"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=========

Monday, February 27, 2012

Top Ten Books I'd Give A Theme Song To

The Broke and the Bookish
Book titles and theme songs I can imagine for them:

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green--- If I Die Young by The Band Perry. Two teens with cancer celebrating life yet surrounded by the possibly of death.

2. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork---Viva la Vida by Coldplay. The book is all about living the life that you have and celebrating it.

3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King--- You'll Always Be My Best Friend by Reliant K. In the book the main character is mourning the death of her best friend, Charlie.  She is mad at him, too, but discovers that she really does want to clear his good name as a way of celebrating their friendship.

4. The Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson---Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp. Roger and May are supposed to drive from California to Connecticut via the most direct route but take some fun and delightful detours.

5.  Impossible by Nancy Werlin---Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel. The book is built around the rhyme from this song. "Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme..."

6.  Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway---Rock and Roll Music by The Beach Boys.  Audrey inadvertently becomes famous when her boyfriend writes a hit song about their break-up.

7. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly---Heigh Ho by Disney (Snow White.) There is a hilarious scene in the book that involves a very twisted Snow White and seven dwarfs.

8. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson--- Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton. The main character in this book grapples with grief because of the death of her older, beloved sister.

9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo---Do you Hear the People Sing? from the musical. The book and the musical are all about the rights of the little guy, this song captures that aspect of the book perfectly.

10. In the Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan--- Thriller by Michael Jackson. Zombies and a love story.

11. If I Stay by Gayle Forman--- Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace) performed by Yo-Yo Ma. Mia, cello player, is in a horrific car accident and hovers between life and death. Even in this state she tries to decide if she should stay or die. Which decision will give her the most peace?

12.Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick---What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger) performed by The Glee Cast. Amber Appleton's life is full of negative circumstances but she chooses to focus on the positive and becomes a stronger person for it.

13. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater--- The Scorpio Races written and performed by Maggie Stiefvater.  No kidding. The author of this book composed a little tune to go with the book trailer. It is perfect.

14. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins---We Are Young by Fun. The fighters in the Hunger Games were all so young. Adults set up the barbarism but made the children fight. "Tonight/We are young/So I set the world on fire/We can glow brighter than the sun."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Salon...Feb. 26

Weather today... spitting snow with intermittent hail. Strange weather for late winter in the Pacific NW.

Movie/TV of the week: Downton Abbey, Season one, Episodes 1 and 2. We are late to jump on the fan bandwagon for this very popular Masterpiece Theater Classic series. I actually had to educate my lawyer husband about what it means to entail property and titles.  He pondered how I would know something about this, when he didn't.  The answer is easy: I'm a Jane Austen fan, he's not.

I'm reading and listening to: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, the fourth book in the Eragon series.  It is something like 28 hours of listening time so I read it in the house and listen in the car to speed things up.

Book finished this week: 1.  Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. A new favorite. This book is magical. Check out my review, written as a love letter to the author.  

I'm still readingThe Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg. It is my goal to have this one finished by the end of the day.

Lists: Jane Austen Week must-do list.  This is an event I host in the library every lunch period for a week with trivia, games, prizes, and a JA video. This year: Emma.

Scripture lesson in church: John 6:18-20--- 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 

I'm praying for:My daughter who had a scary health-related event this past week.

Around the house: We spent part of Saturday looking at granite for kitchen counters. It will be a big job to switch out what we have now but will improve the way the kitchen looks.

From the kitchen: Stuffed green peppers. Easy and yummy.

A favorite quote this week: Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham: What's a "weekend"? -from Downton Abbey.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Dear Maggie Stiefvater,

I am in love with you. Well, more precisely, in love with your writing...and your art...and your music.

Your Wolves of Mercy Falls series made it obvious that you were someone special. Paranormal romances admittedly are not my thing, yet I was completely captivated by Shiver, Linger, and Forever. These books are heavily promoted by this librarian and you have many fans. However, and unfortunately, reading your wolf books didn't send me to the Web to learn more about you. Otherwise I would have fallen in love even sooner.

Then your book The Scorpio Races was named a 2012 Printz Honor and an Odyssey Award Honor book (for fabulous audiobooks) and I took notice. You see, I am a Printz book nut, attempting to read all contenders and predicting which will win. If reading time runs short, I try to read all the winners as soon as possible after they are announced. But if I am nuts for Printz books, then I'm completely bananas for good audiobooks. I usually listen to the Odyssey YA selections because their renown is for excellent production. The audio version of Scorpio Races had me completely enthralled in the reading by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. These voice actors did an absolutely perfect job reading the parts of Puck (Kate) and Sean. Thank them for me for their part in making Scorpio Races a magical experience!

