Reads And Rereads~In Which I Revisit Old Friends And Meet New Ones

Salutations, blogging world!

As much as I love watching movies, there is something about reading books that nothing else can compare to. Sometimes it boggles me how little black marks on a piece of paper can invade my soul so much more effectively than all the special effects in the world.

In the past however-long-it’s-been-since-I-last-did-a-book-review-post, I have started ten books, finished eight of them, and discovered at least two new children. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

The Perilous Gard

This was a reread, so obviously its excellence has been established.

Kate Sutton has been sent to the remote Perilous Gard to keep her out of trouble, but the old fortress has plenty of trouble of its own. The history of the place runs deep in the land, and its inhabitants have secrets that Kate might do better not to get tangled up in. But of course she does anyway because otherwise it wouldn’t be very interesting, now would it?

Filled with myth, legend, and fairy magic, this book is a mysterious adventure with a dark side. The characters are unique, the dialogue is quick and witty, and the plot involves human sacrifice, so clearly it’s wholesome.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews


Fifteen-year-old Sam doesn’t have a home to call his own. He is constantly worrying about his older brother Avery, who he feels a fierce responsibility for. He tries to convince himself that they don’t need anyone else. But he knows they do. And then Sam gets mixed up with the De Laineys and he doesn’t quite know how to handle it.

My heart went out to Sam’s tormented soul, and the way the De Lainey family embraces him is truly powerful. I wasn’t big on the romance, but Sam and Moxie are still dear to me. Also Mr. De Lainey and the florist are saints, bless them.  And THE END. I LOVE the end.

The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca K.S. Ansari

Image result for the missing piece of charlie o'reilly

This book surprised me. Which is weird.

Charlie has a little brother named Liam that disappeared a year ago. The thing is, Charlie is the only person who remembers that Liam ever existed.

This is a fantasy set in modern times and it deals with this question: What if when you wished you’d never been born, that wish came true? It also deals with the power of both consequences and forgiveness, the importance of working through things instead of pretending they didn’t happen, and all of my FAVORITE THINGS.

I actually read this twice because right after I finished it I did it as a read aloud with my sisters and that was really fun. Jonathon is the universal favorite.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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Another reread. This little story has a special place in my heart.

Jefferey Magee is an oddball. He’s scarily good at sports. He can untie any knot. He’s allergic to pizza. And he treats the people on the east side and the west side the same, even though one side is white and the other side is black. He just doesn’t see things the same way that other people do. And he is always running.

I like the way this book is written. Everything is understated and the imagery is unique and striking. It’s like poetry. And of course I am all for stories about lost, broken boys. Jeffery needs to find his way home.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Image result for stargirl

Leo is a normal kid in a normal high school. Then Stargirl, a previously homeschooled eccentricity, waltzes into his life and changes everything. Sort of.

For some reason I could not get into this book. I get tired of the same old high school scene, with the popular vs. unpopular disaster, and though I think it’s important for kids to be themselves and not cave to peer pressure, I totally knew that before I read this book and reading the book didn’t give me any new perspectives on it. I had a hard time relating to either Stargirl or Leo, so overall the whole thing just kind of fell flat for me.

That said, I still like Jerry Spinelli’s writing style, and the way Stargirl spent so much time thinking about other people was cool. We all like to be seen, and she tried to be the person who did the seeing.

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

Image result for the boy on the porch

Short, simple, sweet. These kinds of books are nice, even if they don’t end up stabbing me in the heart.

Basically this young couple wake up one day to find a child sleeping on their porch. They don’t know who he is or where he came from. But he ends up having a significant impact on their lives.

Overall, this book was nothing to sneeze at. (I don’t exactly know what that expression means, but I wanted to say it.) I liked it well enough, and there were a few striking moments, but it didn’t make a huge impression on me.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

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This is one of the books I did not finish.

I got 240 pages in. And I wanted to like it. But it was…boring.

Sophia lives with her cartologer uncle Shadrack in Boston. Years ago, the world was shattered into several different Ages by a mysterious event called the Disruption, and time and maps are what anchor people in reality. When her uncle is kidnapped, Sophia and her new friend Theo go on a quest to rescue him.

I like the idea of the world being split up into different temporal zones based on geographic location (like Boston is in the 19th century or thereabouts and Egypt is in ancient times, etc.), so the setting is cool, but I couldn’t connect with the characters.  The focus was more on the maps and the plot I guess, but if you want me to read a book this long, you need to have riveting characters. Also a lot of the dialogue felt rather stilted to me. I like the idea, but it wasn’t engaging enough to keep me reading.

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

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This is the other book I did not finish. I like the Disney cartoon, okay?

Arthur, or the Wart, as he is called, is being raised by Sir Ector along with Sir Ector’s son Kay, and after stumbling across Merlyn in the forest, the bizarre old wizard becomes his tutor.

