Ramona’s World (audiobook)

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Ramona’s World (audiobook) by Beverly Cleary

“There’s never been anyone quite like Ramona Geraldine Quimby! And now, the irresistible, irrepressible star of Beverly Cleary’s best-loved and bestselling series is back — in the paperback version of her first book in 15 years. Now, Ramona is a fourth grader, struggling with her spelling; feuding and flirting with her old nemesis, Yard Ape; and joyfully making her first real girlfriends. She’s also dealing with life as a middle child — coping with her teenage sister, Beezus, and their new baby sister, Roberta — and simply learning about growing up. But through it all, Ramona remains funny, outspoken, and amazingly real! Ramona’s World is out of this world…a book that’s definitely worth the wait!”

I read every Ramona book as a kid. Over and over and over again. So, a few years ago, when I discovered that Beverly Cleary had written a new Ramona book I was ecstatic. Who cares that I was in my 20’s, I had to have it!

Cleary’s talent and ability to write children in a realistic and believable voice is in no way diminished by her own age. At 95 years old, Cleary must still be a child at heart! Of course, this is one of the many reasons that she is one of my favorite authors.

I love listening to the Ramona books on audio. If I’m driving to one of my stores at the beach, I can usually listen to one book in the morning and another in the afternoon. Stockard Channing narrates the books brilliantly. She has taken on the personality of Ramona to me. She reads with emotion, whether it’s anger, hurt, embarrassment, or humor, she is dead on every time.

Audiobook
Published November 2nd 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1999)
ISBN13: 9780061774126
Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award (2001)

5 stars

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Audiobook)

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Read by Elijah Wood

“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain’s sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, became an instant success in the year of its publication, 1884, but was seen by some as unfit for children to read because of its language, grammar, and “uncivilized hero.” The book has sparked controversy ever since, but most scholars continue to praise it as a modern masterpiece, an essential read, and one of the greatest novels in all of American literature. Twain’s satiric treatment of racism, religious excess, and rural simplicity and his accuracy in presenting dialects mark Huck Finn as a classic. His unswerving confidence in Huck’s wisdom and maturity, along with the well-rounded and sympathetic portrayal of Jim draw readers into the book, holding them until Huck’s last words rejecting all attempts to “sivilize” him.”

Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn as a sequel to Tom Sawyer. His original plan was to follow Huck into adulthood but after working on the book for several years he lost interest. When he eventually came back to Huck’s story, he abandoned his idea of telling Huck’s life story and decided instead to write it as a sort of continuation of Tom Sawyer.

Personally, of the two, Huck Finn is by far my favorite. I never really liked Tom. He’s just… annoying. Meanwhile, I find Huck fascinating. He has much more common sense than Tom. He’s deep down a better person I think, than Tom. Sure, he lies and “borrows” but he hates to hurt anyone’s feelings and he has a strong conscience. Even when he logically disagrees with his conscience due to the social constraints of the time period, emotionally, he tends to know what’s right and what isn’t.

It’s been years and years since I read Huck Finn; probably close to twenty years or more. But I read a review online the other day that mentioned this audio edition read by Elijah Wood. I hightailed it to audible.com as fast as possible and bought it. I listen to a lot of audiobooks on my iPod since I drive so much for work. At over ten hours long, this was almost four days worth of listening.

I’m a fan of Twain’s writing. He describes things so well. He uses commonplace descriptions to allow the reader to draw the picture in their head of the scene he’s creating. He also strikes a nice balance between narration and dialogue. I love the fact that Huck tells his own story from his own point of view as well. Twain really brings Huck, as well as the other characters, to life. And listening to Elijah Wood read the story… it was like I was riding down the highway with Huck sitting in the front seat next to me. And the story has laugh out loud funny moments. There were whole sections where I laughed like a fool driving down the road. I can also admit that there were some times that I cried.

Wood did an amazing job with the different accents and dialects that Twain gave his characters. At first I was very aware that I was listening to Elijah Wood but after just a few minutes, it stopped being Elijah and became Huck and Jim and Tom and even Pap.

Huck had it rough there’s no doubt. His Pap was abusive. He felt unloved. He considered himself to be stupid and eventually he came to question his own morals and character. He never sat down and felt too sorry for himself though. He dealt with adversity and made his way the best way he could. Though we know today that Huck had character and morals to spare, in those days he considered himself very close to a traitor to his race for his actions to help Jim. He struggled with his own conscience and the differences between what he felt in his heart was right and what he had been taught was right.

Huck Finn has created controversy for years and years. It is the fourth most banned book in the United States. It has been considered obscene, immoral and racist. As usual, the censors have it all wrong. Twain tells a story of a boy who is anti-racist in a time when it would cause him to be ostracized by society. Because of the use of the “N-word” throughout the book, people assume it must be racist but in actuality Twain used the language and vernacular of the time. If anyone doesn’t read this excellent example of classic American literature because of the use of a word they disagree with, they are missing out.

