Saturday Review of Books: January 25, 2014

“When a day passes, it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren’t told or books weren’t written, man would live like the beasts, only for the day.” ~Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus by Isaac Bashevus Singer

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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.

1. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Locomotive by Brian Floca)
2. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Emily Climbs)
3. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Miss Buncle’s Book quote)
4. Seth@Collateral Bloggage (All You Want to Know About Hell)
5. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Shadowed by Grace)
6. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Critical Pursuit)
7. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Mr. Spunky and His Friends)
8. Beckie @ ByTheBook (The Headmistress of Rosemere)
9. Beckie @ ByTheBook (Redeemed)
10. Cathy@ThoughtsonBooks (The Goodness of God)
11. Jessica Snell (Pen on Fire)
12. Barbara H. (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy)
13. Barbara H. (A Study in Scarlet)
14. Barbara H. (The Blue Castle)
15. Books&Monika (A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki)
16. Janet (Last Chronicle of Barset)
17. Hope (Victorian Challenge Wrap-Up)
18. Jama’s Alphabet Soup (A Fine Romance)
19. Reading World (City of Women)
20. Becky (Dare to Love Again)
21. SmallWorld Reads (When She Woke by Hillary Jordan)
22. Yvann@Readingwithtea (The People in the Photo)
23. Yvann@Readingwithtea (The Incredible Inheritance of Wilberforce)
24. Becky (Pastwatch Redemption of Christopher Columbus)
25. Becky (Aquifer)
26. Becky (A Corner of White)
27. Becky (Lady of the English)
28. Becky (Alexander the Conqueror)
29. Becky (Good Morning Miss Dove)
30. ~ linda @The Reader & the Book (One)
31. Thalia @ Muses and Graces (Across the Great Barrier)
32. Glynn (The Watchman of Ephraim)
33. Glynn (St. Martin-in-the-Field)
34. Glynn (Wounded Women of the Bible)
35. Glynn (How the Bible Came to Be)
36. Susanne@Living To Tell (Almost Forever)
37. Joseph R.@ZombieParentsGuide (St. Benedict and St. Therese)
38. Sophie (Hatchet)
39. Sophie (Double Happiness)
40. Alex @ Is It Amazing (Plague Town)
41. gautami tripathy
42. gautami tripathy (something About Her)
43. gautami tripathy (The Doctor’s Secret Bride))
44. gautami tripathy (Baby, It’s Cold Outside)
45. gautami tripathy (Where’s My Son?)
46. gautami tripathy (The Lantern)
47. Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric (Somewhere in France)
48. Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric (No Surrender Soldier)

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Saturday Review of Books: January 11, 2014

“What is the most precious, the most exciting smell awaiting you in the house when you return to it after a dozen years or so? The smell of roses, you think? No, moldering books.” ~Andre Sinyavsky

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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.

