Best Book I Have Not Read

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

100 Things About Me as a Reader-or at least the beginning of the list October 31, 2010

Filed under: books,reading — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:04 am

Inspired by Franki and Mary Lee over at A Year of Reading, I decided to start my own 100 Things About Me as a Reader list. It will have to be a work in progress, but now is as good a time as any to get started.

1. A reading goal is still motivating to me.

2. I used to keep track of every book title and author I read as a child. I probably shouldn’t admit that I would start copying the list over again if it got messy. What can I say. I wasn’t allowed much tv as a child.

3. The Betsy-Tacy books are ones I could buy over and over again with new covers.

4. I often think about characters or books many years after I have read them.

5. I really don’t enjoy nonfiction unless it’s professional work related.

6. I read every biography in my school and public library more times than I can count, but now can’t think of the last time I read a biography.

7. I dream of going on literary themed vacations. Just typing Betsy & Tacy makes me want to start researching trips to Minnesota to see the homes.

8. My first bedroom had been my father’s study. It was lined from floor to ceiling with books on all walls.

9. My father just finished writing his first book. It grew out of his research that he did back when I was in that nursery.

10. There is something so cozy about reading aloud to my son, that I used to fall asleep in the middle of the book. He’d wake me up when I started reading nonsense.

11. I love audiobooks because it feels like I’m sneaking a quick reading break in when there is no time for quick reading breaks.

12. I’m trying to figure out how I can reread Harry Potter #7 before the movie comes out. I’m not sure I want to see it until I do.

13. My husband and I love many of the same books, but there are others that each of us read that the other can’t even stand to think about reading.

14. I love nothing more than helping a child find a book to read that they love. There’s no better thrill in the world.




Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare October 28, 2010

Filed under: book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:44 am
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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

young adult

release date August 31, 2010

ARC courtesy of publisher

Infernal Devices Book 1

  • This series is a prequel to Mortal Instruments and takes place in 19th century London. In an interview you can see on Amazon, Cassandra Clare is seen talking about the year she spent researching by reading books set in Victorian England and taking several trips to London. It is certainly reflected in the setting of the book!
  • While checking links on this review, I very happily discovered that the cover for Book 4 of The Mortal Instruments will be released December 2010, with a book release April 2011. I mistakenly thought The Mortal Instruments was a trilogy. Who knew there was going to be another book in the Mortal Instruments series, much less a 5th and 6th!? I also found  a Publisher’s Weekly Article I had missed. Happy news!
  • I happen to love the Mortal Instrument inspired jewelry on Etsy that I found through a link on Cassandra Clare’s blog or website.

In Clockwork Angel, the main character Tessa Gray, has traveled to England to meet up with her brother. She is unwittingly kidnapped by the Dark Sisters, an evil of an unknown variety. Against her will , the sisters begin to teach Tesaa about her power-one she never knew or suspected. She can transform into another person. The Dark Sisters are intent on Tessa perfecting her power, so she can be married to The Magister.

Much to Tessa’s good fortune, she is rescued by Shadowhunters, Will and Jem and through their protection, is rescued from the Dark Sisters. England is not what she thought it would be, and Tessa finds herself reliant on the protection that Will and James are able to provide her through The Institute. The other occupants, Charlotte Branwell, Jessamine Lovelace, Henry, and others all become key to Tessa learning who she is and what she is capable of.

As the group work together to try to find Tessa’s brother and to get to the bottom of Dark Sisters, The Magister and The Club, Tessa finds herself torn between James, the handsome warrior who keeps a dark secret and appears physcially fragile on occassion and Will, angry, unpredictable, and extremely handsome.

I loved seeing a few characters from the Mortal Instrument Series are blended into the story. It was like coming across an old friend and learning even more about them. Mundanes, Nephilim, Vampires, Warlocks. This book has it all in a breathtaking adventure story.

Don’t wait, go read Book One of The Infernal Devices for yourself!


Mercy Falls October 27, 2010

Filed under: authors,Paranormal,TED — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:02 am
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If you haven’t checked out Maggie Stiefvater’s blog or her companion site The Wolves of Mercy Falls, you are missing out.

If you haven’t read Linger, or Shiver, you are missing out.

Don’t be that reader that has to plug her ears when everyone else is talking about Forever, the third book, because you are still on number one in the series.

Check out her blog and find out how fabulous author Maggie Stiefvater ended up talking to NASA recently!



Fathers Read…A Call for Photos October 26, 2010

Filed under: dads,Fathers Read — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:48 am
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I’m a James Preller fan. I’m also a fan of anything that can help our boys become readers. James’s newest project is collecting photos of Fathers Reading. Do you have a picture of your husband reading, to himself, your kids?? My husband is a big reader and reads more than even I do. He recently finished The Dead Tossed Waves on audiobook and is currently reading of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. He also reads with our kids. Right now it’s Nick of Time by Ted Bell to our son. My husband even knocked my socks off last night when he casually told me he was looking forward to Carrie Ryan’s new book. Me, thinking I know everything about books, tells him that there is not a third book in the series. He not only knew that there’s a third book planned in her series, but knew what the cover looked like, when it was to be released, and the title-The Dark and Hollow Places. Where had he gotten his information? On Carrie Ryan’s blog! How much do I love that

I’m trying to think if I have any photos of him reading. If I can’t find one, I’ll be sneaking around trying to capture a few.

