The Hobbit

Mary Wright Layton is a Senior studying English language with a writing minor at BYU. Mary loves reading fantasy novels and hopes to become a creative writer.

In an apartment in Provo there lived a student – a student who dearly loved The Hobbit, the classic fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo, the hobbit, is the small creature who inhabits the world of Middle Earth and the hearts of numerous avid fans like me.

I first fell in love with The Hobbit in 5th grade. Perhaps 11 is a bit young for trudging through the overly descriptive forests of Mirkwood, wandering aimlessly through the goblin tunnels of the Misty Mountains, and braving the fiery wrath of Smaug the dragon. I admit I wasn’t always enchanted by every word of elven poetry nor enthralled by each of Tolkien’s tedious geographic descriptions. But nonetheless, a mysterious force compelled me to read the literary masterpiece again and again. Maybe it was the ring. It had taken hold.

The mysterious force turned out to be simply the fantastic storyline of adventure, bravery, loyalty, and good versus evil. Bilbo is an ordinary hobbit, content with his life of peace and quiet in the Shire. But when the wizened wizard, Gandalf, knocks on his door, there is no going back. Bilbo discovers strengths within himself he never knew existed. His transformation is a part of the book I really love. In a way, everyone is a Bilbo Baggins.  They wish an unexpected and exciting journey would come knocking on their door, waiting to whisk them off to unknown lands for the adventure of a lifetime. Well, maybe not everyone wishes that, but I did.

Soon I will be able to revisit all the joys of The Hobbit when it is brought to life on the big screen. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I have tickets for Thursday’s midnight showing! I can’t wait to watch Bilbo, Gandalf, and all 13 dwarves battle trolls, goblins. wargs, giant spiders, and make their way to the Lonely Mountain. But for now, the road goes ever on and on . . . studying for finals goes ever on and on.

-Mary Wright Layton

Weathering the Wuthering Heights

I recently watched the BBC production of "Wuthering Heights" with my roommate last week and found it incredibly enjoyable.

This is funny because I read the book before and didn’t feel the same sentiment. It was really difficult to read! What was funnier though was my English-major roommate felt more reluctant to watch this movie. She knows the Bronte sisters frontwards and backwards. But by the time part one was over, she was insisting we continued watching into crazy hours of the night.

We both discovered a new appreciation for Wuthering Heights thanks to a fantastic artistic take to this notorious 1800's novel.

What was so compelling to draw me back to Wuthering Heights? I recall hitting the middle of the book where the plot shifts to different characters and I wanted to quit.

The passion Heathcliff and Catherine is so twisted and compelling because their emotion overrides all the circumstances around them, and affects every person around them in the book. The book shows how un-changeable love and passion is destructive in nature, with Heathcliff and Catherine as the example of destruction and the younger generation Catherine and Hareton as the positive example that restores balance back to Wuthering Heights.

Perhaps the movie helps put faces to the characters and helps me understand the emotion that didn’t translate before as I struggled to understand the old-school text.

I heard once that Wuthering Heights gets better with age, five years later has helped validate this statement. And who knows, maybe I will like it more in even five years.


Gone With the Wind

1936 Pulitzer Prize winner. Its movie has won 8 Oscars. If you account for inflation, it is to be the record movie sales of all time.

But let's talk about what counts: Gone With the Wind is my favorite book.

One summer when I was on the road a lot because I was performing with a touring musical, I found many moments - in a car, backstage, even on stage - to read a book. This was probably my best summer in high school, I loved getting so much reading in!

This was also the summer that I pulled Gone With the Wind off of my sister-in-law's shelf. She said it was a great book, so I gladly took the 800 plus pages and consumed it fast.

I was pretty shocked how much I loved it. But I remember finding the very first sentence sheer brilliance in describing Scarlet O'Hara:

“Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

And the description following gets better.

"In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin-that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.”

