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30 January 2016 @ 06:00 pm
Books, Ah, Books.  
Before the first month of the new year passes, I thought I’d write up about the books I read last year. I was aiming for 10, but only made it through 6. It’s just, the older I get, the worse the brain fog gets. I read a lot of YA & Middle-Grade books this past year - (thanks ceitfianna for giving me a word for books for like 5th graders, because YA wasn’t quite right). This also means I can borrow/loan/discuss books with The Nephew, which is awesome.


Escape From The Overworld by Danica Davidson -
Basically it's Minecraft fanfiction for 10 year olds. I don’t play Minecraft, but I enjoyed it anyway. A Minecraft character comes through the portal of a young girl’s computer screen and zombies follow him through and they have to fight them and close the portal. It’s fun and The Nephew loved it and has the whole series now. Def if you play Minecraft or have a kid who does, check it out.

Mark Of The Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen -
I liked this one a lot. It’s about a young slave boy who finds a magic heirloom and tries to bring down the corrupt politics of ancient Rome with it. Though he doesn’t actually care about the corrupt politics, he just wants to get his sister back. The main character didn’t speak to me that much, but there is an orphan girl with a secret past and she is totally my favorite. She takes no shit from anyone! Also he has a griffin and I spent a lot of time being like, “Yes, evil politician, okay. But where is your griffin?!” Warning: The Colosseum is full of caged animals forced to fight each other and even though the main character is outraged and tries to help the animals when he can, it still upset me quite a bit.

The Runaway’s Gold by Emilie C. Burack -
This one was my favorite of the year! It’s about an extremely poor boy from the Shetland Islands in 1842, who is a good, decent boy, but gets framed for some bullshit that he didn’t do and has to go on this adventure to clear his name. The historical aspect of it is cool - it starts in New York after he’s immigrated and there is a lot about the poor conditions that led immigrants to NY and then the conditions they have to live in once they get there - and also just, I like reading about the Shetland Islands. They jump around the timeline a little, which can throw you off. And they use accents, which is what threw off The Nephew from reading it. But I really, really loved this one. Highly rec!

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson -
I am sure you have all mostly read this one by now - or seen the movie - but basically it’s about a boy who feels suffocated by his life and befriends a girl who teaches him how to use his imagination to expand his boundaries. I read it as a kid, but hadn’t since then. Sis was loaning her copy to The Nephew, so I snagged it. I had forgotten most of it, so even though I knew how it ended, I got reattached to the characters all over again. I really like the writing style of this book and I remember as a kid trying to copy it with my own writing. I really love this idea of learning to open your imagination and passing that down to others, teaching them that there is a world just beyond our sight and if we open ourselves to it, it can be glorious.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire -
This was so good, but so hard to read. Not writing style wise, though that did take a bit to get used too, since it was written in her voice. But it was also hard to read because the subject matter was so harsh and so much truth to it. Basically it’s written from the POV of a teenage, overweight, black girl who has been raped by her father for several years, abused by her mother, has a learning disability, gets pregnant at 12 and then again at 16, when the story starts. She finally gets sent to an alternative school where a teacher actually tries to help her. There she meets other pregnant moms, ex drug addicts, a girl with HIV, a homeless lesbian. It’s not a happy story, but there’s hope in it, and she has this desire for education, to learn to read and just…yeah, a hard read, but worth it.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson -
I try to read this every year at Christmas time. I have an old hardcover copy my mom bought me years ago. This one is told from the POV of your typical middle-class girl who is in the Christmas Pageant every year. But then the worst, most horrible kids in town show up to audition and everything is ruined. Except, of course, it’s not. The kids aren’t terrible, they just don’t know any better. It teaches kids the true meaning of Christmas and that not everyone is coming from the same place as them, tolerance, acceptance, understanding. Plus, it’s hysterical! The tone of it is something like a Christmas Story. And the youngest of the ‘horrible children’ - oh man, I wanted to be her as a kid. When she starts yelling about Shazam - I reenacted that bit so much as a kid, my mom was a little afraid to have me in the Christmas pageant that year.

This year I hope to double it and hit 12 books!
 
 
 
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on January 30th, 2016 11:10 pm (UTC)
I adore the image of you shouting during a Christmas pageant - and wish it had actually happened!
dodger_sister: readingdodger_sister on February 22nd, 2016 12:31 am (UTC)
I adore the image of you shouting during a Christmas pageant - and wish it had actually happened!

