Category Archives: book lists

Lists of favorite and popular books.

What Book Should You Read Based on Your Favorite FRIEND?

You know you’ve got one!  You may SAY you love all the FRIENDS equally, but we all have our favorites…by now you should know who mine is!

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Whether you’re more drawn to Chandler because of his clever one-liners or Phoebe because of her love of everything whimsy and imaginative, your top FRIEND choice can help dictate what’s next up in your reading list!

So no matter who’s been there for you when you needed them, if you’re still missing FRIENDS, you can get a little taste of your favorite TV BFF with this collection of FRIENDS-inspired books!

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If Your Favorite FRIEND is Monica friends frustrated courteney cox monica geller stressed GIF

Read The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer
cvr9780743246262_9780743246262_hrConsidered to be one of the best cookbooks of all time, The Joy of Cooking is a staple in the home of any food lover.  While most chefs probably have a copy stained with food and filled with crumbs, Monica’s is probably in pristine condition upon her shelf.

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Read Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern
shitdadsezFilled with the best dad-isms you’ve ever heard, Sh*t My Dad Says is sure to be a little look into the future of Chandler Bing as a father.  Filled with amazing one-liners that even Chandler would be proud of, this collection of wit and humor couldn’t BE any better.

If Your Favorite FRIEND is Phoebe
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Read The Artist in the Office, by Summer Pierre
AITO_CoverThis inspirational and interactive book is great for all the Pheobe’s of the world…encouraging small acts of creativity to happen throughout the day, every day.  Take a picture of every coffee mug you see, take a lunchtime adventure, collect doodles and reassemble them…the possibilities are endless!

If Your Favorite FRIEND is Rachel
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Read The Glass of Fashion, by Cecil Beaton51UDgV-SMRLThe Glass of Fashion was written by iconic photographer, Cecil Beaton.  It explores the faces and models that shaped the golden age of fashion.  Filled with illustrations and personal stories about Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, this is one book that Rachel would use as motivation and inspiration.

If Your Favorite FRIEND is Joey
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Read The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman
The_Love_Affairs_of_Nathaniel_P._book_coverNate has it all…a rising career, his choice of beautiful women…but he’s constantly struggling with his own status anxiety and his search for what it really means to be happy.  An absorbing tale of women, sex and love, this is one book that Joey (hopefully!) wouldn’t have to throw in the freezer!

If Your Favorite FRIEND is Ross friends scream ross david schwimmer friends tv GIF

Read Jurassic Park, by Michael CrichtonJurassicparkThe ultimate in dinosaur fiction, Jurassic Park is a classic that Ross would surely have on his bookshelf.  Much different from the movie of the same name, the novel explores the science behind these dinosaurs…a topic Ross would probably love to discuss and argue about to anyone gullible enough to listen!

 

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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20 Books that Changed My Life

As readers, we all have an ever-growing list of favorite books.  Books we’ve lived in, books we’ve cherished, and books we’ve read again and again…and tucked in that long list of favorite novels and stories is a much shorter list of books that have shaped and molded us as human beings…books that have altered our thinking and opened our eyes to new ways of looking at life.  These are the books that will forever hold a place in your heart (and on your shelf!) and may even be the books you find yourself coming back to again and again, if not just to smell their familiar smell or run your fingers up and down the worn cover page.

I was recently asked what this list would be for me…and let me tell you, it was a challenging task.  I feel like every book I read stays with me and becomes a part of me…and to fine-tune that list to a handful of books that have had such a profound impact on me that they CHANGED MY LIFE…well, that’s a tall order!

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But I love a good challenge!  After many, many hours of thought and a few cups of coffee to help get me through, here is my list of 20 books that have changed my life.  A few of these are also on my list of favorite books, but not all of them.  Books like Eating Animals and Being Mortal, though well-written and thought-provoking, were not what I would call ENJOYABLE reads…but they had such an impact on me that I had to add them to this list.

If you love reading and enjoy being swept up in literature, this is a fun exercise to try!  Take a moment and think back on your times spent snuggled in bed curled up with a book and see if you can’t recount the books that helped shape and mold you into the wonderful person you are today.

 

Books that Taught Me About Love and Loss:

Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
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A marriage that looks perfect from the outside is anything but on the inside. A story that completely broke my heart and taught me that things aren’t always as they seem, Revolutionary Road is a raw and realistic portrayal of the “ideal American family”.

