Category Archives: book lists

Lists of favorite and popular books.

Books about Your Favorite Animals, Part 1

I’m always fascinated to learn about our animal brothers. The emotional range of elephants, the level of commitment from lobsters, the strategy and hierarchy of a wolf pack…the animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me.

Whenever I’m in a reading slump and I don’t know what to read next, I tend to gravitate towards books about animals. The Secret Life of Lobsters was one I read on a whim…and was completely captivated by their social and romantic lives (I know, so scandalous!).

Never Cry Wolf was the book that motivated me to be more proactive about protecting this beautiful, smart, amazing creature…and The Elephant’s Secret Sense helped open my eyes to an animal that’s smarter, kinder, and more protective than most people I know.

Creating a list of books about animals is daunting to say the least…therefore, I have decided to break this up into parts…the first section being brought to you today! Here are a few great books to read if you want to learn about everything from the rat to the platypus.

Books about Your Favorite Animals, Part 1

favorite animal books

Lobsters
The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fisherman and Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean

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Elephants
The Elephant’s Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa

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Grizzly Bears
The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Wilderness of Colorado

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Wolves
Never Cry Wolf: The Groundbreaking Book that Changed How the World Looks at the Wolf

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Squid
Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid

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Seahorse
Poseidon’s Steed: The Story of Seahorses, from Myth to Reality

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Octopus
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

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Crow
Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

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Bat
The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World’s Most Misunderstood Mammals

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Pig
The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs

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Dog
How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain

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Giraffe
Tall Blondes

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Bees
Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet

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Pigeons
Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird

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Rats
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants

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Cod
Cod: A Biography of the First Fish that Changed the World

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Tuna
Tuna: A Love Story

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Fox
Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain

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Platypus
Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World

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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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Just 25 Book Memes that Will Have Book Lovers Shouting “ME TOO!”

Take a break from Friday reading and enjoy these hilarious (and true) memes for book lovers!

25 Book Memes for Book Lovers

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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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How Many of the Greatest Books of All Time Have You Read?

So I recently stumbled upon an amazing site called thegreatestbooks.org…which is exactly what you think it is. Want to know the greatest books of 2000? The Greatest Books of 1900? The Greatest German Novels of the 20th Century? It’s all waiting for you!

While browsing around this site, I found a list of the greatest books of all time. ALL. TIME. I was a little skeptical about this list because they’re not really that open about how these lists are curated, but from what I could find, they reviewed more than 100 “best of” book lists from a variety of sources, then created an algorithm to determine how many times a particular book appears on a list…thus this greatest list is born.

Now this ultimate list is pretty cumbersome. I stopped after 5 pages, but it keeps going and going and going…there are actually more than 2,000 books on this list!

As a fun little Friday activity, I’ve gathered the top 100 books on this ultimate list to see how many we’ve all read! My score was pretty pitiful (I’ve only read 27 of the top 100)…but to be fair, I’m really not one for the classics…

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You can download your spreadsheet of the top 100 books here! Leave a comment below and let me know what your score is!

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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10 Awesome Detective Novels

A little more than 170 years ago, Edgar Allen Poe’s story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, first appeared in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine. The story described the analytical power used by one Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin to solve a slew of murders in Paris. Thus, the first detective story was born.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue also inspired the creation of perhaps one of the greatest literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. He first hit bookshelves 46 years after Poe’s story and set into motion one of the most read literary genres ever.

Often filled with chilling and complex stories, clever and witty humor and strong characters that seem to come to life before your eyes, detective novels are a great go-to solution for a summer beach read, a vacation read, or just a quick and exciting story to help pass the time.

If you’re looking for a great detective novel, here are 10 awesome ones to get you started!

10 Awesome Detective Novels

detective-novels

The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson

The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami

In the Woods, Tana French

Booked to Die, John Dunning

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, P.D. James

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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12 Beautiful Books about the Holocaust

Go to any bookstore today and you’re bound to be overwhelmed with the amount of books there are on the topic of World War II and the Nazi regime. Perhaps just surpassed by the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, there are more books about World War II than any other war in history. Makes finding literature about the Holocaust pretty daunting…especially for young kids and teens.

While I am by no means an expert in Holocaust literature, I feel some of the best books out there are told from those that survived it…those who saw, first hand, the monstrosities of Germany, Poland, and Austria in the late 1940’s.

Here are 12 of some of the best books that I’ve read about the Holocaust…with Night and The Book Thief probably topping my list. In poetic prose and heart-wrenching detail, these books bring to life a time not that long ago…when the basic rights of food, shelter, and decent clothing were stripped from 11 million men, women and children, all because of one man’s fears and insecurities.

