Thursday, December 6, 2007


Fablehaven was a very pleasant surprise for me. One of the kids in my class showed it to me, yet another great book that I didn't even have on my list. I am normally not a fan of fantasy and this book looked too fantasy like to me, but I like to read what my students are reading so I figured I would give it a try.

This is one of those books I am coming to love. It is an explanation of fantasy things with use of realistic devises. Peter and the Starcatchers did the same thing and I thoroughly enjoy them.
This story is about a brother and sister pair, Kendra and Seth, who are sent to stay with their grandparents while their parents go on a vacation. They end up at their grandparents estate called Fablehaven. This is obviously, now that I look back on it, a set up for future books because they do spend a lot of time setting up the background of the events that will take place. It takes a while for Kendra and Seth to figure out the difference their grandparents home has in comparison to other places and their grandfather does everything he can to keep it from them. Seth's disregard for the rules gets everyone in all kinds of trouble which forces him and his sister to go on an amazing adventure. The second half of this book is packed with action, adventure and magic. The children encounter all kinds of magical characters and are forced to plead with many for help. Some are there to help and some are not. It ends just as you would expect and leaves questions for what the second installment will present.

This is a fun book and would be great for any older child. I am already on the waiting list at the library for book two and will tell you all about it once I get it finished.

Good Dog. Stay.

Good Dog. Stay. is basically a long eulogy of Beau, a great black lab. Anna Quindelen has apparently won writing awards, but I have not previously read any of her writing, or even heard of her (oops!). I am glad that I picked this book up despite the fact I had no previous knowledge of this person. Just on a side note, I don't always have to have heard of, or read a book by an author, but I often have heard of well known authors and was surprised to have not known this one.

I finished this book in about an hour I think. It is filled with adorable pictures of all kinds of dogs and moves quickly. My favorite thing about the book was the way Anna Quindelen generalized the lessons she learned from Beau to apply to all dogs, in all stages of life. I only read this book a day or so ago and already forget the particulars of Beau's life, but I do remember the day they put Beau down. It was a family event and all were crushed because of the effect this animal had on their lives. That part will stay with me.

If you enjoy reading about the relationships between animals and their families then you will enjoy this really quick read. There have been other dogs in Anna Quendelen's life and I beleive she wrote about this dog in particular for a reason.

I will leave you with my favorite quotes from this book:

"For children, the point of having a dog is something like the point of having a mother and father. Our job is not to do but to be, not to act but to exist."

"Dogs make messes, it's true, but they clean them up as well."

And my favorite: "In a world that seems so uncertain, in lives that seem sometimes to ricochet from challenge to upheaval and back again, a dog can be counted on in a way that's true of little else."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Magic Tree House

I love children's literature but I am not sure I would call the Magic Tree House books children's literature. I adore these books, but they are all quite similar and repetative. I can always guess what will happen next. Even though this is true I can always count on these books. They are always informative, entertaining and use good writing.

I just finished reading Dingoes at Dinnertime and was able to read it in about a half an hour. At the same time I really enjoyed myself and even learned a thing or two about life in Australia. I use these books a lot in reading groups and to help in teaching about a topic. If you have never read any of the many books Mary Pope Osbourne has written you should try at least one. They are fun!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I have been waiting and waiting to read this book. I didn't want to buy it because I didn't own the previous books and I thought it was silly to have only the third book of a series in my possession (ok maybe that is odd). So I immediately put myself on the waiting list at my local library and was 40 somethingth (gasp) on the list. So I finally got the book a few days ago from the library and saved it to read as I took a long plane trip to Chicago.

I have been reading comments on library thing about these books a lot lately so it was difficult to not take what I read in these into account. I agree with the group opinion about many of the negative parts of this book, however, I continue to be compelled to finish the story. The group doesn't like the relationship between Bella and Edward for many reasons, but my dislike comes mainly from the fact that Bella is so focused on Edwards looks as opposed to his behaviors.

