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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Annual book recommendations please


I love to read.  But let's be real.  I don't have a ton of time to do it.  I mean sure I read LOTS.  I read the PTO newsletter.  I read 4th grade book reports to find errors in spelling and punctuation.  I've read my camera manual... twice.  I read The Giving Tree 3 times yesterday alone and a new casserole recipe I'm dying to try!  I read a crumpled up note from my child's pocket that I found when I was doing laundry.  I read Ecclesiastes 3:1 so many times I now just recite it in my head.  And I've read the badge requirements in the boy scout handbook no less than 17 times in the past 6 months.  I don't necessarily mean just "read."  I mean read read!

About a decade ago, I decided to stop trying to read real mommy books.  It was just too hard.  But summer came and there was a bit more time on my hands, and I started reading real books again!  And it was wonderful.  And I decided that I was only going to read in the summer and not feel guilty for not reading the other 9 months of the year.  And it may not be optimal but it works for me!

That being said...

Egocentric request #1--I'm LATE for my annual book recommendations!  Y'all have had some awesome suggestions over the years, and I usually pick 3-4 from your suggestions for my summer reads.  I'm just about to finish The Bone Setter's Daughter, by Amy Tan, and I'm loving it by the way!  I like to read a wide variety of literature from classics to nonfiction to historical fiction.  My faves tend to be period books and historical fiction.  I don't like anything too heavy, but it doesn't have to be all puppy dogs and flowers either.  I do like to keep up with the popular it list, but it does have to be well written so no fluff or Shades of Grey please.  Since I read so little, even faves from a few years ago are welcomed too!  

Egocentric request #2--And if you could please humor me, I'm also asking for suggestions pretty please for chapter books to read out loud with the little ones.  Right now we're going through the original The Wizzard of Oz and next will be The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  But I'm getting stymied and need some recommendations for books that will hold the interest of 5 years olds.  

If someone else recommends a book that you really enjoyed, please feel free to second the recommendation 'cause I tend to remember names that I hear over and over again.

In advance, thank you so very much for helping this shut-in get out and about... at least into the land of make believe!

33 comments:

  1. Have you read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series? Fabulous historical fiction.

    If you like Amy Tan, I read her The Kitchen God's Wife on our adoption trip in 2010. It was amazing being in Nanjing where many of the events took place.

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    1. LUV Amy Tan! And have only read a handful of hers. Yes, maybe another is in order. Thx, Shecki!

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  2. For historical fiction, the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon) and the Into the Wilderness series (Sara Donati) are both fantastic. There are a few steamy romance scenes, but more "romance" and less "50 shades," if you know what I mean.

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    1. Okay you're the second person that has recommended the Outlander series so I'd better look into it more! Sorry so say many have recommended it and I STILL haven't read any of them. Maybe it's time. I think I'm getting it confused with a good tween book that has a similar title and that is what is stopping me. Okay, now that I have that straight...

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  3. My goal is to read 36 books this year. My favorite thus far is The Fault in Our Stars. Age of Miracles, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and Brene Brown's books have been really good.

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  4. Ok, Ill ease you into my list......Ill email you the rest, but for sure you must read "Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend" by Matthew Dicks.

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    1. You KNOW I can't pass up anything you recommend, M! Ordering it now!

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  5. I loved The Fault in Our Stars as well.

    The BFG is a good read-aloud (Roald Dahl). I liked the Nate the Great books as well.

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  6. If you haven't read "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand you must. It's an incredible, true story about a WWII fighter pilot who is shot down in the Pacific. The story tells of his survival at sea, as well as his survival in a Japanese POW camp.
    My husband isn't a reader and he couldn't put the book down. It's THAT good.

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    1. Yes, read Unbroken last summer or the summer before. I did enjoy it although it was intense! John McCain's autobiography (very short) about his POW stay was one of my first adult books when I was a freshman in high school. So I couldn't resist Unbroken when I came out! Thx for the recommendation, Desiree!

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  7. Here are a few of my favorites: The Fifth Wave, a little like the Hunger Games BUT better style of writting. I also loved the books
    Home is a Roof Over a Pig by Aminta Arrington. The Scent of Rain and Lightning, The Help , Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and The Light Between Oceans are a few more I loved and still think about.
    ok ok ... I could go on and on, I have a bit of an obsession with books!!!

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  8. It's not historical fiction but have you read any of Jodi Picoult's books? Totally love that chick! My all time favorite book is James Patterson's "Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas" -- not your typical JP's murder mystery but a love story.

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  9. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is fabulous. I think you would especially love the way she looks at the world around her and sees beauty in ordinary things. You guys seem to have a similar perspective on beauty in creation.

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  10. The City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell is wonderful- historical fiction about China, based on the author's grandparents' experiences as Missionaries. You also might enjoy Kate Morton's books- my favorite of hers is The Secret Keeper. An older favorite of mine is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. And Home is a Roof Over a Pig should be a must read for all Chinese adoptive parents!

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  11. Oh and here's a list of kid's books that I've found useful- http://chasingsupermom.com/2012/04/100-chapter-books-you-must-read-to-your-children/

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  12. I loved He's Gone by Deb Calletti (?) So good. And I'm rereading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriairty for the second time in a week.

    For historical fiction, I'm a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (7 books, number 8 due out in 2014). They are very long most over 650 pages but well worth getting into.

    Sorry if this ends up here 3 times!

