Friday, August 05, 2011

Guy Friday-- Adrenaline

Aronson, Marc and Patty Campbell. War Is...Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk About War. (2008)
This collection of writing about various facets of war has an introduction by Marc Aronson that finally makes sense of why so many of my boy readers want to read about war. Aronson posits that "People like war." Why?
There is a certain rush of Adrenalin that the war experience provides. People who have been in wars, despite the horrific experience, are drawn closer to those with whom they fight; they feel more alive. This is a very complete collection showing things from how army recruiters are not entirely honest, to women who experiences harassment while serving, to an interview with a chaplain. The stand out, for me, were several essays by World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle. I had heard of him, but never read his work. Why his "The Horrible Waste of War" recounting what the Normandy Beach looked like after the fighting is not required reading in every high school, I don't know. It is powerful stuff, and beautifully written. I will definitely look up the collection of his columns, entitled Brave Men, and will definitely purchase War Is... for my library. Don't know how I missed it.

Sciezka, Jon. Guys Read: Thriller.
Release date 20 September 2011. E-ARC received from NetGalley.
From the publisher: "A body on the tracks. A teenage terrorist. A mysterious wish-granting machine.The world’s worst private detective. The second volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading is chock-full of mystery, intrigue, and nefarious activity. Featuring some of the best writers around, and compiled by certified guy Jon Scieszka,Guys Read: Thriller is a pulse-pounding collection of brand-new short stories, each one guaranteed to keep you riveted until the final page."

Again, that Adrenaline rush. Scary stories, suspense. The Guys Read: Funny Business has been very popular: there's something to be said for a book that says specifically on the front cover "This is for boys to read." I would give more description, but it is so hard to page back through an E-ARC to look at the short stories again. They were all good.

Henderson, Jason. Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead.
I liked Vampire Rising so much that I nominated it for the Cybils Awards.The second book is a textbook example of how to write for the Adrenaline rush: Alex is chased by two cars, has blood sucking leeches thrown at him by Elle, is attacked by the leeches again in his dorm room, and then the dorm catches on fire. That's just the first two chapters! The boys from Glenarvon have to move in with the girls at LaLaurie school until repairs are made. Shades of Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy!) From there, we find out that the vampires are still trying to take out Alex, so Elle makes several more attempts on his life, and a character named Ultravox is brought in. He's trying to brainwash the LaLaurie girls to carry out an evil plan, using Alex's friend Sid's short stories to do it! This is an absolutely essential purchase if your library's Darren Shan books are in tatters. Still not enough of Ale'x sister, but I think there will be a sequel, and I can live in hope.

Adrenaline. Why things need to explode in the very first chapter of a book for some boys to find it intriguing! That said, adrenaline literally makes me sick to my stomach! I don't like scary books or movies, I don't sky dive, and quite frankly, making left turns in heavy traffic is as daredevilish as I care to get. That's why it's important for me to separate what I want to read from what my students want. If I had my way, we'd have a collection based off of the blogging of The Paris Hat! Ah, rec rooms and saddle shoes. A little more in my comfort zone.

1 comment:

  1. First: THANK YOU so much for the kind words. It means a lot to me. Second, if you want to see Ronnie Van Helsing, try Sword of Dracula-- you can read some inside here. It's a comic, though.