Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Want to Reread

I don’t often participate in Top Ten Tuesday, but I am today because it’s a choose-your-own-theme week and because I’ve been thinking a lot about rereading.  I’ve been doing a fair amount of rereading this year, which is why my reviews of new books has been so spotty.  For the past few years, I’ve had a strict no rereading policy, but I’ve let up on that for 2013.  As a result, I’m participating in this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I’ve long claimed that Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my favorite YA novels of all time, but I haven’t ever actually reread it.  Most of my most beloved novels have been read countless times, but this one hasn’t, for whatever reason.  I have a copy, and I talk about this book often enough, so what’s holding me back?  Am I afraid I won’t love it enough the second time through?  I suppose it’s a distinct possibility, but if the book is half as clever, smart, and thought-provoking as I remember it being, it’s unlikely.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Time was, I used to reread this series nearly every July.  It’s been a couple of years since I reread these books, and it’s probably about time to do so.  I find the books are a certain kind of comfort food, and I usually end up so enmeshed in the world of Harry Potter that going back to regular books is sort of difficult.  I’ll probably save a reread of these for the summer, when I can sit on our deck and sip lemonade (spiked, probably) and while away whole hours.

3. Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Eagar is one of my favorite YA authors, and unfortunately she’s still predominantly unknown here in the United States.  You can find a copy of this book for your Kindle on Amazon, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a physical copy of the book that doesn’t require international shipping.  One of the most moving books I’ve read in recent memory, Raw Blue sticks with you long after you’ve finished it.  Eagar is an author to check out, if you have the means of obtaining her books.  I should reread this one, because I love it so.

4. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary is one of those books that will present differently to you depending on where you are in a given relationship or life stage.  Moving, clever, and often achingly real, I tore through this book the first time I read it.  I’d like to go back and read it again and really take my time with it.  There’s a lot I’m sure I missed, and being in the healthiest romantic relationship of my life would give me a fresh perspective, I think.

5. Good Oil by Laura Buzo (published in the US as Love and Other Perishable Items)

I read Laura Buzo’s excellent debut when it was still an Australia-only publication, so I’m including it on this list with its original title (which I prefer, for so many reasons).  One of the smartest, most  unique coming-of-age tales, Buzo’s book is a must-read for any fan of contemporary YA.  Heartachey, honest, and funny, this is a book worth a second read.

6. Tighter by Adele Griffin

I remember reading Adele Griffin’s Tighter in something like one or two sittings.  I remember literally not being able to climb off the treadmill because I needed to see what was going to happen next.  The book is incredibly engrossing, tense, and fraught with the perfect kind of twisty, mind-bending suspense that is guaranteed to hook you.  Pairs well with The Turning of the Screw, which is the novel it’s adapted from.

7. Lucy Peale by Colby Rodowski

Lucy Peale is a holdover from my own childhood, and it’s a book that I should own a copy of but don’t, for some reason.  Blame several moves and an occasional book purge.  The book is definitely one I should purchase a copy of, but the fact that it’s out of print has delayed this, for whatever reason.  A book aimed at the middle-grade set, this one focuses on a young girl from a scary-religious family who finds herself pregnant and cast out.  It’s atmospheric, beautiful, and very real.

8. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

By far Niffenegger’s less-popular full-length novel, it’s also the more interesting, thorny one.  It features at least two sets of twins, a ghost, and a very quirky apartment complex in London.  I haven’t re-read it, but I should, because the novel’s twists and turns almost necessitate it.  Dark and completely absorbing, this would be a great fall/Halloween read.

9. The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

The first time I read this book, it took me more than a year to complete it.  It’s not that Shriver’s book isn’t interesting or engrossing, because it is.  Blame it on life stuff and a short attention span.  By the time I finished it, I was cursing myself for waiting so long.  It’s like Sliding Doors in book form without the cute romantic comedy tropes.

10. The Children and the Wolves by Adam Rapp

Dark, dark, dark.  This is one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read, but there’s so much to think about and chew on that reading this slim novel just once doesn’t do it justice.  You have to revisit it and really spend time with the characters, no matter how disturbing they are.

What’s your top ten this week?  What would you reread, given the chance?

2012 Year in Review: Listening

Music is a big part of my life, but I don’t write about it here very often.  Sure, I post the occasional song or video when I do my 5 things I’m into posts, but I don’t tend to go on and on about music unless there’s something I’m super obsessed with.  Partly, I believe music is very personal, and partly, I get so tired of people being judgmental little turds about what other people listen to.  If it makes you happy, go for it.  Listen to it.

My music tastes are wide-reaching and eclectic (a lot of people say this, but I actually believe it’s true when applied to me, and since it’s my blog, I get to do whatever I want).  Without further ado, here are the 10 albums that rocked my world this year.  IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

20-year-0ld Cloud Nothings frontman Dylan Baldi called this album’s title a description of what the album aimed to do: attack the memories of what many people believed the band sounded like, and create something new.  The result is exactly what Baldi hoped to accomplish, as this album replaces the band’s sugary pop-punk hooks from their previous album(s) with an aggressive new sound that’s got heavier musical accompaniments.  Not everyone could handle the change in Cloud Nothings’s sounds: I had a friend throw in the towel after one measly listen to this album, which was his loss.  This is an album that grows on the consumer with repeat listens, and Baldi’s willingness to grow and adapt his music as he gets older can only mean good things for him in the future.

2. Grimes – Visions

Say what you will about Claire Boucher’s proclivity for strangeness, but you have to admit that the woman put out a hell of an album this year.  Visions is Boucher’s best album to date, and it’s also the most accessible and most fun to listen to.  Present in her music are all sorts of contrasts and complications to sort out (and I’m not just talking about trying to figure out what, exactly, she’s saying at any given time).  Grimes uses pop hooks and weirdly atmospheric beats to create a unique sound that is all hers.  It helps that her high, almost childlike voice is haunting and beautiful all at once.  Whatever.  All I know is that I listened to “Oblivion” and “Genesis” on repeat this year, and I’m not even sick of them yet.

3. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls

This seems to be an album that has transcended age groups and has widespread appeal among the young and old.  It probably has to do with the fact that Alabama Shakes–led by twenty-something Brittany Howard–grounds their music in sounds that sound straight out of the 70s.  Howard’s throaty voice and confessional lyrics help add a roughness to the album.

This is the record that has most often been on repeat at family dinners this year.  For a debut, this is a solid album well worth a couple of listens.

4. Beach House – Bloom

Beach House has slowly come into a sound all their own.  The Baltimore-based duo’s dream-pop isn’t for everyone, but I once heard it described as “make out music for indie kids,” and that feels pretty apropos.  With their most recent album Bloom, Beach House has strengthened their sound and sharpened their craft.  This is a fantastic album, full of subtle shifts and music that attempts to describe the indescribable.

5. Purity Ring – Shrines

Purity Ring was one of my later finds in 2012, but since I discovered them in October, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them.  A Canadian duo who were virtually unknown before a song called “Ungirthed” leaked onto the internet, Purity Ring has taken the indie circuit by storm.  Megan James’s vocals are largely what propels this album to greatness, as her high, clear voice conveys lyrics that are often creepy and beautiful.  The album’s focus on the body might not sit well with some listeners, but the entire album feels like one extended piece, and the fact that it fits together so beautifully and so memorably makes this a standout album of 2012.  I can’t wait to see what Purity Ring has to offer in 2013.

6. Jessie Ware – Devotion

An unlikely marriage between smoldering pop music and electronic beats, Jessie Ware’s album is definitely one that requires more than one listen.  There’s a lot of influences at work in Ware’s music, including 80′s pop (you can hear some Whitney) and 90′s diva-inspiration, but the sound remains uniquely Ware’s own.  Ware’s hypnotic voice pairs well with her haunting lyrics, and the inclusion of a variety of sounds, including dubstep beats and other electronic sounds makes this an album well worth your time.  If nothing else, Ware’s voice is worth a listen.

7. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

I’m not sure what there is to say about Frank Ocean’s album that hasn’t already been said already.  This is definitely one of the best albums of the year, and pretty much everyone would agree with that statement.  Ocean’s strengths lie in the melodic power of his voice but also in his absolutely brilliant words: Ocean’s lyrics can’t be rivaled by any other songwriter working today.  Ocean’s storytelling abilities are what make Channel Orange go from a great album to a fantastic one with staying power.  Every single song on the album tells a story, and each of those stories is absolutely worth hearing again and again.  (I particularly recommend “Super Rich Kids” and “Bad Religion.”)

8. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

There’s an autobiographical element to Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City that feels almost uncomfortably intimate.  But that’s also what makes the album work as well as it does.  While each song on Lamar’s album can stand on its own, it also works within a larger concept.  There’s a lot of heavy stuff at work here: Lamar deals with the powerful pull of gang life and how often the only thing keeping him from joining is his faith and his family (Lamar populates the album with snippets of actual voicemails from family members).  While all this could feel like too much, Lamar manages to pull it off because his lyrics are brilliant, his hooks are catchy, and the album as a whole is a fantastic study in how great hip hop can be.

9. The Men – Open Your Heart

I went through my punk phase in high school, but I certainly didn’t have anything like The Men to help me funnel my anger through music.  With this album, my sixteen-year-old punk self was reborn. Perhaps most interestingly, this album is both aggressive and welcoming.   It’s the kind of album that wants to knock you around a little bit and then knock a few back with you while you laugh about it all.  It’s a great album, with each song building on the last.  I’ll put it this way: it’s one of the only albums I burned in its entirety on a CD to listen to in the car this year.  That’s a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one.

10. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors is a fairly isolating band.  People tend to either really like them or hate them (I’ve dated more than one person with a strong opinion on the band), but I’m going to come out and say that I like them.  Despite the band’s propensity for switching things up often (including who is in the band, exactly), there’s no doubt that this most recent album’s switch-up has made for the most accessible, addictive album from the band yet. Swing Lo Magellan marries catchy beats with the most straightforward lyrics Projectors has ever come out with (and…they’re still kind of hard to digest).

What did you listen to this past year that you absolutely loved?

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2013

I don’t often participate in the Broke and the Bookish’s Top 10 Tuesday, but I am this week because it’s a topic I can’t resist: the top 10 books I’m most looking forward to in 2013.

Without further ado, here we go (in chronological order, kind of):

1. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Schmidt
(January 15, 2013)

This book is probably my most anticipated read of 2013. I’m not sure what about it speaks to me so loudly, but something does.  This one looks to be dark and complex and layered, and I can’t wait.

2. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
(January 15, 2013)

I feel as though I’ve been waiting for this one forever.  Appelhans’s dystopian debut looks to be genre-bending, exciting, and a little unconventional.  I can’t wait for this one.


3. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
(February 13, 2013)

Ruta Sepetys? 1950s New Orleans?  All I need to know. CANNOT WAIT.

4. Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister
(February 21, 2013)

The ghost of Dorothy Parker hitches a ride on an unsuspecting young woman.  Hijinks ensue.  Considering that Dorothy Parker is pretty much my favorite writer ever, how could I not read this one?

5. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
(March 5, 2013)

Despite the fact that I think the series got off to a rocky start and I still maintain that the ending of the second book was totally manipulative, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being super excited for this one.

6. 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
(March 21, 2013)

I think Nova Ren Suma is one of the most interesting women writing for YA these days, and I can’t wait to see how she follows up what she’s already done.  This one looks dark and compelling.

7. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
(May 7, 2013)

Is there a single YA blogger who isn’t looking forward to this one?  I feel like we’ve been waiting for the last companion novel in the Anna series forever.  I cannot wait for this romantic story.  CANNOT WAIT.