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  13. Many people have recommended The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene (its a YA book) and I agree! I know your reading time is limited and that is a wonderful book. On my extended list!

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  14. For the children's books...have you read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon? That is probably a little old for a 5-year-old, but it's beautiful and weaves Chinese folktales into the story. Maybe The Magician's Elephant or others by Kate DiCamillo--her Mercy Watson series is lots of fun. Also maybe Mrs. Piggle Wiggle would work for that age. I think Charlotte's Web is a little old, but it probably depends on the child. We love Little Bear and Frog and Toad and Mouse Soup here, but I think they're younger than what you're looking for.

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  15. Oh, and I second the Roald Dahl suggestion. And what about the Percy Jackson series? Maybe too old...? I don't know whether you like reading comic books/graphic novels with your children, but my 5-year-old discovered Missile Mouse last week and it's a new favorite. I'll try to link to it: http://www.amazon.com/Missile-Mouse-The-Star-Crusher/dp/0545117151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370366406&sr=8-1&keywords=missile+mouse

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  16. Best non-fiction, can't put it down: "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed

    Best YA novel as decided by my book club: "Code Name Verity" (so, so, so good!)

    Other top-notch YA: "Fly by Night" Frances Hardinge(so good) and "Nation" by Terry Pratchett

    Non fiction cracking good reads: "The Wave" and "The Devil's Teeth"

    One of my all-time favorites "Wise Children" by Angela Carter, and how about "I Capture the Castle" or "Animal Dreams" by Barbara Kingsolver (adoption theme which you might find interesting)

    I second "What Alice Forgot" as being very hard to put down (And how about "A Pinch of Love" by Alicia Bessette?)

    Another fun read is "Shopaholic."

    For the kids: Amelia Bedelia? Wind in the Willows? Little House on the Prairie? The Faraway Tree or Noddy by Enid Blyton (skipping the un-PC bits, which are there) or Captain Underpants?

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  17. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin is my all-time favorite. I love any of his books. They aren't historical fiction but they are so so good.

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  18. i just finished he's gone and the fault in our stars - both recommended above and both i couldn't put down. now i am starting the language of flowers which has been suggested to me by so many people so i have high hopes. i am generally anti-screen and anti-joining more things online, but have you tried goodreads? i was talked into it this year and i kind of love it - i have lists of what i have read, lists of what i want to read, and lists of what my friends are reading, and then goodreads takes your ratings and recommends more to you. its really good!

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  19. I really liked Quiet, The Power of Introverts. It's obviously non-fiction but a great read. As was Bob Goff's Love Does. For fiction: I'll second anything Amy Tan and add anything Betty Smith (Joy in the Morning, Maggie Now and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn).

    I also found this summer reading list that had a lot of great books on it: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2013/05/2013-summer-reading-guide-ultimate-beach-reading/

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  20. Absolutely must second "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" for the kids. It's fabulous. We got it on CD for a long car ride and the entire family (DH included) adored it-- in fact we loved it so much we got two prints from the book for our little one's room. Also, "Stuart Little"-- it frequently gets forgotten what with Charlotte's Web and all, but it is a lovely story. "The Penderwicks". Penderwicks is a great read aloud and there are two more in the series if everyone enjoys it. "Ramona" and pretty much everything Beverly Cleary ever wrote. "Mr. Popper's Penguins." I bet your super heros would enjoy some of the for-children versions of King Arthur and Robin Hood. I'm also a big fan of Kate DiCamillo-- "The Magical Journey of Edward Tulane" is marvelous and I bet "The Tale of Despereaux" would also hold some super hero appeal and "The Magician's Elephant" is wonderful.

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    1. Just ordered Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. SO excited to start it with the kiddos!

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  21. My 4 year old loves the Magic Treehouse series. Each book is about 90-100 pages, 10 chapters making them quick reads. Even though they are simple stories, I love the idea that books in the magic treehouse are brining them on adventures. What a great way to think of books!

    Some favorites from book club this year: "Left Neglected" by Lisa
    Genova, "Strength in What Remains" by Tracy Kiddler and "The Timekeeper" by Mitch Albom

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  22. We read Wind in the Willows aloud as a family and I still remember it, 25+ years later. Highly recommend that and adventure stories like Treasure Island. Also, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Boxcar Children! All good, nourishing read-alouds.

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  23. My kids ( ages, 7,5,3,2) love Mr.Poppers penguins, Charlottes Web, black Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Stuart Little, and the story of Dr Dolittle. We also listen to them via audiobook download from Audible.com. We play them in the car a lot.

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  24. Anything by Tom Clancy - the "Jack Ryan" series is excellent. WEB Griffin has great WW II era fiction as well. Both are series - fast paced - Clancy is more action/adventure - but his research and accuracy is sooo good that he has actually been investigated buy federal authorities concerning "how" he got such detail.

    2nd's on Alice in Wonderland, Stuart Little, and Dr. Dolittle. Charlotte put me to sleep...sigh...

    hugs - aus and co.

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  25. You might be beyond "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" if you're reading "The Wizard of Oz," but I read that with Doug last year as an intro to chapter books, and he loved it. I'll have to look back at my own lists to see what I can recommend for you, but it looks like you've got plenty of suggestions already!

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  26. I will the recommendation for second author Brene Brown. I just read her new book "Daring Greatly: The Courage to be Vulnerable" and loved it.

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  27. My boys all loved the original Arabian Nights tales. Little House series is great. Grown up, Juliet, can't remember the author.

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