The Enemy’s Gate is Down

Rarely do I say this, but the recent book-to-movie endeavor, “Ender’s Game,” was a home run. When I read Ender’s Game, I was instantly a fan. It was brilliant and engaging, and it was just disturbing enough to make you sit back and rethink your entire life and the depravity of human nature. For all those reasons, I was skeptical about the movie. The first time I saw the trailer, I looked at my husband and said with supreme confidence, “they are going to screw this up.” Yup, I am that jaded to book-to-movie attempts.

Well, I’ll admit it when I’m wrong. I was very wrong.

Here’s why it was so good: Casting and sets.

The casting was awesome; young Asa, though not the age that Ender was in the book (and understandably so) was a star. He conveyed the emotion of Ender without being over the top. Harrison Ford was good enough to make you question up until the end whether you (“you” being those who haven’t read the book) should like his character or not. And then there were the sets. When I read a book, I envision the scene. This movie made the vision in my head….come to life. I’m speaking mostly to the game room; it was perfect!

Here’s the deal, my biggest fear was that the movie wasn’t going to convey the internal thought process of Ender. The book is built on his thoughts and emotions. How do you convey that in a movie? You don’t. This is where so many book-to-movie transitions die a painful and gruesome death. This is where Ender’s Game got it right. They didn’t try to convey all of it, they simply told the story using just enough of it to move the story along. The didn’t force it. They also didn’t try to do things to enhance a story that is fine the way it is. The cinematic treachery that was Prince Caspian is a perfect example of how a movie might do this. Caspian took a perfectly good story and tried to “make it better” and in the process, the creators of the movie took a jagged and bloody knife and slit the throat of this would-be great film. Ender’s Game didn’t do this. Though there are many other books in the series that they could have tried to rob from, they didn’t. The creators told the story in Ender’s Game and didn’t try to whore the film out using other plot twists or climaxes. *Insert standing ovation here*

So, to sum up, Ender’s Game is a home run. Go see it.


Next On My List? – Part 1

What should I read next?

I know this questions isn’t as deep as, say, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?,” but it’s a conundrum that has plagued readers since Gutenberg’s press spat more than just the Bible. The problem isn’t that it’s hard to come up with an answer; the problem is that there are SO MANY answers.

I received this text this morning:

It took me forever because of school stuff, but I finally finished “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Once I got to the second half, it was hard to put down. Is there another book I should read?

As I have a deep love for this question, especially when it is asked by a high school senior, I responded immediately. In hopes of narrowing down the options, however, I asked the questioner a few preferences.



Literary Classic?

These responses, alas, still left me hundreds of options. I quickly began to jot down the books that popped into my mind. The original list had well over 20 books (which I was reasonably proud of considering it took me less than 5 minutes), but I whittled it down to these current top picks.

Wuthering Heights
The classic love story of Heathcliff and Catherine. I’m never quite sure whom to love in this tale. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

Farewell to Arms
The love story of Fredric and Catherine (yup, another one). The dry humor is a delightful backdrop to the war the story is set in. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

The Great Gatsby
The love story of Gatsby and Daisy, and fast cars, parties, and swimming pools. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

The Scarlet Letter
Hester Prynne’s journey to turn old-school Boston on its head as she blew stereotypes out of the water (OR: How red thread changed a women’s life and killed a man). It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
“Fred” and Holly Golightly take on New York (sort of). Capote answers the questions: What is an American Geisha? I think a part (no matter how small) of every women wants live in Holly’s shoes. It’s a classic, with a sad twist, and a tormented ending.

Did you notice a theme? Surprisingly enough, I love all these books save one. Bet you can’t guess which one!

As I was composing this post, I received the following text:

Book recommendations? (Yup, twice in one day! I could have hugged my sis-in-law when she texted me this!)

Quite giddy with excitement, I responded…

Genre? Classic or modern?


All of the above!

…Challenge accepted! My top picks at the moment are…

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
22 essays and the full spectrum of human emotions. Clever, witty, and charming.

The life of Jesus as told by his best friend (and hell of a sinner), Biff. This is a DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER moment, if I ever saw one.

Perks of Being a Wallflower
Letters, all letters. But poignant and powerful in the way a teenager is honest and real and raw.

Hike a trail, find yourself. It’s an emotional workout hiking everyday with the author, but the end is worth the journey.

Fight Club
The first rule of Fight Club is…. This must be the first Chuck Palahniuk book you read. Why? Don’t ask questions; just do it! No really, it’s a great book and an incredibly clever writing style. I appreciate how you can almost step into Chuck’s mind.

