"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=========

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Follow Friday



I can't believe that it is almost Friday again!  It is also almost April and the beginning of baseball season.  Woot. Woot.

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee as a forum for bloggers to meet and follow each others blogs.  It also is chance for one lucky blogger to be highlighted.  This week's lucky blogger is Books Ahoy. Congratulations!

Today's question is:

What is the book that you really don't want to admit to loving??

This is a tough one for me.  I am rarely embarrassed to admit that I love any books.  Occasionally I will read Janet Evanovich (One for the Money, etc.) books...and I'm usually pretty quiet about it when I do.  I think they are funny and are mindless reads.

OK.  So I had a true confession.  Now it is your turn.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice --- The Graphic novel


Pride and Prejudice, the graphic novel (by Jane Austen, adapted by Nancy Butler, with artwork by Hugo Petrus) is a fun introduction to the classic book by the same title.
  • This book  is a collection of the 5 marvel comics that were put together in one-book format.
  • The diagrams are well done and the graphics easy to read.  See sample page from Marvel.com:



  • Reading this book compared to the original a bit like watching the Keira Knightly short version of the movie vs the BBC mini-series with Colin Firth.  The shorter movie is good but the mini-series is better.  I  liked this book but, of course, it doesn't hold a candle to the original.
  • It does include all the "best bits" from Austen's classic.  Even including the part about Wickham chasing Miss King for her money, which is usually not included in the movies or shortened versions of the book.
  • It took me one afternoon to read and I was interrupted quite often while I was reading it, so it may have only taken me a little over an hour to read.
  • Marvel also offers Sense and Sensibility in this format.  Once I figure out if this book will circulate I will look into purchasing that one.  I enjoyed it enough that I am ready for more!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten YA Authors that deserve more attention

The Broke and Bookish

Question of the week: Who are ten authors that I think deserve more attention/recognition? I am promoting YA authors for my list.

1.  John Green -- author of Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and others.  His work is very edgy, funny, well-conceived.  He video blogs with his brother Hank, the Vlog Brothers, and and promotes Nerd Fighters, totally awesome kids who don't always fit in.  Love him and his work

2.  Libba Bray -- my new fav YA book is the award winning Going Bovine.  It is a modern Don Quixote story. It is very funny and poignant and so-o-o-o-o creative.  I also am a huge fan of her A Great and Terrible Beauty series.

3.  Markus Zusak -- his books The Book Thief and I am the Messenger are both amazing books.  I want more from this author.

4.  Nancy Werlin -- this author seems to fly below the radar but definitely deserves all kind of praise.  Her book Rules of Survival is amazing.  Ms. Werlin's works can't be pigeon-holed into one genre, either.  She writes mysteries, modern fairy tales, and general YA fiction.  Check her out.

5.  Cory Doctorow -- though I've only read one book by this author, Little Brother, this guy deserves more attention.  His book, a modern retelling of the classic 1984 is chillingly real and worrisome about today's society. I went to a conference where great YA titles were being highlighted and the presenter said that she liked the book very much but didn't know anything about the author until she looked him up.  For this reason and because his webpage is called Craphound.com I have placed him on the list.

6.  K.L. Going -- (Kelly Louise) Going is the author of one of the funniest YA books out there--Fat Kid Rules the World.  Her work is edgy and relevant to teens today.  Plus, I just was over at her blog, she just read and loved Pride and Prejudice, my favorite book of all time. Her next book I hope to read is King of the Screw-ups.

7.  Francisco X. Stork -- I've highlighted this author before on my blog.  His writing demonstrates ethical conscientiousness.  For two years running I have included his books in my Mock Printz competition and for two years he hasn't won an actual Printz award.  His books, Marcelo in the Real World (2009) and The Last Summer of the Death Warriors (2010) are well-worth reading and so is his blog.

