Categories
books & reading reviews

Kids’ Picks: Grumpy Frumpy! Happy Snappy!

My son hasn’t gotten into too many new books since last month’s kids picks a great book carnival @ 5 Minutes For Books EXCEPT this little gem that I picked up at Target in the $1 bin…

He immediately seemed to know that these little guys were “monsters” in a big scary silly voice, though I’m not sure where he learned about monsters in the first place, it’s hilarious to hear him read this. I guess that means it’s hilarious to hear ME read this, since I read it to him first and he now imitates me, but the cool thing is he seems to remember each page, each voice and I think he really gets the idea of the opposites on these pages. Here’s an example from MM The Future Hand Model…

He loves to turn the book upside down on THIS page to show me how it works – how did he figure this out because I’m pretty sure I didn’t teach him that, much like I didn’t teach him his ABCs. This genius little two year old seriously taught himself. I honed it all in, but really, he was the mastermind there. And here. I’m so proud… sniff…

This book is awesome and a short quick read and so fun to make silly voices with. Did I mention it was a DOLLAR?

I’m trying really hard not to show you every page because there must be some copyright thing against that but all the pages are so adorable and my son just LOOOOOVES this book. Here’s him showing you what a grumpy frumpy looks like…

Sort of… He kind of smirked right when I took the picture but trust me, he was Grumpy Frumpy at it’s finest.

What books is your kid reading this month? If you blog about it, make sure to link up here, and also let me know in the comments section!

Categories
books & reading reviews

Children’s Classics: Newbery Medal Favorites

The big topic at 5 Minutes for Books this week is Newbery Medal winners. Have you read many of the books that have won a Newbery Medal? Do awards influence which books you will or won’t read? I think for the more official awards like the Newbery or Caldecott – or even the NYT bestsellers, having that recognition would definitely influence me to read a book if I’d maybe been the fence about whether or not to read it, whereas I’ve on occasion opted not to read a book if say, Oprah has it on her book list. Some hype is worthy, some not so much.

I’ve read a good handful of the Newbery award winners, some of which are high up there on my favorite books from when I was a kid. Here are some of my favorite Newbery Award winners:

If I were to make a list of my favorite books from that time period of my life, this would likely be it, so I’d definitely recommend any of them to a young reader or an older reader. I’d be extremely excited if my children chose to read these books someday and may read them again just to brush up on the classics.

Are any of your favorite children’s books a Newbery Medal winner?

Categories
books & reading reviews

“The Dog Ate My Copy Of Jane Eyre,” And Other Lies

I know I was supposed to read Jane Eyre for this…

But I confess, bloggy friends, I didn’t finish it. Why?

Let’s play that game where I give three lies and one truth and you guess which one is the real reason I didn’t finish reading okay?

  1. I couldn’t finish my copy of Jane Eyre because after reading the first few chapters I got so enraged by her poor story of life as an orphan, that I convinced my husband to adopt a daughter with me. We got on the phone with an orphanage in England and adopted a ten year old girl who happened to be named Jane. We’ve been so busy getting used to life with a depressed ten year old girl that I simply haven’t had time to read. Yesterday some guy named Rochester showed up and keeps calling Jane his little pet. Should I ask him to leave?
  2. I didn’t finish reading the book because I was busy living inside of it. Apparently because of reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, I now have the ability to jump inside of books simply by reading them. So after re-reading the chapter in the red room several times, trying to understand it, I found myself THERE trapped in the Red Room with Jane. I had a long talk with her aunt, explaining that the poor girl thought she’d seen her dead uncle and what kind of stupid aunt was she, and so I wasn’t able to finish your copy of Jane Eyre because in my copy the aunt comes to her senses, spanks her son, apologizes to Jane and well as you can imagine, they all lived happily ever after instead. Sorry.
  3. I didn’t finish reading the book because after about 150 tedious, overly descriptive only Nathaniel Hawthorne could appreciate this book pages, I decided that life was too short to be spent reading bad literature. Sorry Charlotte, but I’d rather go visit the Well of Lost Plots instead.
  4. I couldn’t finish reading my copy of Jane Eyre because my dog ate it. I was kind of sad, because where I was reading, Jane finally found a friend – you know Helen Burns, the dying chick who thinks dying is awesome? Yeah that was sad…

Can you guess which one is true?

So did you finish reading Jane Eyre? Make sure you write a post about it and link up here!

And remember, next month we’re reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I’ll be sure to tell my dog to get a copy of his own this time.

