books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Funny: A Middle School Story (I Funny, #1)I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is delightful! It's a kids book, but very engaging, At first, it's just like a kid in school trying to be funny, but when you hear of the obstacles Jamie has to go through, it's really a triumph. The jokes are not half-bad either. I'd read another one just because it's a short read and I really liked the character.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

"Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anne is growing up and this sequel to Anne of Green Gables is full of new characters, one of whom is delightfully reminiscent of Anne in the early days. There are all sorts of reasons for today's girls to read these books, besides the fact that they are just plain fun. It is easy to forget just how much responsibility girls of a few generations back had to take. Anne is a breath of fresh air even if she is only a character in a book. I can hardly imagine a 16 year old today taking on the job of teacher to 15+ kids in a one room school, especially when all but the new children were her classmates the year before. Anne's not perfect, but the book is in stark contrast with the sense of entitlement and privilege that surround us.

The other thing that almost everyone can agree on is Anne's wonderful imagination and her love of nature. L.M. Montgomery's powers of description make you almost feel the crunch of leaves under your feet. Again and again, I find myself being reminded to not rush through the day with my mind on lessons, menu and the latest news and to take a good look at how the cove reflects the sun and how the leaves are beginning to change. It makes me wonder how I can take note of a pair of mallards on the cove and never really look at everything around it.

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One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!

One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric! by Rebecca Yaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a take off on the wildly popular 101 knitting books and it is just as good. There are a number of quick and easy gift ideas and a lot of small sewn items that help to organize the sewing room as well as the house. There are patterns in the back of the book that you can trace off for your projects making it much more likely that you'll actually do the craft. I read though the instructions on a number of projects and found them very clear and easy to understand. If you like to sew, it is worth the money.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Homeschool Liberation League

The Homeschool Liberation LeagueThe Homeschool Liberation League by Lucy Frank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book about an extremely intelligent girl who is bored to tears with her school and wants to homeschool. She has great ideas for science projects which she desperately wants to continue, but she keeps being pulled back by her mind numbing school. She finally gets her parents to let her try homeschool, but they make her life so regimented with lesson plans they have found that she has only transferred her place of schooling and not they type of education she needs.

In the course of the book, she meets some other kids that are homeschooled and gets her parents to meet them. Some of the kids like it an others don't. This isn't a book that particularly encourages homeschooling, but shows how it can work and how unschooling can work well for certain types of students. By the end of the book, a number of educational situations are explored and the reader is left to decide which one would be right for them.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The It's Okay If You Sit on My Quilt Book

The It's Okay If You Sit on My Quilt BookThe It's Okay If You Sit on My Quilt Book by Mary Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Mary Ellen Hopkins wrote this book years ago it was a brand new technique that people took classes to learn. Now it is the backbone of quilting. The premise was that quilts that were made with this simple technique using the rotary cutter and an easy way of stacking blocks would take much less time to make so that people could feel comfortable using the quilts instead of putting them in the guest room bed where people could look, but not touch.

Well, it worked and quilters found that they could make 20 or more quilts per year instead of just 1. It also meant that quilters could be free to try trendy colors or fabrics and make quilts for kids, whose taste changes from year to year and babies who tend to drag favorite quilts all over and love them to shreds. If you only have one quilting book, then this is a good one to pick.

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One Skein Wonders

One-Skein WondersOne-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the very best of the "One-Skein" books. I can't even count the number of things I have made from this. The patterns are great...very fashionable and yet most are simple to do. It's great when you are working on big projects and need a little break, a quick gift or for charity knitting. If the house was burning, this is one of the books I'd grab.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

A History of the English Language (Modern Scholar)

A History of the English Language (Modern Scholar)A History of the English Language by Michael D.C. Drout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dare I admit that two of my favorite books are on Linguistics and Advanced Grammar? I have to confess, I love this book as well as another book by Professor Drout: Understanding Grammar for Powerful Communication (The Modern Scholar: Way with Words, Vol. 3) These books are absolutely fascinating and I could listen to them over and over, there is so much information in them. Professor Drout takes what could be a boring subject and turns it into something humorous and interesting.