8. Goldfish by Kody Keplinger
(2013)

I think Keplinger’s writing gets stronger with every one of her offerings, and this one looks to be just as interesting as her last one (which was my favorite of her books).  Keplinger imbues her characters with authentic characteristics and doesn’t shy away from dark issues, so this will be an emotional read.

9. All the Rage by Courtney Summers
(2013)

Can we all just agree that Courtney Summers is doing some of the most interesting, edgy, and consistently quality work out there right now?  Can we all just agree that I will literally read anything she ever publishes, whether it fits into my preferred genres or not?

10. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
(August 2013)

I love Matthew Quick, and this one looks to be dark, dark, dark.

Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished

I don’t often participate in the Broke & Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday, but this week I am because I’m dangerously low on books to review and because I think this is a really interesting topic.  Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Top 10 Series I Haven’t Finished:

1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Without question, this is the best-written series on the list.  I don’t know what to say about not having finished the series, except for the fact that I’ve tried–and failed–several times to read the second book in the series.  Something about the beginning doesn’t grip me, and since my friend accidentally spoiled me on how the series ends, I don’t have a compelling reason to keep trying.

2. Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

This is probably a case where the series has gone on too long and isn’t compelling to me any more.  That, combined with the over-hyped TV show True Blood, has soured me on the series.  I still really enjoy the first several books in Harris’s charming series, but I jumped ship somewhere around book 8.

3. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal

This is embarrassing, since I have a (long-neglected) blog devoted to the series and everything, but I’ve never read the entire series.  I know how it ends, but I haven’t read all the books.  Guys, there’s something like 180 books in the series, and while I have almost all of them, I haven’t had time to read them all.  Maybe someday?

4. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

I read the Alice books as a pre-teen, and what’s interesting to note is that Naylor has continued to write the series well into my adulthood. For a long while, I kept telling myself that I would one day read all the books in the series, but it feels like a lot of work, and, well, I’ve got so much else to read I don’t know if it’s a feasible goal. That being said, it’s an excellent series and great for tweens.

5. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first book in the series (Shiver), and while I didn’t love it, I liked it enough.  A combination of paranormal romance overload and several slightly annoying things related to the author kept me from ever really trying to finish the trilogy.  I did pick up the second one, but since I couldn’t remember much from the first, I didn’t find it compelling enough to continue.  I don’t feel like my life is missing anything by  not finishing this series, so I’m going to give it a permanent pass.

6. Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer

A series about a cataclysmic event that forever alters life on Earth is a book that’s right up my alley. I really liked the first book in the series, and I was super-stoked to read the follow-ups until I realized that Pfeffer was telling the same story over and over again from different points of view.  This didn’t make the books slow down: it made them straight-up grind to a halt.  Not interested.

7. Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter

I sort of hate-read the first in the series but also found it oddly compelling, despite the fact that Carter got so much of the mythology wrong (intentionally or not, it was irritating).  The second book in the series was a total trainwreck in my opinion, and that’s…pretty much the end of that.  Life’s too short, etc.

8. Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

The first book was beyond problematic for a variety of reasons (google “Hush Hush and Rape culture”), but even looking away from that, the series is totally boring. I read the second book in the series and couldn’t have been less connected to its characters.  The third book was out of the question, and I actually laughed when I saw they were going ahead with a fourth one.  This is a series that I find insulting, boring, and not worthy of my time.  Pass.

9. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

I read the first book at an ex-boyfriend’s near-constant urging. I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but I soldiered on because it was important to him.  It was overly long and in desperate need of editing.  Then he and I broke up and I didn’t have to worry about finishing the series.  This is not a pop culture phenomenon that I understand in the least.

10. Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Hands down the most boring books about a ghost falling in love with a human that you will ever read.  There are too many titles like this flooding the market for me to stick with a series that’s a chore to get through.

 

What series have you given up on? Any of these I should give another shot?

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Reading

Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is all about the books you’re looking forward to reading this winter.  I’m pretty excited to have a month off from grad school.  I want to get some serious reading done.

About half of these books are already out.  The rest will be released between now and the beginning of March (which is what I consider to be the start of spring, no matter what the weather does).  A few are adult fiction titles, but for the most part, these are YA novels.  Here we go!

1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The buzz for Mafi’s debut novel about a girl who can kill with a single touch has been insane.  I don’t know if it’s because she’s such a presence on Twitter or in the blogosphere, but something has made this book deal really stand out (at least to me).  Even though reviews have been mixed–people either love it or trip over Mafi’s prose–I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and read this.  It’s happening this winter for sure.

2. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

A book that has definitely been featured in one of my Waiting on Wednesday posts, Handler’s Why We Broke Up is something that’s been on my radar for a while now.  I love the concept of this novel, and I can’t wait to see what the former Lemony Snicket has in store for readers.

3. A Million Suns by Beth Revis

The sequel to Revis’s debut Across the Universe, this is some of the best YA science-fiction currently being offered.  Even though I thought the first one meandered a bit too much (when you have dual perspectives it’s easy to get a little stuck), I’m still intrigued enough to pick up this follow-up.  Everyone needs a little space adventure now and then.

4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Wither, DeStefano’s debut, was one of those books that grew in my esteem the longer I thought about it.  Beautifully written with wonderfully-developed characters, it was a dystopian that put others to shame.  It was a novel that was strong enough to stand on its own.  While part of me wishes that it had been a standalone, another part of me is really, really glad that there’s a sequel, and that it’s coming out soon, because I can hardly wait.

I am tired of the heroin-chic models on the covers, though.

5. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Jennifer Close’s send-up of wedding culture in America is a book that I feel obligated to read, for a variety of reasons.  Supposedly very funny and poignant, I’ve been on the library waiting list for this one for a while.  I’m going to get to it this winter, though.  I can feel it!

