Archive for the 365 Books Category

Makeup List! Books 5-10

Posted in 365 Books with tags , on June 11, 2011 by kiyokotown

Quick excuse: family emergency, no time for essential daily tasks like eating and sleeping, let alone time for blogging.

Quick make-up list:

5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein … because well, come on. That damn tree used to make me so sad and angry at the same time. “Stick up for yourself!” I would tearfully yell. “Drop one of those apples right on that little brats head!”

4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy … because a) it really is a good book, and holds its own even today, and b) because having read it means I can truthfully say I’ve read Tolstoy, without having to read that, you know, other one.

3. Tell Me Where It Hurts by Dr. Nick Trout … because a) I literally just finished reading it before starting this blog entry, and because b) I enjoyed it!

2. The BFG by Roald Dahl … I hate having to rush this one but I will make up for it by including many other Roald Dahl books in my list. It should be a law that every child has to read at least one Roald Dahl book before they turn twelve. Agreed?

1. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult … because after much thought, I’ve decided to include a couple of books that I, well, hated. And boy, did I hate this book. I would read it and slam it down in disgust, then faithfully pick it up again after a few hours, hopeful that it would get better. It didn’t. I finished it in an angry snit, so upset that I went online and found other people who loathed it as much as I did. Bitching and complaining about it did make me feel a bit better, but then the next week my mother, bless her heart, called me to tell me she was reading this new book, and oh, how she was enjoying it, and how I should really read it. Ten guesses on which book it was. The point is, books are like songs, like movies, like everything in life. Some will love it, cherish and adore it, while others despise its very existence. I don’t want this list to be marred by my judgement, though, and so I include this book.


Book #4: The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

Posted in 365 Books with tags , , , on May 31, 2011 by kiyokotown

What’s that, you say? You’re above the age of ten and you’ve never read Graeme Base’s The Eleventh Hour?

Get out. Get off of my website and go hang your head in shame. You terrible, terrible person.

Just kidding! But seriously, if you really are above the age of ten and haven’t read this book, go buy it now. You’ll thank me. Your children will thank me! Your weird spouse with the strange wild animal fetish will thank both of us.

This book is an homage to the great Agatha Christie, who is fondly known as the Queen of Crime. It’s a murder mystery, only this time the victim is an amazing umpteenth-course dinner made by an elephant (while wearing an apron, no less!). Horace the elephant has invited all of his close friends over for his 11th birthday party and spent hours in the kitchen crafting a feast worthy of an elephant’s birthday party. After a day of card playing, sack racing and other animal mayhem, the guests convene in the dining hall only to discover that -gasp!- the great feast has already been eaten. Who would commit such a crime?

Well, the clues are hidden throughout the exquisitely illustrated pages, laced in edges and corners, waiting for eager eyes to find them. At the back of the book is a tantalizingly sealed section that contains all the answers.

This book is amazing for children because it can be enjoyed many times, and each time something new will be discovered and enjoyed. I remember reading this as a kid with my dad, and each night we would thoroughly scan a page or two, noting what we found. At the end of a week or so we compared findings and solved the mystery together. I look forward to doing the same with my children.

Author & Illustrator: Graeme Base

Published: 1988

Fun Fact: Amazing children’s author aside, Graeme Base is also a seriously talented artist. He illustrates all of his own books and has several collections of other breathtaking animal-themed art.

You Might Enjoy This Book (Even If You Don’t Like Books): … if you enjoy a good mystery, you’re a kid, you ever were a kid, you have an affinity for animal art, you like Agatha Christie but wish there were such a thing as Agathe Christie Lite.

Buy this book here.

Book #3: Boy’s Life

Posted in 365 Books with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by kiyokotown

Let’s say there was a magical, mysterious literary genie that lived inside an old ink well. And then let’s say that I somehow came across this ink well and happened to rub it and free said genie. Say it offered me a wish, any wish. What would be my wish, without hesitation? I would like to be bestowed with the ability to write like Sir Robert McCammon.

Oh, he’s not a Knight, you say? Well, he should be. (Because it’s a good thing, right?1) Anyhow, seriously, the man has a crazy way with the written word. I first read Boy’s Life at around age 12, and I was blown away. Haunted. Seriously disappointed when it ended.

