Monday, January 31, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday -- Season of Secrets: An Open Letter to Arthur A. Levine

Dear Arthur A. Levine,

It happened again. Specifically, it happened on page 73 of the ARC of a book you published, Season of Secrets by Sally Nicholls (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, pub date Jan 1, 2011, for ages 8 to 12).

You already know what the book's about, Arthur, but give me a minute so I can have an excuse for a blog post bring my readers up to date. The book takes place in England. Molly and her older sister Hannah are grieving, each in their own way, since their mother's death. Dad can't cope and has sent them to a small village up north to live with Grandma and Grandpa. Molly, the narrator, tells us they're only staying there until Dad gets things "sorted out."

Molly's an imaginative girl who would live in a book if she could.  One rainy night she runs outside looking for Hannah and sees something incredible: a man being chased by huge dogs and huntsmen on horses.  And the lead hunter has horns growing out of his head. The hunters disappear and Molly tries to help the hunted man. He's injured and seems confused.

When Molly runs back to her grandparents' house and babbles about the man, Grandma goes outside with her, but there's nothing there. They all assume she's letting her imagination run wild.  

Later, Molly's teacher takes the class to a church to do grave rubbings, and Molly sees a statue that's exactly like the hunted man.  Her teacher tells her the legend of the Green Man, linked to the cycle of death and rebirth.  Also called the Oak King, he and the Holly King, the man with horns, fight for dominance of the seasons.

Molly befriends the Green Man, but no one else can see him. The grass around him is greener, and saplings and vines spring up, even though it's autumn.  He makes a flower grow in his hand. If he can bring things to life, can he bring back Molly's mother?

Arthur, I love the book. Don't get me wrong.  I found Sally Nicholls' first book, Ways to Live Forever, touching and beautifully written.  This book is too.  The atmosphere the author created here reminds me of The Dark is Rising, a modern classic also set in Britain.  Could there be some truth to the idea of an Oak King and a Holly King fighting it out every solstice?  It's fascinating to think about.

So what's my problem with page 73?  Well, to be honest, I'm a little upset. It happened in Tangerine.  And now it happened again in Season of Secrets.  A character, in this case, Molly's mother, died of an aneurysm.  Yes, I know people die of brain aneurysms and abdominal aortic aneurysms all the time. Thousands of them.  I know.  Louise Fitzhugh (author of Harriet the Spy) died of a ruptured brain aneurysm at the age of 46. 

Molly says (and I'm quoting the ARC here, so I hope that's okay) "An aneurysm is...where the wall of one of your blood vessels gets damaged, so blood flows into the wall and makes a balloon, which gets bigger and bigger until it explodes inside you and you die."

But not always! You don't always die!

And I'm living proof. Yes, Arthur, I'm a survivor of a ruptured brain aneurysm. And the simple truth, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, is that only about 40% of people with ruptures die. That's less than half.  And with continued research, that statistic should continue to go down.

Is the book still worth buying and reading?  Oh yes, of course.  See that little label down there that says Gem of the Week?  That means I highly recommend the book.  It's lovely and luminous.  The writing is  poetic.  The details are perfect.  Except for that aneurysm thing.

Next time, Arthur.  Next time, you'll know.  Right?

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is brought to you by the letter M and Shannon Whitney Messenger, who started it.  Click on over to From the Mixed-up Files to see what she's featuring this week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What Booksellers Wish Publishers Knew: Pop-Up Edition

Pop-up books can be intricate and entertaining.  Kids love grabbing and touching books anyway, so why not give them something interactive, where they can pull a tab or turn a page and a monster pops out or a castle opens up?

From Robert Sabuda's Beauty and the Beast

Try doing that on a Kindle!

The downside of pop-up books is that they fall apart.  If you think your kids are hard on pop-up books, guess what happens in a bookstore?  Aside from collectors, who usually know how to treat a book properly, customers by the hundreds open these works of art and play with them, and they're, well... a mess.


Our display copy of Star Wars A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart keeps bursting open.  Many of the pages are bent or torn.

Poor Cinderella won't even pop up anymore in this copy of Cinderella: A Pop up Fairy Tale by Matthew Reinhart.  In fact, I think she's about to lose her head!