Audiobook
Published November 9th 2010 by Audible, Inc (first published 1884 in England, first published 1885 in US)
ASIN B004BDL7N6

5 stars

Twilight (Twilight Saga #1) – Audiobook

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Twilight (Twilight Saga #1) by Stephenie Meyer

“When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.

What Bella doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back. . . .

Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight will have readers riveted right until the very last page is turned.”

I have a total love/hate relationship with the entire Twilight series. They are irresistible reads. Un-put-down-able. I dream about them while I’m reading them. (Yes, really.) Yet when I’m finished, after the initial euphoria wears off, I feel a little… guilty. First, the relationship between Bella and Edward is anything but healthy. And I’m not even talking about the fact that he’s a vampire who could drain her blood at the drop of a hat. He’s a creepy stalker dude. But in a stupidly romantic way. Second, Meyer apparently didn’t have a great editor. She uses the same descriptive words over and over again until I want to scream. And not only is it annoying that they are repetitive, they’re words that no teenager in the world actually uses in this day and age. Well, I don’t know about teenagers in Utah, but teenagers in Virginia definitely don’t talk that way. But I can’t help but re-read the books and enjoy them. It’s weird and extremely difficult to explain. But I give Meyer serious credit for one thing for sure, any book that gets kids/teens interested in reading instead of playing video games is alright with me!

Audio CD
Published December 1st 2005 by Listening Library (first published October 5th 2005)
ISBN13: 9780307282965
British Fantasy Award for Top Ten (2006), Georgia Peach Book Award (2007), Kentucky Bluegrass Award for 9-12 (2007), An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2006), Prijs van de Kinder- en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen (2008), Prijs van de Kinder- en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen (2008), Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers (2009), West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award (WAYRBA) for Older Reader Award (2008), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2008), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2008), Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for High School (2007), Gateway Awards (2007), Golden Sower Award for Young Adult (2009), Nevada Young Readers’ Award for Young Adult Category (2007), The Flume: New Hampshire Teen Reader’s Choice Award (2007), Garden State Teen Book Award for Fiction (Grades 9-12) (2008), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Awards for Young Adult (2008), Rhode Island Teen Book Award (2007), Evergreen Young Adult Book Award (2008), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2006), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2006), Teen Read Award Nominee for Best All-Time-Fave (2010), Iowa High School Book Award (2008), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2006)

3 stars

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/A Southern Vampire Mystery #1) – Audiobook

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Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/A Southern Vampire Mystery #1) by Charlaine Harris

“Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out….

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.”

I originally started reading this series several years ago because the wait for Anita Blake books was so long. A friend (Super Suz!)and I were at a bookstore and the clerk suggested it to us. She said we’d probably love it and she was right. This is the book and series that the HBO show True Blood is based on. I haven’t watched the show personally. Once I saw who was cast as Sookie I just couldn’t do it. Nothing against Anna Paquin, but she’s Rogue, not Sookie. Anyway, it’s a great series, and it’s another series that has gotten to have so many books in it that I’m listening to it on audiobook while traveling.

Audiobook
Published 2007 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published May 1st 2001)
ISBN13: 9781428160859
Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original (2002)

4 stars

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #3) – Audiobook

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Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #3) by Laurell K Hamilton

“In Circus of the Damned, a rogue master vampire hits town, and Anita gets caught in the middle of an undead turf war.”

The third book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton, read by Kimberly Alexis. This book introduces one of my least favorite characters. *sigh But it’s still an excellent story!

Audio CD
Published October 6th 2009 by Penguin Audio USA (first published 1995)
ISBN13: 9780143145141

4 stars

Where the Wild Things Are – Audiobook

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


“Max is sent to bed without supper and imagines sailing away to the land of Wild Things,where he is made king.”


One of my favorite childhood books, I found iTunes offering the audiobook for free a few months ago. It took about two seconds to download and listening only takes about five minutes. But for those five minutes I went back to the world I imagined years and years ago.


Audio CD
Published June 1st 2007 by HarperChildrensAudio (first published 1963)
ISBN13: 9780061227400
Caldecott Medal (1964), American Library Association (ALA) Notable Book, Indies Choice Book Award for Picture Book Hall of Fame (2009)


4 stars

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #2) – Audiobook

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The Laughing Corpse (Anita Black, Vampire Hunter #2) by Laurell K Hamilton


“Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter for Animators, Inc., is offered a cool mil to raise a 283-year-old corpse. But she knows that “the older the zombie, the bigger the death needed to raise it”. Only a human sacrifice is “big” enough to raise this old soul–and Anita’s no murderer.”


The second installment in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by LKH. Just as good as the first. The series is so long now that I’ve taken to downloading them from audible.com and listening to them on my iPod when I travel for work.


Audio CD
Published October 1st 2009 by Penguin Audio (first published 1994)
ISBN13: 9780143144021


4 stars