12 Beautiful Books about the Holocaust

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The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank
The real diary of a girl who tried so hard to see the beauty in a world crumbling around her.

Night
Elie Wiesel
Night is the story of one man’s survival in Auschwitz. This is perhaps one of the most amazing accounts of the true horror of the Holocaust.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
Narrated by Death himself, The Book Thief tells the story of a young girl named Liesel and her stealing talents that help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding in their basement.

Number the Stars
When Ellen moves in with her friend Annemarie to escape the Nazi ragime, Annemarie embarks on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.

The Devil’s Arithmetic
Jane Yolen
Hannah thinks her Passover Seder will be just the same as last year…but this year as she opens the door for Elijah, she’s transported into the past. Only she knows the horrors that await.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
John Boyne
When young Bruno arrives at a new place with his family and meets a young boy on the other side of the fence, they develop a friendship that has devastating consequences. (This book has received some negative critism about it’s “historical account”, but keep in mind this is a fictional story.)

Maus
Art Spiegelman
A cartoonist tries to come to terms with his father’s story and history itself through a series of graphic novels depecting Jewish people as mice and the Nazi soilders as cats.

Animal Farm
George Orwell
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Schindler’s List
Thomas Keneally
This is the amazing story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The Reader
Bernhard Schlink
The Reader is a profound book concerning the moral guilt that comes with being a second-generation German. Also, I rarely say this but the movie interpretation of this book is phenomenal (and stars Kate Winslet so, I mean…).

The Nazi Officer’s Wife
Edith Hahn Beer
A Jewish woman falls in love and marries a Nazi officer. In vivid, wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, near paralyzing fear as her husband tries tirelessly to keep her safe during the war.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly
Hana Volavkova (editor)
About 15,000 children under the age of 16 passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp. Of those, fewer than 100 survived. In the poems and pictures collected in I Never Saw Another Butterfly, we see the daily misery, the loss of hope and their never-ending courage and fear that these children suffered during the brink of WWII.

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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11 Cool and Unique Passover Hagaddahs

A few years ago before my dad passed away, we decided to write a Passover Hagaddah together. My dad, who was raised Catholic, wanted to create a Seder that was welcoming to everyone, not just our Jewish family.

We didn’t get a chance to jump in before he passed, but after he died I took it upon myself to pursue this idea. Over the course of a couple years, I wrote my very own Hagaddah, one that my family has used for the last few Passover Seders and one I hope to share with other family and friends at a large Passover celebration in the near future!

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However this was not done without research! I did a lot of research. I’ve probably read more Hagaddahs over the last few years than I have in my entire life time…but through it all I’ve gathered a collection of amazing texts that do a great job of bringing this traditional holiday to life in new and creative ways.

If your family is looking to switch things up this Passover, here are a few cool and unique Hagaddahs that tell the same story in a fun, festive and updated way.

11 Cool and Unique Passover Hagaddahs

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FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NON-JEWS AT THEIR SEDER:51bgYibPAnL

FOR THOSE HOSTING OR ATTENDING PASSOVER FOR THE FIRST TIME:61IIn7A9hUL._SX495_BO1,204,203,200_

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN KABBALAH:617dQgx6RYL._SX436_BO1,204,203,200_

FOR THOSE WITH A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR:619paX8Uf8L._SX380_BO1,204,203,200_

FOR THOSE WITH A LOT OF KIDS AT THE SEDER:51srEvocKCL

FOR THOSE WHO LOVE DISCUSSION:51dn7wXG6fL

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR A LITTLE NERDY FLAIR:41LuXiRn1eL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

FOR THOSE LOOKING TO LAUGH AND HAVE FUN WITH THE YOUNGER GENERATION:51Y0ajX8qjL._SX260_

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR AN INTELLECTUAL SEDER:51yUXXLdtxL._SX409_BO1,204,203,200_

FOR THOSE WHO STILL WANT SOMETHING TRADITIONAL:61+Q-239HlL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_

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 about Coping with Loss and Death

Death…it freaking sucks, ami right?

It’s inevitable. It’s unknown. It’s scary and dark and real and it’s the final ending for the entire human population…maybe the one thing that we all have in common.

For years books and movies have tried to make death more…comfortable. They’ve tried discussing topics like the afterlife, reincarnation, heaven and hell, and so on to help make death not seem so final. Now I’m not here to start a big debate on my views of life and death, but I think we can all agree that coping with death, whether that be the death of a loved one or the acceptance of death of self, is certainly a hard road to go down…

Ranging from loss of self to loss of hope, these 16 books about coping with loss and death have really opened my eyes to acceptance and understanding. Some made me mad enough to talk about my feelings, others made me cry so much that I had trouble even finishing the book, but they all helped me cope with my situation in some way, shape, or form.

