"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=========

Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Banned Books Week- Day 7- TGIF and First Lines

TGIF at Greads Question of the week: Banned Books: How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?

I've blogged every day this week on Banned Books Week. Please go back and read my posts to learn what I think about censorship. When my children were young I helped them select age-appropriate materials to read and view but if they wanted to read something that wasn't, I would read that book with them so that we could talk about it together. Recently my college-age daughter told me that she appreciated the way that open-minded way we raised her, capable of thinking for herself. High praise indeed. As a librarian I have fairly strong feelings about the way that banning books violates 1st Amendment rights and the Students Rights to Read. Click on the links to see my other posts on Banned Books Week.
Day 1- Banned Books Giveaway (closes Oct. 1)
Day 1- Banned Books reinstated...sort of
Day 2- Sunday Salon, BBW edition
Day 3- Mindless Banning
Day 4- In the GKHS Library
Day 5- Review: Athletic Shorts (a banned book)
Day 6- Maya Angelou Poem: Those Who Ban Books

First Line Friday at A Few More Pages: In honor of Banned Books Week I have highlighted the first line of several books that have been banned or challenged in the past. I never realized until I started hunting for books with good first lines, how many bad first lines there are in books.  Ha!  Hope you like my selection of opening lines from banned books. 
1984 by George Orwell: "It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:  "It was a pleasure to burn."
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon: "It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was laying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs. Shear's house."
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: "When I was little, my dad used to tell me, 'Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.' This seemed a reasonably astute observation to me when I was eight, but it turns out to be incorrect on a few levels."
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan: "It was a wild, windy, southwestern spring when the idea of killing Mr. Griffin occurred to them."
Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going: "I'm a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks."
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 Banned Books Week-Day 6- "Those Who Ban Books"

Those Who Ban Books 
by Maya Angelou
They were scared of sexes and hexes
and multi-colored sheets.

And men and women doing even
consensual things.

They banned a same-sex marriage room
and Judy Blume.

Charles Dicken Chickin-Lickin and
Why the Caged Bird Sings.

(An original poem by Maya Angelou for Random House Incorporated Magazine, Vol 3, No.1)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

 2011 Banned Books Week: Day 5---Banned Book Review

What better to read during Banned Books Week than a Chris Crutcher book? Chris Crutcher is a YA author whose books are frequently banned/challenged.  His books are poignant and smart yet they obviously hit a note of discord with parents and adults because they don't mince words and they tackle tough subjects that don't always fit in to polite little boxes. His books are so hard-hitting that they often find the censors flame. A poster announcing a Chris Crutcher event earlier this week has this tagline: Censored. Challenged. Controversial. Award-winning.  Crutcher's website has a whole page dedicated to censorship of his books. Check it out.

Here is a list of some of the reasons that Athletic Shorts has been banned or challenged in the past:
  • homosexuality, language, disrespect for parents (1999)
  • Challenger found the book objectionable and demanded it be removed from the library and from a list of required reading. {It was.} (2000)
  • "If you do keep this book based on First Amendment rights, then you cannot discipline students for foul language, hair color, clothing, etc, as that is infringing on their rights to free speech." (2003)
  • "The material directly contradicts and undermines the beliefs and teachings of our faith." (2004)
  •  "Trash. It’s terrible." (2005)
  • Teacher accused of saying "homosexuality is good.” (2005)
  • “I do not want to have to explain to my [6-year-old] daughter what it means to be questioning one’s sexuality …" (2006)                                                                           -From Chris Crutcher's Page
With those little poison darts in mind let me tell you about the book. Athletic Shorts is a collection of six short stories where Crutcher reunites the readers with characters from previous books. Unfortunately for me, I haven't read any of those books, yet, but that didn't keep me from being profoundly touched by each of them. Every story just about screamed "I'm controversial" with topics covering weight problems, homosexuality, AIDS, racism, bigotry, forgiveness, death. Wow.  Where else does one find a collection of short stories that guarantees to offend and yet also teach, touch, and cause the reader to stop and think?

My favorite story of the collection, "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune", the story of an overweight teenager whose parents are gay. He is voted in as Senior Ball King which means he will have to dance with Senior Ball Queen, Melissa LeFevre. He just wants to dance the dance without embarrassing himself. I think this is a theme that most teenagers can relate to...just wanting to get by without embarrassment.

