Tag Archives: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My favorite books of 2012

I read a lot of books this year, adult and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction, memorable books and others I’d rather forget (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorite and of course, my choices are very subjective and personal. These are books that grabbed my attention from the first few pages, made me laugh or cry or both, made me think, or made me dream by taking me to faraway places. These are all great books in one way or another.

My favorite adult fiction books of 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

1) The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry
This series includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. I’ll be reviewing the last three books later this week, and in the meantime, you can read my review of The Giver here. Wonderful, wonderful futuristic stories, full of shocking discoveries, adventure, courage, survival and hope. Lois Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and I love the worlds she created. These books are great for young adults (probably age 12 and up), as well as adults, and you can read them again and again and enjoy them just as much. I think that next Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for these four books so they become part of my personal book collection.

The book thief by Markus Zusack

The book thief by Markus Zusack

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another young adult book that is perfect for adults too. This is the only book I’ve ever read on World War II that was told from a German citizen’s perspective. This book really touched me in many ways and will stay with me forever. Just like The Giver quartet, I think it deserves its own spot on my bookshelf. You can read my review of The Book Thief here.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I also read Catching Fire and Mockinjay but The Hunger Games was my favorite. I found the novels very dark and gruesome, but well told. Suzanne Collins is not as hopeful about the human race as Lois Lowry but she might be more realistic. Who knows what’s in our future, right? Read my review of The Hunger Games. By the way, I do have The Hunger Games trilogy on my bookcase already.

A dog's purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog’s purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

4) A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Alright, technically I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose last December, but since I read the next book in 2012, I’m including both on this list. I loved these books and I’m not even a dog person. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and I cried some more. If you’re looking for a feel good story, these two books are perfect. Read my reviews of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey.

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

5) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Yet another book that deserves a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I have never read such an imaginative book when it comes to the way the story is told. Zelznick tells Hugo’s story by alternating between words and pencil illustrations. Unlike picture books, these detailed illustrations tell a specific part of the story instead of using words, giving a full meaning to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Selznick is a pure genius at illustrating and storytelling. Read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

My favorite adult non-fiction books of 2012

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

1) Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re an extravert, you’ll want to read it too so you give us introverts a break and realize we’re not a bunch of anti-social people. ;-) Read my review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts here.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

2) Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you want to learn more about PTSD (post-trauma syndrome disorder) specifically in U.S. soldiers, this story is it. Told in the first person, it explains the various symptoms, the possible treatments (and how our soldiers are taken care of, for better or worse) and how Tuesday, the golden retriever who was about to fail his training as a service dog, helped Montalvan when he himself was on the verge of giving up. The 5 stars by almost 1000 reviewers on Amazon say it all: this is a must read (read my review of Until Tuesday). And yes, this is the REAL Tuesday on the book cover.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

3) The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Miller has been a 6th-grade teacher for about 20 years and has discovered, implemented and refined ways to ignite the love of reading in her students. This book is not just a great tool for teachers but for parents too. Read my review of The Book Whisperer.

My favorite children’s books of 2012

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

1) The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
Well, don’t you know? There’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Or, is there? These brilliantly rhyming books are meant to become children’s book classics. Read my reviews of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

2) Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
I loved, loved, loved this book (and damn it, it made my choke up!). This is a beautiful story of loneliness and friendship children and adults will love and cherish. Read my review of Pete & Pickles.

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

3) The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story by Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed may be known for his comic strip Opus, but The Last Basselope is a wonderful story about searching for the unknown, finding it, discovering its priceless value and keeping it safe from the rest of the world. Read my review of The Last Basselope.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

4) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
This has to be one of the funniest children’s books we’ve read this year. When Oliver’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he throws everything up there, including the kitchen’s sink. My kids and I loved the silliness of this book and we laughed about it for weeks. Read my review of Stuck.

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

5) Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen
“I’m going to eat you for my dinner” says the big wolf to the big moose. But that’s before he realizes that Mucky Moose really, really stinks. My four-year old couldn’t get enough of this story and months later, my kids still quote the book. Read my review of Mucky Moose.

