Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis--10/10

I interrupted my 10/10/10 reading because I've been meaning to reread these books for years, and suddenly one day I decided I was going to; but then I figured out a way to have them count as part of the challenge, and so I created a category for series. These were some of my very favorite books as a child, and I've read the first three books many more times than I have the last few, because I always intended to start the series over and then got distracted after The Horse and His Boy. C.S. Lewis's writing is just so fantastic, and I love the way he phrases things. His descriptions are so easy to visualize, and his characters are so spunky and cheeky and lovable, and I have always just adored the land of Narnia. One thing I can tell you is that these books don't lose their charm as I get older, and if you have never read them, please--do so as soon as possible. I give the whole series a 10.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Stolen from Lindsey, who stole it from Annie... because I have nothing better to do.

One year ago I started my job watching Hannah--the longest I've held a job since Cinemark in high school.

Three is the number of non-immediate-family-members who don't live near me with whom I keep up a regular correspondence.

Four wisdom teeth I still have (or rather, don't have, because they have never fully come in).

nieces and nephews I don't get to see grow up.

Fifteen years ago my family left Arizona and moved to Texas. I think my life would have gone in a really different direction if we hadn't made that move.

Thirty-eight months that Mike and I have been together.

Six hundred and fifty-six posts on my blog, which I've been writing for three years now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Splendor, by Anna Godberson

I have finally finished the Luxe series, and I was supremely disappointed in the ending. Literarily, of course, it was perfect: poetic, tragic but hopeful, bittersweet like the world so often is. But let's be honest, friends--I wasn't reading the Luxe novels for their literary merit. I read them for the love story, and it was the love story I wanted. Ah, well. I was already disenchanted with the series after book three anyway, and read this one solely for the purpose of finding out the ending. So I achieved my purpose; it wasn't the ending I wanted, but now I am done, and I suppose that's all there is to it. I shall give Splendor a 5.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott

I really enjoyed this book, but had slightly mixed feelings about it, and as I read the second book in the series those feelings are getting more and more mixed.
The Alchemyst is the story of a brother and sister, Josh and Sophie, who get jobs in San Fransisco for the summer and find out that they are working with Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle (who were, apparently, real people in history, and not just characters in Harry Potter). Adventures ensue, secrets come out, and Sophie and Josh learn that there's a lot more going on in the world than most humans know about. The story is fascinating, especially for how it incorporates history, mythology, and religion. The plot is intriguing and a lot of fun to read.

The thing is that as hard as I try not to be, I am a really critical reader, and there are just things about the books that bug me. Scathach, for instance, a great character with an awful nickname: Scatty. I've talked before about how it irks me when certain phrases or words are used more often than they should be, and sadly, The Alchemyst is chock-full of phrases that get repeated over and over. You know how when you read a series, the first chapter or two of the sequels is always devoted to reminding you what happened in the previous book(s)? It's like that, only it happens throughout the book, and since this is the first book in the series it doesn't even make much sense for that to be happening at all.

In the end, though, this is a really enjoyable series, and despite all the little things that make me grit my teeth every few pages, I find myself not wanting to put the books down. I give this one a 7.

Hannah Jo

I have thought of an antidote to the TV epidemic! I feel very silly for not having thought of it before, because it is movies; but in my defense, Hannah hasn't been old enough to pay attention to a full-length movie, and in fact I'm not sure she will now. But I have no problem with watching movies, and the thing is that they are a certain length of time, so when they're done, TV goes off! Yay! I brought Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid with me today--because I think she should start with the classics--and I will let her choose what we watch. I'm kind of excited.
In other news, I was putting new pictures on the Fraziers' computer today and started looking through the old ones, and wow! 1) The folder has 634 pictures in it; I had no idea I'd put that many in there. 2) I can't believe how different Hannah Jo looked when she was a baby! I'd completely forgotten, I almost don't even recognize her.And finally, I have found a video that amuses me to no end. This is one of Hannah's stock phrases right now--she says it when she drops something from her high chair (and also when she purposely throws something from her high chair), and I don't remember what I was trying to get her to say in this video, but I laugh every time I watch it.
So that's all. I have my fingers crossed that she'll get into the movies, because I'm tired of hearing her ask "TV?" the minute we stop doing something. She brings me books to read to her all the time, which is fantastic, but as soon as I close the book she says "TV?" and that just kind of ruins it, you know? So we'll see how it goes.
And in conclusion... Here is one of my favorite pictures from our walk yesterday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Russian Niece

