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

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Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

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Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

“When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Escaping from his unbearable Muggle guardians to Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles into a sinister adventure when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous, or both.”

It was 2000 when I first read Harry Potter. My friend Super Suz recommended the series to me but I put off reading it for ages. I wasn’t into reading much young adult stuff back then and my argument for not reading them was that I wasn’t interested in reading children’s book. How book-snobbish of me.

It was around the time the first film was coming out and I was hearing a lot about the controversy that was being stirred up over witchcraft and censorship. Censorship and banning books is one of my pet issues so it piqued my interest in the books a bit more. I finally broke down and borrowed the first three books.

I read them all in less than a week! I couldn’t put them down. Didn’t want to put them down either! I was hooked from chapter one of the first book. I immediately told my mom that she needed to read them. After she read them, she and my daddy went to see the first movie. After they saw the movie Daddy decided to read the books as well. Now we’re all three addicted to the entire series.

I own several copies of all seven books. This edition of HP & TPS is a Bloomsbury edition that they put out to satisfy adult readers in the UK. Adults didn’t want to be seen on the train reading books with cartoon covers so they released these with adult covers to satisfy that audience. These editions are hard to find as they are only sold in the UK. I was able to get mine on eBay but even then they’re hard to find at a good price.

I read the entire series once a year. I always try to stretch it out and read one book a month so it’ll last for seven months, but I usually end up reading them all back to back and finishing them in a month or less.

Paperback
332 pages
Published July 10th 2004 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published October 1st 1998)
ISBN13: 9780747574477
British Fantasy Award (1999), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adolescent Literature (2008), British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year (1998), Smarties Prize (1997), Prijs van de Nederlandse Kinderjury for 6-9 jaar en 10-12 jaar (2002)
Prijs van de Nederlandse Kinderjury for 6-9 jaar en 10-12 jaar (2002), American Booksellers Book Of The Year Award for Children (1999), West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award (WAYRBA) for Younger Readers (2000), Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award (2001), South Carolina Book Award for Junior Book Award (2001), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2000), Charlotte Award (2000), Nene Award (2000), Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (2000), Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award (2001), Blue Hen Book Award for Chapter Book (2001), Nevada Young Readers’ Award for Young Reader Category (2000), Sasquatch Reading Award (2000), Golden Archer Award for Middle/Junior High (2000), Indian Paintbrush Book Award (2000), Carnegie Medal Nominee (1997), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (1999)

5 stars

TGIF!

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It’s finally Friday! Here’s a list of seven Friday books for your viewing pleasure. What are you reading this weekend?

Friday by Robert Heinlein

“Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss’s whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face….”

I haven’t read this but it sounds interesting. I’ve been reading more science fiction lately so I’m going to add this to my to-read list and see if the library has it.

Paperback
384 pages
Published June 17th 1997 by Del Rey (first published 1982)
ISBN13: 9780345414007
Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (1983)
Nebula Award Nominee (1983)

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

“Juggling the demands of her yarn shop and single-handedly raising a teenage daughter has made Georgia Walker grateful for her Friday Night Knitting Club. Her friends are happy to escape their lives too, even for just a few hours. But when Georgia’s ex suddenly reappears, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, her whole world is shattered.

Luckily, Georgia’s friends are there, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they’ve created isn’t just a knitting club: it’s a sisterhood.”

Hardcover
352 pages
Published January 18th 2007 by Putnam Adult
ISBN13: 9780399154096

Black Friday by James Patterson

“The breathtaking suspense of Kiss the Girls and the authenticity of N.Y.P.D. Blue: Welcome to James Patterson’s classic super-thriller, BLACK FRIDAY. A courageous federal agent, a powerful and resourceful woman lawyer – only they can possibly stop the unspeakable from happening. New York City is under siege by a secret militia group – and that’s just the beginning of the relentless terror of BLACK FRIDAY.

Originally published in 1987 as Black Market, also by James Patterson.”

Mass Market Paperback
480 pages
Published April 30th 1989 by Warner Vision (first published 1986)
ISBN13: 9780446609326

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

“When I woke up this morning, I found I’d turned into my mother. There I, in my mother’ bed, with my feet reaching all the way to the bottom, and my father sleeping in the other bed. I had on my mother’s nightgown, and a ring on my left hand, I mean her left hand, and lumps and pins all over my head.”

I love this book! I’ve probably read it 20 or 30 times. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll see if the library has it and read it again soon… (I also love the Disney movie starring Jodie Foster which I may now have to watch this weekend…)

Mass Market Paperback
Published 1972 by Scholastic
ISBN13: 9780590118484
Nene Award (1977)

Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer

“When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington’s marriage proposal (she laughs at him—laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there.”

Paperback
376 pages
Published June 3rd 2004 by Arrow (first published 1944)
ISBN13: 9780099468042

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (second in a series)

“The story of a young heiress’s initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…

Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they’re enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.

So now it’s up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn’t want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge…”

A vampire series I’ve never heard of. Intriguing.

Paperback
357 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by NAL Trade (first published September 2nd 2009)
ISBN13: 9780451227935

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

“Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa — the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers’ dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms. ”

I read this book years ago and loved it. I’ve never seen the movie or the television show but the book was great.

Mass Market Paperback
357 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published 1988)
ISBN13: 9780306814259

Stuff: Compulsive Hoading and the Meaning of Things

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Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee

“What possesses someone to save every scrap of paper that’s ever come into his home? What compulsions drive a woman like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items like leaky old buckets almost lost him his house?

