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<p>All right, the end game is here and it's time to lay all your cards on the table and pay the piper while you mix your metaphors.</p>
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<p>Hard to believe it's December already.  Though, winter sure arrived early here in my little corner of the PNW.  Insane winds, icy conditions, snow ... all before Thanksgiving no less.  Well, that just means more excuses to curl up with a good book.  Hope you are all keeping warm and reading good books as we start to put a lid on this year...<br><br>
So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), new and improved guidelines for the Book Challenge Thread are as follows:<br><br><b>1) Post the books you read ... or not<br>
2) Post a recommendation ... or not<br>
3) Number your book ... or not<br>
4) Make a goal ... or not<br>
5) <i><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Have fun with books</span></i> (This one, unfortunately, is <span style="text-decoration:underline;">MANDATORY</span>) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="../discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></b><br><br><br>
So, with that, <i>avante</i>, <i>allons-y</i> and a happy reading December to everyone!<br><br><span style="font-size:xx-small;">2009's Thread can be found <a href="http://mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1167868" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
January's Thread can be found <a href="http://mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1178301" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
February's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1190734" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
March's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1200558" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
April's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1210878" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
May's Thread can be found <a href="http://mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1220575" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
June's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1230248" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
July's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1239520" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
August's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1249675" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
September's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1258658" target="_blank">HERE</a><br>
October's Thread can be found <a href="../discussions/showthread.php?t=1267651" target="_blank">HERE</a></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:xx-small;">November's Thread can be found <a href="http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1276075/november-2010-book-thread">HERE</a></span></p>
 

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<p>Happy December everyone!</p>
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<p>Nothing to report yet . . . between final papers, busy work schedule, and holiday activities, I'm not reading too much . . . Hope everyone's doing well.</p>
 

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<p><strong>UR, king</strong></p>
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<div> Wesley Smith buys an Amazon Kindle to keep his mind off his recent nasty breakup, but he finds that his version is no ordinary e-reading device. Smith's Kindle has a special Ur option, which reveals the future and all the works his favorite authors have written in parallel dimensions. However, when the Ur delivers news of terrible events on the way, Smith must decide if he should interfere in fate. While King can certainly spin a good story, the Amazon Kindle focus (the story was written exclusively for and can only be read on an Amazon Kindle) keeps this one feeling like an advertising gimmick.</div>
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<p>So, I wasn't creeped out by the first 2/3 of this at all.  I kept thinking -- so there are parallel dimensions?  Okay, and?  It messes with our reality, but it's not truly terrifying, right?  But the last 1/3 did give me the shivers...worth downloading/listening to.</p>
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<p><strong>City of Ashes, Clare</strong></p>
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<div> The Shadowhunters are battling a world of demons that few people can see. Guided by the laws of the Clave, these hunters balance fighting with the other more mundane aspects of life—love, betrayal, and confusion. Jace, the fiercest teenage Shadowhunter, seems determined to make everyone around him angry, and is looked upon with suspicion because his father, Valentine, is out to rule the world. Meanwhile, love triangles abound, vampires are reborn, and general teenage angst blossoms among a group of friends and siblings. Set in an alternative present-day Manhattan, the story comes complete with Britney Spears references and even, ironically, refers to the scientific <i>CSI</i>. Well written in both style and language, it compares favorably to others in this genre. The human characters are well developed and quite believable. The whole book is like watching a particularly good vampire/werewolf movie, and it leaves readers waiting for the next in the series.</div>
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<p>I've been really enjoying this series, can't wait to get my hands on the final installment!</p>
 

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<p>December, holy moly!!!  Well, my goal this year was 90 books.  I better get crackin' !!!  I think I've read 60?  <span><img alt="lol.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif">   I did narrow down that pile in the closet to 36 books, I counted them yesterday.  It started out at 45 or 50 I think?  Feeling good about that.</span> <span><img alt="thumb.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>Reading a couple books right now and I deviated from my clear out the closet pile goal to read a library book, The Promise by Jonathan Alter.  It's pretty good.  I like Alter and Obama both, so fun to read.</span></p>
 

