Friday, February 01, 2013

January 2012 Books

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys - I frequently read books without knowing anything about them. Someone recommends them, I don't read or listen to the description because I don't like spoilers or preconceived notions, and then I read them in blissful ignorance. This book is about a girl in Stalin's forced labor camps.  It is not a cheery read.  It's well done, but read it at your own peril.

Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch - The third book of the Dairy Queen Trilogy. I didn't think this was as good as the first two, but it's still heads and tails above most YA fiction these days.  D.J. is a remarkably written character.  Love.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by  Pearl Cleage - Personally, I wanted a more realistic outlook on reactions to a character with a serious illness, but I guess this was good for what it was - a kind of cheesy, over-hopeful, classic happy ever after.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins - The dialogue in this book is hilarious. There's a discussion about Nancy Drew between two teenage girls that had me laughing so hard, the cat jumped off my lap.

"And they never mention Bess without saying that she's 'pleasingly plump,' or George without saying that she's boyish and athletic and has short hair," said Debbie. "Just so you don't forget that Nancy is the one with the perfect figure and the 'titian' hair."

"What I want to know is, where does she find time to learn how to do so many things? You never see her practicing. If there's something she doesn't already know how to do, she's good at it right away. It's always harder for Bess and George."

"I'd like to read a book about Bess and George solving a crime while Nancy is in the hospital with a broken leg."

"Or off on a ski weekend with Ned."

If you didn't have a variant of that conversation with your friends in your Nancy Drew stage, you are not my kind of people.  This book was subtle in its tone and portrayal of young adults.  I don't know that I think it was Newbery worthy, but it was definitely worth a read for the realistic dialogue alone.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer -  I think this was an okay book, but it totally acted like a sleeping pill for me. I would read four pages and be drooling on my Kindle.  I suggest it is probably for someone who is not as much a Potterphile as I am.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson - Scandinavian mystery with humor and a really, really, really clever centenarian.  If you're nervous about aging, this book will give you hope. I guess it was a bit Forrest Gump-ish in its telling, but I found all of that to be part of the hilarity of the book.  Worth a read, I think.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo - This is the same author who brought us The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie and she lives in Minneapolis and I love her.  I am not going to gloss over this. I really, really don't like rabbits.  This is the tale of a ceramic rabbit and it allowed me to forget the nastiness of rabbits for the duration of this book. The illustrations are dear, the writing is solid, and the book really moved me.  I cried when I read this book, cried like I did when Sara Crewe gives those buns to the beggar girl, cried like I did when Neville put the gum wrapper in his pocket, cried like I did when Francie heard her daddy died, cried like only your most beloved characters in fictionalized accounts can make you cry.  If you have small children that you read chapter books to at night, you have to give them the gift of reading these DiCamillo books.  And you better believe that for my niece's seven year old birthday, she's getting this book from Aunt NGS and Uncle Dr. BB.  Love, love, love.


  1. I love your monthly wrap ups! I'm a fan of Kate DiCamillo, too - glad she helped you tolerate rabbits (at least for a short while - ha). :)

    I'm also adding Between Shades of Grey to my library request list - thank you!

  2. I am sad every single day that there aren't more chapter book series like the Mercy Watson books.


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