"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, January 30, 2012

Top Ten Book Club Selections

Top Ten Tuesday asks: "What books would make good book Club selections?

Every year I put out a list of my book club selections from the past year.  Check out my 2010 and 2011 lists.
Here are a few books that worked really well in my book clubs over the past few years in terms of the level of discussion that the book generated:

Historical Fiction
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett---Civil rights, 1960s
2. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan---the late 1940s in the deep South, racial tension
3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese---set in Ethiopia during its civil war in the late 1960s.
4. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See---during the 1800s in China, about the lives of women and foot-binding.
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Burrows---set on the island of Guernsey which was occupied by the Nazis during WWII.
6. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan---Frank Lloyd Wright and his affair with Maima Bostwick
7. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks---A village beset by the plague in Derbyshire.
8. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant---The story of women during Biblical times.
9. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen---A traveling circus and its cast of characters.

1. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan--- the beginning of the Forest Service and National Forests and a fire that nearly brought it all down.
2. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand---The great American race horse.
3. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson---The Chicago Worlds Fair at the turn of the century juxtaposed to a mass-murderer in the same area.
4. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan---The American Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.
5. American Nightingale by Bob Welsh---about the first American nurse to die in Europe after D-Day

YA/Children's Books (for Adult Book Groups!)
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak---WWII inside Germany.
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie---the divided life of an Indian on and off the reservation. Very funny and poignant.
3. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan---set during the Great Depression about the plight of Mexican laborers.

It's Monday, January 30 and I'm reading...

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey
I'm Reading:  
The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin---a middle-grade biography of American's most famous traitor. This book won the YALSA Nonfiction Prize this year.
A Death at Pemberley by P.D. James---Elizabeth Bennett Darcy involved in a murder mystery? Why not?

I recently finished:
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler--- another award-winning YA novel that is both funny and poignant; anyone who has ever had their heart broken should read this wonderful book.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green---this book may very well end up on my all-time-favorites list. I love it.

 Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann---I listened to this YA mystery/horror novel on audiobooks and thought it was really well done. 

Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell--- can't wait to discuss this book with my club. This is a wonderful story of love, loss, and redemption.

I'm listening to:
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen--- this is my second Dessen book and it is shaping up fine.
What's Up Next:
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater---I am very excited to get started on this award-winning love story.

 Henry Tilney's Diary By Amanda Grange---next week is Austen Week in my library. I'd like to get to this book before then!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. ---Goodreads
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler is the book that anyone who has ever been dumped and had their heart broken wishes that they could write. It is the last letter and the exclamation point at the end of that letter. It says what the heartbroken one always wants to say but never has the chance. It is a rant, a prayer, a song, a final goodbye. It contains the tears and the laughter and a "how-could-you" all wrapped up in one document. It is a powerful reminder that all of us, no matter how artsy, or creative, or different we are, want to be loved and to feel special.

Last week Why We Broke Up won a Printz Honor for excellence in YA lit and, in my opinion, deserved it. The first thing I noticed about the book is that it is heavy.  It looks like a typical YA novel until you actually pick it up and the thing weighs a ton. Okay, so I am exaggerating, but it really is quite heavy because it has all of the special paper required for all the creative art work. As Min writes her letter to Ed of why they broke up, there is a corresponding drawing of the item she is also returning.  Maira Kalman is the artist and I loved her whimsical and colorful paintings. Handler writes like a teenager speaks so there are often long, run-on sentences and odd phrasings that would make me pause and go back for a re-read. A few times I wasn't sure what Min was talking about or what just happened, which would also cause me to back up and try again. But instead of being put-off by this, I was charmed.  The book was fresh and creative. It was poignant and funny in turn. I am so glad that I read it and I hope you find your way to it, too.

