Thursday, December 29, 2005
I always meant to read Esme Raji Codell's Educating Esme, but I never got around to it, so when this book with it's sparkly cover came across my path, well, I just had to. I'm a fish like that. I'm all of 30 pages in, and I had doubts for the first 15 or so, but once I realized that she's playing with established fairy tales, I was all in. So far, so good!
UPDATE 12/31/05 1:15pm
I read some review somewhere (probably when I stole the cover image) that this book was "uneven." I won't disagree, but I don't think that is really the point. In my admittedly unimportant opinion, when books are written for this demographic (girls ages 8-12)it is sometimes more important that they are reading and enjoying doing so. That is what this is. It is entertaining. It is not great literature, but it is exposure to the concept that well-known material can be shaped into something entirely different. Besides, sometimes great literature is boring. Really boring. (Oh, and there was a groovy list of witchy books in the back and that makes me happy. I like lists. Well, as long as they aren't lists of things I have to do. Of those lists I'm not such a big fan. I also like glue sticks, but that's another, non drug-related story.)
Friday, December 23, 2005
I'll start with the fact that I really loved The Gospel According to Larry and Vote For Larry by Janet Tashjian. This feels a lot like those, but so far it isn't quite as good. Neenan wants to tell the story naturally, but his narrator jumps around so much in time that it isn't always clear 'when' you are. I'm interested, but it's sure taking time to get into...
UPDATE 12/29/05 7:15pm
It was OK. Amusing, even. But not remarkable (how's that for sentence fragments!). The time setting got better as it went along, but on whole the cover speaks for itself. Basic plot outline: Kid does something embarrassing that gets caught on film and makes him rich & famous. Kid gets manipulated and locks himself in a hotel room to write his version of events, i.e. E! True Hollywood Story. You are reading his book. Ah, metaliterature, how art thou familiar...
I'd really be scraping the barrel to recommend this one to anyone. If I did, it would be to fans of the abovementioned pairing.
Ah, what a Refreshing read. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar. I read it in two sittings, I read it even when I could have been watching Season 5 DVDs of Gilmore Girls (who knew those fast-talkers could be usurped?). It was realistic, funny and touching. Scott is a normal kid feeling overwhelmed with homework, the HUGE upperclassmen bullies, and finding his place in a school where he doesn't even run into the guys he hung out with in junior high. Oh, yeah, and his mom announces that she's pregnant. What he really needs is a survival guide to freshmen year. So, he starts to write one for the baby. Solid. Makes me want to read other Lubar books... Boys or girls 6th-10th grades.
I've come to terms with the fact that my reading will probably always outstrip my blogging. I'm on my third book since Smashed, and yet I've not told you about any of them. So, in chronological order: Ghostfire (Outcast Series #3); Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie; and Idiot! A Love Story with Drama, Betrayal and Email.
Ghostfire's prequels, Outcast: The Un-Magician and Dragon Secrets were fresh and fun. I picked them up because I love Christopher Golden's Body of Evidence series. The premise was that Timothy, who has long been hidden from society, is suddenly thrown into his father's world where everyone is a magician, everyone, that is except Timothy. Not only does Timothy not have magic, he actually negates any magic he comes in contact with. While labeled a dangerous freak by the powerful in the guilds Timothy must overcome those prejudices, learn to operate in a world where every task is run by magic and solve the random mysteries and injustices that crop up in each book. He of course has a ragtag group of side-kicks to help him along. I really enjoyed the first two books, but my interest lagged during the third as the tale has become predictably formulaic, which hasn't yet happened with the other series. Good boy pick, ages 8-12.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Almost two weeks ago I dangled before you a bit of required reading (for me, not for you, naturally). Smashed was its name and it was challenged at my library. I've had the book done for almost a week now and have failed on the most basic of my goals, that of being the Interactivereader. I didn't give you my thoughts as I went along, which was my intention. I have decided that my intention really, well, sucks, and that it takes the fun out of it for me. Luckily, this being the first book (and MY blog) I can easily change intentions that you were unaware of to begin with.
I believe that Smashed was challenged under the mistaken belief that the book was intended for teens. While I personally don't think that it would necessarily be a bad book for that age group, I can understand how some parents would find it... disturbing. Koren led a life, as the subtitle suggests, infused with alcohol and irresponsible behavior. In no way does this book hide what it is about, and in no way does it glorify that lifestyle. That said, it is Adult Non-Fiction. It happened, and just because you think that Koren should have paid a higher price for her choices, does not make her story less valid. There are still valuable lessons to be learned. It is still a cautionary tale of the realistic sort. One can see in it people you know. Once can see how easily people could slide into the cycle. I will not vote for its removal. (Well, duh).
As for what I think? Well, I thought it was sad. Sad in the fact that it was her insecurity that led her to drink. Alcohol may work as liquid confidence, but it is only temporary. Doubt will creep back. It is hard for me to watch, or read, about those who act in a manner I would not. I have no problem with alcohol, but then I'm insufferably responsible. Mostly I felt sorry for Koren, and hope that her abstinence works well for her. I did enjoy how she slipped factoids and commentary into the story in a natural way, enabling depth and intentionally exposing how her story is not unique, which in itself may be the most important revelation.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
UPDATE: It occurs to me that there is one problem with this. Will the voting be continual, ie not start over when I choose a book to read? Just whatever's got the most votes at the time and the new titles are penalized by their newness? Tell me what you think... Jac 2:33pm
Monday, December 12, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Our first post is Smashed: A Story of a Drunken Girlhood. Now, I never promised that I was going to be cutting edge or reading the hottest titles on the market, nor do I particuly want to be controversial. I'm reading this title for one reason only. I'm on the Challenged Materials Committee at my library and this book has been challenged. Which means that I have to bump everything else on my pile (a considerable pile, I might add) and I've always HATED being forced to read something for any reason other than pleasure, so needless to say I'm a bit bitter about this. Fortunately, such experiences round us as individuals, right? I wouldn't be reading it normally, and I'm enjoying the experience. I'm on page 120, so we'll see how it goes. Later!
My intention with this blog is partially self-serving. I want to have a personal record of books read (and maybe movies watched, we'll see how ambitious I get) that I can refer to in Reader's Advisory (I am a humble Librarian). I also want to create a forum where people can react to what I'm reading, add their thoughts and, hopefully find a something to read, because in my opinion the best part of being a librarian is sharing books. Oh, and maybe there will be random bits of my life thrown in for fun. Hope you enjoy my rookie efforts.