the books of May

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My reading this over the past month.  You will notice I read only one book that was intended for adults.  The rest are all young adult and children's literature.  So, it was a good month!

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.R. Rowling.  Girl child and I are working our way through this series during coffee breaks and at bedtime.  And the books are getting thicker as we go.  It may be autumn before we move onto another topic... bear with us, as the rest of the world knows about how it all ends, we don't and are moving through it all with wonder.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a novel written with both text and illustrations.  I enjoyed the story although I still feel a little unsure about the illustrations, feeling they did not advance the story as much as throw in a jangled note when someone else's imagination bullied out my own.  It was nice and fat, though, lovely to hold.

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter was an interesting rewriting of The Secret Garden.  I enjoyed Potter's style very much and subsequently took out her Kneebone Boy.  I love this one very much, with several intersecting mysteries and an interesting setting.  I will be looking for more Ellen Potter next time I visit the library.

Cornelia Funke's Ghost King was funny and dark ghost story.  Funke also wrote Inkheart, the sequel to which is sitting on my shelf.  Funke has a knack for creating villains with only the most tenuous grip on sanity.

The Book of the Maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse was an interesting historical fiction, written from the perspective of Dame Margery Kempe's personal maid who served on Kempe's pilgrimage to Rome.  Kempe was a medieval holy woman who essential wrote (or, more likely, narrated it to a literate monk) the earliest autobiography that we know of.  In addition to being well written and funny, having concurrently designing costumes for a medieval times based play, it was a wealth of great historical knowledge. 

I can't say enough good things about Neil Gaiman and The Graveyard Book was Gaiman awesomeness squared.  Loved it and I wish he would write more graveyard stories.  Did you know that graveyards are different from cemeteries in that they are always attached to a church?  You won't learn that in The Graveyard Book but it will change the way you see both cemeteries and graveyards.

Susan Juby's memoir Nice Recovery chronicles Juby's alcoholism as a young adult.  Again, as all good books about substance abuse, it was painfully awkward and terribly funny.

Leven Thumbs and The Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye is the first in a tremendously popular fantasy series.  I admit, though the characters, particularly the bad guys, were well portrayed and the storyline interesting, I didn't quite get into it.  Fantasy as a genre isn't appealing to me (excluding Terry Pratchett's Discworld Series, of course), and I lost the trail quickly moving through the book's menagerie of imaginary creatures.  I did enjoy the sketch of the character Winter's mother, though, quite a bit.  She put me in mind of Roald Dahl's Matilda's Miss Trunchbull.  Reminded me to threaten the children with The Chokey, something we all get a good giggle out of.

I found Lissa Evan's Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms in the mystery section of children's fiction.  A delightful, quick read, I'm looking forward to reading the second in the series soon.

The Joy of Spooking: Fiendish Deeds by P.J. Bracegirdle has an adorable heroine that I'm sure that any of us who grew up bookish and strange can identify with.  It simultaneously chronicles Joy's misfit activities, the cruelty of 'normal' kids, and how interestingly strange the world can be if you just pay attention.  

Picture the Dead by Griffin Adele and Lisa Brown is another novel written in both text and illustrations but this one I found quite captivating.  Set during the American civil war, it deals with the horrors of a country at war with itself and delves into the blossoming spiritualism movement people were turning to as a way to heal their grief.  Historically interesting and beautifully written.  Not for the youngest of children.

I believe that is it for the May but it seems to me that every month that I post these lists I forget to write down a book or two.  Oh well, chronicling every tiny detail ends up a bit boring anyway, as girl child found out this past month of trying to keep a point form diary.

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Please share if you post your own reading list or have any recommendations for me.  I have found a good number of great authors thanks to the readers here and I appreciate it greatly.


  1. If you haven't read it, can I please recommend Which Witch by Eva Ibbotton. It's writen in 1979, so it's not new, but I really enjoyed it as a child and still love it.

  2. I have read it and loved it! I didn't realize it was originally published thirty four years ago though, the copy I read was a new edition.

  3. Sadly, for the next 2 years, I probably won't be reading or listening to very many non-textbook books. Currently I am trying to find "Business Law: The Ethical, Global, and E-Commerce Environment" engrossing, but it's not going well.

    Thankfully I can hear bits and pieces of what the kiddo is listening to in her room :0)

    Love Cornelia Funke! The kiddo's been asking to re-listen to the Inkheart trilogy again, so once she's done with the 2nd round of Harry Potter, I think that's what we'll be doing.

    We are off to the library tomorrow, so I think I'll go see what our library has that you've suggested. Thanks!

    Here is our list from May (this happens to be the month that the kiddo's self reading really exploded, and I am so excited to see what she chooses to read on her own!)
    http://mamaisemmasmama.blogspot.com/2013/05/mays-books.html (I don't know how to make it a link, sorry!)

  4. I actually read fantasy almost exclusively, and I didn't really enjoy Leven Thumps, either. I thought it was a bit slow. Love that you are reading Harry Potter! Fun! I want to make a Hedwig costume for my baby (who will be almost 18 months this Halloween), but I have no idea how. I am a tremendously amateur seamstress! Already have the robes for my husband and I.

  5. Most of the ones I've recommended in the past are, I think, ones you've already read!
    We have the first Nanny Piggins book, you might enjoy those. They're fairly hilarious, about an ex-circus pig (flying cannon ball) who becomes a nanny to three children. Very funny.
    And I'm actually commenting with a THANK YOU for the review of Skary Childrin. I bought it for my oldest on the strength of your review and she's now read it about 6 times. She completely loves it. So Thanks for that!