2:35 PM

41-43) Dear Dumb Diary Series by Jim Benton

I got these from a used bookstore to add to my classroom library.  Some of my past 2nd graders couldn't get enough of Benton's Franny K. Stein series, so I trusted that he was capable of creating entertaining books for an older audience as well.  I wasn't wrong.  I'm not sure how ashamed I should be about the love I have for this author.  These books are wonderful reads, not just for students. I couldn't get enough of them.  I was so sad that the bookstore only had #1, #2, and #5 because I would like to read them all!  They're so true to a general middle-school experience that they had me recalling my most embarrassing adolescent moments, as well as some of the my better experiences.  LOVE these books and I can't wait to read more in the series.

7:16 AM

40) Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

I've been wanting to read this for a long time now since I love Disney's version of the silly old bear.  Barnes and Noble tricked me because when I walked in, they had a beautiful display of the collector's editions for this book and Return to the Hundred Acre Wood right in front of my face and they were an extra 20% off.  I figured I'd never find the deal again and bought them both, not realizing RttHAW wasn't even an original written by Milne.  GRR!  Anyways, enough about that.  I have to say that I didn't really like this book.  I wanted to, but it was too boring for me.  I understand that people love it so much because of its purity and simplicity, but I just wasn't appreciating it.  It was slow and nothing exciting happened.  It was kind of like listening to a book on tape that's read in monotone, without any expression.  No fun!  However, I did love the colored illustrations.  They were beautiful and in my opinion, the only reason one should buy this book.  From now on when I get a craving for Winnie-the-Pooh, I'm simply going to pop in Disney's The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh.  Shame on me, I know.

8:38 PM

39) The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Oh, how I loved this book!  Let me count the ways.  This book was recommended to me by a 2nd grade teacher I work with.  She said that she read it to her class and they absolutely loved it.  She and others felt that it should have been a Newbery book.  I completely agree!  This story was simple and sweet.  The moral of the story is quite clear: It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  It's elegant in a way I never expected and Katherine Paterson's blurb on the back cover couldn't be more right:

"Why should I care what happens to an arrogant, overdressed china rabbit?  But I did care, desperately, and I think I can safely predict you will, too."

Children's literature doesn't get better than this!

8:33 PM

38) The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French

I bought this book from a book order to add it to my classroom library.  I didn't necessarily intend on reading it right away, but I decided that it might be fun.  A fairy tale to the very core, this book was wonderful!  For an adult, it was a light read that had enough entertainment value to keep me interested.  The main characters were likeable and the evil characters get their just desserts.  I liked it so much, that if I do ever teach a 4th or 5th grade class, I will use this book as a teacher read-aloud.  I know the kids would enjoy it as much as I did.

7:22 AM

37) The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

When I can't find something to read next, I sometimes like to search amazon and the like to find books I've loved and see what people who bought that also purchased.  This book came up for me time and time again, but something about it just made me choose not to read it.  It took walking into Barnes and Noble one day and seeing it front and center on a clearance display to finally pick it up.  I am so glad I did!

This book was amazing!  It was slow for about the first 100 pages, but once I got that far, I became so invested in the characters and the mystery that was unraveling before my eyes that I couldn't turn away.  The story moved from past to present repeatedly, which normally I don't like too much, but it wasn't confusing in any way.  In fact, I found that while I did get more into the chapters set in the past, I was interested in the happenings of the characters in the present as well.

This book had a little bit of everything!  At first, it was disturbing in a fascinating way when I figured out some characters were involved in body snatchings.  Then, it became sickeningly awesome when the dissections of these bodies were going on.  It's evident that Gerritsen had some background knowledge of medicine, otherwise I doubt her descriptions would have been half as effective.  There was a little love story in the mix, heartbreak, and satisfaction as the entire story, past and present, came together beautifully at the end.  It never ceases to amaze me how someone could come up with such an intricate story like this one.  LOVED IT!

7:00 AM

36) The Devil in Massachusetts by Marion L. Starkey

One of the most intriguing events in American history fo me is the Salem Witch Trials.  Needless to say, I have numerous books about that time, but this is the first I've actually read.  While the others seem to offer an abundance of information and facts, this book took a different approach.  Subtitled A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials, this book had all the minute details I could want, but they were presented in a fictional format.  It was much easier for me to get into this book when it felt like I was reading a story, opposed to a list of dates, names, and events.  Starkey's book was very detailed and the information was taken from numerous primary historical documents.  I never once got the feeling while reading that I was overwhelmed with all the names or that the story was too fast-paced.  I usually shy away from nonfiction for those reasons.  The chapters were well laid out and the events of the trials from their very conception to the aftermath years later were included.  This was a marvelous book on the subject that has definitely earned a place on my permanent book shelf.

