Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Broke and the Bookish is Top Books I've Read So Far in 2015. Great topic! I've read and listened to some awesome books so far. I wonder what books the second half of 2015 will bring and which ones will be bumped from a year end review?

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
An older book that was delightful, about what makes a family. Passed this one around the staff room.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett (audiobook)
Fabulous invented historical novel with lots a real people stopping by, like Sweeney Todd and Charles Dickens. I shouldn't have been surprised with Pratchett writing.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Really scary because it seems plausible but it also has well developed characters and doesn't make me feel like I'm reading a young adult book; just a really great story.

A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie (audiobook)
I'm picking one of the twelve Christie book I listened to, which was the best of them, but all of the Miss Marple books have been wonderful and will be my favorite 'book' of the year. The series is better than any individual book.

I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short (audiobook)
A book which makes me laugh and cry? Even (slightly annoying) Martin Short couldn't ruin this book for me. Great memories of Canadian comedy from my childhood.

Cobra by Deon Meyer
Great mystery, great characters, great setting - Meyer writes some of my favourite mysteries around.

X by Ilyasah Shabazz (audiobook)
A novelized biography of Malcolm X by his daughter, up to the point he was imprisoned. My Malcolm X knowledge was sadly lacking, and I was very impressed by this book.

                                                               The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
There are good reasons why certain books are everywhere - great, surprising plots with characters that make you want to bang their head on a wall! 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (audiobook)
Epic WW2 novel about two different characters.

Walt by Russel Wangersky
I started the year with this creepy little number, and it holds up in my memory after six months.

Monday, June 22, 2015

BOOKS: Young Adult Titles

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

For no good reason, this one took a while to read, but it was easy to pick up and get right back into the book. The narrator had a strong voice, 16 year old DJ who is looking after the farm, and peace-making with her parents and brothers, and having teen-age angst. She agrees to 'train' the rival quarterback before the season, but it only serves to make her realize she wants to play football too. For an easy to read, quick novel, there are lots of topics dealt with here, including a teenager coming out, teenagers dealing with adult problems, and realizing your parents are people too. Pretty good read, easy to recommend.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (audiobook) book 2 of 3 in the Divergent series

The factions are falling apart; the dystopian world not working out; surprise! Tris and Four are dealing with their divergent qualities, their parents, and betrayers all around. Because I am listening, I am not as into the characters as I probably might be, but it is a simple divergence (ha!) and I'm planning to listen to the final in the trilogy this summer. It's no Harry Potter or Hunger Games, but it's a good teenage dystopian series.

The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
A number of years ago, I read Life as We Knew It, and found it a very compelling read. It was just reasonable enough to be scary and realistic future world building. Pfeffer writes realistic characters that are easy to cheer for. (I confess, I spent months after the last book imagining how I would deal with a disaster like this - how would I get food? would I survive? would I think of the things I'd need to get for my family? Should I have a wood stove?) I took a long time to get to this book, dealing with my usual trepidation - would this next book be as good as the first? And it is. This isn't so much a sequel as a companion book. At the same time as Miranda in Pennsylvania (Life As We Knew It) is dealing with the natural effects of an asteroid hitting the moon, Alex is dealing with the same problem in New York City in The Dead And the Gone. Alex's parents are both away from home when the disaster strikes, and Alex is left to look after his two younger sisters. The realism of these books is what makes them so scary and tragic and Pfeffer writes great stories. I waited seven years between books, and both books were fabulous. There is a third book, where Alex and Miranda meet up, This World We Live In, and I think it may be part of my summer reading.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (audiobook)

YA Sync 2015 is back! Two free audiobooks each week, pairing a classic and a newer young adult book. This was the first book I listened to, and it was a ridiculous, fun mess. [This was paired with Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier which was unavailable in Canada, to my extreme disappointment!] Narrated by a 16 year old Ethan, there are witches and vampires, and southern history (Confederate flag type history) and he is the perfect first boyfriend!. The plot is crazy and predictable but still it was a blast to listen to. This is book one of six in The Castor Chronicles (six?) and while I have no intention of seeking out any more in the series or watching the movie, it was still enjoyable enough. The narration was perfectly Southern and dramatic.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