6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Another book I’m waiting for at the library.  Taylor’s Smoke and Bone has been garnering rave reviews–and it feels like it might be a quiet pop culture phenomenon.  You guys know how I feel about pop culture phenoms–at least, I hope you do–I have to be in on them.  The book is maybe a little heavy on magic/fantasy for my tastes, but from what I’ve heard, this is a book that cannot be missed.  And so I won’t miss it.

7. After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy

It was actually Jordyn’s review of this book at Ten Cent Notes that made me think I might like to read it.  The premise is something that I think I’d like: told from the perspective of two girls who get involved with the same boy, the novel deals with the fallout–you guessed it–after a kiss.  This in and of itself would be enough to recommend the book to me.  Then I read McVoy’s debut, Pure, and decided I liked her voice.  Now this book is high on my to-read list, and I can’t wait to get into it.

8. The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Another book that I’ve featured in Waiting on Wedesday, this is a book that I cannot wait to read.  You guys, it’s a book set in the 90s and deals with Facebook.  How could I not want to read this?  Reviews have been mixed, but as a true child of the nineties, I think I might really enjoy this one.

9. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Another dystopian.  This one features a heroine named Aria, a virtual world, and an expulsion from society.  All good things, in terms of a compelling story.  The reviews on this one have been pretty positive, and I’m more than a little excited to read it.  As much as I complain, it takes a lot for me to tire of a good dystopian.

10. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

I just finished Sullivan’s Maine and pretty much loved it.  It was a slow burn of a read, and the characters have stayed with me since I finished the book early last week.  Commencement was her first novel, and it features recent college grads looking to their futures.  While I’ve heard some mixed things about this one, the fact that I loved Maine so much tells me that I might really like this one, too.  Another book I’m waiting for at the library.

What books are you most looking forward to this winter? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween

Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, centers on books that are best read during Halloween.  Previous posts have been testament to how much I love Halloween (and the month of October), and this week’s top 10 is too good to pass up.

Without further ado:

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: I loved this book so hard.  My review has yet to be posted on this here blog, but rest assured: this book is smart, scary, and totally worth your time.  Blake’s rendering ghosts and folklore is flawless, fascinating, and terrifying.  Just the right amount of violence and suspense to keep readers up late into the night.

2. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: Although not technically horror, Nova Ren Suma’s creeping, seeping story of two sisters and the mysterious town they reside in is perfect reading for the month of October.  There’s something sinister about the story Suma’s crafted here, and readers won’t be able to shake the feeling that something’s very, very wrong.

3. Tighter by Adele Griffin: A modern retelling of The Turn of the Screw, Griffin’s creepy, twisty tale about a teenage au pair who is being haunted by ghosts (or is she?) takes place during the summer but would be perfect for a spooky night near Halloween.

4. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: Although many people feel that Niffenegger’s follow-up to the wildly successful The Time-Traveler’s Wife lacks the same impact as her debut, I really enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry and found it haunting in a very subtle, understated way.  The characters in the book stay with the reader long after the story is finished, and the haunting presence of the ghosts is powerful.

5. The Shining by Stephen King: Even though King’s famous novel takes place over a particularly cold, particularly snowy winter, there’s something about reading the book over the month of October that’s appealing.  The haunted hotel and the terrible things that have happened there make this one of King’s most terrifying novels (I think).  The fact that it’s the first King novel I ever read to completion doesn’t hurt, either.  Oh, nostalgia.

6. The Keep by Jennifer Egan: An ancient European castle and a modern-day prison intersect in this twisty, suspenseful novel by Egan.  Definitely more challenging and less accessible than other novels on this list, this novel will keep the suspense high.

7. Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn: Arguably one of my favorite books from when I was a kid and still one of the scariest stories I remember reading as a child, no one does a ghost story better than Downing Hahn.  If you haven’t read this one, you should.  It’s great.

8. My Dead Girlfriend by Eric Wight: A graphic novel aimed at middle-grade and young adult readers, Wight’s story about a boy and the dead girl he loves is funny, cute, and compelling.  It’s definitely on the lighter side of things to read around Halloween, but the darkly funny story will work for readers who want to get into the spirit without having the pants scared off of them.

9. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski: How could I not include this one?  We already know that it’s one of the scariest books I’ve ever read.  Ever.

10. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: This one speaks for itself.  If you like zombies, and you haven’t read this one yet, you’re…not really a zombie fan.  Get on it.

What’s on your list?  What books should I read before Halloween this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Never Reviewed

Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, centers on books you read and loved but never wrote a review for.  The reasoning behind a lack of review might be because you read it before you had a blog or because you didn’t know how to put your love for the book into words.  Whatever the reason, today’s list aims to share some of that love with the rest of the blogosphere.  Onward.

1. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel: I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this book on the blog before, but I know I’ve never written a proper review of it.  (Seriously though, I’ve been gripped with the most ridiculous deja vu lately that I find myself second-guessing every thing I post about.)  Kimmel’s memoir about her early childhood growing up in the tiny town of Moreland, Indiana is very funny, very sweet, and a book that has stayed with me for years after initially reading it.  It is the book that I once used to write a paper about memoirs for a history class in college (oddly enough, my professor didn’t see the humor in Kimmel’s writing the way I did), and it is a book that is absolutely one of my comfort books.  I return to it when I need to feel safe and happy and secure in my reading.

 

2. Before I Die by Jenny Downham: Another book that I’ve written about but never reviewed, Downham’s book was one that I read before I started blogging.  I re-read it last year and was just as moved by it as I was the first time.  Tessa is dying of cancer and conceives a list of things she wants to experience before she dies.  While this book could easily fall into trite, Lurlene-McDaniel-territory, Downham’s stripped-down prose and attention to detail and characterization make this a tear-jerker that you’ll stay up late into the night to finish.  It honestly is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.  Thinking about the last few pages brings tears to my eyes.

