- Roads Go Ever Ever On
- Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
Still 'round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
Okay, I know that I haven't written any decent blog posts in months. I'm not really ready to start now. Too much has happened for me to summarize, and I simply haven't got time to write it all right now. One big piece of news is that Peter has gotten a job and we're moving to Utah, so I have to pack and do all sorts of other stuff to get ready.
Which brings me to Why I Picked This Poem today. There are a few reasons which are all equally valid.
- This poem always seems appropriate to me when moving. You're starting out on a new road, and may never come back to the place you're leaving, and that's a little exciting, and a little sad.
- The blog post today is about books, and so I wanted a poem from a novel. Bits of this poem are spread out across the Lord of The Rings books.
- The person who inspired me to write this post said specifically that she didn't enjoy LOTR, and I said I especially enjoyed the poetry and symbolism (Which she skimmed over and missed entirely respectively).
Essentially, a friend called me up today and asked if I wanted to meet her at the park and talk while our little ones played together. We ended up talking about books, and she expressed some frustration with the fact that she had gone through several genres of books and had to quit reading them for various reasons. Modern Literary novels have too much sexual content; she didn't really like the Sci-fi and Fantasy her husband gave her; Romance novels, even when you can find clean ones, are so formulaic that they all start to sound the same; Mysteries have so much dark content with the murders and the lying etc, that you get a bad feeling if you read too many; etc. She said she was reduced to reading Self Help books and the Classics. I talked about some of the books that I've enjoyed, and through our conversation got an idea of the sort of thing she might like. I told her I'd send her an email with those book suggestions, and remembered that I had sent a similar list to Miriam a few years ago when she was looking for books for Aidan to read other than the Chronicles of Narnia.
The result is a long list of books with comments that I think would be nice to have as a blog post. It is not all inclusive, but it is, I think, an interesting look at the sort of books I have enjoyed in my life. It starts with the Newbery books, and expands from there, with my suggestions for this particular friend at the very end.
- Here's the list of books I promised you. It's just a list that I put together for my sister in law, so it might not all be interesting to you. The Newbery books are theoretically the best in Children's Literature for the year, though sometimes the committee picks weird stuff. Many libraries will have them all together rather than shelved by author with the rest of the fiction, so ask a librarian if you can't find them. There's another list of Non- Newbery fiction as well. I'll admit that this is a pretty long list, but you don't have to be intimidated. Just skim through it till you find a couple that sound interesting, make a note, and take it to the library with you. Read the books -- or at least a couple of chapters to see if you like it -- and then pick another couple books. You can reserve books at most libraries online so that they'll be waiting for you when you go in, and you won't have to look for them while the kids are waiting. Have fun!
- 2007-Susan Patron-The Higher Power of Lucky I haven't read this one
- 2006-Lynne Rae Perkins-Criss Cross I haven't read this one
- 2005-Cynthia Kadohata-Kira-Kira I haven't read this one
- 2004-Kate DiCamillo-The Tale of Despereaux This was an excellent little book about a mouse -- the style is unusual but charming.
- 2003-Avi-Crispin: The Cross of Lead I read this and liked it, but I can't remember much about it
- 2002-Linda Sue Park-A Single Shard I haven't read this one
- 2001-Richard Peck-A Year Down Yonder I haven't read this one
- 2000-Christopher Paul Curtis-Bud, Not Buddy I haven't read this one
- 1999-Louis Sachar-Holes I loved this -- the move was really good, but the book was great with interweaving story lines -- really worth reading, though a little intense at times -- if you've seen the movie, you know what I mean. I'd suggest other books by this author -- though the Wayside school stories are much sillier
- 1998-Karen Hesse-Out of the Dust I disliked this book. it was oddly written, with a depressing storyline.
- 1997-E. L. Konigsburg-The View from Saturday I liked this one -- it's told from four different viewpoints, with one very nice and satisfying story. I'd suggest other stories by this author
- 1996-Karen Cushman-The Midwife's Apprentice This was a nice medieval period piece.
