Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new topic is given and this week's topic is:


I'm not sure if I'll be able to participate in this new meme every week, but I hope to try. I found this while leaving comments at a blog during Teaser Tuesdays for my other blog, The Busy Mom's Daily.

"Thousands of impoverished Northern European immigrants were promised that the prairie offered "land, freedom, and hope." The disastrous blizzard of 1888 revealed that their free homestead was not a paradise but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled, and America’s heartland would never be the same."

As you may know, I am a huge fan of the classic television show, Little House on the Prairie. They had an episode where a surprise blizzard kicked up on Christmas Eve while the children were on their way home from school. Though I haven't been able to verify it with the executive producer or casting director, it is known that Michael Landon would use history as a basis for some of his story lines. The Children's Blizzard of 1888, occurred on an unseasonably warm January morning across Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota. The weather violently changed in the afternoon to a snow storm with hurricane-force winds that left five hundred people dead, many of them children who had gone off to school without coats and gloves. I knew I wanted to learn about the incident and see if I could glean any hints that Landon had used this 1888 blizzard as his inspiration.

I'm also a huge fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. This 2009 edition from Viking Canada, is a series of short stories. Here is the official description:

"Adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death—usually not the first terms associated with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed shortly before her death and never before published in its entirety, Montgomery brought these topics to the forefront in what she intended to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring her beloved heroine Anne. Divided into two sections, one set before and one after the Great War of 1914—1918, The Blythes Are Quoted contains fifteen episodes that include an adult Anne and her family. Binding these short stories, Montgomery inserted sketches featuring Anne and Gilbert Blythe discussing poems by Anne and their middle son, Walter, who dies as a soldier in the war. By blending poetry, prose, and dialogue, Montgomery was experimenting with storytelling methods in ways she had never before attempted. The Blythes Are Quoted marks the final word of a writer whose work continues to fascinate readers all over the world."

I've read all the Anne books multiple times. I've also read The Story Girl series and other books that feature the townfolk of Avonlea. I know I'll read this book once I have the time.

Somewhere in my TBR pile, buried so deep I can't seem to locate them are the following two books.

This is a biography of Rose Wilder Lane by Roger Lea MacBride, Lane's heir. I've only read one other biography about Lane, The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz.

The other book is about Lane and Wilder's relationship. I've read other books by John E. Miller and love his style.

"Miller combines analyses of Wilder and Lane to explore their collaborative process and shows how their books reflect the authors' distinctive views of place, time, and culture. He compares Wilder with Frederick Jackson Turner as a frontier mythmaker and examines Lane's unpublished history of Missouri in the context of Thomas Hart Benton's famous Jefferson City mural. Miller also looks at Wilder's Missouri Ruralist columns to assess her pre-Little House values and writing skills, and he readdresses her literary treatment of Native Americans. He shows how Wilder's and Lane's conservative political views found expression in their work."

I'm a fan of biographies. Here are a few others in my TBR pile.

"In this strikingly honest book, McDonough shares the story of her overnight transformation from a normal kid in a working class, Irish Catholic family, to a Hollywood child star. She reveals intimate memories of life in and around that idyllic Virginia farmhouse (really a Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank) - sneaking off to steal candy from Ike Godsey's store; developing crushes on guest stars; trying to crack up cast members during takes; and, most of all, forming a tight-knit second family who played, worked, hugged, and squabbled together. But in the years that followed the show's long run, as McDonough tried to reinvent herself, she found herself battling depression and personal insecurities amplified by her celebrity. Gradually she gained the courage to stand up not just for herself, but - in true Waltons tradition - for others, taking on a new role as an activist for women's body image issues."

"'Life is great. Sometimes, though, you just have to put up with a little more crap.'" --Michael J. Fox

In September 1998, Michael J. Fox stunned the world by announcing he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease -- a degenerative neurological condition. In fact, he had been secretly fighting it for seven years. The worldwide response was staggering. Fortunately, he had accepted the diagnosis and by the time the public started grieving for him, he had stopped grieving for himself. Now, with the same passion, humor, and energy that Fox has invested in his dozens of performances over the last 18 years, he tells the story of his life, his career, and his campaign to find a cure for Parkinson's.

