May 28, 2013
Every Tuesday, the site The Broke and the Bookish posts a prompt for a top-ten-style list, and book bloggers around the web respond to it on their blogs. This week is Pick Your Own Prompt. I’ve chosen to write about the top ten books (or book series) from my earlier childhood.
1.) The Ramona Quimby books by Beverley Cleary. When I was little, I liked to listen to books on cassette tapes while I was falling asleep. I had all of these books on tape, and I listened to them every day for years. I swear to God, I have those things memorized. And Stockard Channing’s voice on the tapes is burned deeper into my mind than my own voice.
2.) The Peter Hatcher books by Judy Blume. Ditto above.
3.) When I was really little, my favorite book in all the world was Private Lily by Sally Warner. It was about a little girl who decided she wanted her own bedroom, but there weren’t enough rooms in her house, so she went around trying out different spaces, like the bathtub, or underneath her dining room table. I’m not sure why I loved it so much, but I’m guessing it’s because I’ve always been drawn to cozy nooks and hidey-holes.
4.) The Alanna books and everything else by Tamora Pierce. I was obsessed. Fantasy was my favorite genre for a long time. Now I’ve transitioned more into realistic fiction and sci-fi/dystopia.
5.) Moving into my upper-elementary school years: The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. I loved this book!! Awesome. Don’t think you know it if you’ve seen the movie. It’s a completely different experience.
6.) It was in Fourth grade that I read The Lightning Thief and started down the road of obsessive Rick Riordan fangirlhood. A blessed day indeed.
7.) The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I think this book is maybe kind of obscure, but it was awesome. I think it would appeal to fans of Series of Unfortunate Events.
8.) Frindle by Andrew Clements. A kid convinces a massive group of people to call pens “frindles” using only the power of crowd psychology. What’s not to love about that?
9.) The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg. I don’t remember this book all that well, but I think I really liked it.
10.) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Yes!!! The best!!
I’m 100% positive that I’m forgetting a lot of really important books. But this is a decent sampling from my childhood. 🙂
May 25, 2013
Pages: 352 Copyright: 2012
15-year-old Delilah Mcphee, like so many of us, loves to lose herself in books, especially since her father left her and her mother and started a new family far away. She even sometimes feels that the characters in books are her friends. But that feeling is taken to an all-new level when an illustrated character in her favorite fairytale starts moving around and talking to her.
That character is Oliver, a teen who plays a heroic prince on-page, but is a completely different person when the book is closed– and who wants out. Finding understanding in each other that they haven’t found anywhere else, the two form a strange alliance as they struggle to find a way for Oliver to escape his story.
This wasn’t the most memorable or noteworthy book I’ve ever read. But I did definitely enjoy it. As a book lover (and the lover of many a fictional character), the premise alone was enough to captivate me pretty deeply; and though that premise probably could have been carried more mind-blowingly by the actual writing, it didn’t carry it poorly. I thought it was sweet.
Honestly, I’m having trouble with this review. Initially I started on this big speech: I was going to say that in the end, the story was more like a fairy tale than anything else. And that it might not have a certain complexity that we generally demand from a novel, but that maybe that’s okay, if we accept it as fairytale-format. There isn’t generally one accredited writing of a fairy tale, in terms of the specific words and such. It can be written and re-written and remain the same, because the essence of a fairy tale is the premise and the basic plot points. And that maybe that’s kind of how Between the Lines functions; the point is to imagine a girl and a book character being able to talk to each other and fall in love, and the character trying to leave the book, not to experience a great display of writing and structural prowess.
So that’s my big speech. But as I finished typing it, I became unsure that I agreed with myself. No, the characters didn’t evolve much, but they weren’t totally flat, and plot wasn’t that simplistic. And the technique of the writing never bothered me, it seemed perfectly sound.
So now I’ve given my point and my counterpoint against my own self; and I guess you’ll have to go read it to decide what you think. And I do recommend reading it. It’s not especially short, but I whipped through it quite fast, and it made me happy. I just can’t decide quite how to judge it on a critical level. If you’ve read it (or even if you haven’t), please comment any opinions or thoughts you have, because clearly I need help.
P.S., props to Samantha Van Leer, Jodi Picoult’s teen daughter and co-writer of this book. Go teen writers!
May 21, 2013
Every Tuesday, the site The Broke and the Bookish posts a prompt for a top-ten-style list, and book bloggers around the web respond to it on their blogs. The prompt this week is Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read. I love book covers; I’ve even considered designing them as a career. Some of these covers were more memorable than the books themselves, to be honest (although some of these I adore as books too.) Click on the photos if you want to see them bigger.
1.) Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Note that the snow is hearts!
2.) Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. It’s so minimalistic and cool.
3.) The Crazy Things Girls Do for Love by Dyan Sheldon. It’s messy in a charming, attractive way.
4.) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. It’s so lovely and feminine, with the color scheme and the floral background, and then you’ve got Mindy doing the McKayla is not impressed face. This cover has it all.
