Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiction Podcasts/ Indian Country

I've fallen in love with the concept of fiction podcasts. Its very easy to download. I just go to iTunes podcasts and subscribe. Then I listen to the ones from previous months or weeks. I just finished listening to one that was superb. It was a reading of "Indian Country" by Sherman Alexei (sp?) on the PRI: Selected Shorts Podcast. The narrator was the phenomenal John Lithgow (whom I love). Perhaps you remember him from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Anyway, the story was fantastic. Hilarious. Sad. Dramatic. Dry...all at the same time. This, too, is a great tool for learning about new authors. I don't think I've heard of this author but I will certainly change that when I am looking for something new to read.
Other fiction podcasts that I enjoy are The New Yorker fiction and The Moth Series. My favorite fiction podcast so far was the reading by Gary Shteyngart called "The Curiosity of Sisters" on The New Yorker fiction. The story is by Andrea Lee. Also look out for "Two Worlds" on the PRI podcast by Jhumpa Lahiri (thats if u didn't already read it in her new short story collection).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

favorite childhood books

Our earliest experiences with literacy are probably the ones that shape our long term relationships with books. Therefore, I thought I'd share some of the ones that were the most memorable in my childhood.

As a kid, a book series is VERY important. Finally, you find a book that you like and you know that there will be another and hopefully another to follow. So lets start with some of the ones I enjoyed and therefore recommend:

1. There was, of course, the famous "Babysitter's Club Series" by Ann M. Martin. A series that told the stories of 5-8 girls who work at their own babysitting agency. Each book would have a different narrator (except for the bonus books where it switched from chapter to chapter). I grew up with the girls as they experienced genius older sisters, step families, diabetes, death, shyness and diabetes to name a few.Ilearned how an organization/business is run (president, vice president, treasurer). I am sure that many a kids businesses sprung from the BSC example. (1st one I read was "The Phantom" book #2)

2. Can't forget the Sweet Valley Twins/High Series by Francine Pascal. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefied were twins that couldn't be more different. Each book had them managing their differences while managing popularity or academics. It seemed like the perfect family in the perfect location with the perfect looks (the only thing not so perfect was whatever the conflict was for that book).

3. I also read plenty of "Nancy Drew Mysteries." It was a great introduction into the mystery genre. Although Nancy seemed to be a little too goody-goody for me, the plots were still interesting and well...mysterious. I must have read a thousand of these and even one or two Hardy Boys. (another great gateway into mystery is The Mystery of Snowshoe Mountain).

One of my favorite authors as a child and even as an adult is the fantastic and well known Judy Blume.

For pre-teen girls I recommend:

Blubber, Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great (could so relate), Just As Long As We're Together, and the famous Are You There God, Its Me Margaret

pre teens boys/girls alike

Freckle Juice and all Fudge books including Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Beverly Clearly is another no brainer:

Beezus and Ramona, all Ramona books, The Mouse and the Motorcycle and well...all things Beverly Clearly (fifteen was good, Jean and Johnny...all)

Other books I enjoyed

Sixth Grade Secrets by Lois Sachar

I Know What You Did Last Summer

The Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan

Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones

Daphne's Book

Anastasia Krupnik (and the rest of the A.K books)

Of course, these are just a few. If I think of more, I'll post comments. You should do the same.