And there's no way we can sell books that have suffered this kind of abuse.

My solution?   

Every pop-up book needs to come with a display copy.

Perfumes and lotions have testers.  Why not pop-up books?

Let customers open the display copy all they want. The copies for sale should be double-shrinkwrapped so they can't be ruined.  Sadly, only a handful of pop-ups, usually from the major publishers, come with an extra copy (at no charge to the bookstore) for display.  If there's no display copy, inevitably customers will ask me to open one. Or they'll just go ahead and help themselves. 

This DC Super Heroes pop-up came with its own cardboard stand and a free display copy -- and in a clever move, the publisher included sticky tape on the spine so it's a permanent part of the stand and can't be taken away.

What do you think?  Are pop-up books just for collectors?  Have you ever purchased a pop-up book?  Did your kids get enough enjoyment out of it before it fell apart?  And when e-readers become the norm, will pop-up books still be published?  Would you miss them if they weren't?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!

At last, I've figured out how to use and the result is in!  The winner of the hardcover giveaway of the autographed copy of Please Ignore Vera Dietz

AND a copy of After Ever After, 

(the contest otherwise known as Award-Winning-Authors-From-Pennsylvania-Giveaway)

is (ta-DA)


Congratulations!  Expect an email from me, asking for your mailing address in *gulp* the Philippines

If I don't hear from you, I may be forced to award the prize to someone else!

Thanks for playing, everyone who entered!  And we'll return to our regularly scheduled program in a few days.  In the meantime, have you checked out this post?  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spoiler-Free DARKEST MERCY Review

Reading Darkest Mercy is like huddling before a roaring fire on a cold, snowy day and listening to an old friend tell a tale.

In this case, the old friend is Melissa Marr, and she's woven a rich, dark and beautiful tapestry in Darkest Mercy (HarperCollins, Feb 22, 2011, $16.99, ages 12 and up), the final volume in the Wicked Lovely Series.

If you love the urban faerie world that Marr created starting with the first book, you will love the way she brings it all together in this volume. Finally, you will learn what happens to Ash, Seth, Keenan, Donia, and Niall. That may seem like too many points of view to handle, but Marr's sure hand never falters as she weaves together threads from all the previous books and interlaces each of the five main characters' stories. How she manages to make you care about all of them, I'll never know.The pacing is perfect, the atmosphere is dramatic, and as always, the writing is gorgeous.

Can't say much about the story without spoiling the plot.  But I can tell you this: War is coming.  Bananach, the Faerie of Discord, is gaining followers, and attacking other faeries.  Can the Summer Queen, the Summer King, the Winter Queen, the Dark King, and Seth, newly-turned fey, find a way to work together to defeat her?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Titles I'd Like to See

Titles and brief reviews of three books I'm sure will never be published:

Tattle Tails

Revealed at last: the deepest, darkest secrets of picture book characters!  What are those scandalous creatures up to?  Learn all the inside scoop on who has something to hide, including:
Olivia shipped off to fat farm!!  

The Hungry Caterpillar's binge and purge routine!

Why is Fancy Nancy hiding behind those sunglasses?  
Is rehab next?

Is Pinkalicious really a porn star???  Her parents' secret shame!

"I am Curious George/yellow; I am Curious George/blue"  --  Ever wonder why some Curious George books are yellow

 and some are blue?  


 This book reveals the shocking truth!!  Guaranteed to knock your socks off!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *    *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

 The Annotated Guide to Celebrity Picture Books:
The Definitive Edition

Learn the hidden meanings and deep philosophical truths behind such timeless classics as If Roast Beef Could Fly by Jay Leno, The English Roses by Madonna,  Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet Panda by Fran Liebowitz, High in the Clouds by Paul McCartney, Jag by LeAnn Rimes, and much much more!  The spiritual concepts behind these books are explained in detail, along with the logic paradoxes and quantum physics underlying the plot and themes of these complicated volumes.

