Top Ten – Wait! – Eight Tuesday: New to Me Authors in 2012

8.  John Cotton Dana


Not terribly exciting, but one of the first books I downloaded when I got my Kindle Fire.

7.  Margret Rey Image I am NOT a Curious George fan.  I mean, have you ever READ the book?  But, since I have a miniature dachshund myself, how could I resist?

6.  Anthony Horowitz Image I know Horowitz has written a lot of teen books and I probably should have read him before.  And I also know this is quite a departure from his other books.  But this one is fabulous – the first time the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel.  It left me hanging until the very end, and is oh so respectful of the original.

5.  Mike Lupica


I should have read Lupica  before now, too, but I’m really not a big sports fan (but I do buy lots of sports books for the library).  This was a fun read, though, and I see why kids like him.  (Actually, I have read him before, his book Hero, book it is quite different than this, his typical YA sports fare.)

4.  Rachel Joyce Image Rachel Joyce is a new author, but I did quite like this book.  (As you might discern from this list, I’m not really into finding new authors!  My list of my favorite books of 2012 would be harder to wade through as there would be a lot more choices.)

3.  Robert Fagles


Fagles is the translator here of good ol’ Homer, but what a difference he makes!  I read Fitzgerald’s translation a decade ago and it was fine and good, but Fagles’ translation is simply beautiful.  If you’ve read Homer before, read it again – but only this Homer.

2.  Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


Some high school students were doing a project on banned books and wanted to know if I could had this one.  I didn’t, nor did any school or public library around me.  Of course it’s controversial but ridiculously so – it’s a true story and a sweet one at that.  At any rate, I own it now, and am glad to do so.  I hope Richardson and Parnell find other sweet stories to tell.

1.  Michael Connelly Image I’m surprised I hadn’t read this author before, as it is right up my alley.  I found him by watching The Lincoln Lawyer on Amazon (with Prime membership, free – Prime is the best $79 I’ve ever spent!).  I wanted to go read another book right away, but I’m not going to make the mistake I did with Jonathan Kellerman and read all the books (with the same characters) together very quickly – I’ll never want to read another again if I do that!  I like his style, though – quick and smart.  Of all the authors here, this is the only one I’m sure I’ll read again.

It’s Monday – What are you reading?

It’s Monday!  What are you reading?
Sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey
I have been busy reading this week – I finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (I was really surprised by the book, in a good but sad way), but most of my reading has been for my Coursera class.  I’ve suspended reading Tomatoland until my Kindle reappears as it’s gone missing in our house!
So this week, I’m reading:
The Odyssey, Fagles translation, chapters 9-16.  I plan to get this done before Sunday so I can actually watch all the videos before the quiz is due.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – I told my(adult) daughter she can read it when I’m done so I best hurry up on this one.
Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite authors so I was happy to see this available at the public library.
I love to read cookbooks!  I have Ree’s first book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.  Although I do find the step by very slow step (“Here’s an egg,” e.g.) a bit annoying, I will say her cookbook gave me the courage to try chicken fried steak, one of my favorite dishes when I go out to a restaurant, and it was fabulous.
We have a stack of new books to add and this is one I definitely want to read.  I’m going to a couple of meetings in the next two weeks, so when I am here, we’re doing technology things with the classes, so no picture book reading for me with the students.  But this one looks great – I don’t want Donna to get all the fun!

It’s Monday – What are you reading?

I mostly stuck with blogging last week – took a long weekend away then did one last night.  But this one, “It’s Monday! What are you reading?” (sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey) has sure motivated me this week to read, read, read!

I was so excited when The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry came in off the hold shelf for me at the public library!  It’s British, so there’s a few “what the heck” moments with the vocabulary, but it’s an interesting book.  It’s the story of a newly retired man who gets a letter from a woman he knew decades before.  He responds by letter, and intends to drop it in the mailbox – but just keeps walking.  “He hunched his shoulders and drove his feet harder, as if he wasn’t so much walking to Queenie as away from himself.” 

I’ve read The View from Saturday before, but it’s the first selection for the 5th grade Book Lovers’ Club in the library (reason:  we had enough copies!).  I think it’s an appropriate book for that, too, because it’s about a group of smart kids . . . and that’s my Book Lovers’ Club!  I’ve done a book discussion group for fifth graders before, and it remains the best thing I’ve done in a school.  I hope the kids get as much out of it as I do!

I just started Why We Broke Up by Daniel Hadler and Maira Kalman.  That’s Daniel Hadler, AKA Lemony Snickett.  The one thing that stands out for me with this book is the quality of the book itself.  The pages are really thick!  I appreciate that in a book.  I wonder why more don’t do that, or why they did (or how they had the clout to demand it).

And I’m highly anticipating J.K. Rowling’s new book, Casual Vacancy, which comes out this week.  I read all the Harry Potter books, but only once, and I definitely am more on the “muggle” side of the wizarding spectrum.  As Daniel Radcliffe said in his SNL monologue, “And to the adults who read the Harry Potter books and devored them, I just want to say, those books were for children. You were reading children’s books.”

What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I’m going to try to blog more this year, as a journaling exercise if nothing else.  So I’m going to join into the librarian meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  I love to read what other people are reading, so here’s my go at it.  I’m hoping it will inspire to read more books and fewer articles!

