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Talia’s Book List(s)

*most recent renovations: November 26, 2008



     Hi! My name is Jen but when I first started attempting booklists I went by Talia most of the time…. I am also known by various other identities including Lady Talia – first of “Thousand Eyes” (SCA in Idaho 1991-93), then of “Cote du Ciel” (Utah State University 93-98) and, more recently, Macanoni Mom (it’s a long story)….

     I am a shameless book “addict” and have attempted to list favorite books before (to share with friends, etc) but the lists tend really long really quick… I have 4 cute kids now, too, so my time for projects is limited and sporadic. Thus, this attempt is meant to be a relatively brief list of favorite authors/books…

     Mostly I read children’s and young adult fiction, and a lot of it “fantasy” of sorts, so that is what will be most common on my list(s). I’m pretty fussy about what I consider to be children’s vs. young adult literature and will try to make that clear (but I’ll save the soapbox for later)…


   (My) Age Categories:

E=Early Reader: 8yrs+   I=Intermediate: 10yrs+   YA=Young Adult: 12yrs+   A=Adult: 16yrs+

     I indicate reading level (difficulty of vocabulary, length of book, etc) and content “ages” separately. Content “age” is based on intensity of subject and/or presence of any violence, rough language, or “mature” situations. This is just based on my opinion --- please apply your own judgment as well!

10 of My Favorite Books

Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The enchanted chocolate pot by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

     ...being the correspondence of two young ladies of quality regarding various magical scandals in London and the country...

     This story is clever and funny and the characters even more so! I just love this book! (And Cecelia could so be my friend Kristen!)

      Read level: YA/A  Content: I

**Princess Academy by Shannon Hale 

     While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.

     This is not as stereotypical a book as it may sound - the girls in the story do not have a choice about being sent to the "academy". It's the choices they discover they do have that make the story…

      Read level: I  Content: E

**Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

     Ella is cursed to be strictly obedient --- but that doesn't make her docile! She is determined to break the curse before it brings harm to those she loves.

     Most of Levine's books are ok, but this is my favorite by a long shot. (And as far as I can tell the movie bore little if any resemblance to the book – another example of read the book first!!)

      Read level: I  Content: E

Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones     

     As the eldest of 3 sisters, Sophie is resigned to a quiet (dull) life in the family’s hat shop... until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the feared wizard Howl.

     I like a lot of Jones's books, but this is a particular favorite. The movie was good too, but I highly recommend reading the book first (it explains characters much better and takes a whole different direction with the plot after the first bit)

     Read level: I Content: I

Dark Lord of Derkholm by Dianna Wynne Jones  

     Derk, an unconventional wizard, and his magical family become involved in a plan to put a stop to the devastating tours of their world arranged by the tyrannical Mr. Chesney.

     I just like this book - its original and I love the mix of humor and adventure and wonderful characters…. The sequel is great, too.

      Read level: YA  Content: YA

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale 

     On her way to marry a prince she's never met, Princess Anidori is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers.

     The two follow up books to this were really good, too, but I still like the first the best.

     Read level: YA  Content: YA

Sabriel by Garth Nix 

     Sabriel, daughter of the Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead before malicious spirits overwhelm the entire region.

     This is a fairly original fantasy/quest adventure and very well written. The two books that follow are not as easy to read, but the complete story is quite worth it!

      Read level: YA/A  Content: YA/A

*Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse    

     In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.

     Hesse’s style is unique and her characters compelling and memorable.

      Read level: I  Content: I

Calling the Swan by Jean Thesman

     When Skylar goes to summer school and tentatively begins to make some friends, she finally starts to come to terms with a family tragedy and its lingering effects.

     This story deals with serious issues of loss and grieving, but with a light touch and sense of hope. 

      Read level: I/YA  Content: I/YA

*The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare 

     Set in Galilee in the time of Jesus, this story tells of a young Jewish rebel who is intrigued by the gentle teachings of Jesus, but torn by desire for revenge against the Roman oppressors.

     Just kind of a neat book. I also like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by the same author.

     Read level: I  Content: E

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

     When her aunt and uncle take her from New Mexico to Lugano, Switzerland, to attend an international school, thirteen-year-old Dinnie discovers an expanding world and her place within it.

     I can't really explain why I like this one so much. It is just sweet and funny. "Finding your place in the world" doesn't always have to be angst-riddled! 

     Read level: I Content: I


                      *Newberry Medal Winner                 **Newberry Honor

Intro/Main Menu

10 Favorites

Great Authors

Good Series


Books by Age:

  Youth (8yrs+)

  Intermediate (10+)

  Young Adult (12+)

  Adult (16+)

Book by Style:

  Gen. Fiction

  “Fantasy” Fiction 

  “Science” Fiction

Historical Fiction