This lengthy and scholarly tome also delves into the origins of each of these wonderful stories. Discover how these gems came to be! Historical context is explained. Includes footnotes, original drafts of each book, editing notes, correspondence between the author and editor, second drafts final drafts, Swiss bank accounts author contracts.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

They Came From Beyond the Grave

"Dead men (or women) tell no tales."  

Or do they?

Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss,  H.A. Rey, Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, 

Roald Dahl, Matt Christopher, V.C. Andrews  -- their books just keep selling and selling and selling.  And they're all DEADKinda sends chills up your spine, doesn't it?

But there's more!  As gruesome as it sounds, sometimes NEW titles magically appear in bookstores and libraries, even though the author's been dead for YEARS.  Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote 19 Boxcar Children books and then died in 1979.  So what's with the other 101 102 103 104 105 106?

What funny titles can YOU come up with? And did I miss any dead children's authors who are still selling?

Reminder: My giveaway goes until 11:59 pm EST on Sunday January 23.  Only a few days left to enter! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Four Stages of Writing from Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Thanks to the giveaway, I seem to have attracted some wonderful new followers.  Welcome, fellow bookbrains!  If you're also a writer, as I suspect most of you are, this comic from Debbie Ridpath Ohi is for you:

If you haven't yet discovered InkyGirl, otherwise known as Debbie Ridpath Ohi, run over there and check out her website.  She has an entire section dedicated to comics for writers!  She posted the above comic at Writer Unboxed. She was one of my first followers, for which I'll be eternally grateful.

Debbie's also illustrating a picture book by writer/comedian/actor Michael Ian Black, due to come out from Simon & Schuster in early 2012. Congrats, Debbie!

What do you think?  Doesn't this comic get right to the heart of what we go through?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Words in the Dust - another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Yes, it's another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (started by the inimitable Shannon Whitney Messenger).  Also check out Shannon O'Donnell's post here.   And Myrna Foster talks about another middle grade novel in this post.

WORDS IN THE DUST, by Trent Reedy (Scholastic, January 2011, ages 9 to 13), is a debut novel written by a former soldier who served in Afghanistan.  Usually I shy away from books about another culture which are written by Americans, but I'm really glad I opened this one.  It captivated me from the first page.  The writing is clear and authentic, with great respect for the culture. The main character seems like a real girl, living in the wind and dust of Afghanistan, her chador wrapped around her face.

Zulaikha longs to be normal, to be able to eat and talk like other children.  She's tired of being called "Donkey-face" and chased by Anwar and his friends. She also yearns to go to school and learn to read. Her mother started to teach her, but then died. And Zulaikha's stern stepmother thinks women should only cook and clean.  So Zulaikha and her older sister Zeynab do all the chores while their little brothers play.  Their stepmother sends Zulaikha to the market because Zeynab, now of marriageable age, is too pretty to be in the streets alone. Out on yet another errand, Zulaikha meets a woman named Meena who knew her mother. Meena offers to teach her to read.  Can Zulaikha keep these tutoring sessions a secret?

Her father and older brother are welders, and Baba is excited because the American soldiers have arrived in their small village to build a new school, which means the promise of more work for Baba. 

Then one of the soldiers notices Zulaikha's cleft palate.  The Americans insist they can help Zulaikha.  There is an operation that will fix her, but they would need to take her far from home in a helicopter. 

Should Zulaikha dare to hope? 

Includes: Introduction by Katherine Paterson, Pronunciation Guide, Glossary, Author's Note and Bibliography.  If you liked Shabanu by Suzanne Staples or The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, this book is for you.  Teachers and librarians, you'll definitely want to buy this one.  (Note to teachers & parents: there is one gruesome incident toward the end of this novel that may be too intense for the youngest readers; the publisher says 9 to 13, but discretion is advised for younger or more sensitive readers.)

I've already started my ongoing list for next year's possible Newbery winners. And this is the first book on it.   What marvelous Middle Grade book have YOU read this month?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hardcover Giveaway!

First, welcome to the new followers since my last post.  Glad you're here.

Yes, I'm having a Giveaway!  In fact, since I love promoting local (and sometimes not-quite-local) authors, I'm calling it the



One prize will be awarded, consisting of two hardcover books (I will use if I can figure it out). 

