Thursday, February 28, 2013

February: A Month of Wonderful Books

I stepped back to my childhood for much of this month.....

1.  The Egypt Game, Zilpha Keatley Snyder - In about the second or third grade I was the first person to check this book out of our school library (oh the joy of being the first person to sign the library card tucked into the jacket!), and over the next few years I rechecked it out often.  I was delighted when it was reissued a few months ago, and of COURSE I had to read it again! 

2.  The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente - The second in Valente's books about the wonderful September.  This one is a bit sadder as September is a bit older and has therefor started to grow a heart.  It's also achingly beautiful.  My copy has so many highlighted passages that it's almost laughable.  Might as well have highlighted the whole thing!

3.  Marmee and Louisa, Eve La Plante (Audio) - La Plante is a decendant of the May family, and as such had access to many of the unpublished writings of Louisa May Alcott's mother.  (Seriously....they found a trunk full, the sort of treasure most literature professors dream of!)  Whereas the Bronte bio could have been subtitled "A defense of Patric" this one could have been subtitled "You are going to want to kick Louisa's father into the next county."  It is a beautiful look at a close, and very important mother-daughter relationship, and a must read for anyone who loves Alcott's work. 

4.  The Puppy Primer, Patricia McConnel - We got a dog.  It's been a long while, I needed a refresher. 

5.  Wonder, R.J. Palacio - You. Must. Read. This. Book. NOW!!!  Technically it's a middle-grade book (in fact, it's on my fourth grade daughter's class reading list right now), but it's a book that will touch any reader.  Sobbed like a baby.  Will read it again and again and again!  The story centers on the fifth grade year of a boy born with severe birth defects as he attends public school for the first time.  It's an amazing journey, and one that teaches many lessons along the way.

6.  The Fault in Our Stars, John Green - Both Wonder and The Fault In Our Stars were on MANY best of 2012 books, and deservedly so.  This one is - believe it or not - a teen cancer book that is honest, beautiful, and uplifting.  As Wonder was middle-grade, The Fault is a YA novel...and yet another example of how writers who speak to children are often free to express truth in a way that so-called adult literature can't touch. 

7.  The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker - A third Best of 2012 book, The Age of Miracles is actually written for grown ups, but it tells the story of a middle school girl, struggling to get through a time that is rough for anyone...while a natural disaster of epic proportions brings about the end of the world.  Again, it sounds like it should be depressing, but I found much to be hopeful about while reading it. 

8.  The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley - I decided to end the month with two of my favorite books from my childhood.  I bought this book at a book fair in fourth grade, and I have no idea how many times I've read it since then.  It's so good that it still thrills me, though.  I think Aerin is someone I always identified with....a flawed heroine in the vein of Meg Murry o'Keefe....infinitely human and troubled, but capable of saving the world in the end....perhaps because of her flaws.  Plus, she was the first warrior princess I ever found!

9.  The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley - The companion book to The Hero and the Crown, I also love the Blue Sword....just not quite as much.  It does have a pretty slow start, but once it gets going....wow!

I want to say thank you for all of the comments I got last month about my adventure in all things Bronte!  It was a treat to hear from soooo many of you!

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