Combining his trademark ironic sensibility and keen sense of the absurd, he recounts his life -- from his childhood in a small town in western Canada to his meteoric rise in film and television which made him a worldwide celebrity. Most importantly however, he writes of the last 10 years, during which -- with the unswerving support of his wife, family, and friends -- he has dealt with his illness. He talks about what Parkinson's has given him: the chance to appreciate a wonderful life and career, and the opportunity to help search for a cure and spread public awareness of the disease. He is a very lucky man, indeed."

"The Glass Castle meets The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in this dazzlingly honest and provocative family memoir by former child actress and current Fox Business Network anchor Melissa Francis.

When Melissa Francis was eight years old, she won the role of lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the little girl who was adopted with her brother (played by young Jason Bateman) by the Ingalls family on the world’s most famous primetime soap opera, Little House on the Prairie. Despite her age, she was already a veteran actress, living a charmed life, moving from one Hollywood set to the next. But behind the scenes, her success was fueled by the pride, pressure, and sometimes grinding cruelty of her stage mother, as fame and a mother’s ambition pushed her older sister deeper into the shadows.

Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter is a fascinating account of life as a child star in the 1980’s, and also a startling tale of a family under the care of a highly neurotic, dangerously competitive “tiger mother.” But perhaps most importantly, now that Melissa has two sons of her own, it’s a meditation on motherhood, and the value of pushing your children: how hard should you push a child to succeed, and at what point does your help turn into harm?"

I've owned this book for five years. I purchased it from the History Book Club when I was a member. I truly want to read it, but I would use it more for reference material anyway.

"America's Women tells the story of more than four centuries of history. It features a stunning array of personalities, from the women peering worriedly over the side of the Mayflower to feminists having a grand old time protesting beauty pageants and bridal fairs. Courageous, silly, funny, and heartbreaking, these women shaped the nation and our vision of what it means to be female in America.

By culling the most fascinating characters -- the average as well as the celebrated -- Gail Collins, the editorial page editor at the New York Times, charts a journey that shows how women lived, what they cared about, and how they felt about marriage, sex, and work. She begins with the lost colony of Roanoke and the early southern 'tobacco brides' who came looking for a husband and sometimes -- thanks to the stupendously high mortality rate -- wound up marrying their way through three or four. Spanning wars, the pioneering days, the fight for suffrage, the Depression, the era of Rosie the Riveter, the civil rights movement, and the feminist rebellion of the 1970s, America's Women describes the way women's lives were altered by dress fashions, medical advances, rules of hygiene, social theories about sex and courtship, and the ever-changing attitudes toward education, work, and politics. While keeping her eye on the big picture, Collins still notes that corsets and uncomfortable shoes mattered a lot, too.

'The history of American women is about the fight for freedom,' Collins writes in her introduction, "but it's less a war against oppressive men than a struggle to straighten out the perpetually mixed message about women's roles that was accepted by almost everybody of both genders."

Told chronologically through the compelling stories of individual lives that, linked together, provide a complete picture of the American woman's experience, America's Women is both a great read and a landmark work of history."

I came to the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series a bit late in the game. I purchased all the book prior to Judgment Fire, which was the first book I've read. I truly love this series and want to go back to see where Tempe starts.

"In Calling the Dead, Deputy Tempe Crabtree investigates a murder that looks like death from natural causes, and a suicide that looks like murder. Putting her job on the line, she investigates the murder on her own time and without permission from her superiors. Jeopardizing her marriage, she uses Native American ways to call back the dead to learn the truth about the suicide."

The next book is also from an author whose work I became familiar with many years after this was published.

Award-winning, multi-published author Kathi Macias is a powerful name in Christian fiction and non-fiction. I purchased Obsession through Crossings  Book Club probably around when it came out in 2001. It sat on my bookshelf for many years.

Now that I review books and own more books than space, I donate books every year to the library and to our church's tag sale. That's how I came across this book tucked into the corner of my downstairs bookshelf. I cracked up when I saw it, realizing I could have become a fan of Kathi's much earlier had I simply read the book when I bought it.

Do you have any books on your shelf that you bought because you had to have them and still haven't managed to read them?

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