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I finished a series today.
Well the shadow of a series.

Well almost, as the author, Orson Scott Card, has promised one last book to end the series, and tie the line and it's shadow together. 
I can't wait.
The series began with this book: Ender's Game.  I read it years ago.  It had been

 recommended by quite a few people, including my brother, whom I had given the book to years before that. I actually was very intrigued by how intricate the story was.  Although it was ostensibly about a boy who was being trained to save mankind, through various war games in Battle School, the book really wove much more into the framework.  Strategy, Philosophy, Pragmatism, Intrigue, Virtue, and the Nature of True Love all were touched on and discussed in the play of this story.  I really loved the book. Yet, although I was fully aware that it not only had sequel's but a parallel series, I progressed no more in this story until this September, when I persuaded my Reading for Life mentee to read it.  I realized that I really loved this book, and this time was moved to go on from there.
I followed it up by completing that series with Speaker of the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, and Ender in Exile. (Midway through reading the Shadow series I picked up First Meetings, a series of short stories in the Ender Verse including the original Ender's Game novella)
Speaker for the Dead Xenocide (Ender, Book 3) (Ender Quartet) Children of the Mind (Ender, Book 4) (Ender Quartet) Ender in Exile [ENDER IN EXILE             12D] First Meetings in Ender's Universe

This series follows Andres 'Ender' Wiggin, a boy who was selected to train to help save humanity against an alien invading horde of ant like creatures called the 'buggers'.  Trying not to spoil things too much, the series follows Ender through is life, before and after the Bugger war, and how he transforms the world as he knows it, and how he is changed in the process.  The novels progress from being strategic to philosophical, and everything, from creation of life, to the connections that bind all things together are a part of it.  You meet other sentient species, learn what separates friend from foe, and watch as human tries to enslave or free other humans.  The series, while deeply satisfying, ends on a cliffhanger, which annoyed me greatly.  However, the author has promised one last book in the series that will tie up loose ends, and unify the two strands, this and the shadow series.
Ultimately Ender is very dear to me.  Chalk him up as another literary creation that is going to ruin me for real men 😦  He's compassionate, wise, engaging, and I felt as protective of and fiercely loyal to him as his Geesh did in the original book of the series.  I cheered when he was honored, raged (even in my facebook and messenger status's) against those who did him wrong, yet in the end felt a bit slighted for him.  That being said, I hungrily drank every last drop of this series.  
Then I embarked on the Shadow series:  Ender's Shadow, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Shadow of the Giant.
Ender's Shadow (Ender, Book 5) Shadow of the Hegemon (Shadow Saga) Shadow Puppets (Ender, Book 7) (Shadow Saga) Shadow of the Giant (Shadow Saga)

This series began about where the first one did, but instead of following Ender, you follow Bean (Julian Delfiki), another brilliant boy selected to go to Battle School, destined to be the one who would have led the army if Ender hadn't worked out.  Bean had a unique beginning, a dizzying intellect, and a genetic condition that would eventually lead to his death at an early age.  Ender's Shadow follows the same basic storyline of Ender's Game, but from Bean's interesting perspective.  You also get more insight on what is happening Earth-side during, and immediately after, the Bugger War.
This series moves into interesting territory at this point.  Instead of shadowing Ender's journey, the Shadow series follows what happens when many highly trained, highly aggressive military genius's are unleashed on the world.  Although they are all still children, they are suddenly the weapons and the fuel for the ambitions of many a nation, and a giant literary game of Risk ensues.  The books are fascinating, and Bean's journey through the whole of it is beautiful, provocative, and heart wrenching.  As much as I loved Ender (and had a mad mom crush on him) I adored Bean. I could identify with him, and think like he was created to think, and he inhabits a permanent place in my heart. What surprised me from this series was that Peter Wiggin (Ender's older Earth-side brother) whom I had seriously disliked the Whole Ender's Game stretch, was made much more real, human, fallible, and likeable that I expected. Scott Card did a brilliant job of bringing the reader to the place of understanding how he became worthy of the role he played.
I cannot recommend this series enough.  I'm working on owning all of them myself. They were amazing, and I still find myself thinking about them.  I also wished, the whole way through, that I was reading them with someone else so that I could have discussed them.  There was so much in the books to think about and chew on.  Entertainment and brain fodder, all in one delicious mouthful. 