8.  Maggie Stiefvater --  I am NOT a huge paranormal genre fan but I really like Shiver and hope to read Linger soon.  The book is a love story between a girl and a werewolf...but, hey, it works.  I put Stiefvater on my list because if anyone can make me want to read another paranormal book, she must deserve more recognition.

9.  Patrick Ness -- I think my list is starting to sound eerily similar to one a created several months ago.  Ness wrote the amazing Chaos Walking trilogy which hasn't received the attention it deserves here in the USA. Amazing, amazing series.  Check it out.

10. Susan Cambell Bartoletti -- The only nonfiction writer on my list, Susan Campbell Bartoletti writes informational books for Middle/High School students.  Her book Hitler Youth (2006) is so interesting and very readable.  They Called Themselves the KKK (2010) is fascinating and disturbing.  I wish she would write faster because students will read her books for reports or projects instead of just checking them out and returning them unread. She's won a ton of awards but I doubt you've heard of her so I think she deserves my shout-out here!

Please check the links to all my listed author's webpages. 

What authors do you think need more attention and praise?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jane Austen Stories Retold... Mr. Darcy

It seems like every winter I have an insatiable desire to curl up with Jane Austen. I like to rewatch her movies and will delve back in to one of her six novels. I even enjoy reading the sequels/retells that have spun off the originals. This year I have been in that kind of mood and recently have read two of the Pride and Prejudice retellings. These books are written by modern authors who retell the P/P story from Mr. Darcy's point of view. I've read five of these books over the years and I'm still not sick of Mr. Darcy. Here's a brief recap of each of them:

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange-
Amanda Grange has a whole series "The Diary of..." Jane Austen heroes.  The story takes the details of P/P from Mr. Darcy's point of view.  It also adds components that explain his motivations.  In this "retelling" Darcy starts to recognize that his breeding has led him to a form of snobbery from which he must recover if he is to have any chance with Elizabeth Bennet. The book is written very simply and is an easy read. I liked the insights that Grange gives us into Darcy's character but found the stereotypical treatment of some of the other characters to be a bit tedious.  For example, every time Mrs. Bennet spoke about Darcy it was to make a rude comment. (I just finished this book.)

The Private Dairy of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater-
Almost identical to the above book, The Private Dairy shows the evolution of Darcy from a snob to a devoted gentleman.  I was shocked, because it would be so unAusten-like, that Darcy sleeps with a chamber maid and visits prostitutes.  But as I read on I decided that Slater was just showing us what a cad Darcy was in the beginning. As he starts to recognize his faults these types of encounters stop. This book added just enough new material to make the book fairly interesting and it can be read very fast. (I finished this book in early March.)


Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer-
Can you believe how similar the three book covers are?  If I was going to read one of these Darcy sequels and make my selection merely by the cover I would not pick this one since it doesn't even show his head.  Ha!

In this re-telling of  P/P from Darcy's point of view, Janet Alymer takes great swaths of passages directly from the original by Austen.  I felt like I was reading P/P with all the boring parts taken out and a point-of-view shift from Elizabeth to Darcy. For this reason, this sequel seems the least original. Students, however, really like this book, probably for that very reason. (I read this book three years ago.)

An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan-
This book is the first book of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy by Aidan. Take the first third of P/P, stretch it into a book, add a lot more material and you'll have this book. Darcy alternates being repelled and bewitched by Elizabeth and is even more brooding than in the original. I read this book back in 2008 and didn't like it. At that time I said, "The only good parts of the book are the those that Austen essentially wrote. The rest of the book is tedious...It was a good idea but not a good execution." With that negative review it is shocking that I went on to read its sequel.



These Three Remain by Pamela Aidan-
I skipped over the second book of the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy and read this book several years after the first.  I bumped into it at the library and thought perhaps I had been too harsh in my estimation of the first. I'm glad I did because I really liked it. This book shows why Darcy changes so much between the first proposal and the next meeting with Elizabeth at Pemberley. It also gives plausible details how Darcy was able to find Wickham and Lydia in London. In addition, the author introduces new characters which make the story seem fresh and interesting. It referred to details that were introduced in the second book, but I never felt the need to go back and read it.  I was a very satisfying read and it is my favorite of the five books mentioned here. (I read it in January 2010.)

