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52 Books In 52 Weeks, 2011

For 2011, for the first time, I decided to participate in a "Book A Week For 52 Weeks" challenge.

I originally intended to read books of interest to me, reading to myself and listing those books here.

However, I've since decided that I'm going to use this as an opportunity to read more with my daughter Alexa (age 10), instead.

There are so many books that I read as a child, half-remembered books that I'd love to experience again. There are so many books I never got around to reading as a child, books that I'd love to read now. There are so many modern books I come across that make me think, "Oh, that sounds fun, I'd love to read that with Alexa one of these days...."

Well, here's the excuse I've been waiting for! "One of these days" starts now.

Alexa and I are going to select books that we would like to read together, and we will read them aloud to each other, aiming for a book a week. She's excited about it, and so am I.

So what are we reading? Find out!

P.S. Alexa also continues to read many books on her own just for fun. To see what she's been reading on her own in a given school year, see the "____th Grade Book Log" posts under the "Book Logs" section under sidebar to left.

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."  - C.S. Lewis

Book Week 1- Sunday, January 2, 2011 - Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster

"A Journey to the Lands Beyond... For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different..."

As For Me:

I finished up Rose by Martin Cruz Smith, and read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.


Book Week 2- Sunday, January 9, 2011 - Saturday, January 15, 2011

by David Almond.

"Man, bird, or angel? Who or what is Skellig? Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. It was all going to be wonderful. But now his baby sister's ill, his parents are frantic, and Dr. Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then one day he steps into the crumbling garage. What is this thing beneath the spiderwebs and dead flies....?"

As For Me:

I read The Virgins Lover by Philippa Gregory.


Book Week 3- Sunday, January 16, 2011 - Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ida B and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
by Katherine Hannigan

When her mother develops cancer, creative homeschooler Ida B has to go to a place she dreads- school. Feeling angry and betrayed, Ida B decides to "Put together the best plan you've ever created to get things back to just-about-perfect again."

As For Me:

I read The Year Of The Flood by Margaret Atwood.


Book Week 4- Sunday, January 23, 2011 - Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Gawgon and The Boy
by Lloyd Alexander

"Give me the boy. These words have the ring of a death sentence to 11-year-old David, as elderly, tough-minded Aunt Annie says them. He's recovering from an illness so serious that he almost died. And now this? But arrangements are quickly made- the aged woman, who seems as frightening as a monstrous, snake-haired Gorgon, will become his tutor. But in no time, David changes his mind about The Gawgon, his secret nickname for her..."

As For Me:

I read Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer.


Book Week 5- Sunday, January 30, 2011 - Saturday, February 5, 2011

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling

"Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature who says that if Harry returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike..."

As For Me:

I read Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer, and started Deconstructing Penguins (Parents, Kids, And the Bond of Reading) by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone.


Book Week 6- Sunday, February 6, 2011 - Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Girl With The Silver Eyes
by Willo Davis Roberts

"Katie Welker is used to people thinking that she's odd. Nobody else has silver eyes. Nobody else can make things move just by thinking about them, and nobody else can talk to animals. Katie really likes her special powers until people start accusing her of bad things- including her grandmother's death! ...Now Katie is living in a new place with her mother. She's sure she can make a new start, until mysterious Mr. Cooper moves into the building and asks lots of questions about her..."

I remembered reading this book when I was in fourth grade and loving it. When I came across it at a used book sale, I knew I just had to get it and re-read it with my daughter, at some point. I liked it better when I was 9 or 10, but it was still an entertaining enough story (despite the several typos we found in the book).

As For Me:

I continued with "Deconstructing Penguins" and read Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer.


Book Week 7- Sunday, February 13, 2011 - Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt

"Doomed to- or blessed with- eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing than it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune."

As For Me:

I continued with "Deconstructing Penguins," and was reading Patience, Princess Catherine by Carolyn Meyer. However, I forgot to take it on vacation with me. Oops! So, instead, I started reading Zipporah, Wife of Moses by Marek Halter.


