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Say Hello to my Butt*…Babysitters Club! (Or, Why You Should’ve Just Let Your Mom Fix Your Hair in Seventh Grade) 07/18/2011

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 9:10 PM
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It’s safe to say that my favorite books when I was a kid were The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. Which is why it was totally crazy of my mother to give them to my cousins after I’d stopped reading them, only to have them donate the books to the church library or something, never to be seen again. Naturally, it took me a few years to realize that a)the books were GONE and b)they were NOT COMING BACK. (And then I whined about it for at least a decade.)

Luckily, in awesome Mom fashion, two years ago she got her hands on a pristine set of the books (from the 80’s**, before they redesigned the covers and made them ugly***), through book 82 or so (long after Ann M. Martin had stopped writing them and I’d stopped reading them.) I’d never been so happy. My broken heart was mended; my shelves are the envy of some.
(Insert raucous applause for mom here.)

I’d venture to say that the Baby-Sitters Club girls were like the Sex and the City girls of their day. I was definitely a Mary Ann, (who I guess grew up to be Charlotte?) except I dressed like Kristy. (A freaking slob. A thrown-away slob whose clothes never even remotely matched. I had a t-shirt that said “Freak in the Room” (complete with Fruit of the Loom logo.) It took me many years to learn how to dress myself and sometimes I’m still not sure that I know what I’m doing. I mean, I didn’t start wearing eyeliner until like a year ago. And I still don’t know how to fix my hair.) I look at pictures of myself from 7th grade and wonder why my mom ever let me leave the house looking like I’d been left on the side of the road for days. I realize now that she probably figured it wasn’t worth the fight and that I’d look back someday and wonder just what the hell was wrong with me — which is possibly the ultimate mom victory.
(Insert slow clap for mom here.)

The worst is probably my 7th grade school photo**** — I’d forgotten it was picture day, and so my hair was in fine form, pulled back into a ponytail, with a mess of bangs that kinda look like a deflated pompadour on my head. Like someone had taken my ponytail and flipped it back on top of my head so the ends of my hair made my bangs. Except they were my actual bangs, not a reverse ponytail. I was a mess. And the sad (awesome) thing was that I really didn’t care. (Perhaps I will locate this photo and scan it. Don’t hold your breath, though). Did Kristy ever care what she looked like? Hell no! That girl went for comfort from the get-go.
(Insert sideways glance and slow nod of approval for Kristy here.)

But I was also an extreme goody-two-shoes (still am) who did her homework and minded her parents (even if it meant sneaking Kudos granola bars out of the kitchen cabinet for a snack every now and then. Not that they would have denied me a snack. I was just afraid to ask for fear of rejection. And also, they were delicious and I was hungry.) And I didn’t play sports because mostly I was afraid of the ball. So, Mary Ann prevailed.

I didn’t relate to Claudia because I was smart (but I did admire her candy collection.) My cousins had diabetes, so they had Stacy covered (though from the big city they were not). And I probably didn’t meet any crunchy Dawn types until high school, but she was alright I guess. At least she didn’t come across as a major biotch like the other girls did (in at least one book apiece.) And I didn’t pay attention to the younger girls because I was one of the older girls. Mallory Who? Jesse Somebody? They are worthy of a pat on the head.

Tonight I just got a few new (used) books to add to my collection (for 35 cents each!) and felt the urge write a little love note to those books and to my momma. There’s a life lesson in here somewhere. (And it is to let your momma help you with your hair even if you hate hairspray and think it stinks.)


*Theme song parody courtesy of my family, circa 1994

**Acceptable cover:

***Unacceptable cover:

****There is a picture from a birthday party in 7th grade that is a pretty close second, though.


Bright Young Things 12/16/2010

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 8:06 AM
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Bright Young Things
Anna Godbersen
389 pages
Harper Collins, 2010

In what I hope will become a new awesome trend in YA literature, Bright Young Things is one of two books to be recently released set in the 1920s. Come on, people. Why doesn’t anyone write books set in the ’20s? I’m guessing since Boardwalk Empire is HBO’s hot new thing, the 20’s are just SUPER HOT NOW!! YEAH, PROHIBITION! JAZZ!

Anyway, Bright Young Things tells the story of two teenage girls, Cordelia and Letty, who hop on a train from Ohio to the big bright lights of New York City. These are some girls after my own heart. While I did inform my parents of my plans before I moved to Chicago at the age of 22 (unlike our characters here), I did sorta hop on a plane one day with a couple of suitcases, a cat, and a dream…so I can relate!