I must get off the computer now and get back to the Jane Austen retelling of Mansfield Park: Edmund Bertram's Diary by Amanda Grange. Bye!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Follow Friday


The idea of this weekly blog hop is to make new blog friends, to answer one or two silly questions, and to feature one special blog per week. That blog this week is Reading with Rebecca. Congratulations, Rebecca!

Five BOOK RELATED silly facts about me.
1. I get a thrill out of recommending books to people who return and tell me that they "loved the book."
2. I listen to audiobooks in the car on my way to work and home.
3. I think I have a crush on Mr. Darcy.  I reread Pride and Prejudice, orits modern sequels, at least once a year.
4. My favorite YA books are those with quirky characters. Libba Bray, Chris Crutcher, and John Green are favorite authors because of their quirky characters.
5. I haven't read, gasp, Grapes of Wrath, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, or Hamlet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves *with update

Today's Question over at the Broke and Bookish is what are my top ten bookish pet peeves?

To begin with I should remind you that I am a librarian, so many of my bookish pet peeves relate to the way that patrons treat books. I recognize that most of you don't think about books the way that I do. Please bear with me.

1. Not following typical literary conventions! Gr.r.r.. I get really irritated when an author does not use proper punctuation, grammar, spelling and so forth. I am currently reading a book that uses no quotation marks around the dialogue. Argh. It makes it so hard to read.

2.  Dogeared pages.  Please, please, please use a bookmark instead of turning down the pages.

3.  Bending back a paperback so far that it breaks the book's spine so that it can be held in one hand.  If a person buys their own books, they can treat them how they want, but with not library books.

4.  Using food or gum wrappers as bookmarks.  Many of these products have dyes in them and they leech into the paper causing stains.

5.  Water damaged books.  Or, since I live in the Seattle-area, coffee stained pages.  In the Pacific Northwest most water damage, even slight water damage, will cause the book to mold.  Ugh.

6.  Long books which clearly should have been edited down.  Sometimes books are necessarily long but other times it seems that they just didn't have a good editor.  As much as I love the Harry Potter books several of the books were just too long.

7.  Repeating facts or statements throughout the book.  I often feel like an author insults my intelligence when they repeat facts already introduced earlier in the text.

8.  Not returning/renewing library books, especially when they are several weeks overdue.  I get it that sometimes one forgets or wants to keep the book a few extra days.  But why do students keep books for months past their due dates, even though we have given ample notices?

9.  Characters with similar names.  I hate it when I have to create a character chart just to keep track of the people in the book because the names sound or look the same.  

10.  Book covers that don't take into consideration the tastes of teenagers.  My classic example of an unfortunate book cover is the hard cover for Dairy Queen by Murdock had a picture of a cow wearing a crown.  Teenagers in my area are not attracted to books with farm animals on the cover!  The paperback version of the book corrected that error.

What are your bookish pet peeves?

***3/23/11 Update:
I held a discussion with ten kids from my high school library club about bookish pet peeves.  Here is their list:
1. Publishing errors -10/10
2. Not following literary conventions - 10/10
3. "Perfect" characters - 10/10
4. Long passages of dialogue without hints who is speaking -10/10
5. If they own a series, all books must match (hardcover, paperback, editions) - 10/10
6. Dogeared Pages -9/10 (one kid confessed he does this to his own books, but never a borrowed book)
7. Movies made from the book being vastly different - 8/10
8. Writing or highlighting in books - 5/10
9. A library book having a missing page - 5/10
10. Unpronounceable names or very similar names - 5/10 (several of the kids just finished reading Things Fall Apart by Achebe, so had strong feelings about this pet peeve!)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

And the winner is....

