Monday, October 05, 2009

I love the public library!

Not only mine, the Westerville Public Library, but the Stark County District Library. I try to limit my Interlibrary Loans, but sometimes I just HAVE to read a book WPL doesn't have.

Always love Gordon Korman's writing, which is just a pleasure to read, but after finishing Pop I got to thinking about the diversity of topics that he has covered. His ideas are so original-- no wonder he is so popular. Marcus has moved to town and wants to play football, but the local team had a successful season last year, and it's hard to get on. He starts to practice in the park with an older man, Charlie, who is a hard-hitting football player but rather odd-- he takes off when he accidentally throws a football through a car window, leaving Marcus to take the blame. It turns out that Charlie is a local hero, but it becomes evident that he has a lot of problems. I won't spoil it by saying what they are, but this was a nice balance of football and "issues" that I know the readers will enjoy.

Mitali Perkins' The Secret Keeper was fascinating. Set in 1970s India, it concerns Asha, whose father goes to the US to try to find work as an engineer. Asha, her mother (who is prone to crushing depression), and her beautiful older sister move in with relatives who are not as forward thinking as Asha's father, and are appalled that Asha is good at school (she is not allowed to attend any more), plays tennis, and doesn't care about her appearance. When Asha's father is killed, the family rushes to marry off Asha's sister. This is an important book for girls in the US to read, so that they can appreciate how many opportunities they have for education and advancement. The note at the back about life in India today is helpful.

Pearl Fuyo Gaskins' What Are You?: Voices of mixed-race young people was published in 1999, but still is valid today. Essays from people with a variety of ages and ethnicities cover a wide range of topics-- dealing with well-meaning people who think they are exotic, with classmates who don't like them once they find out the students' backgrounds, inner struggles trying to balance two different cultures, etc. Well worth a perusal, expecially since there are even more multiracial children today than there were ten years ago.

Also looked at Walter Dean Myers Riot. Had doubts about the particular historical events, and when it turned out to be in play form, decided I would pass. Koertge's Deadville made me think of this: if authors write what they know, just how many drugs has this author done. Treated very casually, I will pass on this one. Block's Pretty Dead was slow going, being mainly description instead of action, and then the f-bomb dropped on page 22 and I gave up. Now I must go chant to myself "Can't buy everything" for a while.

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