Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Upcoming Movies January 30, 2010

Filed under: book turned into movie,Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:35 pm

My daughter out read me in the Percy Jackson series. This is a first for both of us! I’ve only finished the first-The Lightning Thief and she just finished the 5th-The Last Olympian– this past week.

We are both eagerly anticipating the The Lighting Thief movie release in February. She was so indignant this moring when she saw a trailer on t.v. and it did not match with what she read in the book. Despite this, we are both counting the days down!

We are also looking forward to The Diary of a Wimpy Kid (trailer just released) set for a spring debut.

I normally don’t love movies made from books, but my children’s enthusiasm about these two is catching!


Lucy Calkins…here I come! January 24, 2010

Filed under: Calkins — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:47 pm
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Headed off to hear all about the new Units of Study Across the Year for Upper Grade Reading. Will blog about all the new and exciting things coming from Lucy Calkins and Heinemann.


Reader memories

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:42 pm

As I unpack in the new house, I am coming across boxes of books from my childhood. I have gotten rid of many of the boxes over the years (don’t forget I come to book hoarding genetically), so I thought I was only going to be unpacking the “really special ones” from my childhood. At one point I must have been feeling more than nostalgic, because I just unpacked a box of Sweet Valley High books and Sweet Dream romance books. Ha!

I will admit that I read almost every Sweet Valley High book, and owned  more than my fair share of them at one point.

$2.25 the spine reads.  YA Novel.   Copyright 1983.

Here’s an example of a title- Playing with Fire. Book #3 created by Francine Pascal.

I did find images at for your viewing pleasure.

Before my Sweet Valley High phase, came the Sweet Dream series. I remember when I first saw the books in our local book store. We had the best local bookstore when I was growing up. It was in the basement of The Granville Times. The main store sold stationery, assignment books, and other things Denison students might need. Half way to the back of the store, there was a staircase on the right leading down to the treasure trove of books. It did lead right past the shelves of stuffed animals, which I also had quite a collection. Some days it was tough to decide how to spend my allowance-new books or stuffed animals.

Down the old basement stairs, handrail on the left, old stone foundation walls on the right, until you got to the bottom. There you turned and saw all the special displays of the newest titles. It must have been a very dry basement, because I don’t have any memory of basement smell. The first section had children’s and YA books, adult titles and non-fiction were in the back part of the basement. I’m sure my six foot seven husband would not have been able to fit down there even as a teen, but I found it cozy and fantastic!

I think I was with one of my friends, probably Becky, when we first spotted the display of Sweet Dreams books in the fall of 1981. I have a distinct memory of being very snobby about the books-something to the extent of “You won’t catch me reading dumb romances!” Well, that quickly changed when a friend gave me a couple for my birthday later that fall that I “had” to read, since they were a gift. I was hooked. I don’t know how many of the series I read, but the right answer is “too many”. I was laughing my rear off showing my husband the covers of a few of them.

He replied, “I’m not sure which is more shocking-those horrible 80’s hairstyles or the fact that your parents actually let you read those books?”

If only he knew about V.C. Andrews.


Maybe I Should Have Looked in the Freezer… January 19, 2010

Filed under: authors,autographing,bloggers,blogs,Newbery — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:46 pm
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I couldn’t find my socks today. Perhaps like Hobo Bob from Wayside School, I should have looked in the freezer.

I do actually know that the freezer is one place the socks definitely aren’t. My freezer is empty, but my house is full of boxes. The socks lurk in one of the many unpacked boxes. I should be looking for them right now, but books are on my brain. Maybe I couldn’t find my socks, but I did take time to meet my Kidlit Book Blogger friends yesterday to celebrate the Newbery announcements with breakfast and a trip to the awesome Cover to Cover! Some would question my priorities, but if you know me….

