Friday, July 23, 2010

The Other "R" Word in My Life

When I started this blog, I wasn't sure if I wanted it to be a little of everything or themed.  As you can see, I chose themed, and went with a running blog (although I do let other subjects sneak in from time to time).  I've seen so many fun and interesting blogs that talk about a little of everything - music, books, cooking, politics, etc. and I really like those.  But I'm not so well rounded.  I'm a pretty simple girl.  I like running, good books, good coffee, my pup and my husband most of the time, and a few other people or things.  It's simple and I like it that way.

Still, a side of me that is almost as big as the running side is the reading side. I have been an avid reader from the moment I knew how.  In college I majored in English, not because it would prepare me for some great career (it did not and will not so be warned fellow lovers of the written word), but because I loved to read and write.  I was exposed to books I loved and books I hated.  When I graduated and began to work I felt like the sky was the limit.  Not only did I have all the free time in the world to read, I had a paycheck to fund it as well! (Yes, I know there are such things as libraries, but I liked to OWN my books when I could afford to.)

I love perusing the book store to find the perfect book to take home with me and then getting totally lost in it.  I love books of all kinds too, so you never know exactly what I am going to bring home.  I'm kind of a snob, though, and I like to believe I have good taste.  If an author cheeses me out, frustrates or annoys me by their writing, their plot, or stupid characters, I'm done with them. If a fellow reader suggests one of these authors, I know not to take book suggestions from that person in the future.

Recently I finished two great books.  One was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the other was Born to RunThese two books are totally different, and while I would certainly recommend Born to Run to all my running (and even non-running) friends, I hesitate with the first one.  While it is good writing and the author succeeds in pulling the reader in so strongly that it is hard to get out until finished, it has a lot of content that I could have personally done without (and yet, I am in the midst of the second you see what I mean).

Upon finishing these two books, however, I revisited a series from my childhood.  I am not sure what made it come to mind - maybe the fact that my sister and I are working on a children's book series ourselves - but once I thought of it, I had to read it.  This book was my very first chapter book.  My mom read it to me and then I read it to myself.  Once I'd completed it, my reading took off and I would read anything I could get my hands on. 

But back to the book.  I had mentioned this book to my mom and my sister recently, asking if they remembered it.  I told them I wanted to read it again myself.  When I got laid off from work, they got part of the series for me.

The book is Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe.  Have you read it?  If not, you must.  I recently finished the four books Mom and Julie gave me, and they were SUCH a pleasure to read.  First of all, they are hilarious.  The story is told by the family dog, Harold.  The main characters are Harold the dog, Chester the cat, their family and eventually Howie the Dachshund puppy.  And, of course, Bunnicula the vampire bunny.

I don't know how many times I laughed out loud at the personalities and antics of Harold, Chester and the family.  I have loaned the first book Bunnicula to my niece in hopes that she too will enjoy it as much as I did, so I cannot provide any direct quotes from that one, but I do have one from another book that I want to share.

From the book Bunnicula Strikes Again:

What is happening is Chester, Harold and Howie are out looking for Bunnicula's mom, which Chester has decided is going to show up, create more vampire bunnies, and take over the world.  They find themselves in an alley and they are approaching something moving, which they can see is black and white (the colors of Bunnicula).

"I'm going in for a closer look," said Chester.  "Cover me."
"Okay," Howie said.  "Do we have a blanket, Uncle Harold?"
"I don't think that's what Chester had in mind."

Howie takes everything and I mean EVERYTHING literally.  James Howe keeps this consistent throughout the books and it is hilarious.  As you may have guessed, the creature they were approaching was not Bunnicula's mother, but a skunk.  Howie and Harold get sprayed and when they get home to their family (the Monroes), they are bathed thoroughly in tomato juice.  Howie's humor coincides with that of Chester who is paranoid and sees the absolute worst in every situation.  He is always coming up with plans and schemes that will save the Monroes and eventually the world.  Harold is a big. lumbering dog who enjoys naps and meal time and these are the things constantly on his mind.  His commentary throughout the story has me cracking up with the turn of each page.

I really could go on and on, but I don't think my review should be as long as the books themselves.  I will end by saying that enjoyment can be found in these gems by kids and adults alike.  Invest in the series.  You won't regret it.

These books can be found on and in most bookstores.  A list of all the titles in the Bunnicula Series, as well as a list of all books by James Howe can be find inside on the first page.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post!

    I feel the same way - besides music and writing, reading is the hobby that consumes most of my free time.

    I also agree with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." There were definitely some - a-hem - ADULT situations in the book, but sucks you in, doesn't it?

    I just bought the sequel, too. :-)

    Also, I can't wait to read your children's book!