Saturday, April 12, 2014

4 Young Adult Books for Travellers

When I was growing up, I was always looking for kids in books who knew airports & passports & travel as well as I did. But there was a dearth of kid travellers, unless you count Laura Ingalls Wilder, who I guess technically traveled all the time.

I found a few, & I loved them. Now there seems to be a trip-to-Europe trend in YA novels, which is kind of great. Just One Day, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, & The Fault in Our Stars all feature a teenage protaganist (or two) that fly off to Europe at some point.

Here are 4 of my favourite YA novels for travellers.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith

I found The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight last summer, & I loved it more than I really expected to because: travel! teenage protaganist! airplane to London! This kind of book did not exist when I was a teenage protagonist traveling on airplanes to London, & I would have loved it.

by Sharon Creech

Bloomability is about a girl named Dinnie who lives with her "semi-nomadic family*" & whose dad is "transiently employed.*" I feel you, Dinnie. Also, she ends up at an awesome boarding school in Switzerland, a country that I love.

Betsy & the Great World
by Maud Hart Lovelace

I have read Betsy & the Great World nearly every year since I discovered it in high school. Betsy sails away on a ship to Europe after graduating & ends up discovering Venice, Munich, London, & even an exotic island in the middle of the Atlantic. It's a simple story, but one of my favourites of all time.

Anna & the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins

Anna moves, against her will, to a boarding school in Paris, where her world is expanded & she falls in love with a great British boy. The end.

Bonus Young Adult Book for Travelers:
The Impossible Knife of Memory 
by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory doesn't fit this jet-off-to-Europe list BUT it's a great book for teenagers who travel a lot. Hayley is an army kid & this book really deals with some of the crazy ways that affects her & her family. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fiction by Fictional Authors

Remember that time Anne Shirley wrote a story that won the Rollings Reliable Baking Powder contest? Don't you kind of want to read that story?

There is something so tantalizing, yet frustrating, about a book that is referred to in a novel or film... but doesn't actually exist. Your favourite characters keep talking about it & you just really want to read it. But you can't! Because it doesn't exist! Discord & frustration.

Here are a few books that I really want to read but can't, because both they & their authors are fictional.

An Imperial Affliction

Yeah, this one tops the list. I've read The Fault in Our Stars twice already, but no matter how many times I read it, I'll never quite know what happens in Hazel's favourite book. For that matter, I'll also never get to live inside the endless fiction of The Price of Dawn, based on Augustus's favourite video game.

Of the many pleasant miseries afforded by reading John Green, not getting to read Van Houten's fictional fiction is just one of them. I really want to read Augustus & Hazel's favourite books. I also want to listen to The Hectic Glow. I also want everyone to live forever. Alas.

Hogwarts: A History
Harry Potter

Here's a question: do the characters in Harry Potter read fiction? They read a lot - especially Hermione, obviously - but it seems to be all textbooks & Flying with the Cannons & Rita Skeeter's scandalous Dumbledore biography & Gilderoy Lockhart's made up memoirs.  Do Harry, Ron & Hermione ever read novels?

Every time I read or watch Harry Potter, I find myself really wanting to get my hands on Hogwarts: a History. What wonders might be revealed if this book actually existed? Maybe J.K. Rowling should get on that. I bet half of it is already floating around in her head.

In the meantime, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, & Quidditch Through the Ages all do really exist & can be read.

An Unkindness of Ravens

I recently became obsessed with One Tree Hill, & have been binge-watching it on Netflix. I'll spare you the details; suffice it to say, I really want to read Lucas's books.

Although there is something that bugs me; An Unkindness of Ravens is confusingly referred to as fiction, even though it seems to be an exact retelling of Lucas's high school experience, without even any name changes. It's kind of like when TV show characters say they want a Mocha Latte. It drives me crazy. Because that's not a thing!

The Simon Snow series

Simon Snow is a Harry Potter-esque series in the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. There are clips of it scattered throughout the book & to be honest, it seems pretty gripping. If it was real, I would read it. I wouldn't mind reading a bit of the main character Cath's fanfiction, while I'm at it.

The Subsect

Gilmore Girls was full of amazing references to real live books, but there was also one that was fictional. Remember when Rory was languishing away at her grandparents house, skipping school & being all un-Rory-like, & in the meantime Jess wrote a book? Yeah, don't you kind of want to read that book?

The Nikki Heat series

I'll polish off the list with this: fiction, by a fictional author, that also really exist in the real world & you can buy it & read it & it's awesome.

I love the show Castle, where the main character is an mystery writer that also helps the NYPD solve crimes. And this time we're in luck; Richard Castle's books really exist, in the real world. No one quite knows who writes them, but they are actual New York Times bestsellers.

It's all so meta.

Any that I'm missing?
Do you have any favourite fake books that you can't actually read?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Postcards to Authors

Postcards to Authors started when I got a box of 100 Penguin postcards for my birthday & decided to use them to write to my favourite authors, literary agents & other bookish types, just to say thanks for making great books.

It's kind of fun & it turns out I really like Tumblr. Check it out, if excessive bookishness happens to be your kind of thing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

5 British Picture Books

Our childhood visits to England left us with a deep, crazy love for British books.
No wonder, when we grew up reading books like this.

Here are 5 of our favourite British picture books for kids.

"Once there was a little girl called Sophie, & she was having tea with her mummy in the kitchen. Suddenly there was a ring at the door."
by Judith Kerr

"Here's a little baby
One, two, three
Stands in his cot
What does he see?"
by Janet & Allen Ahlberg

"The children were having breakfast.
This was not a pleasant sight."
by Jill Murphy

"Mr. & Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform."
by Michael Bond

"One day Alfie came home from Nursery School with a card in an envelope.
His best friend, Bernard, had given it to him."
by Shirley Hughes

In case you where wondering...
If I could only get one of these, it would be The Tiger Who Came to Tea, no question.
Kids love that book. Because it's awesome.