105 Ways to Give a Book

MotherReader 48HBC Update V

So I read eight books and spent twenty-eight and a half hours on the challenge. Certainly good, but not as much as I’d hoped for given how wide open my weekend was. In some ways the freedom was part of the problem, because it didn’t give me real mental breaks from reading or allow me to process the books. Which, in turn, led to my sad lack of reviews.

I tend to write my posts after going through them in my head while I’m doing other things, rather than sitting myself down in front of the computer and drafting the full version. But for the 48HBC, I can’t really count time showering and thinking about the book as real blogging time. It doesn’t seem right. Yet that is as much my process as it is for other people to take notes and craft them into a review.

I wanted to write about the books I read, because they were all great! Seriously, a wonderful run of books. But I think I’ll have to do the reviews throughout the week, as I’ll have time and mental space to give each the attention it deserves.

Before I began, I had a completely different stack of books I’d planned to tackle, mostly Young Adult titles. But as I read the first book about an eleven year old, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to enter the angst and turmoil and often-darkness of YA. Not now. Not for this weekend. As I realized that I had three books that were about eleven year olds, I decided to make that fifth/sixth-grade age my theme. I switched out the stack I had so carefully selected for a set of completely different books. It worked for me, in that I enjoyed the reading level and ended up loving all of the books. A pretty wonderful experience to have had so many awesome books in a row. Since I can’t leave you without any reaction, here are my overall thoughts on each:

Seaglass Summer, by Anjali Banerjee (2010)
Loved the strong characters, the soothing picture of the island life, and the sensitive handling of death — and life. Beautifully done.

The Dancing Pancake, by Eileen Spinelli (2010)
Another book with a sensitive handling of a difficult topic — separation — and realistic, accessible characters. My personal favorite is the cousin, for the funny and dead-on dialogue of a lively four-year-old boy. Delightful.

Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer L. Holm (2010)
Again, loved the characters. Loved the setting. Loved the humor and the conflict. Loved the few pages of history at the back that provided context. Wonderful.

Smells Like Dog, by Suzanne Selfors (2010)
This was a different book than I’d expected, but I was quickly captured by the humor and adventure. I enjoyed the ride.

How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog), by Art Corriveau (2010)
Well written boy-and-his-dog story, with a little mystery, a little pre-teen angst, and a lot of nicely placed humor. Almost makes me want a dog.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume (1970)
I choose this because of my eleven-twelve year old theme, wondering if this older book still held the wonders of this age. Yup. Lives up to my memory of it.

Also Known as Harper, by Ann Haywood Leal (2009)
Sadder than I was expecting somehow, but not without hope contained within the story and the characters themselves. Glad I found it again.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger (2010)
Funny and so real in its portrayal of the dynamics of middle school. Just excellent. And hello? A shoutout to the Kidlitosphere in the acknowledgements! How cool!

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Melissa said...

And aside from the two I've already read -- I found Also Known as Harper to be very good, too, if a bit sad; it was one of my favorites from the Cybils last year -- the library doesn't have a single one on your list. ARGH! I guess I'll just have to be patient... they sound good.

Peaceful Reader said...

They do all sound very good. I've also read Are you there God? and Also known as Harper-which I loved enough to cry through. Many on your list seem perfect for 5th grade-I'll wait for your reviews this week to see. Interesting to read about your process of preparing to write reviews! It takes me down time to think as well. Enjoyed reading your progress even though I wasn't able to participate.

Danette Haworth said...

Hi! I clicked over from Liz Burn's blog. I saw in your profile your comment of Michael Rosen's Sad Day. I agree that was a very strong book. Blake's illustrations are a study in grief. That book touched me very deeply.

Anonymous said...

8 books - AMAZING! I enjoyed Also Known as Harper but it made me cry.

Ms. Yingling said...

Origami Yoda was both weird and wonderful. I liked your idea of an 11 year old theme! There was something about this weekend that was not quite right for a challenge as awesome as this... have you ever thought about moving it to February when there aren't graduations and year-end turmoil, and the weather is more conducive to curling up with warm caffeinated beverages? Just a thought.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Wow, that looks like a great bit of reading done! Thanks for hosting!

Anonymous said...

What a great list. I have Also Known as Harper on my TBR pile. My Sturday was interrupted with some "to do's". Doing a lot of reading today. H I think I have Origami Yoda as well.

Buffy said...

Congratulations on completing your own challenge! ;) I added many of your books to my list of "stuff to put on hold". :)


web said...

The depressing nature of much of YA literature tends to bite me on the ass every challenge. I didn't do too badly this time but next year have GOT to stock up first with some more lighthearted stuff.

Mystee said...

Sounds like you read some great books :) I can't wait to do this again.

detweilermom said...

Great Job !! Lookin forward to reading more.

Jodie said...

You did really well and thanks so much for organising this. I'm so glad I finally had time to take part.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I had my eye on Origami Yoda, but it's had a hold list ever since I ordered a copy for my library. And I really ought to put Seaglass Summer on my list, too. And Turtle in Paradise.

I don't know about other parts of the country, but here in the NW it's perfect book weather - pouring rain and flooding!

Abby said...

Those all sound like great books and the Jennifer Holm title had gone completely under my radar, so I'll have to track that one down.

Congratulations on crossing the finish line!!

Susan said...

Thanks for stopping by ReadSpace to cheer me on! I wish I had had more time to visit blogs this year.

Sandra Stiles said...

You had soem great books. I loved Judy Blume's book and "Also Known as Harper". You had a few on there I need to check out.

Trisha said...

I do the same thing as you when writing (or preparing to write) reviews. Sometimes I get lucky with my 48HBC books and words just flow anyway, at other times, not so much. But 28.5 hours! That's really impressive.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

8 books...wow! *Hangs head in shame* I think I'll go crawl under the bed now...LOL!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Sounds like a good time - I wish I could have participated but had to pass.

From what I have seen and heard it was a wonderful event!

Jenn said...

Oh I have such fond memories of Are you there God? I should really pick it up again.