Ten Great Books I’ve Read this Year

The following books are a mixture of books intended for adults, young adults and children.    I have marked the adult books.
 
In Franklin’s House by Beverly Lauderdale,  Oak Tree Press, 2010. 
(Marketed for adults)
 
Two stories interweave deftly; one at the turn of the century and one in present day with an intriguing and handsome ghostWhen the main character, Kate, discovers a 1906 diary and a lovely necklace, she accidentally stumbles into a portal of another world.  Romance, suspense and history plus a story evocative of the time and place. 
 
The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak, Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.   
 
Death narrates this book set in World War II Germany, when nine-year-old Liesel Meminger steals her first book, The Gravediggers Handbook
 
Charles and Emma  by  Deborah Heilgman , Henry Holt & Co., 2009.
 
An amazing nonfiction book that reads like a novel, we learn about the life and work of Charles Darwin and that of his wife, Emma. 
 
 Marcelo in the Real World  by Francisco X. Stork, Arthur A. Levine, 2009.
 
I was all set to dislike this book, because problem-novels “aren’t my thing.”  Surely a book on Asperger’s syndrome wouldn’t be something I’d delve into with excitement?  I’m pleased to announce I was very wrong.  With a powerful voice, strong characters and high tension, you’ll be swept into this story right through until the end.
 
 
One Crazy Summer  by Rita Williams-Garcia, Amistad, 2010.
 
Eleven-year-old Delphine and her two sisters fly from Oakland, California to stay with their poet mother, Cecile in 1968.  Cecile isn’t going to win the World’s Best Mother Award, so Delphine has to hold everything together.  Cecile’s mysterious work, the girls’ involvement in the Black Panther-run community center, and her relationship with her mother all grows into an unforgettable read. 
 
 
Clean, Well-Lighted Sentences  by Janis Bell, W.W. Norton and Co., 2009.
(Marketed for adults but should be used in schools too!)
 
Humorous and clearly written, the author shows the grammar and punctuation problems people need to learn.  Fun quizzes are at the back of each of the seven chapters.
 
 The Year of Living Biblically by  A.J. Jacobs, Simon & Schuster, 2008.
(Marketed for adults.)
 
Hysterical!   Written by an agnostic, although Jewish by birth, Jacobs will teach you more about yourself, the Bible, and make you question your own spirituality and religion than you ever thought possible.  He lives the Bible literally each day for one year. 
 
Growing Up by Russell Baker , Signet, 1992.
(Marketed for adults but I’m sure it’s used in high schools and middle schools.)
 
Pulitzer-winning Baker’s memoir about growing up between the two world wars is a “you-have-to-read-this-book” before you ever attempt to write your own memoir. 
 
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers  
(Marketed for adults and young adults.)
 
Twelve-year-old Frankie Adams grows up in the American South.  Character, emotions, and adolescence written richly and with grace.
 
 
The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Putnam, 2009.
(Marketed for adults) 
Although everyone I know has read this already, and a movie is on the way, I can’t help mentioning it.  Set in 1962 in Mississippi, I probably don’t need to say any more. 
 
 
 
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