The engaging part of these books to me, a non-vampire book reading girl, is the relationship between the humans and vampires. I have also come to quite enjoy the werewolf introduction to the events. In this edition of "Hunt for Bella" we find Bella finishing high school. She continues to date Edward and struggles to find a way to have Jacob as part of her life while still loving Edward. I like that she is standing up for what she wants in her life (at least a little bit) and both of the men in her life allow her to do it her way. Not that they don't pressure her to do it the way they want, but she finds a great balance. I love Jacob and Bella's camaraderie throughout the story and an intrigued to see how his character is involved in the lives of Bella and Edward in the following installments of the book.

So at the end of this installment of the book I am not much further than I was before. I am still wondering what Bella and Edward will do with their lives. I am still wondering if Bella will really become a vampire and I am wondering what Jacob will do about it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Books and Movies

I have been to the movies more times in the last month than in a long time. During one set of previews I saw the trailer for P.S. I Love You. Even though I only saw the preview I immediately put the book on hold at my local library. I was finally able to pick it up yesterday and finished it quickly.

It was a fast read (even for me) and I really enjoyed it. In this story the main character has lost her beloved husband and is learning to deal with the effects in her life. She is only forced to deal with the loss of her husband, she has no job or children to complicate her grieving process, but that does not make it any easier for her. One thing that does bring joy to her grief filled life is the arrival of a package filled with letters from her dead husband. She has one letter for each month of the remainder of her year. In each letter her husband gives her a challenge. It is through these challenges that she learns to live again without him. It is a constant battle, as I am sure it would be in her circumstances. Although the premise of the book is death, the story is filled with laughter, fun and positive events as well.

The thing I enjoyed most about the book was the growth of many of the characters through the events in the book. While they mainly focus on the woman there are people in her family, and new friends she makes that also must endure hardships and learn from them. I am excited to see how the screenwriter has changed this tale as it goes from the written word to the big screen. One thing I can guarantee is that I will cry in the movie just as I cried in the book and yes...even the preview.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cryptid Hunters

Last weekend I spent the morning at the Nevada Young Readers award banquet. The authors the children of Nevada choose come to receive an award for their writing. The authors of Cryptid Hunters and Molly Moon were both present. It was nice to hear the authors speak to our small group of teachers, librarians and children. Roland Smith is the author of Cryptid Hunters and his speaking is what made me want to read his book. He wrote other books I had heard of but never gotten around to reading such as Zach's Lie, but this current book I had not previously heard of.

I read through Cryptid Hunters quite quickly. It is the story of two very intelligent teenage children who are sent to live with their Uncle after their parents disappear. As soon as they arrive at the home of their uncle they learn that he must go on a trip to the Congo. The children desperately want to go with him, but he will not allow it. In a series of mistakes and perfect coincidences the children end up in the Congo without their uncle and in danger. They must figure out how to survive the wild as well as the human dangers on their tail. Although the story is not realistic, it is quite enjoyable and fun. The ending leaves you hoping for the best for these children. I am looking forward to finding out what Roland has in store for these great characters.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Golden Compass

The reason I chose to read this book was because of the upcoming movie. Then sometimes I read a book and say to myself "How did I never hear of this book before now?" I felt this way completely when I read this book. Especially knowing that there is a movie coming out I was dumbstruck that I had never even heard of the book.

Now after saying all of that you know I loved the book, but it actually took me a little while to really get into the book. About the time when Lyra was traveling with the Gypsies I felt an uncontrollable need to read and read and read. I really think that the thing that pulls me into books are those that have great characters. If I don't like the character for some reason or another I have a hard time reading books. I usually like characters because of their actions or their humor or their character and Phillip Pullman was able to bring all of these things out in Lyra (with the help of her daemon, I personally think the fact that she has this addition helps a lot, and it makes me want one too). So once Lyra really set forth on her adventure I became hooked. I needed to know what happened to this poor girl with the most horrific parents ever.

I think you will love reading about Lyra's adventures. I am not a huge fantasy fan, but this fantasy is more in the real of dystopian (I think this is the word I am searching for) fantasy. It is more of a setting that could possibly BE at some point in our past or future. It is this type of fantasy that I find myself drawn to more and more.

So right now I am on the second book of the series The Subtle Knife and loving every word of it (except the title, but I am not done yet). Please let me know what you think of this great book.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gossip Girl

I don't usually watch something then go read the book that it was based on, but I did it with this book.

