Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Waited A Long Time to Read

Happy Tuesday!! Technically today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share the longest books we’ve ever read; however, I already made a list of a similar topic at the beginning of this year (which you can read by clicking here). Instead, I’m going to share books I waited a long time to read (AKA children’s books that I read for the first time within the past few years). If only I had read these gems sooner!

What are some books that you waited a long time to read? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Jingle All the Way Book Tag

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I can’t believe it’s finally here! To celebrate I’m going to answer some festive questions in the Jingle All the Way Book Tag, which was originally created by The Left Handed Book Lover. Thanks so much to Dani @ Perspective of a Writer for tagging me!!

JINGLE BELLS: A fun, lighthearted book

The Princess Bride by William Goldman? I love this entertaining, hilarious, captivating adventure story, especially the snarky narrator. I highly recommend the movie as well (this is one of the few cases in which the movie rivals the book for me!).

I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS: A book with a scandalous romance

I don’t know if the relationships in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights could necessarily be described as particularly “romantic” or “scandalous” per say, but they are certainly memorable!

I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: A book you are determined to reread

I always say that My Ántonia by Willa Cather is one of my absolute favorite books, but I’ve only read it once. I adore rereading books, so I definitely want to read this one again in 2018!

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN: Your most anticipated release of 2017

Definitely Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I was hesitant at first because I was afraid of being disappointed by all of the hype surrounding his new release, but it actually exceeded all of my expectations.

SILENT NIGHT: A beautiful book that everyone knows

I’m not sure I would say that everyone knows the story of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but everyone definitely should. The lyrical writing in this novel is stunning and the story itself is incredibly captivating.

WINTER WONDERLAND: A book with great world-building

Ah, there’s so many to choose from! I think that I’ll have to go with Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This science fiction series has some of the most interesting world-building I’ve ever read… come to think of it, I should definitely finish this series soon!

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN: An under-hyped book that is so great you want to tell everyone about it 

I absolutely adored The Rook by Daniel O’Malley when I read it a few years ago but know very few people who actually talk about it. It’s fantastic! So good! Read it! Please!

I SAW THREE SHIPS: Favorite trilogy

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. This has been my favorite trilogy for a decade now and I can’t see that changing anytime soon! Unlike with most trilogies, my favorite book in LOTR is actually The Two Towers, the middle one.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: A book with an underdog protagonist who rises up

Holes by Louis Sachar. How could you not want to root for poor Stanley Yelnats as he tries to survive his time at Camp Green Lake.

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS: A book that helped you get through troubling times

SO. MANY. I especially love reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien whenever I’m stressed or just need to be cheered up. As I explained recently in another book tag I definitely identify with Bilbo.

Thanks again to Dani for tagging me! I hope you all have a lovely holiday filled with family, friends, delicious food, carols, and fresh snow!

What are your answers to these questions? What’s your favorite holiday tradition? How was Christmas for you this year? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want Kiddos to Read

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is simultaneously a throwback and a look at the future. Today I’ll be sharing ten books I hope kiddos continue to read decades from now. Reading played a huge role in shaping me as a child into the person I am now and I am so grateful to all of those who encouraged me to spend time with my nose between pages, eagerly flipping away. I hope that kiddos continue to have positive bookish experiences at an early age!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is such important role model for young readers, especially girls. She is intelligent, bookish, independent, courageous, and kind. I wish I had read this when I was younger!

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

I haven’t read this book in years, but I can still remember certain poems from when I read it as a child. I love this book because it shows kids that poetry doesn’t have to follow rules or conform to certain standards– it can be fun, funny, and silly!

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff

I ADORED this book when I was younger (in fact, I think I still have it in my bedroom back home somewhere…). It’s such a fun read and the little pig is SO CUTE <3. It definitely made me want a little pig of my own!

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I read this book for the first time this past summer and immediately wanted to flip back to the first page and read it all over again. I love everything about this book– if anything, I wish it were longer so I could revel in the story more! Isn’t that always the sign of a great book?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Although I didn’t actually read this when I was younger (just last year!) I still enjoyed it immensely. Juster is incredibly clever, witty, and creative with his use of language to construct not only puns but also characters, settings, and even the plot. I hope both kiddos AND adults continue to read this book for generations to come!