The prize:

1) A SIGNED hardcover copy of Please Ignore Vera Dietz
by A.S. King, 
which received a Printz Honor Award on Monday.
Did I mention it's SIGNED by the author?


2)  A hardcover copy of After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick, 
which was the Schneider Family Book Award Middle School winner.

I'm thrilled for both Amy King and Jordan Sonnenblick (click on their names to visit their websites).  I reviewed Amy's book here.  And I did a quick pick review of Jordan's book here.  Rest assured that both of these prizes are hardcover books I purchased.  Not ARCs or review copies.

How do you enter?  It's simple:

1) Be a follower
2) Post a comment

Extra points:

+2 if you were a follower before today

+2 if you tweet about this giveaway (Twitter and I have a love/hate relationship, but please include @booksnbrains so I can track it, or else come back here and post the link)

+2 if you blog about it (again, post the link here)

You have until 11:59 pm EST on Sunday January 23, 2011 to enter this giveaway. I may kick myself later, but this giveaway is open internationally (hey, I've gotta do my part to promote my local authors).  Any questions, you know where to find me.

I'll post the winner's name no later than Wed Jan 26, 2011.  I will email the winner to ask for your mailing address, but if I don't get a response within three days I may be forced to award the prize to someone else.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now officially closed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

And the Winners Are...

A complete list of the ALA Youth Media Awards can be found here.

So how did we do in my second annual Predict the Future contest?  Well, no one guessed any of the gold medal winners. 

But we came close.

Some of the books we thought would win gold actually won silver.

Yay for Please Ignore Vera Dietz coming in with a Printz honor award!  Woot!  I'm so happy for you, Amy King!  (I was hoping it would win the Printz award itself, but it's still wonderful). 

And One Crazy Summer not only received a Newbery Honor (silver) but also the Coretta Scott King Author Award  (it was a National Book Award finalist this past year as well).

And I'm actually thrilled that Moon Over Manifest won the Newbery Medal.  I've loved the book since I read the ARC (and I urged you to read it back in September 2010), but I listened to the conventional wisdom that a debut novel never wins gold.  Now I know miracles CAN happen.

Along with Janice (bookballoon), I still love The Dreamer, and I'm happy that it won the Pura Belpre award.

As for Newbery Honors, I must admit I'm surprised at Dark Emperor, which I adore and thought would win a Caldecott Honor.

And I haven't read Turtle in Paradise or Heart of a Samurai, so there are two more to add to my ever-growing TBR list, along with Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, this year's Printz Award winner.

As for the Caldecott, we were all off.  I predicted that A Sick Day for Amos McGee would win a Caldecott honor, but never dreamed it would receive the gold medal itself.  It's well deserved, though.  It's a charming little book. 

So technically, there were no winners in my own little Gold Medal contest here, but since two people mentioned books that actually received SOME kind of award, I'm feeling generous today.  (And I'll let you in on a bookseller secret -- when it comes to Newbery and Caldecott awards, customers don't really care whether a book has the gold or silver medal on it. We shelve all the award winners and honors together).  So without further ado...

I'm awarding a copy of ONE CRAZY SUMMER (winner of a Newbery honor and CSK Author Award) to...

Check your email, Stephanie -- I'll be asking for your mailing address.

And I'll award a copy of either Ballet for Martha (which got a Sibert honor instead of the Caldecott) or The Dreamer (which got the Belpre instead of the Newbery) to...


Janice, you'll need to contact me with your mailing address (or come into the bookstore to receive your prize!).

A hearty thanks to all who entered (and those of you lurking without commenting -- chime in next time!).  Hope you had fun.

What about all of you?  Are you surprised at some of the awards?  Pleased?  Disappointed?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

There's still time to enter!

If you hurry, there's still time to enter my contest!  Here's a link to the details. 

Go on.  What have you got to lose?  And (if you are a US resident and you correctly guess one of the winners) you could win a hardcover book from 2010.  There also may be more than one winner!

For the record, here are my predictions for the awards:

CALDECOTT:   Art & Max by David Wiesner

NEWBERY:  The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis

PRINTZ:  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Of course, uh, aside from last year, I've never managed to guess the winners.

