Next On My List? – Part 1

What should I read next?

I know this questions isn’t as deep as, say, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?,” but it’s a conundrum that has plagued readers since Gutenberg’s press spat more than just the Bible. The problem isn’t that it’s hard to come up with an answer; the problem is that there are SO MANY answers.

I received this text this morning:

It took me forever because of school stuff, but I finally finished “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Once I got to the second half, it was hard to put down. Is there another book I should read?

As I have a deep love for this question, especially when it is asked by a high school senior, I responded immediately. In hopes of narrowing down the options, however, I asked the questioner a few preferences.



Literary Classic?

These responses, alas, still left me hundreds of options. I quickly began to jot down the books that popped into my mind. The original list had well over 20 books (which I was reasonably proud of considering it took me less than 5 minutes), but I whittled it down to these current top picks.

Wuthering Heights
The classic love story of Heathcliff and Catherine. I’m never quite sure whom to love in this tale. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

Farewell to Arms
The love story of Fredric and Catherine (yup, another one). The dry humor is a delightful backdrop to the war the story is set in. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

The Great Gatsby
The love story of Gatsby and Daisy, and fast cars, parties, and swimming pools. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

The Scarlet Letter
Hester Prynne’s journey to turn old-school Boston on its head as she blew stereotypes out of the water (OR: How red thread changed a women’s life and killed a man). It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
“Fred” and Holly Golightly take on New York (sort of). Capote answers the questions: What is an American Geisha? I think a part (no matter how small) of every women wants live in Holly’s shoes. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

Did you notice a theme? Surprisingly enough, I love all these books save one. Bet you can’t guess which one!

As I was composing this post, I received the following text:

Book recommendations? (Yup, twice in one day! I could have hugged my sis-in-law when she texted me this!)

Quite giddy with excitement, I responded…

Genre? Classic or modern?


All of the above!

…Challenge accepted! My top picks at the moment are…

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
22 essays and the full spectrum of human emotions. Clever, witty, and charming.

The life of Jesus as told by his best friend (and hell of a sinner), Biff. This is a DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER moment, if I ever saw one.

Perks of Being a Wallflower
Letters, all letters. But poignant and powerful in the way a teenager is honest and real and raw.

Hike a trail, find yourself. It’s an emotional workout hiking everyday with the author, but the end is worth the journey.

Fight Club
The first rule of Fight Club is…. This must be the first Chuck Palahniuk book you read. Why? Don’t ask questions; just do it! No really, it’s a great book and an incredibly clever writing style. I appreciate how you can almost step into Chuck’s mind.

And Then There Were None
Possibly my favorite murder mystery. Agatha is a genius… and everyone dies. Whodunit?!

The Host
(Sigh) It pains me a bit to add this to the list (just because I have issues with the author), but it’s the best book Ms. Stephanie wrote and if you want something light, this isn’t a bad weekend read. It’s pretty clever, actually.

So there you have it. This concludes
Part 1 of Next On My List?. 
Tune in next time for a new batch of books!

On a side note, if you want to check out my thoughts on book censorship, click here.


Book vs Movie: The Age-Old Question

Don’t judge a book by its movie.
J.W. Eagan

Eagan is right, you know. You shouldn’t judge a book by its movie, but the same is true in reverse as well. Movies are constantly judged by their book. Before you get your literary panties in a twist, let me be the first to say that the lack of Peeves in the HP movies broke my gosh-dang heart and I berated the director’s lack of foresight. BUT, that oversight doesn’t mean I hate the movies and refuse to watch them. In fact, I love the movies.

Let me explain.

Movies can be brilliant. Books can be brilliant. If movie-watching-readers (like me!) can just learn to separate one from the other, the world would be a happier place. Am I right or am I right?

Accept the fact that screaming “that wasn’t in the books!” doesn’t diminish the pain you felt when Dobby died. I mean, the complete removal of a brilliant character like Glorfindel doesn’t negate the power of Aragorn screaming “but today is not that day!,” does it? Of course not!

See what I mean? Accept the movies and the books of fandoms as two sides of the same coin. Acceptance is the first step to recovery…


Rickering (click to watch the video!)

While scheduling/posting tweets, I stumbled across this gem of a video. It includes a Robin Williams/Kim Kardashian look-alike contest and a clip near the end about the new craze hitting the Trekkie world… #Rickering.

An Ode to Java

Oh bitter liquid that starts my day,
How lovely and smooth you are.
A dash of cream, you billow steam,
I drink you in the car.

Oh brown beverage that keeps me sane,
How tempting and rich you remain.
You fill my cup; you wake me up,
I would drink you on a train.

Oh addictive drink that has me enthralled,
Your absence hurts my head.
You have my soul; I’m out of control,
I guess I’ll stop when I’m dead.

Check out my Confessions of a Coffee Addict.

Confessions of a Coffee Addict

Hi, my name is Lynette Fager and I’m a coffee addict. I feel like I should be sitting on a folding chair positioned in a circle amidst others with this same affliction. I didn’t even realize I had a problem until a few weekends ago when I went 72 hours without coffee. I was at a retreat and without access to a coffee pot or Starbucks. If you are a multiple-cups-a-day kind of person (like me), you know this was a challenging.

As hard as it was, however, it was also eye opening. When that withdrawal headache kicked in at hour 18 or so, I chalked it up to the weird weather and lack of sleep. But when it stuck around for hours, not as a full-blown, cranium-splitting headache, but rather as a dull, mind-numbing annoyance, I knew there was more to this headache than I wanted to admit.

I tend to drink coffee like its part of my job (and it was part of my job for years when I was a barista!). I’m one of those individuals who realizes simultaneously that it’s noon and that I have consumed four (or five or six…) cups of coffee already. This, I have deduced, is the problem: I drink it without thinking about it.

Though I’m sure there are worse things to which I could be addicted (crystal meth comes to mind), I don’t care for the idea that a substance can affect me like this. So, I have decided to confront my addiction. I’m not excited about it, but confront it I shall! I will keep better track of my cups of coffee throughout the day and I shall order a grande, not a venti, when I hit up Starbucks for my fix. Will I remove coffee completely from my life? Oh, heck no; it’s far too tasty for that! But will I master the hold that it has on me, yes indeed. It will be a challenge, but I think I’m up to it!

FYI: It’s 10:30 a.m. as I write this and I’m only on cup number two. That’s not a bad start, right?