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<p>I've never participated in one of these before but it looks like fun! I'm due today and have found my attention span has been awful this whole pregnancy-I've picked up and put down many a book. Right now, I've been picking at "Atonement" which although I like the writing style, the story isn't really grabbing me in and I started re-reading "The Subtle Knife" by Philip Pullman a couple nights ago because I wanted to read something fantasy and it was on the bedroom bookshelf. I was on a swap.com frenzy earlier this year and I have several boxes of books to read but who knows when I'll get to them!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #6
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>triskelion</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16096448"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I've never participated in one of these before but it looks like fun! I'm due today and have found my attention span has been awful this whole pregnancy-I've picked up and put down many a book. Right now, I've been picking at "Atonement" which although I like the writing style, the story isn't really grabbing me in and I started re-reading "The Subtle Knife" by Philip Pullman a couple nights ago because I wanted to read something fantasy and it was on the bedroom bookshelf. I was on a swap.com frenzy earlier this year and I have several boxes of books to read but who knows when I'll get to them!</p>
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<br><br><p>Welcome!</p>
 

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<p><strong>Keeper</strong> by Kathi Appelt</p>
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<p>This was about a 10-year-old girl, Keeper, living on the Texas coast who'd been abandoned by her mother 7 years ago. She believes her mother is a mermaid, and one day after one thing after another goes wrong, Keeper heads out to sea in a little row boat to find her. As Keeper executes her plan, we get the backstory of the various characters in flashbacks.</p>
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<p>Like in The Underneath, Appelt writes beautifully--I could almost see, smell, and taste the Texas coast. I liked the story and the way the mystical was weaved in with the realistic, but for me the book dragged in places. I found that the flashbacks slowed the story down and were often confusing. The ending really picked up and I did enjoy the book.</p>
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<p>Deep Storm, Child</p>
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<div>Peter Crane, a naval physician, flies out to an oil rig to investigate what appears to be the first appearance of an incredibly virulent disease. But when he gets there, he discovers that the problem is even worse than he was led to believe. The disease is attacking the residents of a deep-water research facility, not the oil workers, and it could be linked to the facility's excavations of an ancient site that might hold the key to the fate of the lost city of Atlantis. Child, whose stand-alone novels generally are not quite as good as the series novels he cowrites with Douglas *******, turns the tables here, setting his hook in the first couple of pages and slowly reeling the reader in. The prose may be a tad rough, but the story is imaginative and filled with wonder.</div>
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<p>Overall I found this to be solid -- entertaining and well-written.  </p>
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<p>I would know you anywhere, Lippman</p>
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<div>A cryptic letter from death row shatters Eliza Benedict's peaceful summer with her family, and forces her to face her long-buried past. Walter Bowman, the man who kidnapped Eliza the summer she was fifteen and kept her hostage for weeks, spots her picture in a local magazine and reaches out to her to make amends before his execution. <em>I'd Know You Anywhere</em> is a tremendous novel about fear, manipulation, and survival. Award-winning author Laura Lippman unfurls Eliza's story in tightly-written chapters alternating from present day to that horrifying summer of 1985, creating an emotionally complex drama that is as riveting as it is ultimately rewarding.</div>
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<p>This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to all year.  The writing is beautiful, and the layers of motivation that are behind each character's motivations are totally fascinating -- both what you are told, and what you can just glimpse under the surface.  Absolutely wonderful.</p>
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<p>oh, how few books i have read this autumn. i hope i will get better at juggling full-time employment and reading.  i am tired of falling asleep over unfinished books.</p>
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<p>just read a lovely bit of escapism:  <em>A Cook's Tour</em> by Anthony Bourdain.  i love his "No Reservations" tv series, and i liked having his voice in my head as i read.  many of the stories in the book were stories i had seen on air.  he is respectful of other cultures, yet also unflinching; he does not, to the reader, hide his opinions in any way. </p>
 