The book and the first episode of Gossip girls are quite similar which makes me wonder what the CW will do once they get through the books Cecily von Ziegesarskip to next title has written.

I also don't usually like the movie, or TV show in this case, more than the book, but so far in this case I prefer the TV show.

The actors and actresses of these snobby elite children make the characters much more likable. Especially S. My favorite characters are the not so snooty ones, of course, because they are so much more likable. I did enjoy the book, but it was ruined a little because I had already watched the episode on television. I think I would enjoy reading the rest of the series a bit more having not already known what is going on.

S and B, as they are often called in the book are the main characters in the book. Gossip Girl is also a main character, however, we never learn who she is. She is the writer of the Blog that lists all the events of the lives of the elite and their friends. The book only takes place over a few weeks and focuses on the estranged friendship of Blair and Serena. There is an endless supply of drugs, alcohol and sex in the book to keep any teen interested. I, of course, stay interested to root for the underdogs of the story. I will continue to read and root them on as well as to see how the TV show and the books relate to one another, but I won't expect a lot honor from the main characters. Just a little bit of entertainment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So Many Books....

Ok so i have finished the second book in the Something About Me Challenge I am participating in. It is called So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson.

With so many books in the world I feel like I could have done without this one. Although, the explanation for that may be that I am not really a non-fiction fan. I did feel this book was well written and I did enjoy hearing about some of the books the author read, but I felt the purpose of the book was better figured out on your own than explained. It was interesting to hear about how the books came to be on Sara's list and what she thought of them, and I could easily see how and why lovers of books love this book. There were many people who chose this book for their "Something about me" choice and with this many lovers of books I completely understand. I hope that no one who has picked this book or read it because of their list takes offense to my opinion, this book was just not a good choice for me. I try to broaden my horizons in regards to the types of books I read, but the more I read the more I realize that I read to escape into another world. I prefer when there is a good lesson to be learned, or some hard work to be done by the characters.

There is a part at the end of this book that I will remember for its irony. It took me a long time to read this book because it was a non-fiction. There wasn't something drawing me back to the book to pick it up and read it to the end. I felt a need to finish it for the challenge and so as I drove the the library to return it, I sat in the parking lot rushing to read the last few chapters. Sara was talking about her difficulties in finishing books and how her friends and colleagues were explaining to her that it is acceptable to skip around or not even finish a book. She accepted what they said and felt no need to finish certain books she had started. To me felt I was getting permission from the author herself to shut the book and return it without reading the entire thing. So that is what I did and I feel no regret for doing it.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The City of Ember

There are spoilers in this review......beware.......

The City of Ember is on my must read list for others. I just re-read it for class and remembered how much I liked and enjoyed the story. That being said, I think I was a little more critical in my read this time. For me reading books is sometimes like watching a movie or a theatre production. There are times where you have to make do with the little bits of a story or production that seem to be over the top. Everything in this story fits too perfectly. I know that if this story were to really happen that the events might not go so smoothly. Doon and Lina, the main characters, seem to luck out quite often. That is really my only critique of the book.

I love the book for so many other reasons. The story begins as Doon and Lina are getting ready to receive the jobs they will have in their community. The mayor is handing them out randomly with not attention to qualifications or desire. Doon gets "messenger" while Lena becomes "a pipeswork worker". While these two youngsters have never really been friends the opportunity for them to swap jobs makes them one step closer. Lina wanted the messenger job because she loves to run, a necessary requirement for this job. While Doon didn't necessarily want to work in the pipeworks he does want to help their community and being a messenger would not be beneficial at all.

Doon and Lina live in Ember, a community of people living underground. The people have no idea where their community is, in relation to the Earth, or even that Earth exists. Their community is crumbling because the generator that lights their world is deteriorating. Their supplies are running low and no one knows what the answer is to their problems. Doon has his heart set on finding a way to fix the generator, but isn't quite sure how to go about it. Lena, a descendant of a past mayor, finds an set of instructions she must decipher that will lead to Doon and Lina becoming better friends and finding a way to help their community.