And speaking of magical experiences, I cannot gush enough about the way that you wove together the Irish/Scottish myth of the magical water horses, capaill uisce; the excitement of the race; the tension of family/working relationships; and the budding, sweet romance. While listening to the story I was transported to the island of Thisby -- surveying the windswept landscape, the cliffs overlooking the sea, and the deadly but magnificent horses. Your character development was so full and rich that I could imagine life as Puck, Sean, and even young Finn.

By this time I was already developing a serious crush on you, but what tipped me over to full love was the animated trailer for the book. I was stunned. You not only created the art work for the video, but also wrote and performed the music. I have watched the trailer many times and enjoy it more each time. It's fun to think about you and your sister in the recording studio pounding on all kinds of surfaces to make the drumming beat. And what kind of flute is that carrying the haunting Celtic melody? Ah, your talents seem limitless.

Finally I hope that this letter, profuse with praise, will cause readers to choose The Scorpio Races. A link to your page is here (Maggie Stiefvater) so they can read more about this wonderful book. Thanks for writing it!

All my love,


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Pyongyang: a Journey in North Korea

Graphic biography Pyongyang: a Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle gives a rare view into the bleakness of life in North Korea today. It is hard to imagine a country more stuck on itself and more removed from the rest of the world. Guy Delisle spent several months in North Korea working as an animator. As a rare foreigner he witnesses it all first hand. He was not allowed to go anywhere without a guide, only a few floors of his hotel had electricity, photos of Kim Jong-Il were everywhere, and boredom was a big part of his reality there.
"North Korea is the world's most isolated country. Foreigners trickle in. There's no Internet. There are no cafes. In fact, there's no entertainment. It's hard to leave the hotel and meeting Koreans is next to impossible."
Indoctrination, propaganda,  building projects half finished, shopping malls with no electricity, no North Koreans allowed to leave the country unless they leave behind a spouse and children. All the stuff that we think of when we think of countries led by dictators but weirder and more extreme than most would imagine.

Here is a panel from the book that Guy Delisle drew after a visit to special school where all the little girls were laboring over some task and the group playing accordions all had plastered on smiles.
Reading about a tedious subject in the graphic novel format can transform the information into fascinating stuff, possibly even allowing for a bit of humor. Though it took me rather longer to read this book than expected, I did enjoy it and learned a bit a long the way,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Top Ten Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens

The Broke and Bookish

What books would I save if I could were my house under attack?

1. The Bible...my personal Bible that I've written footnotes in.

2. All six books of Jane Austen (hardcover)

3. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I just purchased a set of hardcover books of the Narnia books.

4. All the Harry Potter books, all are first editions.

5. Favorite Children's books: The Big Hungry Bear by Woods; Jamberry by Degen; The Birthday Book by Dr. Seuss; Little Bear by Maurice Sendak

6. A Few Christmas books that we read every year: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss; The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson; The Angel, the Shepherd, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry.

7. My daughters' baby books.

8. After looking at other lists I realized that I would definitely want to save a few of my favorite cookbooks: The Taste of Oregon; The Christmas Cookie Book; The Joy of Cooking; and the more personal ones like the one created by my daughter's class when she was in 3rd grade.

The rest of my books, though I love them, can be replaced and I would not be devastated if I lost them.

Review: Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Kendall, an OCD teen, lives on a farm in Cryer's Cross, Montana across the road from Nico, her best friend, and attends a one-room school house with 23 other students from the area. It seems that where nothing ever happens in Cryer's Cross, until one day a girl goes missing without a trace. Kendall and the whole community spend days looking for her to no avail. When Nico goes missing months later, Kendall knows that it is more than a coincidence. She seems to be the only person that notices that both Nico and the other girl sat in the exact same desk at school. Can she find her friends before it is too late? Or will Kendall become the next victim and disappear herself?

