Sunday, April 17, 2011

April A to Z Challenge: N is for ...

Having trouble with Blogger today...Will try to get out the "N" topic as soon as I can figure out what is wrong.Apparently it doesn't like that I have italicized titles of books.  If you see major typos today it's because I'm trying to work out the font issues.

I was Naughty yesterday and did Not post anything for “N” day.  Yes, I Negelected to Nominate any worthy “N” words. Never one to think that Quangsters are Naïve enough to Not Notice that I skipped that Noble letter, I decided to use the A-Z Challenge’s free day (Sunday) to make up for my Negligence. I will Now Name today’s “N” word.
    N is for Novel.
    Reading is as essential to my well-being as oxygen or beaches or Dancing with the Stars.  When I am alone, I never eat a meal without a book in my hands. My mother used to call the bathroom the “library” for good reason. If late at night I find myself bookless before trying to wind-down for the evening—Hallelujah! There’s the internet!  Many a midnight hour has seen me neglecting sleep in favor of “just one more chapter.” (Darn those good writers who have mastered the technique of putting cliff-hangers right at the end of the chapter.)
  Although not all of these are novels, here are some of the books I have read, or finished reading since the beginning of 2011.
    The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It is required reading for my ninth graders so this year I finished it for the third time. Goldman is a master storyteller and captivated me from the first page. Rarely does a writer fool me, but with The Princess Bride, I have to say, I didn’t see it coming. For those of you who have not read it, that’s all I’ll say, except to nominate it as the Most Quotable Book Ever.
    Worldshaker by Richard Harland. This book was my initiation into the steampunk genre, which basically poses the question, What if “X” (19th century historical event) happened this way instead? In Worldshaker, teen heir Col Porpentine, deals with life on a juggernaut after it has been announced that he, and not his father, will take over as Supreme Commander of the ship. Col has been sheltered from the truth all his life—the truth being that his elite family has not always been as upstanding as he was led to believe. The massive ship he lives on was created in the 1800’s and the story takes place 150 years later. Col has to decide whether to expose his family’s dark secrets, thereby ruining his chances for inheritance, or continue living a lie.
    Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas. Typical light-hearted romance (I’m a sucker,) in which a young widow and a young man who has adopted his orphaned niece, fall in love. The story takes place in the Pacific Northwest, so Computer Geek was able to enlighten me on all the locations.
    Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack.  Heroine Sadie Hoffmiller is a fifty-something widow whose nosiness gets her into trouble while she “investigates” a murder. Included throughout the book are Sadie’s recipes.
    Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack. The further adventures of Sadie and her ability to inject herself into everyone else’s business. Also chock-full of recipes.
  Finding Nouf  by Zoe Ferraris. Nouf is a young Muslim girl who has disappeared in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. A family friend is called upon to investigate and uncover a family secret.
    Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. Teen Alex Rider is forced to deal with the reality of his life when his uncle, and legal guardian, is killed. He ends up becoming a spy for his uncle’s former employers.
    Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Partly based on the life of the author’s grandmother, Caddie Woodlawn is a charming look into life in the mid- 1800’s.  Good reading for pre- and early teens.
    Toys Remembered, an anthology compiled by author Madonna Dries Christensen. Toys is a delightful compilation of memories of childhood male playthings. Many of the stories are humorous (especially for those of us old enough to remember the toys) and some are poignant. Computer Geek has a story in there and so does Quangster Ken Devine.
    Home Fires by Luanne Rice. A love-story following the usual pattern of will they/won’t they. A woman recently separated from her husband falls for a town hero, a firefighter whose face is scarred. With a lot of minor character backstories, it is an interesting read, though a little too graphic—in both romance and violence—for my taste.
    Silas Marner by George Eliot. I liked this book better the second time around. I just couldn’t make sense of it at age thirteen. This time though, I was able to appreciate her characterization, her poetic prose and her surprising sense of humor. It’s a story of a miser who is redeemed through the love of a little girl.
    The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.  A fantasy based on the legends of Nicholas Flamel and John Dee. Twins Josh and Sophie unknowingly get entrenched in a battle between the two immortal rivals.
    Currently reading:
    Sarah by Orson Scott Card. Reading for the second time. It’s a fascinating novel which uses Card’s unique perspective to shed light on the relationship between Biblical Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. OSC is one of my favorites for his ability to take some minor event in his life and craft it into an intriguing novel. He writes fiction, science-fiction, historical fiction, folklore and non-fiction. The man is a genius. He wrote two other book where I “didn’t see it coming”—Ender’s Game and Lost Boys.
    Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff. A pre-teen novel. Set in Ireland during the potato blight years, young Nory must try to keep siblings from starving while her father is away fishing. Adults will recognize the horror of the situation as Nory tries to do what she can to persuade her little brother to think of other things while he goes to bed hungry.
    The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari.  The old tale of God and Lucifer warring over the soul of Job, but set in modern days. The new “guinea pig” is teenager, Joby, who must go through Job-like trials. Ferrari’s descriptions of landscape and human character are so spell-binding that I usually go no more than a full page without saying, “I wish I could write like that.” I was disappointed to find nothing more that he has written.

    I am currently compiling a list of must-read novels for this summer. What good novels have you read lately?



  1. I've begun keeping track of the books I read, by month. Averaging about 8 a month.

    I re-read Silas Marner last year. Have you seen the Steve Martin movie loosely based on Silas Marner? I happened on it one night and enjoyed it. A Twist Of Fate.

  2. Auntie M: Please provide that list, pronto. :) I am looking for some good summer reading material. I have not seen A Twist of Fate. Do you think it is OK to show to students?

  3. It's been a while since I've seen the movie but I don't recall anything horrible. You might look at the synopsis on the movie site.
    I gave you an incorrect title for it, it's A Simple Twist of Fate.
    I'll look at my book list and see what to recommend.

  4. Eight books a month!!!!! You must spend more time reading than sleeping.
    I would love to read that much.

    I haven't read Silas Marner although I did see a very good film (not Steve Martin.) Perhaps I'll take it to France with the other book my daughter is sending me this week. I'll let you know what it is as soon as I can remember the title.

  5. Randi, thanks for giving me a good list to find my next book! Finding Nouf sounds very interesting to me.

    I'm in such a book drought these days. Thanks for reminding me to head on over to that library pronto!

  6. Auntie M: I have it coming by Netflix now.

    Ken: I am positive that Auntie M does spend more time reading than sleeping. You should take Silas with you. Although it takes a while to get into the flow of her speech, it is a classic for a good reason. I think you'll like it.

    septembermom: I liked Finding Nouf. It was a good insight into that culture. Meet you at the library!


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