Letty wants to be a star ; Cordelia wants to find her long lost daddy, whom she believes is bootlegger Darius Grey. They have a big fight their first night in the city, and split up (good job, girls). Along the way there are boys (good and bad), forbidden romance, lonely socialites, wild parties, a hidden tunnel, and a creepy creepo Broadway producer. Woo hoo!

My only complaint is that the story just sort of ended. Well, I guess my other complaint is that it never really took off, either. I probably spent a week or more on this book (which is a lot for me), and unlike Jennifer Donnely’s Revolution (more on that later), it wasn’t because I didn’t want the book to end. I guess what propelled me through the story was the setting/time — I’ve always been a Gatsby girl, after all.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson 08/12/2010

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 7:14 AM
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Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan
New York: Dutton, 2009.
310 p.

This book combines two things I love: John Green’s writing and Chicago. (I haven’t read anything by David Levithan but am inspired to grab one of his books right now!) Two dudes with the same name meet each other one night in Chicago. That is what the book is about and it is also not what the book is about. One Will Grayson is a high school loner, content with hanging out with his Big Gay Best Friend, Tiny, and not getting noticed at all. The other Will Grayson is also a loner, content to hang out in his bedroom chatting online with his e-boyfriend all night. And then one night in the city…THEIR WORLDS COLLIDE!!! I love this premise.
I am a fan of books with alternating narrators (Time-Traveler’s Wife, anyone?), and I loved that the book still had a consistent undertone, despite being about two different characters and written by two different authors. And then! Tiny Cooper (Will Grayson #1’s BGBF) enters into Will Grayson #2’s world, and both authors end up writing the same character. And…it works! Wahooo!
I took my time with this one, and I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t love it love it, or I had been flying through too many books at the time and just wanted to slow down. In any event, I enjoyed this book, mostly because I could close my eyes and imagine exactly where the characters were at any moment. Sooooo….maybe I just really like books set in Chicago. I won’t say that I would have disliked this book had it been set somewhere else, but I will say that I wouldn’t have liked it as much. (I just blew your mind, didn’t I.)
Anyway, this book is about relationships, and high school, and friendships, and Chicago…and I’d like to applaud it for having an unabashed, unapologetic, big gay best friend as a main character. (Begin slow clap…)


Challenge: Newbery Winners 05/11/2010

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 4:06 PM

Okay, the Newbery Award. Given by the American Library Association to the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” for a given year. Pretty heavy, I suppose.

Here’s where I will tick off the titles that I’ve read so far (I’m starting from scratch; anything that I read as a child is going to be reread for this challenge). A tally, if you will. If there’s a line through it, demand that I write about it!! (You don’t really have to do that; it is mostly for me.)

List of Newbery winners, 1922-present (2010): (more…)


Hi there.

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 2:12 PM
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In an effort to keep myself blogging, I’ve decided to set up a few challenges for myself.

I’ll be writing about the following (in no particular order):
My Newbery Challenge: Read Newbery Winners, 1922-present
Top 100 Childrens Novels Challenge: Read winners of the Top 100 Childrens Novel Poll by School Library Journal Blogger Betsy Bird
Top 100 Picture Books Challenge: Read winners of the Top 100 Picture Books Poll by School Library Journal Blogger Betsy Bird

I’ll try to write about these as I go (although I’ve already started), and I’m also planning to re-read books that I read in school. And I’ll be writing about new stuff, too, but mostly stuff I like.

Alright K, start blogging!


What a Jerk! 01/05/2010

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 7:41 AM

Okay, here’s a secret: I can be a major slacker at times. I haven’t been slacking on my reading, but I have been slacking on my posting.

Here’s a brief list of what I’ve been reading with the first words that come to my head about the books, with a promise of some actual “reviews” to come:

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins (FAVORITE)
Looking for Alaska – John Green (SECOND FAVORITE)
Everything is Fine – Ann Dee Ellis (REALLY FAST READ)
Best Bad Luck I Ever Had – Kristin Levine (ALABAMA)
Push – Sapphire (CRY)
Love, Aubrey – Suzanne LaFleur (LETTERS)
Liar – Justine Larbalestier (AWESOME)
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (AUDIO = AWESOME)
Notes from the Dog – Gary Paulsen (WOOF! CANCER)
And a couple of Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (VAMPYORS!).

I’m apologize to all four of you who actually read my blog. I’ll post some more soon, I promise!!



The Hunger Games 11/16/2009

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 6:45 PM
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The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Scholastic, 2008.
384 pages.

I’m not giving anything about this book away; I won’t even tell you what it’s about. (You can look it up if you want to.) What I will say is that this is one of the best books I’ve read in years. And I think part of my enjoyment of the book stemmed from knowing absolutely nothing about it before I opened the cover. I think I read it in about 5 hours total. Yep. This book rules.