 

3. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker: This collection of Parker’s work (short stories, essays, and poems) is usually the first book I list when asked what my all-time favorite book is.  This book would be one of my desert-island books, because it contains a little bit of everything: the short stories are sharp and often a little haunting, the poetry is well-crafted, witty, and painfully true, and the essays and articles provide a glimpse into Parker’s keen eye for pop culture.  Readers remotely interested in Parker should check out this book and skip around in it to get a taste of her brilliance.

 

4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Okay, so I wrote about this one in last week’s Top Ten Tuesday.  It’s that good, you guys.  Narrated by Offred, this story is about a woman whose sole purpose is to bear the Commander’s child.  Her only value comes from the possibility of her fertility.  Atwood’s grim commentary on feminism, gender, and a possible future is one that shouldn’t be missed.  I wrote a research paper about this novel in college, and it remains to this day a piece of writing that I am very proud of.

 

5. Lucy Peale by Colby Rodowsky: This little gem is a remnant from my childhood.  Lucy Peale is the daughter of a fanatical minister who has lived a very sheltered night.  Pregnant after being raped by a boy she met while handing out church fliers, Lucy is at a loss as to what to do.  Cast out of her family, she heads to Ocean City to try to make a life for herself.  She meets the kind, patient Jake, and the two form an unlikely friendship.  Well-written and poignant, this is one of those underrated books that I hope to always have a copy of.

6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: In all honesty, I haven’t written reviews for any of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy, but Mockingjay stands out to me because I was regularly reviewing books when I read it.  It’s one of those instances where there was so much hype surrounding the book and so many people reacting to what happened in it that I felt overwhelmed.  I didn’t feel as though I could add anything to the discussion, and so I abstained.

7. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr: This sweet little novel about a girl named Jenna who reconnects with her childhood best friend Cameron Quick is quiet and heartbreaking.  Zarr is a master of characterization, and the way that she gets into the psyche of Jenna is truly remarkable.  I read this one in a day, in between taking exams to get my teaching license, and I was truly moved by it.  Of course, this was before I was blogging.

 

8. Just Friends by Norma Klein: One of those books I discovered by accident when I was young and left unattended in the teen section of my local library.  Isobel and Stuart have been best friends forever, but Isobel is secretly in love with him.  When he starts going out with another one of her friends, she decides to get even by going out with someone else.  It’s a pretty basic premise that could be rife with contrivances, but Klein’s deft writing keeps it from becoming stale, and her frank, realistic depictions of teenage sex (normal, healthy sex) made this book fascinating and a little scandalous.  It’s my favorite Klein book, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to check out one of the YA pioneers.

 

9. The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver: Kind of like the book version of Sliding Doors, Shriver’s book follows Irina as she alternates between two realities: one in which she chooses to leave her longtime partner for the dashing, charming snooker player Ramsey Acton and one in which she doesn’t succumb to temptation.  Both stories are compelling and offer wonderful juxtapositions between loyalty and temptation, love and lust, and all that other good stuff.  In the interest of full disclosure, it took me a full year to finish this book.  I kept putting it down, not because it wasn’t interesting (it is!) or because I didn’t like it (I do!) but because it was dense and complicated and I kept getting distracted by it.  But I will say this: when I finally did finish it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters.  They still sit with me, years later.  READ IT.

10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: An interpretation of the story of Dinah (whose life is given about one line in the actual Bible), Diamant’s novel tells the story of Dinah’s female relatives who gave birth to her and raised her.  The richly-realized world in which these women live is fascinating and beautiful and worth your time.  I read the book years ago, before the thought of ever having a book blog ever entered my mind.  It’s a book that I think has some crossover appeal to YA, as well, as it features Dinah when she’s quite young.

 

What about you guys?  What books make the list of titles you’ve never reviewed?  Does anything keep you from reviewing a book (provided you have an outlet for such review)?

Top Ten Tuesday: Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic Titles

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish is a “freebie” week, meaning that bloggers can post about whatever they want to.  One of the suggestions they make is a top ten list of the best dystopian novels.  Since August is Dystopian Month over at Presenting Lenore, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon (and yeah, okay, I’m feeling a little uninspired when it comes to other ideas) and present a list of ten of some the best Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic* novels around.


1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Quite possibly my favorite book of all time, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale should be required reading, whether you’re a fan of dystopian lit or not.  I’m so glad to have my copy of the book back (it’s a long, boring story) it’s not even funny.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:  Three of the girls I shared a cabin with this past week devoured the series while we were in the nature.  While it is my personal belief that the first book is the strongest, all three of the books in Collins’s trilogy are well worth your time.  If you haven’t read the series (whatever your reasoning might be), you should rectify that.  Like right now.

3. Into the Forest by Jean Hegland: This book is disturbing, but also completely haunting.  It’s a book about sisters and nature and survival.  Technically post-apocalyptic, it’s an adult novel with YA-crossover appeal.  If you haven’t read any of Hegland’s work, this is the book to start with.  It’s been years since I’ve read it, but the characters are still with me.

4. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: I’ve talked about my love for Ness’s richly-realized series about a boy named Todd and the future world he lives in on this blog before, but it bears repeating.  Like the Hunger Games, I think the first book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy is the strongest, but all three novels are fast-paced, fascinating, and compulsively readable.

5. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: The only short story to make the list, Shirley Jackson’s terrifying account of a small town with a terrible tradition is one of the first dystopian tales I ever read.  From a young age, I was affected by this story and Jackson’s lyrical, sparse prose.  If you haven’t read this story (or the rest of the tales in the eponymous collection), you should.

6. The Stand by Stephen King: Long and twisty, The Stand is arguably King’s best work.  A contemporary tale about a deadly virus that wipes out most of the world’s population is absolutely terrifying and totally compelling.  The terrible miniseries starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald is worth watching, too.

