Really Nowhere Near 50 Books!

Happy stupid new year, everybody!  It’s supposed to be our first day back at school today, but we’re keeping everyone home, waiting for the phone to ring, hoping that the idea of nine kids coming in to the hospital to be tested for strep throat is just as terrifying for the doctor as it is for us, and that she will just call in prescriptions for everybody.  Maybe just a giant vat of penicillin, which I will pour into the tub, and we can just swim around in it for a while. I wouldn’t even mind the big pink cat ring, as long as we don’t have to go to the hospital.

We did this same thing last year (the strep, I mean, not the vat).  This photo is in the folder marked “Christmas 2011″:


(Don’t worry, I wasn’t storing them in direct sunlight.  I just lined them up on the windowsill for dramatic effect.)  This year, my husband went from being sorta kinda sniffly to DYING VERY FAST, and it turned out he had an abscess on his tonsil.  EWWWWWWWWW.  I mean, awwwwwwwwww.  Poor guy. Isn’t that awful?

The worst part was that he only had me to take care of him.  I can be nurturing for as long as ten or eleven minutes at a time, but beyond that, I find sick people irritating.  As you can imagine, I then feel horribly guilty about that, and take it out on the sick people. So, the moral of this story is, get the hell away from me, with your pain and suffering.  I mean, would you like some orange juice?  Or tea?  No?  Well, then I guess I’ll go shovel the driveway ALL BY MYSELF, with no one to help me.

The other thing I stink at is doing fifty book reviews on the fifty days before Christmas.  I thought I would be really clever and have fun while raising enough Amazon credits to entirely pay for Christmas.  And dad gummit, I almost made it!  To tell you the truth, I made TONS of money in credits, and I am so grateful to you guys!  Lots of people went out of their way to use my links to buy all sorts of big ticket items.

The only catch was, there is a 60-day delay on payments, and so I’m expecting a huge credit  . . . any day now.  Le sigh.  But man, next Christmas is gonna be a doozy!  So again, thank you for going to the trouble.  I know shopping is complicated enough, without having to remember to make sure some lady on the internet gets her piece of the pie.

By the time Christmas came, I had managed to list 33 books, and have sort of organized them below.  (If you want to see the original posts, here is a list of them.)  I thought it would be fun to keep up a once-a-week book recommendation, too, probably on Wednesdays.  As long as no JERKS get SICK again and mess up my schedule.

Oh, and Christmas day itself was lovely at our house (the sickness really set in a few days afterward).  We went to Midnight Mass and spent Christmas day wallowing in wrapping paper and cinnamon buns, and everyone was happy.  There was a little bit of this


while we were preparing to go out in the cold in the middle of the night, but there was a lot more of this:

[yeah, okay, actually I haven't uploaded the Christmas morning photos yet, but it was pretty great.]

Oh, one more thing:  please join me in sending up a prayer for Melanie Bettinelli, who was hoping to have her new baby Lucia in her arms by now, but had to postpone her c-section because she was so sick!

All right, here are the 33 books:

YA Fiction

Most of these were recommended by my 13-year-old and 14-year-old daughters.  I’ve starred the ones I recommend for adults as well as “young adults.”

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch


Angels and Other Strangers:  Family Christmas Stories by Katherine Paterson

*The Golden Key by George MacDonald, illustrated by Maurice Sendak

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield


*The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


*Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams


The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner


A Dog’s Life:  The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin


*The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Patterson


The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare


Children’s Books

A Time to Keep:  A  The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays

The Flying Carpet by Marcia Brown

Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise brown, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivisas an illustrated by the wonderful Helen Oxenbury.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

The Golden Bible, Old Testament, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

It Could Always Be Worse:  A Yiddish Folktale written and illustrated by Margo Zemach


Non-fiction for adults  (I’ve starred the ones that are also suitable for teenagers.)

From Bauhaus to Our House   by Tom Wolfe

Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Fr. Jacques Philippe

God Help Me!  This Stress is Driving Me Crazy: Finding Balance through God’s Grace by Gregory Popcak

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham

*Masterworks of Ukiyo-E: Hokusai Sketches and Paintings

*The Rattle Bag edited by poets Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes

*The Family of Man by Edward Steichen and Carl Sandburg

*and Hokusai, First Manga Master [for some reason, WordPress won't let me turn this one into a link]


Fiction for adults

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

The Odyssey, the translation by Robert Fagles

*The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Wow, I can’t believe those are the only two adult fiction books on the list!  I guess I was trying hard to branch out, since I actually read mostly novels.




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