Please join me in reading all of Chris Crutcher's books.  This challenge has no time-limit. The Chris Crutcher Challenge.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Banned Books Week- Day 4- Library Displays

Banned Books Week in the GKHS Library

Introduction display to Banned Books Week greets students who enter the library

One whole shelf is covered with banned/challenged books highlighted with orange bookmarks that each have a quotation about the dangers of censorship. Books are flying off the shelves!!!
Students stop and look at this display. The list on the clipboard is the top banned books for the past ten years. Students always want to know why a book was banned.
The week's daily announcements always start off with "What do Where's Waldo, The Bible, and Twilight all have in common?  You are right! They are all books that have been banned in past years."  This display case is right outside the library and I use it to attract attention to books that kids might want to read.

After six years, I finally got a bulletin board in my library.  I filled it with anti-censorship messages and information about Banned Books Week.

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 Banned Books Week- Day 3- Mindless Banning

I did four book talks today, three of them focused on banned or censored books as part of my Banned Books Weeks celebrations in the library. High school students get all fired up when they think about someone else taking away their right to read a particular book. It was a gratifying, challenging, and fun day. Throughout the day, as the students and I talked about cases of recent book bannings, it became increasingly clear that most book-banners have NOT read the whole book they want to ban.

Case in point, last year Laurie Halse Anderson's award-winning book SPEAK was challenged by a college professor who called the book "soft porn." When I told students about that today, one boy said he read the book last year and he didn't even know what was happening in the rape scene because it was such a mild description, certainly not soft porn. Did the college professor even read the book, or did he just read a few passages out of context? Read Anderson's response to that challenge here in the September 23, 2010 issue of National , a web magazine.

Among the books I introduced today was Sherman Alexie's fabulous book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. I get all agitated when I think about how often this book is challenged/banned. It is one of the best YA books ever written. After my presentation all five copies of the book were checked out immediately.

Last year the Richland, Washington School Board decided to remove The Absolutely True Diary from all grades not just their 9th grade reading list by a 3-2 vote.Two months later, after receiving a joint letter from several anti-censorship organizations (See Kids Rights to Read Project), the same board reversed their vote because one of the members, Donahoe, read the book in the meantime and found the book "outstanding."
The book is based on Alexie's own upbringing on the Spokane reservation and his attending school in nearby Reardan, a predominantly white farming town. The book's 14-year-old protagonist struggles with poverty, racism and death.'Those themes, and particularly the main character's perseverance in the face of these challenges, bear important lessons for students,' Donahoe said. 'When I'm voting a book out of the classroom, I'm denying parents the right to choose to have that book read by their students,' he said.   -NewsTribune
I'm glad that Donahoe reversed his vote to ban this book, but why did he vote NO in the first place? I'm afraid that that happens more often than not. Individuals in a position to vote for/against book banning base their votes on feedback from others without reading the book themselves.

Think for yourself and let others do the same!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Banned Books Week- Day 2- Sunday Salon

I'm reading on the web: Articles and blogs about banned/censored books. I stumbled upon the Christian Science Monitor's blog and there are several posts on this topic that I highly recommend.  Check them out.

I'm thinking about: Banned Books Week and the ramifications of censorship on all our freedoms.

I'm listening to: Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher. This collection of short stories has been challenged in several school districts over the years due to "issues related to homosexuality, language, disrespect for parents." -Chris Crutcher censorship page

I'm reading: Karma by Cathy Ostlere. This historical fiction novel deals with the freedom of religion not the freedom of speech, though they often are related.

Book reviewed this week: The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Lists I am making: Activities and displays I want to do in my library this week, like the Lunch Banned Books Read-a-thon and what to put in the display case in the hall.

Scripture lesson in church: Luke 4:18-19...take care of the poor, the blind, prisoners, and the oppressed. 

I'm praying for:The family and friends of Clara, a young 16-year-old student at our school who died this week in a car accident en route to a school soccer game. And for her teammate, Maryssa, who was critically injured in the same accident. It has been very sad at our school this week.

Around the house: My eldest daughter got engaged this week.

From the kitchen: Killer turkey-meatball spaghetti. Tonight the famous family-favorite stew. 

A favorite quote about censorship: "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."  ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

Follow my blog all week as I will be posting diaries on topics to book banning, censorship, and 1st Amendment rights.  Sign up for the Banned Books Week Hop Giveaway here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books reinstated...sort of

The Republic, Missouri school board reversed their decision to ban Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five...sort of, according to Husna Haq for the Christian Science Monitor's blog this week.

Instead of an outright ban, the school library will have a secured area.  If parents want their teen to read the book, they can come to the high school library and check it out for them. "Is it the ultimate irony? 'Slaughterhouse Five,' Kurt Vonnegut's novel about life in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp, will now reside in a 'literary gulag' in a Missouri high school," says Haq.

For obvious reasons this sort of plan will not work to promote the freedom to read.  What high school student wants to have his/her parent come to school to check out a book? And won't this policy of holding books "behind bars" at school make it easier to challenge and ban books in the future?