And now, just for fun (no prizes for this), what do you think will win honors? You may guess up to four in each category (in 2008, the Caldecott committee gave out 4 honors; most years the Newbery commitee awards that many too).

Here are my honor guesses:

CALDECOTT HONORS:  City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems and Jon Muth
Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead and Erin Stead
Moon Bear by Brenda Guiberson and Ed Young

NEWBERY HONORS: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

PRINTZ HONORS:  The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Feel free to guess away in the comments for honor books.  But only until midnight on Sunday January 9th.  Awards will be announced by the ALA on Monday morning.

In addition, I hope the Schneider Family Award for the teen book will go to The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk.  And the Sibert Medal should go to The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) by Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham. 

Any thoughts on awards other than Newbery, Caldecott, Printz?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Second Annual "Predict the Future" Contest!

Welcome to my new followers.  I'm glad you're here.

Yes, it's that time of year again.  Sorry, I meant to post this a few days ago but Blogger failed me in an epic way (it wouldn't let me post a new post!).  Anyway, the ALA Awards for children's literature will be announced on Monday morning, Jan 10, 2011.

These prestigious awards include (among numerous others) the Newbery, the Caldecott and the Printz. Think you know a lot about kidlit?  Did you read a lot of wonderful MG and YA books in 2010?  Are you good at predicting the future?  heh heh

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen and try your hand at guessing which picture book from 2010 will win the Caldecott medal, and/or which 2010 middle grade book will win the Newbery, and/or which 2010 YA book will win the Printz award.  We're talking only about the gold medal winners here, NOT the silver honors.

Will the Newbery be awarded to One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia?

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan?  The Crossing by Jim Murphy?  Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman?  Or something else?

Will the Printz go to Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King?   Or to Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly? 

Or some book no one has thought of?  Maybe you'll be the one.

ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PER CATEGORY.  You don't HAVE to try to guess all three, but you may. In other words, you may guess:

1) one title for Caldecott
2) one title for Newbery
3) one title for Printz

or any combination thereof.

Simply fill in the comment form to tell me your guesses. You don't have to be a follower.  If you don't know anything about picture books, you can still try to predict which book will win a Newbery and/or which book will win a Printz.  Remember that these must be books published in 2010 (and usually by American authors). For the official criteria for each category, visit the ALA's website.  For Newbery, go here.  For Caldecott, go here.  For Printz, go here (you have to scroll down a bit).

This contest is open to residents of the US only (sorry, but after all, these are American awards).  And the prize?  Anyone who correctly guesses any or all of these winners will receive a hardcover copy of the book they guessed correctly, subject to availability (I may have to wait until the bookstore gets in more stock).  And yes, this means there could be more than one winner!  Or there may be none, which means next week I'll have to think of some other giveaway (hmm, I do have too many books to fit on my shelves...)

Hurry, because this contest closes at 11:59 EST pm on Sunday, January 9, 2011.  I'll announce the awards no later than Wed Jan 12, 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Calpurnia Tate

Shannon Whitney Messenger started this Marvelous Middle Grade meme so be sure to check out her blog post this week on Gail Carson Levine's Fairies and the Quest for Never Land.  Aly, at Kid Lit Frenzy, has a  review of Zora and Me.  Shannon O'Donnell talks about Reckless.

We're only a week away from this year's Newbery (and other) award announcements.  So I think it only appropriate to discuss a Newbery honor winner from last year.  If you haven't yet read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, what the heck are you waiting for?  It's now out in paperback! (Publisher: Square Fish/Henry Holt, January 4, 2011, for ages 9 to 12.) Thanks, Joan, for the recommendation.

This historical novel is a delight from the first page to the last.  Callie is so real you wouldn't be surprised if she walked into the room right now, and so likeable and funny, you wish she would.  For two days, I've been totally absorbed in her world, Texas in the summer of 1899.  Honestly, I've been taking my time with it because I didn't want it to end.