My husband and I both grew up in the small town we live in. When we met, we both lived in the village, and when we were first married we loved the many plusses of being able to walk to the library, to school, etc. Needing more space than our home had for children and dogs, we spent the last eleven years outside of town, hoping to move back into the village at some point. I might not know where those socks are, but I am thrilled to be back in walking distance of the library, school, and have the built in exercise of dogs that need multiple walks a day. I love our 1920’s home with the old woodwork and old house charm and quirks! Today my friend told me it reminds her of the original book Cheaper by the Dozen and for me it brings back memories of illustrations from the Betsy and Tacy books for me! Yet another thing to love about our move-a house that brings back happy childhood reading memories for myself and my friends!

Back to 2010 Newbery awards! While I was disappointed to have not predicted (or read-yikes!) any of the Newbery winners, I was thrilled that Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me won! She was delightful at NCTE this fall and having a personalized, autographed copy of the book is pretty darn cool! It’s been in my TBR pile, but my daughter got to it first. She really enjoyed it and loved how the cover came together for her like pieces in a puzzle as she read.

Great job to fellow bloggers A Year of Reading’s Mary Lee and Franki, Literate Lives’ Karen and Bill, and Cover to Cover’s Beth and Sally on reading and having the winner on their short list.  Check out their blogs for the group photo.

Also in my TBR pile are Newbery Honor The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer Figg and Printz Honor Book Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith. I picked up When The Mountain Meets the Moon. 

Printz winner Going Bovine was the 2010 Printz winner, so I’ll give myself credit for having read that one already. What an interesting, funny, quirky book. All winners can be found at ALA.

Big oops over at Random House for announcing the award winners on Twitter before ALA announced. Wonder if anyone lost their job over that faux-pas!


Shiver by Maggie January 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:42 pm

Recent Audiobooks January 12, 2010

Filed under: audiobook,book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:44 pm
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I’ve just recently finished listening to two different audiobooks. I enjoyed them both, for very different reasons. The one I finished most recently is John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.

The other audiobook is Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

Two very different books, but both had me driving around laughing my

head off. I’m sure that makes funny viewing for the other driving, like when you pull up at a stoplight and someone is singing like crazy.

While looking at both covers, I’m struck by another similarity! Both books have teenage boys going on a road trip at a pivotal time of their life! Hmmm…..

That hadn’t crossed my mind until just now.

An Abundance of Katherines is the story of Colin Singleton and his best friend Hassan. They take off on a road trip to cure Colin of his heartbreak of being dumped by the nineteenth Katherine in his life. How does one guy get dumped by 19 Katherines with a K? Colin, child prodigy/hoping to be a genius has managed. The boys end up in Gutshot, Tennnessee, making friends, interviewing townspeople for their summer job, writing mathematical theorems and trying to decide what life has in store for them. Not a YA book you can listen to with your children in the car, as both Colin and Hassan are prone to use “fugging” in place of another curse word frequently throughout their speech.  There are so many amusing parts that I it’s hard to name one, but the hunt for the “feral pig” would be in my top three.

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray, is funny in a whole different kind of way. The cover of a cow carrying a lawn gnome, was just too good to pass up! Main character, Cameron, is having a hard enough time surviving high school and that is even before he comes down with Mad Cow Disease of the human form! Hallucinations of fire demons, a road trip with side kick and midget, Gonzo, a punk angel, a quest to save the world. all of which Cameron endures as he either is a: dying in his hospital bed or, b: really going on the trip of a life time. You’ll have to decide as you read (or listen) which you think.  I might need to go back and read Don Quixote.

I do love Libba Bray’s humor. From scanning her blog, she sounds like a hoot to hang out with.


As if he wasn’t already the coolest! January 8, 2010

Filed under: Ambassador of Young People's Literature — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:18 pm

Jon Scieszka took the time to comment personally on each person who participated in A Year of Reading’s  Thank You Jon Scieszka’s Party. I love the picture of him and Franki from one of the Dublin Literacy Conference (this year’s is coming up February 20th and not to be missed!).

I love the videos that Fuse #8 has up.


