Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Book Chat

Here are some of the books I’ve been reading lately. I’m always looking for good recommendations, so if you’ve read something you loved, let me know.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules, Jeff Kinney
(Juvenile) Because I loved the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid and because Ethan devoured it in an evening or two, I decided to make this book a permanent fixture in our home library. Is it wrong that I laughed at the picture of the mom fake-calling the dentist to scare her son into brushing his teeth? The text in the little speech balloon reads, “Do you have dentures in kid’s sizes? Oh, only wooden ones, OK.” I would use this tactic on Ethan, but he’s already read the book and would see right through me.

Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
(Juvenile) This was a fun book, clearly the first in a series. It was original and yet very much like Harry Potter at the same time. (A young person finds out there is a secret world of magic alive and well with its own ministry, bad guys and good guys operating in the cities of…wait for it…Ireland.) The author spares no sympathy for the physical safety of his main character, even though she is a girl. She really gets into some serious scuffles, but is healed by magic. Fun, but a little predictable.

Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, Robin Brande
(Young Adut) I very much loved this book. I don’t know what to say about it other than “I loved it.” I related with the main character in so many ways. I loved her struggle and was furious at the injustices hurled at her from seemingly every angle. I also loved who her “savior” turned out to be.

The Maytrees, Annie Dillard
(Adult) The first grown up book I’ve read in a really long time. In other words, there’s imagery, allusions to things I didn’t get like Greek philosophy and literature (I’m guessing here because as I mentioned, I didn’t get a lot of it), rich symbolism, complex characters and beautiful language. Thanks Betsy for getting me to read it and for the discussion that followed.

Feathers, Jacqueline Woodson
(Juvenile) I decided I’d give this one a try because it won the Newbery Award. I’d never heard of Jacqueline Woodson, but after reading the book I checked out her website and was amazed to find out what a prolific and successful writer she is. A beautiful and meaningful story; Short and easy to read but makes a big impact.

Epic, Conor Kostick
(Young Adult) This is a great sci-fi book that doesn’t require the learning of strange names, customs and histories to be enjoyable. Also, if you or someone you love enjoys playing video games, this book will definitely give you a new appreciation for, or apprehension of them.

The Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, Laini Taylor
(Young Adult) I wanted to read this mainly because the author is supposed to at a SCBWI conference in Seattle this spring and she has pink hair. But I found out after reading it that she lives in Portland. So I suppose I need to be adequately prepared to gush should I run into her in on the funky streets of Northwest Portland. (Or the cookie cutter suburban sidewalks in front of QFC.) Actually, this was a great story that I’m more than happy to gush about. Also the first in a series, the main faerie/character is smart, strong, determined, fearless, and powerful with just the right amount of self-wondering and humility.

Peaches, Jody Lynn Anderson
(Young Adult) This was a fun, “Traveling Pants” kind of book. Three girls with nothing in common and their own set of problems build bonds of friendship while picking peaches one summer in Georgia.

Repossessed, A.M. Jenkins
(Young Adult) A big surprise with this book; not what I expected at all. A Devil (fallen angel) takes over the body of a slacker teen boy so he can experience the 7 deadly sins: lust, sloth, gluttony, envy, greed, wrath and serving leftovers for 3 nights in a row (or something like that). So, based on that description, I expected lots of sinning to go on. What I ended up getting out of this book was something very different. Deep thoughts galore!

100 Cupboards, N.D. Wilson
(Juvenile) I’m starting to get annoyed by the new books that end up being the first in a series. I kind of feel a little duped because I start off reading a book thinking that it’s going to be a great story: beginning, middle and end thank you very much. But the end of the story only leaves open other avenues to explore. I end up feeling tricked into a commitment I didn’t bargain for. I feel bad pinning this comment under ND Wilson’s name because his isn’t the only book on this list that is a first in a series. I loved Leepike Ridge and I liked 100 Cupboards. I suppose the idea of 100 cupboards that lead to 100 other worlds would require more than one book to do it justice (one hundred books maybe?). Overall, a wonderful story with some surprising twists.

Born Standing Up, Steve Martin
Autobiographies don’t usually rank high on my reading list, but this one was wonderful. (It’s hard to believe there was a time when 10 year old boys could ride their bikes to Disneyland and get a job there too!) Again, thanks Betsy for the surprise birthday gift. My favorite line from the book and one that I actually underlined crookedly with a red pencil was, “Through the years, I have learned there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.”


Betty Grace said...

ok funny that the two books you mentioned me recommending to you are all that I've read in, most likely, the time you read that whole list! My fav stand-up joke from Steve Martin in the book: "Who here has never raised their hand?" That's good humor.

megan said...

afton...i just can't keep up with you! so many good books...i think i need to learn to read faster!