This book is extremely episodic. Kind of like the movie. I thought it would be funny, and it is. But not as funny as Charles Dickens or A.A. Milne, and episodic stories are hard for me to handle at the best of times. I just couldn’t get into it. ‘Twasn’t quite uproariously witty enough for me.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

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Finally, a book small enough for me to handle.

Ellie is twelve and her parents are into theatre. She isn’t, which is super weird, but that is neither here nor there. Her grandfather is into science. And he’s good at it. In fact, he is so good at it that he ends up inventing a way to make himself turn back into a teenager.

This story is strange in the best way and it contains burritos. Sometimes it lacked subtlety, but overall it was fun.

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

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Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë spend hours creating elaborate games for their toy soldiers in the room at the top of the stairs. But what would happen if their make-believe world came to life and got carried away?

“Wouldn’t you feel it happening, if you made a whole world?” Emily said softly.

The Glass Town Game, p. 156

The four children end up being swept into their own fantastical world of pretend and meeting all sorts of outlandish people, both ones they have invented and ones they haven’t.  This world is just a little wilder than the one they thought they were making.

As a writer, as an admirer of Charlotte and Emily Brontë’s works, as a fan of The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom Tollbooth, and other such whimsical tales, I found numerous things about this book to enjoy. The writing style was glorious and made me forget that the book was 530 pages long. The characters were not as complex as they could have been, but they were relatable enough and at moments actually made me Feel Things. Also the illustrations added splendidly to the overall charm of the book.


I did go through a little slump with The Glass Sentence and The Sword in the Stone in which I got rather dramatic and thought I would never read a good book again, but there is always another delightful story to get us out of those. I just needed some goldfish and some Brontës. Overall, I am fairly happy with my recent reading, and for that I am grateful.

What have you been reading lately? How often do you reread your old favorites? Do you get discouraged if you read multiple not-awesome books in a row? Have you ever read a fantasy book based on actual historical humans? Tell me all your bookish news!

12 thoughts on “Reads And Rereads~In Which I Revisit Old Friends And Meet New Ones

  1. Still in the middle of Pride and Prejudice, which I started in April. Prefer David Copperfield, which was the book I read before the book I am in the middle of book.

    Well- my first WIP is still on writing hiatus- my Fairy Frogs book- which I am so ready to work on. So, I am brainstorming and creating my characters in my 2nd WIP- technically its three books, since Greatest Discovery is a trilogy.

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  2. I rarely reread old favorites. Part of it is I’m scared I won’t love it as much. Part of it is that there’s so many other books to read!
    Um YES I one hundred percent get discouraged when I read a couple of books that I don’t finish in a row. Usually I start thinking that I’m too picky.
    Hm, I feel like I’ve had to read at least one fantasy book about real humans. Who is Branwell Bronte? I’ve never heard of her, I’ve always thought there were three Bronte sisters. Also, which Bronte sister wrote which book, and which ones do you recommend? I started Wuthering Heights last year (by Charlotte, correct?), but I did not finish it.
    Have you read Jane Austen? I just finished Persuasion this weekend, and it was so so good. That’s my third Jane Austen book-after Pride and Prejudice and Emma. I think I’m going to try to read all of them. I don’t understand how people pick a favorite Austen novel. They’re all so good. Other books I’ve read recently: The Warmth of Other Suns (it’s about the African American migration from the South to the North and West in the 1900s), Radical (a life-changer), Keep Going (by Austin Kleon), Othello (which I think I might’ve talked to you about already in another comment?).

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    1. I know how that is! There are a few books that I used to love and upon rereading found that I had outgrown them, and that is always sad. But many of my favorites stay awesome, and I love that. And yeah, it’s hard to decide when to reread because there are so many books out there to read!
      Haha, I am definitely too picky. But recently I have been finding books I like anyway, so that’s okay. 😉
      Branwell Bronte is actually their brother, and he didn’t write any books- that I know of. Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre, which I love, and Emily actually wrote Wuthering Heights, which I also like, but not as much as Jane Eyre. I haven’t read anything that Anne wrote.
      I have read Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Honestly I haven’t been able to get into Jane Austen much. I’m not completely sure why. I tend to enjoy the movie adaptions of her books, and I think she is witty, but the details of high society British life in the 19th century can get tedious really fast. I am glad that you like her though! I still want to read Sense and Sensibility someday.