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<p><strong>The Red Garden</strong> by Alice Hoffman</p>
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<p>This was a series of stories that all take place in the same town in rural Western Massachusetts starting from 1750 and moving through time to the present. Hoffman's usual great writing and mix of realistic and mystical.</p>
 

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<p>Has anybody else read <strong>The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford</strong>?  It was written in the 1800's by a 9-yr-old girl!   It's hilarious!  I found it <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21415" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>
 

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<p>Painter of Battles, Perez-Reverte</p>
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<div>wartime thriller about a painter and photographer who receives a visit from his troubled past in the form of a man who was the subject of one of his photographs. Simon *****'s classical British accent brings added life to the story, offering a vivid reading that will transport listeners to another time and place. His delivery is clear and often unnerving, knowing exactly when and where to capture the profound sense of foreboding and tension that abounds. *****'s performance is remarkable. He brings central character Andres Faulques into existence through a tremendous attention to detail and dialect and a firm understanding of Pérez-Reverte's gripping tale. </div>
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<p>Dwelling on this one...it seemed slow while I was reading it -- but I think it's one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kangamitroo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16114638"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>oh, how few books i have read this autumn. i hope i will get better at juggling full-time employment and reading.  i am tired of falling asleep over unfinished books.</p>
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<p>just read a lovely bit of escapism:  <em>A Cook's Tour</em> by Anthony Bourdain.  i love his "No Reservations" tv series, and i liked having his voice in my head as i read.  many of the stories in the book were stories i had seen on air.  he is respectful of other cultures, yet also unflinching; he does not, to the reader, hide his opinions in any way. </p>
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<p>I LOVE Anthony Bourdain.  I think I have a little crush on him. <span><img alt="luxlove.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/luxlove.gif"></span><br>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kaliki_kila</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16117445"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Has anybody else read <strong>The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford</strong>?  It was written in the 1800's by a 9-yr-old girl!   It's hilarious!  I found it <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21415" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>
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<br><br><p>Sounds interesting!  I'm intrigued by the written by a 9yr old part.</p>
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<p>So, I'm not making my goal this year of 85 books, pretty much just no chance.  <span><img alt="lol.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif">  I'd have to read 25 books in the next 2 weeks, and that ain't gonna happen.  However, I don't feel bad about it.  I'm excited to finish off the closet pile this spring and move on to getting books from the library again</span> <span><img alt="thumb.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>If I don't make it back here before the New Year, Happy Chrismakwanzukkah and Merry Solstice and New Year to everyone!</span> <span><img alt="blowkiss.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/blowkiss.gif"></span></p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>fremontmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16123282"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kaliki_kila</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16117445"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Has anybody else read <strong>The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford</strong>?  It was written in the 1800's by a 9-yr-old girl!   It's hilarious!  I found it <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21415" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>
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<p>Sounds interesting!  I'm intrigued by the written by a 9yr old part.</p>
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Yeah, a 9-yr-old girl!  Looks like they even made a movie of it with Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent starring in it and David Yates as the director.</p>
 

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<p>rather than re-read the whole year's threads, i'll just ask:</p>
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<p>do you have a top novel or two to recommend from this year's reading?</p>
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<p>with winter break coming, i'll finally have a chance (maybe?) to read without falling asleep.</p>
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<p>i'm not much of fantasy/sci-fi reader, and mysteries have to be a la Tracy Chevalier or the Name of the Rose (historical, novelly).</p>
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<p>thanks for any suggestions!</p>
 

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<p><strong>The Outlander</strong> by Gil Adamson</p>
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<p>In 1903, a young women kills her husband and then flees into the wilderness as his brothers pursue her. She meets various people on the way who help her to survive. This book was well-written with interesting characters. Not a page turner but enjoyable.</p>
 