Guys... look at my niece. I can't even stand how much I love this picture! She is so beautiful. I just had to share it.
Doesn't it look like she's wearing one of those Russian hats? Eek!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Abarat, by Clive Barker

This is a really interesting book. Joseph has been bugging me for a while to read it, and since we are lacking in the money department right now, for his birthday I told him his present was that I would finally start it (and since it's a recommendation, it counts as part of my 10/10/10 challenge). It is almost 400 pages, but goes very quickly because many of the pages are illustrations--which, by the way, are done by the author and are beautiful. He has a kind of impressionist style, and the characters and places in the book are imaginative and sometimes a bit grotesque, which adds up to very interesting pictures. The story itself is very creative, although I found some of the names a bit... annoying (the main character is Candy Quackenbush and she comes from Chickentown). Parts of the book are on the morbid side, but it doesn't go too far. His writing style includes much of the too-obvious humor that adolescent lit often has, but is also lovely in places, and occasionally I would read sentences and then reread them because they were surprisingly beautiful. I would definitely recommend it, and I went and borrowed the second book from Joseph already even though I wasn't planning on reading it immediately. I give it a 6.5.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home. --David Frost

I was wondering earlier today... what did parents do before they had television to babysit their children? Hannah's not even my child, and I only watch her eight or nine hours a day, but already it's so easy to just turn on the TV when I need to eat lunch or something, and let that entertain her. I hate that I'm so tempted to do it.
I didn't watch TV growing up. We had one, I just wasn't allowed to watch much of it. I can't remember watching anything but Bill Nye and Reading Rainbow when I was really little, Barney and the Power Rangers when my younger brothers were little, and I Love Lucy, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie as a teenager. Mike's parents didn't let them watch TV either. I determined a long time ago that I wasn't going to let my children watch TV the way some kids today do, and Mike agrees. But I'm afraid that I'll be too lazy to do other things with them, and I'll end up giving in.
The other day I was trying to find out the name of a song they were playing in a certain Wonder Pets episode (don't laugh), and I came across this quote:
"Some parents have a lot of time to make disparaging comments on how well television is raising their children."
I say, if you're worried about what's on TV, then don't let your children watch it. TV producers don't care what your children watch, and they're not responsible for it. You are. Television is not a requirement for life--if you have a problem with it, stop ranting about it in online forums and try reading them a book instead.
"The advantages of raising kids without commercial TV seem obvious, and yet I know plenty of parents who express dismay as their children demand sugar-frosted sugar for breakfast, then expensive name-brand clothing, then the right to dress up as hookers not for Halloween but for school. Hello? Anyone who feels powerless against the screaming voice of materialistic youth culture should remember that power comes out of those two little holes in the wall. The plug is detachable."
How I love Barbara Kingsolver. She is a fantastic writer, and so sensible too.
This is one of those issues about which I have a very strong opinion right now, but I worry about how well I'll live up to my own expectations when it actually becomes pertinent to me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Books of 2009

In case you're wondering.. these are the books I read in 2009 (starting with December and moving back toward January).