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

This is yet another book that I read for the first time only recently, but I loved it all the same. I think this book is particularly great for reading at different ages because you can get something completely new out of it depending on your perspective. (The movie is excellent as well!)

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Am I mentioning Roald Dahl twice on this list? YES. Do I have regrets? NO. He’s definitely worth it! This is my favorite Roald Dahl book because one of my wonderful elementary school teachers used to read it aloud to us all the time when I was younger. It holds such a nostalgic place in my heart ❤

Holes by Louis Sachar

So fun! So bizarre! It would be a shame if kiddos stopped reading this wacky tale in the future (and if they stopped watching the excellent movie adaptation!). What would life be without the great fictional existence of Stanley Yelnats?

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

I LOVED the Nancy Drew mystery stories when I was younger, especially the original series. Learning that Carolyn Keene isn’t an actual person (it’s a fake name for a group of commissioned writers) was devastating. I desperately wanted there to be a mastermind behind all of those puzzling mysteries!

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I would be amiss to not include the Harry Potter series in this list. I have a feeling kiddos and adults alike will be reading this for decades to come. I can’t even begin to imagine a childhood without the magical world of Harry Potter!

I think it’s interesting that many of these books are ones I’ve read recently rather than when I was actually a kiddo… though I really wish I had read them when I was younger because I know I would have loved them! ❤

What are books that you hope kids will read in the future? What do you think of the titles I’ve mentioned? What was your favorite book when you were younger? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish, Tags

What Cats Do | Book Tag

Cats are great. If I wasn’t allergic to cats you can bet that I would be getting one as soon as I lived somewhere without dogs that would torment it. Cats are independent, their purrs are adorable, and they have the prettiest eyes. Knowing my affection for cats, you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered the existence of the What Cats Do Book Tag. This tag was created by Kate @meltingpotsandothercalamitiesThanks so much to Zuky @ Book Bum for tagging me!!

Purr: As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happiest or relaxed?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I reread this book almost every summer because it’s such a beautifully told story. I feel like I mention it in nearly every tag I do, but it honestly deserves all the recognition it can get!

Sleep: What is a book that put you to sleep or was just boring?

Last semester I took a course on Renaissance poetry and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) never having to do that again. Not only am I not really interested in that time period, but I just couldn’t take how sexist and repetitive the majority of those sonnets are.

Twitch while dreaming: Have you ever dreamt of a book you read?

YES. I vividly remember dreaming of Hogwarts and adventures with Harry and his friends when I first started reading and watching Harry Potter. I think it had something to do with getting Hedwig back after Draco Malfoy had stolen her…

Seems to play nice…until the claws are out!:  Which book had the biggest plot twist(s)?

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The end of this book literally made my jaw drop. I’ve been saying this for EONS, but I can’t wait to continue on with this series!

Cuddles: Which book character would you give a hug to?

Stanley Yelnats from Holes by Louis Sachar. I just feel like this kiddo could use a hug after everything he’s been through. Plus, he has one of the best names ever and I’m so jealous.

Catnip: What’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I love Mindy’s books because they’re honest, hilarious, and always leave me with a new perspective. (Also, shout out to the adorable chapter about her friendship with B.J. Novak!)

Cat breeds: Your favorite book(s)?

One of my favorite books is My Ántonia by Willa Cather (whose grave site I recently visited!). Cather’s writing is beautiful and this story dives into some really interesting ideas about travel, nostalgia, and how we develop our own identities.

Getting the cat: How did you find your favorite book(s)?

In the case of My Ántonia, I was assigned to read it for a Cultural Diversity in American Literature class I took during my second semester of my freshman year of college. I LOVED that class, both because of the professor and the subject matter.

Being in places they shouldn’t: Least favorite cliché?

I think one of the most cliche tropes in books is the love triangle. I can’t even explain how much I dislike love triangles in any form, especially when they’re either the entire basis for the plot or completely unnecessary aspects of the plot. (Unfortunately, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is a great example of this latter point.)

The good old cardboard box: Most underrated book series?

I LOVED the Secret series by Pseudonymous Bosch when I was younger, but I only know a few other people who have read it. This series is incredibly clever, creative, and suspenseful!!