The back cover is filled with little quips from other YA authors about a time they had their heart broken like this one by Holly Black:
"The first boy I fell in love with didn't know I loved him, but he managed to break my heart anyway." 
Ed and Min's story of heartbreak may remind you of your own heartbreak stories, it did for me. Here is mine:
My college boyfriend broke up with me at the end of a college term but then had to drive me the 30 miles to my parents home.  I cried all the way. When he dropped me off and drove off to return to Portland I knew I would never see him again. The next day I left for Europe. From there I wrote him the most pathetic letter. If I could I wouldn't do anything different except the pathetic letter. I'd spare myself that embarrassment.
Got a heartbreak story you are willing to share? Do so in the comment section.  Thanks.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top Ten Historical Novels

Top Ten Historical Novels (in random order):

  • 1. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally---Based on the true WWII story of the holocaust hero Oskar Schindler.
  • 2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys---Stalin's reign of terror with the relocation of thousands of people from the Baltic States to Siberia. (YA)
  • 3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett---set in the deep South during the Civil Rights era. This book should be required reading for all Americans.
  • 4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak---WWII in Germany. This book is powerful. (YA)
  • 5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith---Set in the early 1900s about an Irish-American-immigrant story. Exquisite.
  • 6. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly---at least the French Revolution parts of the book were fascinating. (YA)
  • 7. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay---Set in South Africa prior to the dissolution of apartheid.
  • 8. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh--- Set in the decadent 1920s in Britain. 
  • 9. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns---I know I always put this book on just about every list I can.  This one is set in the early 1900s in a small town in America.
  • 10. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell--- Civil War and the old South. 

As usual, I feel like I am missing some good ones.  I'll sleep on it and amend my list tomorrow.Ah, a good sleep and I've thought of some others...
  • 11.  The Red Tent by Anita Diamant---set in Biblical times about the lives of women during those times.
  • 12.  The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks---set in Britain during the middle ages about a community beset with the bubonic plague.  It is based on an actual historical event.
  • 13.  The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland---Artemisia Gentileschi was a post-Rennaissance artist that gained fame during her lifetime. This is her amazing story. 
  • 14. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig---set in the American West in the early 1900s. the story centers around a one-room school house.
  • 15. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides--- an immigrant family from Armenia living in the Detroit area during the late 1960s.

2012 Mock Printz Results

Mock Printz 2012 Results

You may be wondering why I am reporting the results of my Mock Printz Workshop on the very day that the American Library Association reported the results of the actual Printz Award winners.

Here's why...

My Mock Printz Workshop was scheduled for last Thursday, January 19th but school was canceled for three days due to snow and ice. When I got back to school today I had to make contact with all 50 of the student participants and tell them that the workshop would be after school today. Amazingly around 25 kids were able to attend on such short notice. For two hours we debated, voted, and came up with this list as our 
Mock Printz slate:

GKHS Mock Printz Award:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Honor Books:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

After we discussed, debated, and finally decided on our slate we went on-line to check the actual Printz award list of books. It had a chilling effect on us since there was only one book on the that list that we had even read. It was like all the air went out of our balloon.  Out of 15 books on our original list we only read one of the winners. Ugh. 

Here is the link to the Press Release from the ALA about their awards:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Salon...Jan. 22

Japanese Maple covered in ice
This willow was so covered with ice that is fell over, only the deck saved it from breaking.

The Weather: This week has been all about the weather and none of it was good. It snowed several times (Sunday through Wednesday) and then freezing rain fell on top of the snow and covered everything with about a half inch of ice (Wednesday and Thursday.) We went into a deep freeze.  We lost electric power for over a day. We were cold and had to hunker down in the dark.

Family doings: We did what we needed to do to stay warm and create light. The storm ended yesterday and it started to warm up but our power wasn't restored until last night. Today my husband went out to survey the storm damage.  Almost all of our trees sustained damage with limbs that fell off due to the heavy weight of the ice. Five of the trees lost the crown branch but will survive, one tree lost all of it's branches and we will have to replace it. It has been a day of mourning. We love our yard and our trees.
I'm listening to:  Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Book finished this week: 1. His Dark Endeavors by Kenneth Oppel; 2. The Future of Us by Asher and Mackler; 3. Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell
I'm reading: 1. Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen; 2. Death Comes to Pemberley by PD. James. (Guess it is winter since I am reading Austen retellings!)

One good thing about storms: I got lots of reading done. With no power, I was not tempted and couldn't watch TV or spend time on the computer. My husband and I also finished two jigsaw puzzles and we played lots of dominoes as a family. (We did get cabin fever, though.)

Scripture lesson in church: Matthew 2:13  "When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 

I'm praying for: Myself. That I can have a more encouraging spirit.

Around the house: I cleaned out the pantry cupboard where I store candles today as I was putting them away. I threw away one garbage bag of old junk. That feels good.

