Category Archives: book lists

Lists of favorite and popular books.

24 Authors Share Their Favorite Books

Good writers know the secret to writing…they read. They read a lot. When I took writing classes in college, most of our time was spent reading and analyzing various novels and poems to help inspire a jolt of creative energy – and your favorite writers are no exception.

Below is a list of books well-loved by some of our most popular writers, both past and present. J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, and many more share their top pick of favorite book. Do you share any favorites with these authors?

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24 Authors Share Their Favorite Books

Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Favorite Book:  Calumet K, Henry Kitchell Webster
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A novel about the problems encountered in building a grain elevator in Chicago. It’s a refreshingly honest portrayal of labor unions and morality.

Ernest Hemmingway (A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea)
Favorite Book:  Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
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A story about a woman who has an affair and is given a choice between going into exile or remaining with her family and abiding by the rules of discretion.

Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking, Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
Favorite Book:  Victory, Joseph Conrad
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Axel Heyst, a dreamer and a restless drifter, decides to cut himself off from humanity on a remote island. When he rescues a young English girl, their relationship becomes a perceptive study on power and love.

Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine)
Favorite Book:  John Carter: Warlord of Mars, Edgar Rice Burrough
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John Carter is the greatest hero of two worlds! Marvel at these classic tales of danger and daring as Carter battles deadly opponents, warring civilizations and a host of Barsoomian beasts.

George R. R. Martin (A Game of Thrones)
Favorite Book:  The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
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You know the story…hobbits, rings, friendship, talking trees…

Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
Favorite Book:  And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
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First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island. Their host is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal. One by one they fall prey…and only the dead are above suspicion.

Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Favorite Book:  Ulysses, James Joyce
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Ulysses stands as an inventive, multiple-point-of-view (there are eighteen) vision of daily events, personal attitudes, cultural and political sentiments, and observations of the human condition.

Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Favorite Book:  King Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory
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In a time when there were damsels in distress to save, and mythical dragons to slay, King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table were there to render justice in the face of any danger. From the incredible wizardry of Merlin to the undeniable passion of Sir Lancelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural, as well as timeless battles with our humanity.

Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings)
Favorite Book:  Old Filth, Jane Gardam
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An old man slips back into the past with ever mounting frequency and intensity, and on the tide of these vivid, lyrical musings, he approaches a reckoning with his own history. Not all the old filth, it seems, can be cleaned away.

Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City)
Favorite Book:  The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
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Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Favorite Book:  Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser
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The tale of Carrie Meeber’s rise to stardom in the theatre and George Hurstwood’s slow decline captures the twin poles of exuberance and exhaustion in modern city life as never before.

Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot)
Favorite Book:  The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
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Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, a young boy leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. Insanity ensues.

R.L. Stine (Goosebumps series)
Favorite Book:  Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury
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A magical, timeless story about summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding.

J.K. Rowling (The Harry Potter series)
Favorite Book:  Emma, Jane Austen
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Nothing delights Emma more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)
Favorite Book:  Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
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Following the lives of four sisters on a journey out of adolescence, Little Women explores the difficulties associated with gender roles in a Post-Civil War America.

Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer)
Favorite Book:  Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
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Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father.

John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men)
Favorite Book:  King Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory
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In a time when there were damsels in distress to save, and mythical dragons to slay, King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table were there to render justice in the face of any danger. From the incredible wizardry of Merlin to the undeniable passion of Sir Lancelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural, as well as timeless battles with our humanity.

Cheryl Strayed (Wild)
Favorite Book:  The Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich
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A powerful collection of poetry about power, sexuality, and violence against women.

Joyce Carol Oates (We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, The Gravediggers Daughter)
Favorite Book:  Crime and Punishment, Fydor Dostoyevsky
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Through the story of the brilliant but conflicted young Raskolnikov and the murder he commits, Fyodor Dostoevsky explores the theme of redemption through suffering.

Judy Blume (The Romona Quimby series)
Favorite Book:  American Pastoral, Philip Roth
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In American Pastoral, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all the twentieth century’s promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss.

Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses)
Favorite Book:  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
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The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident.

Emma Donoghue (ROOM)
Favorite Book:  Far From the Tree, Andrew Solomon
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Solomon’s startling proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, and who are transgender.

Paula McLain (The Paris Wife)
Favorite Book:  The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey
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A couple living in Alaska build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone…but they glimpse a young blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain)
Favorite Book:  The Music Room, Dennis McFarland
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In an incredible novel of devastating beauty, Martin Lambert must come to terms with the aftermath of his brother’s suicide. Replaying sad melodies of his affluent youth, Martin embarks on a poignant journey through his family’s haunted past.

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 Spooky Thrillers to Read for Halloween

The leaves have already started changing colors in Chicago…which means I’M READY FOR HALLOWEEN.

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I love me a good spine-tingling spooky thriller on a blustery fall night…and while I could easily populate this list with Stephen King novels alone, I’ve gathered a few of my favorite books perfect for reading in the weekends leading up to All Hallows Eve…

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Best accompanied with a blanket and a BIG cup of hot apple cider (having a guard dog on hand probably isn’t a bad idea, either), these spooky thrillers are sure to get under your skin and just sit there, lurking, until they crawl into your dreams at night to play…

20 Spooky Thrillers to Read for Halloween

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
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The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
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Room, Emma Donoghue
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The Never List, Koethi Zan
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World War Z, Max Brooks
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith
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Bird Box, Josh Malerman
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Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk
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The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
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The Road, Cormac McCarthy
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We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
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The Boy Who Drew Monsters, Keith Donohue
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The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey
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Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
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The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, Joyce Carol Oates
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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
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The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders, Anthony Flacco
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Booked to Die, John Dunning
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Nocturnes, John Connolly
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Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
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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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21 Books to Read for a Good Ugly Cry

Sometimes we just need a good, healthy ugly cry.

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Sure, you can listen to Tom Waits or Taylor Swift and cry one out…or pop in The Family Stone or Titanic if you’re feeling blue…but for us bookworms, the list of books practically guaranteed to stimulate an ugly cry is often too long to even consider…

The thing about books is that you spend SO MUCH TIME with these characters.  A sad movie is over and done in a couple hours…but for some of us, a sad book may take months to complete…so it really is an emotional roller coaster to finish some of these stories!

I love a good ugly cry…and I give big props to books that can bring me to tears.  While some of these were more tear-jerking than others, they are all worthy of a read if you’re feeling like you need to open the floodgates a little bit.

books to read for a good ugly cry

21 Books to Read for a Good Ugly Cry

One Day
David Nicholls

A relationship is brought to life over the course of 20 years. Snapshots are revealed on the same day – July 15th – of each year, and as Dex and Em face fights, laughter, tears, and missed opportunities, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

We Were Liars
E. Lockhart

A group of friends spends a beautiful summer on a private island, laughing, swimming, as socialites do. But when an accident causes a secret to be released, everything changes. This book is slow to start, but the end made it worth it for me.

My Sister’s Keeper
Jodi Picoult

What would you do for the people you love? When Anna is forced to sacrifice her health for the safety of her sister, Kate, questions about life and morality are raised. A provocative novel that raises important ethical issues, this story is about the struggle for survival…at all costs.

Night
Elie Wiesel

Perhaps the most brilliant and heart-breaking book in the Holocaust canon of literature, Night should be required reading for every human being. Honest, eye-opening, and terrifying at times, this memoir puts readers right into the middle of the chaos.

Bottomless Belly Button
Dash Shaw

This graphic novel tells the story of a family that comes together for one weekend, only to discover that the reason for the gathering is that mom and dad are getting divorced. A story for the times, this novel is so truthful, raw, and honest.

The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

After Susie Salmon is murdered, she tries to help her family solve the mysteries surrounding her death. Told from Susie’s perspective as she watches the aftermath of her murder unfold from Heaven, this story raises interesting questions about the afterlife, and what that means for those who must continue on surviving.

