"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=========

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Libraries 101...Books in a series

Libraries 101 is a new feature at My Head is Full of Books where librarians and library-goers can talk about issues near and dear---books and bookish related topics specific to libraries.

Today's topic is books in a series.

Any teen librarian today has to be on his/her toes constantly just to stay one step ahead of the teens' insatiable desire for the next book in a favorite series. I could never keep them straight. Constantly feeling overwhelmed and confused I resorted to creating a few tricks to help me stay sane and to look like I knew what I was doing.

1. First I started purchasing two or three copies of the first book in a series so that more kids could be introduced to the popular series without being thwarted before they had a chance to start.

2. Next I created a little blue notebook into which I write out the list of books in particular series, and if I know them, the dates of upcoming books. This little notebook is now a go-to spot for my ardent library readers. One girl even complimented me on it just this past week. "This is the coolest book. I've never seen one in any other library." Of course, the information is available on the card catalog, but that requires several steps in our school system to login and get to the catalog.  This is faster. Not a day goes by that someone, including my clerk, doesn't consult the little Books in a Series book.
This small three-ring binder sits on the circulation desk so that anyone can use it.

Pages are sorted by author, titles are added as new books are published.
A post-it note announces up-coming titles.

3. Another issue with books in a series is how to communicate to the reader that there is another book in the series.  As you know from my last post, I am not a great fan of stickers, so I always struggle with how to communicate with readers so that they will know to look for the next book. Obviously if the kid drops by the circulation desk we would tell them, but frequently that didn't happen so I decided to start displaying books in a series on a shelf in my library.  Post-it notes help us indicate each books' number in the series. Series are rotated onto and off the shelf monthly. This has been a very popular move. Kids flock to the shelf and find that next book themselves.  Often they tell me that they loved the first book but didn't even know that there were other books after it. Success!

All books in the series are marked with post-it notes.
A variety of types of series are highlighted: fantasy, paranormal, realistic, etc.

If books in a series don't move, they are reshelved and others replace them to keep the display fresh.

4. For very popular series, notices on the library bulletin board announce the arrival of the next book in a series.  House of Night. Inheritance Cycle. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Hunger Games.

What do you find helpful in identifying the next book in the series?  Join in the conversation.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Retrospective Wednesday #3---The Goose Girl

Retrospective Wednesday is a new feature at My Head is Full of Books designed to give bloggers a chance to highlight a book that was published in previous years, in the hope that it will cause others to go back and read it. The featured book must have been published one or more years ago.  Please leave a comment and link back to Headfullofbooks from your blog post. Join in the fun highlighting favorite old books.

Retrospective Wednesday #3---The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale 

"From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own."---from Shannon Hale's Webpage
This marvelous fairy tale never fails to delight readers.  Just today a teacher returned the book to the library saying that she was quite taken with the story and was surprised that she hadn't read it before. She has just become the latest fan of this charming tale that has enough action, romance, suspense, magic, and pageantry to attract a variety of readers.  And if the reader really enjoys this book, there are three other books in the series which carry characters forward and introduce new ones.  Originally published in 2004, this book is targeted toward middle-school aged readers but high school girls (and many adults) really enjoy it, too.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won both the prestigious 2012 Printz Award and the Morris Award for debut authors in January. The day those awards were announced was the first day that I paid any attention whatsoever to this book and author. And I might add, I wish I had paid closer attention because this book is a gem. It is truly a winner. I agree with Rollie Welsh, a writer and librarian from Cleveland Public Library, who said, "[it's] victory surprised the oddsmakers. It won't surprise those who read the book."

Cullen Witter lives in the sleepy little town of Lily, Arkansas where nothing ever happens. Ever. That is until someone comes along and spots a Lazarus woodpecker, a bird thought to be instinct for 70 years. At approximately the same time Cullen's younger bother, Gabrielle, goes missing. Cullen understandably becomes very upset with the fact that people in Lily were more concerned with making money off of the woodpecker than finding his brother.