132. Winter's Heart--Robert Jordan
131. The Red Necklace--Sally Gardner
130. The Path of Daggers--Robert Jordan

129. A Crown of Swords--Robert Jordan

128. Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?
--Louise Rennison
As usual, I laughed out loud. So sad that it's over. :(
127. Forest Born--Shannon Hale
126. Fire--Kristin Cashore

Graceling was better, but I still loved it.
125. Lord of Chaos--Robert Jordan
124. The Fires of Heaven--Robert Jordan
123. Waiter Rant--The Waiter
122. Graceling--Kristin Cashore

Love, love, love.
121. The Shadow Rising--Robert Jordan
120. The Dragon Reborn--Robert Jordan
119. The Enchantress of Florence--Salman Rushdie
118. The Great Hunt--Robert Jordan
117. The Eye of the World--Robert Jordan

About the middle of October, two weeks or so before book twelve came out, I decided I needed to read the whole series again before starting it.
116. Catching Fire--Suzanne Collins
115. Eragon--Christopher Paolini
114. The Perks of Being a Wallflower--Stephen Chbosky
113. The Higher Power of Lucky--Susan Patron
112. The Truth About Forever--Sarah Dessen
111. Fahrenheit 451--Ray Bradbury
110. Julie & Julia--Julie Powell
109. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code--Eoin Colfer
108. The Last Olympian--Rick Riordan
107. The Battle of the Labyrinth--Rick Riordan
106. Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct--Mo Willems
Wonderful, as is everything by Mo.
105. Envy--Anna Godberson
104. Boys Adrift--Leonard Sax
103. The Titan's Curse--Rick Riordan
102. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident--Eoin Colfer
101. Artemis Fowl--Eoin Colfer
100. Night of the Soul Stealer--Joseph Delaney
99. The Sea of Monsters--Rick Riordan
98. The Amulet of Samarkand--Jonathan Stroud
Highly recommended by my cousin Bryan, but I didn't love it as much as he did. The main character irritates me.
97. Curse of the Bane--Joseph Delaney
96. The Lightning Thief--Rick Riordan
Thank you, my aunt Debbie, for giving this to me to read on the plane after we stayed at your house.
Revenge of the Witch--Joseph Delaney
94. Rumors--Anna Godberson
93. The Sugar Queen--Sarah Addison Allen
92. Anne of Green Gables--L.M. Montgomery
91. Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled--Dorothy Gilman
90. 13 Little Blue Envelopes--Maureen Johnson
89. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Oh, how I loved this book. My dad loved it; my mom loved it; everyone loved it. ( ;) )
88. The Luxe--Anna Godberson
87. The Poe Shadow--Matthew Pearl
86. The London Eye Mystery--Siobahn Dowd
85. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey--Trenton Lee Stewart
84. The Black Company--Glen Cook
Mike bugged me for a long time to read this book, and while it's not in my usual line of reading, it was actually really interesting.
83. The Moon Opera--Bi Feiyu
82. The Mysterious Benedict Society--Trenton Lee Stewart
81. The Sojourner--Marjorie Rawlings
80. Cheaper by the Dozen--Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
79. First Boy--Gary D. Schmidt
78. Seventy-Seven Clocks--Christopher Fowler
77. Pigs in Heaven--Barbara Kingsolver
76. The Bastard of Istanbul--Elif Sharak
75. Food Network Favorites--Food Network
74. How to Boil Water--Food Network
73. Quick Food--Jenny Farshaw and Annette Forest
72. The Bean Trees--Barbara Kingsolver
71. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period--Gennifer Choldenko
70. Lock and Key--Sarah Dessen
Not as good as The Truth About Forever, but possibly better than Just Listen.
69. Skulduggery Pleasant--Derek Landy
68. The Shipping News--E. Annie Proulx
This one was on the list for a long time before I picked it up, and again, I really enjoyed reading it. Still interested in seeing the movie...
67. Ramona the Pest--Beverly Cleary
66. Every Soul a Star--Wendy Mass
65. Mary Poppins--P.L. Travers
64. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great--Judy Blume
63. Ramona the Brave--Beverly Cleary
62. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing--Judy Blume
61. Maniac Magee--Jerry Spinelli
60. Frindle--Andrew Clements
59. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret--Judy Blume
58. Ramona Quimby, Age 8--Beverly Cleary
57. Mary Poppins Opens the Door--P.L. Travers
56. The View from Saturday--E.L. Konigsburg
55. Bloodline: The Reckoning--Kate Cary