It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrehdt
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Filled with inspiring stories and quotes, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken was the book that got me through my first big break-up. Yes, it was super cheesy, but it told me the things I was unwilling to hear from my friends and family and it helped me get back up on my feet during a time I felt I had hit rock bottom.

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
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No book, no person, no song has so perfectly described what it’s like to live with someone who is terminally ill. I read A Monster Calls a few years after my dad died and the wound was ripped right the F open. I related to this book on a deep and emotional level…and it so perfectly described feelings I never thought could be put into words.

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
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A book about dying with grace and dignity, Being Mortal tries to humanize the ultimate fate we all fear. Written by Dr. Gawande, this book takes readers into places like nursing homes and care centers to better understand how the elderly can age without losing their sense of humanity.

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
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A simple story about a boy who doesn’t want to grow up, Peter Pan meant so much more to me after my first experience with death. The story of Peter Pan is quite different from what Disney would have you believe, and after experiencing loss, I felt myself relating so much more to this little boy who just wanted to stay young and joyful forever.

Books that Led to Professional Development:

Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull
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I cannot praise this book enough. Creativity, Inc. is written by one of the founders of Pixar, Ed Catmull. In this management how-to, he discusses what it takes to be a good manager and a good employee. He lays the groundwork for what makes a productive business run and shows readers that it actually is possible to really love what you do. This is the book that inspired me to quit the job that had me in a near constant state of depression and to find something that challenged me intellectually and professionally.

The Artist in the Office, Summer Pierre
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An interactive book about how to have fun at a 9-5 job, The Artist in the Office helps readers find creative outlets throughout the day…encouraging imagination, inspiring creativity, and overall making happier and healthier employees…all while still making time for those dang TPS reports.

Books that Changed the Way I Think:

Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
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A brutally honest look at the cost of farming and eating meat, Eating Animals was a true eye-opener in the best possible way. Though Jonathan Safran Foer is a vegetarian, the point of his book is not to convert meat eaters, but to educate them. Foer pulls back the curtain on companies like Tyson to reveal what is really going on behind closed doors. This book made me sick to my stomach…and it forever changed how I eat and buy my food.

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
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A truly inspirational story about listening to your heart and following your dreams, The Alchemist should be required reading for everyone. A story about a shepherd who yearns to travel the world, this book is equal parts fairy tale and spiritual enlightenment. Similar to The Little Prince in its message, The Alchemist – for me at least – was likened to a religious experience.

The Best of Cooking Light, Cooking Light Magazine
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The Best of Cooking Light was the first cookbook I ever owned. I don’t remember where I got it, it may have been a gift or something I picked up in a budget bin at my local bookstore, but when I was living on my own, this cookbook was my bible. I lived off these recipes and I still use it to this day. It’s filled with food stains and the pages are crinkled from spilled water, but I still love it and cherish the memories of learning to cook with this book by my side.

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, Jenni Ferrari-Adler
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Filled with hilarious and relatable essays about cooking for one and living alone, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant was the friend I needed during a time when I felt so secluded.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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With such simple prose and a simple plot, The Little Prince digs deep into the psyche, unearthing thoughts about love, loss, friendship, responsibility, imagination, and so much more. I’ve read it several times, often in one sitting, and find myself smiling and crying time after time.

Books that Shaped My Childhood:

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
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The Lorax was the first book I read about what it means to stand up for what you believe in. It was my dad’s favorite Dr. Seuss book and he would read it to me often when I was growing up. Filled with inspiring messages about believing in yourself, encouraging change, and giving a voice to those who don’t have one, The Lorax had a profound impact on my understanding of mindless progress.

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
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I still can’t read The Polar Express without crying. A magical story about the true spirit of Christmas, The Polar Express reawakens my love for Christmas every time I read it. The magic of hearing the bell is something I hold personally near and dear to my heart, as my dad had jingle bells all over the house all year long. Needless to say, I still hear the bells ring, year after year.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
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In all honesty, every one of the Harry Potter books could be on this list…but Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was my introduction into the Harry Potter universe. After powering through the first three novels, I went to the midnight release (in costume) of this book and stayed up reading it all night long. I took it with me to the Taste of Chicago the following day and walked all over the city with this 600+ book in hand. It was this book that swept me up into the magic of Hogwarts and was my first introduction into the Harry Potter fandom culture.