It has since become one of my “top five,” one that I own several copies of because I often feel compelled to read it when I’m away from my personal library. (I refuse to buy a Kindle, or any of the like.) I love it more every time I read it and imagine it would make an amazing movie. It has everything, a chilling murder mystery (seriously the first chapter alone will scare the crap out of you), a magical old town with a lake monster and a young boy that experiences life as only a child can. I love, love, love this book.

Author: Robert McCammon
You Might Like This Book (Even If You Don’t Like Books): … if you like Stephen King, you enjoy a good mystery, you were ever a kid.

Buy this book here. Do it, do it now!

1 Haha, just kidding Dad! (My Dad is British and did practically all of my fifth grade essay on his birthland. My own initial effort included the closing “Ta-ta!” simply because I needed two more words to meet the minimum word requirement.)

Book #2: Brave New World

Posted in 365 Books with tags , on May 29, 2011 by kiyokotown

Author: Aldous Huxley

Published: 1932

Fun Fact: The nineties movie “Demolition Man” starring Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock contains several references to BNW, including Bullock’s character’s name, Lenina Huxley.

A Rose By Any Other Name: In BNW, characters will sometimes say things like, “My Ford!” or, “Year of our Ford.” This is in reference to Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company. His company’s mass production of the Model-T spawned the idea of mass producing humans in the attempt to create a utopian society.

You Might Like This Book (Even If You Don’t Like Books):  … if you’re into Sci Fi, if you liked Demolition Man, if you ever thought to yourself, “Procreation should be homogenized and controlled!”

Buy this book here.

Book #1: And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

Posted in 365 Books with tags , , , on May 28, 2011 by kiyokotown

You Might Like This Book (Even If You Don’t Like Books): … if you’re under the age of six, regardless of your affinity for literature, you liked even one of Dr. Seuss’s other books, you were ever a child and embellished a story to your friends, siblings, parents, teachers.

Buy this book here! Your young’ns will thank you!

One Book A Day … for the next 365 days

Posted in 365 Books with tags , on May 27, 2011 by kiyokotown

I love to read.

My father would take me to the bookstore and within minutes I would have armfuls of glossy paperbacks and a hopeful smile. “Pick two,” he would say, but I always ended up with three. How could he hinder such a passion for the written word? A passion, that truly, he instilled in me. He could make up fantastic stories at the drop of a hat. When he wasn’t there, I would make up stories for myself. He had the most amazing  and vast collection of books that I felt betrayed when he bought himself a Kindle recently. (A thousand books at the touch of your fingertips! – and the classics are free, free!, he told me, like a little kid with a new toy.) During one conversation we both voiced our shared love for the slightly musty stench that older paperbacks have, the crinkle of the edge of each page as we run our thumbs back and forth across it.

I tried (and failed) to get my younger brother to love books as much as I do. When my nieces and nephew were born, I tucked books into their Easter baskets and bought each one their own copies of The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base, Alice in Wonderland and The Jolly Postman. When they are older, I will buy them such greats as The Hatchet, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Harriet the Spy, The BFG, and Harry Potter.

Besides the joy and pleasure I get out of diving into a good book, I believe that my love of the printed word has rewarded me in several ways: first and foremost, my vocabulary. It’s no secret that most eloquent speakers are well-read. Not that I’m calling myself eloquent, but I can safely say that my vocabulary is significantly more extensive than any person I’ve met who has told me, “I don’t really like to read.”

Secondly, my passion for reading has allowed me the luxury of finding most English courses in school fairly easy. My Verbal SAT scores were near perfect, (while my Math scores were…er, less than) and recently, ten years out of any kind of schooling, and without preparing, I took a college placement test and scored a top placement in English! (Again, we’ll leave my Math scores out of it!)


I could go on and on about the merits and benefits and rewards one can reap from picking up a book. But I’d rather show you!

I hope someone somewhere will find this blog and share my list with their child, friend, sister, nephew, uncle, mailman. (Seriously, mine is really nice and always says hi!)

Happy Reading!