Lest you think I am making this book sound dull or boring, let me assure you that this book has a lot of surprises, quite a bit of humor, and just enough teen angst to make this book very satisfying and memorable.  There is even an odd religious story that runs concurrent to Cullen's. For a while it seems confusing as to how this story related to what is happening in Lily.  But Whaley does a masterful job bringing together all the pieces and parts of the story at the end of the book.

I can't wait to get this book back into circulation in the library. I trust that students who like reading well-written, well-plotted books will find a lot to like in Where Things Come Back.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Salon, March 25

Weather today... Sunny with blue skies. Earlier this week it snowed two inches and school was delayed by two hours. Crazy, crazy weather for the Pacific Northwest.

In the school library this week: The Biology classes were in the library all week working on fruit-fly labs on the computers. It gave me a chance to interact with teachers I rarely see. My clerk and I untangled several funny mysteries and, all in all, it seemed like a productive week.

I'm reading: 1. Emma by Jane Austen and 2. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.
I'm listening to: Irises by Fransisco X. Stork. Two sisters are left alone to care for their mother who is in a persistent vegetative state after their father dies suddenly.

Book finished this week: 
  1. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Set on Bougainville, an island that is part of Papua New Guinea. The teacher, Mr. Watts, reads Great Expectations to his class. The main character in the book, Pip, plays an important role in the life of Matilda, the story's protagonist.
  2. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, the Printz Award winner for 2012. Look for my review later today.
  3. Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman. Look for my review this week.
  4. Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor. Book one of a series of graphic novels about the Greek gods.
Abandoned book: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta. I abandoned this book this past summer because I just couldn't get in to it.  But then I decided to give it another try.  Once again I felt confused.  Then another blogger contacted me and recommended that I read Saving Francesca before I read this book.  So I am giving myself permission to abandon this book until I get a chance to do just that.

Scripture lesson in church: Matthew 21:13- 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

I'm praying for: Patt, my friend's husband, who was hospitalized this week.

Around the house: Daughter #2 is home for Spring Break. We've watched lots of movies.  At one point all four of us were sitting with our electronics playing the new Drawing program that is such a craze right now.  Yesterday the hubby and I went out and pruned all the roses and the hydrangea bushes.  We also tidied up one flower bed in the front of the house.  Keep your fingers crossed that we didn't do it too soon.

From the kitchen: Vegetable Beef Soup that was simply delicious..

Fun event of the week: We went to see Hunger Games, the movie yesterday as a family then went out for an early dinner at a sports bar so the hubby could watch the end of one of the NCAA tournament  basketball games.

A favorite quote this week: “Remember, we're madly in love, so it's all right to kiss me anytime you feel like it.”- Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor

The first four graphic books in the Olympians series by George O'Connor are very popular in my library right now. Zeus, Athena, Hera, and Hades are the Gods highlighted in the first four books of this series by a masterful illustrator, George O'Connor. Always fascinated by Greek mythology, but by no means a scholar, a refresher course seemed like a good idea so I picked up Zeus, the first book in the series.  It not only provided a review but also taught me a lot about the stories that I never knew before.

Take a look at George O'Connor's page for examples of his illustrations. I can't wait to make my way through the whole series.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Retrospective Wednesday #2---The Book of Lost Things

Retrospective Wednesday is a new feature at My Head is Full of Books designed to give bloggers a chance to highlight a book that was published in previous years, in the hope that it will cause others to go back and read it. The featured book must have been published one or more years ago.  Please leave a comment and link back to Headfullofbooks from your blog post. Join in the fun highlighting favorite old books.

Retrospective Wednesday #2---The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things is one of those books that is "clutch-the-book-to-your-chest-when-you-are-finished good. When I tell students about this book I admonish them to NOT tell me if they don't like it because it is so special to me.  I don't want anything to tarnish it's reputation in my mind. This 2007 Alex Award book appeals to older teens, and those teens who enjoy reading fairy tales or those whose taste in books runs a little toward the warped or to satire.