Typically I avoid this type of book since horror/suspense offerings scare me. However, listening to the audiobook Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann, read by Julia Whelan, was a very enjoyable experience, And I was only a little frightened by it. I found my way to the audio version of this book because a blogging friend, Sue Jackson at Great Books for Kids and Teens, said that she and her family enjoyed the book in this format and I trust her recommendations. I am always looking for good audiobooks. So many narrators of YA novels read in a whiny teenager voice. Ugh. I honestly have enough of that in my real life. But with this book Julia Whelan read with a clear and decisive voice that helped build the tension of the mystery and created a sympathetic tone toward Kendall and her predicament. I enjoyed it a lot and now I recommend it to you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Salon...Feb 19. My Birthday Edition

Yes, today is my birthday and I am OLD!  In fact, I am so old that I forgot how old.  Ha!  The family gathered last night for a lovely dinner and games together later. The cake was purchased from the same bakery that will be doing the wedding cake for my daughter. It is Aztec Chocolate (with cinnamon and chilies.) It is a lovely combination of sweet, chocolate, and spicy. The funniest gift I received was a pair of reading glasses that have lights attached to them for reading in the dark.  They are hilarious and they work good!

Movie of the week: I rewatched Becoming Jane about Jane Austen.  I thought it might be a candidate for Jane Austen Week in my library. I still haven't decided what DVD I will show.

Audiobook I'm listening to: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, the fourth book in the Eragon series.  It is something like 28 hours of listening time so I will get the book from another library in the district. I can read when I am not listening to speed up the process.

Book finished this week: 1. A State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Set in the Amazon. I really, really enjoyed this book in the audio format. Can't wait to discuss it in book club next month. I highly recommend it.  2. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle. A Graphic biography.

I'm still reading: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. This book isn't anything like I imagined but I am enjoying it very much.  The love interest is just starting to show itself.  My my.

Lists: People that will be serving homeless dinner with me next week. Organizing this is new to me so I am feeling a wee bit insecure..

Scripture lesson in church: Mark 9:7  "Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

I'm praying for: My nephew.

Around the house: Dan, son-in-law-to-be sawed down the tree stump, the tree that was the victim of the ice storm.

From the kitchen: Whiskey River marinaded pork tenderloin and homemade applesauce.

A favorite quote this week: (This totally cracks me up!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

2011 Cybils Awards announced this week

The 2011 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (Cybils) were announced this week.

Drum roll please....

The winners for the YA categories are:
Fiction: Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Fantasy and Sci-Fi: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Graphic Novel: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brogol

Nonfiction: Amelia Lost: the life and disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming

I have only read one of the YA winners (Anya's Ghost) so now I have three new books on my TBR pile.  Congratulations to the winners.  See the whole list here: 2011 Cybils

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Friday blogs...Feb. 17

Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View
Feature and Follow Friday: Meet and follow new blogging friends. Featured blogger this week: Le' Grande Codex, nice blog.  I look forward to reading more.

Q: What's the most unique character name you've come across?

A: I usually think that character names in Sci-Fi or Fantasy books are the most unique and often unpronounceable. One of the reasons that I like about audiobooks is having someone else pronounce these names for me.  I am just starting Inheritance, the 4th book in the Eragon series, in the audiobook format for this very reason.  But thinking about unique and funny names, I like those in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Slartibartfast.  They make me smile just to say them.


Q: Book Blogger Pride: What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

A: I am pleased when my friends, colleagues, or students tell me that they like something that I blogged about. First that let's me know that they are reading it and secondly I hope my blog encourages those folks to get out and read great books.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Ten Books that Broke my Heart (at least a little)

The Broke and Bookish
Ten books that broke my heart, at least a little:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.... I promise no spoilers but suffice it to say that it was a several hanky book and I adored the relationship between Augustus and Hazel Grace.
  • Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler... the title gives away the book's ending. For anyone who has ever dated a rat, or had a broken heart you will be able to relate to this book.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows... I know they were dogs but my heart broke for Little Anne when Old Dan died.
  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray.. .for all the silliness in this book, there are some tender moments toward the end that nearly broke my heart.
  • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling... there were so many sad, heart breaking moments in this book
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein... Enzo.  Need I say more?
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCall... When I fall in love with a character and that character dies, it breaks my heart.
  • The Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green... a lonely girl, neglectful parents, a handsome prisoner... all part of the recipe for a massive heart breaker.
  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson... young love, so poignant and raw.
  • A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter... I don't think this book was intended to be a heart breaker but the death of the woman's spouse just pierced my heart when I read it as a child.
  • Mudbound by Hilary Jordan... a family falling apart and the horrors and repercussions of racism nearly broke my heart.
  • Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes... bad things happening to good people. It just isn't fair.
I could go on and on but I will stop. What books have broken you heat, at least a little?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Salon...Feb 12

*************************** Warning: Whine alert. Whine alert.**********************************

Whine #1- Our kitchen faucet started leaking and then the water pooled under the sink. Fortunately we found it before damage was done to the floor, the walls, or the cabinets. After a trip to the hardware store to buy a new faucet, my husband was unable to get the old one out. Ugh.  Next day I called a plumber and he happily replaced the faucet and the leaky valves for a mere $500!!! Whine. Whine.  My hubby was really angry until I told him that the plumber couldn't get the old faucet out either. He used a metal saw to remove it from above.