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I'm still trying to catch up.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition
Julie & Julia
Austenland: A Novel
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
Naughty or Nice
Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
The Magician's Elephant
The World According to Bertie
Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life

  Ok Musicophilia was just plain fascinating.  It's by Oliver Sachs, the author of Awakenings .  The book explored the unique relationship of the Brain and Music. As an amateur musician myself I enjoyed traversing the journey with sever tic's that calm when music is played.  Those who have lost all capacity to remember, until music is involved.  The miracle of perfect pitch and all it's connections.  I even did some tests myself.  After reading an encounter with a composer/musician who had lost perfect pitch after a stroke, he discovered he could remember the pitch of a song and then pull the perfect pitch out of it.  I tried it myself and in 90% of all songs I can do the same.  Think it, sing it, and then play the recording and be Right On!  The exceptions are songs that I've played/heard in multiple keys. I think I'm going to have to get this for my mum for Christmas.
  Julie and Julia was rude delight.  I completely understood Julies need to do something that made her stand out. And what an undertaking, trying to cook every recipe in Julia Childs' Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Julie struggles, and has issues, and loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She swears, hates aspic (meat flavored cold Jello). Cooks a mean Crepe, and tries an egg for the first time.  You salivate at some of the descriptions, feel tremendously sorry for her husband on occasion, and root for her to succeed.  A great read, Highly recommend for all who struggle with mattering.
  Then I embarked on a couple of Austen fan fiction.  Austenland is the story of a Pride and Prejudice obsessed single woman who's wealthy relative bequeaths her a holiday living the story and time period.  She struggles along, trying to find her footing in reproduction Regency England.  She makes out with a 'servant', predictably hates the Darcy stand-in, and along the way learns about herself. It wasn't horrible, just fluff, and not the best fluff at that. 
  Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict is the story of a Regency girl, obsessed with (you guessed it) Pride and Prejudice, and as the result of a gypsy fortune teller, and horrid horse riding accident, ends up in the body of a girl in LA who's just caught her Fiancee cheating on her.  Well mayhem ensues, and her friends don't really understand her lack of memory and weird fascination with all things technological.  Eventually she learns about herself, and manages to snag the right man.  I felt a bit at sea in this book at first, and the technological discovery became ridiculously redundant before long.  I did find, however that this is meant to be book two of two, and I imagine that would have helped.
  And here would be the naughty book of the bunch.  April told me I should read it, and I got it on CD and read it in my car.  I kept having to turn it off at the bank drive through, and  Taco Bell because it was beyond racy.  It was interesting having a different cultural view, as the three protagonists in the book were three strong African American women.  That was about the best part of the book.  I was blushing far to many times.  Yeah, this is not for the faint of heart. And Definitely NSFW!
  Catching Fire.  What can I say?  An excellent follow up to the fabulous Hunger Games. If you haven't read these books, mark them in your schedule, buy them now, but for your sanity's sake…wait until the third and final installment comes out next year to read them.
Good Lord I love these books.  I'll recommend them to anyone.  They are gripping, philosophical, post-apocalyptic, and with gritty and engaging characters.  Katniss and her family and friends face the latest challenges with the government, and life will never be the same.  This book is full of twists and turns, and meaty encounters.  You will eat this book up.  READ IT!  (Next year)
  Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant was just one more occasion for her to showcase her remarkable talent to spin a tale that enthralls and engrosses you.  The book is lyrical, beautiful, haunting, and hopeful all in one.  In this story an orphan visits a fortune teller to see if his sister is still alive.  She tells him that he should follow an elephant and that elephant will lead him to his sister. At the same time a Magician is performing and decides that today he want's to really DO magic, and summons an Elephant, much to everyone's surprise. I cried 4 times.  I'm not gonna lie.  I finished the book mourning the fact that I had no one to read it to.  I even called my dad and told him that.  It is beautiful.
  The World According to Bertie is the latest in the 44 Scotland Street novel series by Alexander McCall Smith.  This book, like all the ones before it in the series, are written serially and published in a Scottish Newspaper.  It is really fun visiting these characters again.  Seeing Matthew meet his soul mate, following Angus Laudy as he tries to get Cyrill acquitted, and hearing Bertie tell more than one person that he thinks his new brother Ulysses looks just like his psychotherapist.  A delightful addition to the series. Great character study, and almost like a visit home, via Big Lou's coffee shop.

