Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Armchair BEA: Read, re-read, re-re-read

Dear Blog,
I would expect that the book blogosphere is very quiet this week, with everybody flocking to the Book Expo America in New York.  I plan to go to the BEA in the future, but I'm a teenager and I'm skint.  I have enough trouble saving up for my next book, let alone going across the pond and back in an aeroplane. 
Anyway. To take my mind off the lack of New York, I'm participating in Armchair BEA.
One of the topics suggested is "Blast from the Past", which is described as:
Blast from the Past - During this time, a lot of new releases are going to be the focus. What if we also remembered some great books released in past years or even classics as an option? Tell us a little bit about books you've cherished, old or new.
So, well, I'll do a twist on that and just praise briefly a few of  the books I read to death, until they fall apart.

All the Stars in the Sky by Megan McDonald-is probably my favourite Dear America book.  I've lost count of all the times I've read it (and I'll probably review it at some point).  Florrie, the heroine, sounds like a thirteen-year-old, which is cool because in lots of historical fiction novels, in the author's attempt to write in a historical-type sort of language, they sort of forget that the person talking is a child. So, well, Florrie 's a great character.  The sort you pretend to talk to when you go on rambling walks across fields and paddocks by yourself.  Or is that just me?

Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child-I know I'm waaaaay to old for these books, but I love them to pieces anyway.  I read them when I can't sleep.  I used to be able to quote much of Utterly Me, Clarice Bean by heart.  There are picture books for younger kids, too, and I've read them but not with the same enthusiastic-ness. 
Anyway, what is it I like about these books, even though I first read them when I was seven or eight?  Clarice's ordinary but quirky family.   And the serious-but-side-achingly-entertaining way Clarice looks at the world.   In that sense she reminds me a bit of Karen on the TV show Outnumbered.  There are 3 of the novels so far.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- READ.  THIS.  BOOK. I really ought to review it at some point.  Anyway, this fantastically epic novel is all about books, Nazi Germany, death, children, adults, and, most importantly, hope.  Ish.  It's one of those what-more-could-you-want? sort of books.  I think I've read it about four times (the first, in under 30 hours, which for a nearly 600-paged book is impressive).  They should really make it into a film.  
Anyway.  The book is narrated by Death, so you wouldn't think it would be much fun reading.  And, well, in truth it isn't exactly a barrel of laughs at the end.  However, Death's humour is black and sort of consoling, in a grim, twisted sort of way.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank-enough said.  Seriously.  This is absolutely the top book on all versions of the Books To Read Before You Die list.  Or, it should be.
I've read this enough times for about 20 people, though.  I borrowed a copy from the library and kept borrowing it until it literally fell apart, and they had to order in a new edition.  Having found two new copies, I both read those until they crumbled to dust as well.  I finally bought my own copy last year to read to my heart's content.  And the library hasn't ordered in any more copies since.  Never mind.
Voyage on the Great Titanic by Ellen Emerson White-as you will know if you read my blog regularly, I am completely obsessed with historical fiction in diary form. I first read this when I was about nine and I must have read it a squillion times since.  With reason! Of course, we all know how it's going to end.  With  much heartbreak and bad things, but, well, the heroine is still alive at the end and that's good enough.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett-absolutely.   I first saw the 1995 film when I was seven or so and absolutely adored it.  I read the book when I was eleven, while my family and I were travelling around Europe (I bought it in Madrid). I couldn't believe it was even better than the film, in which her dad only suffers from amnesia, the time period skips forward about a decade to the first world war and what was London is in the film New York.  I don't think reading the book has changed my impression of the film but, well, the book is the greatest. 
Anyway, there you go.  Six books I love to pieces, sometimes quite literally.  I have to go now to answer the call of my Russian homework, so all for now.


  1. Great blog and amazing post! Visiting and following from Armchair BEA...

  2. Historical fiction seems to be your thing, huh? I have reread my Harry Potter series so many times the books are literally falling apart.

    Thanks for joining us for ArmchairBEA!

  3. I've read Anne Frank and totally agree with your recommendation. Book Thief is way up on my TBR... up, up, as in real up!

  4. Clarice Bean! Anne Frank. Okay, I've read those before.

  5. The Book Thief is on my wishlist. Happy Armchair BEA week.

  6. I loved "The Book Thief" too! And I agree that everyone must read Anne Frank, also.

  7. I still haven't read The Book Thief although I've mean to for years now. The Diary of Anne Frank is good though.

  8. I love to re-read books!! I've been on a huge re-read stint lately and have so many other that I want to pick up again as soon as I am done with my current re-read! Sadly, I have only read Anne Frank. Though I do have a few of the others on my TBR! I have got to get to them!!


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