The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This timeless tale tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe. Through a collection of extraordinary encounters and discoveries, we learn, along with the Prince, how wonderful and sad life can be.

A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness

Oh man…if you’re only gonna read one book on this list for the ultimate ugly cry, it should be this one. One of the most truthful and beautiful portrayals of what it’s like to loose a loved one to a sickness, this story will utterly wreck you.

Tuesdays with Morrie
Mitch Albom

After Mitch Albom reconnects with his college professor, Morrie Schwartz, at the end of Morrie’s life, a beautiful friendship develops that turns into a collection of final lessons on how to live. You know how this one ends, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion

This memoir explores important questions about life as a widow, a wife, and a mom. When author Joan Didion suddenly looses her husband at the dinner table, she embarks on a journey of anger, healing, and understanding that’s all too familiar if you’ve ever lost a loved one.

The Road
Cormac McCarthy

After the human race is basically obliterated after an unsubscribed apocalypse of some kind, a father and his son must fight for survival in a world that is nearly void of life. This is a quick, but powerful read.

Daytripper
Fabio Moon

How would our lives be different if we waited in the longer line in the grocery store? If we really ended up with our soul mate? If we got our dream job? This graphic novel explores the question that forever plagues the human race: what if? Truly inspiring and bittersweet, this book was one I found myself reading again immediately after finishing it the first time.

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny story about family, love, loyalty, and hope, this book is beautifully crafted and is a captivating look at all the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Set during WWII, this groundbreaking novel tells the story of a girl, Liesel Meminger, and her love of books. Narrated by Death himself, this story raises interesting questions about why and how we die, using the background of the war to better highlight how all walks of life continue to run from the same enemy.

The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch

After his fatal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, professor Randy Pausch gives his class one last lecture before retiring to spend the rest of his life with his family. This one is a heart-wrencher. Filled with inspiring and motivational quotes, this little book packs a powerful punch.

Love You Forever
Robert Munsch

A short children’s story about a mother and son, this book is probably on the shelf of children all over the US. The deeper message of aging and the circle of life make this book a must for kids (and adults) of all ages.

Revolutionary Road
Richard Yates

I’ve realized that this book is on a lot of book lists that I do, but it’s just that good. As we watch a seemingly perfect marriage fall apart at the seams, it becomes clear that relationships are a lot different to those on the inside, and sometimes what we see is NOT what you get.

Red Hook Road
Ayelet Waldman

This one hit me in a very unexpected way. As a newly married couple drives to their reception, they become victims of a deadly car crash. The families awaiting their arrival are left to pick up the pieces, and go from planning a wedding to planning a funeral.  Now they must learn to work together to honor the wishes of the now deceased bride and groom.

Bridge to Terabithia
Katherine Paterson

OMG. I’m sure we all read this as pre-teens, yes? The ultimate he/she friendship story, this book tells the tale of Jess and Leslie, two friends who create a magical kingdom together where they reign as king and queen, that is until a tragic accident changes everything. OMG WITH THE TISSUES.

To Dance with the White Dog
Terry Kay

This was the first book that ever made me cry!  When Sam Peek’s wife passes away, his children worry that he won’t be able to take care of himself; however, when a mysterious white dog appears, Sam wonders if it’s the spirit of his wife returning to him.

Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck

A beautiful story about friendship, this classic book hits ya right in the gut. Two outsiders work together to find their place in a society that wants nothing to do with them. A story that has birthed a Broadway play and not one, but THREE acclaimed films, this book is great for a good, classic cry.

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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Reading Around the Country: 50 Books for 50 States

They say that books are the cheapest form of travel…and with this list of 50 Books for 50 States, you can make your way around the US from the comfort of your own couch.

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Start your journey at the Whistle Stop Café in Alabama (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café), then journey into the Alaskan wilderness in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.  Travel back in time to 1800’s Chicago for the Chicago World’s Fair in Devil in the White City, then get a true taste of Wyoming’s beautiful landscape in Annie Proulx’s collection of stories, Close Range.