  Last, but not least, was Girl Meets God, the memoirs of Jennifer Winner, an Orthodox Jew by choice, who slowly finds herself embracing Jesus.   She writes her story, sharing her journey of faith, tying it into the ecclesiastical calendars of both Liturgical Christianity, and Judaism.  I see much of myself in her.  She loves to read, and learn, struggles with alone-ness, and often finds the revelation in the midst of pain.  A couple encounters that really resonated with me were a) the 'Enough' revelation, b) the baby pain and c) eucharist as a journey.
a) One Christmas she stays at school, not wanting the drama of home, and has Christmas with friends.  She then goes home to an empty house, and is overwhelmed with loneliness.  She has a conversation with God, telling him that she knows it's supposed to be enough that his son came, showed us a new way, offered freedom and love.  Jennifer then says that it is enough….but "Please don't make it have to be enough".  I totally resonated with that place of celebration of who God is, but with that bit of fear that says "Please let me not be so alone that all I have is you". 
b) She shares the journey she has of dealing with failed relationships, and also walking with a friend, Hannah, who wrestles with and then chooses to cheat on her spouse.  Jennifer shares Hannah and her husbands pain in the aftermath of the infidelity. She talks about how they all go to a wedding together, and all three of them are in their own pain, Jennifer because she wishes it was her, and Hannah and her Husband because they're still reeling.  She also shares about how Hannah and her husband conceive a year later.  She talks about how that baby is a place for them of choice and renewal, but also a reminder.  Jennifer shares that it's also a place of sacrifice for her, as it's a reminder to her of what she doesn't have yet. I feel her all to well.
c) Jennifer shares how, in the early church, they would often give communion to those dying so it would be bread for the journey.  She shares from the story of Elijah, who was asleep by a brook when the angel came to awaken him and feed him. "Rise and Eat lest the journey be to great for you". She shared that communion was not a place of great meaning all the time, but instead it became what she needed to complete the journey.  I like that imagery.  I think I'll give it a try if I'm ever allowed to lead it at church.

Ok.  Soon I should have October's great and Terrible reads posted.  Enjoy.

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In my ongoing attempt to catch up.  Here's the next installment.

In Your Dreams (Holt, Tom)
Stargirl
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

In Your Dreams is the next in the 'Portable Door' series.  Again following Paul as he begins to learn more of his heritage.  Poor Paul.  He tries so hard, but keeps bumbling through.  Sadly that's not very safe in his world.  His uncle has left him an unusual legacy, he's learning the methodology and paperwork of monster slaying, and tangling with Grendel's Aunt, all while coping with a girlfriend who has left him for good.  Paul has the weirdest dreams, a car that is spirited, literally, and a reputation that is accidentally quite good.  He does figure it out in the end, and all' well that end's at J.W. Wells and Co. 
Stargirl was an unexpected gem to find.  It is the story of Leo, a high school student in Arizona who's world is turned upside down by the arrival of a decidedly different girl, who calls herself Stargirl.  Stargirl marches to her own drum and (well actually Ukulele) and, surprisingly, captivates the imagination of the entire High School.  Leo is smitten, and Stargirl returns the affection, but then it goes awry.  She takes too much attention away from those who actually seek it, creating enemies, and even goes so far as to cheer for opposing teams, which tips the scales of public opinion against her.  Leo has to choose, to be the best kind of man, or bow to the pressure of popularity.  A GREAT read.  I cannot recommend this, and it's sequel (to be reviewed later).
The Perilous Journey
is a sequel to the first Mysterious Benedict Society book.  I enjoyed it almost as much.  You met up with old friends, and made new ones, as the Benedict Society heads overseas to find their dear compadres, Mr. Benedict and Number 2.  LaDroptha Curtain has kidnapped them, and the MBS has to combine their strengths in order to solve the clues and save the day.  One of the most poignant moments for me was when Mr Benedict had to manipulate S.Q. Pidallion, and wound his honest heart.  It was very good to see a book show the consequences and remorse that surround such actions. I liked this book, and how it uses my mind in the process of the story.  I'm looking forward to the sequel.
When in the course of human events it has been more than a year since I have read the Harry Potter books I begin to get, well, Itchy.  Of course the anticipated arrival of another in the movie installments is always a good reason to venture forth into Rowling's world once again.  Hey, lets be real.  I don't need an excuse to go back to Hogwarts! This time around two things struck me.  One, how much fun it is to read this series as one of your close friends is reading it for the first time. Two, how much what you are going through affects the way you read them.  I was expecting to feel like I was coming home.  Enjoying old friends and remembering good times. Instead I began to read from a perspective I've never seen before.  A couple of close friends have been going through some rough times with trust issues.  I have been so intrigued to see Dumbledore from this perspective.  He really bore the brunt of Voldemort's choices, and was the carrier of that history. Then here comes Harry, he starts doing some of the same things. Keeping Secrets.  Speaking Parsletongue.  Not telling the whole story.  Thinking, sometimes, that he's above the rules.  Can you imagine the faith and trust Dumbledore must have had in order to believe that Harry was going to turn out different?  Especially as it becomes clear that the Scar and connection between He Who Must Not Be Named and Harry becomes more significant.  If you haven't read this series yet….What are you waiting for?  They are brilliant!

