I want to share three books that I just finished reading:
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
I am glad you liked Nineteen Minutes, Mrs. Bade. And I agree with you that she dragged some stuff out a lot and the book could have been shorter. I just bought The Other Boyln Girl and The Women in Red and I am really excited to start reading both. I think they are going to be good. I also added The Catcher and the Rye to my list of books in need to read.
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
Somehow in my years of HS and college English classes, it was never suggested that I read the classic The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. If you don't read it in HS, I suggest that you do read it sometime in your life. Through the narratives of Holden Caufield, you learn a lot about who he is, what has happened to him in his life, and the people who have come in and out of it. All of this takes place in the span of a week. Holden makes you love him and feel sorry for him, while keeping you glued to the page. Salinger's style of writing makes this book a fast read.