Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vacation Reads

Happy (belated) New Year! We have been busy preparing our programs and catching up from the holidays. We hope you all had a most enjoyable holiday season. We had some time off in late December, and I filled my time with reading. I read three books over my vacation, and it got me thinking about how we choose what to read. I usually have a trunk full of books to choose from and generally have no less than 20 checked out at a time. This may seem like over-kill, but I rest easy knowing that I can select a book from various genres, reading levels, and length on a whim. The three I read over vacation were: Diary of  Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle. These books couldn't be more different from each other, but I enjoyed them all.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Amulet Books, 2007.


This book series is still very popular at our library, especially with the recent release of book 9 in the series, The Long Haul. When I was browsing the shelves for good vacation reads and actually saw book one on the shelf, I snatched it up. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about!

With minimalistic and goofy drawings coupled with his own words, Greg Heffley walks us through life in middle school in his diary journal. Greg goes through some tough times with his best friend, Rowley, as they get chased by bullies on Halloween, try to avoid the Cheese Touch at recess, and have to survive through a unit on wrestling in gym. In typical preteen fashion, Greg is utterly unaware of others feelings and his commentary is what drives the humor in the book.

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle. Harry N. Abrams, 2012.


I mean, look at that cover! Who wouldn't want to immediately crack this baby open?? I chose this book based on the cover (I know, I know! We shouldn't do that.) The story takes place in Ireland and follows 12 year-old Mary O'Hara as she struggles between being a girl and growing up. Mary is very close with her ailing grandmother, Emer, and visits her daily in the hospital with her mother, Scarlett. On Mary's walk home from school she meets an odd and old-fashioned woman. Upon further interaction, the woman turns out to be the ghost of her great-grandmother, Tansey! This book is so beautifully written, and celebrates the love a family can share, as well as the special bond between generations. After reading this cheeky and touching book, I want to move to Ireland and start saying 'grand'.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Bullseye Books, Reprint Edition 1988.


This classic book was originally published in 1961, and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. I often think I missed the boat on so many classics and have been chipping away at a list. If you're looking for a list New York Public Library shares a list of 100 classic children's books.


Milo is a young boy who is easily bored and unenthused about life in general. All of this changes for young Milo when he arrives home one day to find a magical tollbooth in his room! He assembles the booth and motors off in his play car, and into a world of imagination. Milo quickly makes several friends and they travel through a strange new world to save the princesses, Rhyme and Reason. The word play in this book had me laughing aloud, and I instantly fell in love. I was so eager to finish reading this book during a car trip that my helpful husband read the end to me. 

What books did you miss the first time around? Are there classics on your radar you want to read? What is it about a book that grabs your attention? Be sure to follow our books on Goodreads!