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Sorry for the omnibus rendition of the reading so far.  The lack of interwebs in the house make things difficult to be day to day, so you get them all in one big chunk o'reading.

Gregor and the code of claw:The last in the series by Suzanne Collins. Again an engaging book. It brought  out the costs of a life of battle on a young boy, and the consequences his family faces because of his involvement in the Underland. It was also a great morality tale, dealing with hatred and the 'sins' of the past, and how we deal with people that aren't like us, and what really constitutes peace that is lasting. I highly recommend this series. It is great for older kids, an absorbing story that can leave room for good discussion.

Catalyst
Laurie Halse Anderson

Catalyst: This book is by Laurie Halse Anderson. I enjoyed 'Speak" by her, and was eager to read more. Catalyst is the story of Kate Malone, a girl who has her whole life planned out. She is going to attend MIT like her mother (who is deceased) and life is not going good for her.  She Runs, she does Proofs, She has plans that all go awry.  Her father, the preacher, does not see her, or her needs, but never misses what others need.  Kate is an insomniac who cares for the whole family.  She does the Laundry, the Grocery Shopping, she cooks, and she takes care of everyone. Kate, however, is just a big mess that no one sees.  The truth is, MIT rejected her as not special enough, and her world is coming to pieces.  On top of this, there is a fire at a home of the local bully, and Kate’s dad moves the bully and her brother in.  Kate is expected to just put aside her own issues and help. These events become the catalyst to transform Kate and help her become.  I liked this book.  I liked the wresting that had to happen in Kate.  I liked the truths that came out. I hated her dad.  He was an Ass.  I highly recommend this book too. Seriously. If you have never read Laurie Halse

Shadow of the wind: This was one of my Christmas/Birthday Presents from Kelly.  She loves this book. I enjoyed it very much too. It all started with a young boy who’s given the responsibility to choose a book from the Graveyard of Forgotten books and be responsible for it.  Daniel, the young boy, gets so caught in the story that he tries to figure out why such a beautiful piece of literature is so obscure.  He becomes embroiled in a mystery that covers several generations. This book was set in one of the cities that I’ve most wanted to see, Barcelona, and so I felt like I was visiting as I read this book.  In addition, I felt that this book was beautiful. Even though it was translated from Portuguese it retained a lyrical cadence.  The book was a joy to read.

Anderson, remedy that.

The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Shadow of the wind: This was one of my Christmas/Birthday Presents from Kelly.  She loves this book. I enjoyed it very much too. It all started with a young boy who’s given the responsibility to choose a book from the Graveyard of Forgotten books and be responsible for it.  Daniel, the young boy, gets so caught in the story that he tries to figure out why such a beautiful piece of literature is so obscure.  He becomes embroiled in a mystery that covers several generations. This book was set in one of the cities that I’ve most wanted to see, Barcelona, and so I felt like I was visiting as I read this book.  In addition, I felt that this book was beautiful. Even though it was translated from Portuguese  Spanish it retained a lyrical Cadence.  The book was a joy to read.