- 1995-Sharon Creech-Walk Two Moons I haven't read this one
- 1994-Lois Lowry-The Giver This one was odd -- if you're into dystopian soft sci-fi, it's OK, but it's kind of disturbing.
- 1993-Cynthia Rylant-Missing May I haven't read this one
- 1992-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor-Shiloh I haven't read this one
- 1991-Jerry Spinelli-Maniac Magee I haven't read this one
- 1990-Lois Lowry-Number the Stars This is a very good Holocaust book for young readers, as is The Devil's Arithmatic.
- 1989-Paul Fleischman-Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices This is a little odd, and ought to be read aloud with a friend
- 1988-Russell Freedman-Lincoln: A Photobiography I loved this one
- 1987-Sid Fleischman-The Whipping Boy It's a light little story about a spoiled prince
- 1986-Patricia MacLachlan-Sarah, Plain and Tall This is a book about loneliness on the prairie and finding love. it's a little wistful, but has a satisfying ending, and at least one sequel
- 1985-Robin McKinley-The Hero and the Crown One of my all time favorites with its companion book The Blue Sword -- Escapist magic sword fighting dragons fantasy. It's a little more mature than many of these other books since the heroine in each is grown up, and is falling in love.
- 1984-Beverly Cleary-Dear Mr. Henshaw A book about a kid who writes letters to a truck driver. He's lonely, and or misunderstood. I remember liking it as a kid when Mom read it to us, but it's not exactly a happy book.
- 1983-Cynthia Voigt-Dicey's Song I haven't read this one
- 1982-Nancy Willard-A Visit to William Blake's Inn This is a collection of poems in honor of William Blake -- you'll find it on the picture book shelves, and it can be read in one sitting.
- 1981-Katherine Paterson-Jacob Have I Loved I haven't read this one
- 1980-Joan Blos-A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal This is a lot like those Dear America Diary books. It's OK
- 1979-Ellen Raskin-The Westing Game I really liked this mystery book which has a lot of different point of view characters.
- 1978-Katherine Paterson-Bridge to Terabithia This is a great book about how reality and fantasy interact. It has a tragic, but ultimately satisfying ending. You'll cry, but like it.
- 1977-Mildred Taylor-Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry I haven't read this one
- 1976-Susan Cooper-The Grey King Part of the Dark is Rising Series. One of my favorite fantasy series
- 1975-Virginia Hamilton-M. C. Higgins, the Great This was a weird one about a boy in a coal mining town who likes to sit on a pole. I wouldn't recommend it.
- 1974-Paula Fox-The Slave Dancer A book about a kid who has to play his flute to get the slaves on a slave ship to dance so they won't just lay there and die. It's one of those with a heavy political message, but it was OK
- 1973-Jean Craighead George-Julie of the Wolves Alaskan Eskimo girl doesn't want to be married, so she goes out onto the tundra and lives with the wolves. A great survival story, but I didn't like the inevitable ending. I would recommend other books by this author especially My Side of the Mountain. They're a lot like Gary Paulsen's books (Hatchet, etc)
- 1972-Robert C. O'Brien-Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH I liked this book, which is a fuller version of the story in the movie
- 1971-Betsy Byars-Summer of the Swans This is about a girl and her disabled brother. It was OK
- 1970-William H. Armstrong-Sounder I haven't read this one
- 1969-Lloyd Alexander-The High King One of the Black Cauldron books. I'd also recommend others by this author (I'll add those on another list)
- 1968-E. L. Konigsburg-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler A girl runs away with her brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A fun book with a bit of a mystery
- 1967-Irene Hunt-Up a Road Slowly I haven't read this one
- 1966-Elizabeth Borton- de Treviño I, Juan de Pareja I haven't read this one
- 1965-Maia Wojciechowska-Shadow of a Bull I haven't read this one
- 1964-Emily Cheney Neville-It's Like This, Cat I haven't read this one
- 1963-Madeleine L'Engle-A Wrinkle in Time An odd Science fiction story - it was always a little bit over my head.
