The Best Stand-Alone Books of the Decade


The year is almost over, Bits and Bramblers! But before we welcome 2010, we have one last “Best of” list…today, it’s the BEST STAND ALONE TEEN BOOKS OF THE DECADE! (Try saying that five times fast!) So…how’d you do? It doesn’t really matter if you can say it or not…the important part is the books! Check ‘em out!


…What do you think, Bits and Bramblers? Did we leave out anything? Let us know in the comments!

And as for us…this is our last blog post of the year! So have a VERY SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR, BITS AND BRAMBLERS! See you in 2010!

The Best Teen Book Series of the Decade


It’s nearly 2010…and that means it’s the end of the decade! So this year, we’re not only doing the best books of the year…we’re doing the BEST BOOKS OF THE DECADE!

But the thing is…that’s a lot of books. I mean…a lot. of. books. And nearly everyone picked all the Harry Potter books, all the Twilight books, all the Mortal Instruments books…you get the picture. And that’s even more books. So. many. books.

So we’ve decided to break our picks into two lists—the BEST TEEN BOOK SERIES OF THE DECADE, which includes all seven Harry Potter books, and the best “Stand Alones” of the decade—or books that aren’t part of a series.

Now, without further ado, we bring you our picks for the BEST TEEN BOOK SERIES OF THE DECADE! Check it out!

So…what do you think, Bits and Bramblers? Did your favorites make our list…or did we leave something out? Let us know in the comments! And check back tomorrow when we’ll post our list of the BEST STAND ALONE TEEN BOOKS OF THE DECADE!

The Most Checked Out Teen Books of 2009

Today, we’re sharing the teen books that have been checked out the most times this year. (SPOILER ALERT: Vampires are Popular. I know this might come as a surprise.) Aaaaaanyway…take a look!

What do you think, Bits and Bramblers? Did YOU check out one of these books this year? Is there something missing that you think everybody should check out? Let us know in the comments!

We’ll be back tomorrow with the BEST TEEN BOOK SERIES OF THE DECADE! Don’t miss it!

The Best Teen Books of 2009!

Here they are, Bits and Bramblers! Our picks for the BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2009!

…So what do you think, Bits and Brambers? Do you agree with the list, or did we leave off your faaaaaavorite book of the year? Let us know in the comments!

And check back later this week, when we’ll share the Most Checked Out Teen Books of 2009, along with our picks for Best Book Series of the Decade, and Best Stand-Alone Books of the Decade!

‘Tis the Season of Giving: at Home


So…over the past couple weeks, we’ve shared some fantastic organizations with you, Bits and Bramblers—like FreeRice, Kiva, and Heifer International. And while they all do great things all over the world, our last “‘Tis Season of Giving” organization is all about making a difference right here in Richland County. They help people in need throughout the community, and you—that’s right, you—can help, too.

The United Way of Richland County works “to increase the capacity of Richland County citizens to care for one another by bringing together all elements of the community to plan, support, deliver, and monitor quality human services.”

Which is just a fancy way of saying that they help people with everything from education to health care.


…And right now? The United Way is looking for heroes. Now, they aren’t really looking for superheroes—don’t get the two confused—but regular, everyday heroes who care enough to help those in need. See, they’re trying to raise a total of $1,701,000.00 by the end of the year.

Now…that’s a lot of money, right? I mean, it totally is…but when you think about it? It can do so much for those in need, right here in Richland County. The good thing is, they’ve already raised a bunch of money…$852,296.19 as of December 18th! But there’s still a long way to go…so if you’re in the spirit of giving, you—that’s right, you—can help!

First off—and most importantlyget your parents permission. Next, call the United Way offices at (419) 525-2816, or head to the United Way website and click the DONATE button. Remember…every little bit helps, and then they’re that much closer to meeting their goal!

So get moving, Bits and Bramblers…help the United Way today, and LIVE UNITED!


Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays, Bits and Bramblers! No matter what you celebrate—Chanukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaahave a very safe and happy holiday season!

And now we’ll leave you with more Bric-a-Brac Theater (because, really…if you don’t act out funny stories with Bric-a-Brac, what do you do with it?!) Except… I’m only pretty sure John Madden isn’t Santa Claus. And I don’t think a Mountain Troll ever pulled Santa’s sleigh. And let’s be honest…who wouldn’t be scared of a lake made entirely of pudding?!

‘Tis The Season of Giving: Heifer International


I’m just going to assume that you’re in the holiday spirit, Bits and Bramblers. You’re catching snowflakes on your tongue, enjoying your winter break (or counting down the minutes until it begins.) So it’s the perfect time to talk about another organization that will help you—that’s right, yougive back to those most in need.

Today, we’ll be talking about an organization that does something really simple—it gives people animals. And by doing that, it helps villages and communities grow.
See, Heifer International provides animals like cows, sheep, and even flocks of chicks to villages and communities who need them—in 53 countries across the world (including the United States!)

An animal can do so much—they provide food (like milk and eggs,) and material to make clothing (like wool.) And best of all, Heifer International encourages people to “pay the gift foward,” meaning the people fortunate enough to receive animals from the organization then give baby animals to other needy villages. Again…it’s totally a win/win!

So here’s how you—yes, you—can help. Once you get your parents permissionand that part is super important—you can head to the website, and click GIVE to see the online catalog. You can donate as little as $10, which helps pay for the price of an animal, like a water buffalo or a trio of rabbits! And just like that, you’re helping a village or community get stronger…all thanks to an animal!

You can learn a little more about the organization in this video (with a little help from TV Chef Alton Brown.) What are you waiting for, Bits and Bramblers? Head over to Heifer International, and change someone’s community for the better!

What Were the Best Teen Books of 2009?

‘Tis the Season of Giving: Kiva


Are you in the holiday spirit yet, Bits and Bramblers? If it took you a second to answer that question…then you’re definitely in the right place! After all, nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like giving. And here at Bits and Brambles, we’re all about giving back. That’s why we’re sharing different websites and nonprofit organizations that are making a difference m to those most in need this holiday season. And you—that’s right, you—can help!

So…let’s talk about Kiva. Their mission is “to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty” (and I think we can all agree that’s a pretty awesome mission, right?) But it’s how they help people that make them so cool. Have you ever heard of microfinance?


…Yeah, I hadn’t either. Basically, all it means is that banks lend small amount of money to low-income clients—who generally can’t get loans. But what Kiva does is a little different though. The site helps real people from all over the world—from Kenya to here in the U.S.—who trying to start a business of their very own business (like a grocery store, or even a farm.) Except…they don’t rely on banks to give microloans.

That’s because Kiva is the first person-to-person micro-lending website.” And that’s where you–that’s right, you—come in. First, obviously, you need your parents permission. Next, you can head back to the Kiva website, and click the LEND button to see a list of real people with real goals. Once you decide who you want to help, you just donate $25 to their cause…and then you can follow their progress!

Still not convinced? Well, check this out…since you’re loaning a real person some money, they’ll pay you back. It’s not all that different from loaning your friend lunch money, with the minor exception your best friend isn’t trying to open a grocery store. Probably.

It’s another win/win, really. The people you’re helping can start their business, and eventually you’ll get your money back. And if you want, you can lend it to a new person who’s starting a business! So what are you waiting for, Bits and Bramblers? Get into the holiday spirit, head over to Kiva…and start changing the world!

How Can You Expect the Unexpected?

What if everything you thought you wanted ended up being wrong? What if you decide not to do all those things that are expected of you? Cecily starts to wonder when she gets to her dorm room for the first time. Because it feels…wrong. So she just…leaves. She turns around, and goes home.

…But what happens now? Be sure and check out An Off Year, by Claire Zulkey.