"High in the attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and along, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange refection of his own---populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things...John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives."---from the book jacket

Published in 2006 this book deserves another look on the retrospective Wednesday. Both teens and adults will find something within that will both delight and demand closer attention. I find myself chuckling aloud when recalling passages from this special book. I hope you, too, find it just as delightful.

If you have an old, favorite book you'd like others to read, feel free to join in and add a book to Retrospective Wednesday on your blog.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read list

Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read list

My selections today will help me with three projects:
A. Make progress on my reading challenges;
B. Identify new selections for my Nifty Fifty Cart; and
C. Start reading books published in 2012 that may make my Mock Printz list.

Books on my A list (Reading Challenges):
1. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
2. The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
3. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
4. Putting Make-up on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright
5. Soldier Bear by Bib Tak
6. Stotan! by Chris Crutcher (also for B)

Books on my B list (Nifty Fifty prospects)
1. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
2. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
3. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
4. Black and White by Paul Volpoini
5. Sabriel by Garth Nix

Books on my C List (Potential Mock Printz selections)
1. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
3. Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover by Marc Aronson
4. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

If you have some suggestions for my B and C lists, I am very open to suggestions.
The Nifty Fifty cart is just a special cart I have in the library with 50 different books that are generally liked by all readers, high and low.  The lead up to the Mock Printz Workshop, kids read 10-15 preselected books that I think might win the Printz Award in January. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Monday, March 19 and I'm reading...

Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Text

Sheila at Book Journey

                                                                   What I am currently reading and my progress:
1. Piper's Son by Melina Marcheta...set in Australia, a group of friends are coping with the death of another friend. 50% complete.
2. Emma by Jane Austen.. ..I started reading this book on my smart phone during jury duty. 15% complete.
3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley... Can't seem to get much traction on this book.  I must bear down on it this week. 10% complete.

What I am listening to:

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones---This was an Alex Award winner a few years back. Set on a small island in Papua New Guinea. The teacher, Mr.Watts, reads Great Expectations by Charles Dickens to his class and this book becomes important for a variety of reasons.

What I've recently finished:

The Final Four by Paul Volponi--- a fictionalized account of a semifinal game in the NCAA Basketball tournament with four of the players highlighted. Very good!

What I hope to read next:

-Under the Mesquite by Guadeloupe Garcia McCall
-Irises by Francisco X. Stork...I've checked it out from the library but haven't looked in it yet.

What are YOU reading this week?

Sunday Salon... March 18

Weather today... Rain, sun, snow, hail. It is actually quite ridiculous.

In the school library this week: The state HSPE (High School Proficiency Exam) was held on three days, plus an additional make-up day on Friday. The library was the room used for students who needed a longer time to finish it. We had to lock out all other students, teachers, and classes.  It was actually quite boring. Watching students take tests.

I'm reading: 1. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, the Printz Award winner for 2012; 2. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

I'm listening to: Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Set on Bougainville, an island that is part of Papua New Guinea. The teacher, Mr. Watts, reads Great Expectations to his class. The main character, Pip, plays an important role in the life of Matilda, the story's protagonist.

Book finished this week: The Final Four by Paul Volponi. A fictionalized account of a semifinal game in the NCAA basketball tournament. Read my review here.

Bookish event: I attended an author event at the Garfield Bookstore last night where six new/upcoming YA authors answered questions and read from their books.  Unfortunately, the event was very poorly attended. I enjoyed myself but felt sorry for the organizers of it since I'm sure they made no money on it at all.

Scripture lesson in church: Isaiah 43:18,19
18 “Forget the former things;
   do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 

I'm praying for: My friends. Two of my friends have lost their mothers in the past few weeks. Two other friends' husbands are currently being treated for cancer. Moral of the story, aging sucks!

Around the house: The new washer and dryer are installed and we've spent most of Saturday catching up on laundry! They are both front loaders and we have been amusing ourselves watching the laundry tumble around.  Ha!

From the kitchen: Corned beef and cabbage and second day, Rueben sandwiches.

Musical event of the week: The University of Puget Sound Adelphian Choir and RHS Concert choir shared a concert at our church. It was an excellent event.

