December Book Challenge - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-01-2011, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), new and improved guidelines for the Book Challenge Thread are as follows:


1) Post the books you read ... or not
2) Post a recommendation ... or not
3) Number your book ... or not
4) Make a goal for how many books you want to read in 2011 ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY

 

Happy reading everyone!

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Old 12-01-2011, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

 

 

Quote:
One window; four walls; sixteen square feet of space. For exactly 264 days, Juliette has been imprisoned in a small room because she touched someone and that person died. Outside, plague and famine have reduced the world to a ruined, violent place ruled by the despotic Reestablishment. Then, after those 264 days, those 6,336 hours of enforced solitude, the cursed 17-year-old has been selected to kill dissidents. Only time will tell if she and her gorgeous young male companion will survive—or die trying. Will they be weapons or warriors? A dystopian novel with a romantic hook.

 

I really enjoyed this book!  A dystopian story with a wonderful paranormal twist... kind of a Hunger Games meets X-men.  I loved all of the characters, even the "bad guy."  The author's writing style was beautiful and her use of strikethroughs for the voice of Juliette added wonderful dimension to the character.  It is also definitely one of the steamiest YA novels I have read in awhile, but the steaminess also made perfect sense for the characters and their situations.  Great ending, too!    

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Old 12-02-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

 

I enjoyed this book very much. The author is a London native of South Asian /East African descent, and an observant Muslim. she writes about her experience of trying to find a husband through the method traditional in her cultural community: introductions through matchmakers and relatives. she presented her experience in a way that, honestly, made it seem like an approach at least equally sensible to dating perfect strangers, as common in the US.

 

readers can identify with the shared experience of seeking a companion, while also learning about the culturally-specific circumstances of the author's search. readers will learn a lot about Islam as practiced by a western-born woman who freely chooses her faith, and this information is integrated throughout the book. for example, there is a clear and very brief description of why any forced marriage is against the Qur'an and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad saws.


mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

 

 

 

I really enjoyed this book!  A dystopian story with a wonderful paranormal twist... kind of a Hunger Games meets X-men.  I loved all of the characters, even the "bad guy."  The author's writing style was beautiful and her use of strikethroughs for the voice of Juliette added wonderful dimension to the character.  It is also definitely one of the steamiest YA novels I have read in awhile, but the steaminess also made perfect sense for the characters and their situations.  Great ending, too!    

Hunger Games meets X-men!  Awesome!! :)  I'm adding to my list :)
 

 

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Old 12-03-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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Holland3--thanks for starting the thread and Shatter Me sounds great . .. will add to my 'to read' list.

 

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

 

A children's librarian aids 10-year-old Ian in running away from his overbearing, overly religious mother--but the more she gets involved, the harder it will be to get out of it without losing her job or going to jail. I loved all the book references to books I often recommend to my book loving students . . . and the story was fun, though it sort of petered out toward the end which seemed a little too easy and convenient. Enjoyable and different though.


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Old 12-03-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

A truly captivating, unique story for middle grade kids and above.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

A good ending to the trilogy.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

A wonderfully creepy psychological thriller paranormal murder mystery!

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn ******

A must read for all parents and educators!

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Old 12-04-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Deerskin by Robin Mckinley

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/robin-mckinley/deerskin.htm

This is a retelling of the Fairytale “Donkey Skin” by Charles Perrault for grownups.

In the original tale the Queen, who is the most beautiful woman in the kingdom declares on her death bed that the King may only remarry a woman as beautiful as herself. The King decides that woman is their only daughter. In the original story the princess flees before anything happens, hiding herself in a donkey skin. In this version the King rapes his own daughter.

The subject matter involving rape and incest is obviously very disturbing, and not easy to read about. The description of Princess Lissar leaving her father’s palace and living in the wilderness cold, hungry and injured,accompanied only by her faithful dog, was painful. At the same time her wakening, her become aware of who she was and what she was capable of, was conveyed well. On a side note, the novel made me want to have a dog!
This is the second book I’ve read from Robin McKinley, the first being Sunshine. With both books I felt somehow let down by the endings, like they were inconclusive.   I recomend this novel except for those recovering from rape and incest issues.

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Old 12-05-2011, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

 

I couldn't even finish this book. I found myself becoming very angry at Hopkin's portrayal of all three main characters.  It was as though she took 3 stereotypes of a mother and exaggerated them.  I couldn't identify with ANY of them and I didn't even like any of them, although I did feel some sympathy and understanding for Marissa. The only character that I really enjoyed was Marissa's teenage son, Shane, who seemed to be the only healthy character in the book.  Interesting Hopkin's made that character a teen.  Additionally, I was bored and could care less to what happened to any of these mothers, which is so unlike me. 