I already blogged about the books I read for storytime here (libraries and books theme).  I can’t wait to read the books about books I’ve picked out for older students – Biblioburro and Ron’s Big Mission and That Book Woman.  Two of my favorites.  (An aside:  Have you ever noticed how many books are out there about traveling librarians?  But it’s always geography-specific.  I wish there was a category for traveling librarians, not only traveling librarians from Columbia or Appalachia!

Anyway, here are other books I’m currently reading:

Tomatoland is an interesting and sad book, too.  It will definitely make you go out and start a garden!  I’ll want to discuss this with the Ag teacher when I’m done.
This book was given to me by a great friend who is a children’s librarian in the Nashville Public Library system.  It even has a personalized inscription for me from the author!  It’s very suspenseful and I am trying to rush through it to get to the end, without rushing through it and missing all the great details of life in Music City.  (We lived there for twelve years, moving back to the Midwest eight years ago.)
And the greatest, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers.  I love all the press that Dav Pilkey has gotten lately.  One of my favorite things to do when I was substitute teaching was when I’d see a student – inevitably a boy – who had a Captain Underpants book in his hands.  I’d say, “What are you reading?” in a somewhat grumpy teacher voice – and then when they sheepishly admitted to having a Captain Underpants book, I’d exclaim, “Oh my gosh!  I love Captain Underpants!”  Sadly, you could tell for a lot of them, this was not the reaction they usually got.  One of my prized possessions is my Captain Underpants blow-up doll.
The next book I’m going to start is:

There are students at my elementary school who didn’t like reading until we introduced graphic novels in the library last year.  It’s so great to get to introduce them to some great books, and I love to tell them about the research that shows graphic novels can make you smarter.

No Passengers Beyond this Point

I finished another book!  I’m doing better on reading since the 48 Hour Book Challenge.  I suppose I should make a goal – how about I read thirty more books this summer – in nine weeks?  That’d be something!

To get started . . . I just finished Gennifer Choldenko’s No Passengers Beyond this Point.

Choldenko is the author of historical fiction titles like Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes, but also some realistic fiction titles like If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period and A Liar and Her Dog.  I wasn’t sure what this book was – once I’ve chosen a title, I make a point of not reading the inside cover of a book.  (That practice does tend to make one choose a book its cover, but c’est la vie.)

Even eighty page into the book, I wasn’t sure how I’d classify the book.  I finally figured it out (it’s neither historical nor realistic fiction).  Choldenko is such a gifted writer, able to change her voice completely.  Had I not known this was her book, I never would have guessed hers, even after reading all the above-mentioned titles.  However, I’m not sure that I’ll suggest this for our state reading list for kids – I’m a volunteer reader for that, reading a lot of books this summer – because it is a pretty intense book, probably too intense for some readers.  (The problem is, I want to vote for Choldenko, but the only other choice we were given of hers is Al Capone Shines My Shoes.  Written three years ago, so four by the time the kids would get the list . . . way to be relevant, guys.)

Ninth Ward

I’m done with the 48 Hour Book Challenge, of course, but I’m determined to keep reading children’s books continually, and to blog about them here.  

I finished Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  

It’s on a list for volunteers to read for the Iowa Children’s Choice Award ballot for next year, so I had picked it up from the city library, and my 13-year-old daughter read it first.  I asked her what she thought and she really liked it, but said it was “haunting.”  I knew it must be about New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, so I knew it was likely sad, so I thought that was an interesting way to put it.  It certainly was sad, but this is children’s literature, so it isn’t too sad.  And if you’ve read the book, you know she was teasing me with the word haunting!  

I thought the author did a great job of bringing in suspense into a subject that we know how it ends.  When a family heads to the Superdome, I thought, “Oh no!  Not there!”  But thankfully, those aren’t the characters that the story follows.  I don’t think what happened there could be written about in a children’s book.

I have this in the elementary library, but wonder when I would suggest this to a student.  Doing reader’s advisory, if a child asks for a realistic fiction book that is about the saddest event in recent American history?  Not much call for that!  (Maybe I’ll sell it when students ask for “realistic fiction.”)

I’m not sure how I’ll vote on this for the ICCA list.  It’s an important book, definitely.  In a few years, maybe children will doubt that the travesties after Katrina really happened.  But I guess to dispel that, we do need a book about what happened at the Superdome.

Belly Up

This is my final book for the #48hbc – Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.  It’s a fun read that kids are going to love.  It’s set in a zoo – who doesn’t love that? – plus there’s intrigue – a murdered hippo! – and the character’s voice is fun and engaging.  It might even be good at the junior high, with image art like this:

Actually – I’m not done with it yet.  But I wanted to finish blogging about the book challenge.  It’s been my busiest weekend yet this year (play, reunion, buying a car) and so I can say that I read 7.5  books for the challenge, and read for 13.5 hours in the 48 hour period.  I didn’t do all I needed to in order to win the challenge (I don’t even know what the prize was), but that’s okay.  I think I should do this sort of challenge with my students over a weekend.  I know it makes me a better librarian to read children’s books – how can you do quality reader’s advisory if you aren’t reading the books you are recommending?  But without some push like this, it’s easy for these books to stay on my to-do list and never get done.