This original story will quickly draw you in as you root for the good of these children and the community they live in.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card originally because of the Something about Me Reading Challenge. I chose this one to read only because I had heard of it before. I first remember it when I was looking for science fiction type books to read for a reading group at school. It never worked out because I couldn't find enough copies to buy right away, nor did we have it at school. Since then I have seen the title pass by me, however, as a "non" fan of intense science fiction material, I let it pass me by. This, I see now, was a mistake. I had even started a book for this challenge before beginning Ender's Game and had to set it aside for this book.

I am completely surprised at my love for this book. Karlene and Becky chose it because of their love for the writing of Orson Scott Card. I see now what they love so much about this book and its author. I assumed that science fiction would lack empathy and emotion and I felt more of those two feelings in this book than I have in quite a long time. Card was able to create a character so amazingly full of will and innocence it was hard for me to read of the injustices he had to endure. I instantly wanted to help and protect him. I never once doubted his desire to do the right thing, but I was pained at the torture he was put through. Without such a strong and likeable character there would be nothing to this tale.

I was amazed at the world Card had created. It was one that was easy for me to create in my own mind, even if I didn't understand everything scientific phrase or event. This is one reason I fear SF. Everything can be completely obsure to me because I can't wrap my mind around the ideas presented. This story was much easier to relate to and that only added to my love for the book. There were minor things that I could not understand without a bit of research, but it wasn't something that effected my understanding of the story.

Because I love happy endings I was smiling by the time I finished this book, but I am not sure how realistic, even for a SF, the ending really is. For a child to be put through all that Ender was put through I have a hard time believing everything would turn out so well. For this character though, I am willing to suspend my disbelief and believe in Ender's wonderful life. He definitely deserved all that he got in the end.

I sometimes get so wrapped up in the characters and emotions of a book that I feel like I have gone on an emotional roller coaster. Since I finished this book only minutes ago I feel that way now. I think that some of what I say now will change as I remove myself from this story, but I will definitely pick up another book by Orson Scott Card and will recommend this one quickly to others who might enjoy it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Ok so I came across the themed reading challenge and I really would like to participate. I keep thinking about how I would like to join. Do I read all YA books, all Newberrys I have not read, books about vampires (just cause I am really excited to read Eclipse), books with a dog as an important/integral character, or even a set of books in a series. The opportunities are endless and I am not sure where I want to head. I keep waiting for the perfect opportunity to pop up and show itself. I am leaning towards doing the series with a dog as an integral character. I will go with that for now and read 4 of the following books:

1. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
2. Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Laskas (not sure this has a dog as an integral character)
3. Lost and Found by Jacqeline Sheehan
4. A Good Dog by Jon Katz
5. Walking in circles before lying down : a novel by Merrill Markoe
6. From Baghdad, with love : a Marine, the war, and a dog named Lava
by Jay Kopelman
7. Sight hound : a novel by Pam Houston
8. A dog year : twelve months, four dogs, and me by Jon Katz
9. Dog is my co-pilot by BARK Editors
10. Tails from the bark side by Brian Kilcommons

Ok, I know there are so many to pick from, but I didn't have 4 in mind that I wanted to read so when I did my research all of these came up. I will have to narrow it down later.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Charlie Bone

I am on my 6th Charlie Bone book. I love to hear what is happening in this crazy boy's life, but I wonder if it is every going to end. It isn't like Harry Potter where I know when and what to expect. I think I started reading these books because of Harry Potter. Someone suggested them if I liked Harry Potter. And I do like Charlie Bone. All of the books are very interesting and full of adventure. The children at Bloor's Academy where Charlie goes to school are all unique and easy to like. In this particular installment, Charlie is finally happy to have found his father, but the person who saved is father is now in danger. There are new sparks of evil appearing around every corner and Charlie is having a hard time deciding who is really on his side. In the end Charlie's friends, who are always there for him, and even some new friends are there for him again in order to do everything good he can do. One of the reasons I like Charlie and I think one of the reasons people compare Charlie Bone to Harry Potter is because of their quest for goodness. Both boys are not doing everything perfectly and may often get in trouble, but in the end are doing the "right" thing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A book survey!