1:01 PM

Books Read in 2009 (so far)

  1. THE MYSTERY AT LILAC INN (NANCY DREW #4) by Carolyn Keene
  2. THE SECRET OF SHADOW RANCH (NANCY DREW #5) (original version) by Carolyn Keene
  3. THE SECRET OF RED GATE FARM (NANCY DREW #6) (original version) by Carolyn Keene
  4. THE CLUE IN THE DIARY (NANCY DREW #7) by Carolyn Keene
  5. NANCY'S MYSTERIOUS LETTER (NANCY DREW #8) by Carolyn Keene
  6. THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY by Agatha Christie
  7. TRUE NATURE: AN ILLUSTRATED JOURNAL OF FOUR SEASONS IN SOLITUDE by Barbara Bash
  8. THE WILD GIRL: THE NOTEBOOKS OF NED GILES, 1932 by Jim Fergus
  9. HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain
  10. KISS THE GIRLS by James Patterson
  11. BIG BAD WOLF by James Patterson
  12. NATURE GIRL by Carl Hiaasen
  13. ALREADY DEAD by Charlie Huston
  14. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LAST STRAW by Jeff Kinney
  15. CORALINE by Neil Gaiman
  16. STARGIRL by Jerry Spinelli
  17. NIGHT by Elie Wiesel
  18. THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold
  19. ANIMALS AS TEACHERS AND HEALERS by Susan Chernak McElroy
  20. THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS by Nancy Pickard
  21. SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn
  22. WHAT IS THE WHAT by Dave Eggers
  23. THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON by Stephen King
  24. BONEMAN'S DAUGHTERS by Ted Dekker
  25. HALF BROKEN THINGS by Morag Joss
  26. DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn
  27. BUNNICULA by James and Deborah Howe
  28. FINAL GRADE by R.L. Stine
  29. NOCTURNES by John Connolly
  30. THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame
  31. SLAVE: MY TRUE STORY by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis
  32. SOLD by Patricia McCormick
  33. MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers
  34. FIRST NIGHT by Tom Weston
  35. THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I was way ahead of schedule until about July, when I had to start getting ready to move.  It's already mid-October and I'm just now starting to get back into my reading groove.  Sigh...if I keep at it, I may still be able to reach my goal this year, but I've got to spend most of my free time with my nose in a book.  There are worse things. :)

12:52 PM

Books Read in 2008

  1. INTO THE WILD by Jon Krakauer
  2. LE PETIT NICOLAS by Sempe-Goscinny
  3. MURDER IN THE HEARTLAND by Harry Spiller
  4. WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  5. THE TRAGIC TALE OF NARCISSA WHITMAN AND A FAITHFUL HISTORY OF THE OREGON TRAIL by Cheryl Harness
  6. TELL NO ONE by Harlan Coben
  7. THE GOOD GUY by Dean Koontz
  8. KNEEKNOCK RISE by Natalie Babbitt
  9. ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN: THE JOURNAL OF MAY DODD by Jim Fergus
  10. THE ABDUCTION by Mark Gimenez
  11. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES by Jeff Kinney
  12. REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier
  13. LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  14. GATHERING BLUE by Lois Lowry
  15. WHISTLING IN THE DARK by Lesley Kagen
  16. NINETEEN MINUTES by Jodi Picoult
  17. GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson
  18. LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
  19. ISLAND OF LOST GIRLS by Jennifer McMahon
  20. THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd
  21. EARTH PRAYERS by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon
  22. THE IDIOT GIRLS' ACTION-ADVENTURE CLUB by Laurie Notaro
  23. THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING by Joshilyn Jackson
  24. THE BOOK OF BRIGHT IDEAS by Sandra Kring
  25. LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  26. THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE (NANCY DREW #2) by Carolyn Keene
  27. BETWEEN, GEORGIA by Joshilyn Jackson
  28. THE BUNGALOW MYSTERY (NANCY DREW #3) by Carolyn Keene
  29. GULLIVER'S TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift
  30. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling
  31. WHAT THE DEAD KNOW by Laura Lippman
  32. THE MYSTERY OF THE MOSS-COVERED MANSION (NANCY DREW #18) by Carolyn Keene
Overall, not a bad year despite the fact I didn't reach my goal.  I discovered my newest favorite author, Jim Fergus, and also found a few books besides his to add to my permanent library shelf (THE BOOK OF BRIGHT IDEAS & LIFE OF PI).