- 1962-Elizabeth George Speare-The Bronze Bow I haven't read this one
- 1961-Scott O'Dell-Island of the Blue Dolphins A really good survival story about an indian girl left behind on an island off the coast of California.
- 1960-Joseph Krumgold-Onion John I haven't read this one
- 1959-Elizabeth George Speare-The Witch of Blackbird Pond A girl in New England in the 16 or 1700's I remember liking this book, but it was a long time ago.
- 1958-Harold Keith-Rifles for Watie I haven't read this one
- 1957-Virginia Sorenson-Miracles on Maple Hill I haven't read this one
- 1956-Jean Lee Latham-Carry On, Mr. Bowditch I really liked this book about a sailor who comes up with better ways of doing the math involved in navigation. It's a true story, but unless you care about math, ships, or navigation, it might not be your thing.
- 1955-Meindert DeJong-The Wheel on the School I haven't read this one
- 1954-Joseph Krumgold-...And Now Miguel I haven't read this one
- 1953-Ann Nolan Clark-Secret of the Andes I haven't read this one
- 1952-Eleanor Estes-Ginger Pye I haven't read this one
- 1951-Elizabeth Yates-Amos Fortune, Free Man I haven't read this one
- 1950-Marguerite de Angeli-The Door in the Wall A really good book about a boy with a crippled leg in Medieval England.
- 1949-Marguerite Henry-King of the Wind A fascinating story about the first Arabian horse in Europe.
- 1948-William Pène du Bois-The Twenty-One Balloons A fantasy adventure story about going around the world by balloon, and landing on Krakatoa before it blew up. It was fun
- 1947-Carolyn Sherwin Bailey-Miss Hickory A story about a doll that lives in the woods - it was OK, but nothing great
- 1946-Lois Lenski-Strawberry Girl I haven't read this one
- 1945-Robert Lawson-Rabbit Hill I haven't read this one
- 1944-Esther Forbes-Johnny Tremain Fictionalized account of the American Revolution. Fun story
- 1943-Elizabeth Gray Vining-Adam of the Road Another Medieval story that I'm pretty sure you own. I really liked this one.
- 1942-Walter D. Edmonds-The Matchlock Gun This is about a family that was settling America during the Indian Wars. Totally not politically correct, but probably historically accurate from their point of view.
- 1941-Armstrong Sperry-Call It Courage Adventure story about a Polynesian boy. I liked this book
- 1940-James Daugherty-Daniel Boone I haven't read this one, but heartily recommend the Autobiography of Davy Crockett -- which is very readable.
- 1939-Elizabeth Enright-Thimble Summer I haven't read this one
- 1938-Kate Seredy-The White Stag I haven't read this one
- 1937-Ruth Sawyer-Roller Skates I haven't read this one
- 1936-Carol Ryrie Brink-Caddie Woodlawn A story about a pioneer era girl and her family. A lot like the Little House books. I liked it.
- 1935-Monica Shannon-Dobry I haven't read this one
- 1934-Cornelia Meigs-Invincible Louisa I haven't read this one
- 1933-Elizabeth Foreman Lewis-Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze I haven't read this one
- 1932-Laura Adams Armer-Waterless Mountain I haven't read this one
- 1931-Elizabeth Coatsworth-The Cat Who Went to Heaven An excellent overview of Buddhist stories I REALLY liked this book a lot.
- 1930-Rachel Field-Hitty, Her First Hundred Years A book about a doll that is passed from one owner to another. It's nothing special.