Callie discovers that she and the grandfather she used to fear have something in common.  They're naturalists.  Callie's the only daughter in a large family of rough and tumble brothers.  Her mother tries desperately to make her a lady, to teach her how to cook and knit and sew.  But all Callie wants to do is follow Granddaddy out to the river to observe nature and collect insects and plant specimens.  Maybe the rare plant they found is a new species!  Maybe they'll be famous! Callie thinks this is infinitely more interesting than piano practice or lessons in deportment, both of which she considers a huge waste of time.

The most quotable book I've read in ages, this one's a true literary gem.  Here's a lovely example from page 52-53 (of the paperback).  Callie is telling us about all the dogs on the sprawling estate, and the fact that most of them are Outside Dogs.

"They all knew this, but it didn't stop them from good-naturedly crowding the front door every time it opened, every single time, despite the fact that they were never--ever--let into the house.  I loved this particularly fine thing about the dogs: Despite a lifetime of denied entrance, hope never died in their hearts."


Think about that last line for a minute.

If that's not a perfect metaphor for writing, I don't know what is.  Despite a lifetime of rejection, hope never dies in our hearts.  Jacqueline Kelly, you're awesome.

Since I'm gearing up for next Monday's ALA announcements (Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Coretta Scott King, and other awards) for books that were published in 2010,  I won't post a book review next Monday.  But check back soon, because I might have something up my sleeve about award predictions.  Can you predict the future?  Hmmm.  

What marvelous book (MG or YA or adult) are you reading in the new year?  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Here's to A Reading and Writing Year

Happy New Year, everyone!  And welcome to the new followers.  Glad you're here.

This post won't be about resolutions for the new year, because I stopped making resolutions ages and ages ago.  I could never stick with them.  Sure, I make lists (I love lists!).  And I set realistic goals for myself (write my second novel, read at least 100 books).  I just don't resolve to do things that I know darn well I won't do, like eat fewer sweets and read more nonfiction.  Because I know I'll fail.

So instead, let's take a quick look back at 2010 and a peek forward to 2011.

What did you accomplish in 2010?  Was it a good year for you or a lousy year?  When you think about it, a year that began with a devastating earthquake in Haiti (from which they're still recovering) and included

the worst oil spill in world history couldn't be a good year.

Could it?  

Well for me personally, one thing trumped everything else this year.  My older son survived cancer.  With chemo behind him, he graduated from college and got on with his life.  His six-month follow-up PET scan in August was clear.  YAY!!!

Everything else good that happened in 2010 pales in comparison. Yes, I read more than 100 books.*  Yes, I finished writing my first novel (that I started 2 years before). Yes, I "won" PiBoIdMo, coming up with 30 new picture book ideas that will keep me busy for at least a year, along with the new novel I'm just starting. Yes, I maintained this blog and "met" myriad other wonderful bloggers.  Yes, my five-year follow-up MRI showed no new brain aneurysms (Yay!). 

And of course good things happened to friends and family too. Someone got engaged. Someone got an agent. Someone found a job after six months of searching.

Woo hoo!!

But when it comes down to it, being a Mom is the most important career I'll ever have.  If you're a parent, you'll understand why nothing else matters as much as this.  The fact that my son is still with us (and writing a novel of his own) in 2011 is a pretty amazing thing.  Here's to you, Eric!

*This is a link to the first 49 books I read in 2010.  And here's my post about books 50-99.  What did I read next?

100. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin -- Josh Berk
101. Anna and the French Kiss -- Stephanie Perkins
102. The Lying Game -- Sara Shepard
103. Sapphique -- Catherine Fisher
104. The Alchemyst -- Michael Scott
105. The Star Maker -- Laurence Yep

No, I didn't beat my personal record of 107 books read in 2009.  But at least I read more than 100 books. Good enough. There were some truly memorable books published in 2010.  And I'm willing to bet that 2011 will be a good year for kidlit too.

A quick look ahead at books I'm reading or intend to read soon:

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly -- Just out in paperback.  I'm thoroughly enjoying this Newbery-honor winning historical MG.

Last Sacrifice -- Richelle Mead (final volume in the Vampire Academy Series)

Darkest Mercy -- Melissa Marr (another final volume!  And what a gorgeous cover!)

What wonderful things do you want to remember about 2010?  And what books are you looking forward to devouring in 2011?