Ok so I am on mysapce and am addicted to the little surveys everyone fills out. This may have been the last place I expected to find more surveys, but here they are! And I can't resist them here either.

What are you reading right now? Right now I am reading the most recent Charlie Bone, The City of Ember, and Dear Mr. Henshaw.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that? I have some more books to read for my classroom and I really would like to read Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, plus there are about 5 books from the library sitting on the counter waiting patiently to be opened.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now? Glamour, Oprah and scrapbook magazines

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read? textbooks

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone? I recommend My Sister's keeper to a lot of people and Harry Potter of course.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they? No but I do know my account number by heart.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
Um...maybe House of the Scorpion, but most of the time I make too many recommendations to notice.

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, not often, not yet and yes.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits? No I don't think so. I read and get teased much more now.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn't put it down? Um...I tried to stay up for Deathly Hallows, but couldn't do it and there was one that I really liked recently, but I don't remember which one foul!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Grimm Sisters

One of my students gave me a book to read. I have so many others to read, but her enthusiasm for this particular book was enough to make me start reading. Once I started I couldn't stop. Although Sabrina and Daphne are orphans when we meet them, which is something I feel is a bit overdone, they are easy to like and care about. The young Daphne compliments her bitter older sister with a youthful joy which is refreshing. The story quickly moves from one dramatic event to the other, keeping you wondering what crazy thing will happen next and there are enough plot questions imbeded in the story to keep the mind going at all moments. I enjoy Daphne much more than her older sister and love how easily she attaches to her crazy grandmother. I love her positive outlook on people and events and her willingness to do whatever she can for those she loves. Even though Sabrina is a bit pessimistic, she has good reason. She keeps this fairy tale story grounded and more believable.

We meet these girls as they are on their way to yet another foster home. Sabrina is nervous about living with her supposed grandmother, and becomes even more so when she first meets her. She suspects all kinds of terrible things about her, especially when she has them investigating giants. It takes her a while to have faith in her grandmother, but when the truth is looking her in the face she can't help but believe. And when her grandmother is taken from them, they do everything they can to get her back. The girls find themselves scrambling around in a town of fairy tale characters befriending some and fighting against others as they try to rescue their new family.

I enjoy the mix of fiction and fairy tale of this story and can understand how Michael Buckley has made a series with a great set of main characters to play with. I haven't actually finished the story so I am unsure if the girls actually find their grandmother or not or if they have enough faith in her to stay with her. You will have to read the book to find out just as I will. And my guess is that it will be worth it. I am already looking forward to reading the next one. I will move on to some other things before that, but eventually I will get there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Newbie fever

I am not sure if it is because I am fairly new to the blogging world but I am enjoying looking at every one's blog so much. I have mainly been checking out the other people that are a part of the "Something about Me" reading challenge. I fear that even though I intended this blog to be about books it will end up being about much more. I visited The Rech Times and loved how She Read's is doing a self portrait of herself every single day of the year. Wow!! Since this year has been a pretty rough one for me and considering I have a milestone birthday coming up next year I thought this would be a great way to document "The end of the 20's" and take a snapshot of myself. I absolutely love pictures! I might even love them more than books, so this would be great, but I am not sure I can do the once a day thing so I am going to shoot for once a week. Thanks for being so inspiring!

I also came across a site that had all kinds of book related blogs and sites and I was like a kid in a candy I can't figure out where I saw it. As I search I have found that Trish has a good list on her site, but I don't think it was the one I say before.

Maybe I saw it the same place I saw another reading challenge about choosing books within a theme(actually I didn't see it there I just checked). I love that this challenge doesn't start until January. I have time to finish the challenges I am doing and think of some books that fit together in a theme. Right now I am thinking about books where people have self esteem issues. That covers a lot of books I think! I have always felt a little on the chunky side and I like to read about how people deal with those issues. That is why I chose The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things for my About Me reading challenge. Anyway, it is just one idea. I could also do books that have dogs as an important character within the book. I love my dogs and have really enjoyed reading about other people's lives with their dogs. I will have to put some investigation into this challenge.

But as I browse I think that a lot of the people I am looking at all know one another. At lease in the blogging sense. I wonder do they like newcomers such as myself? Do they assume I will be here and gone quickly? I don't even know the answer to that question. I am sure enjoying myself at the moment and hope I am not barging in on anything.