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<p><strong>City of Angels, Clare</strong></p>
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<div><strong> Clary learns that she is a member of a race of demon-hunters and that she has the special ability to create new versions of the runes that give these Shadowhunters their power. Her mother has been hiding the truth from her for years to protect her from her father, Valentine, a cult-leader-turned-villain who is seeking to gain control over the Shadowhunters by obtaining the three Mortal Instruments. Now, Valentine has only one Mortal Instrument left to find, and the Shadowhunters must ally with the despised Downworlders, including vampires, werewolves, and fairies, to prepare their final defense. The question of whether Clary will be able to harness her unique abilities in time to help–and whether they will let her–is sidelined by the question of whether her love interest, Jace, is really her brother. Though the story is hampered by predictability and overblown writing, Clare continues her talent for mixing hip, modern humor with traditional fantasy, and fans eagerly awaiting the series conclusion should come away more than satisfied.<i>–<span style="display:none;"> </span></i></strong></div>
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<p>I really did enjoy this series quite a bit --- a guilty pleasure kind of thing.</p>
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<p><strong>alcatraz versus the evil librarians, sanderson</strong></p>
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<div><strong>A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death mission...to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.</strong>
<p><strong>Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them!...by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.</strong></p>
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<p><strong>A fun, finding-yourself kind of story.  I don't know if I'll read others in the series but I did like it.</strong></p>
 

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<p><strong>Going Bovine</strong> by Libba Bray</p>
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<p>A teen dying from with mad cow disease plunges into an alternative reality where he has two weeks to save the universe and find Dr. X who will cure him. </p>
 

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<p><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;"><b><span style="line-height:115%;font-size:12pt;">Widdershins by Charles de Lint</span></b> </span><a href="http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/widdershins-desc01.htm" target="_blank"><span style="line-height:115%;font-size:12pt;"><span style="color:#0000FF;font-family:Calibri;">http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/widdershins-desc01.htm</span></span></a></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="line-height:115%;font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">I can’t believe I have finished the last Newford novel and there are no more to read! <span> </span>Boo hoo! This is the only series where I deliberately did not read one book after the other quickly to get to the end,rather I took my time savouring each book like a rare glass of wine or expensive Belgian chocolates so I would not finish them too soon.</span></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="line-height:115%;font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;"><span>  </span> <span> </span>I first started Widdershins around a year ago. After a few chapters I realised that I was missing background information on many of the characters and that is when I found that it was part of a series, so I then stopped and started with the first a Dreaming Place. <span> </span>Although De Lint’s Newford series is not a series in the true sense, because each novel is a complete story on it is own, many of the characters reappear so for that reason it is just much more fun to read the books in order. Widdershins is basically a love story between Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddle. Both characters first appear in<span> </span> the second Newford book of shorts stories called Dreams Underfoot and then again in numerous stories and novels after that. At the same time there is a war brewing between the animal people, the animal spirit beings from many Aboriginal American myths and the faeries who came along from the Old World to North America. Jilly and Geordie accidentally get caught up in it. Cassie and Bones (also known as Crazy Dog Joe) and other characters from other Newford novels like the Crow Girls and Whisky Jack join in.</span></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="line-height:115%;font-size:12pt;"><span style="font-family:Calibri;">This will be one of my favourite novels and I am sure I will read it again!</span></span></p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>cathe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16116869"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><strong>The Red Garden</strong> by Alice Hoffman</p>
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<p>This was a series of stories that all take place in the same town in rural Western Massachusetts starting from 1750 and moving through time to the present. Hoffman's usual great writing and mix of realistic and mystical.</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kaliki_kila</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16117445"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Has anybody else read <strong>The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford</strong>?  It was written in the 1800's by a 9-yr-old girl!   It's hilarious!  I found it <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21415" target="_blank">here</a>. </p>
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<p>I'm going to try getting these both from the library.<br>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>fremontmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283131/december-2010-book-thread#post_16123282"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><span>If I don't make it back here before the New Year, Happy Chrismakwanzukkah and Merry Solstice and New Year to everyone!</span> <span><img alt="blowkiss.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/blowkiss.gif"></span></div>
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<p>And to you, fm.  <3<br>
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