Friday, June 29, 2012

Reading List, July 2012

"I cannot live without books." -Thomas Jefferson

I believe that our 3rd president said it best. Books have power over us-we can got to them for sympathy, or for a laugh. They can influence, encourage, and inspire us. Many times, they can even affect our emotions. 

Since I, and I believe many others, 'cannot live without books', I have decided to put together this monthly post. By the first of each month, I will publish a list of five books (or book series) that I have read and enjoyed. Maybe this will inspire to find a new book you like, if you're ever in a rut about what to read. 

So here we have it: our July 2012 Reading List. Summer reading is fantastic in that you can read whatever you want; no deadlines, no questions. In honor of that thought, I've included several light-hearted reads, as well as several more on the adventurous side. Enjoy!!!

1. The Cherry Ames Series by Helen Wells and Julie Tatham Set in the 40's and 50's, Cherry Ames is a spunky, kind hearted nurse. Similar to Nancy Drew, Cherry takes on a new nursing job in each of the 27 books, and is usually caught up in some sort of mystery. I love these books! They are filled with patriotism (perfect for July, right?), nursing pride, friendship, and romance. Originally publsihed by Grosset &Dunlap in the years 1943-1964, they've been out of print for a long time and may prove hard to find. Several Inter Library Loans may be required! I was lucky enough to get almost all the books given to me by my brother's friend's mother; I had never heard of them before but was so happy with them! Lately, many are trying to bring Cherry back for a new generation, and Springer Publishing company has published the first four! They are Student Nurse, Senior Nurse, Army Nurse and Chief Nurse. I have read only the first five, Student Nurse through Flight Nurse. In addition to the 27 books, in the height of her popularity, Cherry Ame's Book of Firstaid and Home Nursing was also published, as well as a Cherry Ames Nursing Game. A British publsiher even produced the yearly Cherry Ames Girl's Annuals, released in the years 1958-1964. Book summaries, author information, and tons more can be found at here Overall, The Cherry Ames Series is an easy, quick read that's sure to put a smile on your face. In my opinion, every girl has her own Nancy Drew....some go with Trixie Belden, others go for The Bobsy Twins....Cherry Ames is mine; maybe it will be yours!

2. Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery Although lesser-known than Lucy Maud Mongomery's Anne of Green Gables, this trilogy is still a great example of her unique writing style. Similar to Anne of Green Gables, the series depicts every day experiences in the life of Emily Starr, an orphan and aspiring writer sent to live with her two aunts and cousin at their farm, New Moon. L.M. Montgomery modeled Emily's character after herself, and many of Emily's experiences actually happened to Montgomery. Originally published in 1923 by Frederick A. Stokes, the series consists of Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily's Quest. The series was also adapted into a television series in 1998 by Salter Street Films for CBC. An animated, 27-episode Japanese series was also released in 2007, entitled Kaze no Shoujo Emily (Emily, The Wind Girl), produced by NHK and Tokyo Movie Shinsha. I have not seen either of those, so I can't say how they compare to the books. I read the entire trilogy three several years ago after being introduced to them by my grandmother, and absolutely loved them. I'm considering re-reading them soon, and I still talk about my favorite parts in them. And, random fact: my favorite boy name is Perry, because of one of the wonderful characters that Emily is friends with! More information on Lucy Maud Montgomery and her books can be found here

3. Boston Jane series by Jennifer L. Holm It's funny-my favorite books that I've ever read, I've just picked randomly up at the library, never having heard of them before. That's how I found Boston Jane. It quickly became one of my all-time favorite book series. I love it when a book makes you feel something, and this one absolutely did. I'd stay up late at night, reading, and each page would make me sit up and laugh hysterically, bite my nails, or sit there, helpless, sobbing! The first book, An Adventure,  is about Jane Peck, a student at Miss Helplewhite's Young Lady's Academy, who moves out west to marry the beau of her youth. Things quickly start off on a bad foot, however, and Jane is left to herself to fend for herself. Book 2, Wilderness Days, is more of a mystery, with a scary twist that left me up at night. By far, my favorite one of the three. In it, Jane has to deal with another woman, and friends that seam to not value her. Book 3, The Claim, wraps things up, with plenty of drama in between, including locking horns with her old enemy, Sally Biddle. Throughout all three books, the reader is treated to twists, mishaps, joy and sadness. I sat there, cried, gushed, and read the last paragraph over and over again when I finished the series. Memorable characters, like Jehu Schudder and Mr. Swan, and the friendly tribe of Chinook Indians, provide for a story that won't easily be forgotten. You can find more information of Jennifer L. Holm, Boston Jane, and her other books here

4. Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith The 4th of July being right around the corner, I thought that I'd add another patriotic read. Rilfles for Watie, written by Harold Keith in 1957, is the story of 16 year-old Jefferson Davis Bussey. As the Civil War brakes out across America, Bussey joins the Union army. As the war rages on, however, he finds himself spying across Confederate lines. Keith raises several issues in this book, including how Bussey makes friends on both sides of the war, and the difficult decisions he faces about which side to help. The book has many memorable characters, including real-life historical figures, and Lucy Washbourne, one of the main female characters of the book. Harold Keith interviewed many Civil War veterans during his life, making the experiences and insights of Bussey as a Civil War soldier very accurate. Another interesting fact about the book was that it mainly takes place to the west of the Mississippi; a setting not often seen in historical fictions. Rifles for Watie was given several awards, including the Newberry Medal in 1958, the 1964 Lewis Carol Shelf Award, and being named one of the Notable Children's Books of 1957. I read this several years ago when I studied the Civil War, and I still smile at my favorite parts.

5. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle It just can't be summer without a good mystery. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings about his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, were originally published in many periodicals and magazines. Since then, Holmes has become the inspiration for many other detective stories. Dr. Watson, the constant sidekick, also inspired the idea of a loyal, but less brilliant, friend to accompany the hero on their adventures. Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Holmes, most written from the viewpoint of Watson. Though originally published separately, they short stories have been gathered into five collections. They are The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes (Including His Last Bow), and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. The four novels are A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear. My favorite short stories, which I highly suggest, are A Study in Pink, A Scandal in Bohemia, and The Electric Blue Dress. Sherlock Holmes holds the Guinness Book of World Records title to be the most portrayed character, with over 75 actors playing him in 211 films. Holmes was first seen on screen in the year 1900, in Sherlock Holmes Baffled. My favorite TV Holmes  are Sherlock Holmes, staring Jeremy Brett for Grenada Television. Brett was with played the part for four series, and also portrayed Holmes on stage. He was hands-down the most accurate actor, and did much research so that he could be the best at the role. I also really enjoyed BBC's Sherlock, first aired in 2010. Starring Bennedict Cumberbatch, this new series takes place on the streets of modern day London, but stills holds true to the original feel of the books. 

I hope that you have enjoyed the post! I will continue with another five books in August. In the meantime, enjoy your summer reading!!! If you know of any books that you think should be included in the list, please list them in the comments below. I will gladly look them up and consider them for future 'Reading List' posts. 

Thanks for reading!

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