I read the first book at Joseph's very persistent suggestion, and to be honest, I just skimmed through the second one and counted it as read. I just don't really care for vampire books.
54. Bloodline--Kate Cary
53. Impossible--Nancy Werlin
52. City of Bones--Cassandra Clare
Kind of interesting, but disappointing enough that I didn't bother with the sequels.
51. The Dark Side of Camelot--Seymour M. Hersh
50. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones--Brandon Sanderson
49. Hate That Cat--Sharon Creech
48. The Hunger Games--Suzanne Collins
47. Wintergirls--Laurie Halse Anderson
46. Al Capone Does My Shirts--Gennifer Choldenko
45. All the Windwracked Stars--Elizabeth Bear
44. Wishful Drinking--Carrie Fisher
43. Love That Dog--Sharon Creech
Don't like books written in verse, but love this book and its sequel.
42. The Hours--Michael Cunningham
Good book, but the movie is better.
41. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks--E. Lockhart
40. Digging to America--Anne Tyler
39. The Wednesday Wars--Gary D. Schmidt
38. Breaking Dawn--Stephenie Meyer
37. Eclipse--Stephenie Meyer
36. Elantris--Brandon Sanderson
Written by the author who has taken over the Wheel of Time series; Elantris is denser than it seems, but a really interesting story, and I loved it.
New Moon--Stephenie Meyer
34. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary--Brandon Mull
This is such a good series, you should really read it. This book ends on a giant cliffhanger, though, so you're lucky if you read it now and don't have to wait as long for the fifth and final book to come out.
33. Twilight--Stephenie Meyer
32. Does My Head Look Big In This?--Randa Abdel-Fattah
31. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--J.K. Rowling
30. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince--J.K. Rowling
29. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix--J.K. Rowling
28. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire--J.K. Rowling
27. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban--J.K. Rowling
26. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets--J.K. Rowling
25. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--J.K. Rowling
24. Hitler's Daughter--Jackie French
23. Tortilla Flat--John Steinbeck
22. Book of a Thousand Days--Shannon Hale
Not as good as the books of Bayern, but I still really liked it.
21. The Whipping Boy--Sid Fleischman
20. The Westing Game--Ellen Raskin
19. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians--Brandon Sanderson
18. I Capture the Castle--Dodie Smith
It took me a long time to get around to reading this, even though I kept hearing about how amazing it was. I was so glad when I finally read it. What a likable narrator.
17. Speaker for the Dead--Orson Scott Card
16. The English Patient--Michael Ondaatje
15. Postcards from the Edge--Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher is hilarious. Found out there's a movie version with Meryl Streep, and would love to see it.
14. The Hound of the Baskervilles--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
13. Little Brother--Cory Doctorow
I read the online version, and although I discovered that I do not like reading books online, I
loved this book.
12. Stop in the Name of Pants!--Louise Rennison
11. Ender's Game--Orson Scott Card
I'd been meaning to read this book for years, and I enjoyed it so much when I finally did. Absolutely adore Ender.
10. Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret--Obert Skye
9. The Tin Princess--Philip Pullman
8. The Tiger in the Well--Philip Pullman
7. Flower Net--Lisa See
6. The Shadow in the North--Philip Pullman
5. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant--Anne Tyler
4. The Poisonwood Bible--Barbara Kingsolver
One of my absolute favorite books of all time. In fact, now that I think about it, I can't wait to read it again.
3. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo--Obert Skye
2. The House on Mango Street--Sandra Cisneros
1. The Ruby in the Smoke--Philip Pullman
First in the series, and truly fantastic. The other books in the series got progressively more disappointing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Everybody says 'No, I don't want candy,' but they do." --Ina Garten

Is there a single episode of Barefoot Contessa in which Ina Garten doesn't make some comment like "Good food, good friends, a great party"? Today it was "Good food, fun friends--what else do you need?" I like her and her show, but man is she awkward. There is just no getting around it.