My readers have voted for the book I will read next on my poll "which book should I have read in school but didn't." And the winner is...

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I picked up the Deluxe 25th anniversary edition and read all the introduction and preface information.  So now I know a bit about the author, how the book was written, and about it's cult following.  Can't wait to start the actual book.  Don't panic!  I'll get to it soon. 

Thanks for voting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Follow Friday and Blog Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Question: "Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"

Answer: I always have more than one book going at once.  I always have an audiobook going in my car that I listen to as I drive back and forth to work. I usually have two or three books that I am reading at home. One or two next to my bed, and one in the bathroom in case I'm idling in there. :) And I usually have a book that I am reading that I leave at work.  Since I am a librarian it is OK to occasionally read during the day or at lunch. Often I will read graphic novels at work since I want to become more familiar with this format and I can consume them faster than regular print books. Right now I am working on 5 different books. 

What about you?  How many books do you usually have going at once?




 The idea of this meme is to find new blogs that I want to follow and to introduce myself to potential followers.  Each week one blogger is highlighted and the lucky winner this week is Jess at Gone with the Words.  Congratulations, Jess!

Question of the day: How did you come up with the name for your blog?

Answer:  Years ago I saw a poster of a woman with children in her hair and the title of the poster was "My Head is Full of Children".  I thought that was really funny.  But once I had kids I understood.  I felt like my head was full of children, too.  Then I got a job as a high school librarian and I felt like I always had books calling my name to be read or shelved or something. Pretty soon I felt like my head was always full of books...hence the name, My Head is Full of Books!

Poster that inspired the name of my blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

We are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball illustrated and written by Kadir Nelson is a must- read book for all Americans, especially baseball fans. Obviously, by the subtitle, it is about Negro League baseball but it is more than that.  It is about racism and overcoming racism.  It is about the men who found a way to play the game they loved against huge odds. I learned so much by listening to this award-winning audiobook version of the book which was so masterfully read by Dion Graham. However I knew as I listened that I needed to look at the book because Kadir Nelson is first and foremost an artist.  I checked the book out from the public library and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I suspected I would.  I addition, I took a long look at Kadir Nelson's web-page and suggest that you do the same thing here: (Link)

Now let me get on my soap-box for a second.  I see such value in reading non-fiction books to inform, even when I don't know I need to be informed.  I knew next to nothing about the Negro Baseball League prior to reading this book, now I know quite a bit.  I relish opportunities to learn new things, to view the world from a bit of a different vantage point, and to always remain open to new ideas.  I hope that this quick little review will encourage you to pick up a nonfiction gem, even if it is a short one with illustrations like We are the Ship, and be prepared to glean some new information.  Here are a few choice quotes on the value of reading for information:

“The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.” – Thomas Carlyle

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

“Let me roughly divide books into those which compete with the movies and those with which the movies cannot compete. They are the books that can elevate or instruct. If they are fine works of fiction, they can deepen your appreciation of human life. If they are serious works of nonfiction, they can inform or enlighten you.” – Mortimer Adler

Happy reading.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Top ? Tuesday


This week is all about those characters in books that we wish were in our family! 

1.  Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)...a wonderful, articulate and intelligent father figure.
2.  Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen)...a fun, understanding, and thoughtful big brother.
3.  Stargirl (Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli)...an utterly unique cousin.
4.  Marmie (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)...a humanitarian-minded mother
5.  August Boatwright (Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd)...an understanding, comforting aunt.
6.  Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen)...a no-nonsense big sister who handles things well in a crisis yet is kind and a good friend.
7.  Karl Shoemaker (Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes)...younger brother who is capable of  helping without taking over and a great listener.
8.  Enzo (The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein)...I want a dog like Enzo!
9.  Isabel Dalhousie (The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith)...mother-in-law who considers herself a philosopher so never jumps to conclusions.
10. Antonio Corelli (Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres)...a grandpa who could sing in Italian and play me songs on his mandolin...and maybe take me for rides on his motorcycle.
11. Miss Love Simpson (Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns)...a step-mother who loves and plays with all her heart
12.  Jean Valjean (Les Miserables by Victor Hugo)...a grandfather; dedicated to a righteous cause.
13.  Frankie Landau-Banks (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart)...a plucky younger sister full of self-confidence and charm.

