Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Nonfiction and other stuff

I was disappointed with Elizabeth Partridge's John Lennon: All I want is the truth (2005). A gorgeous and well researched photo biography, it gives a lot of background information not aimed at adults who grew up with The Beatles. However, there is no constraint when quoting foul language, or in describing some of the situations. Not only that, but quoting a bawdy passage of Chaucer was just not necessary, so it seems to be done for effect. A real shame.

Karen Blumenthal's Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 (2002) was quite exquistite and very informative. Side bars describe various aspects, such as "What is a stock split", and period photos, cartoons and advertisements add to the interest. Might be a hard sell to students to read for pleasure, but it was informative and interesting.

Also read: Ann Martin's Missing Since Monday (1986), about a girl whose young sister is kidnapped. A good suspense story that remains popular. William Mayne's Hob and the Goblins (1993) and Hob and the Peddler (1997) would be good for really hard core Harry Potter fans who are really interested in the concept of the house elf. I had trouble with the tone and style, which included Hob talking about himself in the third person, which drives me mad. Interesting, and popular with the seventh grade girls, is Morgan Menzies' Diary of An Anorexic Girl (2003). Some girls like to read everything they can about the subject, but it's been done better. Levenkron's The Best Little Girl in the World (1978), Ivy Ruckman's Hunger Scream , and Lori Gottlieb's Stick Figure (2000) are all far more compelling.

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