Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I loved reading with my kiddos

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a new top 10 theme each week. While the “official” topic is slightly different, I thought I’d focus on books that I loved reading with my kids. Now, bear in mind that both (sadly) have outgrown the reading-aloud phase, but I did diligently read to both of them every single day from infancy onward.

First, here are some books that were perfect for my sweeties in the baby and toddler days:

1. Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown — so perfectly sweet.

2. ALL books by Sandra Boynton: I especially loved The Going to Bed Book, But Not the Hippopotamus, Moo Baa La La La — but they’re really all terrific. And years later, I can (and do) still quote them by heart!

3. The poetry of Winnie the Pooh: A good friend gave me a beautiful set of the Winnie the Pooh books when my daughter was born, and what we ended up especially loving were the poems in the books. Lines and Squares is amazing!

4. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z: You haven’t lived until you’ve read this book with a 2-year-old! The adults in the house were on the floor completely incapacitated by laughter the first time we read this with my son, who tried his best, in his adorable 2-year-old voice, to repeat the names of all of the very silly cars. (The 2-year-old is now 15 and I’m sure would deny having any part in this, but I have video proof!)

5. Tumble Tower – a wonderful picture book that we loved to pieces.

6. Tumble Bumble – Unrelated to Tumble Tower, it’s just such a wonderful sing-songy read, and so much fun.

As the kiddos got older, we moved on to chapter books and book series, and here are some we loved:

7. Harry Potter — of course! I read the entire series out loud to my son when he was about 7 or 8. I was so proud of myself! (He loved it too.) We had such a good time with reading and discussing these books — it was an amazing experience.

8. The Hobbit — another fun read-aloud.

9. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – I read this one with my daughter. She was definitely old enough to read it on her own, but the concepts involved are pretty complex, and it was a good choice for a book to share.

10. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede — The dragon and princess trope turns upside down in these magical tales. Book #1 is really the best, but all make for a great shared read.

What books did you love reading with the kids in your life… or which would you want to read with your future kids? Please leave me your link!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten haunting books for Halloween chills

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Happy Halloween!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is a Halloween freebie!

This year, I think I’ll focus on ghost stories… some read recently, some longer ago, but all good choices to send a little shiver down the spine

1. The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

2. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

3. Thornhill by Pam Smy (review)

4. Bag of Bones by Stephen King

5. The Uninvited by Cat Winters (review)

6. The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig (review)

7. The Vanishing by Wendy Webb (review)

8. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (review)

9. The Mystery of Grace by Charles De Lint

10. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Do you have any good ghost stories to recommend? What’s on your Halloween TTT? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten series I NEED to READ

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is the Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t. I’m pretty series-averse these days, trying not to start new series unless all volumes are already published and available. I just don’t have the patience (or attention span) to get involved in any more ongoing series with no end in sight!

Here are some series that I’ve yet to start (but want to), and some that I’ve started but not finished.

 

On the new to me side:

1) Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

2) Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

3) Temeraire by Naomi Novik

4) The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

5) Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire

6) And speaking of Seanan McGuire, I still need to read the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant

 

And for series that I’ve started and need to get back to:

7) The Dark Tower by Stephen King – I’ve read 3 books so far.

8) Locke & Key by Joe Hill – I’ve read all but the last volume! How crazy is that?

9) The Expanse by James S. A. Corey – I’ve barely made a dent, but I love what I’ve read (2 books) so far.

10) Poldark by Winston Graham – I think I’ve read 5 out of 12.

What book series are you dying to read? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten creepy, gross, scary horror books for getting in the Halloween mood

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Happy (almost) Halloween!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is a Halloween freebie!

I’ve decided to focus on great books to scare or give the willies. To mix things up, I’m highlighting five books that I’ve read, and five from my TBR list:

Icky, squicky, creepy, scary books that I’ve read (with links to my reviews):

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NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (review)

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (review)

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy (review)

Breed by Chase Novak (review)

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (review)

Creepy, chilling, horrifying-sounding books that I really want to read:

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Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Wraith by Joe Hill

A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

What scary books do you love to recommend? What’s on your Halloween TTT? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten character names for my imaginary babies and pets

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc. After — which strikes me as a really funny topic, but, hey, I’m game!

As I already have all the kids I intend to have and am not in the market for any fur (or fin) babies, I’ll just focus on character names which I think are cute or clever or cool or funny enough to become the NEXT BIG THING in baby and pet names.

