Sunday, April 25, 2010

Top 100 Children's books

School Library Journal did a poll of the top 100 children's books and Crowinator of Trapped Inside My Huge Chattering Head made a list of the books she's read. (link above) Here's mine- Bolded titles have been read.

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)

98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)

85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)

81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)

75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)
72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)

56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)

49. Frindle - Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)

42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)

39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000)

34. The Watson's Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)

31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)

28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007)

23. Little House in the Big Woods - Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977)

12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes - Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The ABC Murders

I have been going through quite a Agatha Christie phase ever since I saw the episode of Dr. Who where he meets Agatha Christie at an English country house and they solve a mystery together back in 2008. (Also the episode that hooked me on Dr. Who to my husband's delight). My mother loves mysteries and she keeps hoping I'll get into them too, but so far the Christies aren't acting as a gateway drug. Miss Marple is my favorite Christie character, but, sigh, I've read them all. So, on to Poirot.

This is a fun mystery, Hercule Poirot's clueless sidekick Colonel Hastings narrates, which I enjoy, as they search for what could be seen as a prototype of the serial killer. The murderer sends notes to Poirot telling him details of the next crime and taunting him for his inability to solve the case. The clues are there, but as usual, I missed them. (That's ok, Christie even fooled The Doctor. Once) I listened to this as an audio book which gave me the illusion I was picking up on the tiny hints, but, nope.

I enjoyed it so much that I am now trying to find more Agatha Christie mysteries on audio. I'm reading Why Didn't They Ask Evans which has the distinction of being uber-librarian Nancy Pearl's favorite Christie.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Downtown Owl

My wild crush on Chuck Klosterman has crashed on the iceberg of this book. Sure, his recreation pot use was troubling. And, ok, so we are both already married to other people. But if Chuck Klosterman had shown up on my doorstep while I was reading Eating the Dinosaur or Killing Yourself to Live running away with him would have been a serious possibility. Now he'll be lucky to get to drink a beer in my kitchen while I lecture him on not writing a novel unless you have an idea about how it should end. Which he clearly did not.

Downtown Owl is set in rural North Dakota in the early 1980's. The book is told in alternating chapters by various townfolk, including new teacher and town "it" girl, Julia. The characters are interesting, but rather than bringing the characters together in some meaningful way, Klosterman essentially develops the characters and then just ends the book. Boom.

Sorry Chuck, I think it's time to start seeing other writers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Steig Larsson apparently really wanted to make some points with this trilogy about women and violence. This book opens with a quote about how eighteen percent of Sweedish women have been threatened by a man. "Wow", this American thought. "Sweden is SO safe!" Perhaps not what he was going for.

The story concerns disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist's investigation of the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, a teenager who went missing 40 years ago. The Vanger family has money and power as well as many dark secrets. Along the way Blomkvist meets Lisbeth Salander, a goth girl with arguably autistic tendencies who is an ace investigator and computer hacker.

Although I found the beginning slow, and the translation annoying (for example Salander is described as "anorexic" rather than "very thin" or "anorexic looking" when two paragraphs later the reader is told she doesn't have an eating disorder.) I was eventually totally drawn in. Blomkvist leads a bit of an overly charmed life as far as women throwing themselves at him goes but Salander is a great character and the story itself is truly engaging. I'm reading the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, so stay tuned!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bookish Questions

1. Book next to your bed right now: There are at least 10. They include a couple of Roger Ebert movie companions and The Girl Who Played With Fire

2. Favorite series: Harry Potter, The Little House books

3. Favorite book: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

4. The one book you would have with you if stranded on a desert island: Again with this question? War and Peace

5. Book/series you would take with you on a long flight: Jennifer Weiner's books are perfect airplane books. I'm glad she has a new one coming out soon.

6. Worst book you were made to read in school: The Light in the Forrest by Conrad Richter. I think I was too young. Or maybe it just wasn't very good.

7. Book that everyone should be made to read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird even if it is a little anvil-licious

8. Book that everyone should read, period: To Kill a Mockingbird and Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

9. Favorite character: Gus McCrea from Lonesome Dove

10. Best villain: Draco Malfoy. or Nellie Oleson

11. Favorite concept book/series: I liked the Ian Banks "Culture" book Player of Games

12. Favorite invented world: Lake Wobegone, Minnesota

13. Most beautifully written book: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

14. Funniest book/series: Dave Barry's Greatest Hits.

Thanks to Bloggin' About Books!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Moon

I hear these books are popular with the kids these days...

I have to say I think this book is better than Twilight. Twilight spent its first half on the relatively interesting "girl meets vamp" plot and the second on a fairly routine "girl gets chased by bad vamps" story. New Moon's first half is slow ("Bella mopes") but picks up around the time Jacob wolfs out. (SPOILER!) And bonus, far fewer descriptions of the household chores Bella does. Am I the only one to think she wants to be a vampire so she can quit cooking dinner every two pages?

So far in the series I am mystified that everyone isn't "Team Jacob". Edward is so freaking controlling and has a superiority complex like you wouldn't believe. Jacob treats her like an equal. Even though he's...A YEAR YOUNGER (gasp) (Seriously, memo to Stephanie Meyers, way to reinforce the idea that women lose value as they age, Bella finds the idea of being 30 literally worse than death, and because she is one year older than Jacob, she thinks the idea of them being together is ridiculous, PS, the fact your brother's named Jacob? SUPER CREEPY)

My understanding is that soon Jacob will also be acting like a donkey's behind, leaving me no choice but to join "Team bang my head against the wall".

Frankly I have a hard time taking vampires seriously as romantic heroes. Maybe too much Buffy, maybe because they are dead. I think the last word on vampires belongs to Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "That's not your friend, that's the thing that killed him"