It's rainy and cold out today... a perfect day for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. So I figured I'd list a few more of my favorite reads... you can see my first book post, Reads with Staying Power, right here...
Here's a list of five more, in no particular order:
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
This is not a book to simply read... it's a book designed to help you find your creative center, your creative path, when you're stuck. It's a 12-week program and each week guides you through a new un-sticking process. I've taught writing/creativity classes loosely based on the book, using the methods in it, and I've used them myself when I've been stuck. I should actually break it out again...
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
This is the first book in a series by two brilliant writers (one of whom is Dave Barry, the humor columnist) -- the prequel to the Peter Pan story. It's marketed as a series for young people and, indeed, I read it to Ryan when she was 7 or so, but it's so much more than that (and everyone I've recommended to or bought it for has loved it). The story is so beautifully told; it's complex but not confusing, mature but not pretentious, delightful but not cutesy. I would get so excited reading it out loud that Ryan would put her hand on my arm and say, "Breathe, Mama! Breathe!"
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
This a heartbreaking story set during World War II, at Auschwitz. It focuses on a little boy whose father is the Commandant of the camp. The family lives just outside the fence and the boy, still innocent, believes the people within its confines are working on a farm, treated kindly and fairly. He secretly befriends an imprisoned boy and their friendship results in a devastating turn of events, which reminds us that we're all human, and that our actions have consequences. This little book affected me deeply and I had Ryan read it before we visited the Holocaust Museum in DC the first time.
The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers and Erin Gruwell
This is the amazing story (stories!) of a teacher who successfully reached and elevated a class full of (supposedly) unreachable and un-teachable high school kids -- primarly through writing. The book is filled with their brilliant, poignant, and heart-wrenching diary entries, which are, at times, incredibly difficult to read. I absolutely sobbed through it.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Schaffer and Annie Barrows
I crazy-loved this book! Set just as WWII has ended, it's told strictly in correspondence. The characters are so beautifully developed and I fell in love with each and every one of them. I wanted to move to Guernsey in 1945 and live with them forever. It breaks my heart to know that the author died before the book was completely finished (her niece completed the editing) and she'll never know its success or how it affected people.