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.