writing is hard, but it should also be joyful. No matter what happens with publishing, it’s a joy to spend time with characters and stories.

Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for putting together the Top Ten Tuesday series! Have bookish resolutions of your own? Share yours in the comments or in a blog post!