Book Reviews

my own favorite books

(Note: each of the following has a link to amazon, if applicable; please do not regard this as pressure to shop there, as you can always use the link for added information, if you find that useful, and then shop somewhere else, if you prefer. I always like to use amazon's web site for more info on books listed in my public library, and then buy only those books that I cannot get at the library, or which, like the the books below, are so worth re-reading that they earn precious limited shelf space. Otherwise, there'd be no room for people in our house!)

zoom down to: [ non-fiction ] [ fiction for adults and older children ] [ parenting ] [ children's non-fiction ] [ children's fiction ] [ philosophy and self-help ]


Jared Diamond : Guns, Germs, and Steel : The Fates of Human Societies
This book draws together information from many different fields, coming together to give the real reasons why some cultures have been able to defeat others. Fascinating if you care about the history of food crops, reasons why horses can be domesticated but zebras can't, reasons why diseases didn't become endemic until populations developed to a high density, etc. Some may find it too scholarly in style, but you don't have to finish it to get a lot out of it. (Carlos, you still have my copy - can I have it back?)

Steven Pinker: The Language Instinct
Children are born with an instinct to acquire language; the nature of language is not pure randomness.

Steven Pinker: How the Mind Works
The first part of the book is kind of slow, but the rest makes it well worthwhile.

Edward Tufte: Envisioning Information
This is the only one of Tufte's three books that our local public library has! It's so good I think I need my very own copy, though.

Edward R. Tufte : The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Edward R. Tufte: Visual Explanations : Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative

Gavin De Becker: The Gift of Fear : Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
How you can use your own instincts to keep you safe.

fiction (mostly fantasies and mysteries) for adults and older children

Diana Wynne Jones: Dark Lord of Derkholm
An alternate universe is exploited by a man from ours, or a universe much like ours, for tourist trips similar to the imaginary ones in the game Dungeons and Dragons, until the people finally fight back. As in all of Jones' works, the details and characters are memorable.

Diana Wynne Jones: Howl's Moving Castle
An exception to the rule that all books marked "young adult" must be depressing. There is no upper age limit for this book, in spite of the label. Fun.

Robin McKinley: The Door in the Hedge

Robin McKinley: The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown

Connie WillisTo Say Nothing of the Dog
A wonderful time travel book - it seems full of absurd hilarious fluff, then at the end it all comes together and proves to have been very tightly plotted. Connie WIllis is one of my top few favorite authors.

R.A. MacAvoy's The Book of Kells , Lens of the World trilogy, The Grey Horse , and Tea With the Black Dragon .
How can every book by such a good author be out of print? These are all books with approximately one element of fantasy each.

Judith Merkle Riley: A Vision of Light and In Pursuit of the Green Lion ; also The Oracle Glass

Mercedes Lackey Firebird
a perfect fairy tale

Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones, One Corpse Too Many , Monk's Hood , St. Peter's Fair , The Leper of Saint Giles , The Virgin in the Ice , The Sanctuary Sparrow , The Devil's Novice , Dead Man's Ransom , The Pilgrim of Hate , An Excellent Mystery , The Raven in the Foregate , The Rose Rent , The Hermit of Eyton Forest , The Confessions of Brother Haluin , Heretic's Apprentice , The Potter's Field, The Summer of the Danes , The Holy Thief , A Rare Benedictine , etc.

best parenting books

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: Liberated Parents, Liberated Children : Your Guide to a Happier Family

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: Siblings Without Rivalry : How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
These three books by Faber and Mazlish changed my life. I read them when my older child was an infant, in time to prevent a lot of misery. I think every parent should do the same.

Thomas W. Phelan: 1-2-3 Magic
What to do if you need more help after reading Faber and Mazlish. Not the best book to start with, but very helpful when more help is needed. Try the audiocassette or videotape if you can't get your spouse to read the book! This is for the child who already knows what is right or wrong, but has trouble applying that to his or her own behavior - such as the child who misbehaves on purpose, in order to get a reaction from the parents, or for the child who just needs help in learning to establish inner control of unacceptable impulses.

children's non-fiction

Frances R. Balkwill: DNA Is Here to Stay
A comic book format that was greatly enjoyed, and understood, by my son when he was only five or six years old (I read it aloud to him), though the book is aimed at ages 9 to 12 and is correct enough on its facts for any age at all, and especially useful for an adult who is interested but feeling lazy. (slightly overpriced at amazon, unlike the others)

Frances R. Balkwill: Cells Wars
How your body fights infection. Same great format and quality as "DNA is Here to Stay".

Frances R. Balkwill: Cells Are Us
What bodies are made of. Same great format and quality as "DNA is Here to Stay".