My Father’s Daughter, Tina Sinatra
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My Father’s Daughter was not the first Sinatra book I’ve ever read, nor will it be the last…but I found it to be the most truthful. Written by his daughter, Tina Sinatra, My Father’s Daughter is an intimate, honest, and loving tribute to a man the world rarely got to see. Parts of it broke my heart…and parts of it made me love Sinatra all the more. Told with genuine love and respect for her father and her family, Tina Sinatra’s memoir offers a peek into the private life of one of the world’s most popular entertainers.

The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
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This is one of the only books I finished, then immediately started again. I’ve read this book so many times that the spine is starting to fray. A story similar to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but much, much darker, The Book of Lost Things is a story filled with evil monsters, big heroes, and journeys into worlds unknown. This book took me away and completely immersed me another world, something that rarely happens when I read fiction. The message of this book is quite simple, but the characters are so imaginative and interesting and I have a new experience with this book every time I read it.

Books that Shaped My Educational Development:

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
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The ultimate coming-of-age story about a young boy exploring the New York underground, The Catcher in the Rye is the book that made me fall in love with literature. I remember reading it in high school and again in college…both times it opened my eyes to the amazing character development and plot that this story lays out for the reader. Confused and disillusioned, Holden Caulfield searches for truth and honesty among a world of “phoniness” and finds it near impossible to place himself in this unforgiving culture. A novel that speaks to anyone who has struggled through their adolescence, A Catcher in the Rye remains one of my favorite books of all time.

Solar Storms, Linda Hogan
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It was this book that inspired me to follow a Native American educational path during my time in college. I read Solar Storms in one of my English lit classes and fell in love with the Native culture and views on life and death. I felt an instant connection with this novel and it opened my eyes to an educational outlet I never knew was there for me.

The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim
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A brilliant take on fairy tale criticism, The Uses of Enchantment was the book that inspired a life-long obsession with fairy tales. As if it couldn’t get any nerdier, I actually read this book the first time FOR FUN, then again for required reading in my Fairy Tale class in college. This book breaks down the classic tales we all know and love and digs deep into the deeper meanings behind the red cape, the wolf in the woods, the prick of the pin and so much more.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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30 Books That Were Made into Oscar-Winning Films

From book to blockbuster, these 30 memoirs and novels were turned into huge award-winning and nominated films.  Why this is by no means a comprehensive list, take a look and see if your favorite book ever got the Hollywood treatment!

30 Books That Were Made into Oscar-Winning Films

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12 Years a Slave, based on the memoir, Twelve Years a Slave

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Argo, based on the book, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

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Slumdog Millionaire, based on the novel, Q&A

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No Country for Old Men, based on the novel, No Country for Old Men

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Million Dollar Baby, based on the collection of short stories, Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner

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The English Patient, based on the novel, The English Patient

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Forrest Gump, based on the novel, Forrest Gump

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Schindler’s List, based on the novel, Schindler’s Ark (later released as Schindler’s List)

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The Silence of the Lambs, based on the novel, The Silence of the Lambs

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Dances With Wolves, based on the novel, Dances with Wolves

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Rain Man, based on the book, The Real Rain Man: Kim Peek

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Out of Africa, based on the memoir, Out of Africa

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Ordinary People, based on the novel, Ordinary People

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Kramer vs. Kramer, based on the novel, Kramer vs. Kramer

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based on the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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The Sting, based on the novel, The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man

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Oliver! based on the novel, Oliver Twist

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The Sound of Music, based on the memoir, The Story of the Trapp Singers

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Gone with the Wind, based on the novel, Gone with the Wind

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The Godfather, based on the novel, The Godfather

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The Blind Side, based on the memoir, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

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Mary Poppins, based on the book, Mary Poppins

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Misery, based on the novel, Misery

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Room, based on the novel, ROOM

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The Revenant, based on the novel, The Revenant

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Still Alice, based on the book, Still Alice

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Rebecca, based on the book, Rebecca

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Brokeback Mountain, based on the short story, Brokeback Mountain

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on the novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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The Help, based on the book, The Help

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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13 Books to Read Before They Become Movies – 2017 Edition

It seems like books of all genres are getting the Hollywood treatment. Just last year we’ve seen several books come to live on the big screen, and 2017 will be no exception. The Circle, Captain Underpants, The Dark Tower series, and The Bell Jar are just SOME of the books that will be turned into screenplays in 2017…and honestly, I’m really looking forward to a few of these!

