Monday, March 5, 2007

The books of 2007, part 1

One of my resolutions for this year was to complete the 50 Book Challenge. I am not sure where this started, but there's a livejournal community for it and I heard about it from someone I know on livejournal, so perhaps that is the origin point. In any case, the premise is simple: read 50 books before January 1, 2008. I thought this would be easy, but the fact is I'm off to a slow start.

1) Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask): The Secrets to Surviving Your Child's Sexual Development from Birth to the Teens by Justin Richardson and Mark Schuster - This will probably be the book with the longest title that I read this year. It's a great book for parents who want to do the sex education thing right. What was most interesting to me was the advice they give for talking to very little kids about sex. I thought I was ahead of the game since my kids are 6 and 3, but I'm actually behind! Great book. It gets four Oasis palm trees.

2) That Day in September by Artie Van Why - I have linked to the book version, but I actually read the play. Very moving first person account from a survivor of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Mr. Van Why worked in the building across the street and ran to the Trade Center after it was hit in a vain attempt to help the victims. We get a sense of him as a person and we get a sense of the effect this attack had on him. Look forward to seeing a production of it someday... It also gets four Oasis palm trees.

3 - 6) The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, and the Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket - These books have been on my list of books to read for a while now and I'm glad I finally picked them up. I can see why kids like them and I love all the droll humor "Snicket" puts in. I also really like the fact that any kid who reads these books will see their vocabularies increase. After reading four, however, it's clear that there's a pattern to the books and I had the strong desire to skip to the end and read the last book to see what happens to the orphans. And as the books go on, I find myself becoming increasing interested in the author himself as he drops clues about his life every once in a while. One grade for all four books as none of them stands out from the crowd: three Oasis palm trees.

7) Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares - I've read the other Pants books so I had to finish out the series. Honestly, this book was just okay. Two Oasis palm trees.

8) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - This was a book I just happened to pick up the library with no foreknowledge whatsoever. What a great read. It's a amazing mystery and gripping character study. The twists and turns are shocking and perfectly delivered. I can't recommend this book enough. Read it. Now. Go. Stop reading this and click on the link above. Go. Five Oasis palm trees.

I am averaging four books/month. That'd be 48 by the end of the year. I'll have to pick it up a little bit.


Jo said...

Why are you rating things with palm trees?

And would this be an example of a good body parts conversation:

"Doggies go poopy outside. Little girls go poopy in their diaper." ?

Matt said...

Um, sure. I don't think they covered that example in the book though...

The blog is called Thoughts from the Oasis Amidst the Corn. Oasis = Palm trees. At least I think of palm trees when I think of oasis...

Reader Scott said...

A Day In September sounds very interesting. I'll try to read it when I get a chance. (I'm piled up in books right now.)

Oh yeah, you might like the Reading & Book Forum.

Chris said...

Books are good things! Have you ever read "Watership Down" by Adams? I think you'd like it... Oddly enough, it's not nautical - rather it's about bunny rabbits. Courageous bunny rabbits. It's not a quick read, though - there's much of substance in there. It could be considered a lesson on leadership.

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by R.A. Heinlein is a good book on political theory, but some people are turned off by the science fiction aspect of the book. If you don't like the action being set on the moon, just imagine it on a desert island instead... Another good Heinlein book is "Expanded Universe," a collection of essays and short stories. Good stuff, Maynard.

I hope you make your goal!

Matt said...

I love Watership Down and have read it many times.

I never got into Heinlein - my tastes go more toward books with dragons than spaceships. But it's been years since I've taken a look at him, so maybe it's time to check him out again. I did love Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Matt said...

And I can't believe you used "Good stuff, Maynard"! Heh! I remember that!

Chris said...

I first read "Ender's Game" as a short story. It was a pretty powerful little story, and the whole big long stretched-out book version was pretty good, too! I wasn't quite as impressed with the second book, though, "Speaker for the Dead."