 

I really wanted to love this book because I love, love, love Hopkin's YA stuff - Impulse is one of my favorites.  But, I seriously doubt I will pick up another one of her adult books, especially if it revolves around mothers.   

   

 

     

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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I just read

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa which is a graphic novel about a woman's childhood in communist Poland.

It is very interesting and I really liked it! 

and

Free-Range kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy

which is fantastic and funny and if you have not read it, you should! 

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Old 12-08-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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Red Garden, Hoffman

Quote:
In exquisite prose, Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters' lives are intertwined by fate and by their own actions.
     From the town's founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City with only his dog for company, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a passionate neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives.
     At the center of everyone’s life is a mysterious garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look

 

Lovely work of intertwined short stores, with elements of magical realism.  Not my favorite Hoffman work, but still lovely and captivating.

 

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix

 

This was previously my least-favorite of the potter books.  After listening to the audiobook, however, I have a much better appreciation for it, especially for Umbridge's character and Harry's development.

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Old 12-09-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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River Marked by Patricia Briggs

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/patricia-briggs/river-marked.htm

This is the sixth book in the Mercedes Thompson series, so obviously, I would not recommend starting with it. However if you like to indulge in good urban fantasy, the Mercedes Thompson series is IMO, one of the better ones. I like it because it is well written, suspenseful and sometimes a bit humorous but not trashy or smutty. Mercedes, a Car mechanic who also happens to be a shapeshifter, is such a likeable person.  The other characters in the series are interesting too. The series takes place in Eastern Washington state and this novel also has elements of Native American mythology in it.

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Old 12-09-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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I honestly can't remember the last time I posted my books, so I'm just going to post my last couple batches.  I got 'em counted though!  And I'm almost to my goal for the year.  I think my goal was 75.  Probably not going to hit it this time.  Fun trying though!

 

#47 Stink and the World's Worst Stinky Sneakers by Megan McDonald

Fun, I love all of these Stink books.  Both kids enjoy them too.  And the audio book is especially great.  They are usually narrated by the same woman who does Bart Simpson's voice. :)

 

#48 A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

I loved this book.  It was not what I was expecting at all. 

 

#49 Black Elk in Paris by Kate Horsley

Enh.  It's too bad, I really loved her other book The Pagan Nun

 

#50 The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Weird.  In a sort of good way.  Anyone else read this?  I'd love to hear other opinions, on the brother especially.

 

#51 The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

These are fun mysteries, with the pre-teen Flavia as the hero again.

 

#52  The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Super fun sarcastic read.

 

#53 The Lacemakers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

Light, fluffy, and fun.

 

#54 Room by Emma Donoghue

I loved this more than I thought I would.  Very powerful.

 

#55 A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Not what I was expecting at all.  And not really in a good way.

 

#56 Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden

Really cerebral.  Interesting.

 

#57 Good Harbor by Anita Diamant

Boring.

 

#58 The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Good stuff.

 

#59 Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

More good stuff.

 

#60 Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal

Interesting part of history most of us may not know about.

 

#61 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Another good one.  Sad that there will be no more books by Mr. Larsson.

 

#62 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

So depressing I couldn't finish it.

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Old 12-09-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

 

Lovely children's fantasy novel -- had elements that reminded me of Wizard of Oz and My Father's Dragon, along with wonderful Chinese folktales. Would be a great read-aloud for ages 7 and up -- or independent read for 3-5th.


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Old 12-11-2011, 06:52 AM
 
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61) "Sybil Exposed" Debbie Nathan.

 

Such an interesting book. One that I would love to discuss with others. It was written in such a different way. She explored the life of "Sybil"- Shirley Mason, the psychiatrist Dr. Wilbur and the writer of the book, Flora Schreiber and how their three lives come together in order to create "Sybil". And the powerful influences the fame of "Sybil" had on each of these women's lives.

 

It is also an interesting examination of the field of Psychiatry and the development of a diagnosis and how that development of the diagnosis MPD was influenced by the changes in women's lives. Just fascinating.

 

As a mental health professional, it really struck me how unprofessional and unhealthy the boundaries were (down right non-existent in fact) for Dr. Wilbur and her patients, especially Shirley. 

 

Ok, I will stop. I do recommend the book and am still thinking about so many things in the book. Now onto something lighter!

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Old 12-11-2011, 09:38 PM
 
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This one's been on my radar since I heard about it on NPR.  Sounds fascinating!
 

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61) "Sybil Exposed" Debbie Nathan.

 

Such an interesting book. One that I would love to discuss with others. It was written in such a different way. She explored the life of "Sybil"- Shirley Mason, the psychiatrist Dr. Wilbur and the writer of the book, Flora Schreiber and how their three lives come together in order to create "Sybil". And the powerful influences the fame of "Sybil" had on each of these women's lives.

 

It is also an interesting examination of the field of Psychiatry and the development of a diagnosis and how that development of the diagnosis MPD was influenced by the changes in women's lives. Just fascinating.

 

As a mental health professional, it really struck me how unprofessional and unhealthy the boundaries were (down right non-existent in fact) for Dr. Wilbur and her patients, especially Shirley. 

 

Ok, I will stop. I do recommend the book and am still thinking about so many things in the book. Now onto something lighter!



 

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Old 12-12-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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54. The Giver by Lois Lowry http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/l/lois-lowry/giver.htm

My son is reading this for school now and I was curious.  Set in a futuristic, utopian society where no one feels pain and all choices are made for you, the story follows the life of a 12 year old, Jonas who is chosen to become the "receiver" of all the old memories that have been forgotten and are forbidden. The person who gives him the memories is called "the Giver. As the novel progresses it has the feeling of a mystery and Jonas finds out that his world is not as perfect as he has been led to believe.

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Old 12-14-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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62) "The Chronicles of Harris Burdick" by Chris Van Allsburg. This was really fun, if not a little weird. We read this as a family and left us scratching our heads a few times as the stories are a wild! 

 

http://www.hmhbooks.com/features/harrisburdick/

 

63) "The Shepard, the Angel and Walter, the Christmas Miracle Dog" by Dave Berry. A nice, light story after "Sybil"!

 

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Old 12-14-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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62) "The Chronicles of Harris Burdick" by Chris Van Allsburg. This was really fun, if not a little weird. We read this as a family and left us scratching our heads a few times as the stories are a wild! 

 

http://www.hmhbooks.com/features/harrisburdick/

 

 

 


Interesting . . . I've been debating whether or not to get this for my elementary school library but without seeing the book, I'm hesitant. It did sound very . . . different. I want to make sure if I buy it, it will get checked out.

 


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Old 12-14-2011, 04:49 PM
 
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Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa

an interesting grapic novel about a girl who grew up in communist Poland

Free-Range kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy

totally excellent!

The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

Interesting story of how the author adopted a daughter from the Ukraine

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

WONDERFUL!

Noah Zarc Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease

fun outer space sci fi time travel for middle grades kids book!

Beastly by Alex Flinn

FANTASTIC!

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Loved It!

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos - and a free book giveaway!

funny book about the Christian religion that also makes you think

giving away a free copy on my blog

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Old 12-14-2011, 07:00 PM
 
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Hi Cathe, 

 

Harris Burdick is (by normal standards) a weird book. We, in my family, are a little into odd stories and things and my kids were even saying the stories were odd. Some were even a little darker than I would have liked, but it made for some interesting conversations with my kids. I would encourage you to read it before you take the leap. 

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Old 12-15-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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Quote:
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Hi Cathe, 

 

Harris Burdick is (by normal standards) a weird book. We, in my family, are a little into odd stories and things and my kids were even saying the stories were odd. Some were even a little darker than I would have liked, but it made for some interesting conversations with my kids. I would encourage you to read it before you take the leap. 



Yeah--that's what I was thinking :)


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Old 12-16-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

 

A Clash of Kings, Martin

 

I am really enjoying this series!

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Old 12-16-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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64) "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection" by Carol Burnett. I have always loved her and I grew up watching her show! My librarian suggested it as I was looking for light and funny. It fit the bill. She tells stories about how she got into show business and the funny stories (and some sad stories too) on the way.

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Old 12-18-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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The Dancing Girls of Lahore by Louise Brown

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Girls-Lahore-Pakistans-Pleasure/dp/0060740426

 

This book attracted me because I am very interested in various forms of ethnic dance and the social positions of professional dancers in different societies. I spent many years of my life studying Egyptian style “Raqs Sharqi”, or what is here referred to as “belly” dance. Before I became a mom, I lived and even worked for a while as a dancer in Egypt and know firsthand that dance has a very ambivalent position In the Middle East.  On the one hand almost there everyone dances. In the “old Days” before the society got so conservative and the younger more westernised generation found the traditional dances too old fashioned, no wedding would have been complete without a hired “belly” dancer.  Even in a very traditional, veiled society the women all dance when they get together, however professional dancers are looked down upon.  For some reason, I assumed that professional Indian Kathak styled dancers would be more respected, but according to this book, the dancers in Pakistan have  a way  lower status than in Egypt.  

I soon found out that this book was less about dance and more about prostitution, for the dancers in this book are working prostitutes.  The author Louise Brown is a sociologist and spent years studying the sex trade in Asia and this book is a study on it. Parts of it were very hard to read about, for example how girls as young as 11 are sold by their parents to work as dancers and prostitutes. However, I think it is a very interesting book concerning things we should all be aware of, so I would definitely recommend it.

