Books I Have Enjoyed

Hello Amy’s Garden readers! My name is Lydia Tyndall, and I am the daughter of Amy herself. Before I jump into my article, I would like to tell you why I am publishing it here. 

If you read my mother’s last blog post, you will know all about the Young Writer’s Miscellany. Now that I can’t write things for The Miscellany, I am stuck with this blog. 

In this article I am going to tell you about several books (or book series) that I have enjoyed reading. 


The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow is set in the time of Christ and tells the story of a young Jewish man named Daniel. After witnessing the Romans kill his father, his only goal in life is to get revenge. He lives with an outlaw group who is plotting up a rebellion against Rome. When he runs into Jesus, Daniel is faced with a new way of looking at the world that could change his life. 

Why I like it: My mom read The Bronze Bow aloud to us a few months ago. It was a wonderful experience. The Bronze Bow is immensely rich and powerful. It was fun to share it as a family. Daniel is an angry, spiteful outlaw, not the type of person that would be fun to hang out with, but somehow you still find yourself rooting for him.  

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 

The Chronicles of Narnia series tells of a magical land called, you guessed it, Narnia. In all the books (except A Horse and His Boy) a group of children from our world are able to enter Narnia through some sort of magic portal. In A Horse and His Boy the main characters are native Narnians. In each book the protagonists go on different adventures. The series begins with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Next is Prince Caspian, then The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle. There is an ongoing debate about the order in which the seven books should be read, but we won’t get into that here.

Why I like them: The Chronicles of Narnia books are in turns moving, funny, thought provoking, and always hard to put down. 

Three Days at the Brink: Young Readers’ Edition: FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II by Bret Baier (with Catherine Whitney) 

Three Days at the Brink is part biography of Franklin Roosevelt and part a history of the Tehran Conference, a meeting between Franklin Roosevelt (president of the United States), Winston Churchill (prime minister of Great Britain), and Joseph Stalin (premier [which is basically a nice sounding word for dictator] of the Soviet Union). At this conference Roosevelt first proposed the idea for D-Day. (I wrote two whole Miscellany articles about this world-changing invasion. If you want to read them you can click on these links.

D-day: Why It Mattered

The Weatherman Who Saved D-Day

 Anyway, readers of Three Days at the Brink will learn about how America’s allies in the war (Soviet Union and Great Britain) responded to Roosevelt’s proposal, the complex relations between these three countries, and much more!  

Why I like it: As I read Three Days at the Brink I was in a state of utter fascination. I was mesmerized, intrigued, captivated, spellbound…I felt feelings that words can not describe… I learned exciting new things on every page… I fulfilled a lifelong dream by gaining a greater knowledge of WWII history… I learned to love both reading and history even more than I did before… I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, and I sorrowed. I danced and was still, I lived and let live, I sat down and stood up, sowed and reaped, loved and despised, and oh, oh, best, best of all, I even had my cake and ate it too. Okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little over dramatic here…

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare 

 My dear Amy’s Garden readers, I have a very solemn warning for you. Whatever you do and wherever you go, do not try to force your way into becoming a dictator. If you do your own friends will murder you, you will cry “Et tu [enter name of friend who is stabbing you to death here]!,” and die dramatically. If that is not bad enough, your death will create a power void, and eventually the nation that you were trying to become a dictator of will be thrown into a bloody civil war. After years of unrest your nephew (not even your own son!) will become dictator instead! (This nephew will later order a census, and everyone will have to go to their hometowns, and a baby will be born who will grow up to save the people of the world from their sins, but that is another story.)  If my warning is not enough, just read Julius Caesar and see how it worked out for him! 

Side note: You may be wondering “Joseph Stalin was a dictator, but he never got murdered!” You will then undoubtedly think, “This girl must have never heard of him!” But then it will dawn on you, “You know she talked about him in her description of the last book! Hm… Oh eureka! (at this point you will jump up out of your bathtub) Joseph Stalin called himself a premier instead of a dictator! That’s how he got away with it! I can go out and become a dictator as long as I don’t call myself one!” Before you go calling and emailing me to point this out, I will go ahead and confess that this is a weak point in my argument. (But please, don’t be like ole’ Julius.) (Or Stalin.)