From the kitchen: Anything that could be heated on the stove top by gas because our oven requires electricity.  I figured out how to steam the pesto fish I planned on baking.  It was OK that way.

On the Web: Clever Household Storage Ideas...you have got to take a look. This is so clever.  If you didn't look at it last week, look now!

A favorite quote this week: "Seattlites are snow wimps." Kim Murphy, LA Times. Oh, yeah, Ms. Murphy.  You try living in this ugly storm and see if you think we are such wimps!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Icemaggedon...Day Two of Weird Weather in the Northwest

Yesterday I reported on Snowmaggedon in the Northwest, weird weather that paralyzes our whole area. Well, today, day two, is worse.  I am calling it Icemaggedon. Freezing rain is falling on the snow causing sheets of ice on everything. The snow looks like it has a pretty sheen on it until you get close and realize that it is a layer of ice about a 1/4 inch thick. If you look closely at my photos you see ice on every little branch/twig of the trees. The tree in the first picture is bent over with the weight of the ice.  News reports today are of cars in ditches, accidents everywhere, and the SEA-TAC airport is closed. My whole family is staying home from work and school today. Now we keep our fingers crossed that the power stays on!

PS...Soon after I posted these pictures on Thursday we lost  power and didn't get it back until late on Friday. In the meantime the ice was wreaking havoc on our poor trees. We would step outside and you could just hear snaps and pops as tree branches were breaking under the weight of all the ice. All of our trees are damaged, hopefully all will survive though I'm not sure they will look good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


Before I even finished the novel I turned to my daughter and said, "I think that this is quite possibly my favorite book...ever." "But Mom, you haven't finished the book yet and you've cried throughout." Pish-posh. I can use up a box of tissues and still love a story. And, boy, there is a lot of story to love.

No spoilers, I promise.

First, this book is so John Green.  If you are a Nerdfighter or have watched John on Vlogbrothers with his brother, Hank, you know that he makes up words and then uses them over and over. He also makes fun of words and the way they are misused, like the oft misuse of the word literally. It is one of his very endearing qualities.  In this novel his characters do the same thing. Here is a quote that touches on this:
'That is why I like you. Do you realize how rare it is to come across a hot girl who creates an adjectival version of the word pedophile? You are so busy being you that you no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.' -p.123
In a lot of ways this beautiful love story is about life and death is also about the power of literature, both prose and poetry.  I love that! I love it when characters recite poems to each other or quote from great works of literature, even if one of those great works doesn't exist. After Hazel recited a portion of a poem, Augustus says:
"I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you." p.153
Lastly, among the many, many things I like about this story, both Hazel and Augustus have wonderful and attentive parents.  So many YA books are full of absent, awful or ignorant adults. My college daughter was also reading The Fault in Our Stars at the exact same time as me. When I asked if she had used as many tissues as me she thought not. "I think it is a Mother thing," she told me. Maybe so, but I doubt it.  I bet other readers will be as profoundly touched by this book as me.

Check out John Green reading the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars here:  Enjoy.

I don't normally buy copies of books for myself, preferring to check them out from libraries.  While reading this library copy I decided to buy my own The Fault in Our Stars.

Snowmaggedon in the Northwest

For those of you in other parts of the world you may not understand how crippling snow events are in the Northwest. Schools are canceled, government agencies are closed, people are encouraged to stay off the roads...for good reason, I might add. We have so many hills around here anyone driving has a good chance of ending up in a ditch.  In fact, I saw a news account of five cars in a ditch just this morning. It becomes like "snowmaggedon" around here.  In order to celebrate my own snow day I am staying in, reading The Fault in Our Stars, drinking coffee, and finally writing those Christmas "Thank You"  letters. I LOVE SNOW DAYS!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Top Ten Books I Recommend to People Who Don't Usually Read YA Lit

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish
Here are ten Young Adult books that I often recommend to people who don't usually read them:

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak...Set during WWII in Germany. This book is clutch-the-book-to-chest good. I have yet to meet a person who hasn't liked it.

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie...considered to be semi-autobiographical, Alexie let's us in on the what life is like on the reservation and how difficult it is to leave. The book is both funny and poignant. Kids love it and so do all the adults I know who have read it.

3. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork...adults who work with kids can really appreciate this novel about a boy who has some form of autism and how difficult it is for him to cope in the "real world."  I also like Stork's other book, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, but I think Marcelo has more crossover appeal.

4. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow...adults who have read this book about terrorism and technology have really appreciated the modern day threats they pose to our society.

5. Tamar by Mal Peet...also set during WWII with flash-forward scenes to today. This one is about the Dutch Resistance.

6. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly...part historical fiction, part murder mystery this book is very well written. My adult book group read this book a few years ago and the women really liked it a lot.

7. Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns by John Green...I know that John Green is not for everyone but for adults who want to understand a bit more about the teen psyche there is no better writer out there than Green.  I actually love all of his books, these two just happen to be my favorites.

8. Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins...most adults want to know what teens are reading and they are reading dystopian novels right now thanks for Collins and her Hunger Games series.  All the teachers at my school who have read at least the first book tell me how much they liked it.

9. Nothing by Janne Teller...there is something so disturbing about this book and it's message.  I think all adults should read it and then talk to kids about it.

10. Going Bovine by Libba Bray...I actually haven't recommended this book to many adults but I think that English teachers should read it since it is so many literary allusions in it and it crammed full of symbolism.  If I was a College professor, I'd make my students read it just so that I could talk about it over and over again.  Besides the fact, the book is flat out genius.

It's Monday, January 16 and I'm reading...

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey
I'm Reading:  
Fragile Beasts by Tauni O'Dell...this is one of my book club selections for this month.  I am madly trying to finish up by tomorrow.  The writing is superior and the plot line is unique and captivating.

I recently finished:
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan...a nonfiction book. I like the author and find his writing very accessible. I also enjoyed listening to Patrick Lawlor, the reader for this audiobook. The events behind the book are so depressing.  How could people survive with what they had to go through?

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler...Very cute. The storyline is that two friends download an AOL disc onto the new computer and Facebook pops up.  Only problem, Facebook hasn't been invented yet.

I'm listening to:

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel...the prequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It is definitely dark and brooding but I am enjoying it.

    What's Up Next?

     The Fault in Our Stars by John Green...It arrived Friday and I can't wait to get started. 

    Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann...next up in audiobooks.  The cover makes it sound like a scary mystery.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Sunday Salon...Jan. 15

    Sunday Salon---January 15, 2012

    Muffy in the snow.  It's not that deep, she's got short legs.

    It's snowing in the Northwest...a rarity.

    Family doings: Daughter #1 is with her fiance playing in the snow near Mt. Rainier. Daughter #2 is in Seattle where it isn't snowing much. Don and I took the dog for a short walk in the snow, otherwise we are hunkering down indoors. We did get all the Christmas decorations completely put away.  Yea!
    I'm listening to: His Dark Endeavors by Kenneth Oppel.  It is the "prequel" to the Frankenstein story. My daughter and husband have finished with it and now it is my turn!

    Book finished this week: 1. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. 2. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

    I'm reading: Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell.  Loving it!

    Lists I am making: Not really a list but I am already planning how I am going to spend the day tomorrow which is a school holiday and I'll be home alone.

    Scripture lesson in church: Micah 5:4: "He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth."

    I'm praying for: My nephew.

    Around the house: As mentioned above, we have finally de-Christmased the house and put out a few decorations celebrating snow.

    From the kitchen: We socialized with several couples for dinner last night and made Lava Cakes for dessert.  They were a big hit.  Yum.

    On the Web: Clever Household Storage Ideas...you have got to take a look.

    A favorite quote this week: from the I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
    " I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."  Read more here

    2011 Best Book Club Discussion Books

    2011 Book Club favorites. I am in two book clubs. Out of the 24 books I read here are my favorites. I am basing my decision on these criteria: readability, value to me (did I learn something new?), and the discussion that the book generated. Please let me know the titles and authors of books you have used in your book clubs that meet these criteria. We are always looking for good discussion books. Thank you.
    My 2014 Book club Favorites are here. Click the link.
    My 2013 Book Club Favorites are here. Click the link.
    My 2012 Book Club favorites are here. Click the link.
    My 2010 Book Club favorites are here, if you are looking for more suggestions click the link.

    1. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese...set in Ethiopia starting in the 1960s this book had me from page one. It looks daunting at over 500 pages but it was pure pleasure to both read and discuss.  We discussed this book last January and I knew at that time that this would be my favorite book of the year, and I was right. I think it was the favorite of all gals in my club, too.

