Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day Four: My Favorite Book(s)

I decided to put this post into three sections:  my favorite fiction, children's, and non-fiction books.  I've also included the official reviews for each book.

My Favorite Fiction Books 
When I was in high school, an author named Timothy Zahn wrote a trilogy of books that took place 5 years after the movie Return of the Jedi ended.  Because of their popularity, those three books began a whirlwind of Star Wars books.  I've included four of these Star Wars books because I believe they are the best of them all, staying true to the characters and stories millions of people love.


Shadows of the Empire by Steven Perry



From Booklist

The story takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and those of Return of the Jedi, with Luke continuing his self-training as a Jedi knight and everybody else trying to track down and unfreeze Han Solo before Boba Fett delivers him to Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is looking for his son (Luke--remember?), to turn him to the dark side of the Force, and a nonhuman criminal mastermind who makes Jabba look like a shoplifter--Prince Xizor of the Black Sun--is also after Luke, to take vengeance on Darth Vader for killing his family. We see a good deal of Vader's ambivalence toward both his son and his emperor, which led to the conclusion of Return.


Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command (The Thrawn Trilogy) by Timothy Zahn 


Product Description

It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.


My Favorite Children's Book(s)
Back when I had money, I would always get books from the book orders at school.  I continued to do that the year that I was a long-term substitute teacher and that's when I encountered these next two wonderful books.  Written and illustrated by the same two men, they are hilarious!

 


Amazon.com Review

If geese had graves, Mother Goose would be rolling in hers. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales retells--and wreaks havoc on--the allegories we all thought we knew by heart. In these irreverent variations on well-known themes, the ugly duckling grows up to be an ugly duck, and the princess who kisses the frog wins only a mouthful of amphibian slime. The Stinky Cheese Man deconstructs not only the tradition of the fairy tale but also the entire notion of a book. Our naughty narrator, Jack, makes a mockery of the title page, the table of contents, and even the endpaper by shuffling, scoffing, and generally paying no mind to structure. Characters slide in and out of tales; Cinderella rebuffs Rumpelstiltskin, and the Giant at the top of the beanstalk snacks on the Little Red Hen. There are no lessons to be learned or morals to take to heart--just good, sarcastic fun that smart-alecks of all ages will love.


 

Amazon.com Review

Did the story of the three little pigs ever seem slightly biased to you? All that huffing and puffing--could one wolf really be so unequivocally evil? Finally, we get to hear the rest of the story, "as told to author Jon Scieszka," straight from the wolf's mouth. As Alexander T. Wolf explains it, the whole Big Bad Wolf thing was just a big misunderstanding. Al Wolf was minding his own business, making his granny a cake, when he realized he was out of a key ingredient. He innocently went from house to house to house (one made of straw, one of sticks, and one of bricks) asking to borrow a cup of sugar. Could he help it if he had a bad cold, causing him to sneeze gigantic, gale-force sneezes? Could he help it if pigs these days use shabby construction materials? And after the pigs had been ever-so-accidentally killed, well, who can blame him for having a snack?


My Favorite Non-Fiction Book
If you want a book that will simply make you cry, this is the book.  If you're a figure skating fan, you are probably familiar with this story.  Watching Ekatarina skate solo for the first time in her life during a tribute show to her husband was one of the most heartwrenching acts I've ever seen.  Make sure your tissue box is handy while you read this one...it's worth every tear! 

 

From Library Journal

Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were one of the finest ice skating pairs in the world. Born in Russia, they won European championships, world championships, and gold medals at two Olympics. They married in 1991 and continued to perform after the birth of their daughter. Sergei died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 28 while rehearsing with his wife. Gordeeva here describes their skating and personal life in Russia and the United States in poignant, caring detail. Equally captivating are her descriptions of her childhood, her family, and her life as a champion and professional skater. Unlike recent tell-alls about figure skating (e.g., the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding spectacle), this biography is not sensational. It simply tells the story of two hard-working, competitive young people who fell in love and whose love ended too soon. For all collections.

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