Still browsing here off of Trish's site and found this one:Books.Lists.Life. My first thought was how beautiful her blog is. I love the deep red and creamy tan together. It just looks classy. Plus she had a great list of places she would rather be and I couldn't agree more. When I am working my list of places I would rather be looks something like this:
1. At the beach (any beach will do)
2. Watching a movie
3. Reading a book in the sunshine
4. Disneyland
5. Somewhere near the ocean where I can feel the cool breeze and hear the waves
6. On my dad's back porch
7. Taking my dogs for a swim
8. Eating sushi
10. On vacation (and taking pictures while I am at it)

So like I said, I think I will be adding a lot more to my blog besides my thoughts on books and reading in general. I started out calling myself The Book List and had to add And Many other Things to it because I know I won't be able to limit myself. It sure is exciting.....even if I am the only one who ever reads any of this.

Cause I am crazy

Ok, since no one who knows me reads my blog, no one knows I am a teacher. I just started my school year about a month ago and am only teaching reading and writing. I have about 8 books to read for my class and I keep finding these fun challenges to join. I have joined the "Something about me" challenge and now I am joining the Book to Movie challenge too. That makes a lot of books to read and I am feeling a bit crazy about it. Then I calm down and realize that I have a while to get it done. This challenge is especially fun because after reading I love to go to the movies. I tried to pick choices where I had neither read the book or watched the movie, but I had to cheat a little.

So here are my books that I am going to read for the Books to Movie challenge:

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Everyone has been saying what a good book this is and it is sitting on my shelf. This gives me a great reason to read it. I didn't know it was a movie, but it is on the list.

2. Golden Compass (which will be a movie soon) by
Ever since I saw the previews for this movie I have wanted to read the book. I am a huge believer in the fact that books are always better than movies. I always try to read the book first so that is why this one is on my list.

3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
I have heard great things about this movie and I think I will have to go watch the movie before I read the book since it might not still be in theatres by the time I can read the book. I will break my rule to read before watching on this one.

I am going to add another watch then read book on to here because saying that reminded me that I have never read the book The Neverending Story. I absolutely love the movie and didn't even know it was a book, but I have heard a lot of talk about it recently and think I must read the book too.

I just got done reading Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs and didn't even know it was a movie. Has got to be a crazy movie I am sure. Will have to look for that one on DVD.

After looking at the list I see there are more books to movies than I ever realized. Wow!! I had to resist the urge to put things like Because of Winn-Dixie, Bridge to Terabithia and Harry Potter on my list. I love all of these books and think that the directors did a great job with the movies, but I will always think they are a million times better in written form.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The curse of the series

I understand very well why books in a series are so "in" right now. I just finished Atherton, the house of power by Patrick Carman, which I had no idea was the beginning of another series, and now I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the next of the series.

Books in a series, I have learned, work well when you attach yourself to the characters in a book. I think one of the big reasons Harry Potter is so popular is because JK Rowling created characters we wanted to love. Patrick Carmen does the same.

I was immediately addicted to Patrick Carman's last series (The Land of Elyon) because of the characters and the environment he creates. When I saw he had a new book out I quickly added it to my list of must reads.

Now that I am finished with the book, or maybe because I just finished reading The Giver, I found Atherton reminds me a lot of The Giver. I read another blog recently that had a hard time choosing a genre for The Giver, they called it social science fiction or dystopian/utopian fiction (depending on who you are I assume). Regardless, I would put these two books in the same category because they both have created an alternate universe, without leaving the "earth" we know as home behind.

Edgar is a young boy alone in his world, searching for something of which he does not know. We join him as he makes his journey throughout his world, always surprised at what he finds. As you read you want to help Edgar climb the walls and read the pages of his book. You want to be there for him when it seems he can't lean on anyone else. You understand why he is frustrated and want to comfort him in his loneliness. Patrick Carmen, as I believe he does best, creates a vivid and remarkable picture of the world of Atherton and all the people in it.