The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson--9/10

Book twelve in the Wheel of Time series, finished posthumously by Brandon Sanderson using Robert Jordan's notes. The series in general tends to wordiness and over-descriptiveness, which can be really annoying, but has a really good story and absolutely amazing detail (hence, in many places, the excessive description)--and now that it's being written by Brandon Sanderson, a lot of the irritating things have vanished or lessened significantly. The story in this book is fantastic, and I'm actually glad that I didn't read it immediately when it came out because I am impatient enough as it is for the next one--which, as far as I can tell, comes out sometime this year, but I'm betting not until the end. If you haven't read the other books, there's no sense telling you anything else about this one specifically, but as far as the series goes I will tell you that it was a BIG step outside my normal reading repertoire to start reading it in the first place, but I have really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Daring Girl's Books That Will Change Your Life

Like I mentioned in my last post, this is a section at the end of The Daring Book for Girls. I, of course, could not resist going through and seeing how many I'd read, and now I will share them with you. Bold means I've read them, an asterisk means I own them.

20 Girl Classics

*A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, and her other books too.
*Anne of Green Gables (and Emily of New Moon) by L.M. Montgomery
Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy by Seymour Reit
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Caddie Woodlawn (and the sequel, Magical Melons) by Carol Ryrie Brink
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Famous Five, a series by Enid Blyton, with Dick, Ann, Julian, George (a girl!) and her dog Timothy.
*From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
The Illyrian Adventure series by Lloyd Alexander
The Little Princess (and *The Secret Garden) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Keep Climbing, Girls by Beach H. Richards
*Little Women and *Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder--the entire series.
Lizzie Bright (and The Buckminster Boy) by Gary Schmidt
Mandy by Julie Andrews
Matilda (and The BFG) by Roald Dahl. Actually, make that anything by Roald Dahl.
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Ramona by Beverly Cleary (the series)

Other Favorites

*Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and *Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
*The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Call of the Wild by Jack London
*The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Seven classic novels from the 1950s, including the most famous, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
*The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
*Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
*Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. All seven, in time, as you grow.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TOlkien
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency and other madcap stories by Daniel Pinkwater
Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell, about a girl Robinson Crusoe. When you're done, read the original Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
*Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
*Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
*Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien
My Side of the Mountain and Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
*The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Yes, another boy-hero-rescues-the-princesses plot (though here the princesses are Rhyme and Reason), but a great book nonetheless.
*Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. The original books, and the poems.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
*Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum

Science Fiction and Fantasy

*Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain
Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Robot series
Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine and *Fahrenheit 451
Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and all the books in the Ender series
Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence
Lois Lowry's The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger
Ursula K. LeGuin's The Tombs of Atuan and her Earthsea trilogy
Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong trilogy
Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown
*Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials

Classic Girl-and-her-Horse Books

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

Mythology and Fairy Tales

Bullfinch's Mythology is a start. Some might say it's for grown-ups, but read a few lines to yourself out loud and you'll see whether or not it works for you.
The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm
The Adventures of Robin Hood
The Once and Future King by T.H. White, about King Arthur's Court.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
The Odyssey by Homer

Old-Fashioned Girl-Detective Series

Nancy Drew
Trixie Belden

"When we were young and bored, our parents told us, "Go read the dictionary!" We did, and look where it got us. One should never underestimate the pleasure to be found flipping through a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or an old science book."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So Much Blogging...

But not all of it here. For one thing, the Lovely Blog is back up and running again after our holiday break, so we've been getting posts and giveaways together. Also, Megan had the fabulous idea of using a blog to keep track of our 10/10/10 challenge. Since we already had a reading blog, Lindsey revamped it with lots of cuteness, and the three of us are all working on getting our reading lists started. I decided to get rid of the nonfiction category, because I had two other categories that I was trying to decide between, and I prefer them both to nonfiction anyway. And I did not include YA as one of my categories, because I know that I'll be reading those books all year long anyway, so there's no reason to waste a category on it. A couple YA books are going to sneak their way onto the books I can't believe I've never read list anyway, such as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and possibly The Outsiders.