This is the ultimate reading list for those looking to learn about the eclectic culture of the US, from the rough and tough landscapes of the American southwest to the picturesque mountains and valleys that abound on our coastal states.

Reading Around the Country: 50 Books for 50 States

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  • Alabama – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Fannie Flagg
  • Alaska – Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
  • Arizona – Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
  • Arkansas – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  • California – East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • Colorado – Kings of Colorado, David E. Hilton
  • Connecticut – Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
  • Delaware – And Never Let Her Go, Ann Rule
  • Florida – Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

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  • Georgia – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
  • Hawaii – The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings
  • Idaho – Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
  • Illinois – Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
  • Indiana – All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
  • Iowa – The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
  • Kansas – In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  • Kentucky – Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • Louisiana – The Awakening, Kate Chopin

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  • Maine – It, Stephen King
  • Maryland – The Sot-Weed Factor, John Barth
  • Massachusetts – The Crucible, Arthur Miller
  • Michigan – The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Minnesota – The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
  • Mississippi – The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  • Missouri – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • Montana – A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Norman Maclean
  • Nebraska – O Pioneers!, Willa Cather

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  • Nevada – Desperation, Stephen King
  • New Hampshire – A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • New Jersey – American Pastoral, Philip Roth
  • New Mexico – The Milagro Beanfield War, Joe Mondragon
  • New York – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  • North Carolina – A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash
  • North Dakota – The Round House, Louise Erdrich
  • Ohio – Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Oklahoma – The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

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  • Oregon – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  • Pennsylvania – Rabbit, Run, John Updike
  • Rhode Island – The Witches of Eastwick, John Updike
  • South Carolina – The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
  • South Dakota – The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber
  • Tennessee – A Death in the Family, James Agee
  • Texas – Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger
  • Utah – The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff
  • Vermont – Where the Rivers Flow North, Howard Frank Mosher

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  • Virginia – Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
  • Washington – Border Songs, Jim Lynch
  • West Virginia – Rocket Boys, Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
  • Wisconsin – A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
  • Wyoming – Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Annie Proulx

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 Books Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs

All men must read.

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Whether you’re a die-hard GOT book lover or you’ve only committed to the TV show, this collection of gift books are a must for any wanna-be Lannister, Stark, or Tyrell.  From fun coloring books to scientific explorations of what happens when a brother and sister really do procreate, this collection of 10 Books Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs is one to bookmark for any upcoming birthdays or holidays.

10 Books Every Game of Thrones Fan Needs

The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book

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Make commercial breaks fly by with this nerdy Game of Thrones coloring book.  With dozens of stunning black and white illustrations from several artists, this coloring book will certainly help pass the time after these first 6 episodes are over.

Game of Scones: All Men Must Dine

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Game up for Sunday’s premier with an assortment of baked goods from Game of Scones.  Featuring Red (Velvet) Wedding Cake, Joffrey’s Jaffas, Jaime and Cersei’s Family Mess (eww), and Oberyn’s Smashing Head Surprise, this book is a must for fans!

Game of Thrones Versus History: Written in Blood

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Aside from the many fantastical elements of Game of Thrones, much of the plot is actually based on real historic events.  Get a better idea of what inspired Joffrey’s death, how the War of the Roses influenced battles in the series, and how slavery, celibate societies, and other myths and legends factored into George R. R. Martin’s world.

Game of Thrones Psychology: The Mind is Dark and Full of Terrors

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How to love, hate, good, evil, greed, and narcissism drive good and bad behaviors in the characters of Game of Thrones?  This book tries to explore that answer, offering a close examination of the psychology behind the characters in the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Living Language Dothraki

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Written by David J. Peterson, the man behind the Dothraki language, this book will arm you with enough vocabulary and grammar to have a complete conversation in Dothraki.  This course includes a language guide as well as a CD featuring more than 200 words and phrases, grammar explanations, cultural notes, and exercises.

Brain of Thrones: A Game of Thrones Quiz Book

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How much to you REALLY know about Game of Thrones?  Test your knowledge of seasons 1 through 6 with this collection of quizzes.  A fun book for friends to do together, this collection of quizzes is the perfect way to prep before the final season begins.