Ricky Ricotta's mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

6) Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey
This series gave my eldest his first taste of independent reading of chapter books before he reached the end of kindergarten. He’s since graduated to much longer and intense books but I’ll never forget that this series of books gave him the motivation to read on his own (I wasn’t allowed to read him the books so I read them with his brother). Read my review of Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot here.

Zen ties by Jon Muth

Zen ties by Jon Muth

7) Zen Ties and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Muth’s watercolors are simply beautiful and his stories teach children about the principles of Zen Buddhism in a very simple way. Stillwater the giant panda is a wonderful teacher. Read my review of Zen Ties.

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

8) The Rotten Ralph books by Jack Bantos
Rotten Ralph is everything you don’t want your kids to be and so, kids love him! Rotten Ralph is a really rotten cat and you wonder if he’ll ever show kindness and consideration for others. Deep underneath that rotten attitude, Rotten Ralph may actually have a heart and a conscience. This is a very funny series that will make you laugh out loud. Read my reviews of several Rotten Ralph books here.

What books have you read this year that turned out to be your favorite? Anything I should put on my to-read list for 2013?

WWW Wednesdays – August 1, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Can't wait to get to heaven by Fannie Flagg

Can’t wait to get to heaven by Fannie Flagg

– What I’m currently reading
 Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven! by Fannie Flagg. Char at Joy in the Moments recently read this book and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

– What I recently finished reading
I read lots of books this past week, mostly because some of them were very short.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Wow! Engaging, captivating, riveting, nail biting, page-turning, cruel, brutal, scary, sad, funny… This book has it all and I loved it. It’s nice to read a book with such a strong heroin character, even though she has moments of doubt here and then. I recommend this book to anyone age 13 and up because of the mature content (killing, cruelty, etc). I can’t wait to read the next books!
Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod. There’s nothing earth shattering in this book, but rather wisdom bits about what to do with your own creativity when you’re not sure which way to go, or you feel like you’re not going anywhere. Lots of sensible advice, including ignoring the advice given by most people, especially in they are not in the creative field, and taking money out of the equation in order not to cloud your creative focus. My favorite part? When the author had dinner with Tim Burton and Burton advised him never to ignore that creative itch, because it won’t go away until you deal with it (Tip #31: The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it). So true!
The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac. This book is short and easy to read (I read it in a day) but every word is worth reading. Pennac observes how all young children love being read stories and enjoy reading on their own at first, until something goes wrong (sometimes) and children lose interest in reading. Pennac explains how parents and teachers can so easily suck the pleasure of reading out for children and gives simple advice on how to bring pleasure back. A great complement to The Book Whisperer, in which I found reference to this book. I love the 10 rights of the reader, as they make it clear reading should be about rights, not rules.
 
– What I think I’ll read next
I don’t have any more books from the library sitting on my bookshelf so I’ll see if something comes in before I’m done with my current book. Otherwise, I’ll pull something from my own bookshelf.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Wink the ninja who wanted to be noticed by J. C. PhillipsWhat they’re currently reading
Wink : The Ninja Who Wanted To be Noticed by J.C. Phillipps. While ninjas should be silent and use stealth, Wink, ninja in training, finds out his enthusiasm gets him in trouble. Will Wink find a way to express his excitement for life and his ninja skills at the same time?
The Pea Blossom by Amy Lowry Poole. Originally told by Hans Christian Andersen in Five Peas From One Pod, this new version of the story takes place in Beijing. The paintings on rice paper are a lovely touch.

Minnie and Moo save the earth by Denyz CazetWhat they recently finished reading
Minnie and Moo Save the Earth by Denys Cazet. We love the adventures of Minnie and Moo and this one is no exception. While relaxing in the farmer’s hot tub and snacking on crackers and “fromage de vache” (I’m not kidding you), the two cow friends manage to thwart an alien invasion and save the planet. Absolutely hilarious!
Alligator Boy by Cynthia Rylant. A boy puts on an alligator costume and starts living his life aso an alligator boy. The vet tells mom it’s OK as long as the boy continues going to school, where being a gator helps scaring bullies away.

– What I think they’ll read next
I’m not sure. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – July 25, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

– What I’m currently reading
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Oh my gosh, I can’t stop turning the pages. This is the worst book to read before going to bed!

