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Hope everyone's had a great Christmas so far. Mine's been wonderful. My knitted gifts seemed to go over really well, even the ones for my teenage cousins. I got some Pokemon games for Christmas, and I started playing HeartGold today. I haven't played in years, but it didn't take long for the old addiction to come back. Which lead to me spending hours looking for a Hoothoot.

I've also kept reading, of course:

A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans and A Treasury of Great American Scandals, both by Michael Farquhar: I'm grouping these two together because they're so similar. They're both in that genre of popular history that is entirely made up of shorter vignettes that don't really relate to each other. Enjoyable to read, but somewhat lacking in substance. I read the author's Treasury of Royal Scandals a few years ago, and liked it well enough to eventually add his other books to my list (I'll be reading A Treasury of Deception next). I liked Foolishly Forgotten Americans more, because there's actually more of substance in there. (Though what Anne Bonny was doing in there, I don't know. I wouldn't call her forgotten, not the way that everyone else has been.)

Fly by Night, by Frances Hardinge: Ok, I admit it: I basically read this book because of the Brett Helquist art on the cover. I was disappointed to discover that was all he contributed: no interior illustrations. At any rate, the book has a very interesting and unique (to me, at least) premise. It uses the English Revolution as a sort of starting point, the main divergence being that, revolution over, Parliament is given half a dozen or so contenders to become the new monarch and twenty years later, they still haven't decided. Individual cities are ruled by the trade guilds and by whatever lord holds the territory. Strict censorship is in effect: only books approved by the Stationers Guild can be read. The main character is a girl named Mosca (that's her and her stolen goose, Saracen) on the cover. She finds herself mixed up in political machinations in the city of Mandelion. And that's about the best I can do with a fairly complicated plot. I'll probably read more by the author, since it was well-written. And I'll certainly be reading the book she used as reference: 1700: Scenes from London Life. You know, someday.

Found, by Margaret Peterson Haddix: This is the first book in the Missing series. I've heard really, really good things about this book, and they're all true. I almost read it in one sitting, not bad for a 300 page book. A plane mysteriously appears at an airport, carrying only 36 babies. No pilot, no crew, no adults at all. As soon as the babies are unloaded, the plane vanishes again. Thirteen years later, Jonah (adopted) and his new friend Chris (also adopted, though he doesn't know it at the beginning of the story) start getting strange (identical) messages, and begin researching their adoptions to find some strange things. The mystery of who they really are and where they really came from is (mostly) solved by the end of the book, but there's still a lot left to cover. I'll be reading the rest of this series.
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September 2011

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