Once upon a time, I earned a Master's Degree in Literature and was a Professor of Literature and Composition. I had a wonderful time writing my Master's Thesis about Children's and Young Adult Literature, and I considered earning a Ph.D. so that I could continue to pursue the written word, including British, American, Latin American and other Global Literatures, Children's and Young Adult Literature, all types of genres and occasionally even poetry. But life takes you in unexpected directions, and so now I am working for a non-profit agency (you can read about that on my other blog, A Little Bit of Wonder). Although my job keeps me too busy to post as many book reviews as I would like, Recommended Reading is a place where I can continue to share my literary discoveries and knowledge as time allows.

Please note that I post reviews for books that I recommend reading, just like the blog title says. This means that I typically won't post a review for a book that I completely dislike. This isn't because I shy away from making negative comments, but rather because I don't want to waste your time or mine (I won't even bother to finish a book if it's not any good). For more on this, see the explanation of my Rating System.)

Suggestions for Our Six Books in Six Weeks Reading Challenges

Current Six Books in Six Weeks Challenge:
Six Books from Another Country

In order to participate in the first Six Books in Six Weeks Reading Challenge, you must choose six books from a single country other than the United States or England. (Since I'd like to encourage everyone to broaden their horizons, and these are the two national literatures that are most widely read and taught in American schools, these two countries are out. You are free to read six books from Canada or other parts of the U.K. besides England, such as Ireland or Scotland.  You may also fudge it and choose six books from a region -- for example six books from Ireland/Scotland, or six books from a couple of different African countries.)  Please also note: the books can be from any genre, and do not have to be Young Adult Lit (although all of mine are, this time around).

Suggested Reading Lists:

Six (Y.A.) Books from Australia: Jellico Road by Melina Marchetta, Surrender by Sonya Hartnett, The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett, What the Birds See by Sonya Hartnett, The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.

Six (Y.A.) Books from the Caribbean: Before We Were Free and Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez (Dominican Republic), Anaconda, Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 and Behind the Mountains by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti), The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph (Trinidad, about the Dominican Republic), The Poet Slave of Cuba, The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba, and The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle (Cuba).

Six (Y.A.) Books from Canada: Mistik Lake and Bone Dance by Martha Brooks, A Complicated Kindness by Miram Toews, Alone at Ninety Foot by Katherine Holubitsky, Stones and The Blue Helmet by William Bell, The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones. [For a complete list of novels that have won the Canadian Library Association's Young Adult Canadian Book award, visit their website (link here) -- there are some Canadian books on this list that sound really good, but I didn't put up here because they aren't set in Canada.  You could always swap one or two of the books on this list.]

Six (Y.A.) Novels from Sri Lanka/India (incomplete list): Funny Boy, Cinnamon Gardens and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (Canadian/Sri Lankan) [... can anyone think of any other novels set in Sri Lanka or India?  I'm coming up empty for the moment, but if I think of any others, I'll update this post].

Colm Tóibín, Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. [For more options, see the Wikipedia entry on Irish novelists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Irish_novelists

Six Books from Nigeria: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, No Longer At Ease by Chinua Achebe, The Famished Road by Ben Okri, Half of a Yellow Sun by

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