Mortal Instrument series: City of Bones, City of ASHES, City of Glass January 6, 2010

Filed under: book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:23 pm
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The Mortal Instruments series

by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones

City of Ashes

City of Glass

Margaret McElderry Books, 2007, 2008, 2009

541 pages

I first had City of Bones recommended to me at Teachers College this summer by TC staff developer Mary Ehrenworth. I had seen it on the bookstore shelf before that, but had passed over it due to the heavily inked male torso that makes up much of the cover (not a fan of tattoos).

Even though I was initially put off by the cover, I picked it up when I was in New York this summer. The other book she had been recommending was Hunger Games and I certainly loved that book, so I figure we had to have a similar taste in books.

I immediately started reading City of Bones while I was there, which was not good thing when it came to finishing my assigned reading each evening. Adding to the happy reading experience for me was the New York City setting. I was able to recognize parts of the book in the city. I still would have enjoyed the book without having had a New York City experience, but it would have impacted my reading some.  It made the setting feel more like an old friend, rather than some of the settings in books where I have never been (say LA or London).

The Mortal Instruments will find fans among those who enjoy Percy Jackson books as well as those who enjoy Twilight books. Main character Clary witnesses teenagers Jace, Isabella, and Alex kill another teen, but no one can see the body, or killers, besides her. Clary goes on to find out that the teens are Shadowhunters, humans with powers to track and kill demons. Soon enough, her own mother is kidnapped by demons, and it is the Shadowhunters who come to her aid.

The “human” characters of Clary, her best friend Simon, and surrogate father, Luke are compelling characters, as are Jace, Isabella, and Alec, the “Shadowhunter” characters. A great fantasy story set in “modern-day” New York City, you’ll be happy that all three in the trilogy are already out for your reading pleasure!


New Ambassador: Katherine Patterson January 5, 2010

Katherine Patterson was named as the second National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! Having just had the opportunity to hear her speak in October at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Saturday Reunion, I couldn’t be more thrilled. She is more than cut out to fill Sciesczka’s big shoes.  Patteron’s platform will be “read for your life!”

Check out the nice article over at New York Times or Publisher’s Weekly. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit the NCBLA site, where Patterson is a vice president, they have some great resources for teachers, parents, and mentors.


First Kindle thoughts

Filed under: 21st Century Technologies,Kindle — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:55 am
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My parents gave my husband and I a Kindle as a joint birthday present on Thanksgiving. I hadn’t really come to a conclusion ahead of time about whether I thought the Kindle was a great idea or kind of unnecessary for a book addict like myself. I had seen a couple friends use theirs, but the jury was still out. Earlier this fall I decided to read a book on my iPhone to see what it was like and I actually liked it. It took me forever to get through the book, but I loved that I always had something with me to read anytime I had an extra five minutes here or there. I started a second one, but there are some style/typos that are annoying so I haven’t made as much progress.

I have only read a little on the Kindle so far, but one thing that has me absolutely sold on it is the motivation it has created in my children to read even more. My daughter (ten) was quite bent out of shape that the library was closed early on New Year’s Eve and she couldn’t get the next book in Lauren Myracle’s series. I had gotten her Eleven, Twelve, and the ARC of Thirteen Plus One at NCTE and she has raced through them this holiday break. Problem solved last night-downloaded onto the Kindle and now she sits wrapped up in her Snuggie, Kindle in hand, reading away.

My son (seven) has enjoyed reading one of the new Flat Stanley Adventure books (complete with the illustrations) and thinks he is hot stuff while sitting waiting at one of my many school meetings, reading on the Kindle. They both put one on their Santa list, but Santa had other thoughts.

I’ve added Time Magazine as a subscription. It’s reasonably priced and I enjoy having the magazine with me wherever I go so I can actually attempt to stay up-to-date with what is going on in the world. I also like that you can find books for free everything now and then. One of the new YA books I got at ALAN was free this week, so why not just add it to my Kindle and pass the book onto one of the teachers for their classroom library?