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      1. Ahh, that’s good! I know, I have one friend who said she doesn’t really find books she doesn’t like and that is not me at all!
        Whaaat, they had a brother? I had no idea. Haha, I wonder what it was like being the only brother of three sisters who all wrote books. Ohh okay, thank you for correcting me. I looked up Anne Bronte and what she wrote, but none of it sounded familiar. Do you know which movie adaptations of Jane Austen you’ve watched? Because there are so many. Also, did you know that Clueless is an adaptation of Emma?? Yea, I’m surprised I don’t get bogged down by the details of high socie​ty, but I actually find it kind of nice. The slower pace is like a breath of air compared to other books. I think Sense and Sensibility is the next one I want to read! What makes the plot of that one stand out to you?

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      2. Wow, that is crazy. What would that even be like? It some ways it sounds nice to pretty much like everything I read. But on the other hand, it’s more fun to be critical.
        I feel like it would be hard to be the one sibling the one sibling that didn’t publish books. I don’t know anything about the real Branwell, but the one in the book was kind of a brat because he was so insecure.
        Oh boy, let’s see. I’ve seen the 1995 Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle the most. My family watches it pretty regularly, and I enjoy it. I also saw the Keira Knightly version, but I didn’t like that one. I like both the 1995 and the 2008 adaptions of Sense and Sensibility. (I didn’t realize that so many of these came out in 1995.) I have seen the 1995 Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds, which I don’t remember that well. My mom loves it but I don’t think it was my favorite. I have seen the Kate Beckinsale Emma from 1996, and it’s okay, but the story of Emma is not that exciting to me. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are my favorites. It could partly be the adaptions though. I like that in Sense and Sensibility the Dashwoods are actually going through kind of a hard time, and I also appreciate the sister dynamic, which Pride and Prejudice also has. I think part of the reason I disliked Emma is that she is an only child, and nothing bad really happens to her. I did know that Clueless was an adaption of Emma. My mom tried to show that one to me as well, but I didn’t like it either. I think that is it.

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      3. Okay, for a long time I thought the 1995 Pride and Prejudice version was a single movie but then I realized it was a TV show. I need to watch it at some point because everybody talks about it. Or more specifically, Colin Firth jumping into a lake or something. What did you not like about the Keira Knightly one? Also, is Keira Knightly the one who was in Pirates of the Caribbean? I always get her and someone else mixed up. Wow, 1995 was a good year for Jane Austen adaptions. Which one was the one with Emma Thompson? Hahaha, that’s true, nothing really bad happens to Emma. But I think that speaks to how good Jane Austen is as an author! I didn’t really get Clueless when I watched it, but now that I know it was an Emma adaptation, it makes a lot more sense. If you had to choose one for me to watch first, which one would it be? Also, have you watched the LIzzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube???

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      4. Ugh, I don’t get why everyone talks about the part when Mr. Darcy jumps in the lake. It’s iconic apparently, but I don’t get it. There are so many other great parts of the movie. But anyway.
        Well, for one thing it just didn’t seem to fit the time period. They tried to alter it so that a modern audience would get it or something, so to show that they were supposed to be poor, they made pigs running through their house and stuff. Which didn’t make any sense. In the original story their dad is still a gentleman, and he is poor by those standards, but he doesn’t live on a pig farm. Mr. Darcy was always walking around with his clothes all sloppy which was super dramatic and all but it didn’t fit his character. And lady Catherine de Burgh stormed into the Bennets’ house in the middle of the night. Stuff like that. It made it more dramatic, but it didn’t fit with the decorum of the time and their stations and all that. Also I don’t like Keira Knightly very much. I don’t know why. Yes, she is the one in Pirates of the Caribbean.
        Emma Thompson is in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. Really both Sense and Sensibilities and the 1995 Pride and Prejudice are all spectacular, but I would probably recommend Pride and Prejudice first, since it’s something of a classic in my family and really what introduced me to Jane Austen.
        No, I haven’t. I don’t watch much on YouTube except movie trailers. What exactly are they?

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      5. Hahaha, I didn’t either, but I thought it would be clear if I watched the series-but I guess not. Wait, is it a movie? Or a TV show? Or did they split the movie into episodes?
        Oh okay, interesting. Hm, the pigs in the house is strange. Haha, I cannot see Lady Catherine de Burgh storming anywhere in the middle of the night-or really, storming at all. I feel like she wouldn’t necessarily storm.
        Okay, Pride and Prejudice is definitely on the top of to watch list!
        Oh my goodness, I LOVE the Lizzie Bennet Diaries! It’s a retelling of Pride & Prejudice through a “vlog” by Elizabeth. It’s produced by Hank Green (of famous Green fame) and somebody else. I think there’s a couple of dozen videos? They’re all short though. I wish they were much longer.

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      6. It’s a miniseries, which is my favorite way to see Jane Austen or Charles Dickens adapted to the screen. It’s like a TV show I guess, except that they make it all at once and they start out knowing exactly how many episodes there will be. Basically it’s the perfect cross between a movie and a TV show. Both the 1995 Pride and Prejudice and the 2008 Sense and Sensibility are miniseries’.

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