Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Reading List

Some of you know I am in a book club and recently we have been sharing lists of books we want to read. Most of mine are posted on the site which is how I organize which books to read next as my time to read for leisure is very limited. Here is a list of what I would like to read in the near future (I did not add descriptions for space and time convenience, so look it up if it sounds interesting):

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (number one on my list!)

Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison (this is Nick's aunt)

Sarah's Quilt by Nancy E. Turner

We Wish to Inform You that We Will be Dead Tomorrow with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Just as a heads up I have started Twilight, I am not enthralled, and I am seriously debating my continuing quest to finish a book I didn't really want to start in the first place. My argument is that if it is as good as people say it will be talked about 10 years from own personal quality test. I am willing to hear debates as to why I should continue, but I am starting to really doubt my decision to waste precious reading time on a fad!

Here is a list of books that was recommended by book club friends and some descriptions:

Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon: Like the comic books that animate and inspire it, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is both larger than life and of it too. Complete with golems and magic and miraculous escapes and evil nemeses and even hand-to-hand Antarctic battle, it pursues the most important questions of love and war, dreams and art, across pages brimming with longing and hope. Samuel Klayman--self-described little man, city boy, and Jew--first meets Josef Kavalier when his mother shoves him aside in his own bed, telling him to make room for their cousin, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Prague. It's the beginning, however unlikely, of a beautiful friendship.

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith: this artful, pleasing novel about Mma (aka Precious) Ramotswe, Botswana's one and only lady private detective. A series of vignettes linked to the establishment and growth of Mma Ramotswe's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" serve not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana in a way that is both penetrating and light thanks to Smith's deft touch.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers.
Catherine LeVandeur Mysteries (historical mystery series) Sharan Newmann

My Name was Keoko: Inspired by her own family's stories of living in South Korea during the Japanese occupation in the years preceding World War II, Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park chronicles the compelling story of two siblings, 10-year-old Sun-hee and 13-year-old Tae-yul, and their battle to maintain their identity and dignity during one of Korea's most difficult and turbulent times. In alternating first-person chapters, they relate their family's troubles under the strict fascist regime.

The Long Walk: Cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz was captured by the Red Army in 1939 during the German-Soviet partition of Poland and was sent to the Siberian Gulag along with other captive Poles, Finns, Ukranians, Czechs, Greeks, and even a few English, French, and American unfortunates who had been caught up in the fighting. A year later, he and six comrades from various countries escaped from a labor camp in Yakutsk and made their way, on foot, thousands of miles south to British India, where Rawicz reenlisted in the Polish army and fought against the Germans. The Long Walk recounts that adventure, which is surely one of the most curious treks in history.

The Alchemist: This inspirational fable by Brazilian author and translator Coelho has been a runaway bestseller throughout Latin America and seems poised to achieve the same prominence here. The charming tale of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who dreams of seeing the world, is compelling in its own right, but gains resonance through the many lessons Santiago learns during his adventures. He journeys from Spain to Morocco in search of worldly success, and eventually to Egypt, where a fateful encounter with an alchemist brings him at last to self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment.

In His Steps: Every wondered where the phrase "What would Jesus do?" came from? It began from this book. Despite today seeing many WWJD products around, reading this book brings us to the very heart of not only how the phrase came about, but also what that phrase really means.

Amongst book club members were a list of great children's books that I thought would be helpful. Please feel free to add to this list or make comments on books that you agree with or otherwise. (This was not meant to be an all-inclusive list, just helpful when taking trips to the library with kids.)

1-3 grade
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books
Castle in the Attic , Elizabeth Winthrop
Magic Tree House series
Sideways Series, Lowis Sachar
Boxcar Children
Round Trip, Ann Jonas (b & w picture book)
The Boy’s Book/ The Girl’s Book
The Big Book of Tell Me Why
Grimms Fairy Tales
Nicholas, a Massachutes Tale, Peter Arenstam
Judy Moody series, Megan McDOnald

4-6 grade
Coraline , Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Magic City , E. Nesbit
Choose your own adventure series
Anamorphs series
Collected Stories, Rudyard Kipling
Nancy Drew Series, Peter Arenstem

Young Adult
The Hollow Kingdom, Clare Dunkle
Eight Cousins Louisa May Alcott
Fable Haven Series, Brandon Mull
Princess Academy, Shannon Hale

Picture Books
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
The Frog Prince Continued, Jon Scieszka
The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
Sneetches , Dr. Seuss
Fanny’s Dream by Caralyn Buehner
Owen, Kevin Henkeshert
Tough Boris, Mem Fox
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Mem Fox
All Eric Carle Books
Owl Moon, Jane Yolen
Tops & Bottoms, Janet Stevens
To Market to Market, Anne Miranda
Animalia, by Graeme Base
The Flower Man, Mark Ludy
Snowballs, Lois Elhert
Edward the Emu, Sheena Knowles
Bear Stays Up, karma Wilson
Little Critter books
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Iza Trapan
Tikki TIkki Tembo, Arlene Mosel
Snowman at Night, Caralyn Buehne
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, Karen Beaumont
Bone Soup, Cambria Evans
David Shannon books
Sweet Dream Pie, Audrey Wood (all her books are awesome)
Frances Books, Russell Hoban
Usborne Books: Alphabet Book, First 100 words books (language books)
Mom Says I Can, Judy Cooley
I Love You All Day Long, Francesca Rusackas
Beatrix Potter Books
Wild Child, Lynn Plourde
41 Uses for a Gramma
Not a Box, Antoinette Portis
Strega Nona books, Tomie dePaola
Calef Brown books (Polka Bats & Octopus Slacks and more)
Zin Zin Zin A Violin, Lloyd Moss
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, Hildegarde H. Swift

I hope some of these were helpful! Happy reading and Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


coryandjulie said...

So, I've read The #1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Glass Castle, and The Guernsey Potato Peel ... all are VERY Good! When you have a minute to read a LONG book, try The Poisonwood Bible, totally loved it! Also you could try The Lovely Bones if you're up for a sad one. We read SOOOOO many in our book club that I loved that I can't keep track. I'm glad The Glass Castle is top of your list. It is amazing, sad, inspiring, and one of my favorites! Oh, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was pretty good too! Have fun. Oh, and if you're not loving Twilight, then stop. Geez. :)

coryandjulie said...

PS ... thanks for a list of new reads. I've run out and was getting desperate! :)

Anjuli said...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A GREAT book. I really enjoyed it a lot.