This is just a funny, silly list.  I actually love my family and wouldn't replace them with any literary characters, no matter how perfect they are.

Monday...What are you Reading?

Hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey
Currently reading:
The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton.  Set in Kenya this story is not just about getting books to remote areas via camels but about importance of culture.  It begs the question, do I always know what is best for others? This is for book-club tomorrow.  I am nearly finished and have enjoyed it.




 

Currently listening on audiobook:
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan.
This is the book for All-Pierce County Reads.  There will be community activities and discussions around this book all April. I am also listening to it for my other book club.





Recently completed:
Stolen by Lucy Christopher.  I am still entranced by this book and I finished it a few days ago.  My daughter pointed out that this is a kind of Beauty and the Beast story.  Check out my review here and then tell me what you think if it sounds a bit similar.







Up Next:
1. Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins-recommended highly by two friends.  I hope to get to it tomorrow!

2.  Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black
It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn?  Can't wait.  What can I say?





What about you?  What are you reading?





Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped ... and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?
I am completely enthralled by Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The story, written in the form of a letter from Gemma to Ty, reflects on the months of captivity in the Australian Outback.  "Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost" (Goodreads). At first I was so creeped out by Ty and how he kidnapped and held Gemma captive that I found it hard to read the book.  How could anyone, even in fiction, think it was OK to kidnap a person and hold them in such a desolate place for no other reason that personal obsession? But then something happened and I started falling for Ty, even rooting for him.  In so many ways he was so capable, so thoughtful, and even artistic that it would have been hard not to fall for him.  When I turned the corner on my reading from resistance to compulsion to read on, I remember thinking that the author "had me" and I knew that I would reread that portion.  It was that good that I was planning a reread before I was done reading.  Ha!

Here is a quote to give you an idea of the writing style:
     'Now we wait,' you said.
     'For what?'
     'The sun.'
     You pulled me down onto a bed of sand and leaves right in the middle of all the paint and color. The sun was shining through the window so brightly it was difficult to keep my eyes even half-open against it. And the smell was stronger there, too, leafy and herbal, earthy and fresh.
     'Face this way,' you said.
     You turned to the wall at the back, and I did the same. With the sun behind us, I could see the way the rays picked out the lighter swirls and dots in the painting, making them look three dimensional...p. 224
I didn't notice until I was done reading it, Stolen is Lucy Christopher's first published book.  What?  How can such a good book, so well-written with such vivid descriptions be an author's first book?  Here's what Lucy says about her motivations and inspirations for writing Stolen:
...Thankfully, I’ve never been kidnapped, but when I was nine years old and moving from Wales to Australia, it felt like a bit of a kidnapping.  Suddenly I was in a new country I didn’t understand; a place that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying.  I’ve always been fascinated by wild Australian land and, when younger, my favourite memories are of camping in the bush and exploring the overgrown creek at the back of our first Melbourne house.  But this landscape scared me too, and I didn’t feel like I fitted in.  I used these feelings of being simultaneously entranced and repulsed by something in order to write Gemma’s feelings for both Ty and the landscape he takes her to (Christopher).
With the completion of Stolen I have now read all the Printz award books for 2011. I think that the Printz committee hit a home-run on all their selections this year.  All the books are fabulous. All use literary devices that make their books unique and compelling. Interestingly, all of the books are quite disturbing this year, too. With Stolen Christopher makes the reader switch allegiances and start rooting for the captor.  She also described the Australian Outback in such a way that I would really like to visit it. I don't even feel revulsion toward snakes and other crawling critters. Now that is some writing.