- 1929-Eric P. Kelly-The Trumpeter of Krakow A really interesting historical story about Poland
- 1928-Dhan Gopal Mukerji-Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon I haven't read this one
- 1927-Will James-Smoky the Cow Horse I haven't read this one
- 1926-Arthur Bowie Chrisman-Shen of the Sea Folk tale collection -- It was OK
- 1925-Charles Finger-Tales from Silver Lands another Folk tale collection
- 1924-Charles Hawes-The Dark Frigate I haven't read this one
- 1923-Hugh Lofting-The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle This is a really fun book, but you may want to get one of the recent editions where they edit out some of the more politically incorrect racial slurs (that were just a product of the time, but are jolting to the modern reader)
- 1922-Hendrik Willem van Loon-The Story of Mankind This is a history of the world written for children. Not one to read straight through, but a good reference book.
- Princess Academy by Shannon Hale -- One of the girls in town is going to be a princess, so they all go to school to learn etiquette. There are jealousies and such, but the heroine is a real hero in the end. I'm pretty sure this has a Mormon author -- though there's no overt religion in it.
- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko -- This is about a boy who lives on Alcatraz island in the 40's with his guard dad, neurotic mom, and autistic sister. It's an interesting book
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine -- This is the first and best (in my opinion) of her retellings of fairy tales. I liked them all, but I liked this one best.
- Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman -- I liked this one better than her Midwife's Apprentice. It's a story of a girl in Medieval times in journal format
- The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer -- this is odd science fiction set in futuristic Africa. I really liked it, especially the Recorded Books edition with one of my favorite readers. It's long, and not like much you would have read before.
- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi -- A girl on a ship. I liked it for that reason.
- Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples -- A fascinating book about the life and decisions of an Arab girl.
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen -- Survival adventure at its best.
- The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare -- Survival adventure of a boy settling in Indian country whose dad leaves him to guard the homestead. He makes friends with the Indians and starts to go native.
- Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary -- I liked to read all of Beverly Cleary's books about Ramona and friends. They're children's classics as well.
- The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson -- A book about a moody girl in the Foster care system.
- The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin -- A really cool fantasy in a well defined world that's not Tolkien's. She's a great writer, and while it's no fluffy quick read, it's well worth it to read the entire series.
- The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder -- A story about inner city kids and their imagination. I really liked it.
- Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt -- A book about the Civil War. It's powerful.
- Rascal by Sterling North -- I think this one's about a raccoon
- The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden -- This is fun animal fantasy. The title tells you what it's about.
- Old Yeller by Fred Gipson -- The king of all dead dog stories. After you read this and Where the Red Fern Grows, read Gordon Korman's No More Dead Dogs
- Banner In The Sky by James Ullman -- Story about climbing the Matterhorn
- Charlotte's Web by E. B. White -- You've got to know what this one's about. If you haven't read it you really ought to.
- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes -- It's sweet and sad at the end. It's short, and worth reading.
- Anne McCaffery - Dragonsong I really like this series of fantasy novels about dragons. I think that this would be the best one for you to start with, and if you like it, then move on to ome of the others. If you don't like it, then the genre just isn't for you.
- Terry Pratchett - Maurice and his Amazing Educated Rodents -- Really any of his Discworld novels are funny, and you don't really have to read them in order (though some of the jokes will be funnier if you read certain ones before others). They're absurdist fantasy mixed with social commentary. If you like this, then read others (the Wikipedia article has a nice suggested reading order for some of the subplots that run through the books)
- Douglas Adams - Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy -- This is top of the line absurdist Science Fiction that has me rolling on the floor laughing. You'll know by a couple of chapters in if it's your thing or not.
- Richard Adams - Watership Down -- This has to be my #1 favorite novel. It's long, but rich, and works on so many levels. give me a call if you want me to elaborate. If I start writing here, I'll never stop. If you like it, there's a sequel of sorts called Tales from Watership Down which is more a collection of short stories.
- Gordon Korman - This Can't be Happening at Mcdonald Hall -- Gordon Korman is one of my favorite authors. His books are just so darn silly. This one is the first in his series about a couple of boys at a boarding school. If you want something a little older but still as crazy, try A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag, or Losing Joe's Place.