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But, like any true student of literature, I just must read the book first…so I’m powering through a few of these books before they are released as movies later this year (I’m on The Circle now – this one is gonna be intense).

So if you’re looking to kill some time between now and when Beauty and the Beast comes out – because let’s be serious, that’s happening – here are 13 books that are getting the movie treatment sometime in 2017!

13 Books to Read Before They Become Movies – 2017 Edition

The Zookeeper’s Wife
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This true story follows the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, who help save hundreds of people from the Nazis during World War II by smuggling them into empty zoo cages.
Movie Release:  March 2017

Wonder
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Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman, a boy who is born with a facial deformity, and his struggle to fit into his new school.
Movie Release:  April 2017

The Lost City of Z
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This national best-seller tells the story of how a British explorer got lost searching for an ancient, fabled civilization in the Amazon in 1925.
Movie Release:  April 2017

The Circle
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A young woman named Mae Holland gets a job at a tech-savvy company (most likely modeled after Google), and learns things both amazing and scary about her new job and the company she works for.
Movie Release:  April 2017

Before I Fall
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After Sam dies on February 12th, she’s forced to relive that day over and over again, eventually unraveling the mystery of her death.
Movie Release:  March 2017

The Dark Tower
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Stephen King’s magnum opus is a series that follows a gunslinger through a magical society, looking for the mysterious Dark Tower.
Movie Release:  July 2017

The Mountain Between Us
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Two strangers must rely on each other to survive after a plane crashes in the wilderness and leaves them stranded.
Movie Release:  October 2017*
*Just a PSA that this movie is set to star Idris Elba and Kate Winslet…so, you know, despite the content, it will be just beautiful to watch!

Murder on the Orient Express
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This classic mystery follows a detective as he pursues a murder on a famous train.
Movie Release:  November 2017

The Nightingale
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Two sisters in France end up in different positions during World War II; one fights with the resistance, the other becomes a prisoner.
Movie Release:  TBD

Thank You For Your Service
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A non-fiction account following the lives of soldiers who have come back from overseas, most still suffering from PTSD.
Movie Release:  TBD

The Glass Castle
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A memoir of Jeannette Walls, chronicling her bizarre upbringing and her strained relationship with her parents.
Movie Release:  TBD

The Bell Jar
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The story of author Sylvia Plath’s battle with mental illness.
Movie Release:  TBD

Big Little Lies
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Things take a turn for a group of moms whose perfect lives begin to unravel.
Movie Release:  TBD*
*This is actually slotted to be a mini-series on HBO.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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16 Books You Can Read in 2 Hours or Less

Let’s face it, we’re all busy people.  Some of us, though we would LOVE to, just don’t have the time to dive into huge novels like A Game of Thrones or the Harry Potter series…but that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from reading entirely!

Even the busiest people have a little time here and there to spare…and in those moments, if you want to get lost in a book, there are stories you can read that will take little to no time to finish…and I’m not just talking about children’s books.

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These are books with substance…books with a plot and moving storylines.  They may be short, but their messages pack a punch; and honestly, having read them all, a good chunk of these are on my list of books that have changed my life.

It’s a new year, people…you CAN make an effort to read more and you CAN make time in your schedule to get lost in literature…starting with this list of short and powerful quick-read books.

*Quick disclaimer…I know everyone reads at different speeds, so some may finish a book on this list quicker than someone else.  Personally, as someone with an average reading speed, I was able to finish all of these books in one sitting, so let’s say 2 to 4 hours, depending on how dedicated you are! 😉

16 Books You Can Read in 2 Hours or Less

The Little Prince
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The story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behavior and emotions along the way.

A Monster Calls
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A monster teaches a little boy about love, acceptance, and the things we can’t control or change.  This is a tear-jerker for sure.  Do yourself a favor and read the book before seeing the movie that just hit theaters.