Two humorous things have occurred because of the ban and now the "sort of" reversal:
1. Book holds for Slaughterhouse Five at the local public library are way up (over 30.)  Nothing like a little "dirt" to make people want to read the book to find out what all the fuss is about. Ha!
2. The Kurt Vonnegut Foundation donated a copy of the book to up to 150 students in the school who requested it. Ha-ha! The School Board responded to one person's request to ban a book and the whole process has made more people than ever want to read it.
According to Julia Whitehead [Director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Foundation], Vonnegut may have responded best to this sort of book banning when he said: 'All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values...and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States—and to hell with the censors!  Give me knowledge or give me death!'    ---ACLU Webpage

What do you think of this situation? How do you think it will work holding controversial books in a "literary gulag (a prison camp)?"

Participate in my Banned Books Week Hop Giveaway here.

2011 Banned Books Week -Day 1. Giveaway!

For Info on this hop go to: I Read Banned Books
Day 1 Banned Books Week 

Lady Reading Pin

$12.00 Gift Certificate

To enter this giveaway (Internationals welcome)

1. Add a comment with your e-mail (in disguised form such as: anne.bennett.gkhs AT gmail DOT com)
2. Which item you would prefer- Pin or Gift certificate?
3. Answer: What is the last Banned Book you've read/currently reading?   I'm currently reading Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher. This book has been banned in several schools in past years.
4. Following is not required but it would be nice.

Participate in all the Banned Books Week Activities this week by visiting this blog daily and by heading over to originators of this hop at I am a Reader, not a Writer and  I Read Banned Books. I will be blogging about activities in my library this week, highlighting editorial issues related to banning books, and writing reviews of the banned books that I read this week.  Come on back often!

10/1/11  Winner Chosen: Scottsgal.  Congratulations.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds. ---from Goodreads
The Queen of Water was based on a true story. Author Laura Resau collaborated with Maria Virginia Farinango who was the Virginia of the story. When Virginia was taken from her home she essentially served the mestizos family as their slave, though that word is never used in the story. When she finally escaped "her captors" as a teenager she had been away from her family and her culture for so long that she could barely remember her first language.

Against all odds Virginia, who taught herself to read, actually thrives as she takes control of her own life and education.  The Queen of Water is an eye-opening yet inspirational story about a girl who grows up between two cultures but who ends up finding herself in the end.

The Queen of Water is an important book. It reveals much I did not know about the indigenous people of Ecuador and their racial problems. It was also a book full of hope and beauty.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friday Hops...Follow Friday...TGIF!

Allison Can Read

Follow Friday is designed to introduce ourselves to new bloggers or new visitors. The featured blogger this week is Liz at The World of the Spork Master Congratulations and have a wonderful senior year!

The question of the week:  Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

Answer: The only series I have ever reread in entirety is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  I have reread parts of the Harry Potter books but not the whole series.


Question Reading Challenges: How has your progression been?

Answer: I signed up for several challenges and even started two of my own.  Here's my progress:

1.  Read the 2011 ALA Award Winners Challenge 
I have one book to read: Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John which won  the Schneider Family Award for Characters with Disabilities. (8/9 complete)

2.  Chris Crutcher Challenge (No time limit)
Read all of Chris Crutcher's books. (5/13 read)

3. Audio Book Challenge: Working toward Obsessed Level= 20 books in 2011.  Completed (29/20)

4. Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge-working toward Graduate Level= 6 books. (5/6 read)

5. Reading from My Shelf Project Challenge- reading books that have been lying around the house. (10/12)

6. Goodreads Challenge- to read 101 books this year (91/101)

I think I'm doing pretty well and will finish all my challenges by the end of the year.

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Ah...

This book is so touching and thoughtful and deep and comforting and sad, I don't know how I will review it. Let me catch my breath while you begin by watching the book trailer which gives a good introduction to the book and sets the tone, as well.

I started this book last night thinking I would read a few pages just to get the writing style. 175 pages later I decided I'd best go to sleep and would need to finish it in the morning, which I did. A Monster Calls was selected as one of our 2012 Mock Printz books even though no one on the selection team had read it. The reviews we all so positive, how could we ignore them?

The cover says that Patrick Ness wrote this book but the idea came from the author Siobhan Dowd whose premature death from cancer in 2007 prevented her from writing the story herself. It is an extremely moving book about coming to terms with loss and grief. I admit it, I cried my way through the book and I am still feeling a bit tender and raw.  I could really feel Conor's pain and sorrow as he comes to grips with the realization that his mother might die from her illness.

