31 Dec
2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson

*Jill’s Pick*

When­ev­er peo­ple talk about children’s lit I feel a lit­tle left out. I remem­ber read­ing con­stant­ly, but the famous ones that every­one seems to have in com­mon weren’t the ones I loved. Except for one. Harold and the Pur­ple Cray­on. I read Harold and the Pur­ple Cray­on over and over and over again. And then I would force my sec­ond grade teacher to let me go back to my first grade class and read it to them because I felt like it need­ed to be done. This book would help them like it helped me! The idea of being able to cre­ate what­ev­er I want­ed like Harold, was a con­cept that got my goat. I lived in my head as a kid so that pur­ple cray­on would have come in handy. I iden­ti­fied with Harold. He was most log­i­cal per­son I knew oth­er, than myself. Of course to guard your apples you would need to draw a drag­on! Sand also remind­ed me of pic­nics which also made me hun­gry and why have one pie when you can have nine? One of my favorite parts though, was that he was going for a walk in the moon­light. Wherever he went, the moon fol­lowed him, just like it fol­lowed me. That’s how I knew Harold was the truth. Lat­er on in life I end­ed up writ­ing about Harold to get me into col­lege. I still con­nect with Harold and hav­ing that need to cre­ate and watch what oth­er peo­ple can cre­ate out of noth­ing. Aside from being a ter­ri­fic sto­ry the illus­tra­tions are sim­ple and beau­ti­ful and I high­ly rec­om­mend it to every­one in the world.

 “But he didn’t seem to be get­ting any­where on the long straight path. So he left the path for a short cut across a field. And the moon went with him”. 
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31 Dec
2011

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

*Carly’s Pick*

Have you ever loved a toy so much that you were sure that it must have a soul? Did you think that just may­be it had its own adven­tures when you weren’t look­ing? This book is for any­one who has ever believed that imag­in­ing some­thing with all your heart can make it come true. It’s the tale of a charm­ing, sen­si­tive toy rab­bit who wants more than any­thing to become real. It touch­es on the some­times uncom­fort­able process of grow­ing up, the mag­ic of child­hood, the trans­for­ma­tive pow­er of love, and what it tru­ly means to be real–and it still man­ages to be a beau­ti­ful sto­ry, ele­gant­ly writ­ten and won­der­ful­ly illus­trat­ed. I return to this book again and again, just as I have since I was very lit­tle, and it makes my heart swell every time.

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30 Dec
2011

Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

*Henry’s Pick*

There is noth­ing more thrilling to me than a great young adult series and this one has me riveted.These books are so much fun that I was shout­ing and pump­ing my fist in the air as I read them alone in my house. Suzan­ne Collins has mixed 1984, Bat­tle Royale, Twi­light, and Project Run­way into a thrilling series that reminds you of all of those ele­ments, and none of them at the same time. She match­es a grip­ping, well-craft­ed sto­ry with a con­tem­po­rary eye for polit­i­cal alle­go­ry that most of today’s authors have neglect­ed. The­se are the excit­ing kind of books where you cant put down the one you are read­ing, and can’t wait to pick up the next one.

30 Dec
2011

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut

*Ryan’s Pick*

Stand­ing out­side the cour­t­house with a roll of toi­let paper and a mark­er Eliot tears off a square and hands it to each per­son that hap­pens by. On each square are the­se words: “I love you.” And he means it. Eliot Rose­wa­ter is either the great­est phil­an­thropist or the cra­zi­est man-child to ever live in Kurt Von­negut Jr.’s fan­tas­tic mir­ror of Earth.  With a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar bank account and an open heart, Eliot Rose­wa­ter (repris­ing a small role from Vonnegut’s acclaimed Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons) man­ages the hard­ships of the peo­ple of Rose­wa­ter Coun­ty, Indi­ana with the gus­to and comic tim­ing that only Von­negut can pro­duce. Despite a sev­ere drink­ing prob­lem and what appears to be an unsta­ble mind, Elliot wins over the hearts of com­plete strangers  while los­ing the respect and friend­ship of his father, wife, and friends.
Oth­er than his first nov­el (Slaugh­ter­house V) Von­negut pro­fessed God Bless You, Mr. Rose­wa­ter to be his favorite of all the books he wrote. If you want sci­ence fic­tion don’t buy this book. If you want to meet the most intrigu­ing and com­plex char­ac­ters ever cre­at­ed then there is no bet­ter way to spend the week­end than by curling up with this nov­el of human com­pas­sion, mis­un­der­stand­ing, and unre­served love – done only the way Von­negut can.

30 Dec
2011

Beauty by Robin McKinley

*Kristen’s Pick*

I read Beau­ty when I was in eighth grade, and have read it at least once a year since then.  This book taught me about romance.  The romance of lan­guage, and that love can come in very unex­pect­ed forms.  It also intro­duced me, (in a very non-threat­en­ing way) to authors such as Rud­yard Kipling, Sir Wal­ter Scott and Edmond Spenser.  Beau­ti­ful­ly and ele­gant­ly writ­ten, this is a book for peo­ple who have poet­ry in their souls.

30 Dec
2011

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

*Marlie’s Pick*

Shel Silverstein’s clas­sic is a sim­ple yet incred­i­bly touch­ing tale. This has been my favorite sto­ry since child­hood and con­tin­ues to be so today.  It con­stant­ly amazes me that Sil­ver­stein can use so few words and sim­ple black line draw­ings to pro­voke so many emo­tions — I cry every sin­gle time I read this book!  This clas­sic is all about the ‘gift of giv­ing‘ — how tru­ly con­tent it makes the tree to see the boy hap­py.  Read­ing The Giv­ing Tree is like the joy it brings to watch some­one open the per­fect Christ­mas gift! (and the beau­ty is you don’t have to wait until Decem­ber!)

30 Dec
2011

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

*Customer Pick: Lauren*

The Time Traveler’s Wife is the best love sto­ry I have ever read.  It is also the only book  I have ever reread in it’s entire­ty imme­di­ate­ly upon fin­ish­ing it. While I reread books all the time, of course, this is the only one I have ever need­ed to devour again as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. The love sto­ry is nei­ther hokey nor sap­py at all and the char­ac­ters got so deeply under my skin that I couldn’t shake them for months. I want­ed to know them, or I guess, to be them. I will not reveal much about the plot here because it’ll sound impos­si­bly gim­micky, I will assure you instead, that the author han­dles her premise with so much aston­ish­ing intel­li­gence that you will go back and forth many times to try to string it all togeth­er. In fact, you may want to buy 2 copies: 1 to read and 1 to cut and paste in lin­ear chrono­log­i­cal order. Or, for now, just buy one. I envy any­one who has not read this book and still has it to look for­ward to.

30 Dec
2011

Scruples by Judith Krantz

*Kristen’s Pick*

This was the first adult (and then some) book I read.  Adult themes, adult lan­guage ‚and very adult sit­u­a­tions.  Larg­er then life (well my life, any­way) fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters, and a riv­et­ing dual sto­ry­line that will suck you in from page 1, Scru­ples is the con­sum­mate trashy beach read.  (Even if your beach is at Sand­castle).