Categories
inexplicable

My Nightstand’s Just Not That Into Me

Right now nothing is on my night stand. While I sleep, Pride and Prejudice rests there occasionally, but during the day, I take it off the night stand and move it to my bed, in hopes of reading more often if it’s closer to the door. But to be honest, I don’t think my nightstand is that into me anymore. My stack of “to read” books is getting so ridiculous that by now I’m shocked to have not recieved a note from my nightstand saying something like this:

Dear Momma,

We’ve had a good run together, but your book addiction is just too much for me. I can’t continue supporting you in our relationship if you won’t seek help. I’d like to say that it’s not you, it’s me, but the truth is – it’s definitely you. And the truth is, I’m just not that into you anymore. It was fine when it was just one or two books. And I could deal when it was like 5 books at a time – I care about you and try to support you in all that you do, you know… But this… this is just too much. And I can’t deal – try the bedroom floor – maybe he’s free.

In Fond Memory,

Your Night Stand

Preemptively perhaps, I decided to simply use my bookshelf, but taking a note from Night Stand (in my imagination) I stacked said “to read” stack on the floor for this photo opportunity, so you can see sort of what I’m talking about, and why I don’t think my night stand will keep seeing me if things continue on this way:

I don’t know when it got this bad. I don’t know how my husband refrains from smacking me upside my fool head when I complain I have nothing to read. I don’t want to lie to you and tell you this is as bad as it gets – these were just the “choice books” that look really yummy. There are more – more books I’ve never read, never mind the ones I have. That there on the bottom? That’s what I’m reading now. It’s pretty good. I’m about this far from finishing it:

What’s on your night stand (if it hasn’t left you yet)?

Categories
family fun

Children’s Classics: on the wasted potential of my youth

I think I may have mentioned I love to read, and have loved reading since I was a young child. I may have mentioned my grandmother taking me to the local library, lying to me about the book limit that there wasn’t, and consequently me taking out 17 books at a time for years for no reason…

Plowing through 17 books at a go, several times a week had the potential to open me up to a world of literature. So it surprised me when I decided to participate in this month’s Children’s Classics Carnival at 5 Minutes for Books devoted to the middle reader range (8-12 years old) that I was at a loss for what book I could write about – indeed a quick search of the classics for that age range yielded a lot of, “Oh yeah, I never did read that, did I?” What happened? I can assure you, I was reading. A lot. 17 books at a time, a lot.

So what’s my excuse for being very poorly read in the 8-12 middle reader range of classic children’s literature – well I was very busy reading what I consider to be the classic children’s book series for the tween readers of my generation and beyond – that’s right, The Baby Sitter’s Club. Oh you’ve heard of them? Oh you haven’t? Regardless, yeah I read them, yeah I still own them, yeah I think the newer books are garbage. Yeah I religiously skipped the first chapter of every book after say the 3rd installment of her hundreds long series, because yeah seriously, they are ALL the SAME. Way to utilize the copy and paste button that may or may not have been available to you then (…and ohhh if it wasn’t, do I ever pity you Ann).

And when I say I own them, I mean I have a box somewhere with quite possibly 100 of them, and I refuse to sell them – my daughters may need those books someday – heck, I may want to read them again someday. And I’m certain if that day comes I won’t easily find them all again – bookstores everywhere are stocked with the most pathetic selection ever and almost always have new ugly horrible covers.

And okay, there’s a chance I won’t really read them all again. I’ve found some of those old chapter books can be painful to read as a grown up – even Nancy Drew made me want to scouge my eyes out with a spork trying to read it recently. Which is strange when I read a lot of the current middle reader books, like the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, the Harry Potter, the Lemony Snicket, yeah I’m up on all of that. Did the old books I devoured just suck or is there something wrong with me? Although, okay, I’ll admit I don’t re-read many books ever anyway, so there’s that. Sometimes it just sucks to already know what happens I guess.

But I loved the Baby Sitters Club. I watched the movies, I bought the merchandise, I almost never baby sat ever until I was in college, but still considered myself an avid fan. I was disappointed when I too turned 13 and found, lo and behold, I was still very much a kid, the boys were not hunky gorgeous, and I was not cool – what happened? It wasn’t until years of watching Dawsons Creek and Buffy that I caught on to the fact that we don’t like looking up to our exact selves, but older more mature versions of what we’ll never be.

And now I have no idea what I’m talking about, but just wanted to say, Baby Sitters Club – I ❤ you, and I’ll never sell you even if my husband begs, even if we have all boy children – there is still hope for grandchildren, Ann M. Martin, I will find a use for all your works yet. I thank you for entertaining me through those years, for lying to me ever so sweetly about what being 13 would really be like, and for writing so so many books – you had your work cut out for you, I know, knowing that I’d be in the following week looking for 17 new books and it took you a long, long time to start running out of steam – and by then I was ready for Janet Evanvoich. And by then I realized my grandmother had lied to me. It’s okay grandma, I forgive you.

So thank you Ann M. Martin. And goodbye (and by goodbye, I mean, I’m going to try and publish this already so I can write my NEXT brilliant post).

Categories
family fun

Because There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Books

I just entered a giveaway to win a copy of Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall over at BookFinds.com. They are giving three signed copies to three lucky readers, so what are you waiting for? Head over and sign up for a chance to win (all you have to do is leave a comment on the post – so easy).

Here’s a quick description of the book for anyone who hasn’t heard of it yet:

“She has the right clothes, the right friends, and the right last name, but fifteen-year-old Maddie Crane sometimes feels like an outsider in her clique in the wealthy, seaside town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. And when her gorgeous, eccentric cousin Cordelia LeClaire moves to town, Maddie is drawn toward her ethereal, magical spirit and teeters even more toward the edge of her friends’ tightly-knit circle…

Then there are the jealous ones…

Kate Endicott and the Sisters of Misery–a secret clique of the most popular, powerful girls in school–are less than thrilled by Cordelia’s arrival. When Kate’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Trevor takes an interest in Cordelia, the Sisters of Misery become determined to make her pay…

Now Maddie must choose between the allure and power of the Sisters of Misery and her loyalty to her beloved cousin. But she’ll have to give up on ever fitting in and accept the disturbing truth about the town, her friends, her mysterious cousin, and even herself as she faces the terrifying wrath of the Sisters of Misery…”

Yeah I’m pretty hooked and from what I can tell looking on GoodReads.com, I’m not alone – it’s gotten some pretty stellar reviews so far, considering it doesn’t even come out until tomorrow, August 1. If this sounds like a book up your alley, or up the alley of someone you know, be sure to enter for a chance to win!

Categories
family fun

13 Books I’d Rather Be Reading Right Now

For this week’s edition of Thursday 13 I’m taking a break from the alphabet – I’m mixing things up a bit, and beating a dead horse down, down into the ground* – and by dead horse I mean topic – and by that I mean I’m going to devote this post to BOOKS just so you all know ridiculously obsessed I am with reading – i.e. I have no life.

By now, I’ve told you all ad nauseum in various forms what my favorite books are, so to avoid boring you all to tears by telling you for the 800th time that Gone With the Wind is my all time favorite book, followed by Lamb by Christopher Moore; I’m going to list the THIRTEEN BOOKS I MOST WANT TO READ RIGHT NOW, in no particular order. Helping me in my mission will be goodreads.com, my favorite place to make lists of books that I’ve read, want to read, consider a favorite, borrowed from a friend, etc. and then see what my friends are reading so I can add those books to my list, too! With goodreads helping me, this Thursday Thirteen should be easy as pie… mmm… pie… Erm, ok, ready?

  1. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: It’s coming out in 1 days 16 hours and 2 minutes… not that I’m counting or anything… I won’t be getting it the day it comes out, but I am toying with the idea of going to the release party at my local Borders, which happens to be across the street from our apartment…
  2. Ariel by Sylvia Plath: I’ve had this sort of obsession with Plath since reading the Bell Jar and not finding her all that emotionally confusing, i.e. I completely and utterly related to her main character and it scared the bejeezes out of me. Ariel is supposed to be one of her best works and apparently she churned out the poems in Ariel, “at the remarkable rate of two or three a day, and Robert Lowell describes them as written by “hardly a person at all … but one of those super-real, hypnotic, great classical heroines.” Even more remarkable, she wrote them during one of the coldest, snowiest winters (1962-63) Londoners have ever known.” Snowbound, without central heating, she and her two children spent much of their time sniffling, coughing, or running temperatures…” Which just makes me want to read it even more.
  3. I Heart My In-Laws: Falling in Love with His Family–One Passive-Aggressive, Over-Indulgent, Grandkid-Craving, Streisand-Loving, Bible-Thumping In-Law at a Time by Dina Koutas Poch: One of the few examples in literature where the title really does say it all – what married woman wouldn’t want to read this?

