Monday, June 28, 2010

From Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files

That is what I think I'm going to call my new blog. Either that or Capturing the Castle. Thoughts? Anyone? I would really appreciate feedback... I need to know if they sound dumb or not. Also, does anyone catch the references? Help me out here, people!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Great quote that wouldn't fit on Twitter.

Just now I watched Neil Gaiman's acceptance speech for the Carnegie Medal he won just a few days ago for The Graveyard Book, and he ended with a quote that I wanted to share with everyone.

"Libraries are our future. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever. Closing libraries can be seen as an easy way for a local authority to save a little money, and it is. But it is a terrible, terrible mistake as we have recently begun to learn, to steal from the future to pay for today."

Thanks for supporting libraries, Neil Gaiman, and thank you for the enormous contribution you have made to children's literature. You are to the younger generation what C.S. Lewis was for you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Top Ten childhood faves!

As some of you may know, I am collaborating on a new blog, The Broke and the Bookish. Today is our very first Top Ten Tuesday, and the theme is top ten childhood favorites. Obviously you are all wondering one thing: What are Tahleen's top ten childhood favorites? Well, let me tell you!

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: This is probably my all-time, super-duper favorite book ever. It combines fantasy, adventure and concepts of ethics as Meg and Charles Wallace Murray, with their friend and accidental companion Calvin O'Keefe, search for their father through space and time. I can't recommend this book enough. I've read it at least three times.

2. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech: I read this sometime in elementary school, though I can't remember exactly when. 13-year-old Salamanca goes on a cross-country road trip with her grandparents to find her mother. Through stories she tells her grandparents, we learn about her previous year in a new town, and bit by bit secrets are revealed to the reader. I loved the juxtaposition of the road trip with Sal's narration of her past. I'm way past due for a rereading of this one.

3. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell: When I was younger I would read every Scott O'Dell book I could get my hands on, and it all started with this one. It's a survival story, but at its very core it's a coming of age tale. Karana is left on her home island after her tribe leaves, and with (eventually) a dog as her only companion, she must deal with growing up alone and surviving with only a few tools and her brain to get her through.

4. Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner: Oh my, these books were like candy to me. They were probably the books that sparked my love of reading. I remember using the hall light to read by so I could keep reading past my bedtime. Probably why my eyesight is so bad. But anyway--I remember these mysteries as being extremely wholesome yet exciting. I really liked them.

5. Baby-Sitters' Club by Ann M. Martin: I can't tell you how excited I was when I found out these were going back into print. I was a bit disappointed to hear that they'd be "updated," but according to Ann M. Martin in an interview with Forbes, they weren't so much updated as made more vague, which works for me. All I have to say is that I did not learn about diabetes because of Nick Jonas--Stacey McGill taught me all I know. (For any of you wondering, I did watch the TV show... and still remember all of the lyrics.)

6. A Voice in the Wind by Kathryn Lasky: I must have read this book at least 7 times. Every summer I would take it out of the library and reread it; I loved the Southwestern setting and the ghost story, the Native American culture, everything about this book. The fact that the two sets of Starbuck twins could communicate telepathically was pretty awesome too.

7. It's Nothing to a Mountain by Sid Hite: Another book I've reread at least once. Set in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia in 1969, it's another sort of survival story, though it's more adventurous and spiritual than anything. Lisette and Riley, after being orphaned, go to live with their grandparents in the mountains, where Riley finds a surprise in a nearby cave--a boy named Thorpe.

8. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene: I didn't read all of these, but I remember thinking they were great. It definitely makes me nostalgic to think of the series--at one point I read one that had to do with archeology (digging for artifacts or something) and for a while I wanted to be an archeologist.

9. The Giver by Lois Lowry: I read this in eighth grade, so I guess I wasn't little, but I still thinks this counts. For some reason I am drawn to dystopian literature, and this might have been the first dystopian novel I read. Actually, scratch that; it might have been Fahrenheit 451, which I also read in eighth grade, but I can't remember which was first. I "borrowed" these from school (meaning I took them without asking from the classroom--but I returned them!) because I wanted to find out how they ended, and for whatever reason we never read them again in class. Stupid class. We read The Pearl but not this stuff? C'mon!

10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: I read this in sixth grade and thought it was just awesome. What a kickass heroine! Strong and independent, despite her setback of being cursed to do whatever she is told. She finds a way around everything! Great retelling of Cinderella.

BONUS: American Girl Magazine Okay okay, this isn't a book, but I was a loyal subscriber and reader for YEARS. I couldn't wait to get these in the mail--I even bought some of the books, like the Help! books and Pages and Pockets. I loved all the great ideas they had for finding fun things to do and party ideas and games. Thanks for helping making my childhood awesome, American Girl!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mom is funny.

Mom to Zaven: "Why don't you go get some chocolate cake, get your book and then go study?"

Zaven, excitement palpable: "We have chocolate cake??"

Mom, deadpan: "No."

The look of soul-crushing disappointment on Zaven's face was priceless.

New blog excitement!

Long time no talk, I know. Sorry, friends. I been busy. Well, not really terribly busy, but forgetful is probably a better word to use. Yes, I forgot about blogging. Shame on me!

Anyway, I have some lovely news to share with you. I am going to be a regular contributor in a book review blog that is a collaboration with peers in a Goodreads group of which I am a member. It's called The Broke and the Bookish, and you should check it out right now. Well, maybe in a week or so. It will go live soon, by the end of the month. But read it! And enjoy it. And follow me on Twitter so you can find out when my posts are up.

I'm also considering doing my very own young adult/teen book review blog, as well. I am open for name suggestions; I have proven to be bad at choosing names in the past. Please leave comments! But I like the idea of doing my own reviews whenever I want to put them up. I'm looking forward to the idea. Now all I have to do is find the drive to do it.