And Then There Were None
Possibly my favorite murder mystery. Agatha is a genius… and everyone dies. Whodunit?!

The Host
(Sigh) It pains me a bit to add this to the list (just because I have issues with the author), but it’s the best book Ms. Stephanie wrote and if you want something light, this isn’t a bad weekend read. It’s pretty clever, actually.

So there you have it. This concludes
Part 1 of Next On My List?. 
Tune in next time for a new batch of books!

On a side note, if you want to check out my thoughts on book censorship, click here.

Written? Kitten!

Stumbling through Facebook, a friend posted this site: … Brilliance!

The following is what I wrote in order to A) test the site and B) see cute kitties!

So, if I write 100 words in this little white box, a picture of a kitten will pop up? I don’t know that I understand that point of this endeavor, but sure, why not. I’ll test it at least. I mean, what’s the harm in that. I want to write anyway, so why not have a cute and furry kitten pop up on my screen as a reward for my excellent grammar and verbiage? I see no reason why this isn’t a good idea, do you? I thought not. Honestly, who could have a problem with this? Only mean people (CUTE KITTEN) I think. Ah, I see how it works now. This is quite positive reinforcement because now I’m quite determined to hit the 200 words mark and see what sort of cuteness pops up next. I wonder if copying and pasting text into this white box is an option? I want to try it, but that seems like cheating, like I didn’t actually earn the cute kitten. I like to earn my rewards, not cheat to get them. Oh, I’m at 180 words! Only 20 more to go. Hmm… what to discuss next. World hunger? Religion? The proper sugar to real (CUTE KITTEN!) crack ration? All those seem like negative subject matter, don’t they? Gah! Now I must keep typing to reach the 300 word mark. I must see one more cute kitten! It’s imperative! I’m sure there is an easier way to do this, like go on Flickr “most interesting” photos and search kittens or cuteness, but where’s the fun in that? This at least challenges me to be a wordsmith. This at least requires an ounce of effort on my part. The effort is half the fun, right!? Who’s with me?! A kitten will be with me in one (CUTE KITTEN) word!!

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The Reaping

*sigh* by their ability to speak about and discuss the movie/books we shall know them…

The Hunger Games. This trilogy and I had a love/hate relationship from the beginning. I flew through book one (The Hunger Games) in less than a day and dove right into book two (Catching Fire) and I hit a brick wall. 

Catching Fire is merely a bridge to get from the beginning of the Hunger Games trilogy to the end of the series and the destruction of *SPOILER ALERT* Panem and the death of Snow and others. Catching Fire has, in my opinion, very little meat unto itself. It acts as a catalyst to justify book three (Mockingjay). The Hunger Games was such an epic tale that by the time I finished Mockingjay, I was disappointed.

But upon further analysis of this, I don’t think it’s completely the authors fault. I had an expectation of Katniss that wasn’t met at ANY point after the final page of The Hunger Games. Her character became self-absorbed and lost in (sometimes unjustified) pain. She was lost within herself; she took no step toward action until absolutely necessary. That wasn’t the character of Katniss that I had in my mind after The Hunger Games. Though, I must admit, its not an unlikely bit of character development, it did bother me because I wanted Katniss to be stronger than that. I wanted her to fight harder, but instead, for a book and a half she let life and circumstances happen to her.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m glad I read the series. Why? you ask. I’m so glad you ask; I’ll tell you why!

1) When I see the movie and rave about how good it’s going to be, I won’t be a poser!

2) I can’t NOT finish a series once I have started. It would be like saying”shave and a haircut…” without finishing it. (bugging you, isn’t it?)

3) When I talk about and analyze the movie (based on any points other than acting and cinematography) with others after seeing it, I won’t be a poser!

4) I entered a contact (as it were) with the author to appreciate the story that she began in book one. If I don’t finish the series, I have not completed my part of the contract and that puts me in a very awkward legal position. Why is this is contract? Because she created a specific story and if I only read part of it, I haven’t done her story justice. Yes, I see that as a contract… don’t hate!

5) If (and when) I wear Hunger Games paraphernalia, I won’t be a poser!

Did I make my “don’t be a poser” point clear? I’m a bit of a snob about this, I admit, but with good reason. If you want to see the movie and don’t want to read the books, fine! But don’t pretend to know more than you do! But upfront about it. Don’t pretend you are a diehard fan of The Hunger Games (or Harry Potter or The Golden Compass or a myriad of other great works that have been brought to the silver screen) if all you have seen is the movie! Maybe you don’t like to read books, but you love the movie. That’s fine, but again, don’t pretend to be more than you are which is a fan of the movie not of The Hunger Games. Wow… off my soapbox.