Whine #2- I had a mortifying exchange with one of my colleagues this week where I was called out publicly for what ended up being a case of miscommunication. After a long, tearful discussion I think we have cleared the air and I hope we can move forward with better communication in the future. Admittedly the whole thing took the wind out of my sails that whole day. Whine. Whine.

Movie of the week: A Dangerous Method. About the early days of psychotherapy with Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud and the woman who came between them. Interesting but a bit slow-moving.

Audiobook I'm listening to: A State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Set in the Amazon. I am really enjoying this book in the audio format.

Book finished this week: Chopsticks: a novel by Anthony and Corral; Henry Tilney's Dairy by Amanda Grange.

I'm reading: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Lists I am making: No lists today.

Scripture lesson in church: Matthew 3:16,17 "16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

I'm praying for: Myself, that I can learn to be the type of person that I want to be. Also for the Powell and Cox families who lost their two young boys because their father, Josh Powell, killed them by setting the house on fire.  He was under investigation for killing the boys' mother two years ago. It is a local, public tragedy.

Around the house: See whine #1

From the kitchen: Made pulled pork this week. It is so easy. And we had incredible sushi from our favorite sushi restaurant in Tacoma.

On the Web:Chopsticks YouTube videos suggested in the book Chopsticks like this one showing Jo Ann Castle playing a boogie-woogie chopsticks. The book is interactive.

A favorite quote this week: "A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."-Mark Twain. 

Book Review: Chopsticks: a novel by Anthony and Corral

Chopsticks: a novel by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral is a completely unique novel written almost exclusively in a scrapbook format with small snippets of IM conversations thrown in here and there. Because the dialogue is so sparse and the images plentiful Chopsticks will become a uniquely different story for every single reader. In addition, there are links to YouTube videos that all relate somehow to chopsticks and/or the piano (or both.) Apparently in the e-format of the book these are Internt links, but for readers of the printed word, typing out the web addresses is required to view the suggested YouTube videos. The whole reading experience was fun. I felt like I was telling myself a story and occasionally would have a chance to expand the reading by checking out something relevant on the Web. The end of the story is very ambiguous, allowing the reader to create alternate endings until hitting upon one that is satisfying.  How fun is that? The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" aptly applies to this unique book. I will be very interested to see how my student readers respond to this book.

In the meantime, here is a brief synopsis of the book provided by our friends at Goodreads:
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks." But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along...
Kirkus Reviews describes the book as "a provocative tale of forbidden love and madness." Hmm...I'm still trying to decide how I want the story to end.  Guess I'll pop over to YouTube and take a look at a few more suggested videos while I decide. Cheers!

Monday, February 6, 2012



Juxtaposition is defined as an instance of placing close together or side by side, for the purpose of comparison or contrast.

I can't help it. I find myself doing it all the time. If I read two books in close time proximity one often suffers due to its juxtaposition to the other.  That is what happened to the Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. It is a good book with a strong message of the importance of family and not "going it alone." But the books suffers in comparison to other books I've recently completed, The Fault in Our Stars (John Green), and Why We Broke Up (Daniel Handler.) These books are so good, the characters so flushed out, the setting so realistic, and the writing so spectacular that almost any other book would not compare favorably.

So what is a book blogger to do? What do you do? Is there any way to avoid making comparisons between books when writing reviews? Or do comparisons actually help make the reviews more helpful? All three of the books that I mentioned above deal with teenagers in crisis, trying to make sense of their lives, and all of the teens show growth along the way. Though the stories are vastly different, they do have quite a bit in common, too. If you were to ask me which is my favorite, or if I would rank them 1-2-3, I could tell you easily.

Share your thoughts.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Salon...Feb 5

Family doings: Daughter #1, her fiance, his mother, and I have been wedding cake testing the past two weeks. The final decision was made Friday. They will have two choices..1. Pink/marble champagne cake with white butter cream frosting for the tiered and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for the sheet cakes. Yum! 