    2. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan...set in Mississippi in the 1940s, post WWII, when heroes of the war come home they had to face racism and discrimination. This book gave us a lot to discuss and to think about. We were all very disturbed by the truth behind the story.

    3. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson...Memories define us. What if every time you went to sleep you would wake with no memory of the previous day? That was Christine's reality. The book, which is a bit of an un-funny 50 First Dates, has a very sinister side and a compelling mystery. We all enjoyed the book and had a lively discussion.

    4. Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Halloway...a nonfiction account of Ms. Halloway's Peace Corp experience working with a midwife in a village in Mali. The story was both revealing and heart-breaking. Our club had much to discuss and digest as we learned about life in rural Africa and the hardships that most women face in their culture.

    5.  The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan...another nonfiction selection, this book was about a huge forest fire in the early 1900s, the beginning of the Forest Service and the progressive politics of Teddy Roosevelt. We all learned a lot and had fun comparing notes of what we knew about the events prior to reading the book. I almost overdosed on the book, though. I attended three book club discussions on it and a special event with the author.

    6. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan...events from the lives of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney and their clandestine affair. The book beautifully mingles facts and fiction. We were all captivated by the story and had lots to discuss and debate. Many felt little sympathy for Mamah because she left her children to be with Frank. If you haven't read this book yet I highly recommend it. 

    7. Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins...The love story of Ray and Opal set against happenings of the first part of the 20th Century. I loved and hated this book in equal measure. The story was interesting and compelling. The writing, however, really frustrated me as Wiggins did not use typical literary conventions like quotations marks for dialogue. I would find myself having to read the book slower and reread sections to follow along. Others in my club liked this book better than I did. We all fell in love with the lovers in the tale, however.

    8. Lottery by Patricia Wood...a young man, Perry, who has an IQ of 76, wins the lottery. This is the story of how his life changed and all the disreputable characters who wanted to get their hands on the money.  The book was an easy, simplistic read but we had a spirited discussion that was just downright fun.

    9. Faith by Jennifer Haugh...both a mystery and indictment of the Catholic Church scandal this book gave us plenty to contemplate and discuss. It certainly gave us a chance to stop and realize that for every headline about the Catholic priests and their scandals we probably never heard both sides of the story.

    !0. Crashing Through: A Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See by Robert Kurston... Mike May was blinded at age three and then at age 40 had an operation to restore his eyesight.  This book recounts his journey both before and after that surgery.  I don't think anyone particularly liked the book but the scientific information in the book was fascinating about vision especially related to the ability to recognize faces and other items in our environment. The gal who was to led the discussion asked, "What did you think of the book?" That was the only question she had to ask. We all had so much to say.  This was by far the best discussion we had on a book this year.

    Check out my favorite 2012 Book Club Selections here.
    Check out my 2013 favorite book club selections here.
    Check out the 2014 Book Club favorites here.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    2011 Most popular books in GKHS library list...with notes

    2011 Most Popular Books in the GKHS Library

    1. The Alchemist
    by Paulo Coelho

    (Summer read-12th)
    2. Catching Fire

    by Suzanne Collins

    (2nd book in series)
    3. Hunger Games

    by Suzanne Collins
    (1st book in series)
    (Summer read- 11th)
    4. Mockingjay

    by Suzanne Collins

    (3rd book in series)
    5. Thirteen Reasons Why

    by Jay Asher
    6. Uglies

    by Scott Westerfeld
    (1st book in series)
    (Summer read -10th)
    7. Between Shades of Gray

