Archive for Books I Can’t Live Without

It Was a Porcupine Necktie

After going great guns there for a while, I’ve been slacking on the ol’ blog lately. I had fun family activities all last week! If you read the “About” part of this blog, you’ll discover that I say something like, “What I love most is my family, second most: reading.” So there you have it.

But now I’m back to reading. And I have fantastic news! I read on bookshelves of doom that a sequel to Stargirl comes out this August! Oh, Jerry Spinelli, thank you! I happen to absolutely adore Stargirl. We read it in my classes last year. Well, actually, we listened to it on CD–narrated by John Ritter, who did an absolutely fabulous job, especially the line: “It was a porcupine necktie.” Oh, the tears! Oh, the humanity! And Stargirl the character: whoa. She is my idol. I want to be her. Though I don’t have her chutzpah (who does?), I try to engage in Stargirlish activities as often as I can.

Anyway, I can’t wait for the sequel. A new Gilda Joyce AND a new Stargirl this August! Maybe I’ll survive a Yuma summer after all!


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Books Really Can Save Your Life!

Look at this! Because of a children’s book, a boy in Alaska knew to call 911 when his mother collapsed! See, reading really can save your life! Take that, doubters!

I wonder what the title of the life-saving book is. Teddy’s still too young to really request a “favorite.” The one we read most often, though, is Where’s the Green Sheep. If he ever sees a “brave sheep” diving off the diving board or a “clown sheep” juggling, he will know what to do!

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I Love Names!

Susan at Chicken Spaghetti, who is a famous blogger, tagged ME, who is definitely not a famous blogger, with this meme. Whoa, thanks Susan! The object of the meme is to name five non-kidlit blogs I read. Well, I’m going to break the rules and only name one. But, it’s just so awesome. Without further ado:

I stumbled upon this blog when I was pregnant with my son. I’ve been reading it WAY longer than any other blog. Laura Wattenburg, its writer, really analyzes names and her posts are SO interesting. Recently she has written about names that travel well (like, what names can be pronouced all over the world) and whether to “match” sibling names (like, Sarah and Katherine match; Sarah and Jayden do not). Unfortunately, Laura only posts once a week or so, but the comments section is very active.

bookcover.jpgOh, and guess what! Laura has written a book. Here’s what she says about it:

Each listing in the book is a complete snapshot of a name’s history, usage and style. You’ll find a graph of the name’s popularity over time, lists of alternate versions and nicknames, style categories for further reading, and some candid commentary from a writer who has spent thousands of hours studying names. You’ll also get the key feature of my “buyer’s guide” dream: a list of alternative suggestions with a matching style and feeling, for boys and girls alike.

Here are a couple of example “snapshots.”


Popularity: #584
Style: Celtic, Mythological
Variants: Rhian

Sisters: Guinevere, Siobhan, Aeron, Scarlett, Bronwyn
Brothers: Rowan, Donovan, Evander, Griffin, Emmanuel
Rhiannon was a goddess in Welsh mythology. Her name (hree-AN-un) generally wasn’t used by humans until the past century, which contributes to its romantic essence. The Fleetwood Mac song about a shadowy, elusive Rhiannon reinforces the image.


Popularity: #18
Style: Biblical, Timeless
Nicknames: Jim, Jamie, Jem,
Jaime, Jimmy

Sisters: Mary, Elizabeth, Anne, Camilly, Charlotte
Brothers: Robert, William, Thomas, Philip, John
James is one of the strongest of all names, an elegant, slashing verbal sword. Jim, on the other hand, is a laid-back sort of guy. And this is a name where you have to pick sides — if a guy is called Jim, he’s always, only Jim. If you want just an occational nickname try Jamie, or go the initial route à la James “JT” Taylor, or James “JC” Penney.

The Baby Name Wizard is one of my “can’t live without” books. I have it in the bathroom, and I’ll often crack it open (pun intended) to quickly read about a few names. I bet this blog would interest all literary types because most of us are word types, and names are just fancy words. Check out Baby Name Wizard!

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