Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday Book a Day


(I'm moving posts over from my old blog host. This one originally posted Jan 2, 2012) 

I was very proud of myself over my holiday break! My goal was to read at least one book a day – so how did I do?
I’ll start with the book that helped me complete my 2011 Good Reads goal. My goal for the year started at 75 when I set it. I bumped it up twice as I started reading some shorter elementary literature for work and ended up with a goal of 125 books. My 125th was a gem by Jennifer Holm called My Only May Amelia. It was a sweet historical fiction tale with a very distinctive style. I chose it because my new “Nerdy Book Club” friends kept talking about her current May Amelia book but agreed that it’s better to start with the first one. They were right. I love this character and I love Jennifer Holm’s style for this story. Technically, though, this book didn’t count for my “book a day” goal because I finished it on December 21st. My break started on the 23rd and I went back to work on January 2nd. That’s a grand total of ten days. Ten days, ten books? I did it! Here’s my list with a few quick notes.

1 1)  Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger
I absolutely loved this book! I originally bought it because Tom Angleberger offered to do digital doodles via Twitter. Boy, I’m glad I kept it for myself to read before giving it to my sons. I loved reading this voice/style. Origami Yoda was amazing too, but I think this one is my favorite that I’ve ready by Tom. Read my short review on GoodReads :http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/250480112
    2) Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
A real change from the voice and style of my first choice, Waiting for Normal was a great read for 5th and up. Addie is struggling with life as she handles the strain of living with a mother with mental illness. The story never directly states it, but it clearly impacts every part of her life.http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/250525601
 33) A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
This one was for me. I’ve had this in my “currently reading” pile for months, chipping away at it a little at a time as I read other books. I still had about 250 pages left to go, so I think it’s fair to count it. Definitely an adult read, this tale is the fifth book in a series where each novel hit about 1,000 pages. I was very surprised by the deaths in this one – the author never shrinks back from killing off major characters.
4 4)  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower (graphic novel version)
I’ve recently started reading comic books and graphic novels. This one earned the Eisner award in 2010. It was, from what I heard, a very accurate graphic version of the original Baum tale. Beautifully drawn, it had a distinct artistic style. I was so enamored of the story that I decided to go read the original as well.
5) 5)   Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
My seven year old has decided he loves Binky, so I stole and read his book. (I gave it back, I swear!) This is a graphic novel style story about a cat who “protects” his family from the aliens that attack his home. Those aliens are insects! Very cute – I highly recommend it for the younger set.
6 6)   Villains United (a volume of comics by Gail Simone)
Another read for me (not a kid friendly comic), this one was a hoot. I’m a new comic reader, but I’ve come to adore Gail Simone as a writer. She is also doing the current run of Batgirl for DC Comics – which I love.
7  7)  City of Orphans by Avi
Avi is well known for his historical fiction – though this won’t make my favorites list. It is an interesting look at New York City in the late 1800s. The main character is a “newsie”, hawking newspapers on the street to earn 8 cents a day for his family. There is a mystery, but it’s mostly about family. It would be a great way to help kids really feel how children in the past lived, but I felt like it was a bit slow in places.
8    8)  Guide to Pirate Parenting by Tim Bete
Another read for me – this one was just silly and funny. A pirate gives step by step instructions on how to raise your children to grow up as pirates.
9     9)  Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Baum’s original tale)
Wow, how did I get to be 39 without having read the original version of this iconic tale? I enjoyed it, and it was a fairly simple read. It was a very worthwhile, and would be good for helping kids pick out the lessons in a story. Honestly, though, it would just be fun to hand over to a child and let them enjoy. I guess not everything needs to be a lesson, right?
1   10) Poppy by Avi
It was an adorable book about a mouse learning to think for herself. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, but maybe it leads into the next book.
1  11)  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Calpurnia is the kind of girl I wished I could be. Beautiful. I adored this tale of a girl at the turn of the century. She discovered her grandfather and a love of the natural world. Hopeful, honest, sweet. This was my favorite of my holiday book a day reads, and it will be my Dragon’s Book of the Week recommendation for my students this week.
    12) Love and Capes Vol. 1: Do you want to know a secret? by Thomas F. Zahler
This is another comic series. It is a funny, romantic comedy look at the love life of a super hero. I greatly enjoy this series, and plan to get more of his work. It also earns the honor of being the first book I completed in the New Year. One down, 149 to go. 

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