"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rash by Pete Hautman

I really should read more Science Fiction because I seem to enjoy it so much. This book helps confirms this notion. Set in the U.S.S.A (not a typo) around 2075, Americans have given up freedom for safety. Children are not allowed to do anything that could possibly injure them without wearing protective gear such as helmets and padding. Things like bee-stings are worthy of a ride in an ambulance and saying mean things to another person could land you in detention center whose working environment could be called slavery. Football has been outlawed for 30 years because of it's potential for harm. Yet Bo, the hero of this story, finds himself playing an illegal game of football without any rules or referees.

I found this tale to have an intriguing and inventive storyline. Just the mention of this book to one of our school's football players generated interest and a "I want to read that book next" from him. Since I am always on the hunt for books that would interest teen boys, I am glad that I read this one so I have more material for recommendations. I also will explore other titles by Hautman.

I met Pete Hautman last year at the Washington Library Media Association's conference in October and I apologize to him (if he ever reads my blog) that it took me a whole year to finally read one of his books. I visited Hautman's webpage to see what he had to say about Rash and I was really intrigued by this quote: "Coming up with book titles can be difficult, but this one was easy—I knew what I wanted to call it from the outset. But then, as soon as I saw the first copy of the book, I wished I had titled it '2084.'" The whole senior class at my school was required to read 1984 this summer and now I find another connection to that book.

YA Fiction; 4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer 2009 Top Fifteen Books for Teen Readers

At the beginning of each school year I create a display with the favorite books that I read over the summer. I rank the books 1-15 and try to generate interest in them through my descriptions and their prominent placement in the library. Here is a ranked list of my top 15 YA picks (or adult books that I think teens will like):

1. Tamar: a Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal by Mal Peet
2. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
4. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
6. Rebel Angel by Libba Bray
7. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
8. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
9. Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
10. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
11. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohen and David Levithan
12. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthey
13. The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin
14. Impossible by Nancy Werlin
15. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

*The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery was my favorite read of the summer but it didn’t make this list because the vocabulary would be too challenging for the average teen reader. Another book that should have made the list was Shakespeare: World as Stage by Bill Bryson. I left it off because I do not have a copy of it in my library.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

I feel very emotional about this book. Not in a sad-weeping-despondent emotional way but more in a I-am-so-enraptured-that-I-can-scarcely-catch-my-breath sort of way. It is hard to compare this book to anything that I've ever read before. Reading it elevated my thinking to an aesthetic level seldom experienced by me, at least by literature. Perhaps I touched this level more often while listening to some classical piece of music exquisitely executed like Dido and Aeneas by Purcell (mentioned on page 275 by Renee), Suite No. 3 in D Major by Bach, or when my daughter and the Tacoma Youth Symphony play Jupiter by Holst. I was swept up in in the language. I was enraptured. This is a beautiful piece of work: literate, funny, and tragic by turn.

Here are a few quotes that I like a lot:
"Someone is playing a classical piece on the piano. Ah sweet impromptu moment, lifting the veil of melancholy- In a split second of eternity, everything is changed, transfigured." p.106

"Every time, it's a miracle. Here are all these people, full of heartache or hatred or desire, and we all have our troubles...- it all disappears, just like that, when the choir begins to sing. Everyday life vanishes into song, you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of brotherhood, of deep solidarity, even love..." p.185

"What does Art do for us? It gives shape to our emotions, makes them visible and, in so doing, places a seal of eternity upon them..." p. 203

"Melancholy overwhelms me, at supersonic speed." p. 279

Though I have gushed about this book, I must caution that I recognize that this is not the book for everyone. It is full of "big words", many that I even had to look up in a dictionary. Also, the plot of the story is as much about language, literature, Art (capitalized), music, intelligence, and insight as it is about two females that live in the same building that are struggling with how to get along in the world.

I will definitely re-read this book some day.

Adult fiction, translated from French. 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Reading Lists and Challenges

My 2017 Reading Projects and challenges. 
Updated: 7/5/17


Read the 2017 Youth Media Award Winners Challenge
The list of books will be announced Jan. 23, 2017

(Books highlighted in yellow= complete.)
YA Titles only for the YM Awards

1. Michael L. Printz Award (Best YA literature of the year) 
  • March, Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell
2. Schneider Family Book Award (Teen living with a disability)
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
3. Alex Awards -10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences (Pick one of ten)     
  • The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst// The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales// In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero// Buffering: Unshared Tales of a life Loaded by Hannah Hart// Arena by Holly Jennings// Every Heart a Doorway by Sean McGuire// Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure by Ryan North// Die Young With Me: a Memoir by Rob Rufus// The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon// The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach
    4. Margaret A. Edwards Award (Read one book by the winning author who has made a significant contribution to YA or Children's Lit)
    • Name of author _____Sarah Dessen______________ (Choose one of his/her books)
    • Title: Along for the Ride
    5. Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature (LGBT) (There was a tie---Read One)
    • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
    • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
    6. William C. Morris Award (First YA novel by author)
    • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
    7. YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults  (Since March, Book Three has been listed several times already, you can pick an Honor book instead)
    • March, Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell
    • Or One Honor Book: Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal// In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth Davis// Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela Turner// This Land is our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne
      8. Coretta Scott King Author Award (African American Author) 
      • March, Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell
      9. Coretta Scott King Steptoe Award (African American New Talent) 
               The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon 

