5 Favourite Reads by Stephanie Burgis

Today our author in residence shares her favourite books with us….

5 Favourite Reads by Stephanie Burgis

I devour books like chocolate, so it’s dangerous to ask me to start talking about them…I could go on forever! I’ve even got a page on my website completely devoted to my top favourite Kat-related books you can check out here. But when Bookbabblers invited me to write a guest post here about five favourite reads, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to talk about some of the books I’ve loved most recently:

1. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book One: The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood

I’m afraid this one is only published in America, but it is available through amazon.co.uk, and it is SO worth it. I haven’t laughed so much over a book – and I mean uncontrollable giggling out loud! – for a long, long time. When Miss Penelope Lumley leaves the Swanburne School to become a governess, she is astonished to discover that her new charges aren’t just wild, they were actually raised by wolves…and the results are hilarious and adorable. I loved, loved, loved this book, and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series!

2. The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall

Oh, this book was so much fun! Four sisters and their absent-minded father spend their summer in a self-catering cottage on a secluded estate in America, meet and rescue a lonely boy, and create an enormous amount of (very funny) trouble. It reads like an inspired combination of Little Women and Swallows and Amazons, with the feeling of really classic literature. I loved the characters so much, especially the relationships among the sisters.

3. I also adore the third book in the Penderwick series, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, which is due to come out in the UK in February 2012.

The Penderwick girls are split apart for the first time ever, and the younger Penderwicks end up unleashed without their protective big sister to deal with disastrous (and hilarious) first love, musical genius, and melodrama. This book stands alone beautifully, so you don’t have to read either of the earlier Penderwick books before you enjoy it…but why wouldn’t you want to? (I didn’t love Book 2 as much as the other two books, but I wouldn’t have missed Book 1 for the world!)

4. Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman

This one is out of print, frustratingly, but there are lots of cheap, used copies available, and it’s so worth hunting it down. Set in the Middle Ages, this is the diary of stubborn, grumpy, rebellious and completely lovable teenager Catherine. Her voice is so strong and engaging, and I utterly adored being swept into her medieval world, complete with captive bears that must be saved, shaggy-bearded suitors that must be somehow disposed of, and older brothers that must be taught their proper place.

5. Vanished, by Sheela Chari

Another book that’s only published in the US, I’m afraid, but oh, it is wonderful! Eleven-year-old Neela lives in Boston and dreams of becoming a professional musician if she can ever overcome her shyness. When her instrument, a traditional Indian veena, is stolen, Neela is swept into an international mystery and ends up researching curses, traveling to India, and making new friends along the way. I love the way this book meshes exciting adventure and mystery with absolutely beautiful writing.

And now I’m off to the library to discover more books – my very favourite kind of treasure hunting!

Thanks, Steph – fab choices! We’ll be hearing more from Steph throughout the month, but in the meantime, you can find out more about her here and get her books here…