– What I recently finished reading
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This is a very interesting book entirely dedicated to introverts so introverts and extraverts alike can understand them better. I like the real life examples and strategies to help introverts at home, at school and at work to be themselves and develop their full potential. The U.S. has put a lot of emphasis on extraverts in the past few decades, often picturing introverts as the “anti-social” individuals rather than the thinkers they really are. This is a sad trend, especially when you realize how little independent  thinking and creativity is going on in schools and in the corporate world today. My favorite part in the book? The fact that introverts don’t like small talk. Haha, this is so true!
 
– What I think I’ll read next
I wish I’d known how excellent and addictive The Hunger Games would be so I’d ordered the next two books from the library before I even received the first one. Now, I’m left without the sequels after I finish it, so I’ll grab a book that’s been waiting for me for a few weeks on my bookshelf: Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Cork & Fuzz by Dori ChaconasWhat they’re currently reading
Cork & Fuzz by Dori Chaconas. Fuzz the possum and Cork the muskrat become best friends despite their many differences, including their habitat, eating habits and everyday activities. This is actually a whole series of books and my kids like them all. The stories and illustrations are cute and very engaging. Other books in this series we’ve been reading and we like are:
Cork & Fuzz – The Swimming Lesson (perfect for my kids learning to swim)
Cork & Fuzz – The Baby Sitters
Cork & Fuzz – Short & Tall (very, very funny)

The top job by Elizabeth Cody KimmelWhat they recently finished reading
The Top Job by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. On Career Day, a young girl tells her class about her father’s exciting job as light bulb changer at the top of the Empire State Building. Believe it or not, it’s a real job and it’s quite a challenge to get all the way up there!
How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World by Marjorie Priceman. Since the market is closed, a girl travels around the world to gather the ingredients for making an apple pie. A chicken for the egg in France, a cow for the butter in England, a few more stops, and all the way back to Vermont for the apples. Who knew making an apple pie could be such an adventure?

– What I think they’ll read next
I’m not sure. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – July 18, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain– What I’m currently reading
I just started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It took me several months to get it from the library so I’ve had a lot of anticipation building up. Now I just have to find enough quiet time to read it all…

– What I recently finished reading
Stay Close by Harlan Coben. I give this book 4 stars out of 5 for making me wanting to turn the pages over and over, and 3 stars for the lack of originality. I read The Innocent a few months ago and the story was somewhat similar: the stripper running away from her past but unable to escape her roots, the good cops, the rotten ones… This book was entertaining but felt like deja vu to me.
 
– What I think I’ll read next
Last week, I said I’d read Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity next. But then I got Susan Cain’s Quiet and I know it’s a hot potato at the library so I moved it to the top of my queue. I also (finally) got the first volume of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, so this will be my next read.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Goodnight Opus by Berkeley BreathedWhat they’re currently reading
Goodnight Opus by Berkeley Breathed. After hearing Grandma reading Goodnight Moon for the two hundredth time, Opus decides to put a spin on the story and use his wild imagination to travel into space. You can even find out what the Milky Way is really made out of. My kids really enjoy this story and the illustrations.
Pssst! by Adam Rex. The animals at the zoo have some unusual requests for a little girl who happens to be very helpful. They want things. Lots of things. Big things (think tires and armchairs). The story is very funny and the illustrations are engaging for both adults and kids.
Hot Air : The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman. This book retells the story of the Montgolfier brothers launching their first hot air balloon ride in front of Louis XVI and a large crowd at Versailles in 1783. Did you know the original travelers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster? But what really happened to them while they were up high in the sky? This books tells it all. Or does it?

The Prince's new pet by Brian AndersonWhat they recently finished reading
The Prince’s New Pet by Brian Anderson. After the queen dies, the king decides the kingdom should remain gray and colorless as he bans all color. But on his birthday the Prince receives an unusual, very colorful new pet. Will the evil color catcher remove this intruder or will the kingdom regain some color? A wonderful book showing how sad and gloomy a world without color (literally or not) would be.
Please, Louise! by Frieda Wishinsky. This is a book older siblings will relate to when it comes to annoying younger siblings. Jake’s little sister refuses to leave him alone and he’s had enough. But when he wishes she was a dog, his sister disappears and all he can see is a dog running around. Uh-oh…

– What I think they’ll read next
Probably some Berenstain Bears because I ordered a bunch of them. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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