1. SuziQoregon @ Whimpulsive (The Cricket on the Hearth)
2. SuziQoregon @ Whimpulsive (The Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young)
3. SuziQoregon @ Whimpulsive (Children of the Storm)
4. Barbara H. (Lost and Found)
5. Barbara H. (Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story)
6. Barbara H. (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Interrupted Tale)
7. Seth@Collateral Bloggage (Nascence)
8. Glynn (Without a Claim)
9. Carol in Oregon (Reading My Own Books Plan)
10. Yvann@Readingwithtea (Lean In)
11. Yvann@Readingwithtea (I Capture The Castle)
12. Glynn (Unblogger)
13. Janet (Chaser… The Dog Who Knows 1000 Words)
14. Glynn (Living in the Nature Poem)
15. Thoughts of Joy (The Round House)
16. Thoughts of Joy (Trash)
17. Beckie @ ByTheBook (The Dancing Master)
18. Beckie @ ByTheBook (The Painted Table)
19. Glynn (Lillian’s List)
20. Reading World (The Handfasted Wife)
21. Amy @ Hope Is the Word he Interrupted Tale)
22. Reading World (Oliver Wiswell)
23. Jama’s Alphabet Soup (A Commonplace Book of Pie)
24. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Rose Under Fire)
25. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Emily Climbs quote)
26. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Papa Is a Poet)
27. Becky (Studying Your Bible)
28. Becky (Crazy Busy)
29. Becky (The Time Machine)
30. Becky (The 100)
31. Becky (The Living)
32. Becky (The Revolt of the Eaglets)
33. Becky (Royal Affair)
34. Becky (4 2014 Picture Books)
35. Becky (4 2014 Board Books)
36. Sophie (The Westing Game)
37. the Ink Slinger (Zen in the Art of Writing)
38. Joseph R.@ZombieParentsGuide (Usborne Robin Hood)
39. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (Listen by Rene Gutteridge)
40. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (Lie Down in Green Pastures by Debbie Viguie)
41. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (Relentless by Robin Parrish)
42. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (Sunday Sampler)
43. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (CREATE by Stephen Altrogge)
44. Marijo at TheGigglingGull (The Midwife’s Here by Linda Fairley)
45. Becky (Dear Mr. Knightley)
46. Alice@Supratentorial(Riddle of the Labyrinth)
47. Leslie (A Good Book: 2013 Summary)
48. Shonya (Yadayada Prayer Group)
49. I’d Rather Be At The Beach (Hospice Voices)
50. Susanne (A Promise Kept)
51. Guiltless Reading (Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich)
52. Guiltless Reading (Mountainfit by Meera Lee Sethi)
53. Harvee@Book Dilettante
54. Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric (Last Train to Paris)
55. gautami tripathy (A Calamitous Chinese Killing by Shamini Flint)
56. gautami tripathy (Death, Taxes and Green Tea Ice Cream by Diane Kelly)
57. gautami tripathy (Dirty Little Secrets by Liliana Hart)
58. gautami tripathy (Far To Go by Alison Pick)
59. Karen Collier (The Prodigal by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett)
60. Harvee@Book Dilettante (Short Leash)

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Cybils Challenge

I’ve decided I’m going to at least TRY to read all of the Cybils nominees, although there are a few (mostly YA) that I’m fairly sure I won’t like well enough to finish. Also, I don’t do graphic novels or book apps. Prerogative of age. (I sound old and grouchy. But I’m not. I’m actually excited to start a new Cybils reading adventure.)

So, I’m all set to join Beth at Library Chicken and Stephanie at Love.Life.Read in my modified version of a Cybils finalists challenge. I wonder if I can manage to read all or most of them by February 14th, the announcement date for the winners?

Elementary & Middle Grade

Fiction Picture Books
Count the Monkeys, Mac Barnett
If You Want to See a Whale, Julie Fogliano
Journey, Aaron Becker
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, Peter Brown
Open This Little Book, Jesse Klausmeier
Sophie’s Squash, Pat Zietlow Miller
The Bear’s Song, Benjamin Chaud

Nonfiction
Anubis Speaks!: A Guide to the Afterlife by the Egyptian God of the Dead, Vicky Alvear Shecter
Barbed Wire Baseball, Marissa Moss
How Big Were Dinosaurs?, Lita Judge
Locomotive, Brian Floca
Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard, Annette LeBlanc Cate
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos, Deborah Heiligman
Volcano Rising, Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Susan Swan

Easy Readers
A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), Mo Willems
Joe and Sparky Go to School, Jamie Michalak
Love Is in the Air (HC) (Penguin Young Readers, L2), Jonathan Fenske
Penny and Her Marble (I Can Read Book 1), Kevin Henkes
The Meanest Birthday Girl, Josh Schneider
Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf, Dosh Archer

Early Chapter Books
Dragonbreath #9: The Case of the Toxic Mutants, Ursula Vernon
Home Sweet Horror (Scary Tales), James Preller
Kelsey Green, Reading Queen (Franklin School Friends), Claudia Mills
Lulu and the Dog from the Sea, Hilary McKay
The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems, Lauren Myracle
Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat, Anna Branford

Poetry
Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems, Marilyn Singer
Forest Has a Song: Poems, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Poems to Learn by Heart, Caroline Kennedy
Pug: And Other Animal Poems, Valerie Worth
The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses, Lisa Wheeler
What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings, Joyce Sidman
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders, J. Patrick Lewis

Speculative Fiction
Jinx, Sage Blackwood
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, Jonathan Stroud
Rose, Holly Webb
Sidekicked, John David Anderson
The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Kathi Appelt
The Water Castle, Megan Frazer Blakemore

Middle Grade Fiction
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Chris Grabenstein
Prisoner B-3087, Ruth Gruener
Serafina’s Promise, Ann E. Burg
The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., Greg Pincus
Ultra, David Carroll

strong>Young Adult

Nonfiction
Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays, Roaring Brook READ and reviewed.
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II, Martin W. Sandler. READ.
The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler’s List, Leon Leyson READ and reviewed.
The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, Catherine Reef READ and reviewed.
“The President Has Been Shot!”: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, James L. Swanson READ and reviewed.