7. Y: The Last Man (series) by Brian K. Vaughn: Another series I’ve talked about on the blog, Brian K. Vaughn’s gorgeous graphic novel series (collected into 10 trade paperbacks) tells the story of perennial man-child Yorick Brown who suddenly finds himself the only man left on the planet.  Funny, smart, and more than a little heartbreaking, this is a series for even the most skeptical of graphic novels.

8. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff:  Rosoff’s story about a young girl who falls in love with her cousin as the world around them erupts into a devastating war is lyrical and gorgeous.  The unique prose makes for an interesting, stream-of-consciousness tale, but it is the rawness of narrator Daisy’s voice that makes this novel worth your time.

9. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: Perhaps one of the most famous post-apocalyptic novels to come out of the past decade, McCarthy’s sparse, horrifying account of a man and his son trying to survive in a world full of predators is one of the most depressing books I think I’ve ever read.  That being said, it’s still pretty terrific.

10. The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman: Perhaps not one of the best dystopian novels out there, but one that’s certainly worth mentioning, if not just for the fact that I think it’s really underrated.  Perfect YA for the younger crowd, Goodman’s novel about a girl, her family, and her struggle for the truth about the world in which she lives is an entertaining, interesting story.  Something about it reminds me of Matched, only this one’s less gimmicky (and has about 99% less hype surrounding it).

*While I realize that there is a firm, definite difference between dystopian fiction and post-apocalyptic tales, for the purposes of this assignment, I am combining them.  I’m too tired and more than a little lazy this week.  I know, I know.
What did I miss?  Probably a lot, right?  TELL ME.

Top Ten Tuesday: Tough Issues

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Every week, bloggers post their top ten lists based on that week’s theme.  I’ve never participated in the Broke and the Bookish’s meme before (though I have posted top 10 lists in the past), so I thought today I’d join in.

Top Ten Books Tackling “Tough” Issues (social, cultural, etc.)

1. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick (Homelessness): Arguably one of the best books I’ve read all year, Quick’s story about Amber Appleton, an optimistic teen who lives on a school bus (Mellow Yellow) with her alcoholic mother and her dog Bobby Big Boy (B3) is funny and moving.  It’s full of quirky characters and lots of heart.  Although Amber’s homelessness is part of the story, it doesn’t take over the narrative, and it’s never preachy.  I cannot recommend this book enough, you guys.

2. Sister Mischief by Laura Goode (Racism, Homophobia, Faith, Identity): Probably the best debut author book I’ve read this year, Goode’s book about an all-girl hip-hop group living in the suburbs of Minneapolis has some of the best female characters to appear in YA in recent memory.  These girls are smart, funny, and full of life.  If you haven’t gotten a copy of this book yet (it was released on July 12), you should probably do so right now or we can’t speak any more.

3. Boy Toy by Barry Lyga (Teacher-Student Affair): I read this several years ago (before I started reviewing books on the blog) and remember finding it extremely compelling and very disturbing.  Lyga’s book deals with the aftermath of a boy’s affair with his teacher–when he was in seventh grade.  It’s dark stuff, but it’s well-written and never crosses the line into being too didactic.  It’s pretty much required reading if you have any interest in books about teacher-student relationships.

4. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Eating Disorder): Another book that I read before I began reviewing regularly, Halse Anderson’s unflinching look at a girl in the throes of anorexia.  Lia’s best friend Cassie is dead, and Lia’s parents are distracted.  As Lia spirals further and further out of control, consumed by her eating disorder, it becomes more and more likely that she’ll meet Cassie’s fate.  This is really dark stuff, but it’s extremely well-done.  Worth reading, to be sure.

5. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (Loss/Grief): Without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time.  Ockler’s book about Anna and Frankie, two best friends coping with the sudden loss of Frankie’s older brother Matt, is absolutely beautiful.  Anna and Matt had secretly begun dating right before he died, and they hadn’t told Frankie yet.  As Frankie acts out over the course of a summer, Anna struggles with what to tell her about Matt, as well as dealing with her own feelings for a new boy.  Read this read this read this read this.

6. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta (Cultural Identity): Another book that I read before I started reviewing, Marchetta’s smart, sweet story about an Italian-Australian girl named Josie being raised by her single mom is one of my favorite books of all time (I also loved the movie adaptation).  Josie struggles with her Italian heritage (reinforced by her immigration-generation grandmother) and with the fact that her estranged father is suddenly in town.  Smart, funny, and a little heartbreaking, this book is perfect for fans of Marchetta’s other works, as well as readers new to her books.

7. Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel (Suicide): High school senior Stella has a bright future ahead of her: she’s top of her class and headed to Princeton in the fall.  She lives with her foster parents in an affluent suburb, and everyone agrees that she’s overcome tragedies and obstacles in her past (her parents both died of a drug overdose when she was eleven).  What no one seems to recognize are the signs that Stella is suicidal and is systematically putting into motion her plan to kill herself.  Seigel’s debut novel is dark and funny and upsetting.  It’s also totally worth reading.

8. The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen (Kidnapping): Jackie McGee is a girl who was kidnapped and placed in a cement room.  She has access to food and water but no natural light and no human contact.  She types letters to her family, her captor, and her friends as she waits to see if her captor will ever come back or if rescue will ever come.  Tense, well-paced, and one of the scariest books I remember reading as a kid, Sebestyen’s book (originally published in 1988) is pretty timeless.

9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Depression & Rape): For ninth grader Melinda, life is just about surviving each day.  Since the disaster of last year’s end-of-school party, her friends won’t talk to her and her parents are clueless about the changes she’s undergone.  She barely talks and retreats further and further into herself.  Over the course of the school year, though, Melinda works on trying to find her voice again and speak out about what’s been done to her.  Arguably Halse Anderson’s strongest work to date, Speak is a book that I think every reader of YA should read.