Book Week 8- Sunday, February 20, 2011 - Saturday, February 26, 2011

by William H. Armstrong

"Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th century South. The boy's father is a sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times. Night after night, he and his great coon dog, Sounder, return to the cabin empty-handed. Then, one morning, almost like a miracle, a sweet-smelling ham is cooking in the family's kitchen. At last, the family will have a good meal. But that night, an angry sheriff and his deputies come, and the boy's life will never be the same."

As For Me:

I finished Zipporah, Wife of Moses by Marek Halter.


Book Week 9- Sunday, February 27, 2011 - Saturday, March 5, 2011

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl

"The gates of Mr. Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory are opening at last- and only five children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop- a fat pig who would eat anything that came within reach or bite. Veruca Salt- a spoiled brat with parents trained to jump at her every scream. Violet Beauregarde- a gum-chewing gabber with the fastest jaws and the slowest wits around. Mike Teavee- a friend for television. And Charlie Bucket- Our Hero, who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!"

As For Me:

I read At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks.


Book Week 10- Sunday, March 6, 2011 - Saturday, March 12, 2011

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson (Adapted by Deidre S. Laiken/Illustrated Classic Editions)

"Young Jim Hawkins and his friends set sail to find the buried loot of Captain Flint, fiercest of all the pirates. But the crew of their own ship, unknown to them is made up of Flint's former men. Led by the evil one-legged pirate, Long John Silver, the pirates desperately race Jim and his friends to see who can find the treasure first. It's high adventure on the high seas in Robert Louis Stevenson's timeless tale of greed and gold."

As For Me:

I went back to "Patience, Princess Catherine" by Carolyn Meyer.


Book Week 11- Sunday, March 13, 2011 - Saturday, March 19, 2011

All-Of-A-Kind Family
by Sydney Taylor

"Five high-spirited little girls have simple but happy times together growing up on New York's lower east side at the turn of the century. An understanding mother and father, rich in kindness though poor in money, add to the warmth and humor of their day-to-day adventures."

As For Me:

I finished "Patience, Princess Catherine" by Carolyn Meyer.


Book Week 12- Sunday, March 20, 2011 - Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Midwifes Apprentice
by Karen Cushman

"One frosty evening, a girl who knows no home, no parents, and no name but Brat finds shelter and warmth in a farmer's dung heap. There Jane the village midwife finds her. So it is that Brat- now called Beetle by her new mistress- begins her career as a midwife's apprentice. It's not a soft life. Jane is a hard woman with a sharp glance and a sharper temper. Still, Beetle makes a place for herself, adopting a cat and befriending one of the village boys. By secretly watching Jane work, she learns some of the skills the midwife greedily tries to hide. Beetle even gives herself a real name at last: Alyce. Then one day she fails at an important assignment. Alyce runs away, believing she is too stupid to be of use to anyone. Is she truly Brat, a know-nothing who belongs nowhere? Or is she Alyce, the midwife's apprentice, a person with a name and a place in the world?"

As For Me:

I started Nights In Rodanthe, by Nicholas Sparks.


Book Week 13- Sunday, March 27, 2011 - Saturday, April 2, 2011

Surviving the Applewhites
by Stephanie S. Tolan

"Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state. Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D.- a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the unruly Jake. Jake thinks surviving this one will be a breeze... but is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?"

As For Me:

I am still reading Nights In Rodanthe, by Nicholas Sparks.


Book Week 14- Sunday, April 3, 2011 - Saturday, April 9, 2011

The People In Pineapple Place
by Anne Lindbergh

"Ten-year-old August Brown was feeling very sad. His parents had split up, and he and his mother had just moved from Vermont to Washington, D.C. In ten days' time he had to start a new school, and in the meantime, he was alone and friendless. When he followed the rag-bag lady down a narrow alley on P street, he had no idea that he was embarking on an unforgettable adventure. August soon discovered that the seven children of Pineapple Place, as the alley was called, were invisible to all but him. They had been traveling in time for over forty years..."