Why I like it: I could go on and on about my love for this play, but I have written enough about it (and chased plenty of rabbit trails) already. All I will say is, people still read Shakespeare for a reason! 

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

The Masque of the Red Death is short, spooky, intense, and, and, wonderful. It tells of a certain prince who, with a group of friends, locks himself up and parties to escape a plague called, you guessed it, the Red Death. Everything goes fine until a strange guest arrives… 

Why I like it: It is truly a marvel how Poe gives the reader so much to ponder in such a short tale. It is simply astounding how in a mere umteen pages he shows in vivid and shocking clarity the nature of humanity, the power of fear, the march of time, the inevitability of death… Oh! 

Disclaimer:  The Masque of the Red Death is technically a short story. I realize that this is a list of books or book series. If you are mad about it I don’t want to hear about it. (Go vent your anger to the raven that creepily sits on your bust of Pallas above your chamber door.) 

Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Little House series is a fictionalized account of Laura Ingalls’ life from the time she was a toddler to when she was married and had a toddler of her own! The titles in this series are Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House On the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years. 

Why I like them: The Little House series gives readers a glimpse into the pioneer lifestyle in a way that is fun and entertaining. Even though I might enjoy reading about residing in a log cabin and living off the land, I am perfectly content to remain settled in my air conditioned home and to get my food from Walmart. (Flush toilets are nice too.)  

Side note: I have loved the Little House series for about as long as I can remember. When I was a young girl, my parents read the entire series aloud to me. I was captivated by the stories and chose Little House as the theme for my sixth birthday party. Several years later our family went on a trip to Minneapolis. We got to visit two Little House sites as part of the trip. One was in De Smet, South Dakota where books 5-8 of the series take place. The other was in Walnut Grove, Minnesota where On the Banks of Plum Creek is set. Visiting these sites made me very happy. That September I had my eleventh birthday party at Laura’s house in Mansfield, Missouri. This is where she lived as an adult. As you can see the Little House books will always hold a special place in my heart. (So inspiring.) 

Me at my birthday party in 2012. (I’m holding Flowers, how pretty!

Me at my birthday Party in 2017. (I’m holding a glue gun, not quite so pretty, or historically accurate.) 

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 

As her family was living in hiding from the Nazis in WWII, Anne Frank recorded her thoughts and experinces in her diary. If you want to know more about Anne, you can read the Miscellany article I wrote about her. 

Anne Frank

Why I liked it: What makes Anne Frank’s diary so special is that it is a personal account. When she wrote in her diary she had no idea it would someday be published. 

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

The Hiding Place tells the story of Corrie ten Boom and her family as they hid Jews in their home in WWII as well as their experience in prison camps after they were caught. I also wrote a Miscellany article about Corrie ten Boom.  

Corrie ten Boom

Why I liked it: Corrie ten Boom was a christian and so am I. It was inspiring to read about her strong faith and devotion to what was right even in some pretty bad situations.  

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

Anne Shirley is a wonderfully entertaining protagonist. Throughout the eight books, readers watch her mature from an immature orphan to a mother of six. The titles in this series are: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside. (The last three books are more about Anne’s kids, but they’re still worth your time! In fact Rilla of Ingleside is my favorite book in the series.)   

Why I liked it: I have listened to the entire Anne of Green Gables series on audiobook two times. The books are delightfully entertaining and the characters feel like real people.

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry

In On the Horizon, the author takes her own memories combined with historical research and turns it into a collection of poems that tell the stories of individuals involved in Pearl Harbor and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. I listened to the audiobook read by the author. 

Why I liked it: On the Horizon is short but meaningful. It describes the tragedies of the Second World War in a way that is both sad and beautiful at the same time. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell 

Last year I took an online Literature class. Animal Farm was the last book we read the whole year. It is a political satire pushing back against communism.  Basically the plot is as follows.