Even though this book is a children's book this story still raises questions about the environment, government, the limits on control those in power should have, and scientific discovery. I find that the more children's literature I read the more questions about life and possibilities are opened up for me. I think that by reading this book children can open their minds to the possibilities of tomorrow.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A list of books (I couldn't refuse)

Look at the list of books below:Bold the ones you’ve read. Mark in blue the ones you want to read. Cross out the ones that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring)Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of.If you are reading this (and haven't participated yet), tag, you’re it!

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

This one is my personal favorite by the way :)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Hugo)

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)

81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)

89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)

90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)

91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Books About Me Challenge

Ok, this is actually pretty difficult for me. I am trying to come up with 5 books off the top of my head that have to do with me without cheating and checking out what everyone else has on their list.

Here we go:

1. The earth, my butt and other big round things (YA) by Carolyn Mackler .

I completely relate to this girl and how she feels!

2. The dogs who found me (NF) by Ken Foster

I am a huge dog lover and especially love that this author does not hate certain breeds because of their reputation.

3. The Penderwicks, a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits and a very interesting boy (F)

I was an only child and wished I had a fun family like this to grow up around.

4. The sisterhood of the traveling pants (YA) by Ann Brashares

My friends are everything to me, just like these great girls.

5. The house of the scorpion (JuvF) by Nancy Farmer

I admire the sense of hope this story brings despite the horrible events in it.

I know there are other books out there that are about me, but these are the first I came to while standing at the bookshelf. I do love them all.

The books I am choosing to read from others lists are:

1. So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson

2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

4. Nothing But the Truth by Avi

5. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deathy afraid of the Hallows

WARNING!!! There are spoilers in this blog. If you have not read The Deathly Hallows and wish to keep it that way read no further. I will tell you if Harry lives or dies as well as some other major plot points. So stop reading now if you want to be surprised!

I started out reading the most current Harry Potter novel scared to death that I would not like the ending. I swore that if JK Rowling killed Harry that I would never read another of her books again.

I spent the months leading up to the release of The Deathly Hallows on this website reading what thousands thought would happen in the most recent tale of The One Who Lived. I was prepared for the worst, but refused to believe it would actually happen. At one point in the tale I shut the book and shouted "I do not want to read this book anymore!!" Good thing I continued on because I was not disappointed.

The night of the realease party I was very antsy. I was going with a friend to a "Potter Party" to buy my book but I could hardly wait to get reading. As I browsed the above mentioned website I saw that JK had read the first chapter aloud in London. I quickly clicked on the link and listened to every word. The first chapter was not nearly as grabbing as when Lord Voldemort killed the old man in Harry's dream in Harry Potter 4 or being followed by Dementors as in Harry Potter 5, but it held me over for just a bit longer. We waited patiently playing multiple games of Rummikub on the floor of our local Barnes and Noble. I could hardly contain myself as I finally got a hold of my copy and headed home. My plan was to read as long as I possibly could.

I got home and settled into my comfortable spot and began to read. I didn't last long. My eyes were drooping after only an hour and I was disappointed in myself. I had gotten as far as Harry, Hermoine and Ron escaping from the wedding and going on the run and I couldn't make it any further.

The next day I headed up to Donner Lake to see a friend up from LA and of course I had to take my book with me. I read as much as I could on Saturday and Sunday and finally finished around 9 o'clock on Sunday night. Once I started the last third of the book there was pretty much no stopping me. I would have stayed up way beyond my bedtime for that ending.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I can't say it is my favorite because I still can't get past the history and sense of family we experience in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but this book comes the closest of them all to being the next best.

The first half of the book is not the most exciting reading I have ever had. I enjoyed how JK brought new developments into the story to steer us from the horcruxes, but I had trouble with the monotony of the traveling. Honestly I had trouble believing it was so easy for the trio to stay out of trouble for so long. The safety precautions seemed almost too easy of a way for the kids to stay safe.

Once Ron took off, the story picked itself up quite a bit. I loved that Aberforth came into the story too help Harry. Regardless of what Dumbledore did or didn't do, Aberforth still realized the importance of Harry and his quest and i loved that it wasn't Dumbledore himself, but someone "close" to him. I wouldn't even have minded if Dumbledore had not made an appearance at all. I didn't care too much for the chapter when Harry spoke with Dumbledore.