As For Me:

I am still reading Nights In Rodanthe, by Nicholas Sparks.


 Book Week 15- Sunday, April 10, 2011 - Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Prisoner Of Pineapple Place
by Anne Lindbergh

"Eternal youth- or eternal boredom? Jeremiah can't stand it anymore. For 50 years, he and the other residents of Pineapple Place have lived on the same quiet street, locked in time and invisible to the outside world. Nobody ages and nobody changes. He's been through the 4th grade 50 times! Imagine Jeremiah's disappointment when Mr. Sweeny and his magic accidentally move Pineapple Place to Athens, Connecticut instead of Athens, Greece. But soon he meets Ruby, a girl from the outside world who can see him in mirrors and reflections. Will Jeremiah- and Pineapple Place- ever be the same?"

(This is a sequel to "The People In Pineapple Place," which we read last week).

As For Me:

I am STILL making my way through "Nights In Rodanthe" by Nicholas Sparks, just reading it here and there rather than making any concerted effort.


Book Week 16- Sunday, April 17, 2011 - Saturday, April 22, 2011

By The Shores Of Silver Lake
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

"The Ingalls Family is heading west to the unsettled Dakota territory on the edge of the frontier. They will have only a few neighbors, and they're not even sure where their homestead will be in this new wild place. But Laura is eager to begin this new journey. She will be back where she belongs, back on the prairie, and that's all that matters."

As For Me:

I think I have given up on "Nights In Rodanthe" by Nicholas Sparks. It just wasn't holding my interest all that much.


Book Week 17- Sunday, April 23, 2011 - Saturday, April 30, 2011

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J.K. Rowling

"For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts..." Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst."

NOTE: The only reason we are able to accomplish this one is because we actually started it long before this week via audiobook. We are partially listening to it on audiobook and partially reading it from our paperback copy. This is the week we plan/hope to finish it.

As For Me:

I read Unwind by Neal Shusterman.


Book Week 18- Sunday, May 1, 2011 - Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Safe Zone (A Kid's Guide To Personal Safety)
by Donna Chaiet and Francine Russell

"Have you ever had to deal with a stranger who made you feel uncomfortable or been threatened by a bully in the schoolyard? Did you know that there are things you can do now that will help you be better prepared the next time around? Most people think self-defense means fighting, but the best defense has nothing to do with hitting, kicking, or punching. In this book, written by two prominent safety instructors, you will discover how to protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings and using your body language to let people know you're not an easy target. There are ways to avoid being a victim of violence. This powerful handbook provides nonviolent solutions."

As For Me:

I am reading Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (the latest in the Black Dagger Brotherhood/vampire series).


Book Week 19- Sunday, May 8, 2011 - Saturday, May 14, 2011

Harriet Tubman Call To Freedom
by Judy Carlson

"Imagine running for your life through a dark forest, knowing that if you are caught by your pursuers you face a fate worse than death- slavery! In the 1850s Harriet Tubman lived through this frightening experience not once, but eighteen times as she helped other black slaves find their way to freedom in the North. Harriet Tubman: Call to Freedom tells the amazing story of bravery, dedication, and faith of a runaway slave. Witness the hardships that Harriet and other slaves endured at the hands of their white masters. Join Harriet's incredible escapes that pitted her courage and cunning against brutal slave catchers who would stop at nothing to earn their reward for her capture."

(We actually just finished this book for school reading, but I'm counting it for this week as we did just finish reading it together and we're not finished yet with the Safe Zone, so we're not ready to move onto another "just for fun" book yet).

As For Me:

I am still reading "Lover Unleashed" by J.R. Ward (the latest in the Black Dagger Brotherhood/vampire series). I am also simultaneously reading "Free-Range Kids, How To Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)" by Lenore Skenazy.