Geraldine McCaughrean: Greek Myths

young children's fiction

Rose Fyleman & Jamichael Henterly: A Fairy Went A-Marketing
This is a short picture book for young children, but the quality of the illustrations and the story, and the gentle feeling, make it a classic. Gorgeous.

Anne Mazer & Steve Johnson:The Salamander Room
Another short picture book for young children. A little boy describes everything he'll do to make his bedroom the perfect place for the salamander he found in the woods - resulting, bit by bit, in turning the room into a part of the forest, itself.

philosophy & self-help

Susan Heitler: The Power of Two : Secrets of a Strong & Loving Marriage
Most people don't know how to "fight fair", how to communicate their needs to their partner without using unfair tactics that create divisions without getting them what they want in the relationship. This is the only book I've read which has actual, practical, useful advice on this subject. There are a lot of books on the subject, which seem good when you read them but fail to have lasting effects; this one is different. You have to read it several times. It can be helpful even if your partner is the one who's being unfair to you, and you probably don't even realize the ways in which you are currently being unfair to your partner.

Sharon Salzberg: Loving-Kindness Meditation : Learning to Love Through Insight Meditation
An audiocassette, explaining a very simple, and very helpful, technique from traditional Buddhist psychology.

Thich Nhat Hanh: Peace Is Every Step : The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
This is a gem, bearing constant re-reading.

The following are just books I'm thinking about buying, but haven't read yet - no reviews, here!

When Working Out Isn't Working Out: A Mind/Body Guide to Conquering Unidentified Fitness Obstacles

The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Repair and Maintenance

Organizing from the Inside Out : The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life

Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living

Tolkien's Hobbit
this one is the comic book version - although we have the original version, I think my son needs this one, as well

The Color Printer Idea Book : 40 Really Cool and Useful Projects to Make with Any Color Printer
This was really good!

Imagery on Fabric : A Complete Surface Design Handbook

How to Draw Pokemon

Seeing Is Believing : 7 Stories by Diana Wynne Jones
They have this in now!

How Things Work in Busytown CD ROM
kids' game

Elfriede Moller: Shibori : The Art of Fabric Folding, Pleating and Dyeing

All ABoard Airplanes

Diana Wynne Jones: Charmed Life

The Airplane Alphabet Book

The Jet Alphabet Book

Sara Newberg King: Dye & Discharge : Playing on Fabric (Love to Quilt)

Kate Wells: Fabric Dyeing and Printing

Mickey Lawler: Skydyes : A Visual Guide to Fabric Painting

Dianne N. Epp : The Chemistry of Vat Dyes (Palette of Color Series)

Diana Wynne Jones The Lives of Christopher Chant (The Chrestomanci Novels , No 3)

Diana Wynne Jones The Crown of Dalemark (Dalemark Quartet, Bk. 4)

Diana Wynne Jones Drowned Ammet (Dalemark book 2)

Diana Wynne Jones Deep Secret

Diana Wynne Jones Dogsbody

Diana Wynne Jones Witch Week
Out of stock!

Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention : A Book for Kids About Add

Russell A. Barkley : Taking Charge of Adhd : The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents

Pema Chodron: Good Medicine : How to Turn Pain into Compassion With Tonglen Meditation

Logical Journey of the Zoombinis

Pokemon Jr. Adventure Game

Ron Zalme : How to Draw Pokemon : Gotta Catch 'Em All! (How to Draw)

Numbermaze Challenge Ages 5-12

Word Munchers Deluxe (Jewel Case)

Add/Adhd Behavior-Change Resource Kit : Ready-To-Use Strategies & Activities for Helping Children With Attention Deficit Disorder
$28. Looks good, but do I want it now?

Canon S20 camera

Canon power supply kit

Pema Chodron: ood Medicine : How to Turn Pain into Compassion With Tonglen Meditation

Getting a Grip on Add : A Kids Guide to Understanding and Coping With Attention Disorders

Airplane entertainment....

Pokemon Gotta Catch 'Em All ! Activity Book

Pokemon, Write Your Own Adventures!