City of Glass : The third in the City of series.  I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t deep. It was just fun.  Jace and Clary are again fighting themselves and the law of the Shadow hunters, and their father to protect and defend all that is right.  Jace and Clary are brother and sister but not having very sibling like feelings for each other.  I read this book hating myself for rooting for them to end up together, so I pretty much came to the assumption that one of the major twists was going to be that they weren’t siblings after all.  There were other ones, and the story came to a satisfying conclusion.  One I would recommend for enjoyable, suspenseful, light reading.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart

Mysterious Benedict society: I so enjoyed this book, full of puzzles and intrigue and four captivating children:   Renny Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Constance Contraire, and Kate, each with their own gifts, strengths, and/or buckets.   This book was a lovely story of quirks and turns and learning how to work together and be people of integrity even in the toughest of situations.  Such a fun book.  I can’t wait for the sequel which should be delivered to my library this week. YAY

Envy: The last in the Luxe series.  I was actually quite annoyed by this book.  The writing was fine but every time someone complained about all the things that happened to them as a consequence for the selfish choices they made and expected us to feel sorry for them I just wanted to cringe.  Get over yourselves you rich, snobby, Park Avenue elite of the early 20th Century.  You made your beds.  Lie in them.  And with your own spouses please.

Tea time for the traditionally built: The latest in the Precious Ramotswe series.  Recently I have watched the No 1 Ladies detective agency on HBO, so then coming back to read the latest installment was just electric.  I found that reading the book felt like coming home.  I enjoyed seeing our old friends, Grace, the two apprentices, and Mr. J.L.B. Matakoni.  This book was a breath of fresh air, and I loved every minute of it, watching the detectives solve a Football Case, and deal with Violet Sepoto and her conniving ways. I hope you all go read this series. It is nuanced and near perfect.

Stiff:  Good Lord this book made my week.  I learned so much about the human cadaver, and its uses.  I know not everyone is as un-squeamish as I am, so I won’t go into all the things I found fascinating, but I really recommend anything by Mary Roach.  She has this sardonic and lively way of sharing what she researches.  I’d read just about anything she gets intrigued by.  She’s thorough, and puts herself through a lot for her books.  I also now know what I want to do with my remains when my time comes.  So fascinating.  Go read it.  You will learn something new and unique. I promise.

The View from Saturday
E. L. Konigsburg

The view from Saturday.: This is my second E.L. Konigsburg, about four 6th graders that have become a quiz team that is winning like no other, and the book explores how they were chosen and how they are all connected.  It is such a good and engaging story, from a boy who ended up as a best man at a wedding, to a girl coping with her parents divorce, to a young Indian boy who had grown up on a cruise ship, to a younger son living in his brothers shadow.  Such a good and pleasant story.  Konigsburg is an excellent and thoughtful author.

 

Can You Keep a Secret?
Sophie Kinsella

Can you keep a secret? This is a Sophie Kinsella book.  I'll be honest. I was trepedatious about reading this, as I like her style but had a hard time with the heroine of her Shopaholic books.  Becky Bloomwood wasn't my mostly favorite proverbial osterich, who always comes out smelling like roses, but I thought I'd give another of Kinsellas creations a try.  Turns out she can write some things I like.

This book was entertaining, and definitly a heroine I'm sympathetic to. Who doesn't understand being marginalized by those more talented than you are, or more outspoken. Emma Corrigan is trying her 4th career in about 3 years, and working in marketing for the Panther corporation, selling the panther brand of everything from cola to fitnesswear. After botching a routine marketing mtg, she's on a flight back to London from Edinburgh when the plane goes through some major problems. Believing she's about to die, Emma spills every secret she has to the handsome stranger in the next seat. Everything from how uncomfortable G-strings are to the fact that she pours orange juice into her co-workers spider plant, and feels less important to her parents than her cousin who ahs lived with them since childhood.  The fall out from this is just too funny, and Emma has her hands full when it turns out that her verbal Diarrhea has been unleashed on the owner and founder of the company she works for. Hijinks and hilarity ensue, and on the way Emma finds her own footing, rights some wrongs, and finds a very good man.

My Man Jeeves: My first foray into P.G.Wodehouse.  I expect it won’t be my last.  I think he’s going to have to come when I’m done with Pratchett.  Bertie Wooster is such a fop, and Jeeves is really clever and omniscient.  The short stories were easily read and fun.

