Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Book Chat

I think the reason Gary D. Schmidt doesn't have a blog or fancy schmancy website (that I can find) is because he's too busy writing amazing books. I did find an interview with Mr. Schmidt done by Publisher's Weekly about "The Wednesday Wars."

I just finished reading Trouble and I loved it. This author has a knack for letting his characters shine under the worst circumstances while not making them seem implausible or preachy. My favorite example of this is in "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy", but "Trouble" certainly has it's share of beautiful, pivotal moments.

I do wish he had a blog or website though because other than a Wikipedia entry, his bio on his publisher's web site, and a fun info pack for educators, there really isn't much out there about Gary D. Schmidt.

Moving on...

I held off reading Stephenie Meyer's "The Host" because I was pretty sure I was going to be disappointed. I hate to say it, but I didn't think she could pull it off and I didn't want Stephenie to come down from that little pedestal I'd put her on back when I read about her in BYU Magazine in February of 2007. It's a little pedestal, but I like her there.

Even though I had my very own signed copy of "The Host" I hesitated. But finally, after getting some pretty great feedback from trusted friends and fellow readers, I dove in. I have to say, the first few chapters were hard for me to get into, just because I was having to adjust to the future world where aliens have invaded and almost overtaken the human race.

By chapter three, however, I was securely hooked into the 600+ page story. I rolled over in bed Monday morning and picked up the book and started reading. I read and read, barely stopping until 5pm that afternoon when I kind of had to make dinner, since I felt bad about letting the kids forage for food during breakfast and lunch.

Long story short, I loved the book. While Stephenie may not be a master of prose like some, she has a talent for creating engaging, vivid characters. I become invested in them, sucked into their world and desperate to find out what happens to them. I love it.

I read M.T. Anderson's "Feed" which I heard about at the SCBWI conference a couple weeks ago from Kirby Larson. This book portrays a high tech, disturbing, but somehow believable future world where everyone (well, almost everyone) gets an information feed chip placed in their brain at birth. Music, TV, advertising, communication is all tailored specifically to each individual and is broadcast to them continuously. Trends change hourly. The most popular reality show is "Oh, Wow, Thing!"

It was kind of creepy to see how our current society might be just steps away from the world of "Feed." Tonight I found myself wishing that I could ping my boys at the playground to tell them to come home instead of going out into the backyard and hollering for them.

Not just a comment on a sensory overloaded society, but the way that overload alters our relationships with others, Feed reminded me slightly of Scott Westerfeld's "Extras" and maybe even Conor Kostick's "Epic."

As a warning, Feed has a massive amount of swearing, and not to sound like I'm rationalizing, but it was clearly used to illustrate the downfall of verbal communication.

What's next?
Well, at the library today I finally got "A Sweet Far Thing" by Libba Bray, the 3rd and final (I think) book in the Gemma Doyle story. Also in the bag is a book from one of the Longstockings authors: "The Thing About Georgie" by Lisa Graff. I'm not sure where I heard about "Blue Like Friday" by Siobhan Parkinson, but it looks good, and I'm guessing I heard about "Savvy", by Ingrid Law, from Fuse #8.

Happy reading!


Heather said...

Hmmmm...interesting book comments. Right now I'm re-reading "My Sister's Keeper," but once I'm done with that, I'll have to look into some of these others. I also wasn't sure about The Host, so it's good to hear that you enjoyed it. That "Feed" book also kind of reminds me of "Fahrenheit 451," just in the sense that it is sort of creepy to read that book & realize that a lot of it is happening now (wall-sized TV's, shows that are on where you can watch peoples' actual lives unfold, etc.)

Catherine said...

I'm looking forward to your opinion on The Sweet Far Thing. I read the other books in the series and I really liked the first one but the second was just ok.

megan said...

I am still amazed at how fast you read. I just can't get through books fast enough and I have so many that I want to read.

I felt the same way about The Host and Stephenie Meyer. It took me forever to get through it though, probably because 600+ pages is very intimitating and I wanted to make sure I read it thoroughly. It was good. Very interesting concept. She is an excellent storyteller.

Thanks for the new recommendations!