Letters to a Young Poet
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A young poet writes to Rainer Maria Rilke asking his advice on some poems.  The ten letters that make up this collection are brilliantly crafted and contain some of the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time.

Night
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A candid and horrific account of his survival in the Nazi concentration camps, Elie Wiesel’s Night is a masterpiece in Holocaust literature.

The Old Man and the Sea
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A story of an old Cuban fisherman and his struggle with the giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.  A powerful book about personal triumph and courage.

Of Mice and Men
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A story about friendship, jealousy, and understanding, Of Mice and Men is a compelling story of two outsider striving to find their place in an unforgiving and cruel world.

Big Fish
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Big Fish is the story of a man’s life, told as a series of legends and myths.  Through these hilarious and tender tales, we begin to understand the great feats and failings of a man facing his own death.

Nine Stories
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This book is exactly what it says, nine short stories written by J.D. Salinger.  These stories will stick with you and remind you what an amazing writer Salinger was in his day.

The Phantom Tollbooth
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When a mysterious tollbooth shows up in Milo’s room, he embarks on a series of adventures that teach him just how exciting and amazing life really is.

Lady into Fox
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When newlywed Sylvia Tebrick suddenly turns into a fox, it’s up to her human husband Richard to protect her from the dangers of the outside world.  This is a little gem of a book with a sweet message about love and acceptance.

Love Letters of Great Men
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Inspired by Sex in the City, Love Letters of Great Men contains just that.  Read some of history’s most romantic letters from Beethoven, Mark Twain, Charles Darwin and much more.

Half-Minute Horrors
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This little gem of a book holds more than 70 30-second ghost stories written by some of the biggest names in literature today, including Lemony Snicket, Margaret Atwood, Michael Connelly, Gregory Maguire, Joyce Carol Oates, James Patterson, R.L. Stine, and many more.

Bill Bryson’s African Diary
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Fans of Bill Bryson are sure to enjoy this little easy read.  This diary recounts Bryson’s trip to Africa at the invitation of CARE International.  In his own wry style, he comments on some of Africa’s greatest attractions and the struggles plaguing the country to this day.

The Prophet
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A collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and inspirational, this book covers such topics as love, marriage, children, work, friendship, beauty, religion, death and much more.  Though it’s technically a short read, you might want to take your time with this one…there’s a lot to take in.

The Last Lecture
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This is an account of Professor Randy Pausch’s last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University before leaving to take care of his health.  A brilliant education on achieving your childhood dreams, The Last Lecture is both inspiring and brilliantly sad.

The Alchemist
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This is a love story for the ages!  Evocative and deeply humane, The Alchemist is a testament to the power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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15 Christmas Books to Read Out Loud

One of my favorite holiday memories is sitting around the tree and reading stories together around cups of hot cocoa and trays of homemade cookies.  I know, it sounds super cliché, but it’s what we did.  There was nothing like leaving the stresses of work and school behind and getting into comfy pj’s and slippers and listening to my dad read How the Grinch Stole Christmas or The Polar Express.  The light of the tree was bright enough to illuminate the pages, and we’d pass the book around and take turns reading the story out loud.

As a proud product of quality parenting, I can tell you this…it is crucial, neigh ESSENTIAL, to take the time to read to your kids.  Whether it’s a quick picture book or a lengthy novel, just taking the time every day or every week to set aside and tell a story is so very important to healthy childhood development, at least, IMHO.  I look back on those moments with my dad and the rest of my family and I cherish them like no other.  Just listening to his voice, the rhythm of his words…I miss those moments dearly…and I greatly look forward to carrying on that tradition with my own family someday.

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When it came to our holiday reading list, the books were quite…shall we say, eclectic.  Sure we’d read the classics, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Snowman, but we’d also read some really strange books, like The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming and The Jolly Christmas Postman.  Since my dad worked at a library, he had hilarious books right at his fingertips…and below are just SOME of the books we’d read together around the holiday season.

If you’re looking to start a reading tradition with your kids, this list is a great place to start.  With books that are great for kids of all ages, this list of 15 Christmas Books to Read Out Loud will get you and your family in the holiday spirit in no time…and this tradition will certainly stick with you and your kids for years to come!