BOOK: The Green Road by Anne Enright

The Green Road by Anne Enright, 309 pages

I do like Anne Enright. I particularly loved The Forgotten Waltz, closely followed by The Gathering. This book places third, but is following some great books that I've loved. Some authors just match your brain, and Enright is in mine. I 'get' her half sentences, her Irish sentiment, her family sense. I love her writing. I liked the structure of this book.

Family. The love and hate and relationships that can't be explained, but you spend your whole life trying to define. You know so well, but yet, you spend little time with them. Enright has it all down pat. This story is about four siblings, and each gets a section of the book, all at different times in their lives, in different places in the world (Ireland, Mali, New York, Toronto). Not necessarily connected or even mentioning the other. Then, about half-way through, their mother decides to sell their family home, and they all come home for Christmas to 'deal with mother.'

Nothing happens, but family. As Enright can write, with similies like nobody else. (Poor example, that's why I'm not a writer and Enright is!) If you have a sibling, or mother, or father, there is something to relate to in this book. What's that quote: " Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." from Anna Karenina? There's your theme, set in Ireland, by the amazing Anne Enright. Can't wait for the next book.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Broke and the Bookish is Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2015.  I'm not really someone who gets excited about new books (mostly because I don't buy them often). I'm usually waiting for the library to get a copy, but I do get excited if I'm the first to request it before it comes in and get it first. First!  I'm often not even very aware of new books, except for the next in a series, which is what my list is mostly:


Mrs Roosevelt's Confidente: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia Macneal
(I like to listen to this slightly earnest series, so will wait for the library, but it must be coming soon)

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
(Inspector Gamauche - I liked listening to the last book, so I may wait for that to be released, although the narrator of all the other books has sadly died.)

A Beam of Light by Andrea Camilleri (19th)
(another trip to Sicily...)

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander Mccall Smith
(next in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series)

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
(From the Bailey Prize for Women's Fiction longlist)

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
(This girl rocks - smart and funny)

Circling the Sun by Paula Mclain
( I really liked her book, The Paris Wife, and would give her next book a good look)

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
(It was already released in April, but anything in 2015 counts for me)

That's all I can come up with for now - what are you looking forward to?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

BOOKS: Audio Nonfiction

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart - Lisa Rogak (audiobook 6h 16 min)  narrated by Cassandra Campbell

I enjoyed this biography of Jon Stewart, reading this in anticipation of his ending tenure at The Daily Show. Nothing controversial here - Rogak covers his early life, his soccer career at University, his comedy beginnings. Stewart's take over of The Daily Show, how his past informs his comedy, a few controversies from the show. The reviews at library thing complain that there is no new information, nothing very deep, but it was all I wanted and I listened easily.

 Brain on Fire - Susannah Cahalan (audiobook 7 h 48 min)
 narrated by Heather Henderson

I'm not even sure how I found this engrossing read, but this was a great investigative journey into the author's 'month of madness.' Susannah Cahalan was a reporter with the New York Post when she had a seizure. Or something. She quickly devolved, and had some psychotic episodes, became erratic, and couldn't function. She ended up in a psych ward and without the devotion and determination of her divorced parents, and a lucky consult from a particular doctor, she might still be there. That doctor determined she had an infection and her immune system had attacked her brain - rare form of encephalitis.

After the fact, the journalist in her looked back at records, journals, and even video tape from hospitals to piece together what had actually happened to her, as she had little memory. It was a scary story, how quickly she changed, and how no one really knew what was the matter. There is now more awareness of this and more people are being diagnosed, but looking back, it's believed that perhaps others with this may have been diagnosed as schizophrenic or possessed by the devil.

