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Semicolon Book Recommendations

I just found this site, called Anne Knows Books, which offers personalized book recommendations for a reasonable price ($3.00 a month) based on a book profile that you fill out and update regularly. I also noted this post, Why I’m Not Making a Holiday Gift Guide by Alyssa at Everead, in which Alyssa offers to give you personalized book recommendations for yourself or for those who are on your Christmas shopping list.

Well, I generally give book recommendations at the end of the year to those who add a link to their “best of” reading lists at the Saturday Review of Books on the Saturday just before or after New Year’s Day. (The Saturday Review of Books, Special Edition for Book Lists will be January 3rd this time.) But I’d love to get a head start. If you have some Christmas shopping to do, and you’d like to buy a book for someone special, or if you’d like to have suggestion or two about what you might want to read next, leave me the following information, and I will suggest three or more books for you to choose from for your gift-giving. I need to know the gift recipient’s:

Age and gender
A few interests and hobbies
Two or three favorite books or genres, if you know

You could try Alyssa, too, or Anne Knows Books, and see if we come up with the same ideas. Have fun giving a book or two or three for Christmas. I’ll leave my suggestions in the comments section here, and I might compile them into a post at some time later in the season.

Saturday Review of Books: October 11, 2014


““For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.” ” ~Louis L’Amour

Talk about diversity, the theme at KidLitCon in Sacramento, CA this weekend. I’m not there, but I hope all of those who are there are enjoying the time spent discussing, dissecting, exploring, examining, and encouraging diversity in YA and children’s literature. Real, nourishing literature is as diverse as its authors and readers, and we readers need each other to find the “good stuff”. Link up your reviews here each Saturday so that we can discuss, dissect, explore, examine, and encourage all through the year.

Reading from Flickr via Wylio© 2009 Easa Shamih, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

SatReviewbuttonWelcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read. That’s how my own TBR list has become completely unmanageable and the reason I can’t join any reading challenges. I have my own personal challenge that never ends.

Also, don’t forget that nominations are open through October 15th for the Cybils, the book awards for children’s and young adult literature that are administered, judged, and awarded by kid lit bloggers.Anyone can nominate, so nominate your favorite children’s and YA books from 2013-2014 at the Cybils website.

Saturday Review of Books: October 4, 2014


“The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn’t know how to read.” ~Benjamin Franklin

SatReviewbuttonWelcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read. That’s how my own TBR list has become completely unmanageable and the reason I can’t join any reading challenges. I have my own personal challenge that never ends.

Saturday Review of Books: August 23, 2014


“‘Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?’ Mo had said when, on Meggie’s last birthday, they were looking at all her dear old books again. ‘As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells . . . and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower. . . both strange and familiar.'” ~Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Today, August 23rd, is Z-baby’s birthday. She’s the one holding up the copy of my book, Picture Book Preschool, in the sidebar picture. I don’t know if she’s finding any of her books “fatter” this birthday, but I do find myself richer for having been her mother for thirteen years now. Happy Birthday, Z-baby!

SatReviewbuttonWelcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read. That’s how my own TBR list has become completely unmanageable and the reason I can’t join any reading challenges. I have my own personal challenge that never ends.

Saturday Review of Books: July 26, 2014


“The aura of a book I have yet to read, with its promise of rapture, surprise and edification, might be even more powerful than the aura of a book I have read, enjoyed and duly forgotten.” ~Jeff Salamanacters

SatReviewbuttonWelcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read. That’s how my own TBR list has become completely unmanageable and the reason I can’t join any reading challenges. I have my own personal challenge that never ends.

Scroll down to the next post to help with my 50 states nonfiction booklist project. What nonfiction book will inform the reader about your state?

Summer Reading and Book News

New from Sarah Clarkson at Thoroughly Alive:

Storyformed.com is both a literary online resource, and the home of a new publishing imprint, Storyformed Books.
We’ll be republishing excellent out-of-print classics, releasing new fiction by contemporary authors, and publishing a series of essay collections on reading and imagination. My book, Caught Up in a Story, written largely to explain the Storyformed worldview, is the first to release with the imprint. We’ll follow it soon with Just David, one of the favorite children’s classics of my childhood.

I love book lists. If you have a summer reading list that you’d like to see linked here, leave me a note in the comments. Meanwhile, enjoy the following Summer Lists of Reading before summer runs away from us and inevitably turns to autumn.

Beach Books by Betsy at Redeemed Reader.