  4. Phantom by Susan Kay: This was my BFF’s description of this book, which made me want to read it so badly: “Phantom is a must read for anyone who has swooned over Phantom of the Opera and never known why. Susan Kay weaves a story that makes your heart fall in love with the Opera Ghost and makes it ache for his misfortune. There are only few discrepency’s between the stage production of Phantom of the Opera and the book. Mostly you will note a few differences in the performance in the recently made movie in 2006. The subtle differences are few but there. Such as the severity of OG’s deformity and how he gets to the opera house.”
  5. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews: I’ve always been intrigued by the lives of celebrities – and by that I mean their real lives, their life stories and what happens when the cameras are turned off. Julie Andrews being the phenomenal woman she is, is a perfect example of a woman I’d love to know more about. “Her memoir begins in 1935, when Julie was born to an aspiring vaudevillian mother and a teacher father, and takes readers to 1962, when Walt Disney himself saw her on Broadway and cast her as the world’s most famous nanny.”
  6. The Constant Princess by Philipa Gregory: I loved the Other Boleyn Girl – as in, I ate, slept, dreamt, and drank the book – and the one character whom I admired but felt could have used a broader story was Queen Catherine of Aragon – the Constant Princess is her story – so you know I want to read it badly. I’ve read a couple of Gregory’s other books and wasn’t quite as in love with them, which is the reason I haven’t read this one yet, but it is always in the back of my mind as a must read soon book…
  7. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky: I don’t know how many times I tried to beg, plead, and blackmail my book club into reading this book but it never quite caught on as a favorite – I still think it looks amazing. It tells the story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control, i.e. the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940. “When Némirovsky began working on Suite Française, she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.” That alone is such an amazing story, I really want to read this novel someday…
  8. Rumors by Anna Goderbsen: I won’t go into detail here as I’ve mentioned it in what seems like over half of my posts in the past week, but it’s the sequel to The Luxe for anyone who doesn’t know – The Luxe was a kind of historical mystery romance novel, and was just stunningly brilliantly amazingly [ insert more ly words here]. You should read it, and then read Rumors, but not before I do, or I’ll be jealous.
  9. Rockabye: A Young Mom’s Journey from Wild to Child by Rebecca Woolf: The memoir of a young city girl who becomes unexpectedly pregnant – so many themes going on in this memoir that make me want to read about it, but really most parenting memoirs intrigue me, this one just has oodles of cool kid credits going along with it – and the cover is gorgeous.
  10. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry: About a family of women who can read the future in a bit of lace – this just sounds so cool and it’s getting rave reviews and you know I’m all about the band wagons.
  11. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell: One of many books whose cover was what initially drew me in, this novel tells the story of a woman who seemingly vanishes, only to turn up 60 years later, after supposedly finally being let out of a mental facility, and showing up on the doorstep of her only living relative, who didn’t even know she was alive. Talk about a heavy hitter – this book just sounds amazing.
  12. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: I found this book RIGHT NEXT to The Vanishing Act, and want to read it pretty much just as badly. It scores one point immediately for the author’s middle name, which is on the top of our Girls’ Names List right now, with Rachel, Anna & Catherine (if you wanted to know); this book has nothing to do with my list of baby names though, it’s about the Waverley’s, an extraordinary family who tend to a  garden which bear a special kind of apple tree which gives the caretakers sort of “magic powers” … they also grow nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and pansies that make children thoughtful, and even snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of amorous neighbors… Yeah seriously, hello, shut up, I want to read it.
  13. Last but certainly not least, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: whose introduction is vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter, but in a good way, not a “nobody has new ideas anymore” kind of way. And actually, okay, it really sounds nothing like HP at all, see?  “”Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete.”

Okay, I’m done – man that was harder than I thought it would be; a quick browse through my goodreads account yielded well over 30 books from the 275 or so that I have listed as “to read” – and that was me being picky – then I had it down to a solid 23 which was solidly 10 too many, so I started weeding out some obvious ones like Pride and Prejudice, which by now everyone and their brother knows I’m going to be reading for the Classic’s Bookclub on 5 Minutes for Books; and a few other classics and “should read because people say so” books, and tried to focus on the ones that made me want to run across the street to Borders and buy all 13 right now… which I won’t do, because my husband would cry, but I’d like to, and that’s how I decided on my final 13. Neat, huh?

If you want to participate in Thursday Thirteen, just head over to the T13 Hub and join in!

*No dead horses were harmed in the making of this blog post. I swear.