I recall my English teacher talking about this as she asked us, "So, what can you infer about Scarlet?" with the response from one of the guys in my class, "Well, she sounds like a babe to me."

I was surprised when I found I loved Scarlet's character. Most of my friends claimed they couldn't stand the movie or the book because of her character. I loved her ridiculous flirtatiousness, her vanity, her feisty spirit, but what stood out to me was how passionate she was. In fact, I envied her passion for life, so much so that I took a look at what I wasn't enjoying in life and decided to show some more spirit.

I soaked up her banter with Rhett, and marveled at their determination to push forward through a country disheveled by Civil War. This book was more than just a good romantic novel, but also an excellent eye opener to the attitudes in the South and an allegory about Southern post-civil war society.

After reading it, I felt a new determination to have more passion in my life and to be more fiery for the things I cared about. And honestly, I'd attribute a happier school year following because of what I took from this classic novel.


10 Classic Books I Want to Read

There were some books that slipped through the cracks of my English class education and I would like to go through them now, especially with a pair of more mature eyes. I've been fortunate to read many classics like Cather in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and Invisible Man, but I feel like the older I get, the more capable I am to appreciate this literature.
    1. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
    2. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    3. Les Miserables (abridged) by Victor Hugo
    4. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
    6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
    8. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
    9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    10. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

One of these days when my head isn't stuck in a non-fiction textbook I hope to dive into these timeless pieces. I have found out one of my classes intends to read Hamlet this semester so that helps!


New Releases in Fall

As much as I love autumn, I hate to see summer come to an end.  I think it stems back to having to give my children up to the school year.  This year I am consoling myself by looking at the great list of books due to be released this fall.  I read The Last Dragonslayer (Chronicles of Kazam) by Jasper Fforde in an advanced-reading copy, but I can’t wait to buy a hardcover copy.  It will be released October 2, 2012. 

I like Jasper Fforde’s  Thursday Next series, which this world of fiction is policed by literary detectives working for the Jurisfiction.  Fforde conveys the concept that what we read in a book is just one small view of an ongoing, larger story that continues beyond the pages.

The Nursery Crimes series takes that idea one step further. Jack Sprat, his associate Mary Mary police, the Nursery Crimes division of the Jurisfiction and the characters from nursery rhymes you haven’t considered since you were five come alive.  In Jasper Fforde’s work for young adults and upper middle-grade readers, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is running an agency for underemployed magicians in a world where magic is fading from lack of use.  Jasper Fforde is an astute, clever and laugh-out-loud fun author similar to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  While you wait for The Last Dragonslayer, take time to pick up The Eyre Affair or The Big Over Easy.

Book three, The Hunter of John Flanagan’s Brotherband Chronicles will be released October 30, 2012.  John Flanagan writes “guy books” that girls like.  Starting with Ruins Of Gorlan, book one of Ranger’s Apprentice series, you will find fighting, strategy, bravery and loyalty.

Utah is spilling over with writing talent.  August 28 will bring a new, multiple-author series headed by James Dashner of Maze Runner fame.  Infinity Ring is the series name.  A Mutiny in Time is the first title.  Carrie Ryan will follow with the second book, Divide and Conquer.  James Dashner created the story arc for all of the books and will write the first and last.  Two other Utah authors will be involved, Matthew Kirby (author of Clockwork Three and Icefall) writing the fifth book and Jennifer Nielsen (author of False Prince) writing book six.   The second volume of Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans is just out and seems to be hitting the mark with fans as well as the first book.  If you are a Roland Smith fan, as I am, his contribution to the 39 Clues: Cahills Vs Vespers series, Shatterproof is scheduled for release September 4.  While you are waiting, catch up on the 39 Clues Series or read some of Smith’s extreme weather fiction: Storm Runners, The Surge or Eruption.

Writing this makes me just want to go read.  Respond with you favorites and check back for more fall releases.


