What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


There are some people who call Virgil, Virgie, I am pretty sure.  I think his girl friend does.  Yes, Virgil has a girl friend now!  Frankie.  Escape Clause is the ninth book in the series and Virgil is wonderful.  I just kinda realized the significance of the title, too!  Very clever!
This one is about tigers.  Amur tigers stolen from the Minnesota Zoo.  Great, great, just great stuff.  I also liked the ending.  I had gotten used to books ending kind of in the same way, and this one ends differently and I really liked it!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cows in a Grassture

Sharon Creech, a go-to author for a wonderful story.  Guaranteed.   Moo reminded me of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.  Just because of the length, maybe?  And that it wasn't a BOOOM kinda book, like Walk Two Moons or The Boy on the Porch,  It was subtle.  Well, I guess they are subtle.  I mean, see, this is just exactly why I am NOT a book reviewer or even able to talk capably about literature.  I just don't have the words.  For this book though, I do have a word:  Excellent.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hitler Youth

Denazification is a term of which I was unfamiliar until reading Projekt 1065:  A Novel of WW2 by Alan Gratz who also wrote Prisoner B-3087.  I read more about former Hitler Youth and I found this article to be of interest, about Melita Maschmann and her Account Rendered memoir.  And this article about Pope Benedict XVI.  And I thought back more to that Pittsburgh Theological Seminary professor who was a Nazi.  He was not a kid though.  So that is different.  Maybe?  How old is "old enough" to know?  Does evil have an age? I just don't know.  I don't know.  I think also about Kurt Waldheim.  And I remember telling a joke to my ninth grade gym teacher, "What is Waldheimer's Disease?"  When you forget you were a Nazi.   I remember being sickened by Waldheim, even then.  It surprised me, but my gym teacher had never heard of him.  I think that was one of those moments when I realized that just because someone is a teacher, doesn't mean they have all the answers.  But that is a topic for another time.
Gratz's book is excellent.  Heart crushing.  But that is life, especially the horrors of it.

Jubilee Year

There is something that is niggling in the back of my mind...about a Jubilee Year and what that celebration means.  I think it has something to do with religious orders.  I am going to google.  I mean, I know it means other things, but the aspect that is niggling at me in particular is Jubilee Year as it pertains to religious orders.
Hang on...
Oh it is a BIG thing.  Here it is.
And this BIG thing in the Roman Catholic Church.
And here is the anniversary aspect.
In any case, Jubilee doesn't have anything to do with an anniversary.  But the book is joyful.  And the book is a celebration, even if it is heart-breaking at times.  To borrow an old cliche, it is a celebration of the human spirit.  This girl, Judy (her aunt calls her Jubilee because she is such a joyful celebration to her), she has tons of strength and she is wicked smart.
This is just a really, really powerful and simple and complex story.  I really like Patricia Reilly Giff a whole, whole lot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Unexpected

I think The Unexpected was the name of a radio program.  Maybe.  Yes!  It was!  The Girls was an expected listen for me.  I had it on hold from the Denver Public Library on audio and when it came in, I thought it was a teen book, but it wasn't.  And then I couldn't for the life of me remember how I had heard about it, but having read American Girls not too long ago, and it being October, the time of creepy things, I figured I would give it a listen.
Thing is, I didn't look too carefully at the cover and had I, I probably wouldn't have read it, because I am not a big fan of Janis Joplinesque, hippie glasses and long hair and all of that sort.  I don't know why.  I am just not.  Also I am a big fan of judging a book by its cover, though I know that has hurt me in the past.  Freak the Mighty, Hatchet, yes it has happened a LOT.  But in this case, had a judged the book by its cover and passed, I would not be any worse off.  Not that The Girls was bad.  It just wasn't my thing.  I think I just get bored of whiny middle age, unmarried women lamenting their loneliness.  It's all too At Seventeen for me.  Which just makes my stomach turn.  But the nauseating self-pity of the grown-up Evie was just way too much for me. Gimme a break.  First World Problem for sure.  I'm not talking about Evie's hook up with a cult as being a First World Problem.  Wait a minute-- it probably is, isn't it?  I mean, we get hooked up with cults and the like because of low self-esteem.  And in Third World countries, who has time for thoughts of self-esteem.  I am not big on "too blessed to be depressed" because I know depression is real and mental illness is real, but this gal just seems to have a case of the blahs.  If she had more than that, I am sorry.  I am.  But then, even as an adult, to still be thinking about her "pimpled face" as a teen and her "too thick thighs" as an adult?  Really?  Really?  Maybe start thinking about someone else other than yourself.
It was hard to like Evie at all.  This was very Ice Storm-ish, and maybe that is just a reflection of the decade?  But yeah, this was not for me.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wishing and Hoping

was a really good song...Wishing Day is a great start to a new series by Lauren Myracle.  It's another one of those books that makes me wonder what it would be like to have a sister or sisters.  Complex, I am sure.  Natasha is thirteen and in her town on the third night of the third month after a girl from their town turns thirteen, they are able to make three wishes at a "wishing tree."  It was actually one of Natasha's relatives, long, long ago who started the tradition. But this book is less about magic and more about growing up and discovering one's self and the loss of a mother and the pain of mental illness in a family and friendship and so much more.  Well,  maybe it is equal parts magic and that.  In any case, it is creative and really good and I will enjoy reading the next one!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Something Special

The Inquisitor's Tale or the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog was, indeed, something special.  The group on goodreads that reads a possible Newbery every month, one of ladies, Brenda, commented, "I think Gidwitz did something special here." And wow, she said it so well.
A tale set in the Middle Ages, for the ages.
Towers Falling is still my first choice, but this is a close, close, close second.
Very funny and very poignant.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ty on Another One!

The Life is Ty is a good first chapter book series.  I really enjoyed Friends of a Feather, the latest installment, even though it took me a long time to get around to reading it.  Ty is still super sweet and super real.  He still wants to get a pet for his baby sister.  Joseph is back, his cancer is gone or in remission, I am not sure what the right thing is in this case.  But this is a lovely and funny and real story.  And I love Lauren Myracle so very much.