I also didn't mind that Snape wasn't in the story too often. He is not my favorite character, but it was nice to get some resolution where he was concerned. The relationship he had with Harry was much easier to understand after the knowledge we gained and the fact that Harry was willing to give him his last wish as he died was particularly sweet after the history they shared.

One of my most favorite parts of the book is when Harry returns to Hogwarts and is met there by just about everyone he has encountered in his 7 years in the wizarding world. The backing Harry receives from the houses as he enters the main hall is especially powerful and brought me to tears.

Although, when Harry returns to Hogwarts and must fight Draco Malfoy and his friends again I was surprised there was not more anger on Harry's part. Throughout the entire book Harry despises Malfoy and when he gets his opportunity to do something mean or vengeful to him he doesn't even make an attempt. It is not as if I expected Harry to kill Malfoy, but I did expect him to lock him up in an unbreakable closet or something equally mean. It seemed that after all the years of hating Malfoy and knowing what Malfoy stood for that he would have wanted to give back some of the pain that had been afflicted on him.

While I was very happy with the book as a whole I was hoping for more information about the life of Harry Potter and the others once LV had left the world. It was a bit of a disappointing note to leave on. I almost wish that it had been left out entirely so I could make up my own happy ending. Almost, but not quite.

If I were an egg, I too would be cracked

I just finished Eggs by Jerry Spinelli, a super great children's author, and have decided I don't like it's title. When I first picked it up I thought to myself, if I were an egg I would be a bit cracked. The characters in this tale are surely that. A bit cracked, but further than that and an Easter egg hunt I can find the correlation between the title and the content. True, without the Easter Egg hunt there would be no story, but I think there could have been something better, more catchy and more applicable.

The story is an engaging tale of two children searching, or yearning for what they are missing. The create a unique pair, more like siblings than friends, that do very little besides bicker through the majority of the story. David met Primrose after he attended an Easter egg hunt he didn't even want to go on in the first place. Primrose was "playing dead" underneath one of the hidden eggs. David goes weeks or months without seeing Primrose again, but when he does he sure makes a scene of things.

As I continued reading I kept waiting for the climactic moment when these children would realize those around them loved them, and although there were people missing from their lives, they could continue to have wonderful lives without them. It never really came. I enjoyed the story anyway. David and Primrose are easy to like and you want for them to be happy. They have mini-adventures not like typical children have (like painting a van and using it as your home or making sure you follow all the rules you can possibly think of) and it is easy to picture the emotion and connection the characters in this story create.

Eggs is a quick read that will make you think about living without family and realizing, even when you didn't think it was possible, there are others too that care. I do recommend you read this book, but I wouldn't put it in my number one spot.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Book List

I am a bit of a book whore. I love to buy, read, listen to and check out books. There seems to be no way of actually getting through all of the books I want to read and there seems to be an endless supply of books on the shelf waiting patiently to be read. I read to escape and relax and so I don't often read non-fiction.

Besides being a book whore I am also a teacher. As of now I am teaching fifth grade. I get ample opportunity to read in my profession and in doing so I have found I enjoy children's literature far more than most adult. They are often quick reads with great story lines and wonderful lessons to be learned. It isn't that I expect children to follow these lessons, or to follow them myself for that matter, but there is something in reading about how young characters react to given events that gives such insight into how maturity and experience helps mold you into the person you are to become.

Please don't get me wrong, I do enjoy reading adult fiction as well. My brain may not be advanced enough to calculate and understand all the details in more adult literature. As many questions I come up with about children's literature it is usually quadrupled in adult literature. Either that or it is more predictable than a stop light. There are times I like the predictable and times I like the quadrupled insights, but for the most part I stick to the children's literature section. I am rarely bored.

So this brings me to the purpose of my blog....I simply can't keep track of the books I have read and I am searching for a way to organize. As teacher I am constantly referring students to certain books. And while I am a great reader of books, my memory of them does not serve me as well. I will remember reading a book, but be unable to remember the plot or ending. I am hoping by posting about the books I read I will be able to pick up, not only insight, but memory of each book I choose.