Wednesday, May 1, 2013

From the Bookshelves....

Family Audiobook
Our journey with The Chronicles of Prydain continues and we are now listening to the fourth book in the series, Taran Wanderer.  I believe this series is definitely one better listened to than read as the narrator is one of my all-time favorites. 

Dad's nightstand
My husband is still slugging along through the second book in the Game of Thrones series.  He also listened to the audiobook How to Talk to Anyone, by Leil Lowndes.  He described it to me in such a way that I had to listen myself.  I found it hilarious.  I confess that for anyone who has a hard time making conversation, the book's tips are probably helpful.  Not being that kind of person, I found it to be full of rather obvious "tips and tricks."  However, I will agree that it made me think about some areas in which my daughters could improve.

Mom's collection
Where to begin?  I have read so many books in the past month that it's hard to choose.  I promise to narrow it down to only one... but which one?  Hmmm.  I will look to the last book I've read, which is Defending Jacob by William Landay.  Literally, I just finished this novel.  I started reading Defending Jacob last night while I was waiting for the rice in the rice cooker to finish.  And I was hooked.  Going into the book, I was skeptical because I heard from numerous friends and acquaintances that is was "very good."  One trusted friend (and fellow bibliophile), when asked about it, just looked at me and went, "Oh! Yes!" with raised eyebrows and an excited look.  But often I am disappointed after such hype.  Not this time.  I can't say I was totally surprised by this book, but I can say I was totally enthralled with it.  Worth reading.  It's not going to win the Pulitzer, but if you are looking for an interesting summer read go for it. 

As for me, it's hard to choose just one of DD12's books.  I will settle for her most recent academic read: Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic.  This nonfiction work tells the story of the Bosnian conflict from the eyes of eleven-year-old Zlata.  It is an excellent read in that the pictures painted by the narrative do far more to bring the reality and complexity of the war to life for children than simply reading about Sarajevo in a text or newspaper.  I highly recommend this book for adults and children ages 12+. 

As part of an ongoing library book club, my DD11 just read Lost and Found by Andrew Clements. Though the book is a bit of an "easy read" for her, she enjoyed it immensely.  Probably because much of the story focuses on the main characters (twin boys) having crushes on the girls they meet at their new school.  In my opinion, this book is "okay" - not great, not terrible, not one of my favorite Clements books, but okay. In the opinion of my daughters (three of the four have read it), it's a wonderful book and they can't wait to go to the discussion today - so for a reluctant reader, and perhaps especially for 11- or 12-year-old boys, it would be a fun book.

Ah, the graphic novel.  Not something I have ever been able to get excited about.  I wasn't a comic book fan as a kid, and the graphic novel is so close to the comic book that I just don't get it.  I am a reader that likes to imagine my own visuals, not have them done for me.  My DD9, however, LOVES graphic novels. She devours them.  She is currently (or should I say concurrently?) reading books 4, 5 and 6 in the Nancy Drew graphic novel collection.  Sigh.

Last, but certainly not least, my little one just finished reading an American girl mystery: The Light in the Cellar.  As leader of an American Girl book club, I have read countless AG books.  So many, in fact, that I have tried to block most of them out.  That being said, I do think these books are good books for kids in that they are interesting and provide a bit of historical information.  In addition, the books provide excellent starting points for conversation or future study.  This book would be a good supplement to any study or World War II and life on the home front. 

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