I highly recommend this book for all teen readers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jane Austen Week in the library

Display case highlighting Jane Austen Week.
This is the second year in a row that I have hosted a Jane Austen week in my library and for the kids who attend it seems to be a true highlight.

Here's how I set it up:
  • Pick a week when there are no other conflicts on the school calendar
  • Advertising- Daily bulletin, fliers, display case
  • Word-of-mouth invitations to library loyalists
  • Pass out event tickets to kids who want to attend so that they can bring their food into the library during lunch period.
  • Select a Jane Austen DVD that is short enough to be shown in five lunch periods (no longer than 100 minutes.
  • Create trivia questions about Jane Austen and her books
  • Shop for prizes. I bought a used antique teacup and saucer for my trivia winner. Look for Jane Austen books on sale, Austen paraphernalia (this year I found note-cards and J.A. advice book.)
  • Invite teachers to attend also during their lunch period.
  • Get DVD and projector ready
Grand Prize
The event:
  • Greet students and handout trivia questions. Give them a few minutes, then go over answers. Most students know very little about Jane Austen and her books with the exception of Pride and Prejudice. Do a little "teaching" here and there.
  • Each day talk about some aspect of life during Austen's time (Regency Period), her books, manner/customs, etc. for less than 5 minutes.
  • Show one-fifth of the DVD.
  • Collect trivia for points.  The student with the highest point total wins the grand prize on Friday.
  • Give out daily treats like a shortbread cookie, a cup of tea, a J.A. Bookmark
  • Encourage students to check-out her books and/or any of the many sequels written in recent years.
  • Gush.  Allow kids to gush.  Many will fall in love with Jane Austen because of this introduction.
Grand Prize winner Alicia S. on 3/11/11 (Photo published with permission)

 Overheard comments in reference to this event:
  • "Let's get together and have a slumber party and watch all Jane Austen's DVDs in one night."-a group of girls talking to each other after events of the second day
  • "Jane Austen Week was the highlight of my school year last year." - a member of library club (official- sponsoring club) to another member
  • "Let's do it again next month!"-said to the librarian at the end of day five
  • "I checked out one of Jane Austen's sequels, The Diary of Mr. Darcy.  I'm so excited to read it."-said to the librarian by a new Jane Austen devotee.
  • "Remember being called a Janeite is like being called a nerd.  Can't hurt our feelings.  We like being nerds. Same thing goes for being called the derogatory term Janeite.  We like that label."- Mrs. Bennett to the group
  • "I love Jane Austen!  All her endings are so romantic!"- one girl to another
Such fun!

Note:  If you are a teacher/librarian and you'd like to host a Jane Austen event in your library, I'd be happy to share any of my trivia questions, bookmarks, and handouts with you.  Share the wealth!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

I committed the cardinal sin of book blogging...I looked at other reviews of Enna Burning by Shannon Hale before my own opinion of the book was formed. And, I might add, those reviews biased my opinion. So now that you know I won't be offering an unbiased book review here you can decide if you want to continue reading or not. But, before you go, let me say that I don't normally check out other reviews before writing my own. Or, if I do, it is after I have formed my own opinion and I am just curious to see if I line up.

Enna Burning is the 2nd book in the Books of Bayern series written by Shannon Hale. I read the first book, Goose Girl, several years ago and loved it! I was eager to read this book but when I launched into reading it sometime last year I got side-tracked and never finished it.  I, therefore, placed it on my New Year's Resolution list of books to finish in 2011. I chose a starting point not even remembering where I left off and found the reading to be a bit tedious...  Enna is learning how to burn things, Enna wants to burn things, Enna is burning things to help the army, etc. I considered abandoning the project when Enna was captured by the enemy and the writing and the plot got a whole lot more interesting.  I felt like I was poured into the story and I didn't want out. I think that I, like Enna, was mesmerized by Sileph, her captor. I would walk around when I wasn't reading, wishing I was.