Thanks again to Zuky for tagging me! This was such a fun tag! It makes me want to get a cat so badly….

What are your answers to these questions? Do you have a cat? Are you more of a cat person or a dog person (or both!)? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

HOLES by Louis Sachar

38709Apparently I missed the stop for the Holes train when I was younger, because it feels as though everyone else has read this book except for me. After countless people recommended it to me (both through blogging and in my everyday life), I finally decided to listen to the audio book version this summer. While the many positive reviews I’d heard prior to reading this book certainly pushed me to actually start it, I think they may have ultimately done me a disservice. I enjoyed Louis Sachar’s Holes, but finished it feeling a bit disappointed that it hadn’t met my high expectations.

One aspect of this novel I did love was how Sachar included clever, funny details in the story. Making the main character’s name a palindrome (Stanley Yelnats) is not only brilliant– it’s hilarious! His unusual name came up several times throughout the story and even played an important part in the climax of the novel. Each detail is significant in its own way, which I greatly appreciated. Similarly, Sachar’s use of repetition led to many little coincidences that were always a satisfying, pleasant surprise to come across. For example, I loved the cyclical nature of the song passed down through Stanley’s family, as well as the ongoing joke about Stanley’s “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.” These quirky details added an extra layer of fun, surprise, and wit to an already unique story.

Moreover, another strength of Holes is its many complex, multidimensional, one-of-a-kind characters. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, so instead I’ll pick three: Stanley Yelnats, Mr. Pendanski, and the Warden. I couldn’t help but root for Stanley throughout this novel because he is easy to relate with. He’s an average kid who is thrust into an undesirable situation, which is a feeling I think we have all experienced to a certain extent. Life isn’t always easy for Stanley, but he remains optimistic all the same and refuses to give up. What more can you want from a protagonist?

%22When you spend your whole life living in a hole, the only way you can go is up.%22The other two characters may not have the most sound morals, but they do have their charms. Mr. Pendanski has an odd sense of humor that I think is hilarious, and I love the way he tries to teach the boys that they are in control of their own lives. He is that ambiguous blend of good and evil which is sure to result in a fascinating character. The Warden, on the other hand, is just plain evil– but that’s what I love about her! Her unpredictability, mischievous personality, and enigmatic persona add an exciting element of suspense to the story. Furthermore, nearly all of the characters undergo some sort of character development. From the courageous campers to the wicked workers of Camp Green Lake, everyone learns a lesson or two throughout this wacky adventure.

However, my mixed feelings began to develop when the additional story lines were introduced. There are certainly aspects of the intertwining story lines that I thought worked well, such as the way they helped explain the supposed curse on Stanley’s family and the history of Camp Green Lake. They added remarkable depth to the story and came together nicely in a satisfying, clever conclusion. But along with the strengths of the multiple story lines come several weaknesses, including jarring transitions and a bit of general confusion. Perhaps it’s because I listened to the audio book version of Holes, but I found the transitions between the different plot lines to be quite abrupt. At first they were really unexpected and I had no idea how the second one connected with Stanley’s own story, thought that became apparent later on. I understand that it’s meant to be a mystery or puzzle in the beginning, but I think more could have been done to clarify what was actually going on. Again, this might simply be a result of the audio book, but it’s nevertheless worth thinking about.

Holes was also a bit confusing due to the incredibly random nature of the story itself. Kids forced to dig holes exactly five feet deep all around? Carrying a pig up a mountain so it can drink from a stream and miraculously grow larger? Magical onions? Although I fully support creativity and originality, this book was so outlandish at times that it all felt a bit much. Perhaps I would have enjoyed these seemingly random elements more if I had read this book when I was younger.

Overall, Holes by Louis Sachar is a unique, clever, and hilarious read. While I enjoyed many aspects of the story– the quirky details, the characters, the satisfying ending, etc.– I couldn’t help but ultimately feel disappointed. This book was so hyped up for me that my expectations grew to unreachable heights, as will happen when the hype monster attacks. Nevertheless, Holes is an entertaining, original, and worthwhile read.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! Despite my own disappointment, I still enjoyed this story very much.

Have you read Holes? What are your thoughts on it? Have you ever been disappointed by a book because your initial expectations were too high? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY