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April 23, 2016

T is for Tempting Tomes and To-Read Books #AtoZChallenge

by Elisbeth Scherer

Today’s letter for the #AtoZChallenge is T and I’ve got authors with T names,my favorite T-themed books, plays, children’s books, and some books from my personal TBR pile that you might like to check out. When I started working on this article authors and books started tumbling out of the woodworks at me so this is by no means a definitive list, more like scratching the surface of the letter in the Literary world.

The title page, of the book "The Silmaril...
The title page, of the book "The Silmarillion" by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited and published by his son Christopher Tolkien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The most obvious name for me is J.R.R. Tolkien. I fell in love with Tolkien in college and now have an entire bookshelf dedicated to his books. The entire world he has created I could get lost in. Some books are harder to read than others but all of them give me the idea of vastest which really sets as standard for world development in my mind.  I doubt there are many readers of this blog that haven’t already read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (or have seen the movies) but if you are one of those individuals I would highly recommend you read them as soon as possible. My husband has already read The Hobbit to our 4 ½ year old son and he frequently talks about the book. If you have read them but haven’t tackled The Silmarillion go learn how the world was created in the First Age. You learn the history behind Middle earth and the races and how things came to be. An excerpt from Goodreads says “The Silmarillion is the history of the rebellion of Fëanor (an elf) and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.”

And with the letter T we cannot mention Tolkien without mentioning book two of The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. The fellowship have faced trials and now the company has been disbanded and we follow all of them on their quest to help rid the world of the one ring. Frodo and Samwise take their route towards Mount Doom and the rest of the fellowship breaks in two during a battle with orcs. I mentioned in a previous post this book shows multiple storylines marching to a final culmination. The party has lost Gandalf and one of its members attempts to take the ring by force. It is a gritty and dark book of the trilogy in my opinion.

You could also look at Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace (if you are trying to impress the little red-haired girl like Charlie Brown; or how about Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, and finally Terry Pratchett.  So many good books between all those T authors we could be reading with T for a year or more.

My two favorite T titled books are Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There by Lewis Carroll and my Thriller pick, The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There is the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is set six months after the previous book and Alice’s adventures begin this time when she climbs through a mirror into the world she sees reflected there. Alice meets the Red and White Queens, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, plays in a life size game of chess, and we get the famous Jabberwocky Poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and The Lion and the Unicorn all in the story. It’s darker, I think, than the first book but still full of fantastical characters and wondrous sites. There is a Tim Burton movie adaptation of this book coming out May 27th and I can’t wait to see it.

The Pelican Brief is a Legal Thriller that for some reason has always been a favorite of mine. The paperback I own is falling apart. It’s a page-turning, can’t put it down book that follows the assassinations of two supreme court justices and a legal brief that solves the murder and makes the law student who wrote it prime target number one as someone has read her brief and does not like the knowledge she has. Grisham has so many novels in his bibliography and I think this will probably always be one of my favorites. On a personal note I will say I don’t mind the movie, but the book (as usual) is much, much better.

If you are looking for something different in a story, you could chose a few classic plays you could read:

By Orlando Fernandez,
World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain],
 via Wikimedia Commons
First, by Tennessee Williams we have The Glass Menagerie. Tennessee Williams is one of the top three playwrights from the 20th century American Dream and The Glass Menagerie was the play that vaulted him from obscurity to fame. It is a memory play told by Tom, a young man who works to provide for his Mother Amanda and older sister Laura in their small apartment in St. Louis. Amanda longs for her passed days as a debutant in the south and worries about her daughter’s future who is shy and who suffers from a limp (a result of having polio). Laura spends most of her time at home polishing and playing with her collection of glass animals. Amanda convinces Tom to bring home a suitor for Laura. That’s as far into the plot as I will delve but it is an emotional and melancholy play that may possibly reflect William’s actual home life. Besides this play Tennessee Williams has a host of other plays that you may also want to read including A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Summer and Smoke, Orpheus Descending, and The Night of the Iguana just to name a few.

If you like plays than there is also Jean-Baptiste Moliere’s French play Tartuffe  and Shakespeare’s many plays that start with T:  Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona.

As any good bibliophile my to-be-read pile is as tower that is threatening to fall over and bury me in words (what a way to go though).  Here are just a few on my list to read that fall under the T umbrella.

The Toyminator by Robert Rankin - Sequel to Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. Both books I would recommend. In the first book, we follow Jack and his sidekick Eddie Bear as they investigate the murders of old, rich nursery rhyme characters. According to the back of the book “...the two set out on an epic adventure. Not to mention a lot of heavy drinking, bad behaviour, fast car chases, gratuitous sex and violence, bizarre toy fetishism and all-around grossness. Of a type not normally associated with Toy Town.” This book is hilarious, suspenseful, and a complete riot.

Naturally after reading and loving the first book The Toyminator rose right up to the top of my to read list. In this book things are just not going well in Toy City as Toys have started to spontaneously combust. There are talks of this being the end times - a Toy City Apocalypse is on the horizon. Toy City turns to Eddie Bear, P.I. and his loyal sidekick, Jack. Kirkus review has said this book is “like Douglas Adams on a sugar high” and that alone makes me need to find time to actually read this book - and so should you!

To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North and Shakespeare. This book is a retelling of Hamlet but told as a choose your own path style book. My husband actually backed this book on Kickstarter and devoured it. You can be Hamlet, You can be Ophelia, You can be the Ghost of Hamlet’s father. The decision of where the book will lead is all up to you. You could read the book multiple times and not get bored as there are 65 illustrations for each possible ending that will keep you trying new ways to wind your way through this wonderful play. An excerpt from Amazon states, “To Be or Not to Be became a sensation when it launched: over 15,000 people backed the book in just one month, and it remains the number-one most funded publishing project ever on” and with stats like that who wouldn’t want to read this book.

Ten Apples on Top
Finally, I just want to touch on a couple kids books we are currently reading in marathon bouts in our house. First is Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss. My one and a half year old daughter requests this multiple times a day and night. Today at the grocery store she received an apple and automatically started saying, “Ten apples on top.” It’s a great, short book, that has the spellings of numbers to help your child learn to recognize 1-10 in word form.  Secondly is The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. There is so much to say about Ms. Potters lovely stories. These are classic children’s stories that every child should hear. They hold a special spot in my heart and even The Further Tales of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson ring true. I particularly love the audiobook reading that comes with Thompson’s books where the actress herself is reading the adventures.

Well I hope I just created a larger TBR pile for anyone who is looking for some letter T themed books. I know I now need to get my priorities straight and dive into one of my books again. Until next time, Keep reading!

Elisabeth Scherer, reviewer. Elisabeth grew up in a very small town in Minnesota but now lives in the lovely Pacific Northwest where she spends most of her time raising her two young children. She and her husband have a large collection of books that takes a good space of their small condo. When she's not reading she has a variety of hobbies that include crocheting, drawing, baking, cooking, and movie watching. She is currently training to run her first half marathon later this year! You can also find her blogging at

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  1. Luv all your choices, although I admit to having never heard of the Toyminator or the Hollow Chocolate Bunnies... May have to tackle The Silmarillion now. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge



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