105 Ways to Give a Book

The Basics

One of the bestselling preschool books of recent times was Walter the Farting Dog. The same year the American Library Association named as one of its best books Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, a book in which Mr. Rosen talks about his despair over the death of his son. I believe that, for most of us, what we want lies somewhere between a flatulent canine and overwhelming grief.

We know that reading time can offer a chance to be entertained and enlightened, but can be overwhelmed with the choices. We want good book suggestions for our children, and we already know about the classics. We see a limited amount of time and a seemingly infinite number of books, and just want the best ones. Is that so much to ask for?

Welcome. I hope I can help.

Who are you to write this?

I am a mother of two girls, ages six twelve and nine fifteen. For five ten years, I had a part-time job as a children’s library assistant (a children’s librarian without the master’s degree or chance of promotion). I get some books for review from publishers and check out many from my public library.

What do you like to read?

I gravitate toward books about real life, other cultures, and history. But I get ideas from so many sources. I am thrilled when I find a truly funny book. I don’t read much science fiction, mystery, or nonfiction — though I never write any of these categories off.

How do you find the time to read?

Nobody finds the time to read — they make the time to read. I do have a couple of factors in my favor, though. One, I read very quickly. I’m not talking about “speed-reading,” though I can do that also. I just read faster than most people. I have been known to read so fast I make myself a little sick. Two, I have a high tolerance for undone housework. My house can be very messy. I am not proud of that; in fact, just the opposite. But if the kids have been fed, the kitchen is clean, and we have clothes to wear, I find it hard to do the tidying and cleaning up that eats into everyone’s time. I’d rather read. Sorry, Mom, but there it is. Three, I hear about new books all the time, so I can’t help but read them. No willpower.

Why would a busy mom read this blog?

Because sometimes you want to read something else to your kid besides Clifford the Big Red Dog... for the eleventh time. (“Get it? He’s big! And he’s red!”) Since you’re going to spend this reading time with your child — and you are, aren’t you? — you might as well enjoy it and expose them to good books along the way.

100 Things About Me
  1. I read almost compulsively.
  2. Some people think I’m funny.
  3. I am a packrat.
  4. I usually know where to find things.
  5. I don’t like having my picture taken.
  6. People’s stories intrigue me.
  7. I could probably sing professionally.
  8. I am a dedicated mother.
  9. I love to help people.
  10. I can be a good liar.
  11. I crave sweets.
  12. My current weight bothers me.
  13. I still don’t exercise enough.
  14. I’ll never, never understand how a computer works.
  15. I love cats.
  16. I don’t like dogs.
  17. But I’ve been known to make exceptions.
  18. I don’t drive in D.C. because it scares me.
  19. I hum in public places.
  20. And sometimes sing out loud.
  21. Without my glasses, I’m helpless.
  22. I would drive an hour to spend time with a friend.
  23. I hate indoor pools.
  24. I love indoor roller rinks.
  25. I cry too easily.
  26. I don’t get the point of frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  27. Or frozen garlic bread.
  28. I’m not sure who my best friend is.
  29. My family is my first priority.
  30. I have ten watches.
  31. But I am never on time.
  32. I talk on my cell phone while I’m driving.
  33. I’m always surprised when it rings.
  34. I don’t really read the newspaper.
  35. But I’m trying to read more of it.
  36. My kitchen has to be clean.
  37. But nothing else is.
  38. I love shopping.
  39. I really love a bargain.
  40. I will never own a bread machine.
  41. Or a quesadilla maker.
  42. I can’t decide whether to go to grad school.
  43. Or whether to get laser surgery on my eyes.
  44. Or what dentist to go to.
  45. Basically, I can’t make decisions.
  46. I’d like to live by the ocean.
  47. Summer is my favorite season.
  48. I get a great deal of my news from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
  49. I can rollerblade fairly well.
  50. I would like to publish a book.
  51. I have a terrible sense of direction.
  52. I hold up my hands to tell my left from right.
  53. I don’t use the ATM.
  54. I think I’m allergic to melons.
  55. I love New York City, but I can’t imagine living there.
  56. I can’t follow football.
  57. I’ve seen 90 of the 100 top-grossing movies.
  58. I often drive with no music whatsoever just to enjoy the silence.
  59. I can identify four different kinds of cows.
  60. Centipedes freak me out.
  61. I usually have a crush on someone.
  62. Which my husband knows.
  63. But not always.
  64. Considering I work in a library, I buy a lot of books.
  65. Most of them are used.
  66. In college, I was a psychology major.
  67. I used my major after college for one year.
  68. Unless you include counseling my crazy family.
  69. I yell at my kids too much.
  70. When I let it out, I have a funky sense of style.
  71. I am not very patient.
  72. Except at work.
  73. Stupid people drive me crazy.
  74. I have been to Europe and Canada, but not Mexico.
  75. I am a natural flirt.
  76. British accents melt me like butter.
  77. When people spell words out, I can’t follow it.
  78. I am not a morning person.
  79. If I don’t shower by noon, I won’t shower.
  80. I’ve lost the ability to truly sleep it off.
  81. Which makes for occasional tough weekends.
  82. I’ve had my heart broken.
  83. Sunrises make me sad.
  84. I still love stuffed animals.
  85. When salt spills, I throw it over my left shoulder.
  86. I wish I appreciated poetry more than I do.
  87. Before this blog, I had written seven poems.
  88. And two haiku.
  89. I can’t always work the DVD player.
  90. For years I drove, and loved, a VW Karmann Ghia.
  91. I wrecked it in the only car accident I ever had.
  92. In 24 years of driving, I’ve gotten two speeding tickets.
  93. Which is amazing luck.
  94. I love arts and crafts.
  95. I tend to repeat myself.
  96. I tend to repeat myself.
  97. When my alarm goes off, I snooze for nine minutes.
  98. I don’t always feel like a grown-up.
  99. I don’t share the good chocolate with anyone.
  100. I still make wishes when I blow out the candles.