10. Finding My Voice by Marie G. Lee (Racism/Cultural Identity): Senior Ellen Sung is feeling the pressure from her parents to get into Harvard, just like her older sister.  Ellen wants to have a normal senior year in her small Minnesotan town, though.  She’s a talented gymnast who can’t devote enough time to it because her parents expect her to study.  She’s caught the eye of gorgeous football player Tomper, but not everyone is comfortable with the town’s golden boy going out with a Korean.  As Ellen navigates the challenges of being the only Asian at her school, she learns that sometimes staying quiet isn’t the best response to ignorance.  Read it, read it, read it.

What did I miss, guys?  What tough issue books should be on this list that aren’t?  I’m always game for suggestions.

Top Ten Picks: Ten Guilty-Pleasure Movies

Inspired by Jillian at Random Ramblings, today’s Top Ten Picks is one of my own creations.  Instead of writing about books today,  I thought I’d tackle another one of my favorite topics: movies.  More specifically, I thought I’d talk about some of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies.  You know what I mean, right?  I’m talking about the movies that are pretty terrible in general, but you can’t help but watch them every time they’re on TV?  The movies you watch when you’re laying on the couch, hungover from a crazy night out?  Yeah, those ones.

Here are ten of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, complete with quotes and trivia, because I was actually that bored.

Outbreak (1995)

General McClintock: With all due respect, Colonel Daniels, if you do not follow us to Travis Air Force Base, I will blow you out of the sky.
Daniels: General, with all due respect, fuck you, sir.

Outbreak was a 1995 movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Renee Russo, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey.  A deadly airborne virus escapes a lab via a monkey and wreaks havoc on the world.  It’s up to the scientists to try to track down the source of the virus as well as develop a cure for it.  This movie has everything, you guys: adventure, exotic locales, political commentary on animal testing, love lost and found again, and deadly viruses!  When I was in middle school, I became obsessed with the concept of catching a virus like Ebola.  This movie both fed that fear and allowed me to fantasize that Dustin Hoffman would race to find a cure for me before I perished in a hospital bed, covered by sterile plastic.  What can I say?  I was a weird child.

DID YOU KNOW? Betsy, the capuchin monkey who is the host of the virus, also played Marcel on Friends.

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Preacher: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Grab hold of a hot pan, second can seem like an hour. Put your hands on a hot woman, an hour can seem like a second. It’s all relative.
Tom Scoggins: I spent four years at CalTech, and that’s the best physics explanation I’ve ever heard.

Deep Blue see was released in 1999 and boasted a cast of Thomas Jane (who has something of a cult following), Saffron Burrows (who will forever be Nan from Circle of Friends to me), LL Cool J, Samuel L. Jackson (in what has to be one of the best death scenes of ALL TIME), and Stellan Skarsgaard.  The basic premise is this: a group of scientist are living and working on an isolated research facility in the ocean, trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease (what is it with me and medical testing movies?).  The sharks that they are testing the drugs on end up getting super-smart as a result of the experiments and start killing all the scientists.  DOESN’T IT SOUND AWESOME?  THAT’S BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME!  My sister and I have seen this movie more times than I’d like to admit, starting with a late-night viewing of it on a portable DVD player at the airport during a super-long layover.  In addition to boasting one of the best death scenes ever, it also has some of the most clunky exposition in all of film: “As a result, the sharks got smarter.” (This is more effective when spoken aloud, with Burrows’s soft accent.)

DID YOU KNOW?  The quote from Preacher listed above is actually a quote adapted from Einstein himself: is adapted from a quote by Einstein himself: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

13 Going on 30 (2004)

Jenna: Matty! It’s Thriller!

This is one of those movies whose charm actually oozes out of the screen.  Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo take this fairly standard romantic comedy and bring it up a notch with their convincing performances.  A sort-of reverse take on Big, Garner’s 13-year-old self makes a desperate wish on her thirteenth birthday to be thirty and fabulous.  When she wakes up, she finds that she’s zoomed forward in time and has everything she ever though she wanted: a fabulous job, a great apartment, and a famous boyfriend.  But as she navigates the world of her 30-year-old self while maintaining the mentality of a 13-year-old, she starts to realize that her new life isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.  I would watch this movie for the Thriller dance scene alone (and sometimes have, to be honest), but it’s also a movie that makes me laugh and makes me feel good every time I watch it, which is reason enough for it to make this list.

DID YOU KNOW? Gwyneth Paltrow, Renee Zellweger, and Hillary Swank were all considered for the role of Jenna.  Gross.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Rosie: It’s very Greek.

This movie adaptation of the Abba-themed musical boasts a pretty impressive cast: Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, and Stellan Skarsgaard all show up to give campy, fun performances.  Set on a Greek island the week of Streep’s daughter’s wedding, she doesn’t realize that the daughter has invited the three men who might be her father.  Hilarity ensues.  This movie is totally terrible, you guys, but it makes me laugh and it’s kind of trippy, what with all the singing and dancing and scuba diver outfits.  This movie always cheers me up (always), and it always makes me wish I was a bottle of wine deep.

DID YOU KNOW? Mandy Moore, Amanda Bynes, Rachel McAdams, and Emmy Rossum were all considered for the part of Sophie.

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

Lucy: If you fit into my pants I will kill myself.

For years, I have been teased mercilessly for my ridiculous crush on Bill Pullman (not to be confused with the kind of skeezy Bill Paxton, mmkay?).  This is the movie that helped enforced that crush (along with Casper, oddly enough).  Released in 1995 and starring Sandra Bullock as a subway token attendant (haha, I love Hollywood) in love with a customer she’s never even really talked to before (Peter Gallagher), the romantic comedy finds Bullock’s character in a tricky situation after she saves Gallagher from an oncoming train and then gets mistaken for his fiance.  As Gallagher’s character is in a coma, Bullock falls in love with his family–and his brother (the boyishly good-looking Bill Pullman).  Hilarity ensues.  To be honest, I went through a phase when I was about 15 where I would watch this movie every time I babysat for my neighbors.  I never told anyone this, and I kind of wish I hadn’t just blogged about it now.