Please read James’ post and send in your photos!

FATHERS READ: A Call for Photos

October 18th, 2010 Posted in Around the WebThe Reading Gap3 Comments »

There are many contributing factors that help explain why boys don’t read as much as girls. The structure of the school day, the chemical differences between the sexes, the books themselves, the lack of male role models, the overwhelming majority of women who serve as gatekeepers (teachers, librarians, editors, bloggers, reviewers), and so on.

I’ve wrestled with this issue a lot lately. Numerous times I’ve attempted to address it, but always ended up unhappy with my tone of complaint. I can do negativity pretty well and far too effortlessly. I wanted to do something positive, something constructive, even if it was small and quite probably useless.

Thanks in part to an offhand comment made to me by author Lewis Buzbee (a guy who routinely imparts wisdom in casual asides), I’ve reached the conclusion that one of the most powerful, positive factors to encourage and inspire boys to read is, very simply, to see their fathers read. Look, there’s dad sitting down with a book. Any book. Fathers don’t just chop down trees, fix door jambs, and watch football. We read, too. It’s a valid male activity, like burping. Think of the power of that simple image. There’s Dad with a book in his lap.

I recently acquired the domain name, The site is not up and running yet, but I’m working on it. Kind of. Slowly.

Here’s where you come in. I need photos. Pictures of men with books. It could be any photo, and the wider the variety the better. Fathers with children, fathers alone. A shot with humor in it . . . or not. A shot where the book cover is important — or not at all. Really, what I’m asking for is photos. That’s all. We’ll see where that brings us.

Please submit your photos via email to: with the subject heading, FATHERS READ. Thank you. I can’t do this without your help. If you can pass this request along to others, I’d appreciate it. In the meantime, here’s an unremarkable shot from a summer vacation, just a couple of guys lounging around, doing what guys do.

For more thoughts on the Reading Gender Gap, try these links:

The New Gender Gap by Diane Connell and Betsy Gunzelmann

America’s Reading Gender Gap by Bill Costello

Unchartered Territory by Kristy Valenti, on boys and comics.

Boys and Literacy by Elizabeth Knowles and Martha Smith.

Connecting Boys with Books 2 by Michael Sullivan.


The Cardturner by Louis Sachar October 25, 2010

Filed under: book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:11 am
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The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Young Adult, 352 pages

The Cardturner first hit my radar at ALA. I received a review copy of the first couple chapters and I found the cover intriguing as well as the first couple chapter titles. Finding the book in my local library on audiobook was a recent happy find. Every other Saturday I drive an hour one way to grad class. Audiobooks help make the time more enjoyable.

When I first put in The Cardturner, I have to admit I had a healthy dose of skeptism. I have to admit that if I’d had another audiobook or wasn’t starting an hour drive at 7 am on a Saturday morning, I might have turned it off. That would have been a mistake! What led to my initial reaction? First, the author narrates the book, and I wasn’t too sure at first about Louis Sachar’s voice being the right choice for audio. I really like his other books though, so I decided to try to get over it.

Second, The book starts with an author’s note, while very witty, also made me feel skeptical about the book. Did I really want to read a book about the card game Bridge? I’ve never played it. I don’t know anything about it. I couldn’t imagine there was enough to fill a book about that would hold my attention.

Good thing for me, there was no turning back.

The Cardturner is a great story of Alton Richards, a teenager who doesn’t have too much going for him. His parents don’t seem to have very many positive interactions with him, but despite this, he does not turn into “angry teen” or “misunderstood teen”. This was a nice change of pace in a contemporary young adult book.

In an attempt to procure some of his wealthy uncle’s money for the family, Alton’s mother volunteers him to be his uncle’s cardturner for a card game. Uncle Lester is gruff, terse, wealthy, and blind. She doesn’t bother to mention that the card turning is not just for a single game, but multiple times a week. For the whole summer.

Through Alton’s cardturning for his Uncle Lester, the reader learns about the card game Bridge, just as Alton does: one card at a time. Much to Alton’s initial disbelief, his uncle Lester can play the game as well as he did before he became blind just by Alton reading the hand he is dealt to him at the beginning and then playing the cards instructed to him.

I have to admit that I became pretty intrigued by the idea of Bridge as a pairs game. Why don’t people play more cards? Do I know anyone who plays Bridge? How does one go about learning to play? Could I have friends over to play Bridge or some other card game and have it be fun for all? Hmmm….

In addition to the unfolding relationship between Alton and his uncle Lester, I also really enjoyed Alton’s relationship with his younger sister. Once again, it was refreshing to have such a positive brother-sister relationship portrayed without it being any big deal. Eleven year old sister, sixteen year old brother. Not usually a relationship that includes helping each other, playing cards together, and an unspoken alliance to survive their dysfunctional parents.