Daughter #2 attended the Tour de Nerdfighting event in Seattle with her nerdfighter friends. If you don't know about John Green, Nerdfighting, and Vlogbrothers this is a very good article about this author and his following. Tour de Nerdfighting in Austin.

Movie of the week: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close created from the book by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Wonderful (but very sad.) I think it was very close to book and well worth the money to see it.

Audiobook I'm listening to: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. This is my second Dessen book and I like it but think it is too long for this format.

Book finished this week: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin. A middle-grade biography of America's most infamous traitor.

I'm reading: Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange. A Jane Austen retelling of Northanger Abbey. 

Lists I am making: Things I need to do in preparation for Jane Austen Week in my library Games, trivia, which DVD to show, prizes, and treats. I have developed quite a following for this week among the students over the years. I hope I am creating new Austen fans, but I actually think they like it because I allow them to eat their lunch in the library!  Ha!

Scripture lesson in church: Luke 4:1-4  1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

I'm praying for: a friend's son and his wife. They are struggling to learn how to use their money and talents wisely.

Around the house: I had to "dehair" the vacuum yesterday before I could get to the floors. I will put out a few Valentine decorations today while the hubby is watching the Super Bowl.

From the kitchen: Super Bowl menu (it's just the two of us): Crab! We bought several pounds of crab legs last year and it has been languishing in our freezer. Our kids won't eat it, so, since they aren't home, this is a perfect time to finish it off. Want to join us?

On the Web: Stephen Colbert---Defense Against Planned Parenthood.  Very funny in light of all that happened this week with Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Koman.

A favorite quote this week: Allen: You learned to dance like that sarcastically? Terry: Yeah, I guess.---Will Ferrell in the movie The Other Guys.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review: The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin

As Americans we all know that Benedict Arnold is one of our more famous traitors from the Revolutionary War period of our history.  But how much do you actually know about the man and his treachery?  After reading The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin I came to realize that I knew basically nothing except that he was a traitor.  I didn't even know that before he was a turn-coat he was considered an American hero. I love it when I read a book that is not too textbookish and learn something along the way.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery just won the 2012 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. I read it as part of my own challenge to read all the 2012 ALA YA Award books. Without that challenge it is doubtful that I would have read this excellent biography because YA/Middle Grade biographies aren't my go-to books to read for enjoyment. But I am awfully glad I did. I learned a lot about, not only about Benedict Arnold and his motivations, but also about the beginning years of our nation. I was amazed to learn that it really was a series of near-misses that led to Arnold's downfall and this possibly led to a renewed vigor among American's to fight for their freedom. It read like an action/adventure novel not a stuffy biography. Holy cow, fascinating stuff.

This said, I won't be purchasing this book for my high school library.  Why? I think this book is more geared toward the bottom end of YA students or what I consider Middle Grade students (Grades 5-8) and our US History classes start right after the Civil War. But I will definitely hold it in mind as an excellent biography of a notorious/infamous American.

Join me in reading the 2012 ALA Award Winners Challenge
(Read books highlighted in yellow.)
 YA Titles
1. Michael L. Printz Award
  • Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
2. Schneider Family Book Award (Living with disability)
  • The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
3. Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences (Pick one of ten, see full list here:)
  • The Lover's Dictionary, by David Levithan (1/8/11)
4. Margaret A. Edwards Award (Read one by winning author:)
  •  Susan Cooper
5. Mildred L. Batchelder Award (Translation)
  •  Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak, translated from Dutch
6. Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award (GLBT)
  •  Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright
7. William C. Morris Award
  • Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley  
8. YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
  •  The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery, by Steve Sheinkin  (2/4/12)
9. Odyssey Award (audiobook)
  • Rotters by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne
10. Pura Belpre Author Award (Latino author)
  • Under the Mesquite, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Friday blogs...

Hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read

Feature and Follow Friday, February 2, 2012

Featured Blogs: Omnom Books.  Congratulations to my new friend Down Under! Nice blog!
 and Progress and Procrastination which hadn't updated her page by the time I looked at it.

Question of the Week:  Define what characteristics your favorite books share.
  •  I look for books that are well-written with lots of descriptions and realistic/strong dialogue. (Think: Shipping News by Annie Proulx; Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns.)
  • I tend to lean toward YA books that deal with Teen Angst issues. If this book has a bit of romance, then I will be pleased.  (Think: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, or Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handley.)
  • For me to really enjoy an adult book, I must learn something or be swept up in the story and the language within. (Think: Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery; Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell.)
  • I attempt to avoid, at all costs, books that are formulaic and trite.