You know, this only really bugs me with a few choice people in this world and I’m sure you don’t know who you are and that’s fine. I’d like to keep it that way. Sorry to all of you not at fault for this, but seeing as this is my blog I am entitled to my soapboxes from time to time.

To sum up, read the first book but don’t enter books two or three with higher expectations. They are good, not great. They wrap up the story nicely, albeit roughly at times. They are a necessary ending to The Hunger Games and a must read once you have begun. So, that being said, “may the odds be ever in your favor” and may you find yourself blissfully lost in a battle for Panem, life, freedom, and humanity. “Real or not real?” You decide.

A Page Turner (and A Time Turner?)

So heres the deal, I have great in-laws and a wonderful husband that bought me an amazing toy! My Nook, affectionately named Sheldon, is one of my obsessions (Hi, my name is Lynette and I’m a Nook-aholic… my support group meets every Tuesday at Barnes & Noble…). It goes everywhere with me. Why? Because I love to read. It’s truly that simple.

I figure that at any point I may have a free moment that will allow me a small escape from the world. Even if my reprise from life only lasts for a few short paragraphs, it’s worth it! To step into the land of Narnia and romp with Aslan or to take part in the trek across Middle Earth, it’s worth it! To learn a spell in Mcgonagall’s class or fight along side the armored bears, it’s all worth it! Even if it’s only for a few moments…

I think that’s what reading is all about – an escape. Okay, let me backtrack for two seconds: some reading is too learn (like reading The Power of Myth or The Sword Between the Sexes), but even learning reading can be a form of escapism. Now that I’ve covered my tail, allow me to continue.

I think that’s what reading is all about – an escape. Leaving this chaotic world for a moment and allowing yourself to adventure to place you never thought possible. I mean, I love living, but where else (other than a book) might I journey to other worlds and interact with strange creatures and surreal phenomenon? Teenage witches and wizards that kill a powerful sorcerer don’t exist IRL (in real life for those of you readers NOT married to a gamer).

I want a fantastic life and sometimes it feels like the only way to achieve that is in my imagine inside the world of books. For all of you about to freak out ’cause I just said my life isn’t fantastic, calm down. All I mean is that I am never going to get a Hogwarts acceptance letter. I’m not going to have my midi-chlorians count checked. I’m not going to meet a Hobbit. I’m not going to hold an alethiometer (read The Golden Compass). This is all very disappointing to me because I think I would make a great Hogwart’s student, don’t you think?!

Alas, *sigh*  I don’t think this shall be my lot in life. I am forced to find magic and mystery in the pages (or pseudo pages on the Nook?) of a good book. As disappointing as that is sometimes, I think i’m okay with that (not that I have much of a choice).

To be quite honest, I’m not sure what more to say on this subject. The gist of all this is… I love books because I can escape into worlds that don’t exist. I can do things that I couldn’t IRL. I can be someone different. I love my life, but it’s not the same as a book. It never can be. I wouldn’t want to give up reality to step into the pages of a book, but it’s hard to put into reasons why. I think it boils down to the fact that we weren’t supposed to live like that. God put us (me) here for a reason, a purpose. I wouldn’t want to abandon that. *sigh* that’s kind of hard to admit.

I guess that’s all. The end.

Like Lambs to the Slaughter?

“If you have come to these pages for laughter, may you find it. 
If you are here to be offended, may your ire rise and your blood boil. 
If you seek an adventure, may this song sing you away to blissful escape. 
If you need to test or confirm your beliefs, may you reach comfortable conclusions. 
All books reveal perfection, by what they are or what they are not. 
May you find that which you seek, in these pages or outside them. 
May you find perfection, and know it by name.” 
― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

“Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” is a book by a guy named Christopher Moore. He is brilliant and crazy, with a dash of heretic thrown in there for fun. But regardless of his disregard for biblical truth and subsequent neglect of the biblical timeline, Mr. Moore managed to make me not only re-fall in love with the idea of who Jesus (Joshua, in the book) is as a man, but he also taught me more about communion (read the dang book to find out how!*) and what it means than anyone before.