I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend - Martin Short (audiobook 8 h 40 m)   read by the author 

I've always been conflicted about Martin Short - I've watched a lot of his work over the years, especially SCTV and Saturday Night Live when he was on it. Include some great movies, like Three Amigos and The Father of the Bride and the man has an impressive resume. But some of his stuff is so over the top (I'm looking at you Jimminy Glick) and Short's apparent incessant need for attention can be annoying. However, this memoir was fabulous, and has improved my impression of him. He's still over the top and goes too far too often in his comedy, but he comes across as so down to earth, and kind, and so very Canadian that I guess I am a fan.

There are tons of names dropped here, and it must have been a great time in the 1970s comedy scene. He and Andrea Martin were married to siblings, he dated Gilda Radner, Paul Shaffer is a pal, Victor Garber is a close friend, as is Tom Hanks and Steve Martin. He appears to have stayed good friends with a large circle of famous people and yet, he never succumbed to a rich and famous life style, living in the same house in Pacific Palisades with his long time wife, and maintaining a cottage in Canada. His family was close and funny, and he was orphaned by the age of twenty, but he never seemed to let these sad events, including his brother dying as well, define him. His Canadian-ness is also very important to him, even though he has lived in the States for so long.

I'd recommend the audiobook version of this book, as all the characters appear, and his ability to do impressions of people is so evident and funny. There is behind the scenes stuff from SCTV (the best show ever!) and SNL with Billy Crystal, plus so much more, His love for his wife comes through loud and clear - they married in Toronto before he was famous, and they stayed together until she died in 2010 of ovarian cancer. I had almost forgotten about that and then suddenly remembered just before I got to the chapters that detail her death. So the book has very funny, and very sad. Their love story and friendship was quite beautiful, and his remembrances of her after her death were very touching. I especially liked him when he was being sincere and smart, and wasn't 'on'.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

BOOKS: Canadian Reads

 I've been reading, and listening to a lot of books in the past few months. Here's a few quick reviews of some Canadian books that I'll use to fill in my Reading Bingo, Eh card:

Strange Heaven - Lynn Coady
 I read this the beginning of April and my impressions are fading. A 17 year old Bridget from Cape Breton goes to Halifax to have a baby. She ends up in a teenage mental ward with depression after giving up the baby. Some of the story was from home, before and after, some of the story was in Halifax. There were interesting characters as befits Cape Breton, and life was tough there. The psych ward was challenging as Bridget improves, and deals with the other kids. A slice of life story, as Bridget grows up and observes the people around her.

Anne's House of Dreams by LM Montgomery (audiobook 8h 22 m)
narrated by Susan O'Malley

Lindsey at reederreads is hosting a Green Gables read along. Last summer I started listening to the series, and Anne's House of Dreams fits in here for both. (I wasn't able to find Anne of Windy Poplars in audio) Since I've read all these multiple times, I'm only really commenting on my new impressions from audiobook.
This time around, I loved Miss Cornelia tons! Previously I found her overbearing, but now I adored her, and her friendship with Anne and Gilbert, and the way the narrator would exclaim: "Isn't that just like a man?"
This book is certainly a darker than the previous books and Anne's happy ever after is only partially there. And of course, I still cried when Captain Jim 'crosses the bar'. I noticed the nature descriptions more in this book than in the first three and not really in a good way. Clearly Montgomery's life had been through some upheavals before this one was written and it comes through. Still, can't beat an Anne book.

 Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

I thought this was going to be a short story book, being Munro and all, but this one is actually a series of short stories-novel following Del Jordan growing up in small town Ontario. Starting as a young child, and ending as she finishes high school, Del deals with growing up, and discovering where she fits in relative to her family and friends.

I read it, I liked it, but it didn't reach me or move me in any particular way. Good writing (she has won a Nobel prize after all) but there is an intimacy that I find missing. Sometimes I like a story better with a little less writing, and more story and people.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley (audiobook 10h 52 m)
narrated by Jayne Entwistle
I was ready to give up on the series after the last book. It felt like the series had run its course and that with this book, with Flavia sent to boarding school in Canada, the series would take a new direction with new characters to develop and interact with. I thought this was a good idea, but that I wouldn't continue. I did find out that this was a one-off in Canada so decided to give a listen.

