Sunday, July 29, 2007

Some good books!

I had my doubts about Gordon Korman's Schooled. Boy raised on commune with no experience in a modern middle school suddenly thrust into one. Ooooh. Train wreck. But it was surprisingly good and funny, which I should have expected, because Korman is about the best there is when it comes to writing humor. He's also great at suspense and adventure. Shouldn't have doubted for a moment!

Roland Smith's Peak was fabulous. Can't say I ever really wanted to climb Mt. Everest, but this was a good vicarious experience. Lots of details about climbing, lots of ...cliff-hangers. Okay, bad I know. Loved the familial interplay, and everyone's sneaky motivations. Exquisite. Will recommend to everyone.

Another surprisingly good book-- Rune Michaels' Genesis Alpha. Surprised because she is an Icelandic author, and I've weeded a LOT of stuff "translated from the Russian"-- this was apparently written in English. Starts with an online game scenario, so will drag reluctant readers in, and then turns into a very complex mystery and psychological thriller. Great cover-- more of this foil, abstract stuff with cool typefaces that will not date as much as somewhat poorly drawn pictures of people.

Harry Potter

Read ...and the Deathly Hallows in one gulp. Seven hours. I usually pace myself, but when I was looking at how many chapters there were to figure out how many chapters I could read a day, I saw the epilogue, and I knew the epilogue would ruin everything... so I had to read it.

Won't spoil anything here, but good does trump evil. Found some of the book confusing-- apparently everyone has to reread the part where Harry goes into Snape's memory. Still, explains a lot.

My son was very disappointed because Harry wasn't in school at Hogwarts, and that was his favorite part. And what did the great battle of Hogwarts do to the standardized testing schedule? Did everyone graduate? If you save the world from evil, it still matters what you get on your NEWTs. Is there wizarding college? What sort of majors are there? What jobs are available?

All things that we can think about in spare moments. It doesn't bear thinking about Harry folding laundry and washing dishes, no matter how much he might like the sanity of the mundane. Like any long series, it's possiblefor the author to go on too long and say too much. Didn't really need to see Anne of Green Gables grown up and a mother. That's not why I loved her.

Sigh.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quick Notes

Before the marauding horde realizes I'm on the computer, here's what I have been reading:
Fantastic:
Abdel-Fattah, Randa. Does My Head Look Big in This?-- Australian girl decides to wear the hijab full-time, even though it means dealing with some people who don't understand why she is doing this. Very different!

Carroll. The Awakening: Quantum Prophecy 01. How can a book about children who begin to realize they are Superheroes not be good? Lots of action. For fans of Stormbreaker.

Rallison, Janette. Playing the Field. Baseball, but also BOY middle school problems. Really good balance.

Good
O'Brien. Mary Jane. A problem novel about Spiderman's friend Mary Jane. Oddly riveting, but alas, out of print.

Green, John. An Abundance of Katherine's. Extra points for NOT using the f-bomb but wanting to so badly that he found an author who used "fug" to get around censors, and employs that. Why this is important-- my incoming sixth grader son decided he wanted to read this, mainly because of the math. Had it actually used the other f word, I would have been reluctant.

Rinaldi, Ann. Hand 1,000 Trees with Ribbons. Phyllis Wheatly. Rinaldi at her best.

Rees. Lightning Time. Quite good, but liked Vampire High way better.

Han, Jenny. Shug. Well, we can tell the author has the MFA in kid lit, but it's still good despite the dysfunctional Southern navel gazing. Nice cover. Pink fans will pick it up, although it's one of those books that makes more sense as an adult. I'll buy it in March if there is money left.

Roth. Iceberg Hermit. Oldie but goodie; survival fiction. Eating whale blubber.

Not good.
Saldana. Whole Sky Full of Stars. Sounded promising, but couldn't keep my interest.

O'Dell. Bad Tickets. Set in the '60's, just odd.

Burnham. Goddess Games. Too much name dropping. Will age poorly.

Cooper. Tell Me Lies. More 60's, this time in England. Commune. No.

Turnbull. No shame, no fear. Odd historical time in England.

Burgess. Sarah's Face. Stopped reading when the boy was examining her, um, chestal region and comparing it with puppies. Smack was good, if inappropriate, this... wasn't.

And yes, I plan to start reading Harry Potter, but I have to share two copies among four people. I think somehow that I will survive.
 
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