There are lots of YA books about death and loss but nothing like this book. It hits right at the heart of the matter when it comes to grief and loss, these things that come like monsters into our lives when we lose a loved one.

The message in A Monster Calls is an important one.  Read it and you'll see what I mean, but grab a hankie before you start.

A Monster Calls

      The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.
      But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...
      The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
      It wants the truth. ----Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

In case you were wondering, like I was, how Patrick Ness came to write a book where the idea came from another author, Siobhan Dowd, I found this article about it in the BBC Mobile News.  If possible his attitude toward the project and working from another author's ideas, makes me like the book even more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2012 Mock Printz list

 2012 Mock Printz Book List

Our list:
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley ✔
  • Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones ✔
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey ✔
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys ✔
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ✔
  • Karma by Cathy Ostlere ✔
  • Flip by Martyn Bedford ✔
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor ✔
  • Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol ✔
  • Pick-up Game: a Full Day of Full Court by Aronson, et al ✔
  • Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard ✔
  • Queen of Water by Laura Resau ✔
  • Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow ✔  
  • Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams ✔
  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S.King ✔
✔= books I've read

Let the reading begin!
(If you are a GKHS student and want to know more about the Mock Printz Workship, stop by the library and talk to Mrs. Bennett.)

Updated: 10/22/11

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top Ten Books everyone else has read but me

The Broke and Bookish

Top ten books it seems everyone has read but me!

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens..."it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" but I don't know which since I have never read this classic.

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth...I sure seems like everyone on the blogosphere has read this book. Everyone but me, that is.

3.  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck... our schools seem to only require the short Steinbecks: Of mice and Men; The Pearl; or Cannery Row.  I have a ton of interest in the subject covered in this book but I still haven't read it.

4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac... actually I know very few people who have told me that they've read this book but it seems like one I should have read by now.

5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut... I actually hope to get to this one this month for Banned Books Week.

6. Bone (Graphic Novel) by Jeff Smith...I have the whole series in my library.  There is no excuse.

7. Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume... I was a little old for this book when it was written but I let my daughters read it without so much as a preview.

8. Dune by Frank Herbert... in fact, I haven't read any of the early and great Sci-Fi "standards."

9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery... gulp!  Can you believe my name is Anne and I haven't read this one?

10. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse... apparently a lot of folks my age had to read this book in school.  Not me.  And I still haven't a clue.

( I should brag a little here, though.  I recently knocked off two books that would have been on this list: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Both are very good.  Add them to your list if you haven't read them, yet.

Monday: What am I reading?

Hosted by Book Journey
I am a stressed-out mess about reading right now.  Wednesday is the meeting day for selecting our Mock Printz book list and I am frantically trying to read as many books on our preliminary list as I can. My goal is to read at least 100 pages of each of the books prior to the meeting. Here's my progress:

What am I reading?
1. Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta... 160/328 pages. Set in Australia. I'm having a hard time maintaining the thread of this story because I am both listening to and reading the book alternating. I had a hard time with Jellicoe Road by Marchetta until the ending drew everything together.  I hope the same happens here.
2. The Queen of Water by Laura Resau... 267/342 pages. Set in Ecuador. Virginia is essentially a slave to a wealthy family.  This book is based on a true story. I know I will finish this book before Wednesday.
3. Karma by Cathy Ostlere... 17/517 pages. Set in Canada and India. I am apparently reading from a very international list right now. I just picked this book up today.  It is written in verse so I am fairly sure that I'll reach my goal, as it reads fast.
4. Tall Story by Candy Gourley... 67/224 pages. Set in Philippines and New York. I should stop reading this book for the time being because I have decided it is a middle-grade book and won't be considered by the Printz committee.  I do want to finish it, though.

What am I listening to?
1. Chime by Franny Billingsley... 17/361 pages. I just started listening to this today on my way home from the library. I doubt I'll be able to listen to 100 pages worth of text since listening takes longer than reading.  Oh well.  I will at least have a feeling for the book.

What I wish I had time to cram in before Wednesday:
1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness... this book is getting great reviews and I am anxious to read it to see if is as good as everyone says.

I'd love to hear what you are reading.  And I hope you aren't reading as frantically as I am right now.
Look for our Mock Printz list this coming Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are starred reviews a predictor of award ceremony success?

I've been spending a lot of time looking at the reviews of the best YA books of 2011 in preparation for our selection of the books that will be included in the Bethel SD Mock Printz list. In the past we've tried to include books that have several starred reviews. Starred reviews are given to books of special merit by professional reviewers: School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books, Horn Books, Library Media Connection, etc.

