#AtoZchallenge: “Z” is for Markus Zusak & Farewell!!

Book burnings. A narrator named Death. World War 2.

Markus Zusak wrote one of my favorite books: The Book Thief, which was recently released as a film last fall. I include The Book Thief as one of the required novels for the Freshman Composition class I teach, and as a whole, the students usually fall in love with the book. I don’t know how many times I have read the novel, but I cry every time.


If you haven’t read the amazing novel, set during World War II in Germany, you must go out and get it now! The reading experience may take some adjusting–it is narrated by Death, which can seem strange, but it works. The story follows the journey of Liesel, who is sent to live with a couple in Molching, Germany, during the war, and the narrative traces the development of new relationships, book stealing, adventures, and of course…learning to read. I do think there is something for everyone in this story, and I recommend it all the time.

Zusak has a website here.

You can also check out The Book Thief on GoodReads.

Zusak has written other books, and I still need to get to his other work! One of my goals is to read I Am the Messenger before the year is finished.

And so ends the A to Z Blogging Challenge. And it was quite a challenge! How did it go for all of your A to Z bloggers? Any books beginning with Z that you enjoy and or authors whose first or last names begin with Z?




#AtoZchallenge: “Y” is for YOUR Favorite Book (Giveaway from The Midnight Garden!)

What’s your favorite book? Or, like most people, do you have several? One of my favorite childhood books (and it’s still one of my favorite as an adult) is:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Montgomery’s spirited heroine entranced me from the start of the story! I turned the pages as fast as I could to see if Matthew and Marilla would allow Anne to stay at Green Gables, even though she wasn’t a boy. I saw myself and my best friend in Anne and Diana, and cringed as Anne brought her slate down on that annoying boy, Gilbert’s, head. Anne’s adventures and mishaps kept me entertained, and they still do. I went on to read the entire series, and I still re-read the books as an adult. Then, there are other wonderful gems by Montgomery to read, such as Emily of New Moon, A Tangled Web, The Blue Castle, and Magic for Marigold (to name a few).

The beautiful descriptions of P.E.I. in Anne and Montgomery’s other books keep me returning to them again and again. I won’t ever get tired of Anne. When I finally made it to Prince Edward Island several years ago, it was even more gorgeous than I had imagined. I can’t wait to return.

The Midnight Garden is having a discussion of Anne of Green Gables and they are hosting a fabulous giveaway of the Anne books, with their new covers by Source Books. Go check it out and enter the contest!

What’s your favorite book? Do share–I would love to hear!

Top Six Books to Read If You Like Books Set in Hotels! #AtoZchallenge: “X” is for Xenodocheionology–Love of Hotels

Today’s word for the A to Z challenge is Xenodocheionology–a word we all use most days–“love of hotels.”

I do love hotels actually–in real life and in books. As a child, when my family was moving, we stayed in an Embassy Suites Hotel for about two weeks while housing was sought. I thought it was the best thing–I could go swimming, visit a gift shop daily, and eat a made to order breakfast every morning! I still find myself delighted whenever I have the chance to visit a hotel. A recent visit to a literary hotel (in truth, a B&B)  earlier this spring reminded me of the importance of “getting away.”

I recently read The Archived, which is set largely in a hotel. A hotel that may be haunted. Check out that book by Victoria Schwab if you enjoy a good YA mystery. There’s also a sequel.

What other books are set in hotels?

Another favorite of mine is E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View. I visited Florence, Italy for the first time last year–in March–and I couldn’t help but carry around my copy of the book as I saw the sights of the city. I wanted to feel like Lucy Honeychurch as she explored. However, in my case, I used the novel as my “baedecker.”


Those who enjoy Agatha Christie might think of At Bertram’s Hotel (Miss Marple, #11) . Then of course there’s The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins.  I love Collins’s work, especially The Woman in White and The Moonstone but I haven’t read his hotel story.


There’s the contemporary novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. The Mystery at Lilac Inn, Nancy Drew #4 is another one we can’t forget, especially for those fans of Carolyn Keene and her female detective!


What books set in hotels do you recommend?


“W” is for Wrap-Up to Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: #AtoZchallenge & #readathon

readathon-button-from-book-addictIt’s over! And it was awesome!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon was a wonderful experience, and I definitely plan to participate in October. Those of you readers out there might want to join in so check out the web page.

There’s also the Bout of Books coming up in May.

I didn’t begin with Hour 1 for the Read-A-Thon–I joined in Hour 4, but I made it to Hour 23.

I tallied everything up using the handy spreadsheet and read for about 9.4 hours and for a total of 728 pages.

I finished Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (which I was nearly done with anyways).

I also read Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman and The Readathon_Pocketwatch_BellezzaPrincess Curse by Merrie Haskell. I also started Split Second by Kaisie West.

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#AtoZchallenge: “V” is for Voices in the Park (2001) by Anthony Browne

Four voices.

Four different perspectives of the same walk in the park.

A mother. A son. A father. A daughter. Two different families from two very different socio-economic backgrounds. Both families are walking their dogs.


The dogs meet and begin to play together. The children meet and begin to play together. What happens between the adults? Do they meet?

This story is a fantastic for showing young readers how we can see the same events and experience the same event, but yet have completely different responses. Our worldview and background shape how we respond to what happens around us, and even how we view other people.

Browne has illustrated and written a wonderful story illuminating the importance of looking beyond the surface, and appreciating a child-like way of viewing the world.

If you aren’t familiar with Browne’s visual style, you simple must get a hold of this book! I have used it with 3rd grade readers, among upper grades as well, and children have so many brilliant things to say about this story.

Are you familiar with Browne’s work? What is your favorite picturebook of his?