    by Ruta Sepetys
    Historical Fiction

    (Mock Printz list)
    8. The Maze Runner

    by James Dashner

    (1st book in series)
    9. Blink and Caution

    by Tim Wynne-Jones

    (Mock Printz list) 
    10. Stolen

    by Lucy Christopher
    11. A Monster Calls

    by Patrick Ness
    Magical realism

    (Mock Printz list) 
    12. Pretties

    by Scott Westerfeld

    (2nd book in series)
    13. Shiver

    by Maggie Stiefvater
    Paranormal Romance

    (1st book in series)
    14. Graceling

    by Kristin Cashore

    (1st book in series)
    15. Anya’s Ghost

    by Vera Brosgol
    Graphic Novel

    (Mock Printz list) 
    16. Halo

    by Alexandra Adornetto
    Paranormal romance
    17. Hush, Hush

    by Becca Fitzpatrick
    Paranormal Romance
    18. Leviathan

    by Scott Westerfeld
    Steam Punk

    (1st book in series)
    19. The Sky is Everywhere

    by Jandy Nelson
    20. Behemoth

    by Scott Westerfeld
    Steam Punk

    (2nd book in series)
    21. Queen of Water

    by Laura Resau
    Historical/Cultural fiction

    (Mock Printz list) 
    22. Linger

    by Maggie Stiefvater
    Paranormal Romance

    (2nd book in series)
    23. Paper Covers Rock

    by Jenny Hubbard

    (Mock Printz list) 
    24. Berlin Boxing Club

    by Robert Sharenow
    Historical fiction

    (Mock Printz list) 
    25. Daughter of Smoke & Bone
    by Laini Taylor

    (Mock Printz list) 
    26. Divergent

    by Veronica Roth


    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

    Authors I wish could write more books/plays...

    1. Jane Austen...I love all of her novels and her book fragments. Oh, what I'd give to have even a few more of her books to read and place in my Jane Austen book rotation.

    2. Harper Lee...I realize that To Kill a Mockingbird is just about the perfect novel. Wouldn't it be lovely if she gave us another one?

    3. Shakespeare...I have this funny little fantasy about being the person who locates a previously unknown Shakespeare play. Wouldn't that be awesome?

    4. Olive Ann Burns...You may not have heard of her, Ms. Burns only wrote one book before she died but it was a good one...Cold Sassy Tree.  She wrote part of the sequel before she died and it just whet my whistle for more.  Alas it is not to be.

    5. Emily Bronte...The author of Wuthering Heights died before she had a chance to write another masterful, Gothic novel. I actually like the book written by her sister Charlotte better.  Jane Eyre is one of my favorites but I don't feel like I have any room to complain about not having enough from Charlotte when I haven't read any of her other novels.

    6. JK Rowling...she is such a fabulous author, surely she has more books in her.  We want more. We want more. We want more!

    Hmmm. Can't think of any others right now.  I hope to be inspired by others' lists!

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    2011 Cybils Finalists for Young Adult Fiction are...

    The Cybils: Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards have announced their 2011 finalists.

    I am really delighted with this list and will include reviews if I have read the book.

    Cybils for Young Adult Fiction, the finalists are:

    • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins---a debut author with a touching romance/coming-of-age story set in Paris. Read my review here.
    • Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys---historical fiction set in Stalin's Russia about a family deported from Lithuania to Siberia. This book is absolutely riveting.  Read my review here.
    • Bunheads by Stephanie Flack---I've only recently become aware of this novel about the lives of ballerinas who have to give up nearly everything else to pursue a career in dance.
    • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King--- I really like this quirky book about a bullied boy, his dysfunctional family, and dreams of his grandfather who was MIA in Vietnam. This book gave me a lot to think about and the ending is hopeful. My review is here.
    • Frost by Marianna Baer---this is the first I have heard of this psychological and paranormal suspenseful book. Since my students are often looking for "scarey" books I will look in to purchasing it for my library.
    • Leverage by Joshua Cohen---"Told in two distinct, believable voices, this story about an unlikely friendship between a mouthy gymnast and a quiet football player wowed panelists in every possible way: muscle, heart and mind. It deals with bullying and abuse." We decided to not include this book in our Mock Printz list of books this year because of the explicit rape scene, but in sounds like we should have.  Several boys have told me that they think the book is very good. It's time for me to read it and see for my self.
    • Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach---This one has been on my list of books to read for a while now.  I've ordered it for the library but it hasn't arrived.  It sounds like just the type of book that boys like to read. "Both funny and heartbreaking, Stupid Fast drops readers into 15-year-old Felton's mind as he replays the events of the summer that changed his life."

    Click on the links for the 2011 Finalists in all the categories:
    Book Apps
    Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books
    Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade)
    Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult)
    Fiction Picture Books
    Graphic Novels
    Middle Grade Fiction
    Nonfiction for Middle Grade & Young Adult
    Nonfiction Picture Books
    Young Adult Fiction

    Winners will be announced on February 14th. 

    Time to get reading!