Have you read it? During the dress rehearsal the little girl who is supposed to the angel is like yelling, "Out of the black night, with a terrible vengeance, Shazam!" because they told her that the angel appeared suddenly in the middle of the night to the shepherds. And also, "Hey, shepherds, a baby is born, get going!" and then the cafeteria ladies think the church is on fire cuz one of the kids is smoking in the bathroom and pulls the fire alarm and the fire department comes and the angel is herding everyone out of the church yelling Shazam! - idek, I just really wanted to be that kid and I think Mom was afraid I would start yelling "Out of the black night with a terrible vengeance in the middle of the play. So I never got to be the angel of the lord. Boo.
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on February 22nd, 2016 12:47 am (UTC)
Isn't it the one where the WORST family in town decides they want to be in the pageant, and they're numerous and ill-mannered and everyone is scared to let them in but can't keep them out? I'm pretty sure I've read it at some point.

Your mom was totally overreacting to your fandom love. Silly woman!
dodger_sister: readingdodger_sister on February 22nd, 2016 12:53 am (UTC)
Isn't it the one where the WORST family in town decides they want to be in the pageant, and they're numerous and ill-mannered and everyone is scared to let them in but can't keep them out? I'm pretty sure I've read it at some point.

Yeah that's the one! Only of course the Worst Kids don't ruin it, they actually get it. All the other kids do the play because their parents make them every year and they just go through the motions. But the worst kids, they get it. They get what it's like to be forced out, to be turned away by everyone, to not be wanted, to be looked down on, like Mary and Joseph and Jesus were. They actually get what the play is trying to tell them and it's kind of beautiful. But also hysterically well written!

Your mom was totally overreacting to your fandom love. Silly woman!

No. No, she wasn't. I would have done it. Little 7yr old me would have done it. She made the right call.
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on February 22nd, 2016 12:58 am (UTC)
Would have been kinda awesome to see, which I guess I said already? :P
wolfrider89: Lev - OT3 cutewolfrider89 on January 31st, 2016 10:41 am (UTC)
Oh man, now I want to do some sort of round up, too! I did the Popsugar 2015 reading challenge, which was awesome. :)

I loved reading your reviews, and the term Middle-Grade. :D If any of these get translated into Swedish, I will use your excellent reviews to sell them at work. ;) (I mean, I think Terebathia and Precious have been translated, but we don't have those. :p)

I love setting some sort of goal for how many books to read it a year, that is an excellent idea. :) I read twenty books in 2015, so my goal will be... 25? Yeah, I don't see myself squeezing in more than that. :p
dodger_sister: readingdodger_sister on February 22nd, 2016 12:35 am (UTC)
Oh man, now I want to do some sort of round up, too! I did the Popsugar 2015 reading challenge, which was awesome. :)

What is the Pop Sugar Challenge?

Are you working at a bookstore? Did I know that? Definitely feel free to use my reviews!

Yeah, isn't Middle Grade a great term? Like not quite old enough to be YA but definitely too old to be a Children's Book - I love that term.

I love setting some sort of goal for how many books to read it a year, that is an excellent idea. :) I read twenty books in 2015, so my goal will be... 25? Yeah, I don't see myself squeezing in more than that. :p

Adding 5 is actually like the recommended thing to do. I added six cuz like 6+6 is 12 and somehow 12 feels like a more rounded number than 11. Plus that's one for each month! So far, I've read 1/2 a book. lol
wolfrider89: Lev - OT3 cutewolfrider89 on February 26th, 2016 03:23 pm (UTC)
What is the Pop Sugar Challenge?

It's this. I'm doing it again this year, and I, too, have only read 1/2 a book. :p

Are you working at a bookstore? Did I know that?
Haha, I honestly have no idea if I've ever mentioned that. I've worked in two different bookshops over the last three years. :) I've been at my current one for almost two years now, which is like some sort of record for me. :p

Jo Ann: Movies; HOLLYWOOD signyeuxdebleu on February 1st, 2016 04:38 am (UTC)
I read "Precious" and it was heartbreaking. So was the movie with Gabourey Sidibe. She was nominated for an Academy Award, but didn't get it. She should have.

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dodger_sister: readingdodger_sister on February 22nd, 2016 12:45 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I definitely want to see the movie Precious. It's on my Netflix list, but I'm glad I read the book first. It looks amazing though, but like the book, harsh and raw.
Jo Ann: Movies: film & popcornyeuxdebleu on February 22nd, 2016 01:54 am (UTC)
Yes, the film adaptation is definitely also harsh and raw, but excellent.
Trigger Warning: Lifematchboximpala on February 9th, 2016 05:47 am (UTC)
My dad bought The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when I was a kid and I still have his copy. It is surprisingly good shape considering how much we read it together.
dodger_sister: readingdodger_sister on February 22nd, 2016 12:48 am (UTC)
My dad bought The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when I was a kid and I still have his copy. It is surprisingly good shape considering how much we read it together.

It's such a great book! The hardcover Mom and I read together when I was a kid isn't holding up too well, but the one she bought me when I moved out is still in good shape, hopefully I can keep it to read every year from now on without it falling apart, though I loaned it to The Nephew so we'll see what shape it is in when I get it back, lol.