Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
We'll be reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah for December's Cafe Library. Our superintendent, Mr. Dean Sanders will be our guest discussion leader. To read more about this book, look at the previous post from Thursday, August 21, 2008. I hope everyone can make the December 9th meeting!
Click here to view Beah talking to John Stewart on the Daily Show.
Taylor did an awesome job selecting a classic mystery, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie for November's Cafe Library. She also led the discussion and did a great job. The book kept us guessing, "who done it." Most of the group would read another book by Christie.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Shackleton's Stowaway by Victoria McKernan is a great adventure story. I just finished rereading this book and had forgotten how suspenseful the story is. The book is a based upon factual events of Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition to Antarctica in 1914-1916.
"Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success."This is a quote taken from an advertisment for one of Shackleton's expeditons. Even though the description is factual, the story of the men's journey and survival is very compelling.
Here's a Google Earth Community placemark which shows the events of the story.
This novel is also a Battle of the Books selection for the 2008-09 season.
Rodriguez tells how she came to Afghanistan as a relief worker but ended up opening a beauty salon and school. The author befriends many women and tells their stories. Even though some stories are sad and eye-opening, this is a book of hope for many women.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I just finished Being, by Kevin Brooks. This was an interesting book in that it was a fast-read, a somewhat thriller and somewhat of a sci. fi. book. It's about 16-year-old Robert Smith, who goes in to see the doctor for a routine scope exam but what the doctors find is anything but normal. It is revealed that Robert has filaments, moving metal parts and plastic casings inside of him. Robert wakes up during the point in the exam when the doctors find all this stuff. He also overhears that they want to do further experiments with him to find out just what type of being he is. He also surmises that all the doctors in the room aren't doctors at all but perhaps some men he can't trust that work for the government or a private group. Robert panics and decides to get out of there as fast as he can. To do so, he has to take one of the doctors hostage. This spins out of control for Robert as he needs to steal cars and dodge the doctors that want to explore him.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I read Sold by Patricia McCormick and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. Ms. Onsrud read Sold and posted about it a while back so I'll refer you to that post. I really liked this book although it was a bit hard to take because of the treatment of the girls.
Long Way Gone was also excellent. It is a story of Ishmael, a 13-year-old from Sierra Leone who is forced into becoming a boy soldier for the government. (I had always thought it was only the rebels that pressed boys into service!) This is a memoir so it is Ishmael's remembrance of what happened to him between the ages of 13-18. It's heart breaking and also raw. (He does state in the book that he has a photographic memory so it would seem that the events he describes are pretty accurate.)
The book begins in Ishmael's village in Sierra Leone and takes the reader through the horrific tragedy of civil war. It ends in another country but in between, Ishmael has to come to terms with feelings of guilt and the psychological flash-backs that war can incur.
I'm thinking that this would be an excellent Cafe Library book.
BTW, this is a 2008-2009 Battle of the Books book.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I read Girl With a Pearl Earring recently, by Tracy Chevalier, and really enjoyed it. I wanted to read it because I had seen and loved the movie with Colin Firth (yum!) and Scarlett Johannson.
The book is about a middle class Dutch girl in the late 1600s who has to take a job as a maid because her family has fallen on hard times. She is hired to clean the studio of the famous painter Vermeer, and they share a certain fascination for one another. It's sort of a coming of age story as she learns what is important to her as well as what is possible for her in the society she lives in.
I really enjoyed getting more insight into the main character, which was possible because the whole story is told from her point of view. Naturally, many aspects of the story were developed in more detail than in the movie; however, it was gratifying to know that the movie had remained true to the spirit of the book. Both versions of the story give insight into gender and class restrictions, while also delving into ideas about art and religion. Fascinating and melancholy.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I finally read Memoirs of a Geisha by Aurthur Golden this summer. I've had the book since the movie came out several years ago and have been wanting to read it ever since. If you have seen the movie and loved it, I recommend reading the book. The book pulls you in even more than the movie as you follow the life of Chiyo (Sayuri) from her poor childhood to her life in the okiya becoming a geisha. Even though I know very little about Japanese culture, Golden places enough history into the novel to give you a sense of what was happening in their lives.
If you want a book to get lost in, this tome is for you and there is still time to read it before school starts!
Monday, August 4, 2008
grl2grl is a collection of short stories about coming out, first time adventures, a transgender teen longing for a sense of self, a girl whose abusive father has turned her to stone, and much more. This book is filled with teens making their way through relationships and the search for identity. Of the two Peters's books, I liked this one better. It seemed more true-to-life.
Keeping You a Secret is one young woman's coming out and what that means in her life. As she begins a very tough last semester of high school, Holland finds herself trying to sort out her future and intrigued by a transfer student who wants to start a lesbigay club at school.