7:03 PM

Books Read in 2007

  1. WICKED: THE LIFE & TIMES OF THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST by Gregory Maguire
  2. MEET THE MERTZES: THE LIFE STORIES OF 'I LOVE LUCY'S' OTHER COUPLE by Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg
  3. IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
  4. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway
  5. MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George
  6. INDIAN CAPTIVE: THE STORY OF MARY JEMISON by Lois Lenski
  7. SOMETHING UPSTAIRS by Avi
  8. CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E.B. White
  9. THE GIVER by Lois Lowry
  10. WANTED by Kim Wozencraft
  11. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID by Jeff Kinney
  12. NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowry
  13. NIGHTJOHN by Gary Paulsen
  14. WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech
  15. THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
  16. HATCHET by Gary Paulsen
  17. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo
  18. THUNDER ROLLING IN THE MOUNTAINS by Scott O'Dell and Elizabeth Hall
  19. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by David Sedaris
  20. DEATH ANGEL by Martha Powers
  21. THE MISSING by Chris Mooney
  22. PERFECT NIGHTMARE by John Saul
  23. THE WANDERER by Sharon Creech
  24. CHASING REDBIRD by Sharon Creech
  25. RUBY HOLLER by Sharon Creech
  26. GRANNY TORRELLI MAKES SOUP by Sharon Creech
  27. THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE by George Selden
  28. GEORGE'S MARVELOUS MEDICINE by Roald Dahl
  29. THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare
  30. MANIAC MAGEE by Jerry Spinelli
  31. AN AMERICAN PLAGUE: THE TRUE AND TERRIFYING STORY OF THE YELLOW FEVER EPIDEMIC OF 1793 by Jim Murphy
  32. ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred Taylor
  33. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck
  34. OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse
  35. I HAVE LIVED A THOUSAND YEARS by Livia Bitton-Jackson
  36. BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo
  37. THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK (NANCY DREW #1) by Carolyn Keene
  38. HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J.K. Rowling
This was the year I originally planned to read 100 books.  Obviously that didn't work and since I felt like I spent every waking moment that year reading, I thought it best to lower my goal to 50 books and once I reached that, then think about upping the number.  Most of these were children's books because I was in Children's Lit at that time and was required to read a certain number.

6:52 PM

Books Read in 2006

  1. HOW TO BE LOST by Amanda Eyre Ward
  2. THE SOVEREIGNTY AND GOODNESS OF GOD by Mary Rowlandson
  3. WHERE THE HEART IS by Billie Letts
  4. VELOCITY by Dean Koontz
  5. CONVERSATIONS WITH THE HIGH PRIEST OF COOSA by Charles M. Hudson
  6. THE BRIGHT FOREVER by Lee Martin
  7. BLACK ELK SPEAKS by John G. Neihardt
  8. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S by Truman Capote
  9. WHEN LIGHT BREAKS by Patti Callahan Henry
  10. THE HUSBAND by Dean Koontz
  11. THE BREATHTAKER by Alice Blanchard
  12. HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX by J.K. Rowling
  13. A BREAK WITH CHARITY by Ann Rinaldi

6:48 PM

Books Read in 2005

  1. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A NAKED ELF? by Cheryl Sterling
  2. THE NEXT BIG THING by Johanna Edwards
  3. WHERE THE RIVER RUNS by Patti Callahan Henry
  4. SEE JANE DIE by Erica Spindler
  5. HARRIS AND ME by Gary Paulsen
  6. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum
  7. BUT INSIDE I'M SCREAMING by Elizabeth Flock
  8. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE by J.K. Rowling
This was the first year I actually started keeping track of what I read.  That's no excuse for the dismal total, I'm afraid. :(

6:43 PM

My Log Becomes a New Blog!

I've been keeping a reading log for about 4 years now.  I've decided it might finally be time to start keeping track of my reading electronically.  It's faster and in the very possible case my computer crashes like it did oh-so-recently, I will not have to scurry about trying to remember all the books I'd read from the start of the year.

I have challenged myself to read 50 books in 2009.  I tried this in 2007 and 2008, but did not reach my goal.  I was way ahead of schedule this year until July when I started packing up my life to move across country.  Life was just too hectic to get passionate with a novel at that time.  Now I've got to pick up the slack if I want to meet my goal this year! 

Since this is a new blog, but I have been keeping a handwritten log for some time, I will condense my reading history to a mere list of titles and authors of all the books I've read up to this point.  Each year will be a separate post, mainly because I hate the feeling of a barren new blog.  Hopefully this will fill it up a little bit. :)

Previously Read:  (There are no dates because these were read before I started religiously keeping my log.)

  • THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  • JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
  • THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE by Thomas Hardy
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  • SHE'S COME UNDONE by Wally Lamb
  • BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  • THE COMING OF JAN by Marian Erdman
  • FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • INTENSITY by Dean Koontz
  • JEMIMA J. by Jane Green
  • HARRY POTTER & THE SORCERER'S STONE by J.K. Rowling
  • HARRY POTTER & THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS by J.K. Rowling
  • HARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN by J.K. Rowling
  • THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  • THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER by Mark Twain