If I do these for 2018, maybe I can manage to space them out more evenly…
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris
This book. Is. FANTASTIC. The poems are clever. Some are intricate and sophisticated. Some hardly seem like poems at all (in a good way). Many are hilarious. A few made me teary. But it’s not just the poetry that’s great; everything about the book is clever and interesting. Even the page numbers.
It reminded me of Jack Prelutsky, which is a high compliment. If you are a poor soul who has never heard of Jack Prelutsky, 1. You’ve likely heard of Shel Silverstein, and that is also a good comparison (but I am a rebel and always liked Jack Prelutsky better), 2. Go track down the book A Pizza the Size of the Sun and enjoy it along with I’m Just No Good at Rhyming.
Recess Warriors: Hero Is a Four-Letter Word by Marcus Emerson
Graphic novels aren’t really my thing, but once in a while I find an exception. This is one of them. It chronicles the recess adventures of a group of kids, and it captures the power of imagination beautifully. It’s written and illustrated as though these adventures involving pirates and zombies and cowboys are really happening, but once in a while the characters say things like, “If the principal asks, you did it.” It’s a really fun balance and a great portrayal of how kids see their games and their lives. There is now a sequel (Recess Warriors: Bad Guy Is a Two-Word Word), and it is also lots of fun.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I read this in high school, and I kind of enjoyed it then, but I have since discovered that I really love Dickens. He’s subtly hilarious. Something about his particular brand of wordiness appeals to me. So I’ve been meaning to reread this so I could appreciate it more, and sure enough, I did. “I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob.” It’s a story of one small family and acquaintances and the love they all have for sweet Lucie – her father, her husband, family friends, one man who pines after her – and how they get caught up in the horrors of the French Revolution. I didn’t think the ending would make me cry since I knew what was coming, but it did.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, and I’m so glad I got around to it. It’s something rare: fantasy written for adults that is not a rip-off of either The Lord of the Rings or fairy tales and is also not horribly inappropriate. It made me laugh regularly but was not cheesy. I liked the characters. I wanted to just sit and read it for hours.
The main character is a spy for the Library, which collects books from different alternate worlds. She gets sent on a mission to a dangerous alternate with a new apprentice, and they have all sorts of risky adventures involving a Holmes-esque detective, zeppelins, werewolves, a traitorous Librarian, and the like before they get the book they were after. It’s the first in a series, and as I have just started the second one, I can’t vouch for the rest, but this one was great. Not 100% clean, but I loved it enough that I found it worth putting up with a few content issues.
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin
This book came up in last week’s post, but I wanted an opportunity to express how good it was. Jen Wilkin laments the lack of Biblical literacy among Christians (and I completely agree with her on that point), and then offers a method of how to study the Bible for yourself. If you read last week’s post, you know I’m not saying you must study the Bible this way or anything like that, but it is sensible and accessible, and if you struggle with this and are looking for some guidance, it is an excellent place to start.