Monthly Archives: June 2004

Recent Reads: Fantasy & Fairy Tale Retellings

Recent Reads: Fantasy & Fairy Tale Retellings

I have heard about Home but haven’t seen it yet… I heard it is a lot like Window which I have always loved and even without words sends a strong message.

Right now I am re-reading The Golden Compass … I am trying to catch up to Mike who is reading the series for the first time but I also never read The Amber Spyglass so this is actually really going to help me because I have forgotten a lot. I think when I recommend these to kids (and adults… since I seem to be doing a lot of that lately) I will suggest reading the series back to back.

From the same publisher that brought us Snow I also recently read The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey. It’s a re-invention of Arabian Nights. It was definitely intriguing & fast paced…a weak spot here or there but these books really are perfect for those girls who love extended fairy tales… they would make great beach or travel books! They’re from Simon Pulse if you’re looking to purchase. I have the Sleeping Beauty one (Beauty Sleep) on my nightstand which I started but I think I overdid it trying to read 3 like that in a row…I like variety…why I guess I don’t usually read a series back to back! Anyway, I have forsaken Beauty Sleep for Golden Compass…no regrets there 🙂

Home by Jeannie Baker

Home by Jeannie Baker

Baker, Jeannie. Home. Greenwillow, 2004. ISBN 978-0066239354 32 pp. $16.99


I just put a book down and couldn’t wait another second to tell you all about it. It’s a wordless picture book called Home by Jeannie Baker. It has so many stories to tell and there is so much to look at in each illustration. It’s about family, community, growing up, revitalizing neighborhoods, bringing nature into the city, and so much more. Feast your eyes on this book and enjoy the stories!

The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes & A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly


I just read The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes. This was not my favorite of Marian Keyes’ fun escapist single women novels, but it was a fast read and kept my mind off being sick and all the busy library stuff going on with the summer reading program.

I also had the pleasure of reading A Northern Light which is a new historical fiction book by Jennifer Donnelly. This is a must read for all book people, word people, writing people, dictionary people, history people, women’s movement people, poetry people, animal people, love story people etc. You get the picture? The setting is upstate New York, near Old Forge, in the early 1900s. Mattie is the oldest daughter and bound by a promise to her now dead mother that she will stay with the family and take care of her Father and siblings. But Mattie is an excellent writer and a great lover of words. Her teacher encourages her to take the New York state Regents exams to be able to apply to college. Mattie is torn apart by her desire to continue her education and become a real writer. She feels obligated to take care of the family since her Mother’s death. She also has a love interest, that handsome Royal Loomis. When his arms are around her she couldn’t be happier. Will Mattie choose her family or an education? Please read this wonderful novel to find out!

Recent Reads: War Stories

Recent Reads: War Stories

This week I have read:

The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer by Gary Paulsen
Not as strong as his other stuff. Wow, he has had quite a rough life and faced some horrible things. Still, this is not one of my favorites…

Soldier’s Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers by Gary Paulsen
This is a sad story that really dives into the heart and soul of a soldier. It is a novel but also a psychological evaluation of what seeing so much death and destruction can do to a person. This is a sad, sad story, but a really important one. It seemed so timely with the death toll in the Middle East constantly rising.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
There is no way to describe this book. But I’ll give it a shot anyway. It is a fiction book but feels like more like non-fiction. It is about the Vietnam War. It is storytelling at its finest, but it is also about the art of storytelling. It is one of the first things that I’ve ever read that really and truly made me understand why my Dad will not speak about his experiences as a Marine is Vietnam and why still, 34 years later, he has nightmares every night. All I can really say is that you really need to read it.

Recent Reads


I apologize for not having the time to write real reviews for these books, but I just want to get the list out there before I forget what I’ve read lately. I’ve been out sick this week and since I couldn’t feed my stomach, I decided to feed my brain…

Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates (what a powerful book–just as good, if not better than Big Mouth Ugly Girl)

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen (oldie-but-goodie)

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen (I think he is one of the best writers alive today!)

Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a bad neighborhood by Hollis Gillespie (talk about heart and heartache and humor and love and friendship and wackiness–this is an awesome adventure)

Cirque Du Freak: Book 1 by Darren Shan (I finally got to see what all these middle school boys are so hyped about. This starts as a fun and playful story and has quite a chilling ending. Can’t wait to see what happens to Darren in The Vampire’s Assistant)

Izzy Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt (We have this shelved in children’s and I really think it should be a YA book. Anyway, Cynthia Voigt just never disappoints. Izzy loses her leg in a drunk driving accident. How will she cope? How will her family cope? How will her friends cope?)

The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney (A classroom pet, Humphrey the Hamster, becomes more than a pet when he starts making weekend visits with the students in his classroom)