Friday, August 1, 2008
I just finished reading Leonie Swann's Three Bags Full. It was a very different murder mystery where a flock of sheep try to solve their shepherd's murder. The cast of sheep characters number 19; all with distinctive personalities. Othello the "bad boy" black ram; Mopple the Whale, a Merino who eats a whole lot and remembers everything, Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in the flock, maybe in the whole world who is the lead detective in this mystery.
I had a hard time trying to figure out this book at first but when I got rolling, I didn't want to put it down. There are a few LOL moments...I LOVE to LOL.
The book received lots of starred reviews. I encourage you to check it out.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Hurt Go Happy is one of the Battle of the Books selections for the coming school year. One of the the reasons it was chosen is because it has won the teen Schneider Family Book Award, an award given to an author or illustrator who artisically expresses the disability experience for children and young adults.
Do NOT checkout this link or this link until you have read the book !!! Did you know that Wisconsin has a primate research laboratory?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
There is loads of symbolism in this book and it has been used to study literary elements in some schools.
I read this book because it is one of the Battle of the Books books for the 2008-2009 school year. I also wanted to read this book because the author was recently under fire for being honored for his lifetime contribution to young adult readers with the Edwards Award. The controversy stems from Card's extremist personal views. To learn more about this, read this School Library Journal article.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Extras by Scott Westerfeld, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
Extras is the fourth book in Westerfeld's Uglies series:
Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras
This book is about Aya, who wants to become more recognized (popular), so she can have the status and all that goes along with it in her society. Aya's avenue to popularity is to go undercover with a daring group (Sly Girls) who shun recognition. Aya's plan is to report the story of the Sly Girls and make it public on the feed (sort of like our TV) thus gaining recognition.
I thought this was a fast read. If you like futuristic books (and even if you don't) you might want to pick up Extras. I don't think you need to read the whole series; you can enjoy the books individually.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a semiautobiographical novel about Arnold Spirit, a 14-year-old Spokane Indian living on the rez in WA. Arnold, born with "water on the brain," is the frequent recipient of bullies. Arnold transfers to the rich, all-white high school in Reardan where he expects disaster. But he does manage to make friends with geeky and popular kids alike. Arnold grapples with what it means to be an Indian and what it means to be a tribe and have a sense of community.
I really liked this book. Sherman Alexie took a serious topic and was able to tell the story with humor and sensitivity at the same time. (I also liked his movie Smoke Signals...I haven't read the book yet but I saw the video twice!)
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a graphic novel that weaves three different storylines in one book. One is the Chinese folk hero, Monkey King who aspires to be a god; another is Jin Wang, a lonely middle school boy who wants to fit in with his white classmates; and the third is a sitcom of Danny, an all-American teen and his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee (an ethnic stereotype).
This book is about breaking down stereotypes and self-acceptance. I thought this was a powerful read in a very different format...not only graphic novel but also weaving three different storylines together.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I finally finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It was my pick for the last Cafe Library discussion meeting of the 07-08 school year. The book was about a school shooting where a high school boy who had been a victim of bullying his entire school career finally snaps and shoots and kills ten students and wounding many more. Of course, in Picoult's almost formula manner, there are major twists in the book. I do like those twists and I usually can't guess what they are going to be.
I do think that this 450 page novel could have been just as nicely done in 350 pages.
I would recommend this book. It is a very current issue in our world and Picoult handles it full steam ahead. (Can't think of a better way of putting it!)
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff was a very strange, weird book. It's about Jane, a girl, who gets recruited by a secret organization that fights evil. The organization is called Bad Monkeys...they hunt and kill evil people whom they call Bad Monkeys (I know, confusing...) The whole book is set in a jail's psychiatric ward where Jane is being questioned by a doctor to determine if she is telling the truth, crazy or lying about her involvement in Bad Monkeys. There are major twists in this book and you will need to pay attention to characters. I would classify this book as a psychological thriller.
It is quite different from anything I've read in a long time and therefore I'd recommend it.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Also, here's a bit of my latest ASPCA email telling about the special upcoming event organized by Henry's Book Club:
|Animal lovers ages 13 and up are invited to attend a live chat with author Cristina Kessler next Tuesday, May 20, from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST. The award-winning author will discuss her book, Our Secret, Siri Aang, about a 12-year-old Maasai girl who finds a mother black rhino and her tiny baby hidden in the African bush. Kessler will also be happy to answer young readers’ questions about life in Africa, native wildlife and what it’s like to be a writer. For more information, please visit Henry’s Book Club online.|
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Several months ago now (work got in the way :) ), I started reading Project Paris. This week I picked up the book again to continue the story. At first I wasn't hooked, but with the last chapter I read, it has become more interesting. The lead character, Imogene, goes to Paris to work in fashion, her dream. Not everything is so smooth, though. She is almost sent back to New York because fashion week is canceled (quel horreur!) when she stumbles upon a new "designer". I'm excited to see how the rest of the book turns out.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
You are going to want to come to the next Cafe Library! Mr. Quinn is re-reading his selection, Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler. I didn't think I'd like to as much as I did. There were two distinctly funny things that happened in the book that made me LOL! I told my sister about the funny things (I'm not going to tell you what they are right now!) and we laughed until we had tears in our eyes!!!