Then I read the reviews.  Bad idea. Many reviewers talked about the book not living up to their expectations and about the tedium of the middle section.  Suddenly I wasn't sure if I liked the book anymore, or if I just liked that small section that I mentioned above.  On contemplation, I did like the book.  It is not as magical as Goose Girl, perhaps, but it has something very magical about it.  Shannon Hale is obviously a good writer and she has created a very special place in Bayern and the surrounding countries. Her characters aren't perfect which makes them more interesting and realistic.  So I was a bit bored with a portion of the book.  No big deal!  I felt a bit bored while reading some sections of Harry Potter books and I still loved them.  Don't let this review put you off.  Start with Goose Girl and form your own opinion.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Great Literary Teams/Duos

The Broke and Bookish


Top Ten Tuesday topic of the day: 
Favorite Literary Duos/Teams (in no particular order)

1. Scarlet O'Hara and Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind by Mitchell)...the sparks may have flown but they were pretty dynamic together.

2. Renée Michel and Paloma Josse (Elegance of the Hedgehog by Barbery)...the concierge and the precocious young girl who both feel they need to conceal their intelligence until they connect with each other.

3. Leo and Stargirl (Stargirl by Spinelli)...Stargirl operated in her own constellation but had the ability to draw others into her marvelous orbit including Leo.

4. Cameron Smith and Gonzo (Going Bovine by Bray)... friends who go on a road trip for the purpose of saving the world from the Wizard of Rechoning; or was it just a hallucination? (and I shouldn't forget the Yard Gnome, Balder son of Odin, a Norse God!)

5.  Marion and Shiva Stone (Cutting for Stone by Verghese)...separated conjoined twins whose lives remained conjoined forever, MarionShiva.

6.  Jane and Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Austen)...sisters and friends in best book ever written.  Ha!

7.  Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain)...can you believe the trouble these boys thought up?

8.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Harry Potter series by Rowling)...need I say more?

9.  Old Dan and Little Anne (Where the Red Fern Grows by Rawling)...the darling coon hound pair that capture a young boy's heart (and mine.)

10.  Hank and John Green (Vlogbrothers)...OK, I know they aren't literary characters but they do a lot to promote reading and literature and I'm a fan of Nerdfighters.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

A.D. : New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld


I am so glad that I read  A.D. : New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld published in 2010. This nonfiction graphic novel gives an account of what happened to seven people who stayed in New Orleans during the hurricane Katrina and what happened to them in the aftermath.

We have heard so much, after the fact, of the horrors of the storm and flood.  Yet it seems so far removed from my life in the Pacific Northwest, thousands of miles away.  This tale humanized the storm for me.  Josh, who is a cartoonist, did his homework in finding people to interview that represented a cross section of the people who stayed to ride out the storm.  One of those people had collected comic books and lost thousands of them to the storm.  I was really touched by that point of connection with the author.  Once again I was given something new to think about.  People didn't just lose their houses and their way of life, they lost valuable and irreplaceable things like photo albums, heirlooms, and collections.

Sometimes when I read book that have such important messages I feel so unworthy to even review the work for fear that I won't do a good enough job urging my readers to take a look at the book.  Josh has helped me out.  You can actually look at his original WebComic of A.D. here.  I urge to read it and to seek out the book to see the updates or whatever he did when he moved it from the web to the published format.  Like most graphic novels it won't take you long to read and it will be worth your time.

In addition, a teacher's guide has been provided for A.D.  If there are any teachers reading this blog that want to find a way to teach about Katrina and it's effects on the lives of actual people you should take a look at it.
Teacher's Guide

Thank you Josh Neufeld for sharing your gift with us and for helping to bring the humanity in to the aftermath of storm.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friday Hop

Book Blogger Hop


Today's Hop Question: What is my favorite literary villain?