Game of Thrones: An Unofficial Travel Guide

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Part of the beauty of Game of Thrones is that it’s filmed all over the world.  Have you ever wanted to walk around King’s Landing or explore Winterfell for yourself?  Well, now you can explore the real-life locations that created these magical worlds.  They are all places you can visit…and this book will tell you how.

The Science of Game of Thrones: From the Genetics of Royal Incest to the Chemistry of Death by Molten Gold – Sifting Fact from Fantasy in the Seven Kingdoms

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Is it possible to crush a person’s head with your bare hands?  What REALLY happens when royal families sleep together?  Does Cersei have a borderline personality disorder?  What curious medical disorder does Horor suffer from?  All these questions and more are answered in this scientific look into the world of Game of Thrones.

The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister

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We all know that Tyrion is the best character in Game of Thrones, and this little gem of a book gathers up all his wisdom into one place.  Find his best quotes about dining, women, wine, and politics in this illustrated gift book that’s perfect for those who drink and know things.

A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook

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With a forward by George R. R. Martin himself, A Feast of Ice & Fire is the official cookbook for Game of Thrones fans.  With recipes for lemon cakes, pork pies, honeyfingers, and more, this is the perfect guide for creating an epic feast suitable for a Game of Thrones premier party.

 

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 Books to Read if You Love The Princess Bride

What do you love most about The Princess Bride? Is it the swashbuckling adventures? The wit and sarcasm? The tales of true love? No matter what it is that keeps you coming back to watching the movie or reading the book, there’s no denying that this story holds a special place in the hearts of children and adults of all ages.

And if you are craving more tales of evil pirates or stories of mythical creatures, there are a whole slew of other books you could read that have all the things you love about The Princess Bride (except ROUS’s, of course!).

Filled with romance, travel, and journeys to lands unknown, these 10 books are sure to satisfy whatever craving you have to jump back into a story that helps you escape reality and indulge in the comfort of your own imagination.

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10 Books to Read if You Love The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride, William Goldman
Granted, the book is slightly different from the film, but chances are if you love the movie, you’re gonna love the book…at least give it a try for Prince Humperdinck alone!

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes
Well, this is just a no-brainer. Written by Cary Elwes (Westley), As You Wish explores the making and production of The Princess Bride film, complete with behind-the-scene stories and memories from the entire cast.

Stardust, Neil Gaiman
Take a journey into a magical land as a young boy pursues his one true love. Sound familiar? This charming story features the adventure and humor that make The Princess Bride so wonderful, as well as a little romance!

The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
This fantastical quest of concealed identity is the perfect book to cozy up with if you love The Princess Bride. The Last Unicorn was also made into a wonderfully cheesy movie if you’d rather indulge in the story that way.

The Thousand Autumns, Jacob de Zoet
The strength of true love, the power of faith, the thrill of the adventure…it’s all here in The Thousand Autumns by Jacob de Zoet.

Candide, Voltaire
Pirates? Check. Exciting adventures? Check. Love and revenge? Check and check. Candide is a breathless tour of far off lands and the quest for true love.

Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe may not have the wit and sarcasm of The Princess Bride, but it sure packs in the romance.

Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country, Rosalind Miles
Guenevere is a romantic and heart-wrenching narrative, complete with all the pageantry, politics, war, lust, love, and conflict the Brits so gallantly require in their legends. A fairy tale likened to Buttercup’s adventures, Guenevere is sure to appease lovers of the King Arthur legends and romantic fairy tales.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
If you love Buttercup’s wit and sass, chances are you’re gonna fall in love with Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. A story about romance, love, and a fun-loving sarcastic leading lady, Pride and Prejudice is one swashbuckling pirate away from The Princess Bride.

The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
A fantastic book filled with epic adventures, lots of magical heroes and monsters, and travels in far off lands, The Book of Lost Things is maybe one of my favorite novels of all time. While it lacks the romance of The Princess Bride, it makes up for it in amazing characters and harrowing journeys.