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For girls:

  • Demelza – inspired by the Poldark series of books by Winston Graham
  • Marsali – inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series
  • Cosette – inspired by Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • Minerva – in honor of my favorite Hogwarts professor, thanks to Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling

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For boys:

  • Rhett – inspired by Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Tyrion – inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
  • Quentin – inspired by The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • Roland – inspired by The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

animals-47877_1280For the non-human family members, I’d want:

  • A dog named Rollo – inspired, once again, by the Outlander series
  • Three bearded dragon lizards, named Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion – another inspiration from the world of GRRM
  • Two fish (preferably big ones) names Ishmael and Queequeg – inspired by Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Oops! I realize that’s more than 10…

What character names do you think would be awesome people/pet names? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten despicable bad guys in fiction

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is all about villains — fictional bad guys, TV bad guys, villains we secretly love, or any other spin on the topic.

I’m focusing on really awful fictional villains. Not the “love to hate” kind — there’s no secret love here. I just straight up despise all of these characters — no shades of gray or redeeming characteristics or hidden hearts of gold.

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My 10 most hideous, despicable villains fall into two categories — the “real” people, as in, those who inhabit our world and are merely human, albeit terrible humans, and the fantasy/otherworldy villains; who are more easily classified as evil due to their superhuman or supernatural powers.

In the non-fantasy category:

1) Black Jack Randall (Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon): A sadist who delights in inflicting terror, pain, and psychological damage.

2) Stephen Bonnet (Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon): A pirate who’s casually cruel just because. He causes so much harm to beloved characters without even blinking an eye.

3) Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling): I include Dolores Umbridge in the real-world section of my list because what makes her so terrible is not her magic, but her mundane cruelty. She’s a despotic bureaucrat who enjoys using her power to make others suffer, not through charms or hexes, but by wielding her authoritarian control.

It’s a lot easier, in some ways, to come up with a list of horrible villains from fantasy worlds:

4) Voldemort (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling): He Who Must Not Be Named. You Know Who. The Dark Lord. Tom Riddle. I don’t think I need to explain this one, do I?

5) Charles Manx (NOS4A2 by Joe Hill): One of the scariest horror novels I’ve ever read features one of the scariest bad guys in fiction. Wow. It gives me the shivers to think about this book too much.

6) The Beast (The Magicians series by Lev Grossman): The Beast is a thing of horror who used to be a person, and I won’t give away more than that — but the horror caused by the Beast is really awful.

7) Sauron (Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien): As with Voldemort, I’m not sure someone who represents ultimate evil needs an explanation!

8) Queen Levana (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Mayer): Even though Fairest offers a glimpse into Levana’s childhood and seems to provide a teeny grasp at sympathy for her, Levana is such a cruel psycho that she remains an thoroughly villainous character.

9) Joffrey Baratheon (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin): Horrible little shit.

10) Walder Frey (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin): Worst host ever, basically.

(Dis)honorable mention (because I ran out of room):

  • From the world of Fables, the amazing graphic novel series by Bill Willingham, come two terrible bad guys who pretty much tear worlds apart: The Adversary and Mister Dark. And because The Adversary’s true identity is a secret for quite a while, I’ll avoid spoilers and not say any more about this character.

What villains made your lists this week? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books on my TBR list for fall 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is the top ten books on our fall to-be-read lists. Only ten? I’ll give it a try. Some of these are recent and upcoming releases, and some are books that may have been around for a little while.

My top ten books to read this fall:

1) Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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2) Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty

3) Cross Talk by Connie Willis

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4) Paris For One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

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5) Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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6) Yesternight by Cat Winters

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7) Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

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8) Miss Jane by Brad Watson

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9) Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible

10) The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The Wonder

What books are on your fall TBR list? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten reasons to listen to audiobooks

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is an audio freebie – any topic at all, so long as it relates in some way to audiobooks, podcasts, playlists… you get the idea.

Rather than listing some of my favorite audiobooks, I thought I’d list a bunch of the great things about audiobooks. Let’s see if I can get to 10!

