Top Ten(ner or so) of Twenty-Eighteen

In no particular order (such a rebel this year!):

Nonfiction
Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife
Ok -so now I want a raven!

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Funny, kind, and honest look at who she was, who she is, and who she’s becoming.

What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
The American Plate by Libby O’Connell
I do like to read about food -we really are a reflection of what we eat.

Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
If it’s a “no” on the raven, I’d be happy with a European starling like Carmen…

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
The care and attention paid to the production of this book matches the content.

Rescue Board by Rebecca Erbelding
There’s always more history can teach us, if we’re willing to learn.

Fiction
The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
Suspenseful, with nuanced characters.

Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
Oh my! Great story about the Great War!

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Even the people closest to you have hidden stories.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Little white lies, neighborhood gossip, and friendship in tough times.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
Unnerving! -with a great, twisty ending!

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
Western + fairy tale + suspense = this book.

Gilded Age by Claire McMillan
Hello Cleveland! Hello CMA’s Jazz Bowl! hello hankie (to dry my tears.)

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
100%! (bonus -if you like audio? Sound Up!)

Teen Fiction
Girl at the Grave by Teri Baily Black
Historical fiction mystery with a touch of feminism.

The Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman
Steampunk joy

Juvenile Fiction
Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
Sad to see the series end but loved the journey.

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrack Kelly
A Newbery Medal winner -for a reason!

 

I’m excited to see what 2019 will bring!

-Stacey

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Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s International Women’s Day! March 8th is a worldwide celebration of women and their achievements and a call for gender equality.  Take today to celebrate being YOU or any of the special ladies in your life!  Last night I started reading Gloria Steinem’s latest, My Life on the Road, which feels pretty appropriate for this week.  (My signed copy was a Christmas gift!)  I tried to jot down a quick list of some of my favorite women authors and I kept thinking of writers of children’s books.  It turns out I grew up reading some pretty great women, so I mixed those in with other classics.  What women have shaped your bookshelves over the years?

jane eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

handmaid's tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

little house

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

murder on the orient

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

julie wolves

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

harriet the spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

stepping cracks.jpg

Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn

from the mixed up files

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg

~Lauren

Stacey’s (current) Top Ten of 2015 (plus a few)!

It’s true! Once again we’ve hit that sweet spot when we can take time to celebrate all the good stuff in the world -like eating (too many) yummy cookies, or singing Christmas carols in a round, and always sharing a few of our favorite reads from the past year with you all! I like looking at my list of books -of course I keep a list! how else would I ever remember?- but it’s hard to keep the number of titles to ten. As much as I struggle with the task I know others struggle as well -I can’t wait to see: 1) what made it on everyone’s Top Ten list for the year and 2) how they work in a few extra titles!

Stacey’s Top Ten (kinda) in 2015 -alphabetical by author of course!

Fiction
Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora -darker side of human nature but also funny!
Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman -a sweet and moving story.
Ready Player One *and* Armada by Ernie Cline -I listened to these and thank Wil Wheaton for making great stories even better!
Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich -ah, finally!
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans -World War II in London is the backdrop for this story of connections and community.
The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land (all in the Magicians Series) by Lev Grossman -if you’ve ever read any kind of epic fantasy? This series is for you!
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins -true, there were bits I had to skip due to being squeamish and weak but it’s still one of my favorites for the year!
How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz -it’s all about the characters in this one.
The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard -this one might make my list again next year… it’s that good.
This is the Life by Alex Shearer -brothers.
All This Life by Joshua Mohr -there’s so much going on it’s hard to explain, maybe just take a chance?
Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig -the last of the Pink Carnation series and it’s all you’d ever want it to be!

Nonfiction
Rising Strong by Brene Brown -she always has something to teach me.
Missoula by Jon Krakauer -disturbing to read but would make a great book club discussion.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson -she tackles the serious topic of mental health with a huge dose of humor.
Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery -I had no idea I wanted to learn so much about cephalopods until I read this book.

Aimed at the younger crowd -but truly enjoyable for all ages!
Mosquitoland by David Arnold -Mim Malone and her travels are unforgettable.
Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman -a grrl power fairy tale? More please!
Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly -Calpurnia is ne of my favorite fictional friends.
Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab -I can’t wait for the next in the series.
The Marvels by Brian Selznick -great story + great art =great read.

You may have counted more than ten titles… I will sell you the ok-ness of my long list by saying, “There are only twelve authors listed in ‘Fiction’ and four authors in ‘Nonfiction,’ making a grand total of sixteen authors! That’s the top ten, plus five for it being 2015, plus a bonus for the coming year!” …and? Are you buying it?

I hope you enjoy (or have enjoyed?) some of the titles that made my list! And I wish you all a happy, healthy, and wonderful Holiday Season!

—Stacey

 

Children have spoken!

day the crayons quit They just announced the winners of the Children’s and Teen Choice awards last Wednesday night, and apparently a few of us here had our pulse on the picture book market. It was on the top books of 2013 for a few of us and the children have also spoken: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers is the winner. Yay! If you haven’t read it, awesome book!

— Julie

Childishly Happy

The New York Times published a letter to the editor last Thursday from a Shaker Heights woman who had held onto books from when her children were little. She was thankful for that as she is now reading them with her mother, who suffered a stroke, in what is probably good as both brain and speech therapy. Although this is a good reason to bring out the picture books, I think there many others. Like the fact that they can evoke more innocent times, the artwork is so varied and marvelous, and just try not to laugh when reading Traction Man Meets Turbodog by Mini Grey. Anything by Peter Sis is amazing and some, like his picture book The Three Golden Keys and his autobiography, The Wall, are enlightening as well. Many adults leave children’s books in childhood, but imagine what might be gained from revisiting those shelves filled with treasures.

— Julie

Traction Man Meets Turbodog   The Three Golden Keys   The Wall

From Muppets to Nightmares

Jason Segel     Most people know Jason Segel from movies like Knocked Up and This is 40 or maybe from the television series, How I met Your Mother. What you might not know is that he is also a writer, having written the screenplays for Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the 2011 movie The Muppets. According to the Associated Press, he is going to be using that writing talent to pen a series of books for middle school kids on overcoming your fears, and it’s supposed to be funny as well as scary. He’ll be collaborating with popular author,  Kirsten Miller, to create the series “Nightmares!” and Random House is set to publish it next year.

—Julie