Top 10 Tuesday: Books to Read on the Beach

For this week’s prompt, I chose my favorite books that are set on or by the sea. All of these are BIG FAVORITES of mine. I especially love books that are set during a long ocean voyage.

In no particular order:

  1. The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip (fantasy)
  2. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (historical fiction)
  3. The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin (fantasy)
  4. The Lonely Sea by Alistair MacLean (short stories)
  5. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (fantasy)
  6. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (historical fiction)
  7. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells (fantasy)
  8. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (fairy tale)
  9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy)
  10. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (fantasy)

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


Currently Listening: Do-Over by Jon Acuff

My friends will tell you that I’m a real bad listener…at least when it comes to podcasts, audiobooks, sermons, lectures, and other valuable educational experiences.

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Nope. I didn’t.

I have to be doing something with my hands while I listen and even then my comprehension and retention levels are NOT GREAT.  I get frustrated if I miss something, I get frustrated if I get distracted, I get frustrated if I space out, and most of all, I hate not knowing how to spell characters’ names (this is a huge problem in SFF or if the reader has an accent).

Basically I’m a big baby.

But I am trying to do better. Here’s what I’ve learned works the best for me to get some audiobook listening in:

Bahnreads’ Top 3 Ways to Find an Audiobook She Can Actually Listen To:

  1. Choose really really suspenseful or compelling fiction: Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons series was a hit for me (although I still don’t know how to spell most of the character’s names) because there is so much going on and lots of questions raised.
  2. Listen to books I’ve read before in paper copy: This is a really fun way to reread old favorites or books I particularly enjoyed. It also means that if I miss something or get distracted, I don’t get stressed out because I’ve read it before and I know what’s going on.
  3. Listen to books with dramatized casts: The variety of voices holds my attention better and helps me to differentiate characters. The audiobook of Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner is a great example; I’ve actually listened to that one MORE THAN ONCE.

So all of that leads to the book I’m currently listening to, which is Do-Over by Jon Acuff. This audiobook falls under Way #2. I read Do-Over last year in hard copy and found it full of really good information for strengthening or building any career. I like Acuff’s positivity and empathy. I appreciate his emphasis on showing generosity to others but also placing smart boundaries for yourself so you aren’t taken advantage of. Listening to it on audiobook is helping me to internalize the information more and repetition is always good for learning, right?

Jon Acuff also reads his own audiobook. Authors narrating their audiobooks doesn’t always have great results but Acuff does a good job and makes it more personal as if he’s imparting the information directly to you in a conversation.

Do you enjoy audiobooks, and if so, why? What audiobooks are you most drawn to?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Glad I Made Myself Finish

The actual prompt for today was “Books I Decided to DNF Too Quickly,” but I don’t know if there are books I regret not finishing because


So instead, I will tell you about 10 difficult or frustrating books that I almost gave up on, but I’m glad I didn’t.

  1. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser: It’s Middle English poetry, it took me 84 years to read, but it’s a compelling story with a lot of weird bits, plus I met Britomart, dashing and competent lady knight of my heart.
  2. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque: This novel set in World War I is a real downer, but it made me think and gave me more perspective on a big event in history.
  3. Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs: The writing style rubbed me nerves right raw, but I learned a lot and found out about a lot of really important ladies that I would never otherwise know about.

  4. Deerskin by Robin McKinley: If I had known what I was getting into, I never would have read it. Some really dark trauma happens to the protagonist, and there’s some oddly-slow bits in the middle, but overall it’s a tremendous story, it’s brilliantly crafted, and the way the main character empowers herself and overcomes is wonderful to watch.
  5. Herb Caen’s San Francisco: 1976-1991: I got this book for 25 cents somewhere, read it for the lolz, and I learned a lot about San Francisco local history and culture.
  6. Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales edited by Kelly Link: I got this book solely for the Sarah Rees Brennan story, but there were a lot of other gems in this collection.
  7. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (volume 1): Okay, so full disclosure is that I haven’t finished this series yet. I’ve read the first two and to be honest I’m amazed that I’ve gotten that far considering how dark and horrific it is. But it’s just so good? and I love the characters? And I want to read more? It’s confusing. Damn it, Neil.
  8. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini: I almost didn’t finish this series because it is wild and free and had a really long release schedule, but overall I’m glad I stuck with it.
  9. God-Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert: Part of me wants to take a pair of scissors and cut out chapters worth of philosophizing that the characters in this novel get up to, but the rest of me thinks this book is a trip and I loved every word of it.
  10. Middlemarch by George Eliot: This book is one of my favorites ever, and I don’t think I was ever in danger of NOT finishing it, but it is insanely long and it took me months to finish it. I’m glad I put the work into it.

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Scripture Sunday (52)

Scripture Sunday is a weekly (um, sort of, oops) quote-post to highlight Bible passages I’ve read recently that I found particularly interesting. My translation is the New International Version.

From my reading this week:


As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.

-Psalms 18:30-36

Why I chose it:

There are definitely verses and passages and books in the Bible that I have to work at to figure out the context or find a way to relate it to my life but reading the Psalms is just like, oh yeah, I feel this.

Psalm 18 as a whole is very encouraging and one of my favorites.