 

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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25 of the Best Celeb-ographies I’ve Read So Far

For me, there’s no better beach read than a juicy celebrity biography…and lord knows I’ve read my fair share.  My brain seems to be packed with useless information about Russell Brand’s childhood, Carol Burnett’s seriously amazing friendship squad, and amazing life advice from Nick Offerman.  I don’t know what it is, but taking a look behind the curtain and seeing what these stars are like IRL just gives me a sense of comfort…especially since I will only read bios on the people I actually like!

Over the years I’ve read bios by and about everyone from Sammy Davis, Jr. to Bryan Cranston…and I’ve collected 25 of my favorites right here.  Need a new beach read this summer?  This is the perfect place to start!

25 of the Best Celeb-ographies I’ve Read So Far

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In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.
Wil Haygood

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An intimate look at a man who defined entertainment, this biography is one of the first I remember reading and thoroughly enjoying.  Sammy Davis, Jr. was a man who lived and breathed music and dance, and In Black and White is an amazing testament to the legacy he’s left behind.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
David Michaelis

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It should come as no surprise that Charles Schulz, the man behind Charlie Brown and friends, was a bit of a loner.  A raw and emotional story about the man who gave the world one of the best comic strips ever written, Schulz and Peanuts is also peppered with cartoons and illustrations to help his story come to life.

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
Sarah Silverman

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Any fan of Sarah Silverman will love this book.  Told in her voice with her raw sense of humor, The Bedwetter is an inspirational story about following your dreams, standing up for yourself, and conquering your fears.

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain
Portia De Rossi

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In Unbearable Lightness, Portia De Rossi opens up about her struggles with anorexia and body image issues, as well as her journey to acceptance and love.  This one is emotional, guys…but very uplifting.

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant
Jennifer Grant

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A short and sweet book packed with personal stories and family photos, Good Stuff gives readers a look at a man the world rarely got to see.  Though Cary Grant was one of the most famous actors of his generation, he was actually quite reserved…and this story of his life at home will have you loving him all the more.

My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up
Russell Brand

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I gotta say, I loved this more than I thought I would.  Packed with hilarious stories of growing up in the U.K., My Booky Wook is everything you expect it to be and nothing more.  A quick read that’s perfect for summer, My Booky Wook might help explain, just a little, the insanity that is Russell Brand.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Anthony Bourdain

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A mesmerizing look into the world of the culinary arts, Kitchen Confidential will open your eyes to the seedy, dirty, and terrifying world of restaurant chefs.  Where they eat, how they eat, and what really happens when you send your food back…it’s all here in black and white…and will forever change the way you order food next time you dine out.

Seriously…I’m Kidding
Ellen DeGeneres

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Love, love, love this book.  Ellen is everything you want her to be and this book is like having her right there in your living room with you.  An inspirational story about a woman who helped fuel the LGBT movement, Seriously…I’m Kidding will have you laughing, crying, and dancing for joy.

Choose Your Own Autobiography
Neil Patrick Harris

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Written in a fun choose your own adventure format, NPH’s autobiography is a fun and comic take on NPH’s rise to fame.  Filled with hilarious stories, cute drawings, and plenty of twists and turns, Choose Your Own Autobiography is everything you want in a beach read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling

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I think Mindy and I are destined to be BFF’s.  A book for girls who love eating, laughing, drinking, and then eating again, reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? also requires a glass of wine, a platter of cheese fries, and a Netflix subscription…because you’re gonna want to start watching The Office all over again.

The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy
Rainn Wilson

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And if Mindy’s book doesn’t convince you to revisit Dunder Mifflin, The Bassoon King surely will.  With a forward by Dwight Schrute himself, The Bassoon King will make you fall in love with Rainn Wilson all the more.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes

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OK so this isn’t a BIOGRAPHY so to speak, but I couldn’t leave it off this list!  A MUST for anyone who loves the movie, As You Wish takes readers behind the scenes, giving them a glimpse into the making of the most romantic story of all time.  There are also personal stories from Fred Savage, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal and many more about filming, production, and casting.