This isn't the stale old grammar from high school, although I did like that pretty well too. This is about why we have "ring, rang and rung" when the rule is "walk, walked and walked." It's about how words show their tenses in different languages and how they showed their tenses in the precursors of our modern English. Who would have thought that the way make a verb past was to move the position of the tongue in the mouth instead of adding "ed." Just notice where your tongue and lips are when you say "sing, sang and sung." Why do we have what we call "irregular verbs? They were part of an earlier version of our language.

Even more amazing is the story of the development of language. We are so comfortable with our language and tend to think of other languages as odd when they deviate from ours. Professor Drout starts with some monkeys who have 3 different screams, one for each of their predators. Is that really language? It's a beginning. The monkey brain is too small for adjectives, but I think that the desperation in their voices told a whole lot about whether the predator was especially large and close.

Then Professor Drout takes apart the way children learn language and especially how they learn the grammar of the languages around them. At first children over generalize, but around age 2 they start talking in sentences that are arranged grammatically. Where do they get that ability? It is almost as if they have a grammar gene. We laugh at sentences like "I goed home," but the child is using the grammar he has internalized. No one tells him that the subject usually goes first in a sentence and that you form the past by adding "ed."

Every society, no matter how remote, has language and their language has a grammar that is amazingly similar to all the other languages. Some languages use position in the sentence to indicate the subject, the verb and the direct object, but other languages use word forms, just the way we use the tenses in verbs. Suppose Paul is the subject of the sentence. In some languages, he might be called Paulo with the "o" ending signifying that he is the subject of the sentence. I just made that up, but you get the idea.

The last part of the book deals with terms and accents in our speech. He poses the question of whether you say "soda" or "pop" and what your answer tells about you. He links the accents of the early settlers to a region in the country they emigrated from, explaining the differences in accents from state to state in the US, and gives a history lesson of language.

I probably haven't convinced many people that this is a captivating book, but maybe someone will get the audio book from their library or Audible and enjoy this fascinating subject.

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Sunshine on Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street #8)

Sunshine on Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street #8)Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love these books! I feel like I am meeting with old friends when I read them. This week I needed to do some sewing and wanted something to listen to that wouldn't need to be stopped every time I had a little problem with the sewing. The Scotland Street series was perfect for that.

In this book, Bertie has grown older...he's now 6 and is still making his perceptive and often embarrassing opinions known. He's in the Steiner school and hid classmate, Olive is taking over from his horrid mother during the school hours. Tofu, his other friend gets him in one scrape after another.

Pat is seeming to get her life on a more stable course and Matthew and his wife are beginning to manage the triplets now that he has a young woman to help look after them.

The big news takes up the smallest part of the book. Angus and Dominica have gotten married and are off on their honeymoon, much to the best man's relief (Matthew). Bertie is supposed to be taking care of Cyril, but when his mother starts taking him to psychotherapy, Bertie knows he has to get Cyril out of there.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eruption (Storm Runners, #3)

Eruption (Storm Runners, #3)Eruption by Roland Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This last book was a little more far fetched than the first two, but a good read for middle graders. The pace is fast and the characters are pretty well drawn. There are a few far fetched incidents, but not enough to spoil the book. This would especially appeal to boys and girls who love adventure; there's a bit of James Bond in the equipment and the Navy Seal heroics.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Surge (Storm Runners, #2)

The Surge (Storm Runners, #2)The Surge by Roland Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was also filled with tremendous action and suspense. Chase and his friends have survived Hurricane Emily but now they have to deal with the flood surge. They are on Emily's farm where an elephant from the Rossi Brother's Circus is getting ready to give birth. Of course, they loose power and Chase has to try to brave the residue of the storm and the floodwaters to get fuel for the generator. On top of this, some of the big cats, the most dangerous one, are missing.

