Monday, April 30, 2007

Book Crush recommends

I've been on a juvenile kick lately due to the recent publication of Nancy Pearl's Book Crush: For Kids and Teens. If you are looking for recommended reads for kids of all ages, this is a one-stop shop. Based on it's title and Ms. Pearl's recommendation as a fantastically funny read, I picked up Daniel Pinkwater's The Hoboken Chicken Emergency. Aimed at ages 5-9, this book succeeds in being laugh out loud funny as Arthur, out to buy the family Thanksgiving turkey, ends up with a 266 lb. chicken complete with walking leash. Arthur's father forces him to return Henrietta. Hilarity naturally ensues when Henrietta gets loose leading the town to call in a "top-notch" chicken wrangler.

If you're looking for another good read (especially for a boy around the same age), you should try the Hank Zipzer series. My own recommendation. Number one is entitled Niagara Falls, Or Does It?. This series features the "mostly true confessions of world's best underachiever." You can't get any better than that, can you? I actually found myself laughing out loud. Henry Winkler does a great job of showing that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. And yes, it is that Henry Winkler. Go Fonzie!!

Charlotte's Web

I just watched the newest version of Charlotte's Web last night. Personally, little can touch the classic cartoon version for me but I was pleasantly surprised by this version. If you are a lover of the classic book by E.B. White, I certainly encourage you to see this movie. It's great for little kids and touches on the death of Charlotte very tenderly. Why not read the book aloud with your children and then share the movie together?

Special features also include a list of the schools and libraries from each state that participated in the Guinness World Record breaking event last Dec. for the "Most People Reading Aloud Simultaneously in Multiple Locations." I saw my old elementary school on there and was proud that many schools in my area participated.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Newbery Challenge

Who knew this blogging idea would lead me to challenge myself at such great lengths? I need more books to read like I need another hole in the head. Nevertheless, here I go with another challenge....The Newbery Challenge. Since I've read a majority of the winners from the last 15 years I chose to go further back in making my selections.

1. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (1981)
2. The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (1971)
3. Up A Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (1967)
4. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (1952)
5. Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (1937)
6. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (1930)

Visit Nattie Writes! for further details about her magnificent challenge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

15 Books 15 Decades

2000's - Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
1990's - The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
1980's - The Eight by Katherine Neville
1970's - The Shining by Stephen King
1960's - Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
1950's - Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
1940's - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
1930's - The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
1920's - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
1910's - The History of Mr. Polly by H.G. Wells
1900's - Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
1890's - What Maisie Knew by Henry James
1880's - King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
1870's - Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
1860's - The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Nineteen Minutes

I'm not a big author reader but after discovering Jodi Picoult in a Dear Reader forum, I've since anticipated every new novel she's published. Her latest novel, Nineteen Minutes, follows a community as they struggle to comprehend a horrendous school shooting. Told in alternating chapters, the reader gets an upclose look at the childhood of the perpetrator, Peter Houghton, prior to the shooting and the heartrending days and months after the deadly event. What lead such a shy, intelligent teen to take matters into his own hands? What's more, how do friends and family cope with the tragedies that have transpired? In light of the recent Virginia Tech tragedies, this was a difficult book to read but very worthwhile in the questions it raises about school bullying. All of Picoult's title deal with difficult subject matter and this title was no different; however, it was nice to see her step away from the formulaic rut her books had fallen into and give her characters a real voice. A worthy read but if you only have time for Picoult's finest, I suggest My Sister's Keeper or The Pact...definitely the best in this reader's humble opinion.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Case of the Missing Books

As a librarian, I have a sick habit of liking to read books about librarians, libraries, and books. Go figure! I personally believe these titles only exist on a librarian plane. Do others outside the profession even know they exist? Probably not, that is why it is up to me to bring these titles to the light.

I recently finished The Case of the Missing Books: A Mobile Library Mystery by Ian Sansom. In this mystery we follow the newest librarian of Tumdrum and District Public Library, Israel Armstrong, as he travels from his somewhat hip London home to start anew in a small Irish town. His first professional appointment as a librarian is doomed from the start when he arrives to find the library has been closed...permanently. Visiting his new boss at the Department of Entertainment, Leisure and Community Services, Israel finds that the appointment is more than he expected. In fact, a lot more. The entire contents of the closed library is missing. All 15,000 titles. Who could possibly steal that many books or would want to for that matter? An iron-clad contract forces Israel to begrudgingly accept his fate as the new Outreach Support Officer and begin his journey of 15,000 steps as he crosses the Irish countryside in his battered mobile library looking for the missing materials.

While I found the book a little slow going at the beginning due to the specific dialect of the characters and the long-winded confusing conversations between characters, it did pick up at the middle. Sarcastic and witty comments from Israel the outsider really made this a fun romp through the countryside. Recommended!

Acronym vs. Initialism

Learned an interesting tidbit today that I felt like passing on.

Do you know the difference between an acronym and an initialism? Well, neither did I until recently. I always thought that abbreviations like NASA, NATO, ABC, SUV, etc. were all the same but technically they aren't.

Abbreviations such as NASA or NATO are acronyms. Acronyms are pronounced as if the were a word.

An initialism such as ABC or SUV are abbreviations formed like an acronym but are pronounced letter by letter.

Interesting, non?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Childhood Favorites

The question I've always wanted to be asked and surprisingly never have been is "What is your favorite book?". I suppose it is best that this question has never been asked because I'm not sure what it would be. But there are a few books that I get all tingly over when patrons at the library check them out. I feel excited that they will soon be experiencing what I consider to be the greats. Not necessarily wordsmiths like Shakespeare but those authors that stuck with me as I grew up. Basically, no "adult" book could ever be considered a favorite. Favorite status is restricted to those titles that have shaped my life. Books like the ones below.