Here are the top "star" YA books so far this year:

TitleAuthor# Starred reviewsOther info to consider
Between Shades of GraySepetys6
ChimeBillingsley6Horn Book Honor
Anya's GhostBrosgol5Graphic novel
Blink and CautionWynne-Jones4Horn Book Winner
Jasper JonesSilvey4
Paper Covers RockHubbard4
A Monster CallsNess4Due out 9/27/11
Queen of WaterResau4
Okay for NowSchmidt4Middle Grade level?
Berlin Boxing ClubSharenow3
KarmaOstlere3Prose in verse
I am JBeam3
Daughter of Smoke and BoneTaylor3Due out 9/27/11
Tall StoryGourlay3Middle Grade level?
Strings AttachedBlundell3Horn Book Short list

If starred reviews determined the winners, creating our Mock Printz book list would be easy. Take this list, drop off the books we think are really middle level books and our reading list would be the remaining thirteen.  But take a look at the stars given to last year's award winners.

TitleAuthor# Starred reviewsLast year's Award Winners/Honor Books
Ship BreakerBacigalupi3Printz Award winner; National Book Award YA finalist
Please Ignore Vera DietzKing3Printz Honor
NothingTeller4Printz Honor
StolenChristopher1Printz Honor
Revolver Sedgwick4Printz Honor
MockingbirdErskine2National Book Award YA Winner
LockdownMyers1National Book Award YA finalist
For contrast this book didn't win any of the major USA book awards:
Finnikin of the RockMarchetta5

It is obvious, if we look at last year's results, that starred reviews do not necessarily help determine if a book will win an award.  Stolen and Lockdown had only one starred review each. Hmmm.....  What do you think?  Should we focus our list on "star-heavy" books or just pick the books we like for our Mock Printz list?

Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Graphic Novel)

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol is a graphic novel that has garnered five starred reviews from professional reviewers this year. Wow. That just about never happens.  Just to give you a comparison, Ship Breaker, the 2011 Michael Printz Award book got only three starred reviews and it was picked as the best of the best in YA lit last year.

What is so special about this little graphic novel? The storyline combines two stories. First is the story of a young Russian-American girl who has difficulties as she tries to negotiate through her life in high school and at home. She tries to deny her heritage in an attempt to fit in but that always seems to backfire on her. The second story involves a ghost that Anya encounters when she falls into an abandoned (dry) well and then inadvertently brings home with her when she is rescued. The ghost, Emily, lures Anya into doing things she wouldn't normally do and plays on Anya's emotions by telling her stories of her life before she was "murdered." As Anya unravels the mystery of Emily's death, she finds her way back to her own roots.

Did I like the book? Yes and no. I liked the story and got caught up in the mystery and the haunting by ghost Emily.  I actually found myself wanting to get back to the story when I had to set it down to do something else. No, because Anya wasn't particularly likable. She came across as surly and thoughtless for most of the book. The book contained odd jumps in sequencing of the story. I thought mine was a defective copy that left out a page. The author couldn't possibly have intended some of the big jumps between scenes.

It will be very interesting to see what the award committees do with this book.  With five starred reviews I doubt that they will be able to ignore it. But which side will win out in their considerations? The compelling storyline or the deficiencies in execution?

Have any of you read any graphic novels this year that you think are noteworthy?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Friday posts

Hosted by GReads
Question:  Book Disappointments---Have you ever come across a book you were so stoked to read, but it failed miserably in your eyes?

Answer: I wouldn't say that I have ever felt that a book failed miserably, but I certainly have been disappointed with books. Here are a few that come to mind:
  • Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.  This book just didn't grab me, which was disappointing after all the hype.
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Don't flame me.  I get it why the book and series was popular, I just didn't care for the writing.
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I had heard so much about this book yet I was shocked at my reaction to all of the senseless violence.  I couldn't finish it.
  • Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I really, really, really didn't like this book and I really, really wanted to.  I can't believe that I finished it.  It was difficult to read on many levels.

The idea behind Follow Friday is to make some new blogging friends which is especially important in Blogger Appreciation Week.  The featured blogger this week is the Alaskan Book Cafe. Congratulations!  (I tried to leave a comment and couldn't figure it out, but I did follow you!)

Question of the day:  What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?

Answer:  Hmmm- Aspects of Harry Potter and Hogwarts but it would be so scary having to deal with wicked wizards all the time. Narnia, so that I could romp with Aslan and interact with talking animals, but I'd want to avoid the White Witch. Then again, it would be so awesome to have my own daemon like everyone had in the Golden Compass (His Dark Materials series) but I do not want a mom like Mrs. Coulter.  Notice a theme to my answers?