Pokemon Chapter Book #2: Island of the Giant Pokemon

Mysterious Mew (Pokemon Adventures, Vol 1)

Starmie Surprise (Pokemon Adventures, Vol 3)

Wanted : Pikachu (Pokemon Adventures, Vol 2)

Pokemon Adventures Volume 4: The Snorlax Stop

Pokemon (gameboy snap story)

Laura Lemayteach yourself Java 2 Platform in 21 Days

Laura LemaySams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days

Michael Wilcox : Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green

Adriene Buffington: Hand-Dyed Fabric Made Easy

Vacation entertainment

The Best Paper Airplanes You'll Ever Fly (Klutz Guides)

Big Fat Pipe Cleaners

Disaster Science

Klutz book of Card Games : For Sharks and Others/Book and Cards

The Klutz Book of Knots : How to Tie the World's 25 Most Useful Hitches, Ties, Wraps, and Knots

The Klutz Book of Marbles/Book and Marbles

The Klutz Yo-Yo Book

Paper Chains : A Klutz Guide

Spotters Guide to the Coolest Cars on the Road

Spotters Guide to the Nastiest Bugs in the Yard

The Explorabook : A Kid's Science Museum in a Book/Book and Magnet

Zap Science : A Scientific Playground in a Book

Glove Compartment Science

Easy Origami

Large Origami Paper : 24 9" X 9" Sheets in 12 Colors

Folding Paper for Origami (81/2 X 81/2)

The Gliding Flight : 20 Excellent Fold and Fly Paper Airplanes

Pokemon Origami

Glove Compartment Scavenger Hunt (Klutz Guides)

Shibori : The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing Tradition Techniques

Super-Sneaky, Double-Crossing, Up, Down, Round & Round Maze Book

Earthsearch : A Kids' Geography Museum in a Book

Puzzlemania Superchallenge

The Fantastic Foam Book

Mary Shoman's Living Well with Hypothyroidism

Herge's Adventures of TinTin - The Land of Black Gold

Pokemon Gold and Silver Strategy Guide
Absolutely essential

Robert Nye Beowulf : A New Telling

The Klutz Book of Marbles/Book and Marbles

Create-A-Scene Magnetic Playset Forest

Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head to Your Feet

LEGO Action Wheeler My Bots Invention System (2916)

The Standard Deviants: Chemistry, Part 1 (1996)

Spy Fox 2: Some Assembly Required


The Mabinogion

Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Easy Search-A-Word Puzzles

Lego Modelers: Amazing Animals

LEGO Modelers: Amazing Figures

LEGO Adventurers Dino Island T-Rex Transport (5975)

Charles Sanders Peirce, Justus Buchler (Editor) Philosophical Writings of Peirce

Play-Doh Pokemon Character Maker

Pokemon Plush: Pikachu #25

The Magic School Bus - Best of 1998 3-Pak

The Magic School Bus - Best of 1997 3-Pak

Reader Rabbit Thinking Adventures Ages 4-6

The Magic School Bus Inside Ralphie

The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten (1995)

Viking CF48M 48 MB CompactFlash Card

Magic School Bus, The - Getting Energized (1997)

he Magic School Bus - The Busasaurus

Magic School Bus, The - Taking Flight

Animal ABC Stickers (Dover Little Activity Books)

Strong Women, Strong Bones
Great book everyone over 35 should read!

Classic Myths to Read Aloud
is this one good?

The Great Dumbbell Handbook
for working out at home

Viking CF64M 64 MB CompactFlash Card

Xircom Rex 5001 with Docking Station

Epson T009201 Color InkJet Cartridge
Color ink cartridge for Epson Stylus Photo 1270

Epson T007201 Black InkJet Cartridge
Black ink cartridge for Epson Stylus Photo 1270

Digimon Gift Set (Vols. 1-3)

Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones

Terry Pratchett's Pyramids

5" Digimon Digivolving Action Figure: WarGreymon/Agumon by Bandai

Super Mario Brothers Deluxe Gameboy Color version

LEGO Creator Board Game by Warren

'Smath game by Pressman Toy


Enjoy Your Cells by Fran Balkwill, Mic Rolph

Magic School Bus Whales And Dolphins

Spy Fox: Operation Ozone

The Silver Crown by Robert C. O'Brien

Little Lit : Folklore & Fairy Tale Funnies by Art Spiegelman (Editor), Francoise Mouly (Editor)

LEGO Bionicle Gameboy Advance

Magic School Bus Volcano Adventure

Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes Meteor Madness

Franklin the Turtle: Goes to School

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

rechargeable battery for my camera

pokemon 2 gs
not durable, but much loved

Viking CF256M 256MB

Why Do Buses Come in Threes?
wonderful book!

origin of virtue
another great one

Tricky Pix : Do It Yourself Trick Photography With Camera

Epson Super B-Size Photo Quality Glossy Paper 20 Sheets

Emily Rodda's The Forests of Silence (Deltora Quest, 1)

Balkwill's Germ Zappers (Enjoy Your Cells, 2)

Emily Rodda's The Lake of Tears (Deltora Quest, 2)

DVD player?