I'm not sure that this is a successful outing. I think it probably would have been better to take the series in a new direction and stay in Canada. Instead, we get new students and teachers that won't be sticking around, and we just miss the local flavour of Buckshaw, missing Dogger and the Inspector and Flavia's sisters. Maybe listening wasn't my best bet, but I've had other series where listening to a book or two reinvigorated the series for me, but this did not. The narrator was a good Flavia, and the mystery was okay - all the mysteries are thin in Flavia books. Their charm has been the characters and Flavia's interactions with them, so I missed that here.

(Plus, another review mentioned how they hoped it would be Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School For Young Ladies that Flavia attended. A fabulous idea, and I think that ruined it for me! Ten points for that reference.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

BOOK: Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave by Patrick Bowman

Torn From Troy: Odyssey of a Slave by Patrick Bowman (5 h 28 min)
narrated by Gerald Doyle

Neat take on The Odyssey by Homer. I have not yet read the original, but have read some other versions, including The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds in graphic novel form, and The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood last year. Here we have a young Trojan boy taken as a slave after the Greeks leave Troy. Alexi's father had been killed in the invasion, and as the Greeks retreat, his sister is killed in the final battle. Being able to watch the story of Odysseus (here called Lopex sometimes) from a different point of view is fun for readers who already know the story, but would also introduce the legend to new readers or children.

This is one of my last books from last summer's YA SYNC downloads and was an easy and enjoyable listen. It is the first in a series, so that was a little disappointing as the full journey of Odysseus doesn't get told. Alexi does get to experience the Lotus-Eaters and the Cyclops; he gets to know Odysseus, who recognizes Alexi's strengths as a healer and his intelligence, as well as Yuri, a mean Greek who would love to kill the little slave. Life on the ship is interesting and original, against the backdrop of the well known mythology.

This was my first read for the Once Upon a Time challenge and would be a mythology book. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

CHALLENGE: Once Upon a Time IX

“Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
~William Butler Yeats

The 9th Once Upon A Time hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings is the true beginning of spring. The signs around here (we still have 4-5 feet of snow on our lawn and I'm not exaggerating!) are not conducive to actual spring. I've seen some posts on Facebook that say the spring birds are arriving and can't get at the ground. It's pretty depressing around here with just piles of old dirty snow.

Of course I'll read a book for this challenge this year. Something in the fantasy, folklore, mythology, or fairy tales area. There are none that I'm specially planning to read, but there are a few floating around that I might read, including a read-a-long of Little, Big by John Crowley hosted by Bellezza. I also have one of the YA Sync audiobooks from last summer, Torn from Troy to listen to. That's probably pretty high on my list actually.

What I Read:
1.Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave - Patrick Bowman (audiobook)
2. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (audiobook)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Characters You'd Like To Check In With


The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Broke and the Bookish is Characters You'd like to check in with.

Some of my favorite people have been checked in on - Bridget Jones (Mad About the Boy), Signora from Evening Class (Maeve Binchy kept revisiting old characters in each new book), Harry Potter (had the epilogue, which was enough). Crow Lake characters, by Mary Lawson, are seen in Road Ends and The Other Side of the Bridge. Of course, Anne Shirley got a whole series of books, so we know what happened there. The television series even made up a different ending for Anne  - a journalist is WW1?

On the other hand, many books I've read I was happy with the ending, happy with how the characters ended up and did not feel a need for a sequel. (The Rosie Project would be a great example - I never read the sequel) Even some series 'end' up enough for me at times - I'm almost finished of Flavia de Luce, even though I loved her first few books. She got older and lost her naive charm. There are a few characters however...

Rilla Blythe  - Anne and Gilbert's youngest daughter grew up during world war 1 and got her somewhat happy ending, but more would be nice!

