Wednesday, May 6, 2009

FDPG's Latest Read

I am fortunate to live in a town with a seriously good bookstore. It's good in that it: a) offers a discount (on all items) to homeschoolers, b) makes a genuine attempt to order in anything you ask them to, and c) puts on a lot of bookish events for people. And so it was that I found myself there the other night, in regards to the c) category. A homeschooling mother here in town convinced one of this store's employee's (a homeschooling mother herself, I realized rather belatedly) to give a group of us a semi-virtual tour through the shelves of the YA literature section (YA being Young Adult).

Now I've bought books for my kids solely on the recommendations of other people, and some of them have been fortuitous finds. Some haven't. And we're lucky in that we happen to live in a province that offers options to homeschoolers, most of them with financial attachments I can live with. And these financial attachments offer me the opportunity to buy books for my kids that I wouldn't otherwise. That said, we still spend way too much time in the library (at least, according to Max we do), because there is only so much of the house that I am prepared to offer up to books. I need space for my hat collection, for one thing. And my seed sprouting activities. And my CD collection (Billy Bragg! Ron Sexsmith! The Cure!). And my cookery implement collection (currently groaning in storage boxes in the basement). Not to mention my cook books. Oh, and gardening books.

Well, you get the idea.

Anyhow, back to the fortuitous finds and this particular bookstore.

Thanks to Becky, whom I hold responsible for emptying that homeschool purse more than she realizes (with this and this and this and this, among other items), we've accumulated a lot of fun stuff to read and listen to, items that have both lightened my load as a homeschooling parent and given the kids much food for future thought (that they might not have gotten otherwise). My kids are now serious devotees of that thing known as The Audio Story. When we first started taking them out of the library (because I didn't see myself EVER spending $40 for an audio CD when I could get it free from the library...come to think of it, I still don't) I thought "Gosh, how quaint! I used to listen to cassettes too" (because 5 years ago the library collections were still largely cassette-oriented). Now of course almost everything is on CD, which is nice because they sound better and behave better in the kids' creaky cranky Freecycled ghetto blasters. And the variety! It's incredible. The kids have their favourite readers even (Jim Dale reading Peter Pan was an early favourite. Ditto the lovely Dr Who David Tennant reading Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III). Call me antiquated but who needs a DVD player in the car when you've got Our Island Story, A Little History of the World, or Norse Myths all ready to go? Anyhow, we are all big fans of the audio story here. Sometimes the kids listen to the audio version and sometimes they happen upon the book. Either way it's good.

Max likes adventure stories: Silverwing, Garth Nix's Keys To The Kingdom, The Thieflord (when he first started reading he loved anything by Cornelia Funke), The Gatekeepers series by Anthony Horowitz, Lemony Snicket's stuff. FDPG likes fantasy adventures or anything funny with dragons and goofy princesses in them: the Magic Treehouse series was her first passion, then she moved on to Dragonrider, The Last Dragon, The Unicorn Secrets, Dealing With Dragons, Talking To Dragons, the Warriors series...well, you get it. She liked them so much she got the books out of the library and read them over and over again. Right now she's rereading the Harry Potter series AND listening to them at the same time, mostly because she can't wrench herself out of that world. Who can blame her. We're reading The Mysterious Benedict Society right now (HT to Suji for the suggestion), which they are all pretty enthusiastic about, but I can't help but compare it to HarryPotterWorld. I miss the HPW. And Dominic, well, he loves goofy fun-filled stories like Ralph Mouse, Mouse on a Motorcycle, and Horrid Henry. Or even Flat Stanley and Geronimo Stilton.

Anyhow, back to the fortuitous finds and this particular bookstore. (didn't you just say that?)

Here are some of the book suggestions the Fabulous Bookstore Employee gave us. I bought this one right away, for FDPG, and she read it in one day she loved it so much. It's called Ottoline and the Yellow Cat. It's a perfectly gorgeous book, with perfectly charming drawings in it, and some perfectly hilarious postcards at the back (in case you forget the Who's Who) describing the characters thusly:

Her Radiant Luminosity: Maureen of Eastphalia
Her Ineffable Elevatedness: Tina of Trondheim

And it's hard cover too, which I usually avoid (because I'm cheap), but in this case I think the HC really works. It's a very tactile object, this book.

Here are a few other titles. I've checked out one or two and I can see them coming to our house in the near future, all going well with the homeschooling purse strings.

Ronia by Astrid Lindgren
Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton
Van Gogh Café by Cynthia Rylant
A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
The Nose From Jupiter by Richard Scrimger
Fly By Night by Francis Hardinge
The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
Wind Rider by Susan Williams
The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird
Sceptre of the Ancients by Derek Landry
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

I'd like to add our own favourite Diana Wynne Jones, in case you aren't familiar with her.

The Game
The Chrestomanci series
House of Many Ways
Howl's Moving Castle
Castle in the Air

I realize I am not giving you links on any of this stuff, but you all know how to use google. And amazon. Go to it.

So there you, my action-packed night out.


sheila said...

Jeez, Sheila, do you always have to be so long-winded about everything? Shorten it a little next time, will ya?

Samantha said...

Jeez, Sheila, I love your posts! Don't change a thing! ;-)

As a fellow book lover, I adore hearing about new books for the whole family. I just need more shelves to hold my collection.

Rebecca said...

Gosh, we must have a mind-meld going on, Sheila.

I was just waking up from a (shhhh) nap and realized that I had been dreaming my blog post for this event. I guess it was because I finally rooted through my complementary fabric bag that came with my book purchase and put the books on our groaning bookshelves (once again double layered).

I'll post it soon. Ish.