Book Week 20- Sunday, May 15, 2011 - Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Long Winter
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

"The old Indian warned that a big snow was coming- but who could believe it would snow from October to May? The true story of the Long Winter, and how Laura Ingalls and her family survived it."

(We started this series quite some time ago and are gradually working our way through it).

As For Me:

I read The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk- I had ended up getting it from interlibrary loan and put aside the books I was reading last week to focus on this one instead.


Book Week 21- Sunday, May 22, 2011 - Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Return Of The Indian
by Lynne Reid Banks

"Omri gives way to the temptation to see Little Bear again, and a whole new series of adventures begins. The Indian has been critically wounded during the French and Indian Wars and desperately needs Omri's help. But what starts as a harmless game turns into a horrible nightmare- from which Omri may never escape!"

(We read the first in this series quite some time ago and I found this sequel at a used book sale a few days ago).

As For Me:

I finished reading "Lover Unleashed" by JR Ward and I'm still reading "Free Range Kids" by Lenore Skenazy here and there.


Book Week 22- Sunday, May 29, 2011 - Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Secret Of The Indian
by Lynne Reid Banks

"It began with the highly acclaimed classic The Indian In The Cupboard when Omri discovered he could bring to life the miniature plastic Indian, the American cowboy, and his other toy figures. In The Return Of The Indian, Omri found he could even transport himself and his friend Patrick into the dangerous 19th-century world of their miniature friends. Now, in an incredible new adventure, Omri and Patrick are forced to share their secret with Patrick's cousin Emma. All of England is threatened by the disastrous cyclone they have brought back from the old American West, and Emma may hold the key to survival"

As For Me:

I read The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind and finished "Free Range Kids" by Lenore Skenazy.


Book Week 23- Sunday, June 5, 2011 - Saturday, June 11, 2011

Robinson Crusoe
Scholastic Books Edition
Retold by Edward W. Dolch, Marguerite P. Dolch, Beulah F. Jackson

"Shipwrecked! Roinson Crusoe is alone on a desert island. Are their wild animals in the forest? Cannibals? If he wants to stay alive, Robinson Crusoe must start to do things he never thought of doing before: build a house, weave baskets, tame goats, raise grain, sew animal-skin clothes. He has no one to help him, no one to talk to. He has to decide for himself what to do. Then he has to do it. How does Robinson Crusoe stay alive and safe on his island?"

As For Me:

I read Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.


Book Week 24- Sunday, June 12, 2011 - Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ben and Me
by Robert Lawson

"While the good Mr. Franklin got considerable credit, many of his most important contributions really originated with Amos, a less-than-humble rodent."

(In actuality Alexa and I read this book way back in January but I never counted it for the purpose of this challenge since we'd read "Ben and Me" for school and that week we'd simultaneously selected a different book for fun and counted that one for the challenge. However, I have to confess I got way behind this week and we didn't finish a book this week for the challenge- so I'm pulling out the reserves and counting "Ben and Me" instead)!

As For Me:

I read A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (first of a series). Long book but I was basically out of commission with my back and read a lot. Loved it!


Book Week 25- Sunday, June 19, 2011 - Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bridge To Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson

"Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side of the playground and outruns everyone. That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Leslie has imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him."

As For Me:

I started A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (second in the series I started last week- great books)!


Book Week 26- Sunday, June 26, 2011 - Saturday, July 2, 2011

by Andrew Clements

"Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school- and he's always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he's got the inspiration for the best plan ever... the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn't belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there's nothing Nick can do to stop it."

As For Me:

I finished A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin.


Book Week 27- Sunday, July 3, 2011 - Saturday, July 9, 2011

James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl

"When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start happening. The peach at the very tip of the tree starts growing, and growing, and growing... until it's as big as a house! When James crawls inside, he meets a houseful of oversized friends- Grasshopper, Centipede, Earthworm, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the adventure begins!"

As For Me:

I read Hit List by Laurel K. Hamilton, the latest in the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series.