5.) Out Of My Mind by Sharon Draper. So elegantly simple, and so powerful. Everything is just right, down to the bubbles trailing behind the fish.
6.) Nobody’s Prize by Esther Friesner. I think the main reason I read this series was this cover. I’m a Pisces, and I love water and the ocean. This cover just feels so cool and fresh, and that girl is downright fabulous. Love it.
7.) What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. Sarah’s books all have at least three covers, and I love them all. This one is from my favorite round of covers, and it’s probably my favorite of them. It has such a gorgeous airy quality.
8.) Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith. It’s just so cute.
9.) Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I may have given this book a slightly lukewarm review, but I’m passionate about its covers. The one on the left is the one I read, which I think is beautiful; the one on the right is one I just found, which I adore even more. Goosebumps!
10.) Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. Just stunning. The little British and American birds (it’s set during the Revolutionary War) put it over the edge of perfection.
May 14, 2013
Every Tuesday, the site The Broke and the Bookish posts a prompt for a top-ten-style list, and book bloggers around the web respond to it on their blogs. The prompt this week is Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects. Here are my top 7.
1.) Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. It’s about a girl in an abusive relationship. And it’s lovely.
2.) Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self by Lori Gottlieb. This book is based on the author’s real journal from when she was a preteen girl with anorexia. It’s so powerful.
3.) Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. Elsewhere is about a girl who dies and goes to an afterlife-type place, where everyone ages backwards until they’re babies again, and get reborn on earth. Again, very powerful and very great.
4.) Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Apparently I’m determined to put this book on every list. But it fits so many of them, and is just so good! It’s about a teenage guy who develops mad cow disease, and doesn’t have long to live; but he goes on a semi-magical quest to try and find someone who might be able to help him. Wow wow wow.
5.) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, which is about a teen guy with depression and anxiety who spends time in a mental hospital and meets a lot of odd people who help him recover. Any teen who struggles with depression or just general stress should read this book.
6.)The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. What issue doesn’t this book deal with? And what’s not to love about it?
7.) The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh– about a girl who’s just turned eighteen after spending her life in foster care. She’s very closed off from the world, but knows the significance different flowers have in old-timey lore, and uses them to communicate. This was a really poignant and memorable book.
May 10, 2013
Oh no!! I got my TTT list all ready, and then I totally forgot to post it this week! Oh well, better late than never. We’ll have Top Ten Friday this week.
Every Tuesday, the site The Broke and the Bookish posts a prompt for a top-ten-style list, and book bloggers around the web respond to it on their blogs. The prompt this week is Top Ten Books for When You Need Something Light and Fun. This is perfect for me, because I read a lot of fun, light books. Here are some of my favorites.
1.) Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison, and the rest of the Georgia Nicholson series. Oh how I love these. They are 100% stress free because Georgia is an absolute airhead. But very very entertaining. Some of my happiest hours have been spent following her silly problems and misadventures.
2.) The Alphas series by Lisi Harrison. I’ve never read/seen Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, but from what I understand, these fall from the same tree. A Tyra-Banks-esque billionare opens a super high-tech school for the top girls around the country in acting, writing, dancing, singing, or inventing; they live on an island together, and incredible amounts of drama ensue. Incredible amounts of drama. These are probably the most honestly trashy books I’ve ever read but they are so enjoyable and addictive. My favorite vice (along with pastries and baked goods).
3.) The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Now these are not trashy, but they are pretty relaxing and light-hearted and great for any occasion.
4.) All-American Girl by Meg Cabot is another of my Meg Cabot favorites. It’s about a girl who inadvertently saves the president of the United States, and becomes a national hero.
5.) Girl, 15, Charming but Insane by Sue Limb (and the whole Jess Jordan series). These are great to fill the void when Louise Rennison is between books. They’re about a comedy-loving girl named Jess. And it’s British! All the better.
6.) Sloppy Firsts and the other Jessica Darling books by Meghan McCafferty. Good stuff. Jessica is a great main character.
7.) How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier. One of my favorite books. Just good all around. Go read it.
8.) Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Because it’s the cutest thing ever! Everything these two have written together is great. This one’s my favorite. It’s about a boy and girl who have never met, but pass around a notebook which they leave for each other around New York, giving each other dares and slowly telling each other about themselves along the way.
9.) Gingerbread and its two sequels by Rachel Cohn. She’s great on her own too! Gingerbread is so unique and has a sort of dreamy quality to it. It’s about a really cool, eccentric, coffee loving girl, Cyd Charisse, who lives in San Francisco, and has a lot of conflict with her step-mom and is sort of a troublemaker (if I remember right– it’s been a while), so she goes to New York to spend some time with her biological dad. The settings both of San Fransisco and New York are really well-integrated and fun. Love.
10.) I don’t know if everybody would consider Jane Austen light reading, but I guess I do. I think I’d have to say my current favorite is Emma, although the ever-popular Pride and Prejudice is exceedingly dear to me as well.
I love light books. 🙂
May 4, 2013