- Roald Dahl - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- Another very silly author, I haven't read anything by him I didn't like, though some of his stuff is more fun than others. If you like Charlie, read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Or, you might try The Witches or The BFG
- Lloyd Alexander - My Five Tigers, The Fortune-Tellers, Gypsy Rizka, The Arkadians, The Westmark trilogy. I haven't read anything by Lloyd Alexander that I didn't like. He's a great storyteller, and dabbles in lots of different genres.
- Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting -- A great story about people who live forever, and a little girl who stumbles on their secret.
- Robin McKinley - Beauty --A beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast . Very rich story and characters, one of my all time favorites. If you like it, try some of her other fairy tale retellings like Rose Daughter and Spindle's End
- L Frank Baum - The Wizard of Oz -- If you haven't read a couple of the original Oz books, you really ought to. There's no need to read them ALL, but they're a lot of fun, and a quick read. There's a reason they're classics.
- Richard and Florence Atwater - Mr. Popper's Penguins -- Admiral Bird sends a fan a bunch of penguins from his South Pole expedition. It's a fun little story about the silliness that ensues
- Alexander McCall Smith - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency -- This is a great series about a woman detective in Botswana. The characters and their lives are more important than the mysteries really. I especially like the mechanic who reminds me of my dad.
- Paul Zindel - The Pigman -- This is more of a teenager book rather than for children. Two high school kids meet a very strange old man, and get to know him and stuff. I really was struck by it when I first read it.
- Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express or Ten Little Indians -- OK these are murder mysteries, so they're gonna have a bit darker feel than the others on the list, but they are the BEST of the genre, and well worth reading even if mystery isn't generally your thing.
- Meg Cabot - The Princess Diaries -- It's fun fluff to read. Not life changing, but worth the time.
- Peter S Beagle - The Last Unicorn -- this is a really nice fantasy story -- they made it into a cartoon movie.
- TS Elliot - The Sword in the Stone -- Probably the greatest children's adaptation of the King Arthur myths. It's really funny, and yet it's based directly on Malory's definitive Le Morte D'Arthur. If you like it, find The Once and Future King which tells what happens after he becomes king, which is cool, but kind of sad.
- Cornelia Funke - The Thief Lord -- This is an interesting book in that it is set in a European city that the author treats like we know it as well as we know New York. It has good characters and a different approach.
- If you're looking for something like Jane Austen, I've heard that the books by Elizabeth Gaskell are very good reads. Cranford and Wives and Daughters have been made into PBS miniseries lately.
- Also in the Jane Austen vein are the series of books beginning with Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien. I like these in the Audio book format read by Patrick Tull, but they're worth the read in any format. Each book stands on its own pretty well, but the subtle jokes are funnier if you've read them in order. It has Jane Austen's Comedy of Manners style, with some adventure on the high seas thrown in. One that you might particularly like to start with is The Hundred Days.
- If you like that series, then you might also want to try Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell which is set in the same time period, but in a fantasy version of England, and it's about some guys who try to bring magic back to the world.
- Autobiography of Parley P Pratt
- History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith: The Unabridged Original Version
- Orson Scott Card's Women of Genesis series (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah) is a good read, and it gives the characters in the Old Testament believable motivations for some of the strange decisions they make. I don't think that all of his interpretations are correct, but I like being reminded that somehow, it made sense at the time to the people involved. It helps me to imagine scenarios where other Biblical people might also have good reasons for what they did.
- Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless by Steve Salerno
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks - Science book for the popular audience by a neurologist
- Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body by Armand Marie Leroi - this one is similar to the above, but on a different topic. It's morbidly fascinating, kind of like visiting a freak show.
- All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott - Memoirs of a Yorkshire Veterinarian. Nice book, funny touching stories, bite sized chunks.
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman - This guy won the Nobel prize for Physics and worked on the Manhattan Project, but is an all around fun guy too.
I've got more suggestions when you're done with these. Enjoy! (and if you want to add some suggestion in the comments too, feel free)