Book Week 28- Sunday, July 10, 2011 - Saturday, July 16, 2011

In Search Of A Homeland The Story Of The Aeneid
by Penlope Lively

"Aeneas woke. With sinking heart he ran to the roof of the house where he heard and saw the dreadful truth- the din of the stricken city, the shouts, the trumpets, the flames that roared like a forest fire or a river in spate. Taking his father on his back and his young son by the hand, Aeneas flees from burning Troy, entrusted by his goddess-mother Venus with a daunting mission: to find a new homeland for his people. It will be an arduous journey. Destined to cross and recross oceans, cast upon the shores of Crete, Libya, Siciliy and Italy, he must forgo the tender love offered by Queen Dido of Carthage, lose his closest friends and dear ones and conquer the warring tribes of Italy. And there are other, unimaginable dangers: monsters and giants, supernatural hazards sent by the enraged goddess Juno and worst of all, a death-defying descent into the Underworld, where Aeneas will be given a glimpse of the glorious future awaiting his Roman descendants..."

(We are reading this one as Story of the World supplemental reading but since it's over one hundred pages long, we figured we'd count it for this challenge, too).

As For Me:

I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.


Book Week 29- Sunday, July 17, 2011 - Saturday, July 23, 2011

by Jerry Spinelli

"From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of "Stargirl, Stargirl." She captures Leo Borlock's heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newberry Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves an emotional tale about the perils of popularity- and the thrill and inspiration of first love."

As For Me:

I started reading Blessings by Anna Quindlen.


Book Week 30- Sunday, July 24, 2011 - Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor
Retold by John Yeoman

"'Run for your lives!' cried the ship's captain. 'Drop everything and get back on board. This isn't an island after all. We've landed on a monstrous fish that has been asleep so long that the sands have settled over it and trees have sprung up on it.' So begins the first of Sinbad the Sailor's seven incredible voyages- seven tales of shipwreck and heroism, danger and disaster, fabulous treasures and terrifying monsters."

As For Me:

I put aside "Blessings" by Anna Quindlen because a book I'd really wanted to read finally became available from my library- it's A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin, the third book in the Song of Ice And Fire series.


Book Week 31- Sunday, July 31, 2011 - Saturday, August 6, 2011

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

"When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it's love at first sight- and also big trouble. It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers, who drinks too much and has a gun- and abuses his dogs. So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty just has to hide him and protect him from Judd. But Marty's secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd's anger. How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his?"

As For Me:

I am still reading "Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin.


Book Week 32- Sunday, August 7, 2011 - Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mr. Poppers Penguins
by Richard and Florence Atwater

"Mr. Popper was a house painter. During the winter he read books on polar exploration while Mrs. Popper swept around him. He wrote letters to explorers. He wrote one to Admiral Drake in the Antarctic. Admiral Drake sent him an Antarctic penguin, which he named Captain Cook. Mr. Popper, Bill, and Janie Popper were overjoyed. Mrs. Popper was not quite so pleased. But the penguin drooped. An appeal to a great aquarium brought not a cure but another droopy penguin named Greta. Both penguins stopped drooping, and before long there were ten more penguins. But Mr. Popper did not have enough money to support a family of people and a flock of penguins. Finally he had an idea. He would train his flock for the stage. It worked wonderfully, and delighted everybody except perhaps Pullman porters, traffic cops, and all other performers."

As For Me:

I finished reading "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin, and went back to reading "Blessings" by Anna Quindlen.


Book Week 33- Sunday, August 14, 2011 - Saturday, August 20, 2011

20000 Leagues Under The Sea
by Jules Verne, Retold by Diane Flynn Grund

"Jules Verne’s classic science fiction fantasy carries its hero—Professor Aronnax of the Museum of Paris—on a thrilling and dangerous journey far below the waves to see what creatures live in the ocean’s depths. In the process, Verne imagined a vessel that had not yet been invented: the submarine."