A favorite quote this week: "Don't give up. Don't ever give up!" ---Jimmy V.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Libraries 101---Stickers

Libraries 101 is a new feature at My Head is Full of Books where librarians and library-goers can talk about issues near and dear---books and bookish related topics specific to libraries.

Today's topic is stickers on books, such as barcodes, due date stickers, and spine labels.

I became a school librarian seven years ago.  I opened a new school and its library.  I was not, however, the person that chose the opening day collection or made the decisions about the placement of barcode labels. Nor did I select the type of books predominately selected for this collection, paperbacks with special hard covers to extend their shelf life. While I like these types of books, what I don't like is that the information about the book is on the back because they don't have a jacket flap. The placement of the barcode label can then obscure the book info.  Students complain that they have no idea what the book is about which makes selection of this particular title less than likely. See the photo below for three examples of labels that do this.

Barcode labels, due date labels, and spine labels all obscure the information on the back of the book on these Permabound-type books.

The problem with extra stickers isn't as profound on hardcover books since the book info is on the book-flap inside the front cover, but they do make the books look more junky and, in some cases, obscure some of the book info.  See examples below.

For the past few months whenever I have a few free hours, I've been attempting to remedy my sticker problem by slowly removing the due date stickers on the back and replacing them with due date sheets which are glued inside the book.

Several students have commented how much better they like this type of due date label.  They say it is easier to figure out when the book is due and it looks less messy on the back of the book.

In addition I am slowly removing the AR labels that are above the spine labels.  The gal that selected the opening collection thought that high school students would want to participate in Accelerated Readers activities.  They don't.  The AR stickers on the spines confuse kids who are searching for a particular book. I am also moving all barcode labels to some place on the back of the book that doesn't obscure any information.  This a huge job and it will probably take me a few years to finish.

Words to the wise---If I could do it again, I would avoid as many stickers as possible on my books and the placement of the barcodes would vary according to the information already published on the book. 

Librarians and library-goers what are your thoughts about stickers on library books?

Review: The Final Four by Paul Volponi

Perfect timing. It's Saturday morning. My husband is sitting around sipping coffee, watching a NCAA Basketball Tournament game on TV. Off in a corner I sit reading a book entitled The Final Four by Paul Volponi. It is a fictionalized account of a basketball game in this very tournament. After finishing the last page I lift my eyes to notice the action on the TV screen where two teams are battling for a win so they can advance to the next level. The action on the screen reminds me of the description of action in the book. Right on schedule.   

The Final Four, which earned a starred review in School Library Journal this month, highlights the lives of four of the players in a semifinal game of the tournament. The stories of Malcolm and MJ from the favored Michigan State Spartans, Roko and Crispin from the underdog Troy University Trojans are interspersed with action from the game. Journal entries, TV interviews, flashbacks, and newspaper accounts are the literary techniques used to introduce us to the characters. While play-by-play, color commentary, and court-side interviews bring the action and the excitement of the game to the readers. Malcolm, who is the least likeable character in the book, is very clear about using his time on the team as a stepping stone to the NBA. He also points out the exploitation of college athletes while the schools and teams rake in money from their unpaid efforts.

Even though I do not consider myself to be a big basketball fan, I found this book to be exciting and the back stories very compelling.  In fact, after reading The Final Four I have more interest in the NCAA tournament that is playing in the background of my life right now.  "With exciting game action and a candid exploration of the hypocrisy inherent in so-called amateur sports, this gritty, realistic, and riveting novel deserves the wide audience it will no doubt attract" (Richard Luzer, SLJ). I agree with Luzer. Librarians, if you don't have this book in you library, buy it quick! It is going to be a favorite among your readers who are sports fans or those who like stories with lots of action.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Retrospective Wednesday #1---The Thirteenth Tale

Retrospective Wednesday is a new feature at My Head is Full of Books designed to give bloggers a chance to highlight a book that was published in previous years, in the hope that it will cause others to go back and read it. The featured book must have been published one or more years ago.  Please leave a comment and link back to Headfullofbooks from your blog post. Join in the fun highlighting favorite old books.

