Little House in the Big Woods

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Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Illustrated by Garth Williams

Read July 3, 2016

4 stars

It has been more than 30 years since I last read the Little House series. I decided that I wanted to read them again this year and see how they kind of stood up to the test of time I guess.

I loved LHIBW! It’s such a simple story but I felt a lot of emotion while reading it. Maybe it’s my old age but I sometimes miss the simpler times. Granted, I never knew times as simple as the Ingalls’ family, but it definitely hit that sentimental note for me. I loved the way she explained how things were made: how Ma colored the butter in the winter with carrots just because she thought yellow butter was prettier; how they stored their food for the winter in the cellar in the attic; how they made maple syrup and sugar. I could definitely go on.

The writing is simple as it’s for children and at first the short sentences felt choppy to me. After a very short time though, I was so engrossed in the story that the sentence structure ceased to exist and it was just Laura telling me a story. And as far as I’ve ever been concerned, that is the greatest mark of a good author.

I’m re-reading the entire series as part of a buddy read and I am excited to read the others in the series.

star 4

4 stars

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

Read Aloud Dad

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Check out Read Aloud Dad



I’ve got to get to work but I just read this great post by Read Aloud Dad about how to get your kids to love reading, and I wanted to share it before I head out. I thought it was an excellent post and both of my parents did all of the things he has listed so I can attest that it works. Check it out!

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

Emily’s Runaway Imagination

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Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary


“Can imaginative Emily make her biggest dream come true?


Spunky Emily Bartlett lives in an old farmhouse in Pitchfork, Oregon, at a time when automobiles are brand-new inventions and libraries are a luxury few small towns can afford. Her runaway imagination leads her to bleach a horse, hold a very scary sleepover, and feed the hogs an unusual treat. But can she use her lively mind to help bring a library to Pitchfork?


Adventure is pretty scarce in Pitchfork, Oregon. So why shouldn’t Emily bleach Dad’s old plow horse or try some of her other ideas?”


I first read this book in the second grade. I’ve read it many, many, many times since then. I discovered years later, that a lot of the things that happen to Emily in this book were taken straight from Cleary’s own childhood. (Hint: read Cleary’s autobiography!) I love every book Beverly Cleary has written so it should come as no surprise when I say this is one of my favorite childhood books.


Paperback
221 pages
Published May 1980 by Dell Publishing (first published 1961)
ISBN 0440422159


4 stars