As For Me:

I started reading A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, the fourth in the Song Of Ice And Fire series.


Book Week 34- Sunday, August 21, 2011 - Saturday, August 27, 2011

Little Town On The Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

"The long winter is finally over, and with spring comes a new job for Laura, town parties, and more time to spend with Almanzo Wilder. When Laura finds out Ma and Pa are struggling to save money for Mary to go to college, Laura knows she must help, even if it means sacrificing her own dreams."

As For Me:

I continued reading A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, and also read Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, the first of this urban paranormal/ fantasy series.


Book Week 35- Sunday, August 28, 2011 - Saturday, September 3, 2011

These Happy Golden Years
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Could Laura be in love? Laura Ingalls is teaching school, and it's terrifying! Most of the students are taller than she is, and she must sleep away from home for the first time. Laura is miserable, but the money is needed to keep Mary in a college for the blind. And every Friday - no matter what the weather - Almanzo Wilder arrives to take Laura home to her family for the weekend. Laura and Almanzo are courting, and even though she's not yet sixteen, she knows that this is a time for new beginnings."

As For Me:

I continued reading A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, and also read Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning, the second in this urban paranormal fantasy series.


Book Week 36- Sunday, September 4, 2011 - Saturday, September 10, 2011

Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli

"They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring. What's truth, what's myth? When Jeffrey Lionel Magee wanders into Two Mills, Pennsylvania, a legend is born. Jeffrey's just a scruffy twelve-year-old kid. But before long, the stories begin to circulate: about how fast and how far he can run. About how he hits the world's first-ever  "frogball" for an inside-the-park home-run bunt. About how he scores forty-nine touchdowns when he plays football with the high school team, and about how he performs other feats so incredible that he's soon being called "Maniac." All that is nothing compared to the bravest, craziest thing Jeffrey ever does at Two Mills- for the kids from the East end and from the West End. This is his story. It's a story that is very careful not to get the facts mixed up with the truth."

As For Me:

I finished reading A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin and finally finished Blessings by Anna Quindlen.


Book Week 37- Sunday, September 11, 2011 - Saturday, September 17, 2011

The First Four Years
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Laura and Manly Wilder begin married life on their small prairie homestead with high hopes. The beautiful prairie world seems like a paradise; there are wildflowers in spring, wild geese in autumn, pony rides, and warm times together. But each year brings unforeseen disasters as well- storms destroy the crops; there is sickness, fire, and always unpaid debts. The first four years often prove heartbreaking for the Wilders. But they have each other, and their little daughter Rose, and a fierce determination to succeed."

As For Me:

I am reading Faefever by Karen Marie Moning, the third book in this urban paranormal/fantasy series.


Book Week 38- Sunday, September 18, 2011 - Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Inheritors
by William Golding

"Eight Neanderthals encounter another race of beings like themselves, yet strangely different. This new race, Homo sapiens, fascinating in their skills and sophistication, terrifying in their cruelty, sense of guilt, and incipient corruption, spell doom for the more gentle folk whose world they will inherit."

As For Me:

I am reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin, the fifth book in the Game of Thrones series.


Book Week 39- Sunday, September 25, 2011 - Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker
by Cynthia DeFelice

"It's 1849, and twelve-year-old Lucas Whitaker is all alone after his whole family dies of a disease called consumption which has swept through the community. Lucas is grief-stricken and filled with guilt. He might have saved his mother, who was the last to die, if only he had listened to news of a strange cure for this deadly disease. Unable to manage the family farm by himself, Lucas finds work as an apprentice to Doc Beecher, doctor, dentist, barber and undertaker. Doc amputates a leg as easily as he pulls a tooth, yet when it comes to consumption, he remains powerless, unwilling to try the cure he calls nonsense. Lucas can't accept Doc's disbelief, and he joins others in the dark ritual they believe is their only hope. The startling results teach Lucas a great deal about fear, desperation, and the scientific reasoning that offers hope for a true cure."