Speculative Fiction
Conjured, Sarah Beth Durst
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy), Robin LaFevers
Pantomime (Strange Chemistry), Laura Lam
Shadows, Robin McKinley
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Waking Dark, Robin Wasserman
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, Ian Doescher

YA Fiction
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, Evan Roskos
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell READ.
Out of The Easy, Ruta Sepetys
Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein READ and reviewed.
Sex & Violence, Carrie Mesrobian
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Meg Medina

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)

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12 Best Adult Fiction Books I Read in 2013

Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. I just finished this story about an author who courts danger by using the people of her small English village as characters in her novel. It was lovely.

A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert, reviewed at Semicolon.

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. I couldn’t really write a decent review of this probably-too-long story about the aftermath and reverberations of the Columbine shooting in the lives of a young couple, but despite having scenes and and indeed, entire sections, that could have been edited out (IMHO), the parts that were good, were very, very good. Actions matter. No man is an island. We make choices that affect others.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell.

The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, reviewed at Semicolon. Spy fiction/romance with all the twists and turns that would be expected in both.

January Justice by Athol Dickson, reviewed at Semicolon. Mr. Dickson, one of my favorite Christian authors, enters the genre of detective thriller with a complicated hero in a sticky situation. And there’s no explicit sex, bad language or nastily described violence.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, reviewed at Semicolon. This novel from a Nigerian/American author is classified as young adult fiction in my library, probably because the narrator is fifteen years old, but I think it will resonate with adults of all ages, and with readers around the world because the themes–abusive relationships, religious legalism, freedom, and the source of joy–are all universal themes.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, reviewed at Semicolon. Sweet and sassy, and the author is over seventy years old? Congratulations, Mr. Bradley!

I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, reviewed at Semicolon. Set in Nigeria for my West Africa reading challenge.

A Light Shining by Glynn Young, reviewed at Semicolon. Sequel to Dancing Priest, the story of Michael Kent, Olympic cyclist, Anglican priest, and orphan with a mysterious past.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. A post on the Futuristic Computer Techie Fiction of Cory Doctorow and Mr. Cline.

Preview of 2013 Book Lists #2

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 (Preview of 2013 Book Lists #1). 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 or in the comments.

Here are few early booklists I found while looking around the book blogs.Novel Novice: Best YA Books of 2013. Sara at Novel Novice makes all fourteen of the books on her best-of list sound like must-reads. They can’t all be that good, can they? For her, I’m recommending Orleans by Sherri Smith and A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer, both apocalyptic YA novels that were published in 2013.

Meg at A Bookish Affair: Best Books of 2013. One of Meg’s favorites reads in 2013, Buried in Books: A Reader’s Anthology by Julie Rugg, sounds particularly inviting. Meg enjoys historical fiction: I wonder if she’s read Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger, one of my favorite historical fiction novels? And since Meg enjoys “books about books”, a sub-genre I’m rather fond of, too, I suggest she check out Louis L’Amour’s Education of a Wandering Man.

Angela’s Anxious Life: Best Books I’ve Read in 2013. Angie seems to lean toward the dark side, Stephen King, dystopian series, and some graphic novels and fairy tale retellings. I wonder if she’s read What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell? In the re-spun fairy tale genre, I recommend Donna Jo Napoli’s The Wager and Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.

Fiction Fascination: Best Books of 2013. Carly recommends The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman so highly that I might have to actually read it this year. For this Irish mom and book blogger, I’m recommending The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde and Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin.

