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Summer Reading List 2014

These 12 books are on my hit list for the upcoming weeks. If you are up for something old, something new, something historic, and something-that-will-be-a-movie-soon, come along for the journey.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, by Dinah Bucholz. Recipes for foods mentioned in the Harry Potter series, like treacle tart, pumpkin juice, and mince pies! harry potter

The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue, and Son, by Lois Lowry. All four of these are part of the same world. So if you have already read The Giver (which will be in theaters in mid-August!), you can discover the others! gathering bluegiver

messenger

son

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown. I have heard this is a historical telling of how we white people slowly destroyed the people who were here in America first. It should leave me in tears and help me understand our nation’s history better.bury my heart

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman. Fictional middle ages plus dragons. Something about the peace between dragons and humans about to be broken, and a girl with a terrible secret…something something…looks terribly interesting.seraphina

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Historical fiction about a girl in Nazi Germany who stole books. I have heard this is a great read.book thief

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. Another historical fiction, this book is about a girl who survived the sinking of the Titanic. How did she move on after such a traumatic event? Find out with me. l_TheDressmaker

The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is another book set to come out in theaters mid-September. Something about boys with amnesia being sent one by one into a giant maze filled with giant monsters…The_Maze_Runner_cover

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth. This is the second book in the Divergent series. Since it should be out in theaters next March, I thought I would give it a try just like the first one. insurgent

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. This is a artistic broadening of the story of Dinah from Genesis. It has something to do with how women give each other vital support.red tent

I’m sure when I actually read these guys, I will give you more in-depth reviews of them. But I am really excited about this next bunch of books. They are already all on reserve for me at my public library. Woot!

 

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Book Reviews

 

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Favorite Books From My Middle School Years

Yesterday I posted some of my favorite books from my childhood. Here are some from my early adolescence. I read many of these several times. As I ransacked my mind for this list, I remembered that a great many of my favorite books were from the Newbery Award book list. Interestingly enough, the only books I really remember reading and loving from this time period were fiction. Fairytales, many of them. The Two Princesses of Bamarre.jpgElla Enchanted and the Two Princesses of Bamarre. The first has been made into a movie (the book is better), though it is really the second that deserves to be made into a movie. Bamarre‘s main character, Addie, and I had a lot in common. She had a big sister who was brave and adventurous (and liked to act) and she was afraid of many things. When playing pretend with her sister Meryl, Addie was always the damsel in distress, but when her sister became deathly ill, it was Addie who had to be the courageous adventurer who sought the cure. And, of course, she meets a guy. Holes by Louis Sachar. This modern-day story of ancient curses and treasure is full of hilarious lines, like “You boys aren’t digging for treasure! You’re digging to build character!” He also wrote nonsensical stories I read when I was younger, like Wayside School Is Falling Down. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit: this one has been made into a movie, actually doing great credit to the book. The book asks the reader, “If you were given the chance to live forever, would you take it?” The Westing Game. This story is a riddle, and the reader is lucky if she can figure it out before the main character, a bright young girl, is able to do so. Poppy by Avi. My, how I loved this series. It is probably because of these books that I wanted to name a future daughter Poppy (Unfortunately, my husband thinks she will get nicknames “poopy” and my mother reminded me that the poppy is the source of the drugs opium, morphine, and heroin). The books in the series are Ragweed, Poppy, Poppy & Rye, Ereth’s Birthday, Poppy’s Return, and Poppy and Ereth. The stories are about the adventures of some field mice and a porcupine who find friendship and love. completely charming.    I love Karen Cushman books, especially these three. Cushman showed me what life for a girl might look like in middle ages England.   The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. The reason I liked this story so much was probably because I recognized it as a retelling of an old Grimm brothers fairy tale with the same name. Taking a story from 7 pages long to novel length was delightfully done. (Plus the princess has super powers)

Man, I loved these books. And now that I look at them, all but Holes has a female protagonist.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Just Talking/Thinking

 

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My Favorite Books from Childhood

Two days ago I reviewed 30 of the books I have read this year. But I have read so many books, I thought you might like to hear some of my favorite books from three different arbitrary time periods of my life: 6-10, 11-16, and 17-22. Here is the first.

ImageI was homeschooled until the 11th grade. One thing I loved about being homeschooled was the literary approach we took to learning certain subjects. The curriculum would provide lots of historical fiction, which we would use for spelling, vocabulary, history, and writing assignments. I couldn’t get enough of books. In this one, which we also listened to together as a book on tape, we learned about life in Michigan during the Great Depression. I can still hear some of the lines in my head, like “I’ll take the image of you driving away in my car just outside of Owasso, Michigan at two-thirty in the morning to my grave with me!” Even though life was tough for the orphan, Bud, he was determined and optimistic about finding a family.

ImageOh, how I loved this book series on tape. It is a silly story about how a boy saves a dragon from slavery and makes a friend. Elmer has to out-think tigers, boars, a rhino, a gorilla, monkeys, and crocodiles on the island of Tangerina.

 

ImageRoald Dahl has always been my favorite kids’ books author (despite some gruesome descriptions of how some beasts/witches/Twits like to eat up little children). I have read nearly all of his children’s books. I especially love The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, The Twits, Fantastic Mr. Fox, George’s Marvelous Medicine, and Danny: Champion of the World, though he is more famous for his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach stories. His stories encourage kids to dream big and wonder. It challenges them to rethink what is beautiful and what success is. And of course Quentin Blake’s illustrations are just as wonky as the stories. Splendid.

ImageThis is a British book that my mother read out loud to the three of us kids once. Only once, but I never forgot the story of the proud teddy bear that kept getting passed off to someone else, gradually humbling him and opening him up to be loved in the end.

ImageOh, this was the best. Grover is told that there is a monster at the end of the book; he is terrified, and tries to keep the reader from finishing the book. He uses paper clips and bricks, pleading and begging, only to find that the monster at the end of it all is himself. And surely he does not need to fear himself! What a relief. I loved the drawings and how Grover looked like he was talking to me.

ImageImageThese two Treasure Tree books were written by a Christian who wanted a way to explain to kids about a common personality sorter. So four friends go adventuring together: a commanding lion (Choleric), a loyal golden retriever (Phlegmatic), a playful otter (Sanguine), and a precise-measuring beaver (Melancholy). Through the whimsical stories, kids can see how people are different from them (and that is a good thing!). They have different thought patterns and take different approaches; this diversity is a help, not a hindrance, from the group goals. Since I am a phlegmatic, my favorite part of the first book was when Honey the dog heard the small voice of someone needing help, and was able to save him through her attentive empathy. I taught me that even quiet people can do important things.

So those were a few of my favorites. I am pretty sure that if I am blessed with children, I will make sure we own all of these books.

What were some of your favorite books to read as a child?

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Just Talking/Thinking

 

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