Education Week at BYU

It's that time of year when fresh paper and pencils have a new kind of charm, when relaxing on the porch reading a book is overdone, when we start looking at jeans and coats at stores rather than swimsuits, and when buying new books and notepads become more exciting than they had in the past.

Yep, the Fall back-to-school fever has hit. The anticipation of new, exciting things to learn and see becomes more interesting than ever before.

Whether you're a student or not, the fresh, cool breeze can strike with an urge to learn something new. Every year BYU invites those who aren't current students to attend a week of learning with professors on campus.

Classes taught include education, religion, marriage, family relations, health, history, genealogy, science, youth interests, etc... according to their website.

If you're looking for new books to read and wanting to learn more even if you can't make Education Week, or you wish Education Week was a week longer, the BYU Bookstore is celebrating learning and reading by having authors come to share their works and sign copies.

We have authors like mystery-story novelists Liz Adair and  Josi Killpack,  LDS Authors such as Dennis Gaunt and Kristin Hodson & Alisha Worthington, as well as many others who cover all manner of genres and topics.

See our full list in the image below:
We welcome the authors and visitors of Education Week. Happy learning and reading!

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein poems keep showing up in unexpected places, like Pinterest, and I never realized before how deep they are until I read them with a pair of adult eyes. What a fantastic writer! And not to mention the artwork in his books are very charming.

Famous for books like "The Giving Tree," Shel Silverstein may have passed away over a decade ago, but the messages of his work speak classic principles and counsel. Here's just a few I enjoyed:

And of course, I read a few others that put a smile on my face:
Do you have a favorite Shel Silverstein poem, story, or book? Which one is it?


Shel Silverstein's book, "Where the Sidewalk Ends" can be found at

Angela's Ashes

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”
- Frank McCourt

Have you ever had a book that took you on an emotional roller coaster every time you turned a page?

Frank McCourt’s Angela's Ashes is a memoir about his experiences growing up as a poor, Catholic child in Ireland. I remember wiping the tears from my eyes at one paragraph followed by laughing at the next. I couldn’t believe how much power an author had to make me become an emotional mess.

A Washington Post review said about Angela’s Ashes:

“For if the physical conditions of Frank McCourt's Limerick childhood were appalling -- fleas, rats, a single malodorous toilet for 11 families, TB, typhoid fever, diphtheria and the deadly damp from the River Shannon -- and the emotional conditions were impoverished by his family's inability to express love, he emerged with at least one great inheritance: the Irish gift for, and love of, language and music.

Angela's Ashes confirms the worst old stereotypes about the Irish, portraying them as drunken, sentimental, bigoted, bloody-minded dreamers, repressed sexually and oppressed politically, nursing ancient grievances while their children (their far-too-many children) go hungry. It confirms the stereotypes at the same time that it transcends them through the sharpness and precision of McCourt's observation and the wit and beauty of his prose.”

McCourt uses his words to describe such a terrible living circumstances in often a humorous and optimistic light. What I liked about this book was that after I finished it I didn’t feel incredibly depressed. With other books that discuss the human condition, I have to go eat some ice cream or watch a happy movie to carry on with life. But with Angela’s Ashes, McCourt is able to leave a sense of hope as well as a new, poignant insight. 

This Pulitzer-prize winning book is an excellent addition to a reading list, and definitely one needed to be read at least once.

Have you read the book? What did you think of it? 

Nothing to Envy: A lecture from Barbara Demick

BYU's Kennedy Center announced its book of the semester.... Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, and she will be giving a lecture today at 11:00.

Demick is a Beijing correspondence journalist for the LA Times. She followed six North Korean citizens for over fifteen years who left the country eventually. She wrote their stories of surviving famine and living through a totalitarian regime. 

An Wall Street review said about Demick's book,

"Ms. Demick has written a deeply moving book. The personal stories are related with novelistic detail ..."Nothing to Envy" depicts a society in chaos, where people have lost confidence in their government but don't yet have the will or the tools to rebel. Ms. Demick doesn't offer a view of what the future holds for the totalitarian regime that has oppressed North Koreans for six decades. But the growing discontent can't bode well for the regime's long-term health.