DID YOU KNOW? The original script had the roles reversed: a woman was in a coma with a man pretending to be her fiance.  This was considered to be too predatory (it’s creepy either way, guys), and so it was rewritten.

The Mummy (1999)

Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
Rick: And what is that?
Evelyn: I… am a librarian.

When an Egyptologist and an uncouth adventurer accidentally release a very old, very pissed off mummy from his tomb, they must race to put him to rest before he mummifies other people in order to become whole again.  Readers, I ask you, what is not to love in this movie?  Like Deep Blue Sea, this movie has so much to offer: Brendan Frasier before he got all puffy; Rachel Weisz’s 20s-style eyebrows; a CGI-mummy hell-bent on revenge; grossly misrepresented historical facts about Egypt; a smidge of romance.  It’s got something for everyone, and for some reason, this is a movie that I revisit from time to time and always feel completely entertained.  This doesn’t apply to the sequels, though, which I have declared anathema.  They don’t exist in my world.

DID YOU KNOW? An Egyptologist was brought in to phonetically render what Ancient Egyptian might have sounded like for the dialogue.

Blue Crush (2002)

Anne Marie: What do I want? Oh my god, I want Penny to quit smoking and go to college. I want, I want to be able to pay the phone, electric and rent in the same month. I want a girl to be on the cover of Surf magazine. It would be great if that girl were me, but any girl would do. I want… I mean I wish my mom would come home, and I really, really want to win pipe masters tomorrow, that’s what I want.

Perhaps the only Kate Bosworth movie I can stomach, Blue Crush is a great, frothy girl-power anthem of a movie featuring female surfers.  Never having surfed a day in my life, you wouldn’t think that this movie would be meant for me, but something about it is incredibly enjoyable.  I don’t know why, exactly, but every time it’s on TV, I end up watching way more of it than is strictly necessary.  It’s clear that my tastes in men have changed since 2002, though, because while I can appreciate the fact that Matthew Davis (who is now on The Vampire Diaries, what up?) is handsome, he doesn’t really do it for me.  When I was seventeen, though?  Total cutie.  Plus it’s the only time that Michelle Rodriquez is almost warm as a character.  Almost.

DID YOU KNOW? For the big competition scene, a male pro surfer was used, complete with wig, bikini and shaved legs. But in the final edit, he was digitally replaced with Kate Bosworth, with only his feet remaining in the film.  (That kind of pisses me off like a lot.)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Peter: [singing] Everybody hates you. Everybody wishes that you were dead. Peter you suck. Peter you suck. Peter your music is fucking terrible. Peter you suck, Peter you suck. You don’t do anything of value. Peter you suck. Go write some music. But instead you sit and write these bullshit songs. It’s so self-loathing. Go see a psychiatrist. I hate the psychiatrist. Go see one anyway.

I’ll admit that I was nervous about the basic premise of this movie when I first heard about it.  As a big fan of Kristen Bell, I want her to be successful and haven’t had much faith in her movie choices (I’m still recovering from You Again, not to mention the atrocity that was When in Rome) so far.  Imagine my surprise when I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall and fell in love with the entire thing.  When a television-score composer (Jason Seigel) gets dumped by his actress girlfriend (Kristen Bell), he decides to take a trip to Hawaii to get over her.  Things get complicated when he ends up staying at the same resort as her and her new beau (Russell Brand).  The movie is really, really funny, and it never fails to make me laugh really hard.  That alone is enough to warrant a spot on this list, guys.

DID YOU KNOW? The naked break-up scene is based on an actual break-up that Jason Segel experienced.

One Fine Day (1996)

Jack: Maggie, when you grow up and are incredibly beautiful and intelligent and possess a certain sweetness that’s… that’s like a distant promise to the brave, to the worthy, could you please not beat to a pulp every miserable bastard that comes your way simply because you can? Could you not do that?
Maggie: Okay Daddy.

Le sigh.  This is, perhaps, the only movie in which I can watch George Clooney and not want to punch him in his smug face.  A single mom and single dad try to navigate their busy days with the addition of their young children when both of them miss the ferry taking the kids on a field trip.  In the course of the longest day ever, the two kind of end up sort of falling a little bit in love maybe?  Most awkward sentence ever?  Michelle Pfeiffer is pitch-perfect as a completely anal-retentive woman who has to be in complete control, and Clooney mugs as a lothario who oozes charm.  The addition of a tiny Mae Whitman (my absolute favorite character on Parenthood, not to mention my current girl-crush) makes this movie really entertaining and super-cute.  Plus, Natalie Merchant sings the theme song.  It literally doesn’t get any more 90s than that.

DID YOU KNOW? When Maggie Taylor forgets the kitten’s name, it was not a part of the script. Mae Whitman actually forgot the kitten’s name and stayed in character. The director thought that it was so cute that he kept it in the movie.

Liar Liar (1997)

Fletcher: I was hoping after being married to me you’d have no more strength left.
Audrey: Well, you have to remember that when we were married, I wasn’t having sex nearly as often as you were.

I can’t explain this one, you guys.  I shouldn’t like it, because Jim Carey is at his most obnoxious, and yet somehow this movie never fails to make me laugh.  I once shared a great moment with a guy on the treadmill next to me at the gym over this movie.  It was a total bonding experience.  Basic premise: a hotshot lawyer’s young son makes a birthday wish that his father can’t tell a lie for a whole day.  Shocker: it comes true.  It’s ridiculous and very, very funny.  I can’t help it.

DID YOU KNOW? Carey turned down the role of Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movie in order to take this role.

So that’s it, guys.  Ten of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies.  What did I miss?