Spring Break is nearly here, which means I've been thinking about books and reading even more than usual.  My budget is a bit tight these days, so I wasn't able to spring for the two books I'm really hankering for right now (All the Light We Cannot See and Better Than Before) -- and the library reserve list for both titles is about a mile long.  So instead I'm reading a book recommended by my brother Newt: sweetness So far The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is delightful, a combination of quirkiness and good writing and intrigue.  I do have to suspend disbelief for the narrator being only 11 years old, though.  It's one thing to be a child prodigy, and quite another to have all your synapses already in place before you're a teenager.  As long as I don't dwell on that, I'm good. 41 false starts I had return this one to the library last night, just as I was really getting into it.  Honestly, when I started reading, I was worried that the author would be pretentious.  The things I had heard about Janet Malcolm -- that she's a non-fiction master, that she's infinitely more literate than I can ever hope to be, that she wears Eileen Fisher with just the teensiest bit of entitlement -- had me on edge.  And yet, how could I not read a book whose subtitle is "Essays about artists and writers"? That should explain why it took me two-and-a-half weeks out of my three week loan period to actually read past the introduction.  And then I was hooked.  Forty-one False Starts is the perfect lunchtime reading for me: accessible, insightful, thought-provoking, but not too intense.  I may have to pick up my own copy just so I can write in the margins.  (You can read her interview with Eileen Fisher here.) read aloud books by gina sekelsky studio Meanwhile, I'm on the lookout for a good family read aloud book.  Here's the problem:  whatever you're about to suggest, we've probably already read it.  (Now who's the pretentious one?)  I warned my kids early that I'd still be reading aloud to them in high school -- and here we are!  The downside is that we've read nearly a hundred books together, thousands of pages:  all of the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Black Cauldron, Little House, Artemis Fowl, Ranger's Apprentice and Mysterious Benedict Society.  And plenty of obscure titles (two favorites being The Strictest School in the World and By the Great Horn Spoon!).  We've read books by Gary Paulsen, Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, Edward Eager and Kate DiCamillo.  Probably everything ever written by Beverly Cleary.  (Have I mentioned we like road trips?)  It didn't occur to me years ago when we began that someday we might run out of titles!  Or feel like we're running out of titles.  I know we have more favorite books to add to the list if only we could find them. What are we missing? To subscribe to my blog, just leave a comment on any post & follow the instructions.  Since I'm now blogging once a week, I don't always read comments immediately, but I do read them -- and I thank you for the conversation!
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12 Responses to This week: on my bookshelf.

  1. becka says:

    Try the Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron. Just read it and loved it. How about Anne McCaffrey? (start with the Harper Hall Trilogy – those are the first ones I read.) East by Edith Pattou. It’s hard to find, but the Talking Parcel by Gerald Durrell is one of my favorite books ever.

  2. Deanna H says:

    The False Prince author, Jennifer Nielsen, just came out with a new book that is not part of that trilogy. It’s called Mark of the Thief. I really enjoyed it. Lots of adventure along with some magic of the Greek Gods. Can’t wait for the next one to come out. Plus, in August she’s coming out with a historical fiction book called A Night Divided about a girl who has to escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her from her family. This one sounds like it will be great too.

  3. Erin says:

    What about Eva Ibbitson? Journey to the River Sea and The Star of Kazan are both really good.

  4. stephanie says:

    We just started The Green Ember by S.D. Smith – you might like that one! I have pre-read it before starting it with my crew and I couldn’t put it down so I think we have a winner on our hands. : ) Redwall is also a fabulous adventure if you haven’t read that one. (The series has a ton of books in it – I’ve only read the first 5 – but it’s would be great to read the first outloud and then hand it off to your kids to wade through the rest if they wanted!)

  5. Paige says:

    Counting By 7s? I’ll Give you the Sun? The Half-A-Moon Inn? Love that Dog? Don’t know your kids ages…. but those are some I’ve loved.

  6. Sara says:

    Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book, Fortunately the Milk (though for a little younger audience), Coraline. Loving him lately.

  7. Ollulia says:

    Not sure their ages, but they sound well read 🙂
    How about The Penderwicks series, The Cricket of Times Square, anything by E.L Konigsburg (but especially ‘From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwieler), or some of the older Newbery award winners?

  8. Marci says:

    Try the Wildwood series by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis. I believe there are 3 books in the series so far. Colin is the lead singer and songwriter for the Decemberist and his lovely wife Carson is an illustrator.

  9. ok i’m going out on a limb here because i don’t really know you, but if you don’t mind quirky (and your people don’t) read the five little peppers and how they grew…it’s quite old and ‘dated’ in that the little children LOVE their mother and want to please…it’s a super simple book but my kids loved it…rather like the boxcar children but longer and more grown up. secondly, everyone in your family would probably like ‘paper moon’..like the movie, but the movie embraces only about 1/3 of the book, which is really funny and good. think ‘capers’. it’s super good. for you, if you are even a closet anglophile, read hens dancing by raffaella barker. love everything she writes and this was her first. susan branch also has the best travelogue i’ve ever read of england which is also the story of how she met her husband and it’s called a fine romance. i love it and have already read it twice. enjoy!

  10. Hali says:

    Katherine Paterson is WONDERFUL–altho, it was hard getting thru BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA; make sure you have tissues! LYDDIE was great historical fiction, about a girl who works in a thread factory in the late 1800’s. THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD series is a great read-aloud, too. My stepson loved TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD when he was 12. 🙂 Hali

  11. Hali says:

    P.S. Make sure you spell PATERSON with only ONE “T.” Otherwise it’s a totally different author!

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