With the difficulty it takes to acquire information about North Korea's government and society, Demick's book should be a insightful read for sure.

"Nothing to Envy" is available at the BYU Bookstore in the General Books section.

Abraham Lincoln and Vampires

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to visit England. As I was touring by Big Ben, Birmingham Palace, and the Parliament buildings, I noticed a statue that seemed slightly out of place...
That's right, President Abraham Lincoln.

If there is anything I have noticed lately about honest Abe honestly it's the fact that he keeps showing up in odd places. 

Although Abe is in England as a symbol for slavery abolition, Abe has confronted more unusual frontiers in literature and film: vampire hunting.

Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the notorious Pride and Prejudice and Zombies strikes again. 

New York Times has Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter  as number 15 on its list of bestsellers in fiction, while its movie has gotten a terrible score of 35% on Rotten Tomatoes.

So why did the movie flop and the book fly?

Well, there's always the classic saying: the book was better than the movie.

But judging by the reviews of the movie from the book, the movie decided to take the humor out of the vampire hunter concept. The movie is rated R and falls under the category of horror.

Perhaps it was the author's creativity and humor in mashing up the idea of abolitionism and superstition.

As a LA Times review put it:

" a time when the market is flooded with vampire titles, most of them young adult romances, a writer who can transform the greatest figure from 19th century American history into the star of an original vampire tale with humor, heart and bite is a rare find indeed."

Either way, Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter leaves a compelling interest and looks like a pretty entertaining read at the least. If you're looking for Abraham in different contexts, this book will fulfill that need.

What do you think about this book, is it inappropriate for the U.S. president? Have you read Grahame-Smith's works? Does abolitionism have anything to do with vampire hunting?


A New Perspective: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon

This book was incredibly eye opening. I wasn't sure what exactly it was about when I opened it up and started reading. It was written in such a way that I've never seen done before, it had charts, graphs, and drawings thrown right in the middle of text. Some chapters were so randomly out of context. I felt humored at first.

And then the realization came to my mind, "This book is about autism." And I started to see the world with new eyes.

This writer does a great job and making an autistic person feel approachable, and even more importantly relate-able. Coming from a background where I had no siblings with autism, I will admit being completely ignorant. But when I pulled this book out, I was immersed into a new mentality.  I felt his fears, his thoughts and his frustrations. 

This book was never predictable, in fact at times it was very random and almost irrelevant, yet it held my attention. 

Thanks to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, I watch people who deal with Autism and it makes me wonder what must be going on in their minds right now, instead of just feeling sympathy for their state. They don't scare me like they used to, but rather I wish I could sit down and talk to them about what they like to do, what their hopes and goals are, and what they think about certain aspects of life.

Life changing, really.


BYU Symposium's Books for Young Readers

The BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS SYMPOSIUM sponsored by BYU’s Conferences and Workshops is at the Provo Library this week with some sessions on campus.  If you can’t manage the time or funds to attend two full days of fun and informative sessions with the authors you can share in the symposium by browsing titles written and illustrated by symposium guests as well as Spotlight titles picked by children’s book experts at BYU Bookstore. 

Jack Gantos is this year’s Newbery Award Winner.  DEAD END IN NORVELT is funny and about a dysfunctional family that works.  I personally love books that have quirky characters that are not stereotypical in anyway with a charm that allows us to ease up on humanity and the “shoulds and oughts” we are so quick to impose on ourselves and others.  This book does that for me, helps me to smile a little more and judge a little less.

Nic Bishop has photographed some of the best non-fiction available.  His books are popular with fans of all ages.  Whether it is the award-winning, KAKAPO RESUE : SAVING THE WORLD’S STRANGEST PARROT; FROGS; LIZARDS or one of his many other titles your eyes will want to linger and revisit.  Nic Bishop’s books are great as gifts for adults as well as children and successfully appeal to many who thought they didn’t like books.