This is a great series for young adults and interesting enough for adults.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read this delightful book many times in the course of my life. It is always a treat to see the way this spunky young girl, who expects nothing from life and yet always dreams of a romantic future, changes from the unloved orphan to a joy to Matthew and Marila Cuthbert. What makes Anne so easy to identify with? She is far from perfect, in fact, she goes from one disaster to another, and yet, she is truly repentant and determined to do better. I think it is because she is so open and honest. She faces up to her faults and I think that makes us love her. We understand the impulses that make her fly off the handle and then abjectly repent. We laugh when she confesses a theft of Marilla's pin in a scene that could come from the "Perils of Pauline," and then laugh harder when we find that the confession was made up.

L. M. Montgomery has created a child for the ages as well as contributing to our creative vocabulary with phrases like, "scope for the imagination," "kindred spirit" and "bosom companion. We all know what it is like to yearn for a better world with the things that really matter and love having them happen to Anne, who takes us along for the journey.

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Storm Runners

Storm RunnersStorm Runners by Roland Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great book for Middle School students...and even adults! Chase and his dad are storm chasers, but not the weather people. Chase's father is a builder and he goes to places in the path of natural disasters. Chase's mother and little sister were killed in a car accident. After his dad was electrocuted in a storm and recovered after a 2 day coma, he sold his house and bought a trailer and equipment which he moved from one site to another, helping people rebuild.

As a category 5 hurricane bears down on central Florida, his dad leaves him at the Rossi Brothers' Circus winter quarters while he goes to help people prepare for the storm. Chase is fascinated by the circus animals which include a pregnant elephant due any day and an extremely hostile leopard, and especially young Nicole who is in his grade at school. As the storm approaches, the principle inadvisedly sends the students home on school busses. When the hurricane changes it's forecasted direction Chase, Nicole and Rashawn find themselves struggling through the hurricane on foot after the bus is overturned.

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Saturday, September 06, 2014

44 Scotland Street

44 Scotland Street44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read this book before but enjoyed again the rich characters in it. Each of the people exists in a rooming house passing each other in the hall and yet not really knowing about each other's lives. My favorite character is the little boy prodigy, Bertie, or at least his mother thinks so. He is 5 and playing the saxophone and learning to read and speak Italian. His overly involved mother has painted his bedroom pink so he will not be bound by the cultural stereotypes and would rather see him play with dolls instead of the trains he so loves. There is something wonderfully satisfying about the way this thread plays out.

Then there is the main character, Pat, who is taking her second gap year and finds herself in a flat with the narcissistic Bruce whom I wanted to strangle on most every page. She gets a job at an art gallery working for the dilettante, Matthew, who has never had to make a living, which is a good thing, since he has failed at everything he ever did. His father seems to think nothing of bailing him out and letting him start over. The main action centers around a painting in the gallery which they think may be by Samuel Peploe, but that part of the plot is just a device to hang all these wonderful character sketches on.

As with all of Alexander McCall Smith's books, there is more about how the characters think and feel than a plot. This is a gentle philosophical and thoroughly entertaining book and I will read anything he has written. I am so in love with his characters. I think he has a lot in common with Charles Dickens and will be surprised if some of his characters begin to have a life of their own outside of his books.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

The Nazi Murder Machine: 10 Portraits in Evil

The Nazi Murder Machine: 10 Portraits in EvilThe Nazi Murder Machine: 10 Portraits in Evil by Ben Stevens
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a very short book about a number of the upper echelon Nazi leaders. I thought it might be a good book to keep on my Kindle for quick reference while reading a number of books on Hitler and the Third Reich. Unfortunately, it was very poorly written and documented. In many cases, there was more opinion than fact to the articles. Since it was only 99 cents, I'm not out much, but it is a waste of time.

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