Hannah and I went over to my parents' house this morning to hang out for a little while. This week has been full of babies with Dafni and Jaylee being here, and tonight I'll get to see Liron, who I've hardly seen since before Christmas, and have missed ever so much. My grandparents are here from Israel (my mom's dad and stepmom), and they just loved Hannah Jo. I swear she is prettier every time I see her--she's lost her baby look now, and looks more like a toddler, and she is just gorgeous! I will post some new pictures when I upload them. She talks a lot now, too, and is so much fun to play with. I love when they get to this age (aside from the tantrums of course... she is not without those).

Don't be surprised if you see a few more book-related posts before my blog gets back it its normal balance of post types; there was a list in The Daring Book for Girls of books all girls should read, and of course I wanted to go through and see how many I've read. I know most of you aren't the tiniest bit interested in all of this, but oh well... Why else do I keep a blog? :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Daring Book for Girls, by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz--8/10

I have been seeing this book around various bookstores since it came out, but I didn't even have the vaguest idea what it was about until I picked it up the other day at work. Hannah's grandma gave it to her for her second birthday, and when I saw it on her dresser I decided to check it out.
This book is so cool. It is basically a book about... well, how to be a girl. There are different sections throughout the book that tell you how to do things like:
  • read palms
  • make a friendship bracelet
  • tie a sari
  • make paper airplanes
  • put your hair up with a pencil
  • make a peach pit ring
  • negotiate a salary
  • change a tire
  • make a willow whistle
There is a series of sections called "the rules of the game," where they tell you the history and rules of games such as basketball, softball, bowling, and darts.
There are sections that tell you how to play hopscotch, tetherball, jump rope (including double dutch and Chinese), four square, hand-clapping games, slumber party games, and card games.
There is a page on Spanish terms of endearment, idioms, and other useful terms, and a matching one for French.
There are sections devoted to articles on history, real-life princesses, modern women political leaders, women spies, queens of the ancient world, women who were Olympic firsts, etc.
There are math tricks, impressive words to know, public speaking tips, campfire songs, and all kinds of information about stocks and bonds, the weather, tying knots, making a lemon-powered clock, bird watching, the periodic table of elements, the Bill of Rights, Greek and Latin root words, how to paddle a canoe, and how to write a letter.
I was absolutely enthralled when I first started reading it, and I can't wait to buy it and have it on hand for my own girls. Parts of it were so fun for me because they reminded me of things I loved doing as a kid (four square, jump rope games, the hand-clapping games--with lyrics included, in case you've forgotten them). Children today are growing up very differently than most of us did--for example, see my five-year-old niece Alex, who is about as proficient on her mom's iPhone as her mom is--and I think that they will miss out on a lot of things kids should get to do. I love the idea of a book that prevents these things from being forgotten.

2010 New Year's "Resolution"-- aka, I Get to Read a Lot of Books This Year

My New Year's "resolution" will be to complete the 10/10/10 challenge--ten books in ten different genres in 2010--and I am really excited to do it. Megan and Lindsey have expressed an interest in it as well, and we're discussing possible categories with each other. For right now, here is my tentative list.

--books I own but haven't read yet
--recommended by others
--adult fiction
--authors I've never read (this is one that I just remembered was on that list online)
--genres I don't usually read
--Megan/Lindsey/Miri category (a predetermined list of ten books that all three of us will read)
--award-winners (?)
or, books adapted to movies?

I am deciding between the last two categories, since one of them will take me over ten. I like the idea of books that have been adapted to movies (which came from Lindsey) because it adds the extra element of watching those movies and comparing them with the books, and I'm sure that would be interesting; however, that also means I have to find the movies, and that isn't always easy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Final count of my reading list for 2009: 132. (My goal was 100.)

Decision for 2010's "resolution": 10/10/10, ten books in ten categories that I will choose.

What I did on New Year's Eve: Nothing! Mike and I were in bed before midnight.

Top three books of 2009: Graceling, by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Least favorite of 2009: The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl.

Off to see The Princess and the Frog with Talia and Alex! Happy new year everyone!