Rachel Held Evans: My five favorite books of the year. Ms. Evans should try Death by Living by N.D. Wilson and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher. Both books would speak to the conservative side of her Christian roots, without, I think, infuriating the more liberal side of her thinking.

Carrie K at Books and Movies: Favorite YA Fiction of 2013 and Favorite Contemporary Fiction of 2013. Oh, Carrie, read Mrs. Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. I just finished it, and I think you would like it a lot. For YA fiction, check out The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarjab.

Sarah Johnson at Reading the Past: 15 Memorable Reads of 2013. Sarah reads historical fiction, and she’s pretty much an expert on the genre. I think I want to read all 14 of her favorites. (I already read A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert, and I enjoyed it very much.) As for recommendations, I suggest (if she hasn’t already read them) Doc by Mary Doria Russell and River Rising by Athol Dickson.

37 Books of the Year as recommended by bloggers at Reading Matters. I can’t make recommendations for all 37 of the bloggers who participated in Kim’s Reading Advent Calendar, but I can recommend a book or two for Kim herself. She would do well to check out Wally Lamb’s The Hour I First Believed and I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, one of my favorite reads from this past year.

Mademoiselle Le Sphinx: Best Books I’ve Read in 2013. Mademoiselle is Aliaa El-Nashar, an Egyptian young lady living in Cairo who loves to read. For her future reading I propose Orleans by Sherri Smith and and oldie but goodie, The Little World of Don Camillo by Italian author Giovanni Guareschi (because Aliaa is studying Italian at the university in Cairo).

Amara’s Eden: Best Books I Read in 2013. Amara’s list includes everything from Stephen King (Carrie) to YA to picture books. Amara seems to be participating in an ongoing (?) C.S. Lewis reading challenge, for which I recommend The Great Divorce. And since Amara likes horror, I’d suggest she go back to the classic horror author, Edgar Allan Poe, and sample some of his short stories.

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!

Saturday Review of Books: December 14, 2013

“The best book, like the best speech, will do it all–make us laugh, think, cry and cheer–preferably in that order” ~Madeleine Albright

SATURDAY December 28th, will be the annual 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 2012, 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.

SatReviewbutton

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 2nd Gift of Christmas at Lake Truckee, California, 1846

Margret [Reed] did her best to revive a few hours of Christmas joy for her hungry children. She’d saved a meager hoard for the occasion–a few dried apples, a few beans, a little tripe, and a small piece of bacon. The children watched as the treats simmered in the kettle, and when they sat down to this Christmas feast, Margret told them, ‘Children, eat slowly, for this one day you can have all you wish.’ For the rest of her life, not matter how grand a Christmas dinner spread on her table, Virginia never forgot what her mother did for them. ‘So bitter was the memory relieved by that one bright day, that I have never since sat down to a Christmas dinner without my thoughts going back to Donner Lake.'” ~Women of the Frontier by Brandon Marie Miller

The Reed family was a part of the famous, or infamous, Donner Party, a group of families headed for Oregon/California who attempted to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the fall of 1846. Many of the settlers in the party perished of cold or starvation when the winter snows trapped the group at Lake Truckee, now called Donner Lake to commemorate the unfortunate Donner Party. Margret Reed, her husband, James, and their four children—Virginia, Patty, James, Jr. and Thomas—survived the ordeal to settle in California.

Today’s gifts from Semicolon:
A song: One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers, Karen Carpenter singing I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

A movie: I’ve become fond of The Ultimate Gift with a really aged James Garner as the grandfather/gift-giver. It made me feel old to watch and remember The Rockford Files when James Garner was young(ish) and played one of the great TV detectives. The movie has a great message, and if the plot gets a little thin at times, the characters and the heart make up for a creaky plot.
A booklist: Gift books for what they want to be when they grow up.
A birthday: David Macaulay, b.1946.
A verse: Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The entire poem has seven stanzas or verses.

Saturday Review of Books: November 30, 2013

“[R}eally good books. Good or even great because they make the right connections. They pull together for us a world that is falling apart. They are the words that integrate us, stretch us, comfort and heal us. They are the words that mirror the Word of creation, bringing order out of chaos.” ~Katherine Paterson

SatReviewbutton

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.

I’d especially like to have your links to your reviews of Cybils nominees. Come on, Cybils reviewers, share with us.