As For Me:

I am still reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.


Book Week 40- Sunday, October 2, 2011 - Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gilgamesh the Hero
by Geraldine McCaughrean

"This is one of the oldest stories in the world, and it's about many things that still matter to us today: friendship, fame, courage, happiness. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are friends- best friends. Together they can work wonders, fight monsters, brave earthquakes, travel the world! But waiting in the dark is the one enemy they can never overcome."

Note: I confess, I "cheated" a bit this week. We've had a lot going on and have fallen behind on our reading. The challenge is supposed to be for books at least 100 pages or longer.  This one is only 95 pages (and some of those are illustrations) and we've been reading it for school, not for fun. However, we've read so many other books under 100 pages that we didn't "count" that I'm going to say we've more than made up for it and call it good!

As For Me:

I am still reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.


Book Week 41- Sunday, October 9, 2011 - Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Egypt Game
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

"The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they have anything in common. One look at April's upswept hair, false eyelashes, and ragged fox-fur collar is enough to convince Melanie that April won't have an easy time fitting in with the sixth graders at Wilson School. But April has some surprises in store, like the fact that she enjoys reading and playing imagination games just as much as Melanie does. The two even discover that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt! In a storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April start to play the Egypt Game. Before long, there are six Egyptians instead of two. They meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code. Everyone enjoys the game until strange things begin to happen. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?"

As For Me:

I am still reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.


Book Week 42- Sunday, October 16, 2011 - Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Secret School
by Avi

"A secret school? A secret teacher? At first Ida remained quiet. Then, shyly, she said, "I was thinking over what you said, about my being the teacher." "You could do it." "My ma said I'd have to ask Mr. Jordan." Tom shook his head. "Old geezer would never agree." "I know." Ida looked up at Tom's long face, with its almost-but-not-quite turned-up nose. There was a gleam in his brown eyes. "So if we did it," he said, smiling, "it'd have to be done in...secret. That what you're thinking?" Ida nodded. "And that means all the rest would have to agree." "You game to ask 'em?" Tom said. Ida took a moment. "Yes," she whispered."

As For Me:

I read Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning, and also read Shadowfever by the same author, finishing the series.


Book Week 43- Sunday, October 23, 2011 - Saturday, October 29, 2011

Escape from Egypt
by Sonia Levitin

"Jesse and Jennat should never have met each other. Jesse's days as a Hebrew slave are filled with cruelty, while Jennat is content  to share in the glitter and idol worship of her mistress's life. But their worlds collide, and soon they are caught up in a terrifying, overwhelming journey: the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt, and their brutal life in the wilderness. Will it bind them together forever- or force them apart?"

As For Me:

I tried to read The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder, but I couldn't get into it and eventually gave up. Instead, I read Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst.


Book Week 44- Sunday, October 30, 2011 - Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

"It takes a graveyard to raise a child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family."

As For Me:

I read 24 Hours by Greg Iles.


Book Week 45- Sunday, November 6, 2011 - Saturday, November 12, 2011

Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell

"In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind. This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery."

As For Me:

I started The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison but didn't really care for it and stopped reading it.  I read Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith instead because sometimes I enjoy Young Adult books and have enjoyed other werewolf/vampire type stories but this one sorely lacked the depth of even the Twilight series and I just read it because it was there and I was waiting for other books I'd ordered to come in. Oh well!


Book Week 46- Sunday, November 13, 2011 - Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ronia, The Robber's Daughter
by Astrid Lindgren

"On the night Ronia was born, a thunderstorm raged over the mountain, but in Matt's castle and among his band of robbers there was only joy- for Matt now had a spirited little black-haired daughter. Soon Ronia learns to dance and yell with the robbers, but it is alone in the forest that she feels truly at home. Then one day Ronia meets Birk, the son of Matt's arch-enemy. Soon after Ronia and Birk become friends the worst quarrel ever between the rival bands erupts, and Ronia and Birk are right in the middle."