“This story is not and never was meant to challenge anyone’s faith; however, if one’s faith can be shaken by stories in a humorous novel, one may have a bit more praying to do.”
― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Before you go off and buy the book on my recommendation (which I do recommend, so you should!…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves) – because who wouldn’t want to read this book based upon that first paragraph – let me offer my thoughts. This book is COMPLETELY heretical, but COMPLETELY awesome. It challenged tons of my assumptions about Jesus as a child and as a man. What must it have been like to be Jesus’ friend?! What must it have been like to play childhood games with him and go through puberty with him?

“Nobody’s perfect. Well, there was this one guy, but we killed him….” 
― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

One of the main themes of the book is the process Jesus goes through to learn how to be the Messiah. What must that  have been like for Jesus? Did he have to learn what the title “Messiah” entailed? There is something so honest in this question and though I don’t doubt the sovereignty of God (nor do I think that God asked his friends to sin for him and then describe that sin so that he could understand sin…he does that in the book), I do appreciate that the book shows Jesus  being honest about his thoughts. Reading the book made me wonder how honest I am with mine.

If I’m honest, I’m a liar.

I sometimes fake my knowledge to hide how little I know or I don’t ask questions because I don’t want others to have the upper-hand. I don’t want to appear uninformed or weak to my peers. How sad is that…?

“Faith isn’t an act of intelligence, it’s an act of imagination.”
― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

I would never offer this book to a new Christian, that could be dangerous! But for someone with an old faith (you come up with an appropriate definition for “old faith” for yourself), “Lamb” can challenge you to analyze how much you know and how much you thought you knew about Jesus, his life, and your faith. I mean, did Jesus ever wonder what his childhood friends felt? Was he tempted as a child? Did he have a best friend? The Bible doesn’t answer these questions, but do you still wonder?

There are hundreds of questions that formed in my mind while reading this book and the fundamentalist Christian that resides in most people who were raised in a Christian home (but many of us fight the fearsome beast) reared its ugly head and said, “wait a second! don’t you go questioning ANYTHING!” But the human part of me said, “what’s wrong with asking a question!?” Round and round these two forces went. Honestly, its a war that’s not over, though the skirmishes are fewer and further between these days (mostly little rebel land disputes on the outer rims). Which side won? The side that believes there is nothing wrong with asking questions and searching for answers. I don’t think that was Moore’s intention when writing this book, but I’ll take what i can get.

“The medium obscured the message.”
― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal 

*Oh all right, I will give you a teaser about why communion became more real to me…
This book made Jesus more HUMAN. That doesn’t detract one ounce of his God-ness, but Moore made the experience of the first communion and the pain of death and the fear of death and the reality of death so much more IN-YOUR-FACE REAL.


this one is a long one… stick with me though!

Some subjects don’t matter to me, others i could go either way with and still others, i take great issue with… the censorship of literature is one of the latter.

There are many wonderful works of literary genius in this world; many brilliant books that challenge the mind, the heart, and the soul.

Before many of you moms and pops out there jump down my throat, hear me out. I don’t advise letting children run amuck in their reading, but children are smarter than we give them credit for. They have minds that want to learn (whether they know it or not) and they should be allowed to explore the literary world.

Would you stop you child from riding a bike because they may learn to ride it with no hands and that can be dangerous? Would you not allow you child to eat chocolate because it may give them a cavity if they don’t take care of their sweet tooth and brush their teeth? Would you not teach your child to drive a car because when they get their license it is up to them how they handle that power (no matter how many threats a parent makes, when a teen is in a car by themselves, it is entirely within their control). Okay, i know these aren’t perfect analogies, but they should at least get you thinking. Bikes were made to be ridden. Chocolate was made to be eaten. Cars were made to be driven. Books were written to be read.

But here is the key… ALL of these things (bikes, chocolate, cars, books) require responsibility. For you child to enjoy a bike, they have to know that a bike can hurt them. This same concept works for chocolate, cars AND books. You must teach a child to be discerning and wise when reading. If you have taught these things to your child, then there should be no fear in your mind of letting your child read (age-appriopriate in respect to nightmares or romance, etc.) books.

I have decided to write my thoughts on some of the most popularly banned books. Agree or not, I will only respect the opinion of those that have actually READ the books. Oh and if you have read a book that i haven’t and can offer some insight, please do (aka. leave a comment!)

Thank you to for the following list. The green text is my thoughts on the books.