Dead as a Doornail to the world: (apparently I can't write the correct titles to my own reading list) The next in the True Blood, Sookie Stackhouse series.  I’m enjoying following her navigate the waters of the supernatural.  This book was fun, but I have just one thing to say.  ERIK?  REALLY?

 

Wicked: This is my third time through this book.  I read it again for my Reading For Life group.  We had some great discussions about it, one of which was how much like Nazi Germany Oz became. I have loved this book for a long time, for the themes it explores, and for raising the questions in such inventive ways.  It makes you think, and for me that is very important.

Book Thief.:  I’ve reviewed this before here.  I read it again with my current Reading For Life group.  It is well worth reading.

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or how I may actually beat Kelly this month.
I have been doing a lot of reading.  Here's the roundup.

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!
Airman
Gregor And The Marks Of Secret (Underland Chronicles)
The Sign of the Book: A Cliff Janeway "Bookman"  Novel (Cliff Janeway Novels)

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments)
The Diamond of Darkhold: The Fourth Book of Ember (Books of Ember)
Change of Heart: A Novel
Gregor And The Curse Of The Warmbloods (Underland Chronicles)
A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

I read the first two in the City of…series recommended by Kelly.  I enjoyed them.  Great mix of 'slayer' lore and fantasy and real life.  I enjoyed the characters but am a little nonplussed by the brother/sister attraction current that runs through the series. I think that it will probably work itself out in the third book, but I hope that comes soon.  I like that the heroine is a red-head.  All heroines should be.  I give this series a B+. Enjoyable but not earth shattering or full of things to discuss.  My next book, The Diamond of Darkhold on the other hand, does. It's the fifth in the "Ember" series by Jeanne DuPrau.  VERY GOOD.  These books are so full of things to talk about, forgiveness, selfishness, responsibility, prejudice etc.  Also how to care for the world and it's people. ALL OF THEM.  I listened to this book in my car and often had to stop and talk to myself about things it brought up.  Satisfactory conclusion to the series.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Well it lives up to it's name.  It was funny and somewhat gross, but I got a kick out of this quirky rewrite of one of my fave books of all time.  Change of Heart was sad and deep and very good.  I read it in conjunction with Reading for Life and we had much to discuss about faith and Justice and belief.  Jodi Picoult always makes you think.  So does Eoin Colfer when he writes his stand alone books. Airman was no exception. It reminds me of what Steven King wrote in the Shawshank Redemption: "Either get busy living, or get busy dying". Airman tells the story of a young boy whose life gets totally upended in one event.  Goes from being loved and cherrished and becoming a flier, to being a prisoner whos father hates him, who bears on his concience the inability to save the king and his mentor from murder.  It was a lovely book, lyrical and sad. You almost feel the loss of hope, but then discover life again, bit by bit with Conner.  I highly recommend this book for boys about 12-15. It's something you can read with them and talk about too. 
I also read two more in the Underland series by Suzanne Collins.  Gregor and his family have a lot to learn in the Underland when they discover that the people there aren't too different in thier motives than the people on the surface.  Gregor again has to choose the best option time and again, and has to learn about life , loyalty and how to be a person of integrity towards all species.  Suzanne Collins is a gifted writer and the books are enjoyable and fly by easily.  I'm looking forward to finishing this series.
I also read John Dunnings book The Sign of the Book. This book is a solid C. It wasn't horrible, but certainly not a nail biter or really inventive.  Typical with red herrings and twists and turns, and typical with things left unresolved.  Meh.
Last but certainly not least was A Little Bit Wicked a memoir by Kristin Chenoweth.  Chenoweth is on one of my fave shows of the moment (damn you ABC for cancelling it) Pushing Daisies.  She also played Galinda (the good witch) in the Broadway show Wicked, when I saw it in Chicago.  (she was really great in that.  The woman who played it the second time I saw it was not near as good with the nuance of the character)  I loved this book.  It was fun seing her life, and some of the things she faced.  Kristin is perky (but not annoyingly so) and witty, and also a woman of faith.  She also talks about the mistakes she's made, the love she's lost, and the journey of her life.  I enjoyed this romp in her Tony awarded life.  Plus she got to kibbutz with Jon Stewart back stage at the Oscars.  Not fair.  I want to hang out with Jon Stewart.
Currently reading:  Bonk (still), A year of living biblically (STILL), Envy, Briget Jones:Edge of Reason (again), The Hound of the Baskervilles (my first Conan-Doyle), The Language of Bee's (latest in the Holmes/Russel series), and Men at Arns (My requisit Terry Pratchett.

