Monthly Archives: December 2012

‘I Never Knew that About London’ by Christopher Winn

I Never Knew that About LondonstarstarstarMy children know what I like and I just had a birthday! I scored two books and a jigsaw puzzle. You’ll hear about the fiction book after I ready it and the jigsaw was enjoyed over Christmas. This non-fiction book is Winn’s educational trivia about London and I love trivia!

Whether in the form of trivial pursuit games, tv shows like “Jeopardy/Millionaire/In it to Win it”, pub quizzes, or brain teasers, count me in! Since I live on London’s doorstep and often venture into the city, I will be enjoying this guide section by section as a travel companion to educate myself and others on interesting tidbits and historical facts. I’ll either be admired for my impressive knowledge or considered a crashing bore…either way I’m really looking forward to the learning! 🙂

Christopher Winn is a freelance writer and collector of trivia. He has other similar volumes on England, Scotland, Wales, River Thames, the Royals, etc. His wife Mai Osawa illustrates his books with beautiful sketches. His website is:

Christopher Winn’s Website

Best Books of 2012

Book CollageAs we near the end of 2012 and approach a new year, it’s a great time to reflect.  With regards to books, what were the favourites that you read this past year? Which ones did you recommend to others? Which books have characters that will not leave your mind, or which books did you learn something significant from? Which books did you buy for others or which did you enjoy talking about in your book club?

If you look in the Genre Categories sidebar on the right, you can click on the books which I gave Five Stars to, which might indicate my favourites, although I certainly had favourites among the Four Star and even other ratings as well.

Please leave a comment and let me know which were your favourites! I’d love to hear from you and update the Books Mentioned in Comments sidebar, which are recommendations made by you!

I have a New Year’s resolution with regards to my reading choices for 2013. It will be my first post in the New Year so stay tuned!

‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio

Wonderstarstarstarstar

Age 9 – 12.

Here is an inspirational sensitively told story for older children, about a really tough subject.  Middle school is tricky territory, even for those who are good looking or normal in appearance, but when you have severe facial deformity, it is a mine field. Ten year old August Pullman just wants to fit in and be a normal kid. He is smart, funny, and compassionate. He is a really cool kid, but none of that gets noticed when people can’t get past the terrible facial abnormality he has been born with. After many painful surgeries and home-schooling for the early years, August goes to school for the first time. Will he be able to share who he is “underneath it all”?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him, the author provides a touching insight into surviving “being different” and a poignant lesson into how we should never judge a book (boy) by its cover (his face), or anyone else for that matter. Though our human nature is full of brutal tendencies, this honest novel is uplifting and courageous. This is an important book for children to read and perfect to read to them! Highly recommended!

‘Gone’ by Michael Grant

GonestarAlthough this book might get high marks from many for action and imagination, I found it painfully cliché with poorly crafted writing and a disjointed plot line. However, that is not to say that it has no value for readers.

‘Gone’ is the first in a series, followed by ‘Hunger’, ‘Lies’, ‘Plague’ and ‘Fear’. The end of the series is coming out in 2013 and will be called ‘Light’. The ending of this first instalment definitely does not end and sets up for a sequel. So, this dystopian series might be a good choice for a reluctant teen reader who will be swept up by it and will enjoy carrying on with the series. Arguably, everyone needs a series from time to time. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gone was picked up for the movies, it almost reads like a movie already.

The set up for the story is interesting enough. One day, in the blink of an eye, all of those fifteen and older disappear, leaving a generation of youngsters bent on survival. Gone. Just take a minute and imagine that. Immediately getting rid of the adults is a popular device that many authors use eg. Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Flies.  In some cases it help to declutter the world of adult issues, allowing the fantasy to breathe freely, and of course in Lord of the Flies, it was to expose human nature in its most basic form, focusing on tendencies such as individualism vs. the common good.