Wednesday, September 09, 2009

New books from the public library!!!!

Tim Bowler's Blade: Playing Dead was the best title of the night, even though I didn't want to like it. The students will be attracted by the title as well as the subject listings: Street children, violence, murder, gangs. The style is heavy on dialogue and the first person narrative moves quickly. I would have to categorize this as a mystery. Blade (aka Jonny, Slicky, etc.) is a homeless child who manages to survive alone by locating "snugs", houses where he can sleep for the night or day when the owners are out. After being attacked by a gang and having his clothes stolen, he is helped by a wary elderly woman who gives him clothes and food... and then is brutally murdered. Is it by people who are after Blade? When the same people come looking for him, and murder the leader of the gang who attacked him, Blade has to figure a way to escape them. It bothered me that I never found out who the "Bigeyes" Blade addresses frequently is, but this was an oddly compelling book, and blissfully free of bad language. Readers who like Morgenroth's Jude will pick this up.

While I enjoyed Barbara Dana's A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson, I don't think I will buy it for my library. It is beautifully done, and quite evocative of Dickinson's poetry, but to fully enjoy the book it was necessary to be well versed in Dickinson's work and have some knowledge of the time in which she lived and the circumstances of her life. Still, if you have a population of students who are very interested in this author, it would be a great book for them to have.

Penny Blubaugh's Seredipity Market confused me a bit, because I thought it was going to be about an exotic foreign country. Instead, it was about a woman who gathers story tellers to tell their tales (reworkings of fairy tales, mainly) so that order is restored to the universe. Lyrical and beautifully written, this has award winner written all over it, but I just can't think of any students who would want to read it.

Michael Coleman's The Snog Log is one I am getting a second opinion on, since I have never been a teenaged boy. The story of a group of British school boys who set up a contest to see who can kiss the most girls, it definitely objectifies girls and focuses a lot of attention on portions of the anatomy. The main character, Robbie, does see the error of his ways, which redeems the book, but I'm just not sure. My son is reading it and will give me a report. This was billed as Louise Rennison for the male reader, and certainly the boys do look for books about romance. I'm just not sure this is the book.
9/10-- My son lists this is his top 25 favorite books. While I was a little uncomfortable with the topic, it obviously spoke to my son. He feels that the boys grow enough in the book to excuse their obsessions, which are, after all, something that some boys do think about. The language was circumspect enough that it is suitable for middle school. I'll be interested to see what Boys Read or Guys Lit Wire think about it.


  1. For real?? A book about KISSING??? Every self-respecting preteen guy stand up and say, "EEWWW!" Hope you can tell I'm kidding, but our audience is preteen or very young teen guys, so girls and kissing isn't on their radar yet. Sounds like something for Guys Lit Wire.

  2. Now I must go out and read Snog Log.