Ally Condie is local and the New York Times bestselling author of MATCHED, CROSSED, and the upcoming REACHED, eagerly awaited and scheduled for release November 13, 2012.  This series is dystopian and so popular that it hardly needs explanation.  If you have not heard about MATCHED you must pick up a copy and read for yourself.

Jeanette Ingold is the author of many Young Adult titles, including her latest, PAPER DAUGHTER.   Fantasy writing is in its glory but if you are ready for realistic fiction try any of Jeanette Ingold’s titles.  She believes that “Books let us live more than one life,” and then she writes so it can be true.

Tom Lichtenheld’s art is clever and creative and always humorous.  Also a New York Times bestselling author / artist, you are probably familiar with GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE; SHARK VS. TRAIN; and DUCK! RABBIT!   But have you seen WUMBERS written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld?  WUMBERS is what happens when you combine numbers and letters and is delightful fun.

“Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a person who likes to make things.” declares her website homepage and we are so glad that includes children’s books.  Along with WUMBERS, Amy has given us THIS PLUS THAT: LIFE’S LITTLE EQUATIONS using the symbols of math outside of the usual numeric use with a more conceptual view: “I’m sorry + Hug = sincere apology”; “1+1= us.”  AL PHA’S BET is one of my favorites, with a series of funny events that lead to the creation of the alphabet.

Every year children’s book experts spotlight their favorite titles at the symposium.  They include many of my favorites this year and I always find a few I would have missed without the spotlight shout out.


For Young Readers' Symposium schedule, follow this link.

Summer Reads - Connie Brown

Connie Brown in the BYU Bookstore office shared with us her favorite summer read.

Joyce DiPastena’s book “Dangerous Favor”:
"His grasp tightened on the ribbon as he turned back to Girard.  'Your lady sister has honored me with her token.  I’ll not surrender it until I’ve achieved a victory or two for her on the field.'  

“The thing is, deBrielle, the ribbon was not my sister’s to give.  ‘Tis my lady’s token, granted to me before we left Rouen.  I promised her I’d wear it in her honor this day.'

Mathilde twisted in D’Amville’s grasp.  He was back on his feet but she felt him stagger, still unsteady on his undoubtedly throbbing thigh.  But despite her struggles, his clasp about her waist remained strong.  She screamed, not in fear this time, but in rage.

She could not break free.  Perhaps he needed some incentive to release her.  She threw down the torch at their feet.  Flames crackled and leapt, fanned by the dry, autumn grass and the night’s breeze.  D’Amville flinched away from the surging blaze.  Mathilde jerked free of his slackened hold, but she didn’t run.  She turned, furious, and slammed the club into D’Amville’s shoulder.

She thwacked the club into his leg, just as Etienne had.  D’Amville dropped to the ground with another howl of pain."

Loved this book!  Tales of knights and ladies.

-Connie Brown

Chick Books

Ladies, what could be better than a bathtub, a beach, or a hammock, and a book?  Some might add chocolate.  My preferred reading snack is an apple.  Whatever the setting, take time this summer to get comfortable and do some escape reading.  Some of my favorite authors for escape are:

Alan Bradley is no chick but he writes one of the most charming female protagonists, Flavia de Luce.
Ellis Peters – The Cadfael Mysteries. 
(Her historical fiction is fabulous, accurate, but not light.)

Sharon K. Penman – She does a series of cozy historical mysteries.  They are OK but her best work is the well-researched historical fiction.  It is not light but is very well done and a pleasure to read.
  • Here Be Dragons
  • Sunne in Splendour 
  • Cruel as the Grave
Earlene Fowler – Cozy mystery, Benni Harper series.
  • Fool’s Puzzle
  • Mariner’s Compass
Susan Wittig Albert – Cozy herb shop mysteries
  • Thyme for Death
  • Wormwood
  • Nightshade

Jacqueline Winspear – WWI detective

Jeanne Ray – Her latest:  Calling Invisible Women is a fun read and gives you something to think about.