Max the Cat Board Game

The Rocket Book

DK Readers: LEGO Rocket Rescue (Level 2: Beginning to Read Alone)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Widescreen Edition) (2001)

Snowstorm Game

clustered world

The New Food Lover's Companion : Comprehensive Definitions of Nearly 6000 Food, Drink, and Culinary Terms (Barron's Cooking Guide)

The Simpsons - The Complete First Season (for a gift?)

Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Jr. Novelization) by Patricia C. Wrede

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones--The Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds

In Space (Usborne Dot-To-Dot)

Mac OS X Unleashed

upgrade to FREEHAND 10.0

The Rocket Book

cover The Rocket Book

The Rocket Book - paperback

Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss - Deluxe DVD Edition (2000)

The All-Day Yoga Workout - A.M., Stress Relief, and P.M. Yoga for Beginners

Caves & CLaws cooperative game

GameCube Flash Memory Card 2X- Translucent Purple

Games to Play Every Day computer game

Round Up Game

The Secret Door

Have a Nice DNA, by Fran Balkwill

Gene Machines, by Fran Balkwill


The Lake of Tears (Deltora Quest, 2)
by Emily Rodda

Have a Nice DNA (Enjoy Your Cells, 3)
by Frances R. Balkwill

Enter the World of Deltora (Deltora Quest, 1: The Forest of Silence, Deltora Shadowlands, 1: Cavern of Fear, Deltora Book of Monsters) by Emily Rodda

Fractals, Googols and Other Mathematical Tales by Theoni Pappas

Gene Machines (Enjoy Your Cells, 4)

The V Book: A Doctor's Guide

Koyaanisqatsi/ Powaqqatsi - 2 Pack

Yu-Gi-Oh! Collector's Gift Tin

Radical Self-Acceptance

Mindful Movements: Gentle Contemplative Exercises

By the Sword

Storm Warning

The Silver Gryphon

The White Gryphon

The Black Gryphon

Storm Rising

A Pebble for Your Pocket by Thich Nhat Hanh

Be Still and Know: Reflections

Geometry the Easy Way
watch out - this one appears *not* to be a fantasy novel, which is what my pre-teen child enjoys most in math. The "look inside" feature at Amazon is very helpful.

Algebra, the Easy Way
fantasy novel format, just what we need

Calculus by and for Young People (Ages 7, Yes 7 and Up) by Donald Cohen

The Cartoon Guide to Statistics
okay for adults, but not nearly as much fun as "Algebra the easy way"

The Myth of Laziness: America's Top Learning Expert Shows How Kids - and Parents - Can Become More Productive by Mel Levine

The Strange Case of Mrs. Hudson's Cat: And Other Science Mysteries Solved by Sherlock Holmes by Colin Bruce
The other Colin Bruce books using Sherlock Holmes are excellent - for those wanting a fun way to cover the subjects. Possibly a little annoying to Holmes fans, due to the occasional imperfection, but fine for those who know only a little Holmes and know that they like it.

Calculus the Easy Way
This is another fantasy novel, so we'll have to get it.

Barron's Trigonometry the Easy Way (2nd Ed) by Douglas A. Downing
another fantasy novel format

How to Host a Teen Mystery: Barbecue with the Vampire
not for eleven year olds - too challenging - stick to teens

turned out to be loved by the six-year-old and the eleven-year-old as well as the recipient

Klutz Spiral Draw

I Dare (Liaden Universe Novel Series)
seventh and concluding volume of the Agents of Change sequence

Plan B
volume 6

Partners in Necessity
the first three Liaden novels combined: Conflict of Honors, Agent of Change, and Carpe Diem

Pilots' Choice
two tales are prequels to Partners in Necessity: Local Custom, Scout's Progress

A Thousand Words for Stranger by Julie E. Czerneda
first novel - Trade Pact Universe, volume 1

Ties of Power (The Trade Pact Universe Number 2) by Julie E. Czerneda

To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact Universe, 3) by Julie E. Czerneda

Beholder's Eye by Julie E. Czerneda
second book - but our library has this one - book 1 in a series - web shifters

Changing Vision (Web Shifters, 2) by Julie E. Czerneda

Hidden in Sight (Webshifters, 3) by Julie E. Czerneda

In the Company of Others by Julie E. Czerneda
but our library has this one

Garmin eTrex Legend

car lighter adaptor

The Secret of the Unicorn (The Adventures of Tintin)

The Blue Lotus (The Adventures of Tintin)

The Broken Ear (The Adventures of Tintin)

The Castafiore Emerald (The Adventures of Tintin)

Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)

Explorers on the Moon (Tintin)

Back to School Supplies 2006

August 2006

Summer 2007

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