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Old 12-19-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

 

French novel about a conceirge who is a closet intellectual and a young girl (also hiding her brilliance) who's contemplating suicide. They go along hiding their secrets until a new tenant moves into the building and sees through their guises. Slow, introspective book . . . I almost gave up on it because nothing happened for about the first 2/3 of the book, but just when the conceirge's conceit about her intelligence and disdain for the rich tenants were just too much for me, Oku a new tenant moves in and the story began to have some movement. I'm not sure I was all that thrilled with the message that only intelligent people are worthwhile . . . but still an interesting read.

 

 


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Old 12-19-2011, 01:20 PM
 
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Obviously took a break from 'reading'.  I'm back now and I MISSED YOU GUYS flowersforyou.gif

I quit reading when my son 'quit' swim team.  We are waiting for 2012 to join the new team but I couldn't wait that long to start reading again.  

 

January

1. Only Son - Kevin O'Brien

2. Planning To Live - Heather Wardell

3. The 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life - Glenn Beck/ Keith Ablow

4. Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tatoo - Heather Wardell

5. Carved In Bone - Jefferson Bass

February

6. Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher

7. The Abstinence Teacher- Tom Perrotta

8. One Fine Day Your're Gonna Die- Gail Bowen (90 pgs)

9. Term Limits - Vince Flynn

10. Scars - Cheryl Rainfield

March

11. After- Amy Efaw

12. Hold Still- Nina LaCour

13. Pretty Little Things-Jilliane Hoffman

14. Happen Every Day- Isabel Gilles

15. School Days- Robert B. Parker

April

16. I Am Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World - Eve Ensler

17. Plea of Insanity- Jilliane Hoffman

18. Unsweetined- Jodie Sweetin

19. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants- Ann Brashares

20. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares

May

21. Vicious- Kevin O'Brien

22. Listen- Rene Gutteridge

23. No Time Left- David Baldacci

24. Throwaway- Heather Huffman

25. Plan B- Joseph Finder

June

26. Saving Rachel- John Locke

27.Buried Secrets- Joseph Finder 

28.Vanished- Joseph Finder

29. The Abbey- Chris Culver

30. Life's A Beach- Claire Cook

July

31. Brenin- M.B. Forester-Smythe

32. Now You See Her- James Patterson

33. The Reading Promise- Alice Ozma

34. Mockingbird- Kathryn Erskine

35. Al Capone Does My Shirts- Gennifer Choldenko

August

36. The Confession- John Grisham

September

37. Mystery- Jonathan Kellerman

38. Touch- Francine Prose

39. Go Ask Alice- Anonymous

40. Transition: The Story of How I Became A Man- Chaz Bono

October

41. Just Take My Heart- Mary Higgins Clark

42. One Summer- David Baldacci

43. The Accident- Linwood Barclay

December

44. Brother  & Sister- Sean Olin

45. The Value of Life- Andy Crowson


Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed  crochetsmilie.gif homeschool.gif  reading.gif  modifiedartist.gif

Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

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Old 12-20-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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nice to have you back!


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Old 12-20-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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The House at Midnight, Whitehead

 

Listened to about the first 1/3 of it and really just can't finish it...

 

 

The king's speech, Burgess

Quote:

It is Coronation Day, 1937. As the country celebrates, the new monarch must face one of the most difficult challenges he has ever encountered: the dreaded BBC Radio Broadcast to the Nation. Only one man can prepare the terrified King for his ordeal at the microphone – Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue. With his unconventional methods such as tongue-twisters, breathing exercises, and Shakespearean quotations, and a variety of teaching styles ranging from empathy to bullying, Logue aims to give George VI the confidence to navigate the minefield ahead. As the two men wrestle with the intricacies of the speech, their conversation ranges from the Abdication Crisis to the King's childhood and his uneasy relationship with his father - and the King's dependence on and deep friendship with Logue becomes apparent. Starring Alex Jennings as George VI and Trevor Littledale as Logue, this is a riveting portrait of a prominent man at a pivotal moment in his own life and in the history of the 20th century.

 

Interesting-enough short audiobook about George VI's first speech as king, and his difficulties with speech.

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Old 12-20-2011, 09:47 PM
 
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Revolution is not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine

 

 

Historical fiction novel about a young girl in the 70's during Chairman Mao's rule in China. Her parents are doctors and consider bourgeois--she is tormented at school and things are even worse at home when one of Mao's political officers moves into their apartment. Neighbors and friends seem to either turn against each other or disappear . . . 
 
A sad account of a terrible time in China's history that goes just deep enough for children 10 and older. 

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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65) The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I enjoyed this book very much. Lots of laughs and some really beautifully written lines about being true to who you are. The main character is a 9 year old girl and she is just a wonderful character. If you like a wee bit of fantasy with a really great story, I highly recommend this one.

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