  1. They’re great for driving — either short trips across town or hours-long road trips. The miles fly by while listening to a good story!
  2. They keep me from getting bored while doing mindless chores — especially folding laundry.
  3. Audiobooks are a great way to re-read a book without feeling like I’m neglecting newer books that I’ve been meaning to read.
  4. Listening to a book can give a new perspective on a story, just by hearing how the dialogue sounds out loud or how certain parts get emphasized.
  5. Sometimes, the author is also the narrator, and in the best of these, it’s wonderful to hear how the author chooses to portray his/her own characters.
  6. Great narration brings characters to life. For example, I liked Lord John (in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and in the Lord John stand-alone books), but I didn’t LOVE him until I heard Jeff Woodman’s awesome narration. Somehow, he captures John’s aristocratic upbringing, his dry sense of humor, and his innate goodness so just perfectly.
  7. Funny books are even funnier read out loud. Wil Wheaton brought me to tears — laughing — with his narration of two of John Scalzi’s super funny sci-fi books. Something about the way he pronounced the aliens’ names… call me a child, but I cracked up every time.
  8. Creepy books are even creepier read out loud. Case in point: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson may be a good book, but the audiobook is creeeeepy. The narrator puts in these odd inflections and does a sing-songy thing with some of the repeated lines, and man, it is so good.
  9. Audiobooks make great exercise motivators! I like to go for long walks, but when I want to go for really long walks, an addictive audiobook really helps. I have a hard time listening to audiobooks if I’m sitting still — so if I’m listening to something really intense or suspenseful, maybe I’ll walk the extra several blocks just so I can see what happens next!
  10. Somehow, I find myself willing to listen to books that I wouldn’t ever get around to reading. Again, this is probably because I listen to audiobooks at times when I just physically can’t read a hard copy book, so I don’t feel like I’m “wasting” my reading time. Through audiobooks, I’ve read some great non-fiction stories, and have even enjoyed a couple of collections of short stories, which I usually cannot stand to read.

There you have it — the 10 things I love most about audiobooks. Do you listen to audiobooks? What do you love most about them?

Please share your TTT link, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books that make me grateful for book groups & book friends

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is a Thankgiving freebie — so we can each come up with our own take on something we’re thankful for this year.

book group1I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on how important my book group is to me. A smarter, kinder, warmer bunch of people I can’t even imagine… and what’s funny is that while I feel that I know them all so well, we’ve never actually met in person! We have such amazing conversations about books in general, our shared love for the Outlander series, and our monthly groups reads… as well as offering one another friendship and support through all our many non-bookish ups and downs.

In addition to spending time with great people, thanks to my book group I’ve read some really wonderful books! Here’s a list of ten books that I might (or might not) have chosen on my own, but which I’m thankful to have read and discussed with my book group friends.

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1) The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczky (review)

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2) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (review)

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3) The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (review)

The Boys in the Boat

4) The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (review)

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5) The Day of Atonement by David Liss (review)

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6) The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (review)

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7) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (review)

All the Light

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And these last three are extra special, because not only did we read amazing books and have fabulous discussions, but we were also fortunate enough to have the authors join us to answer questions and participate in the conversations:

8) Henna House by Nomi Eve (review)

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9) I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe (review)

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10) Gathering Storm by Maggie Craig (review)

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So, a big virtual hug to my book club friends! Thank you for enriching my life for all of these years — I’m looking forward to many, many more!

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What books or bookish things are you most grateful for this Thanksgiving week?

Please share your thoughts, and if you wrote a TTT post, don’t forget to share your link!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten book-to-movie adaptations that I can’t wait to see

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is the top ten movie (or TV) adaptations of books which we really want to see. My list is a bit of a mix: Some here are movie/TV adaptations that I’ve finally seen, some are movies that are already out that I just haven’t gotten to, and a few are movies/TV adaptations that are coming up in the next year that I’m really looking forward to.

Recently seen:

1) The Martian by Andy Weir: Finally saw it this past weekend! I loved the book, and I was really wondering whether the movie would do it justice… but I thought it was terrific! Hint: See it while it’s still in theaters — this is a movie that needs the big screen/3D experience!

2) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: Even though the BBC mini-series is from 2004, I’d never seen it before this week. I loved the book, and thought the TV version was beautifully done. And also: Richard Armitage. Need I say more?

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Need to see:

3) Room by Emma Donoghue: The book was powerful and painful, and so even though the movie version looks like it’s really well done, I’m a little hesitant about sitting through it.

4) Still Alice by Lisa Genova: Another tough subject, which is probably why I’ve held off on seeing the movie, even though I’ve heard such good things about it.

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Still to come:

5) Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling: It’ll be interesting to see how a Hogwarts textbook gets turned into a full-length movie! The early photos certainly make it seem intriguing.

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6) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith: Jane Austen and zombies, oh my! I think the trailer looks awesome.

7) 11/22/63 by Stephen King: I loved, loved, loved this book. The TV series airs in February 2016 on Hulu, starring James Franco, and I just hope it sticks to the book!

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8) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: The movie version is due out in March 2016, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin.

me before you movie

9) Into the Forest by Jean Hegland: I had no idea there was going to be a movie version until I started researching this post! I loved the book, so this is super exciting. The movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, but so far, I haven’t found a US release date. Let’s go with 2016, shall we?

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And finally…

Why haven’t I ever seen this at any point in my life?

10) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I don’t know what was wrong with my upbringing, but clearly something was deficient, because I never, ever saw the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird, and that’s just not okay. Adult me needs to fix this.

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What movie adaptations are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share your link!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!