Books Banned at One Time or Another in the United States

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – A ingenious book that created its own language and challenged readers to push their minds past the usual thought processes. 
A Wrinkle in Time
 by Madeleine L’Engle – Gotta love a story about time travel and kids on a pilgrimage (that they don’t know is a pilgrimage) …Meg Murry and two fellow misfits set off on a wormhole journey (in the books its the Tesseract) in search of Meg’s father who mysteriously disappeared. They are accompanied by three angelic beings who guide them on their way.  
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – If you want a story of revolution, this is it. It’s a favorite of mine. Everyone is under the rule of the World State, a peaceful environment where sex isn’t for reproduction at all, but rather for recreation. It’s a social activity that is encouraged from childhood. Oh, and there is soma. But, there is revolution of humanity! Love, love, love… 
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer – Not a favorite book of mine, but interesting nonetheless due to the lessons one can learn. It’s a basic collection of stories. It amazes me that this collection was banned in the United States. 
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – A historical satire highlighting WWII. I will be honest, i read this one so long ago, i don’t remember all my thoughts on it. 
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller – A spectacular of a normal family and a normal man who wants more out of life, especially for his sons, and can’t cope with the reality that they, like him, are normal… average. A suicide might be why this book is so feared, but it’s honest. 
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck – This is the story of a messed up family. There is murder, lying, hate, prostitution and more. But it’s redeeming quality is that you care about the charters and their plight. 
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I grew up with Harry Potter. He is, technically, a few years older than me if he were *spoiler alert* a real person. It worked out nicely that as I was an appropriate age when books five, six, and seven came out. They are dark books, but brilliant books! It made me a little sick to see 8-year-olds reading book seven when it came out, but then again, I know 16-year-olds whose parents ban the books from their home. Fun side note: When some of my extended family saw me reading the series at a family gathering, i was given quite a tongue-lashing because “what would my grandpa think!?” My response was that Grandpa was wonderfully open minded and had i told him that the premise of the book was a classic tale of good versus evil where good wins, it wouldn’t have mattered to him that involved teenage witches and wizards. Beyond that, if i had explained that the book highlights the importance of friendship and trust, that it depicts accurately the trials of a teenage life, and Harry Potter and his friends know what they believe and fight for it, Grandpa wouldn’t have batted an eye about me reading the series. Oh, and I believe that my Grandpa trusted my ability to reason and think. That is key! As humans with the ability to read, we must also utilize the ability to reason! 
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling – see above
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – see above
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – see above
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – A beautiful poet with such a love of nature. I have this book in my office and when the walls start to close in, that’s what i grab and read for a few minutes to remind me that the world is so big and vast. 
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Place a bunch of pre-pubecent boys on an island and see what you get… mass chaos! Though i can understand why this book might be scary to parents, its speaks to the humanity of people. It’s a powerful depiction of human nature. Want to see what aliens might see if they came to earth, read this book. 
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes – The original tale of women withholding sex from their husbands that causes a battle of the sexes. If you appreciate the style of writing (which i do) then you will find this piece highly amusing! 
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – The only Steinbeck that i truly love, this book is about two friends on a journey.
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey – It’s an amazing story of human behavior … set in a mental institution. Fascinating book, fascinating film. 
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – I love Vonnegut. That’s all their is to it. He writes honestly. This tale is one of war and survival and, in my opinion, answers the questions: what would you do to survive?
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – If you don’t know what this coming-of-age tale is about… read it. It’s wonderful! 
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – See my thoughts on Huck Finn. 
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – Holden fits the mold of a classic angst-filled teen. Why shouldn’t teens have someone to relate to!
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker – Okay, not my favorite book, but i’m glad i have read it. It’s an exceedingly sad book about Celia and the awful lot in life she has been dealt. She is raped by her father, is forced into a marriage, enters into a homosexual relationship with a jazz singer, believes that she looses her sister… but it all ends happy. 
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Probably one of my least favorite books of all time, but still a classic that should be read by all. Essentially, it’s the Joad family’s journey on Route 66 during the Depression. Oh and it has a messed up ending. 
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare – It’s Shakespeare… just read it! 
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – An American classic that, again, should be read by all. Meet Scout and Jem and their father (lawyer) Atticus, who live in a small town in Alabama. Atticus must defend a black man accused of raping a white women. He does and does it well, but the jury still convicts the man. Scout’s faith in the justice system is shaken. There is more to the story, but geez, read the book! Oh, and there is Boo Radley!
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare – Again, it’s Shakespeare… just read it! 
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

This list inspires me to read more, to learn more, to challenge preconceptions more. So, if you want to know what i will be reading over the next few months and years, check the list. There’s a pretty good chance the book will be on it.