Monday, May 22, 2006

Monday morning

Off to a roaring start-- had my book fair delivered before 6:00 a.m. and am too early for the new posting of the Columbus Dispatch. Now to the big ol' pile o' books on my desk:

The only one I have that I want to buy: Gail Giles Dead Girls Don't Write Letters(2003). Fast-paced mystery, intriguingly written, surprise ending-- wow. This will go out frequently.

Walter Dean Myers' The Young Landlords (1979) was okay. Struck me as a little dated; halfway through I thought "Where's J.J.?" because it reminded me of the t.v. show Good Times. Inner city African Americans at a time where the inner city was run down but not too run down. Young teens are given possession of an apartment building when they complain to the slumlord, then realize how much work it is to keep it up. Some contrived zaniness. The students who like this author's other work will pick it up.

Books I am not going to buy (there seems to be more of these than books I will buy): Adoff's Freek (2004) struck me as almost a novel in verse. Certainly disenfranchised youth are always a big seller, but this one lost me early on. Lori Aurelia Willam's Broken China(2005) also started out well-- young teenaged mother is trying her best to get her life together and suceed, but after the death of her daughter, she goes heavily into debt to get her an expensive coffin. To pay for this, she takes a job at a strip club. There would be a lot of good lessons there, but we start spending way too much time at the strip club, and again, it lost me. Sonya Sones' One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies(2004) is something I seem to pick up every six months, only to get to lines like:

"I tiptoe down
to the kitchen
to try to sublimate my sexual frustration
with a Haagen-Dazs bar--"

and I'm down. This said, I love Helen Frost's novels in verse, Spinning Through the Universe (2004) and Keesha's House(2003). Even Mel Glenn's book and Wolff's Make Lemonade (1993) I enjoyed, so it's not ALL novels in verse I hate.

With all the hoo-ha about the plagiarism of Megan McCafferty's novels, I picked up Second Helpings (2003), and was grateful when she dropped the gratuitous f-bomb on page 4. More of an adult novel, this one; certainly not middle school.

At 552 pages and with Death as the narrator, Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (2006) could not reel me in even though the premise of a girl who survives the Holocaust by stealing books is intriguing. It would sit on the shelf with Chabon's mammoth Summerland (2002) and get checked out once every other year.

And after disliking so much, I had to read a Chick Lit novel to cleanse my palette. Now I may be able to finish off the M's, although with the book fair sitting there, there are probably some of those titles I need to read.

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