For you grown-ups who like to read, there is a series of books I love by Peter Mathiessen, the nature writer, about a killer who moves to the Florida keys in the early 1900s– “Killing Mr. Watson.” There are two other books from different points of view. It’s semi-biographical fiction. (Recent version of books is his “Shadow Country” which combines all three books. I would read them separately.) Possibly my favorite books ever. I have no idea why.
Haven’t seen Betsy Tacy Tib mentioned, by Maud Hart Lovelace — that is an excellent one for girls starting around age 7. Like Anne of Green Gables, the series follows the characters into adulthood, but it is much less sacharrine (no orphans).
When my daughter was ~7, I found the audio version of E.D. Baker’s delightful series, “The Frog Princess” at our local library. There are about 4 books in this series and Katherine Kellgren reads. She’s absolutely laugh-out-loud brilliant with the rich array of characters. We’ve listened to the series multiple times and I was as enthralled as my daughter. No its not your standard CInderella schmaltz. Yes, the main character is a princess — but she’s a bit of a clutz, a tomboy, and a rebel. One day she goes down to the swamp to get away from the pressures of a nagging mother and royal life and she meets a frog. Over time he wears her down with a story about being a prince, and if she’d only kiss him. Finally, to get him off her back, she does. What they both don’t know is she’s wearing a “reverse the curse” bracelet. So when she kisses him, he stays a frog but, to her great dismay and horror, she becomes a frog. And that’s where the adventure begins. It’s both hilarious and delightful.
Lately, I’ve been reading novellas and am on “Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists”. It’s dark British humor, and completely inappropriate for children, but they keep me entertained.
I haven’t even finished reading the comments, but just had to jump ahead to say — Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists? I have that one! We need to exchange book lists some time because we obviously have similarly warped tastes. I know you’re a Jasper Fforde fan. Do you (or did you before they all started to sound the same) read the Tom Holt ones too? Kage Baker?
Honolulu mother, 5/22/09
Thanks for the tip! I have not read Holt or Baker so I will definitely check them out! I’ll be sure to stick to the earlier novels, as I’m not one for repetitive novels.
Pirates also has “In an adventure with scientists”, which is the first I read after a recommendation from DH”s coworker. I laughed my rear off during that one. I’ve also read “in an adventure with Ahab” which wasn’t as funny, but still good nonetheless. There are many things I didn’t know about Pirates, like they like Las Vegas and ham! Haha!
By the way, except for a few parts, the Pirates books are fairly tame and possibly great for middle schoolers.
If anyone loves “connected” stories, read Dean Koontz’ “From the Corner of His Eye”. It’s about how many lives can be connected and how we all affect one another. Yes, it’s got the sci-fi spin to it, but it really is a beautiful story.
High level of action and the comic-book style appeals to reluctant readers (boys and girls, I’ve found), but the language and humor are both reasonably advanced, so they hold a strong reader’s attention too.
The only tough spots are Captain Haddock’s drinking (I had to explain to my 6-year-old what being drunk was) and the occasional outdated bigotry. But that’s something you’ll confront in a lot of older fiction. We recently read a Sherlock Holmes mystery that centered around those sneaky, murderous Mormons. But it makes for great conversation.
Our 3 kids all loved the Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. There are currently 3 books in the series, with a 4th to be published this fall. It’s a wildly creative prequel to Peter Pan’s story and is completely captivating.