It depends on how one interprets this question? Favorite meaning a villain that I like? My favorite among villains? Or the most vile of the villains? Hmmm...

I'll choose Humbert Humbert the creepy pedophile in Lolita. Why Humbert? He's despicable but the book is amazing.

Please take a look at my ALA Award Book Challenge and participate in my poll.  Thanks.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Read the ALA 2011 Book Award Winners Challenge

Read the 2011 ALA Award Winners Challenge
Read through the  2011 ALA Award-winning books. 
Copy the list(s) below to your own blog, indicate which
books you've read and post your reviews.

Deadline: December 31, 2011.



Levels:  
YA (9 books)
Children's (7 books)
Junior (8 books)
Combined: Any Two Sections (16)
All (23)

Read the 2011 Award Winners Challenge
 YA Titles
1. Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults
“Ship Breaker,” written by Paolo Bacigalupi
2. Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. The teen (ages 13-18) award winner is
“Five Flavors of Dumb,” written by Antony John
3. Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences (Pick one)
a. “The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel,” by Alden Bell
b. “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel,” by Aimee Bender
c. “The House of Tomorrow,” by Peter Bognanni
d. “Room: A Novel,” by Emma Donoghue
e. “The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel,” by Helen Grant
f. “The Radleys,” by Matt Haig,
g. “The Lock Artist,” by Steve Hamilton
h. “Girl in Translation,” by Jean Kwok
 i. “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard,” by Liz Murray
j. “The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To,” by DC Pierson
4. Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author for significant and lasting contribution to YA Lit  
Winning author: Sir Terry Pratchett  (Pick one book by him; if you do Junior level also you need only pick one book for both.)
5. Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a language other than English and subsequently published in the United States.
“A Time of Miracles” written by Anne-Laure Bondoux. Originally published in French in 2009 as “Le Temps des Miracles,” translated by Y. Maudet.
6. Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award -children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience
“Almost Perfect,” written by Brian Katcher
7. William C. Morris Award for a debut book by a first-time author writing for teens
“The Freak Observer,” written by Blythe Woolston
8. YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults
“Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing,” written by Ann Angel
9. Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults (since the winner is a Junior book, pick one of the YA Odyssey Honor books listed: (pick one)
a. “The Knife of Never Letting Go,” written by Patrick Ness and narrated by Nick Podehl; 
b. “Revolution,” written by Jennifer Donnelly and narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering;
c. “will grayson, will grayson,” written by John Green and David Levithan, and narrated by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl.

Children Titles
1. Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children
“A Sick Day for Amos McGee” illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by Philip C. Stead.
2. Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award recognizing an African American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults
“Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” illustrated by Bryan Collier
3. Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent (Illustrator) Award
“Seeds of Change,” illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler and written by Jen Cullerton Johnson
4. Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience
“The Pirate of Kindergarten,” by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril for children ages 0 to 10. 
5. Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
The 2011 winner is Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator of over 200 books (Pick one)
6. Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.
“Grandma’s Gift,” illustrated and written by Eric Velasquez
7. Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book
“Bink and Gollie,” written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile

Junior titles
1. John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature
“Moon over Manifest,” written by Clare Vanderpool
2. Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults
“One Crazy Summer,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia
3. Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent (Author) Award
“Zora and Me,” written by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon
4. Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience
“The Dreamer,” written by Pam Muñoz Ryan
5. Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. 
Winning Author : Sir Terry Pratchett  (Pick one) (in combo with YA Level only read one by him for both)
6. Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults
 “The True Meaning of Smekday,” by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin. (Junior)
7. Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience
“After Ever After,” written by Jordan Sonnenblick is the winner of the middle-school (ages 11-13).
8. Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children
“Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot,” written by Sy Montgomery


Sign up using the Mr. Linky Tool below and post a comment.  Have fun with this challenge reading really good Children's and Young Adult Lit.  Welcome.