Katniss Evergreen- and then?

Mary Gooch from The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens - I would love to know what happened to Mary. When I read the book, I thought a retelling from her husband's point of view would be neat as well.

Amy and Nick Dunne - How did those crazy kids (and kid) turn out? Who killed who first?

Lisbeth Salander - The Girl Who ... turned out okay? found some love?

unnamed narrator of The Outlander by Gil Adamson - the last line in this book practically set up a sequel

And the most recent book I listened to, The 4:50 to Paddington by Agatha Christie, left with Lucy Eyelesbarrow, Miss Marple's helper in this book, being interested in someone. Miss Marple predicts Lucy'll marry one of the two eligible characters, but she didn't say which!? I was not impressed! Actually, Lucy Eyelesbarrow herself was a very interesting character, and could have sustained a book or two of her own.

That's all I can think of for now. Once I read some other Top Ten Lists, I'm sure I realize who I forgot.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

I completely missed Tuesday - so here I am a day late. The sad part is I even had this ready to go ahead of time. Top Ten Tuesday Whateverdayyougetitposted topic is books you've recently added to your to-be-read list.

This list is a blend of Bailey Prize for Women's Fiction titles, and me looking for authors and their new books at Chapters online. Some aren't even released yet, but they go on the list once you become aware.

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason
A prequel of sorts, with early cases by Erlendur, how did I miss the release of this one?

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
The Girls and The Wife's Tale were excellent. I also have her Rush Home Road to read before I tackle her latest book

Mrs Roosevelt's Confidente by Susan Elia MacNeal (Oct 27 2015)
The next in the Maggie Hope spy series, I'll wait for an audiobook copy as it is the only way I've read this series

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (Aug 25,  2015)
Another Gamauche book

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
I haven't read a Nick Hornby in quite a while; they are generally excellent

The ones from the Bailey list that intrigue me:

Crooked Hearts by Lissa Evans (July  28, 2015)

Elizabeth is Missing by  Emma Healey

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BOOK: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and The Girl on the Train

These books will be linked together for me for a long time, for no literary reason at all:
  • I read both on the March Break 
  • This March Break (and winter) was full of blizzards and snow that shuts down the Confederation Bridge, and warnings from RCMP to stay off the road, and picture after unbelievable picture of snow banks and drifts, and even though it is not something I do very often, I promise to never complain about summer weather in any way shape or form.
  • Both books are from my first Top Ten List of 2015 (books from 2014 I wish I'd read)
  • Both books are from my school library and the awesome school librarian who gets books for 'mature readers'; and who knows that books for teachers are important too! We model reading after all and discuss books with our students - a culture of reading
  • Plus they were excellent reads! A touching family drama, and a suspense mystery.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, 292 pages

First of all, I really like this cover. I also really liked the inside book as well. I spent much of the novel being frustrated with this family, and the parents lack of awareness about anything - their own wishes, their children, their hurts. A Chinese father and Caucasian mother meet and marry in 1970s middle America. They love each other, and make sacrifices for each other, but neither is very happy. Once their children come along, the blue-eyed daughter Lydia becomes the focus for both parents to project their deepest hurts - the dad never fit it, never had friends as an American born Chinese child; the mom wanted to be a doctor not a housewife. The other two children, especially the youngest, will just break your heart.

The book starts with the line 'Lydia is dead' and then moves forward and back to unravel what happened. (Side note: this is not a literary thriller, and book blurb writers or reviewers who attempt to label it thus need to read some Deon Meyer and Mo Hayder, because those are thriller/mysteries. Just because there is something the reader doesn't know, doesn't make a book a mystery or thriller. I've been misled before.) This was a touching book that covered many issues that will have you immersed in this family's sad life.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, 318 pages

It gets compared to Gone Girl, but for me it is only in how information is revealed, and how people aren't exactly what you think they are. A girl watches people and couples from the train. One day she sees something, and eventually police are involved. That's all you need to know. Just enjoy the revelations as they come.  I've said too much already!