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I was going to try and beat Kelly for the number of books read on vacation but I think I fell a little short.  Dang it.  Anyway, here are the latest I've managed to peruse.

The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl, Book 6)
Club Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 3)
My Sister's Keeper: A Novel

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Watchmen
Rumors: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe)

From the Mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E Frankenwieler was a book I came by in an interesting way.  Some of you may have read my blog on running away, and in it a friend commented that my planning sounded remarkably like this book.  I read it and it was so funny and amusing, and surprisingly like me.  I think I'm going to get it and give it to my mother to read.  She'll get a kick out of it.  It is basically about kids who run away and live in the Met for a week or so.  It was delightful and fun.
I also read Watchmen.  Scandalous that I hadn't so far.  Anyway I wanted to read it before seeing the movie.  I didn't manage to finish it as the Library didn't get it to me faster.  I was very impressed that the movie was exactly like the first half of the Graphic Novel.  I thought the book was inventive and dark and well written and the variety of perspectives was very refreshing.
I read Rumors the second in the Luxe Trilogy.  Again.  Enjoyable fluff. Gossip Girl last century. That said.  I really am pissed that Henry married Penelope.  What a conniving {insert expletive}.
I  also read Club Dead , the third in the Sookie Stackhouse books (who here is excited about the imminent return of True Blood? I AM!). It is fun but with some surprising twists. 1) Sookie has less self control then I expected  2) some fun new friends.  I enjoyed it, and will keep reading the series.
I reread Sister's Keeper for my Reading for Life group. I've enjoyed seeing the kids read this classic for the first time, and work their way through the relationships.  SUCH A GOOD BOOK.  We're almost done and will be heading to another one of her books next.  I also found out that there is going to be a feature film of this movie coming out in June, with Cameron Diaz, Jason Patrick, and Abigail Breslin (the fabulous Little Miss Sunshine dancer). It looks good so far.  
Next on the list was the latest in the Artemis Fowl series Aretmis Fowl and the Time Paradox. Yet again the boy genius is working with the fairy folk. Only this time the boy is reaping the benefits of his past misdeeds and he must  go back in time to save an extinct lemur that he had a hand in making extinct. Eoin Colfer does it again, an enjoyable book with interesting brain function.

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So Liliput is turning 3 this week.

I've pretty much resigned myself to being the Crazy Aunt to every little kid in my circle of friends.  It works good, so far, except when I get super broody. [1]

I've decided that Liliput and her delightful little sibling Mei-Mei are going to be the ones that get the good books from Auntie Ginger.  I'm going to purchase and give the books that I loved as a child and hope and pray that they learn to love and treasure the written word as much as I do.

So far it's worked ok.  Liliput has an obsession with my Mr. Men books, and I've given her a few of those as well as Kate DiCamillo's

"The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane", and "Make Way for Ducklings" went to her little sis.  This  year I found a delightful hard bound set of E.B. White books (Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Charlotte's Web) with the original etchings.  They're really  precious, and I loved these books growing up.

Here's what I was thinking.  I would read through the books again, and at different places write her a note in the book.  For example in Charlotte's Web.  When Charlotte spells Terrific in the web maybe put something in there like…Liliput, what are some words that you would use to describe you?  Can you think of some that start with the same letter?  I think I would use…(insert adjective) or maybe in The Trumpet of the Swan "Liliput, are there some times that you feel like people don't hear you? Who do you think hears you best?" Etc. The other thing I would want to put in there are a) memories of when I read these as a kid and/or b) Things I remember about her that tie into the story.

I have three questions. 1. If it were you would you like this or find it incredibly cheesy? 2. If it were you, and your crazy aunt did something like this would you rather find the questions throughout the book, or find a note slipped between the pages, one for each book? 3. If it were you, what things would you want to be asked or prompted to think about in these stories.?

I'll probably do this regardless if people think it's nuts…I'll probably do some for her little sister one of these days too. I'm trying to decide if this should be how I always do the giving or not.
I'm really looking forward to re-reading these books too.  I miss them 🙂

1. i.e. needing/wanting/longing/bartering with God for a brood of my own

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