1: There are a bunch of animals on a farm who are mistreated and overworked.

2: They have a rebellion, kick out their human overlords, and put a couple of pigs in charge. 

3: This newfound power corrupts the pigs, and they become just as mean (or meaner) than the humans were. (No happy endings here!) 

Why I liked it: Why I liked Animal Farm is the question of the ages. It just doesn’t make sense that anyone could like a book that is bleak, depressing, and hopeless. Here is the best explanation I can offer. 

For several months before I read Animal Farm, I had been putting every ounce of my energy into researching communism. (Okay, maybe not every ounce of energy in me, but it was quite a bit.) Anyway after all this research I had myself pretty well convinced that communism was bad. Animal Farm confirmed those preconceived notions. 

Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang

Red Scarf Girl is a memoir of Ji-li Jiang, a teenage girl living in China during the Cultural Revolution. She had grown up immersed in communist propaganda, exposed to no other viewpoints, and fully believed all of it. At first she was excited when she heard there was going to be a “cultural revolution,” which from what I understand was a big movement to get rid of anything that was not completely in line with communist principles. Ji-li’s ideas began to change when her own father became something to get rid of.

Why I liked it: I am a big fan of personal accounts and that’s exactly what Red Scarf Girl is. 

Sweep by Jonathan Auxier

Okay, so if I tried to explain the plot of Sweep to you, most likely you would think, “That sounds like a strange idea for a book.” Here’s the thing: it kinda is. Here’s the other thing: the book is really good and totally worth your time. Anyway, here’s the book description! So there’s a girl named Nan and she’s a chimney sweep in Victorian London. Somehow she becomes acquainted with this soot creature called a golem which is a thing from Jewish folklore.

Why I liked it: I just liked it. That’s all there is to it.    

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows is about the relationship between a kid named Billy and his two dogs, Big Dan and Little Ann. He saves up money for two years so he can buy these two dogs specially bred to hunt racoons. (In the book they call them “coons.” It took me a few chapters to figure out that it was the same thing as racoons.) Before long Billy and his dogs become an inseparable trio. It is terribly unfortunate when the dogs die at the end. 

Why I liked it: If I didn’t have a canine friend of my own, I probably would not have liked this book nearly as much. I would have just read the book, said, “Meh, it was okay,” and moved on. But I do have a canine friend! His name is Jacques, and he lives in my backyard. He is my best friend in the whole wide world. He’s super fluffy and is just awesome!!!!!!!!!!! So I was really able to appreciate a book dedicated to the relationship between canine and human.     

Side note: The dogs die at the end. Both of them. Dead as a doornail. Normally I would not give out spoilers, but the reason that I am so comfortable announcing this one for the whole world to hear is because the book spoils itself. In the very first chapter, it just tells you that the dogs will die.  

Another side note: One time I was sitting at the table with my mom. There was not much conversation, so I said, “Mother, we should teach Jacques to hunt raccoons.” 

In a slightly distracted tone, my mother replied,

 “What gave you that idea?”

 “Where the Red Fern Grows,” I answered.

She gave me some nonanswer in response. To this day Jacques has received no raccoon hunting training.

Jacques, the best dog the world has ever known.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

If you want to read a serious book that addresses deep topics such as love, hate, and remorse, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is not for you. (Sorry to disappoint.) This book probably won’t get you to ponder anything, but it will get you to laugh. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is about a girl named Alice having adventures in a place called Wonderland. (Bet you didn’t see that coming!) There is not much of a plot to this book, just Alice wandering around meeting unique creatures and encountering strange things. 

Why I like it:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is clever, witty, and entertaining. It is a great book to read if you just need to laugh. 

In 2019 for my 13th birthday, I had an Alice in Wonderland themed party. 


Well folks, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed my high quality reviews!!!!


Acknowledgements: I would like to thank my dog, Jacques. He kept me company while I wrote most of this post. I would also like to thank my dad for buying me the laptop on which I typed this post. 

2 thoughts on “Books I Have Enjoyed

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