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Zodiac One of the Short Trips series of Doctor Who short story collections. The stories as usual were uneven, with some being very good and some making me go "huh". I've also noticed a trend for darkness for the sake of darkness. I don't mind that in moderation, but not in every story.
Soda Poppery (forgot to write down the author) A rather fun book about the history of soft drinks and sodas. Written for kids so there were projects and "things to do" interspersed, but quite fascinating nonetheless.
The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater. Ned and his family are heading to California via train shortly after the second World War, and along the way Ned meets up with Cowboys, Shamans, Movie Stars and adventure. I read it in hardcover, but the author has posted it on line. I think it's my favorite of his books thus far. (And he had to work hard to beat the Larry books and the Blue Moose trilogy.)
Welcome to Camden Falls and Needle and Thread by Ann M. Martin. (ARC of both in one volume) I'm a sucker for Ann M. Martin, what can I say. These are the first two books of a new series called "Main Street". I thought they were good and I liked the way she tied the sewing store into the plots, but there were times when I thought they were selfconsciously "realistic", packing Alzheimer's disease, downs syndrome, child neglect/abuse and orphans into two short books. Admittedly they're all ongoing stories, and the Baby-sitter's Club went a little too far the other way. I will be picking up the third book at least, to see where she's going with the various people who live on Main Street.
Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz. I've read this book before. Sort of. Back in the 80's Anthony Horowitz started a series called "The Pentagram Chronicles", but this was before the Alex Rider phenominom, and they must not have sold well so the series was never finished. The third volume was called The Silver Citadel and was as far as I knew the last of the original series to be published. He's revised the series and brought it up-to-date, making me very happy. With each volume he gets a little farther from the older series, and this volume is moved from New York to California and the Nevada Desert, though the original plot remains the same. I'm very much looking forward to the fourth book, as I didn't even know he'd got that far in the original series. Five orphans must save the world from the Old Ones. (Think Cthulu. ;)
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and Carson Ellis. Another story of orphans with pluck. In this one four orphans or semi-orphans take a mysterious test, and are sent on a dangerous mission undercover at a sinister school. A grand adventure in the old tradition. I'll probably be booktalking this when we visit the schools in June.
On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck. A World War II story about life on the homefront and a boy who hero worships his father and brother. I loved seeing a story where the "heroes" didn't turn out to have feet of clay. I might booktalk this one too.
Giggling in the Shrubbery (forgot to write down the author of this one too). Anecdotes of girls' experiences in British boarding schools. Fun but not as exciting as the fictional accounts.
Connie Benton, Reporter by Betty Baxter Anderson. Connie's father's health is failing, and she takes over the family business (a newspaper), leaving college to do so (she's majoring in journalism). Of course she gets good advice and turns the fortunes of the paper around by bringing it kicking and screaming into the 20th century (it's set pre WWII, published 1941), and making an informal partnership with the local radio station (cute heir included). Opposing her is the rival paper, complete with (cruel, heartless, hated) pillar of the community in charge. In the end Spoiler she's bought out by big business (the family keeps the controlling share - I wonder how long that will last) and she gets to go back to college. The heir follows her rather than go back to Harvard (It's set in Minnesota). This is not the first time I've read this plot, but it was fun to read, and the author gets points for having some refugees (skilled in ice skating and skiing) make good.
What's Cooking: the History of American Food by Sylvia Whitman. On the first page, the author asserts that Marmite is an Australian food. That was the most interesting thing about the book.
The Chalet School and Barbara by Elinor Brent-Dyer. I know most people like the early Chalet School books best, but the first few I found were set in Switzerland, so that's my era. I suppose it's like the "my Doctor" phenominom. Anyway, it was hot and I'm home sick so I grabbed the first of the Swiss Chalet books to read. (Regular school, not finishing school or Joey's trip out). Lovely decriptions of Coffee with mounds of whipped cream and snowstorms. I'm rather fond of Barbara, a Sickly Girl who Goes to the Chalet School and Makes Good, because she does it without the usual false starts and problems. Even if she must join the popular crowd of Mary Lou and co. to do so.
Knitting: I'm making progress. :D The blankets have been finished and sent off and the tipsy knitter socks only need sewing up at the toe and weaving in the ends.