A nonfiction list to peruse.
Back to the Library: April 2013

Now reading everything I can get my hands on EXCEPT nonfiction.

You'll forgive me, won't you, as I continue to struggle with my nonfiction slump?

by Ronald Dahl


Lately, I got the idea that it might be good to read a few kids' classics that I never read as a child. This is a long list--my parents were great but didn't have a lot of extra time to read to me, and until I got to school, I didn't really have access to a library.* And my school librarian in my later grades, third and up, was better than anyone I knew before then at suggesting books to read, so that's really when I started my reading life (as far as I can remember, anyway). As a consequence, I missed a whole lot of children's "classics."

This is all a long-winded way of saying that last week I read Roald Dahl's book Matilda. And, as you'd expect from the author of James and the Giant Peach, it was fantastic.

If you've not read it, oh, please DO. It's about a little girl named Matilda, who's very, very smart, and who has not very nice parents. There are two fantastic people in her life--her local librarian, and her first teacher in school, the not-so-subtly named Miss Honey. And what happens when her school's very unpleasant headmistress Miss Trunchbull does something not so nice to Matilda's beloved Miss Honey? Well, you'll just have to read it and find out. I absolutely LOVE Roald Dahl. His books deal in what I would call "nasty but satisfying justice," if you can picture such a thing. I can see why kids, lovely literal kids, have loved so many of his books for so long.

So what say you: any other kids' classics I should read?**

*Although there were many books in the house--I do remember perusing our encyclopedias a lot, and picture books of saint stories (many of which were quite gruesome, magical, and AWESOME), and I definitely remember reading Jeremiah Denton's When Hell Was In Session, about his experiences in a POW camp in North Vietnam, when I was too young for it. I sure did learn a lot of words from it, though. A case in point: I had to look up "defecate" when I read the sentence "the guard jumped on Knight's stomach so violently he defecated." That's the sort of sentence that stays with a pre-teen reader, as you can tell.

**I have a practical reason for doing this now too. Soon I hope to be reading these types of books to CRjr, and I'd kind of like to know what the stories are before I read them aloud.