It’s a Long Story: My Life
Willie Nelson

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I didn’t know much about Willie before reading this book, but I just found it so enjoyable and warm.  I actually listened to this book on tape, so there were moments when I heard Willie playing in the background, which I think made me like this book even more.  A very personal look into a life that was torn, rebuilt, and torn again, It’s a Long Story makes it easy to understand just how much Willie Nelson has influenced the music industry.

Is You Okay?
Glozell Green

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Glozell, a self-proclaimed internet-tainer, has taken YouTube by storm with her various “challenge” videos.  She rose to amazing success after posting her “Cinnamon Challenge” video and has created many more since then.  She comes across as a bit of a loon online, but in reality, she’s quite the go-getter…and this book was surprisingly inspirational and motivating, especially for young girls just starting on their career paths.

Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars
Scotty Bowers

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Hahahahahaha, I can’t think of this book without laughing.  So insanely ridiculous in nature, Full Service is a story about the sex lives of the Hollywood stars we know and love.  While some of these stories seem absolutely insane, others could be quite plausible…and as Bowers says himself, there’s really no way to know, as most of the celebrities in this book are now dead.  Even if it’s all fake, Full Service certainly is the ultimate beach read and is attune to reading a long, juicy, trashy magazine.

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages
Kristin Chenoweth

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You might know her from Wicked, Pushing Daisies, Glee, or just from her work on Broadway…but this little pint-sized star packs a serious punch…and the stories of her rise to fame are so inspiring that you may find yourself singing “Defying Gravity” as you read it.

Jimmy Stewart: A Biography
Marc Eliot

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The thing I love most about Jimmy Stewart is that he is everything you want him to be.  Kind, good-hearted, genuine, classy…he was all of those things and more.  A sweet book to give to dad or grandpa for Father’s Day, Stewart’s biography truly showcases a wonderful life.

Yes Please
Amy Poehler

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If you were to take The Magic Schoolbus into the mind of Amy Poehler, it would look like the pages of Yes Please.  A book you could easily read in a few hours, Yes Please is like a scrapbook of Poehler’s life, told with her wit and sarcasm, and the genuine care and attention to detail of her foil, Leslie Knope.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living
Nick Offerman

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If Nick Offerman had his choice, this book would probably be hand-written and bound with leather and glue.  A story about growing up in rural Illinois and making a future literally by hand, Paddle Your Own Canoe is a life-lesson in creativity, romance, and manliness.  It’s most likely Ron Swanson’s favorite book, TBH.

A Life in Parts
Bryan Cranston

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Any lover of Bryan Cranston’s work will enjoy this book.  Told in several small vignettes of characters Cranston has played in his lifetime (both personally and professionally), this book really is a life in parts.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
Jenna Jameson

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This was another book that was a total surprise.  Juicy gossip, sexy pictures, and lots (LOTS) of tips and tricks of the trade fill this beast of an autobiography.  Word to the wise…many libraries have stopped carrying this book for…reasons…so if you’re interested, invest in your own copy.

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection
Carol Burnett

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If you loved her then, you’ll love her now.  A sweet celebration of love and friendship, This Time Together is humorous, genuine, and – like Carol – a true treat.

My Father’s Daughter: A Memoir
Tina Sinatra

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Almost everyone in the world knows who Frank Sinatra was…but not many knew him the way his kids knew him.  A very emotional, raw, and empowering book about a father and a daughter, My Father’s Daughter holds no bars…opening the door to her father’s friendships, love affairs, and struggles…all told from the perspective of one of the girls who truly loved him the most.

Bossypants
Tina Fey

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Let’s be honest, you’ve read this, right?  Everyone has to have read this by now…so there’s really no use explaining how amazing this is.

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years
Julie Andrews

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This woman is practically perfect in every way.  An amazing singer, actor, and writer, Home is a look into the very early years of Andrews’ career…starting from childhood and ending with her boarding the plane to star in this little Disney movie called Mary Poppins.

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