Alton’s friend Cliff and new friend Tony, also are realistic relationships that Sachar does a wonderful job of developing.

I kept being reminded of Richard Peck’s Grandma Dowdel. I even typed Peck’s name a few times in place of Sachar’s and had to watch myself for that oversight. The age difference between characters, the back story that is revealed about uncle Lester, all is reminisent of the storytelling variety found in A Long Way from Chicago.

I think this book might make a fun read aloud, with time spent actually trying out some of the card hands Alton learns. I also think it would be big fun to make the foghorn sound whenever the reader got the whale symbol in the book, indicating the reader is coming to a part that might be difficult to understand, as it is mostly “bridge jibberish” (Alton’s words) explained in detail. A nice summary box comes right after, allowing the reader to choose to skip the “jibberish” if it’s not to their liking and still be able to understand the story.

Overall a great contemporary young adult story that I highly recommend.


In My Mailbox October 24, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:35 am

In My Mailbox

First Boy by Gary Schmidt (audiobook)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

I’m wracking my brain and this is all I’m coming up with? We even had a book fair and I went to the library! I had a blast helping at the Book Fair Family Night, trying to help kids and their parents find just the right book. I guess last week’s books and recent new releases are still not finished. Guess I should go read, rather than blog.


It’s A Book… October 21, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:37 pm

Well the anticipated “controversy” has started over Lane Smith’s newest book, It’s a Book! (At least I anticipated to myself that it would cause an uproar 🙂

School Library Journal has a write-up. The comments are longer than the article.

I’m not quite sure what I think about the book. I have it, bought it before I knew it ended with the word Jackass. Thought the illustrations were cute and usually like what Lane Smith has to offer.

I don’t agree that jackass and scrotom are in the same ballpark, but of course, what you think is up to you




Jane by April Linder October 18, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:49 pm
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Jane by April Linder

Young Adult

poppy a new imprint of Little, Brown (at least it’s new to me)

October 10, 2010

Tea Cozy Review

Angieville Review

Librarified Review

Having never read Jane Eyre myself, I found the idea of reading a modern version of the old classic intriguing. I thought I might even be inspired to read the original. I found the cover mysterious and dramatic and stood in the bookstore in front of Jane, trying to pull  up TeaCozy on my IPhone to see if this was the book I remembered her reviewing. Sure enough.    Sold.

While I have nothing against classics, I am not naturally drawn to them at this point in my life. I have too much reading that I WANT to do, to take time for something I’m not highly interested. I also have reading that I HAVE to do-for my job, for my classes, etc. I have certain classics from high school and college that I am very loyal to, but I have to admit that even though my adult book club always selects one classic a year, I always know I am going to skip it.

On the other hand, I LOVE remakes or references to the classics. Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones completely made me want to go back and reread Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Just Ella is a fabulous Cinderella story.

Jane Moore, a student in college at Sarah Lawrence University, has to drop out after her parents’ death. Estranged from her sister and brother, Jane sets out to find a job. She applies to Discriminatring Nannies, Inc. and ends up with an unorthdox assignment. Nico Rathburn, a rock star with a young daughter, almost runs down his new employee during their first encounter.

A few places there was a little too much teen angst, lovey/dovey stuff for my taste, but I’m sure the typical YA reader will love it.

The character of Rivers, loved by his sisters, was a little underdeveloped for my taste. I kept trying to decide if the author meant for the character to seem like he had Asperger’s Syndrome. Then I wondered if the original character was underdeveloped in the same way or if he had some of the same character traits.

The age difference didn’t really cross my mind until I read some other blog reviews. I was also not put off by the idea that Nico had kept his wife in the attic with home care to try to prevent her from being in an asylum. I thought him misguided, but know there are families that go above and beyond to keep their loved ones out asylums or nursing homes.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and now look forward to reading the REAL Jane Eyre, something I didn’t think I would find myself saying during this decade 🙂


In My Mailbox (1) October 17, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:21 pm

Welcome to In My Mailbox, a weekly meme where bloggers share the books that arrived in the mailbox, checked out from the library, borrowed from friends,  etc. in order to spread the word about new and fabulous books! Head on over to The Story Siren where Kristi has the roundup.

This is my first participation in this meme. I enjoy other bloggers’ IMM and thought it might help me keep blogging while I am so busy.

Jane by April Linder (bought after reading TeaCozy’s review)

The Quest for Paradise by Geronimo Stilton

Geronomio Stilton #5 The Great Ice Age

The Danger Box by Blue Balliett

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar (audiobook from library)

The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller


Buckeye Book Fair October 16, 2010

Filed under: authors,autographing,books — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:19 pm

Buckeye Book Fair is going on its 23rd year, yet this is the first year I’ve heard of it. I must be living under a rock! $2 to get in to meet over 100 authors! I’m thinking it might need to be a family event! I won’t make up for not being able to attend NCTE or ALAN this year, but it might help a little.