Week #1-
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
Considered a tale within a tale, this mystery, set in England, kept me guessing until the very end.  Every time I thought I had things figured out, a plot twist was introduced. This book was a book club favorite as we had a fabulous discussion over it.  It was also an Alex Award winner in 2007. Alex Award books are adult books that have cross-over appeal for teens. If you like mysteries or just well-written books with interesting plots and engaging and interesting characters, this book would be a good choice for you.
Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness -- featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess,a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.-Simon and Schuster
If you have read this book, let me know what you thought of it in the comment section. If you have an old, favorite book you'd like others to read, feel free to join in and add a book to Retrospective Wednesday on your blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: Angry Management by Chris Crutcher

In Angry Management by Chris Crutcher we are reintroduced to characters we met in previous Crutcher books. And in a fun, almost magical way, these characters now live in current times not held by the time/decade constraints we would expect in a sequel. This literary technique makes the three stories in Angry Management fresh and approachable for teens today, not dependent on any previous knowledge of the characters/settings by the readers.

Who are these old/new characters?

There is Mr. Nak whose Angry Management group is an important "home" for a group of misfit teens. I first met Mr. Nak in the book Ironman. I wish every school had a Mr. Nak---a teacher who really understands adolescents and has the special ability to help those teens get themselves the help they need to better their lives. In this book, Mr. Nak has returned from his stint as a rodeo cowboy and is hired to help troubled kids. His notes provide the transitions between the stories.

The first story has Sarah Brynes (Staying Fat for Sarah Brynes) meet up with Angus Bethune (Athletic Shorts) and they make one more attempt at reconnecting with her mom. In the process these two needy kids find solace in a new friendship.

Montana West (Sledding Hill) once again tackles censorship in the second story. This time she attempts to get an article for the school newspaper approved by the school board. Unfortunately she runs afoul of the censor's pen but learns about herself and loyalty along the way.

In the last story we meet (or I meet) Marcus James, a black, gay student in a very racist town and a Christian guy, Matt Miller (Deadline) who stands up for James and against those students who would undo him.
Chris Crutcher fills these three stories with raw emotion. They are about insecurity, anger, and prejudice. But they are also about love, freedom, and power. About surviving.  And hope.---from the book description
In a funny, ironic synchronicity I read Angry Management while I was on jury duty. The halls of the Pierce County building were full of people who probably would have benefited from a Mr. Nak and an angry management group during their teen years, having a place to go to deal with their issues in a safe environment rather than committing crimes against society and ending up in the penal system.

Since most high schools don't have a Mr. Nak, thank goodness there is Chris Crutcher and his books!  Mr. Crutcher really gets teens. His books are never preachy. He trusts his readers to read between the lines and to find help within the pages only if help is wanted.

I am delighted to report that there is a loyal fan base for Chris Crutcher at my school. Boys are telling their friends about his books.  That is music to a librarian's ears.

And now for the big news... Chris Crutcher has a new  book, Period. 8, coming out next year. I am so psyched! Check out the teasers for this book on Chris Crutcher's page:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Salon... March 11

Weather today... Rainy, cold, and threats of snow and wind.

Helping the economy:  Yesterday my hubby and I ordered new counter tops for our kitchen. We chose quartz counters that looks like granite but are more nonporous. After leaving that showroom we went to Sears and bought a new washer/dryer pair. Ch-Ching!

Jury Duty gal:  Monday I reported to fulfill a civic duty on Jury Duty. I did serve on one jury and was considered for another. The rest of the week was spent sitting around in the jury room.  Bonus, I did get a lot of reading done.

I'm reading: 1. When Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. This was the Printz Award winner this year2. Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta...I started this book last summer and never had the chance to finish it.

I'm listening to: Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. This is a book club selection.

