Sunday, September 26, 2010

1/2 Book + 1/2 Book + 1/2 Book = ?

Let me start by saying that I did finish four children's books this week. That's something.

Unfortunately,  I also read and gave up on three grownup books this week. It would have been okay if I'd read a few pages and gave up. No, instead I read half the book and then gave up.

What is going on?

Has my attention span withered to that of a child after reading so many children's books? Am I not choosing books that engage me? Could I be in danger of never finishing a real book again?! Eek!

I need suggestions!

Books I finished this week (all four are 1001 Children's Books):
Just Annoying by Andy Griffiths

Andy (Is it coincidence that this book's main character has the same name as the author?) bugs people. His dad. His mom. His sister. Friends. Neighbors. Just about everybody, actually.

I could see this book would be very, very popular among the children at my school. Especially among those who like to annoy others. I suppose I must acquire a copy of it for my school library.

Fire Bed & Bone by Henrietta Branford

Who would have thought that a children's book about a dog living in England in 1381 would have such a realistic feel? The dog experiences losing her master and mistress, captured and imprisoned by men who don't like the peasants revolting. The dog experiences losing her puppies. The dog experiences the difficulties of trying to find food in lean times. An unexpectedly stark look at life during these times. So stark that I would caution parents of sensitive children.

Babe, the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

I've wanted to read this book forever. It's one I would definitely include in my list of best children's books. Babe is a pig won by Farmer Hogger and brought to live on the Hogger sheep farm. Fly, the sheepdog, mothers Babe and begins to teach Babe the ways of sheepdogs. Before Babe knows it, he is an acknowledged sheep-pig. And Babe begins to teach Fly some things as well.

45 & 47 Stella Street and Everything that Happened by Elizabeth Honey

The copyright says 1995, but it's so contemporary that it could have been written yesterday.

New people move into Stella Street. These new people are oh-so la-di-dah pretentious and snooty. The children on the street (as well as some of the more childlike adults) can see right through these phonies; in fact, the new people are quickly nicknamed Mr. and Mrs. Phonie. What is really going on at the Phonie house? It's up to the children (and some of the more childlike adults) to find out.


  1. What books did you give up on Debbie? Congratulations on getting through 4 1001 books though. I'm lucky to get through 4 a month!

  2. These four books sound delightful. Love the covers. As for reading adult books, I think sometimes we just get burn out reading. I know sometimes I can read through a book in a day or two, while other times it seems like it takes forever to read a book. Guess that part of our brain needs rest too. You'll find that right book that will get you reading adult books again.

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. What grown up books did you not quite get through? Any recommendations you could point in my direction for my little reader? He's a kindergartener/1st grader who is reading at a second grade level and I'm having a hard time finding books that keep his interest!

  4. I gave up on Night Train to Lisbon, Deconstructing Penguins, and Messy Spirituality. Night Train starts out strong, but I grew less and less interested in it. I read all but the last chapter in Penguins. It is about how to lead a book group with children. I liked it, so why did I give up? And Messy Spirituality? Just what it says. But do you have to say it a hundred times?

    Obviously, I'm in a mood. I hate it when I don't have a good book going or even awaiting me. I know I've got some great children's books in my tbr, so I think I'm heading back to what works.

  5. Megan, I've come to the conclusion that we just don't make books for action-loving kids like we used to.

    He's probably ready for chapter books. You could try reading a short chapter book aloud to him first and then doing a I-read-a-page-you-read-a-page with him. Series are good. I've had a lot of luck with Magic Tree House and Franny K. Stein and My Weird School and Secrets of Droon.

    Chapter books can be intimidating at this age, but if kids see how to slow down and think about what they are reading as they go, they can do it.

    Lots of kids love true books, but nonfiction is almost always harder than fiction.

    Okay, taking off my Queen of the Library tiara and trying to rejoin the reading world....

  6. Sorry to hear that you're stuck in that bad book rut...I just had a hard time deciding on the book I was going to read next, kept picking things up and saying no, not in the mood for that...I got very grumpy until I found something, so I can empathize...hope you find something soon that grabs you :)

  7. Interesting children's books ... so there's a 1001 children's book list? Where? --I know what you mean about going through halfway and giving up ... frustrating.

  8. I love these reviews and am adding a couple titles to my TBR list. I can not believe I have never read Babe, loved the movie.

    I am curious about the books you gave up on. I've done that a couple of times recently, read a book half way through, trying to love or even like it. I finally figured out I kept trying because I thought I had to like the book because others had. I've learned my lesson:)

  9. I also gave up on Night Train to Lisbon. My record is giving up on The Savage Detectives less than 100 pages from the end. Once you know that you don't care what happens to any of the characters, there really is no point in going on.

  10. That makes me feel a little better, C.B. And you are right...once you know you don't care about the characters, there IS no point in finishing.

  11. I have been in a reading mood as well. I have read numerous non-fiction books, mostly with regards to writing, but I have yet to find a fiction book to hold me attention long enough to stay awake after the first chapter.

    I am going to hope that this mood changes with the weather and I will be back to my old reading self again :)

  12. I followed right back ;)

  13. Thanks for dropping by my blog and becoming a follower, and happy to do the same! Don't be so hard on yourself re the adult books you dropped mid-way...some days, I can't even read a thing. That's when I take a walk, do a crossword, or anything non reading or writing related. Sometimes, you just got to give it a rest. :-)

  14. Have you read South of Broad by Pat Conroy? And amazing novel!

  15. I'm sure you'll be back in the groove of reading "grown up" book again before you know it.

  16. Sorry about not being able to finish those reads...don't worry, you'll find something fantastic soon!
    Just Annoying sounds cute.

  17. It happens. I'm glad you're enjoying your kids' books though. they're quick so it's probably harder to get bored!

  18. Thank you for the list!! So overwhelming ... I don't know where to start.

  19. Sounds like you are in a bit of a reading funk. You need a nice, juicy book to get you back into reading. I usually pick-up a classic when I am in search of a winner. Uncle Tom's Cabin (if you've never read it) is absolutely wonderful and not at all what I thought it would be, which was boring.

  20. I must say that I'm amazed to hear that Uncle Tom's Cabin is a winner. Amazed. But, then again, who'd a thought I'd like Three Musketeers?!

  21. And I think I would have given up on those three books too. Actually it would be even more likely that I wouldn't start. It is hard when no book seems to suit your mood and spark you off. How are you enjoying Dewey? That should be a given for you. Hope it is.

  22. Dewey, I can already see after only a few pages, is going to be a perfect book to get out of this awful slump.


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