I can't wait to see what Mr. Quinn does for the discussion!
Friday, March 14, 2008
I just finished The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. It was really a great, satisfying read. I can't wait to read the next one, Curse of the Spellmans. (Yes, I have it on order!!)
The main character, Isabelle, is kind of a scrappy, tom-boyish private detective. She isn't into fashion or saying the politically correct thing very often but I LOVED her and I think it would be a blast to be in her shoes for a day (or longer).
I hope everyone gets a chance to read it before our next meeting which I think I'll schedule for March 31st after spring break.
Be sure to stop by the LMC and pick up a copy. You won't be sorry!
Note the newest Spellman Files book: Curse of the Spellmans, coming to our LMC soon!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I just read a fantastic memoir by Francis Bok about his life as a slave, and later, an escaped slave. It's called Escape from Slavery. Bok is from Sudan, and was captured in 1986 (yes, only 22 years ago!) when he was only 7 years old. Now he lives in the US and works with the American Anti-Slavery Group to end slavery all over the world. His story is so inspiring because he always remained determined to be free and never gave up on himself. This would be a great topic for English 9 students for their Human Rights Project during 4th quarter, but it's also just a gripping read and an important topic for anyone to learn about.
We will be reading Lisa Lutz's mystery/detective book, The Spellman Files for March. This is a bit of a divergence from our last Cafe Library book. Last month's The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon is a true account of the author's attempted suicide by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting himself on fire. The majority of the book is Runyon's 14-year-old self coming to terms with what he did emotionally, psychologically and physically. See January 25, 2008 blog entry.
While deciding if she should quit working for her family's private investigation firm, Izzy Spellman copes with meddling parents, an alcoholic uncle, the disappearance of her younger sister, and her own problems with men and drinking. (Summary from the LMC catalog.)
The Spellman Files has gotten good reviews; always a plus for a book club pick. It also won the 2008 Alex award given by the Young Adult Library Services Association. An Alex Award is given to a book that is written for adults but has appeal to young adults as well.
Find out more about the author, Lisa Lutz on her webpage.
There are copies available for check out behind the circulation desk. Please pick one up!!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Click on the Gabcast! Cafe Library #1 on the upper right side of the blog to hear your second clue for the Mystery discussion leader for the month of April.
For some reason I was able to click on the Click to Play icon after I posted my first clue. Hmmm. ..don't know why this changed.
Anyway, hope you listen and try to guess. The next clue will narrow your guesses.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
I added a new Gabcast to the Cafe Library Blog. I'm going to give you several clues in the next couple of weeks to our mystery discussion leader for April. I have a bulletin board with the clues listed by Mr. Schuenke's room. But, I'll reveal the mystery discussion leader here first!
Click on the blue Gabcast icon to the right that says, "click to play", then click on "play" on the next screen.
Sorry this first episode sounds like there is a thumping rabbit in the background. I hope to resolve this problem!
I just reread The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck, which is one of the selections the English 9 students can choose from for their 4th quarter Literature Circles. It's about a small town occupied by foreign soldiers during a war.
Every time I read this book, I like it a little more. I love the way Steinbeck creates complex characters who are believable, and how even the "villains" are not flat characters. I also enjoy reading about the history of this novel, which Steinbeck originally wrote as anti-Nazi propaganda. I think it's interesting to read about the controversial reviews, its success in Europe, and to think about how its ideas are still very relevant today.
Friday, January 25, 2008
The choices were:
My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Can You Keep a Scecret? by Sophie Kinsella
Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Discussion will be more of a book talk about the book(s) people chose to read. Of course, there will be a yummy dessert (healthy) served.
OK, for February: We're going to read, The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. This is a non-fiction piece about a 14-year-old boy who tried to commit suicide by burning himself. The book is about how he deals with this after the fact.
The book is was reviewed very well! It was also a Starred choice from School Library Journal.
Hope you see many people at that discussion!!
Monday, January 14, 2008
Now that I'm farther into the book, I have to agree with Carina. It does have intrigue. Good choice! I can't wait to find out how it ends.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge is a story about a teen aged boy with cerebral palsy who is trying to find himself and fit in. He reaches self-acceptance with the help of a drug addict girl from his high school.
I thought of using this book for Cafe Library but after reading it, I decided against it. I thought it didn't have enough substance for my seasoned readers. It's a really fast read. I would recommend it.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I read White Oleander by Janet Fitch over break. I read it a number of years ago but I thought I'd read it again because it is one of the selections for Cafe Library for January.
It is quite an intense book. Astrid's disturbed mother murders her boyfriend and is sent to prison. This leaves Astrid to the foster care system. She is abused physically and mentally at several placements. The one placement that seemed perfect came crashing down when the foster mother committed suicide. This is a book about survival and forgiveness.