      10. Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award (Since March, Book Three has been listed several times already, you can pick an Honor book instead)
      • March, Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell  
      • Or one Honor book: Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson// Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin// We Will Not Be Silent: the White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman
      11. Odyssey Award (Audio Book)
      • Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, narrated by Allan Couduner
      12. Larua Inglalls Wilder (Author award) Read one book by author: Nikki Grimes

      Title : ________Dark Sons________________________

      Pura Belpre (Latino Author) ... none of the selections this year are YA titles;
      Batchelder Award (Translated into English) ... none of the selections this year are YA titles


      (See the Printz Challenge tab on the Home Page for the complete list)

      Read all the 2017 Printz Award and Challenge books. Winners will be announced on Jan 23rd.

      Award winner:
      • March, Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (Read Nov. 11, 2016)
      Honor books:
      • Asking for It by Louise O'Neill
      • The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry (Read May 29, 2016)
      • Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Read Feb. 5, 2017)
      • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Read January 3, 2017)


        Read the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction each year 
        and catch up on identified books from previous years, only the ones I want to read

        The Underground Railroad
        Colson Whitehead
        Jul '17
        Very thought-provoking.
        The Sympathizer
        Nyugen, Viet
        Sep ‘16
        Deep and thought-provoking while surprisingly humorous.
        All the Light We Cannot See
        Doerr, Anthony
        Aug '15
        My favorite book of 2015.
        The Goldfinch
        Tartt, Donna
        Dec '14
        One of my favorite books of 2014.
        Orphan Master's Son
        Johnson, Adam
        The Snow Child (Runner-up)
        Ivey, Eowyn
        May ‘12
        A Visit from the Goon Squad
        Egan, Jennifer
        Harding, Paul
        Olive Kitteridge
        Strout, Elizabeth
        Mar '10
        A Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
        Diaz, Junot
        Jan ‘16
        The Road
        McCarthy, Cormac
        Brooks, Geraldine
        Apr '08
        Made me want to re-read Little Women
        Robinson, Marianne
        The Known World
        Jones, Edward
        Evidence of Things Unseen (Finalist)
        Wiggins, Marianne
        Mar ‘11
        What a story. Unforgettable.
        Eugenides, Jeffrey
        Oct '06
        Indescribably good.
        Empire Falls
        Russo, Richard
        Apr '05
        The Amazing Kavalier and Clay
        Charbon, Micahel
        Interpreter of Maladies
        Lahiri, Jhumpa
        Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Finalist)
        Proulx, E. Annie
        A favorite author
        The Hours
        Cunningham, Michael
        The Poisonwood Bible (Finalist)
        Kingsolver, Barbara
        A top ten favorite and so well done.
        Stone Diaries
        Shields, Carol
        Shipping News
        Proulx, Annie
        On my top ten favorites list
        A Thousand Acres
        Smiley, Jane
        Depressing topic
        The Things They Carried (Finalist)
        O’Brien, Tim
        Breathing Lessons
        Tyler, Ann

        Morrison, Toni
        Astonishingly good.
        Lonesome Dove
        McMurty, Larry
        The Color Purple
        Walker, Alice
        Such talent.
        A Confederacy of Dunces
        Toole, John Kennedy
        This book is in a category of its own. Love it!
        Roots (Special Pulitzer)
        Haley, Alex
        This book was a cultural phenomenon
        The Optimist’s Daughter
        Welty, Eudora

        Angle of Repose
        Stegner, Wallace
         I love this author!
        To Kill a Mockingbird
        Lee, Harper
         Can you believe I waited so long to read this classic?
        The Old Man and the Sea
        Hemingway, Ernest
        Read in junior high
        Tales of the South Pacific
        Michener, James
        Apr '17
        I am not a fan of this book.
        The Grapes of Wrath
        Steinbeck, John

        The Yearling
        Rawles, Marjorie Kinna
        Jan ‘16
        Gone with the Wind
        Mitchell, Margaret
        For many years this was my favorite book
        The Good Earth
        Buck, Pearl S.
        Read in high school
        The Bridge of San Luis Rey
        Wilder, Thorton

        So Big
        Ferber, Edna

        Age of Innocence
        Wharton, Edith
        Apr ‘16
        A delight