For some reason, I thought this was Canadian, so when she took the train to London, I was a bit confused, because why not Toronto?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top 10 Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit


 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week: Books from My Childhood That I Would Love to Revisit. Some of these are cheats, because I have revisited them, and I've watched my children read this (and generally love them as well). Some are classics, but some are little known scholastic books from the monthly book order in elementary school. The book orders were really a highlight - rationing my allowance to get a book, poring over the descriptions to decide which book to get, and then when the order came in - waiting for my book.

Follow My Leader by James B Garfield

A young boy is blinded playing with firecrackers, and learns to be independent with the help of a guide dog. My kids have all read my original edition.
My Mother Made Me! by Sharon Brain

Four girls try to protest against their mothers signing them up to play hockey. They run away, in the summer, to the local rink and hide out their, ironically, playing a form of hockey to keep themselves amused. I really remember them and the bats in the rink.

The Great Brain
by John D Fitzgerald

I must have read and reread this series more times than I can count. Such a fun, historic series. It was set in the same era as Anne of Green Gables, so I was familiar with local life at that time, but Utah in the late 1800s in a Mormon community was very different. Classic comedy books!

Why Me? by John Branfield

It took me a long time to find out about this book which I reread a few times in elementary school. A young girl gets diabetes and it takes helping her dog, who also gets diabetes, for her to learn to look after herself and accept her diabetes. Apparently sometimes called Sugar Mice, I eventually found the name and author through a librarything group called Name That Book?

This Can't Be Happening At MacDonald Hall by Gordon Korman

I was in grade five when the first of the prolific author Korman's first book was published. He wrote this as a school project when he was a teenager and I still can rememeber Mrs Adams laughing so hard as she tried to read aloud this book that she couldn't read at all. (the panty-raid at Miss Scrimmages!) Korman is still one of my favorite authors for this series, as well as the incredible stand-alone book, I Want to Go Home. It can't be a coincidence that the short story I wrote in grade 8 is very similar to Korman's books of humour and mistaken identity.

The Bobbsey Twins  by Laura Lee Hope
The Bobbsey Twins and the Doodlebug Mystery by Laura Lee Hope

I was never much of a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew reader. I read a few, but the series I really loved was the Bobbsey Twins. Nan and Bert, Freddie and Flossie - I couldn't get enough of those sets of twins. I even had an original, before the mystery series, edition book, which was just a story of their life. They had a black maid and her accent made me uncomfortable. I don't even know if this edition is still around. I'm pretty sure the mysteries from the 1970s were a cleaned up version, and probably not even written by Laura Lee Hope. We had a childhood friend who had nearly every book in the series. That row of purple books in her bed room was to die for.
The DoodleBug Mystery is one that I remember the best.

Free to Be, You and Me by Marlo Thomas

We had this as a hard cover, filled with all kinds of wonderful short stories, poems, songs, and cartoons. William Wants a Doll, The Pain and the Great One, and the notes back and forth between two friends negotiating for the girl to pitch on the baseball team.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

I had a hard time deciding which Judy Blume book to pick, because really, Judy is the author of my pre-teens. Not so amazingly, she still rocks with the elementary set. My kids loved Fudge, and all the books about Fudge. She is as relevant as ever.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Another author who has not lost her mojo, Ramona books are still as popular as ever. While finding this cover, I discovered that Ms Cleary is still alive at 98! There needs to be a little more recognition of this great author. Henry Higgins, Ramona, and Socks are all characters I remember fondly.


Heidi by Joanna Spryri
Essentially Anne of Green Gables in Switzerland, is it any wonder I loved this book too? I read this and the sequel and still want to go to Switzerland.
ETA: I knew I'd forget something - Enid Blyton! We had a bunch of her books, but The Faraway Tree is the one I read and reread. (I think it is called that. Cathy?) Everytime they went up in the tree, they went to a new land. Probably started my love of British books.