Book Tag: Summer Setting, Summer Reading

Summer Reading: 52 Picks for the Hols

Death in Summer: Mysteries for Hot Days

Saturday Review of Books: March 1, 2014

“Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” ~Hazel Rochman

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Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read. That’s how my own TBR list has become completely unmanageable and the reason I can’t join any reading challenges. I have my own personal challenge that never ends.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller, sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller, Texas.

Ms. Keller’s thesis can be summarized in two sentences: To make children into lifelong readers, surround them with books and let them read whatever they want to read. Treat them like readers, and they will become readers.

I’ve been following this plan in our homeschool for about twenty-five years now, with mixed results. Most of my eight children are readers. Several of them are voracious readers, the kind I am and the sort Ms. Miller describes herself as:

“I am a reader, a flashlight-under-the-covers, carries-a-book-everywhere-I-go, don’t-look-at-my-Amazon-bill reader. I choose purses based on whether I can cram a paperback into them, and my books are the first items I pack into a suitcase. I am the person whom family and friends call when they need a book recommendation or cannot remember who wrote Heidi. (It was Johanna Spyri.)”

However, even with all this reading environment and encouragement and, yes, pressure, I have one child who does not see herself as a reader (she reads, just says she hates to read) and another who has quit reading for pleasure for the last two or three years at least. Unfortunately, Ms. Miller’s book gave me very few ideas about how to re-awaken the love of reading in my son or how to instill a love for reading in my daughter. I already let them read pretty much anything they want to read. I already suggest books for them, buy books for them, borrow books for them, encourage them to read about subjects they love, and show them daily how much reading means to me by reading as much as I can, anywhere I can. Our house is full of good books.

The Book Whisperer is a very public school, teacher-ish, kind of book, but it is a good resource for teachers of reading in school settings. It did spark a couple of ideas in this homeschool mom mind of mine: I could have a time (half an hour? an hour?) each day when we participate in ye olde public school D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and READ). I could require them to read 40 books for the school year (a requirement Ms. Miller has for her sixth graders) and see what happens. I could keep giving my daughter piles of books that I think she might like until she finds one she loves. It hasn’t worked yet, but it might still click one day.

Saturday Review of Books SPECIAL EDITION: December 28, 2013

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” ~Abraham Lincoln

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TODAY, SATURDAY December 28th (and all this week), is a special edition of the Saturday Review of Books especially for booklists. You can link to a list of your favorite books read in 2013, a list of all the books you read in 2013, a list of the books you plan to read in 2014, or any other end of the year or beginning of the year list of books. Whatever your list, it’s time for book lists. So link to yours, especially if I missed it and it’s not already here.

Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

However, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks gathering up some lists I could find and linking to them here. Scroll down to see the lists I’ve already linked to along with book advisory suggestions from yours truly. Perhaps you’ll see something in all these lists that will call to you and set your reading agenda for the next week or even year.

If I didn’t get your list linked ahead of time and if you leave your list in the linky below along with a comment, I’ll try to advise you, too, in the comments section of this post.


1. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (2013 read alouds & top picks)
2. Amy@Hope Is the Word (Books Read in 2013)
3. Carol in Oregon (Reading Year in Retrospect)
4. Becky (12 Books of the Month)
5. Alice@Supratentorial(2013 Books Read)
6. Alice@Supratentorial(2013 Read-Alouds)
7. Becky (Top Ten Georgette Heyer)
8. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (2013 top picks)
9. Barbara H. (Books read in 2013)
10. Barbara H. (Top 10 books read in 2013)
11. Becky @ Operation Actually (Books Read in 2013)
12. Carol History #4: Silent Night!
13. Jessica Snell (2013 highlights)
14. Hope (Favorite Books of 2013)
15. Lazygal (2013 Reading Roundup)
16. Harvee@ Book Dilettante
17. Glynn (Books I’m Not Recommending for Christmas)
18. Top 10 of ’13 @ Lisa notes
19. Sophie (Most Anticipated Reads of 2014)
20. Diane’s Top Ten List 2013
21. Black By Popular Demand (The Best Books I Read this Year)
22. Sarah @Delivering Grace (Books read and read alouds)
23. Alex @A Different Place (The Best Books I Read in 2013)
24. Shannon (Best Books of 2013)
25. Books to the Ceiling (Best Books of 2013)
26. Modern Mrs. Darcy (My favorite books of 2013)
27. Jamie Rubin (My favorite reads of 2013)
28. Boston Bibliophile (My Favorite Reads of 2013)
29. Mystica (Best Reads for 2013)
30. BermudaOnion (The Best of 2013)
31. Bibliophile by the Sea (Favorite Reads in 2013)
32. Books on the Nightstand (2013 Reading Review)
33. Seth@Collateral Bloggage (Reading Recap 2013)
34. Seth@Collateral Bloggage (2013 Favorites)
35. Pamela’s Picks The Best YA Books of 2013
36. dawn (Books Read 2013)
37. Welcome to My Tweendom Favorite Reads of 2013
38. Reading Rants 2013 Top Ten
39. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Best of 2013)
40. Eve Tushnet Best of 2013
41. Cindy@OrdoAmoris(Non-Fiction)
42. Cindy@OrdoAmoris(Series)
43. Sheila @ Dodging Raindrops (Best Books Read in 2013)
44. Pages Left Unturned (Top Books of 2013, as Labeled by TheTeaCat)
45. Ruth (Books I read in 2013)
46. ElizabethEsther Best Books of 2013
47. Sophie at Spark Favorite Books of 2013
48. BookTrail Top Ten
49. Tamara at Club Mom Best Books of 2013
50. The Quivering Pen (My Year of Books)
51. Annie Rim (5 Star Books of 2013)
52. Bridget of Arabia (Best Books of 2013)
53. Camels and Chocolate (What I Read 2013)
54. Mental multivitamin (the complete list)
55. Cindy@OrdoAmoris(the rest)
56. Ragdoll Books (Best Books of 2013)
57. Galavanting GIrl (Best Books I Read in 2013)
58. Sam at TIny Library (Best Books of 2013, Vol. 1)
59. Sam at Tiny Library (Best Books of 2013, Vol. 2)
60. Amanda@The Living Room (The 2013 Book List)
61. Hungry for Good Books (The Best Books of 2013)
62. Elizabeth Craft (Best Books I Read in 2013)
63. Rhapsody in Books (Top Ten-ish Books I Read in 2013)
64. Rainy Day Reading (Favorite-something books of 2013)
65. Marijo at TheGigglingGull
66. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (my reading plans for 2014)
67. georgianne (Books I Read in 2013)
68. georgianne (favorite books in 2013)
69. Pages Left Unturned (Most Anticipated Reads of 2014, as Labeled by TheTeaCat)
70. Janie 2013 Book Review
71. In This Corner (My Best Books of 2013)
72. Reader Bee (Best Books of 2013)
73. On books! (Best Books I Read in 2013)
74. Florence in Print (Best Books I Read in 2013)
75. Reading Envy (Best Books of 2013)
76. Kim (Top Ten YA Picks of 2013)
77. At A Hen’s Pace (Annotated List of 2013 Reads)
78. Lisa Spence (Favorite Reads of 2013)
79. Laura Fabiani (Best Books of 2013)
80. Maude and Mozart (2013 Best Books List)
81. Elizabeth Caulfield Felt (Best Books of 2013)
82. Better Hawaii (Best Books of 2013)
83. Carrie Gelson (Favorites of 2013)
84. In Media Res (The 5 Best Books I Read in 2013)
85. Tolle Lege (The Best Books I Read this Year)
86. Christian Chick (Best Books of 2013)
87. MeReader (Best Books of 2013)
88. Becky @ One Literature Nut (Best Books of 2013)
89. Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric (Best of 2013)
90. The Girl @ Diary of an Eccentric (Best of 2013)
91. Kara@Biblio-File (2013 Book List)
92. Staci Eastin (Most Intriguing Novels Read during 2013)
93. Barnabas (The Top Five Books I Read in 2013)
94. Teri Lynne (Best Books I Read in 2013)
95. Becky @ Becky’s Book Reviews
96. Art@Home (The Best Books of 2013)
97. Fountains of Home (The Best Books I Read in 2013)
98. Sara Dobie Bauer (Best Books of 2013)
99. Sharkbytes (Best Books Read in 2013)
100. Jamie’s Rabbits (Best Books I Read in 2013)
101. Rissi (2013’s Best in Fiction)
102. Alyssa (Top 13 Books I Read in 2013)
103. Cassie (My Favorite Reads of 2013)
104. Karen @ Candid Diversions
105. Stuck in a Book (Top 10 Books of 2013)

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

Preview of 2013 Book Lists #1

SATURDAY December 28th, will be a special edition of the Saturday Review of Books especially for booklists. You can link to a list of your favorite books read in 2013, a list of all the books you read in 2013, a list of the books you plan to read in 2014, or any other end of the year or beginning of the year list of books. Whatever your list, it’s time for book lists. So come back on Saturday the 28th to link to yours, especially if I missed it and it’s not already here.

However, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks gathering up all the lists I could find and linking to them here. I’ll be posting off and on between now and the 28th a selection of end-of-the-year lists with my own comments. I’m also trying my hand at (unsolicited) book advisory by suggesting some possibilities for 2014 reading for each blogger whose list I link. I did this last year, and I don’t really know if anyone paid attention or not. If you did read a book I suggested for you last year, please leave a comment, either negative or positive, so that I’ll know how well I did. I do know that I enjoy exercising my book-recommending brain.

If I didn’t get your list linked ahead of time and if you leave your list in the linky on Saturday, December 28th, I’ll try to advise you, too, in a separate post.

Here are few early booklists I found while looking around the book blogs.

Ivory Owl Book Reviews: Best Books of 2013. I think Rhiannon would like Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield; both books are similar to the ones she has on her list, and both books are by female authors, which she she says reads almost exclusively.

Things I Can’t Say: Best and Worst Books of 2013. Shell is a fan of The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I’m recommending that she try Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, both Elizabeth Wein.

Life:merging: Best Books of 2013. Melissa, the librarian at this reader’s blog, enjoys animal stories and psychological thrillers and lots of other stuff. She should check out Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, because other books by those authors are on her “best of 2013″ list.

The Well-Read Readhead’s Best Books of 2013. I see some familiar names on Ms. Redhead’s list: Wally Lamb, Jodi Piccoult, Michael Pollan, Gillian Flynn. And I see some authors I may want to check out. Looking at Redhead’s TBR list, I highly recommend The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, Watership Down by Richard Adams, and she’s never read any Agatha Christie? What’s up with that? Do it: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Delivering Grace: Best Books of 2013. SarahEizabeth Jones is a UK home educator, and for her I have a list of my favorite read-aloud books. For her own reading, SarahElizabeth might enjoy Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber.

British author and blogger Tara Hanks: Best Books of 2013. I want to read Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell, one of the books on Ms. Hanks’ list of favorites. I wonder if Ms. Hanks might like to try Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior and/or something by one of Eldest Daughter’s favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor, perhaps Wise Blood or The Violent Bear It Away.

living read girl lists her favorite reads of 2013. I want to add a couple of these favorites to my TBR list, too, namely The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne and The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. I’ll give “lady t” some book recommendations for her perusal: Crampton Hodnet or Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (because I think Pym is rather Austen-ish) Also “lady t” should check out Dorothy Dunnett’s The Lymond Chronicles, a series beginning with The Game of Kings. This series, set in the sixteenth century, is another of Eldest Daughter’s favorites. I haven’t read these yet, but I really plan to do so this year.

Be a Better Booktalker: My Favorite Children’s and Teen Books of 2013. Andrea Lipinski recommends Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington, which sounds like a middle grade novel that’s right up my alley. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu sounds good, too. (What can I say? I read books about eccentric and mentally unbalanced people.) I’m not sure what to suggest for Andrea: maybe The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef? Or Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy.

51IDqyyYbhL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Shelley Johannes: The Book Diaries. Best Children’s Picture Books of 2013. I want to read (and feast my eyes upon) all of Shelley’s picks. On the other hand, I really don’t know what to suggest to her since she’s an artist, that intimidating word, and seems to know all about the pictures. I will list a few of my favorite classic (and new) picture book illustrators, in case she hasn’t seen all of them: Peter Spier, Susan Jeffers, Roger Duviosin, Donald Crews, Trina Schart Hyman, Tasha Tudor, Lauren Child, Marcia Brown, Allen Say, Francoise Seignobosc, Robert McCloskey, Brett Helquist . . . wow, this list could go on and on. Who are your favorite children’s book illustrators?

Jared C. Wilson at Gospel Driven Church: 10 Best Books I Read This Year. I “know” Jared from way back: he’s been blogging at Gospel Driven Church and with the guys at The THinklings for a loooong time . . . almost as long as I’ve been blogging. One of his top ten for this year is a book that really impressed me, too, and made me cringe a little (and pray) every time I see Tom Cruise, namely Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and The Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. However, for suggestions for Jared, I went back to his Top Ten Lists from previous years and saw that he read Pride and Prejudice a couple of years ago and really liked it a lot. I think it’s time for Jared to read Emma or Sense and Sensibility. I would also suggest the book we just finished studying in my Sunday School class, Echoes of Eden by Jerram Barrs.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all Happy Reading!