As For Me:

I read "Beyond the Highland Mist" by Karen Marie Moning.


Book Week 47- Sunday, November 20, 2011 - Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Witches
by Roald Dahl

"A REAL WITCH is easily the most dangerous of all the living creatures on earth. What's even more horrifying is that real witches don't look like witches. They don't ride around on broomsticks and they don't even wear black cloaks and hats. So how can you tell when you meet one? Read this story about the most gruesome gang of witches imaginable and you'll find out all you need to know."

As For Me:

I read "To Tame A Highland Warrior" by Karen Marie Moning.


Book Week 48- Sunday, November 27, 2011 - Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cricket in Times Squares
by George Selden

"After Chester, a cricket, arrives in the Times Square subway station via a picnic basket from his native Connecticut, he takes up residence in the Bellinis' newsstand. There, the tiny creature is lucky enough to find three good friends: a little boy named Mario whose parents run the unsuccessful newsstand, a fast-talking Broadway mouse named Tucker and his pal, Harry the Cat. Throughout their escapades and their ups and downs in New York City, together they somehow manage to bring success to the almost bankrupt newsstand."

As For Me:

I started "Covet" by J.R. Ward, the first in her Fallen Angels series.


Book Week 49- Sunday, December 4, 2011 - Saturday, December 10, 2011

Danny, The Champion of the World
by Roald Dahl

"Life couldn't be better for Danny- a gypsy caravan for a home, a garage where he could work on cars all day, and a best friend who never ran out of surprises and inventions: his father. But Dad has one surprise that catches Danny completely off-guard, a secret passion that he's hidden for years. Now the secret's out and Danny's off on an adventure that will make him a legend in his own time."

As For Me:

I finished "Covet" by J.R. Ward.


Book Week 50 - Sunday, December 11, 2011 - Saturday, December 17, 2011

by Roald Dahl

"Just imagine suddenly knowing you may be eaten for breakfast in the very near future; dropped like a rasher of bacon into a frying pan sizzling with fat. This is exactly what worries Sophie when she is snatched from her bed  in the middle of the night by a giant with a stride  as long as a tennis court. Luckily for Sophie, the BFG is far more jumbly than his disgusting neighbours, whose favourite pastime is guzzling and swallomping nice little childers. Sophie is determined to stop all this and so she and the BFG cook up an ingenious plan to rid the world of troggle-humping, bogthumping giants for ever!"

As For Me:

I read "The Highlander's Touch" by Karen Marie Moning (and the following week I read "Crave" by J.R. Ward, the second in her "Fallen Angels" series.


UPDATE: UNFORTUNATELY, we dropped the ball here and did not actually finish this last book on time (nor any book thereafter) for purposes of this challenge. We did subsequently go back and finish it, but not until AFTER the new year. So we came very close to completing this challenge within the 52 week time frame but didn't quite pull it off! Still, we had a lot of fun attempting this challenge together. :) We spent many, many enjoyable hours reading together. While it was fun, we will not be repeating this challenge together again for 2012. Read alouds are quite time consuming and often times it was stressful trying to rush to complete a book on time. We'd find ourselves choosing books that we thought we could complete in a week rather than books we REALLY wanted to read, and this year we'd rather choose books we REALLY want to read and read them at our leisure. So, that's what we will do. Probably starting with the rest of those Harry Potter books... :)





( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
Margaret Atwood is one I need to add to my reading list. Sounds like you all are having fun reading.

Jan. 30th, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Great list of books! My daughter also enjoys the Nancy Drew series. I'm going to get "Ida B and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World" from the library. Sounds like one we'd enjoy reading as well.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, art, singing and music, theater/performing, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 9, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 15 months and my little ray of sunshine. :) Enjoys pointing at things, chasing the cat, trying to pull all the books off my bookshelves, eating, playing, and snuggling.

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secular homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!


Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


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