Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not What I Wanted Wednesday

Oh, E-Books. As much as I love NetGalley, I find E-ARCs difficult to keep track of. I have to keep a paper list in the Nook cover so I know what to read next, and they are not nearly as appealing as a pile of shiny books from the library. I also feel like I should say something nice about the books.

I read all books on their suitability and attractiveness to my students. This last crop of E-ARCs weren't quite right, but that's why I read things before I buy them. Just because they aren't right for my library doesn't mean they won't be right for yours.

Schmidt, Gary D. Okay For Now.
From the Publisher: "Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many challenges, including an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers and police officers, and isolation, but when he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he develops a close relationship with her and finds a safe place at the local library."

Why I read it: Schmidt is always on awards lists. Also, I never like his books (except First Boy), so feel compelled to keep reading until I find one I do like. I worked on this for over two months and still haven't finished.
Why It Didn't Work For Me: Nothing happens. Doug delivering groceries and acting up in class is about as action-packed as it gets. Historical fiction needs more action to be successful in my library.

Everyday Reading, Kidliterate, and Just a Girl all adored this one.

Cronin, Doreen. The Trouble with Chickens.
From the Publisher: "A hard-bitten former search-and-rescue dog helps solve a complicated missing chicken case."

Why I read it: Hank the Cowdog is weirdly popular in my library, and I liked the cover!
Why It Didn't Work For Me: This falls on the too young side, and the hard-boiled (sorry) detective/film noir feel falls flat with my students.

Bookends, Fresh Fiction, and The Wormhole all liked this book.

Jeter, K.W. Morlock Night (1979)
From the Publisher: "Having acquired a device for themselves, the brutish Morlocks return from the desolate far future to Victorian England to cause mayhem and disruption. But the mythical heroes of Old England have also returned, in the hour of the country’s greatest need, to stand between England and her total destruction."

Why I read it: This is supposed to be the first book to be written in the Steampunk genre, which I am still trying to understand.
Why It Didn't Work For Me: Steampunk is still a hard sell to my students, and the language in this was particularly difficult.

Book Den, Retrospeculation, and BookishArdour all seem fond of this book and of Steampunk.


  1. Steampunk isn't really big in my (public) library, either. I have to say that I'm a bit baffled by it (the genre, not that it's not very popular). Steampunk jewelry looks cool, though.

  2. Love the new blog format!
    I have to agree with you about the hard-boiled genre. I'm in elementary this year, and they really don't seem to get the concept. There is another series out there about a lizard who solves mysteries. I love them, but the kids don't get all of the hard-boiled references. I can see that middle schoolers wouldn't necessarily get them either. :)

  3. Anonymous6:16 AM EDT

    I actually haven't read Morlock Night. If you got that from the Must Reads list I had, those lists are a composite of what's popular on the net, not what I've read and enjoyed.

    K.W. Jeter is the man who coined the term Steampunk, which is another reason why Morlock Night is a recommended read for those who love the genre and culture, it's not necessarily recommended because it's a great read.

    Thanks for including my blog in your post!

  4. I had read a few positive reviews of The Trouble with Chickens and have been thinking of picking it up for my son. I'm curious to see if he likes it now that it didn't work for you. But he's younger than the audience for most of your books, so maybe it will still work for him.