Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Anne's House of Dreams

Finished Anne's House of Dreams, the fifth book in Lucy Maude Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. Anne and Gilbert are married. They move to a village near the sea where Gilbert takes over his uncle's medical practice. The cottage in which they live the first few years of their marriage is everything Anne has always dreamed of. They befriend several of the locals. Quite a lot of the story centers around these new characters. There are some unexpected serious undertones to this book. That's all I'm going to say...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life With Mother

Finished Life With Mother by Clarence Day. It is the sequel to Day's Life With Father. This book focuses on the idiosyncrasies of Day's mother Vinnie. Anecdotes about this sweet, persnickety woman who contradicts herself and her husband at every turn, make this a charming read. Those who have seen the film version of Life With Father will recognize the story of the pug dog and the rubber plant.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another List

Below is a list of the Top 100 Children's Novels compiled by New York Public Library children's librarian Betsy Bird from her poll of readers on Fuse#8. I have read those that appear in bold. I was surprised to see Star Girl on the list. It's a book I thought only I had read when I was 12. I'll have to re-read it soon.

1. Charlotte's Web
2. A Wrinkle in Time
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
6. Holes
7. The Giver
8. The Secret Garden
9. Anne of Green Gables
10. The Phantom Tollbooth
11. The Westing Game
12. The Hobbit
13. Bridge to Terabithia
14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
15. Because of Winn-Dixie
16. Harriet the Spy
17. Maniac Magee
18. Matilda
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
20. Tuck Everlasting
21. The Lightning Thief
22. The Tale of Despereaux
23. Little House in the Big Woods
24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
25. Little Women
26. Hatchet
27. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
28. A Little Princess
29. The Dark Is Rising
30. Winnie-the-Pooh
31. Half Magic
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
33. James and the Giant Peach
34. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963
35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
36. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
39. When You Reach Me
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
42. Little House on the Prairie
43. Ramona the Pest
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
45. The Golden Compass
46. Where the Red Fern Grows
47. Bud, Not Buddy
48. The Penderwicks
49. Frindle
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins
51. The Saturdays
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret
53. The Wind in the Willows
54. The BFG
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins
56. Number the Stars
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
59. Inkheart
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
61. Stargirl
62. The Secret of the Old Clock
63. Gone-Away Lake
64. A Long Way from Chicago
65. Ballet Shoes
66. Henry Huggins
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
68. Walk Two Moons
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society
70. Betsy-Tacy
71. The Bad Beginning
72. My Father's Dragon
73. My Side of the Mountain
74. The Borrowers
75. Love That Dog
76. Out of the Dust
77. The City of Ember
78. Johnny Tremain
79. All-of-a-Kind Family
80. The Graveyard Book
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
82. The Book of Three
83. The Thief
84. The Little White Horse
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
87. The View from Saturday
88. The High King
89. Ramona and Her Father
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall
91. Sideways Stories from the Wayside School
92. Ella Enchanted
93. Caddie Woodlawn
94. Swallows and Amazons
95. Pippi Longstocking
96. The Witches
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
98. Children of Green Knowe
99. The Indian in the Cupboard
100. The Egypt Game

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

Finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's a memoir divided into three parts. "Eat" takes place in Italy. Gilbert has ended her marriage and has moved to Rome to live for four months in a sensual haze of food and pleasure. This part of the book made me eat. A lot. It also reminded me that I have wanted to learn to speak Italian for years. This section is a gorgeous read.

"Pray" takes place in an ashram in India where Gilbert has gone to clear her mind and master the art of meditation. At no point during this section (or any other) did I feel pressured by the concept of God. Gilbert accepts God on her own terms in her own iteration. This section is an education. It grounds the book and the reader as well. There is a lot of self examination and humor here.

"Love" is set in Bali. It's pretty, whimsical and worrisome at times because the reader can feel Gilbert being pulled back into the stream of the "real world." This was a lovely book. I recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor who enjoys travel and self reflection.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Finished Mariana by Monica Dickens. Another gem from Persephone Books. I adored this book. It's a coming of age novel in the same vein as I Capture the Castle and The Pursuit of Love. The moment Mary, the protagonist, revisits the site of all the happiness of her childhood and finds it smaller than she remembers, and changed by new owners, was so genuinely heart-wrenching that I will never forget it. Here is a character who thinks just like I do.

Monica Dickens was the great granddaughter of Charles Dickens.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sophy Cassmajor

Finished Sophy Cassmajor by Margery Sharp. This is Sharp's fifth book, published in 1934. It's a novella, like The Nymph and the Nobleman, and is again illustrated by Anna Zinkeisen. Sophy is sailing to India with her uncle to be wed to a man she has never met. Sophy is young and foolish and fond of eating red current jelly right from the jar. Aboard ship she meets a young man and falls in love. Her life changes in many ways. Sharp's novellas seem like picture books for grown-ups. The stories are romantic and sometimes tragic. They are delectable little morsels.