15 Christmas Books to Read Out Loud

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
By:  Dr. Seuss
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A classic favorite around the holidays, How the Grinch Stole Christmas tells the story of a creature called The Grinch who has lived in a cave, hating Christmas, for 53 years.  Watching the town of Whoville celebrate Christmas makes him so angry that he decides to dress up as Santa Claus and “steal” Christmas from the Whos, including all their food, decorations, and gifts.  But when Christmas arrives and the joy of the holiday still abounds in Whoville, the Grinch learns a powerful lesson about the meaning of the holiday.

The Polar Express
By:  Chris Van Allsburg
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Perhaps one of my all-time favorite books, The Polar Express is a treasured story about a little boy who boards a magic train headed for the North Pole.  Together with a handful of other children, he gets a first-hand look at the Big Man himself, and is even gifted a special present by Santa Claus that serves as a special reminder about the magic of the season.  Get out the tissues for this one.

The Snowman
By:  Raymond Briggs
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Another family favorite, The Snowman is actually a wordless book, told entirely with full-color illustrations.  You can gather around and “read” the story together, or designate a special story teller to put words to the images.  After a massive snowfall, a little boy rushes out into the wintery weather to build a snowman.  But later on that night, he learns that his snowman has come to life!  Throughout the night, the boy and his snowman embark on a multitude of adventures together, culminating with a very special trip that will stay in the boy’s memory for the rest of his life.  The Snowman was also made into a movie, which I highly recommend.  Just the music alone is worth a listen.

The Jolly Christmas Postman
By:  Janet Ahlberg
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A fun and brightly illustrated book, The Jolly Christmas Postman contains letters to Santa from a variety of characters, including the Big Bad Wolf and all the King’s Men.  But perhaps the best thing about this book is that it’s interactive.  Kids can physically open letters, read postcards, assemble puzzles, and more.  This is a great book for a snow day and a fun way to interact with older kids.

The Nutcracker
By:  E.T.A. Hoffman
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Whether you see the ballet or read the book with the family this year, there’s really nothing quite like experiencing The Nutcracker.  A simple and charming story filled with the magical dreams of children, The Nutcracker is sure to entertain kids of all ages.  If you decide to sit down and read it together, try to find the version with the Maurice Sendak illustrations.  It’s beautiful and terrifying at the same time!

The Little Match Girl
By:  Hans Christian Andersen
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The Little Match Girl is not for the faint of heart.  A book more suited to older kids, The Little Match Girl is a story about a little homeless girl who tries to sell matches on the last day of the year.  She has nothing to protect her from the cold and eventually she takes refuge between the space of two houses.  She ends up using her matches for warmth and what she sees after lighting her matches, well, it’s absolutely beautifully heartbreaking.  A book that teaches kids about appreciation and kindness, The Little Match Girl is one that will stick with them for years to come.

Letters from Father Christmas
By:  J.R.R. Tolkien
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A personal favorite of my dad’s, Letters from Father Christmas comes from the same man who brought us The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  Every December, an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for Tolkien’s children.  Inside would be a letter, complete with spidery handwriting and drawings, from Father Christmas himself.  A charming and magical book that will give you new parenting goals, Letters from Father Christmas shows how one father truly did his best to make Christmas the most wonderful time for his family.

The Night Before Christmas
By:  Clement C. Moore
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OK, well this one is just a given.  The Night Before Christmas is a beautiful book that is great for kids of all ages.  Filled with amazing illustrations and readable prose, this traditional Christmas story is one that can be told in less than 30 minutes, so it’s great for bed time and kids who can’t sit still for too long.

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
By:  Robert E. Barry
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When Mr. Willowby orders his Christmas tree, he comes to discover that it’s just simply too big!  He orders his butler to trim a little off the top and discard it.  But what happens to that treetop?  Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree follows the tree top from Mr. Willowby’s house through a forest of friendly creatures who all get to share in a bit of Christmas joy.  I actually read this book a couple years ago with my sister and loved it!  It just brought a smile to my face and I just know it will do the same for you!

A Charlie Brown Christmas
By:  Charles M. Schulz
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A book version of the popular TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a cherished family tradition…and it just wouldn’t be Christmas in our house without reading this book at least twice!  A heartwarming tale that talks about the reason for the season, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a sweet and beautiful tale about love, friendship, and what the Christmas spirit truly means.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
By:  Francis Pharcellus Churchyes-virginia_book

In 1897, a young girl wrote to The New York Sun asking whether Santa Claus truly existed.  The paper’s response, written by Francis P. Church, has become a beloved holiday tradition for years.  Another one that almost always brings me to tears, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus is a book every child should read, as well as every parent and parent-to-be.