Book finished this week: 1. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, the fourth book in the Eragon series;  2. The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg, the Christmas story of Joseph and Mary; 3. Homestretch by Paul Volponi, a good book for reluctant readers; 4. Angry Management by Chris Crutcher, one of my favorite authors this book did not disappoint. Look for my review soon.

Lists: As our remodeling projects near I am creating lists of things I need to do before the installers arrive.

Scripture lesson in church: John 4:25,26 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

I'm praying for: A friend who is starting a new course of chemotherapy this week and for his wife, my friend.

Around the house: The washing machine quit spinning... hence, the purchase of a new laundry pair! 
From the kitchen: Tonight: pesto salmon and Caesar salad.

Musical event of the week: Tomorrow our church hosts the UPS choir for an evening concert.

A favorite quote this week: “I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy ” Ashleigh Brilliant

Book Review: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

Today ---seven years after beginning The Inheritance Cycle series---I said good-bye to Eragon, Saphira, and a whole cast of beloved characters, with the competition of Inheritance, the fourth and final book in the series. This farewell was a surprisingly emotional experience, too. I found myself feeling tearful as the end of the book neared. Gerard Doyle, the reader of the audiobooks for the whole Inheritance Cycle series, said he felt quite emotional while recording Inheritance. While addressing an audience at the book's opening party, he admitted that occasionally these feelings overwhelmed him so much that he would have to leave the recording studio and go for a walk to clear his head. Students returning this book to the library have all commented that they can't believe that the series is really over, that we will learn no more about Eragon and Saphira. Remember what it was like to finish the final book in the Harry Potter series? I felt a mild sense of depression and a sadness that I wouldn't have any more adventures with these beloved characters.  I feel the same way now as I did then.

Many reviewers have mentioned the length as a detriment to their enjoyment of this book.  I didn't feel this way. As a member of the Army National Guard my husband says that the Army has an unofficial slogan: Hurry up and wait. The action in the battle scenes had to be preceded and followed by lulls. Kings and queens, dwarfs and elves, riders and dragons had to plan strategic moves and rest. Readers had to learn new information about characters and settings. Characters had to move from point A to point B. I was fine with "living in Alegasia" for several weeks as I read/listened to this book. I savored my last journey with Eragon and company.
“Paolini’s fans, who have spent over 2,000 pages and eight years rooting for his hero, will cheer the final flight.” -The Washington Post
One thing that I really appreciated about the whole series is that the author, Christopher Paolini, does not insult the intelligence of the reader.  If he mentions details in the second book he expects the reader to remember them in the fourth. He does not reiterate things that we already "know." Several of my students reread the first three books in preparation for Inheritance. I didn't.  I just bumbled along if events/locations were mentioned that I had forgotten.  Preferring that to feeling insulted by tedious repetition.

I half listened/half read Inheritance. The idea of listening to 28-hours of the audiobooks loomed as a daunting task. So I opted to alternate between listening and reading.  Gerard Doyle does such a masterful job as the reader of this series making the books seem even more magical.  Another bonus to listening to the audiobooks is Doyle does the tough pronunciations for us. Whew!  No need to consult the pronunciation guide at the back of the book.

Now I bid adieu to my friends Eragon, Saphira, Roran, Ayra, and the rest. "Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!"  May your swords stay sharp.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book covers I really like

The Broke and Bookish
Book covers I really like...

1. The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson
This looks 3-D to me, not the typical 2-D cover.  Very creative.

2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
This unique cover sets the book apart.

3. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
The red and black colors, the heart shape, and the dictionary words written within all create a pleasing composition.

4. Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
The book is just as creative as the cover, or more so.

5.  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
The cover makes me laugh as does the book.

6. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Almost touching, but not quite. The cover sets the reader up for what is to come.

8. Deadline by Chris Crutcher
The cover looks like it is upside-down.  That is the point.

9. Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini
Words to attract readers: Girls Panities; WEIRD; Pimpin'; Stinky.

10. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Kadir Nelson is an artist who wrote a book. The art work is fabulous.

11. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
This is my favorite of the many editions of OFOTCN.

12. Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway
Notice how Benway's name is hiding in the vortex?