Anne of Green Gables--L.M. Montgomery
Ah, the beauty of Prince Edward Island. The absolute best book if forced to choose. Anne with an 'e', Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, Gilbert Blythe, Diana Berry, Rachel Lynde....they are like family to me. I have my own relationship with each and every character. Such kindred spirits! On splendid mornings, I've even developed the habit of re-naming ordinary landmarks. Who doesn't want to live in a world with the Lake of Shining Waters or The White Way of Delight. Ready for a little secret...I've never actually read beyond the first two novels of the series. Don't tell! They'd banish us you know.

Little House on the Prairie--Laura Ingalls Wilder

I don't have this particular set but I do own a boxed collection bought for me by my grandmother. I've shared the adventures of Half Pint and her family at least once a year for 20 years. Definitely a must read for every little girl.

Look back over my favorites, I discovered that I had a real thirst for pioneer stories. Living in Oklahoma, I always felt familiar with wide open spaces. Given the opportunity to settle a new territory like these characters I would have been found severely lacking even with the lessons learned from them. Good thing I was born in the 20th century.

Strawberry Girl
--Lois Lenski

Every title by Lois Lenski is a true classic. This particular title won the Newbery Medal in 1946. One of my fondest memories is hurrying to the L's to find the next title in her regional series. I still have the book report that I wrote on one of her other titles, Cotton in My Sack. It is so amusing to look back at your childhood handwriting. Sadly, these titles are in storage at my local library and no child can serendipitously discover this great author and illustrator will browsing the shelves.

Addie Across the Prairie--Laurie Lawlor

Another pioneer story fit for lovers of Little House. The entire series follows the journey of Addie and her family as they travel to their new homestead. I bought a little porcelian doll much like her Eleanor at an antique fair as a child. Weird, I know.

Teen & Younger

I also have a great love of young adult and children's fiction. They are so easy to read. I can sit down and in an hour or so be finished with a very worthwhile book. Never let anyone tell you that you are too old to be reading something. Sometimes all we need is an uplifting tale that reminds you to always be young at heart.


17 Things I'm Not Allowed To Do Anymore
The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea (Graphic Novel)
Betsy-Tacy series
Castle Corona
The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy, Book 1
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
My Cat Copies Me
This is Paris
Toys Go Out
Under the Spell of the Moon

13 Little Blue Envelopes
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging
Araminta Spookie 1: My Haunted House
Confessions of a Teen Sleuth
Eight Cousins
Finding Miracles
Hattie Big Sky
Here Lies the Librarian
The Higher Power of Lucky
Hoboken Chicken Emergency
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Niagra Falls of Does It?
Not a Box
The Schwa Was Here
The Somebodies
The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts
The Tequila Worm
Weetzie Bat

Adult Nonfiction

Recent Reads for Nonfiction. For some reason I've been on nonfiction binge which is very much unlike me.


I Am America (And So Can You)
Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library
Letters to Juliet
One Special Summer
Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened
Summer at Tiffany
Unwise Passions


1001 Events That Made America
All But My Life
Candy and Me: A Love Story
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
Honeymoon With My Brother
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
The Intellectual Devotional
Museum of the Missing: The High Stakes of Art Crime
Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives
Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress
What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self

Blonde @ Library

Friends have sent this video to me countless times. Very funny in case you missed it. Enjoy!

Adult Fiction

Below is a list of the recent fiction books I've read. Enjoy!!


The Book of Bunny Suicides
Cane River
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Garden Spells
Gods Behaving Badly
This Is Not Civilization
The Venetian Betrayal
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
The Wednesday Letters


The Alexandria Link
The Book of Fate
The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud
The Case of the Missing Books
A Connecticut Fashionista in Kind Arthur's Court
Falling Boy
For One More Day
Heart-Shaped Box
The Last Templar
Nineteen Minutes
The Shining
The Templar Legacy
The Virgin of Small Plains

Friday, April 13, 2007

Candy & Me

As you'll learn if you read this blog, I have eclectic reading tastes. So, don't look for any themes here. I completely judge a book by it's cover. That's what first draws me to a book. In fact that was how my most recent read was selected.
Candy and Me: A Love Story by Hilary Liftin was a hilarious look at one candy-lovers history with the greats (i.e. bottlecaps, smarties, circus peanuts, twizzlers, tootsie rolls and so on). These candies and many others were there for every big (and not so big) moment in her life. Recently, I put together a candy box for a friend's birthday and just let me say that the search for much loved childhood favorites is something that must be done at least once in your adult life. The feeling you get when you find that elusive box of candy cigarettes (very un-pc, by the way) or that favorite brand of jawbreakers...I can't even describe it. Promise me you will go and do that right now! Go! Now! You promised!

Other candy related titles:

Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America
Steve Almond

Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams
Michael D'Antonio

First Post!

Well, here it is...the first ever post from me, a new blogger. I've often thought of creating one in the past since I enjoy writing in a small journal. But I was always afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep it up to everyone's standard. Then I realized that no one is probably even reading this so I'll just do what I want. So there! My desires are to fill this blog with my thoughts on literature. But as I peruse other blogs, I realized that this little experiment could quickly get away from me with politics, entertainment, etc. So, please bare with me as I try to sort it all out myself. Thanks for reading...if you're out there.