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
By:  Jan and Mike Berenstain
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A great book for kids who are wrapped up in the gifts, The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving teaches kids a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.  A wonderful addition to the full Berenstain Bears collection, The Joy of Giving is one that will help teach kids that sometimes it’s nicer to give than to receive.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
By:  Eric A. Kimmel
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Like many other kids out there, I grew up in a bi-religious household.  My mom was Jewish and my dad was Catholic, so we got to celebrate the best of both worlds!  And since Hanukkah almost always falls on our around Christmas, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins always made it on our reading list.  When a traveler visits a synagogue that is haunted by Hanukkah goblins, he must use his wit and smarts to beat these goblins at their own game.  A book filled with amazing illustrations, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is one that kids and families of all religions can read together and enjoy.

An Orange for Frankie
By:  Patricia Polacco
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A somewhat true story about the author’s own experiences, An Orange for Frankie tells the story of a little boy named Frankie, who is the youngest boy in his family.  He and his family are overjoyed for Christmas, but when Frankie’s father still remains delayed from his business trip on Christmas Eve, Frankie becomes worried.  His father promised to bring back oranges for the mantelpiece, and it just won’t be Christmas without them…or Pa!  A sweet book that’s close to the author’s heart, An Orange for Frankie teaches an important lesson about giving.

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
By:  Lemony Snicket
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Hahahaha, I laugh just thinking about this book!  A yummy potato pancake resists his fate of being cooked in oil and runs screaming through the village, spreading a delicious aroma AND a message about a holiday that has nothing to do with Christmas.  A Christmas book about Hanukkah, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming is an extremely clever book brought to you by Lemony Snicket and a great story for families who celebrate one or both of these holidays.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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5 Books to Gift to Book Lovers

So you have someone on your gift list who loves books, right?  Yeah, we all do.  But buying someone a book is a hard decision.  I mean, unless you have a really good idea of what they like (and what they own), buying a book is a big risk.

Thankfully though, I can help you!  As a book lover through and through, I’ve come across a few books that would make wonderful gifts for anyone who loves to read.  I myself actually own all of these and love them every time I decide to flip through them (My Ideal Bookshelf is probably my favorite!).

So whether you’re looking for a Christmas gift, a stocking stuffer, or a birthday present, these five books make great gifts for lit lovers of all ages!

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Fictitious Dishes

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Sometimes the most memorable part of a book is the food within the story.  In an effort to visualize the meals that bring some of our favorite stories to life, author Dinah Fried photographs several popular meals from literature.  Flip through to see the madcap tea party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the gruel from Oliver Twist, the chicken breakfast from To Kill a Mockingbird and much more.  A wonderful coffee table book for readers who also love food.

Letters of Note

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Enjoy some of the world’s most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters.  From Virginia Woolf’s heart-breaking suicide letter to Queen Elizabeth II’s recipe for drop scones, this collection, now in two volumes, is sure to be a well-loved gift!

My Ideal Bookshelf

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Ever wonder what your favorite authors, celebrities, and musicians love to read?  In My Ideal Bookshelf, editor Thessaly La Force gathers reading lists from some of today’s biggest names and puts the shelves together with the help of illustrator, Jane Mount, who creates a unique shelf of books for each entry.  Accompanying each illustration is a little essay from the contributor, explaining why these books make up their ideal book shelf.

Infographic Guide to Literature

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For those readers who love pictures, The Infographic Guide to Literature is a lovely and colorful collection of infographics having to do with literature.  This book includes visuals of the top books stole by consumers, track references of commonly used words, death counts and so much more!  This is one book that bookworms of all kinds are sure to treasure and read for years to come!

Lost in Austen

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A must-have for Jane Austen lovers, Lost in Austen is a choose-your-own adventure story set in the Austen universe.  The great thing about this book is that you can end up an old withered hag one time or marrying Mr. Darcy another time!  Filled with some of Austen’s most memorable characters, Lost in Austen is sure to delight!

 

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Filed under book lists