I personally never really thought about death until my dad died. He was the first person who was close to me that I lost. When he died, I had no choice but to turn to books because that’s what comforted me…and I hope these books comfort you as well.

16 Books about Coping with Loss and Death

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Being Mortal

In Being Mortal, author and doctor Atul Gawande tackles maybe the hardest question about aging and death: how medicine can improve life and dying with dignity. An eye-opening look at elder care and end-of-life decisions, this book is so important for anyone and everyone to read.

The Girl with Glass Feet

On the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land, Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. While searching the forest for a cure, she meets a man who ends up falling in love with her. What results is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about what we will do, no matter what the circumstance, for those we love.

Tuesdays with Morrie

What would you say to a dying mentor? Many of us don’t have that chance, but Mitch Albom did. In Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch visits his mentor and old college professor, Morrie Schwartz, every Tuesday, just as they did back when he was in school. Their visits end up becoming one final lesson on how to really live.

Life of Pi

Though Life of Pi isn’t a book about death in the most straight-forward way, I still find it a beautiful work of fiction that explores the issues of spirituality, survival, and acceptance of fate. The ending left me questioning a lot about my own spirituality and I loved the internal struggles that made Pi Patel such a relatable character.

Big Fish

In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. He could outrun anybody. He never missed a day of school. He saved lives and tamed giants. Animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him. He knew more jokes than any man alive. At least that’s what he told his son, William. But now Edward Bloom is dying, and William wants desperately to know the truth about his elusive father—this indefatigable teller of tall tales—before it’s too late. The story that is all of our grandfathers, Big Fish is tender, bittersweet, and a tale bigger than life itself.

The Book Thief

Set during World War II in Germany, The Book Thief is told from the perspective of the Devil and tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. An unforgettable story about death and the afterlife, The Book Thief is maybe the best piece of Holocaust literature I’ve ever read.

The Year of Magical Thinking

Several days before Christmas 2003, author Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne saw their one and only daughter come down with a life-threatening disease that left her on life support. Days later, John Gregory suffered a massive and fatal coronary. Struck with such loss in such rapid succession, Didion attempts to make sense of those few weeks and months before, during, and after that fateful winter in her book, The Year of Magical Thinking. A beautiful testament to a family that was completely shattered, but somehow found the strength to pull through, this book will definitely touch your heart.

A Blessing on the Moon

Death is merely the beginning of Chaim’s troubles. In the opening pages of A Blessing on the Moon, Chaim is shot along with the other Jews of his small Polish village. But instead of resting peacefully in the World to Come, Chaim, for reasons unclear to him, is left to wander the earth, accompanied by his rabbi, who has taken the form of a talking crow. Chaim’s afterlife journey is filled with extraordinary encounters whose consequences are far greater than he realizes.

The Last Lecture

Based on the extraordinary final lecture by Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, given after he discovered he had pancreatic cancer, this moving book will inspire readers to live each day with purpose and joy.

Red Hook Road

When a newly married couple dies on the way to their wedding reception, it’s up to their newly joined families to come together and now plan the couple’s funeral. A haunting book that you will power through in no time, Red Hook Road is up there with Ayelet Waldman’s finest stories about loss and grief.

The Lovely Bones

A haunting tale of loss and understanding, The Lovely Bones is a beautiful story of a girl not ready to let go of her hold on life and the people she loves. Told from her perspective after her brutal rape and murder, The Lovely Bones is an interesting exploration on heaven and the afterlife.

The Painted Drum

When Faye Travers is called to appraise a collection of artifacts, she stumbles upon a haunting drum that seems to call out to her. Compelling and unforgettable, The Painted Drum explores the often fraught relationship between mothers and daughters, the strength of family, and the intricate rhythms of grief we all seem to feel at certain points of our lives.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince is one of my favorite books, and is actually the first book I read that made me cry. A touching story about an adventurer who stumbles upon a little prince who inhabits a tiny planet, this book is an exploration into acceptance, love, and making peace with letting go.

A Monster Calls

A haunting and darkly funny novel about loss and death, A Monster Calls is about a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected visitor that helps him question everything. Phew, this one is rough guys.

Lincoln in the Bardo

A story that intertwines history, death, and spirituality, Lincoln in the Bardo is told from the perspective of several characters – both historical and invented – to answer the question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? A book unlike anything I’ve ever read before, Lincoln in the Bardo is a visual story that will magically come to life in your mind.

Bridge to Terabithia

A story about pure friendship, Bridge to Terabithia is a story that will tug at your heartstrings. A story about a boy and a girl and the imaginative world they live in, this story is up there with Where the Red Fern Grows as a book that teaches kids that death, loss, and maybe most importantly, friendship, are all very, very real.

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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