Randy Frost and Gail Steketee were the first to study hoarding when they began their work a decade ago; they expected to find a few sufferers but ended up treating hundreds of patients and fielding thousands of calls from the families of others. Now they explore the compulsion through a series of compelling case studies in the vein of Oliver Sacks. With vivid portraits that show us the traits by which you can identify a hoarder’s piles on sofas and beds that make the furniture useless, houses that can be navigated only by following small paths called goat trails, vast piles of paper that the hoarders “churn” but never discard, even collections of animals and garbage; Frost and Steketee illuminate the pull that possessions exert on all of us. Whether we’re savers, collectors, or compulsive cleaners, very few of us are in fact free of the impulses that drive hoarders to the extremes in which they live.

For all of us with complicated relationships to our things, Stuff answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.”

Have you ever watched the show Hoarders on TV? Do you know a hoarder? My grandmother was a depression child and she kept everything! After she passed away it took me over a month to clean out her house. We parked a dumpster in the front yard and I filled it at least once a week. The subject fascinates me. The book reads a bit like a textbook, it will be a little dry if you aren’t really interested in the subject. But if the subject intrigues you like it does me, you’ll get into it. The case studies are great. It’s always more interesting to equate a subject with real people. It’s also not filled with too much technical speak. There are some scientific/medical terms used but the authors explain them well. A very interesting read.

Paperback
304 pages
Published January 29th 2011 by Mariner Books (first published 2010)
ISBN13: 9780547422558
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2010)

4 stars

Stargirl

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Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

” “She was homeschooling gone amok.” “She was an alien.” “Her parents were circus acrobats.” These are only a few of the theories concocted to explain Stargirl Caraway, a new 10th grader at Arizona’s Mica Area High School who wears pioneer dresses and kimonos to school, strums a ukulele in the cafeteria, laughs when there are no jokes, and dances when there is no music. The whole school, not exactly a “hotbed of nonconformity,” is stunned by her, including our 16-year-old narrator Leo Borlock: “She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl.”

In time, incredulity gives way to out-and-out adoration as the student body finds itself helpless to resist Stargirl’s wide-eyed charm, pure-spirited friendliness, and penchant for celebrating the achievements of others. In the ultimate high school symbol of acceptance, she is even recruited as a cheerleader. Popularity, of course, is a fragile and fleeting state, and bit by bit, Mica sours on their new idol. Why is Stargirl showing up at the funerals of strangers? Worse, why does she cheer for the opposing basketball teams? The growing hostility comes to a head when she is verbally flogged by resentful students on Leo’s televised Hot Seat show in an episode that is too terrible to air. While the playful, chin-held-high Stargirl seems impervious to the shunning that ensues, Leo, who is in the throes of first love (and therefore scornfully deemed “Starboy”), is not made of such strong stuff: “I became angry. I resented having to choose. I refused to choose. I imagined my life without her and without them, and I didn’t like it either way.”

Jerry Spinelli, author of Newbery Medalist Maniac Magee, Newbery Honor Book Wringer, and many other excellent books for teens, elegantly and accurately captures the collective, not-always-pretty emotions of a high school microcosm in which individuality is pitted against conformity. Spinelli’s Stargirl is a supernatural teen character–absolutely egoless, altruistic, in touch with life’s primitive rhythms, meditative, untouched by popular culture, and supremely self-confident. It is the sensitive Leo whom readers will relate to as he grapples with who she is, who he is, who they are together as Stargirl and Starboy, and indeed, what it means to be a human being on a planet that is rich with wonders.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Not quite as much as I hoped to but it was still a great YA story. The characters didn’t feel like high school students to me, more like middle schoolers I guess, but overall it was a very well written book. I think it makes you ask yourself some questions when you’re reading it. Questions that most of us choose to ignore on a daily basis, whether we are in school or the workplace.

Mass Market Paperback
186 pages
Published May 11th 2004 by Laurel Leaf (first published August 8th 2000)
ISBN13: 9780440416777
Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award Nominee (2003), South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2003), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2003), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2001), Iowa Teen Award (2003), Iowa Teen Award (2003), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2001), Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book for Children’s Literature (2001)

4 stars

The Giver

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

“Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.”

A Newbery Award winner, this book is one that I can read over and over again and I pick up different subtleties each time.

Jonas lives in a supposed utopian society but as he becomes older he finds that fairness comes at a price.

I just read the book a few months ago but I find myself wanting to read it again now, just because it makes me question things. Perhaps I’ll pick it up again this week. At only 179 pages, it’s a pretty fast read. I definitely recommend it for kids as young as middle school, but adults should read it too.

Paperback
179 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published March 29th 1993)
ISBN13: 9780385732550

Newbery Medal (1994), British Fantasy Award (1994), Horn Book Fanfare Best Book (1994), Garden State Book Award for Teen Fiction Grades 6-8 (1996), Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award (1996)
Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award (1996), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (1995), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award for Senior (1996), New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award (1997)

5 stars

Ender’s Game

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“In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.”

Okay, I’m going to say it again… Un-put-down-able! My younger brother told me years ago that I should read this book but I just never got around to it. Then for some reason, it got stuck in my mind in March that I really wanted to read it. I was at B&N just hanging out with my bff when I decided to find it and buy it. I proceeded to stay up all night and read it. It was ridiculously good. I loaned it to my dad the next day and he stayed up all night reading it as well. I’ve read a few other books by Card but I’m definitely going to finish out this series.

Paperback
324 pages
Published July 15th 1994 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1985)
ISBN13: 9780812550702
Hugo Award for Best Novel (1986), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1985)

5 stars