Anne Tyler – a bit more substantial and I personally like her more recent books better than her early titles. Her most recent is Beginner’s Goodbye.

Digging to America is also great.

I love the Bertrand Russell quote, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Take time to read for fun and PLEASE share the titles you most prefer.


Summer Reading - No Shame: My Summer and the Voracious Consumption of Young Adult Fiction

Anna Downs works in General Books and wrote this  for the blog to share what books she's got her head in this summer. Enjoy! - Hillary

Every year after school ends I am overcome with the desire to keep my intelligence from dwindling into a summer oblivion, and form what I like to call “The Ultimate Reading List” filled with biographies, classic novels and self-help books. Yet inevitably I fail to finish my list, and my downfall can be blamed on that ever-enticing genre called Young-Adult Fiction.
Stacked in the corners of my parents’ house, lining the shelf of the bookstore I work in everyday, Young Adult novels tempt me from all sides. Though at times reading fiction meant for a 15-year old when I am myself well into college and my twenties can be shameful, this summer I have come to the realization that I like teen fiction, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s a genre that is given a lot of flak, but contains some of the best writers and the best books. So here is my new summer reading list, containing the best of the best when it comes to Young Adult Fiction. I have confidence I will have no problems completing it.
1.       The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
2.       Delirium - Lauren Oliver
3.       Gone (series) - Micheal Grant
4.       Monster - Walter Dean Myers
5.       The Fault in our Stars - John Green
6.       The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian - Sherman Alexie
7.       Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore
8.       Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
9.       Divergent (series) - Veronica Roth
10.   Where She Went - Gayle Forman
If you want to find me over the summer you will have to recognize the back of my head, because my face will be buried in a deliciously enjoyable Young-Adult novel.
Happy reading to you all!
-Anna Downs, General Book associate

Beach Reads

Picture yourself in a hammock in the shade, on a warm beach, on a boat with a book in your hands; no demands; no deadlines just comfort and escape.  Not on your summer schedule?  If the best you can hope for is stolen minutes with a book between tests and homework; on a bus or in a car pool, snatches of reading between responses to countless demands and requests then you need a beach read more than ever.

Here are some books that will fill the bill:
1.       Watership Down by Richard Adams
2.       Maisie Dobbs (series) by Jacqueline Winspear
3.       Bess Crawford Mysteries by Charles Todd (a mother/son writing team)
5.       At Home in Mitford (series) by Jan Karon
6.       Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters
7.       Eyre Affair (Thursday Next series) by Jasper Fforde
8.       Death At La Fenice ( Guido Brunetti series) by Donna Leon
9.       The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon K Penman
10.   The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
11.   Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
12.   Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

First - share your escape reads so I can relax with something new.

Second – Relax and READ!!


School’s Out– Make Time for Family Read-Aloud Time!

Some of my happiest memories involve books.  When my children were young, an eagerly anticipated camping trip turned into days of torrential rain and we spent much of our time snuggled in the back of the covered, dry, pick-up truck reading aloud The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars.  We would hop out, cook our dinner, then hop back in to read, hike a very little bit, when the sun peeked through, and then snuggle and read.  I have to say we spent more time reading than anything else and it is still one my happiest camping memories.  For such a long time we talked in headlines like Petie Burkis, one of those sweet inside jokes born through bonding with a book.

These are some of my favorite read-alouds:
  1. Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  3. Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
  4. The Limit by Kristin Landon
  5. Masterpiece by Elise Broach
  6. Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart (Read the recently released prequel first - The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict)
  7. The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander (a bit slow starting but don’t give up!)
  8. On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells
  9. Frindle by Andrew Clement 
  10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Let’s hear it for reading aloud.  I could go on and on listing my favorites.  Please share some of yours.