checkers65477: (Default)
Dang, the eArc of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is available at the Baen website.


Aug. 8th, 2011 09:30 pm
checkers65477: (Books Cats Sweet)
I haven't blogged about a book in ages, but this one was so good I feel compelled to mention it.

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card )


Jan. 6th, 2011 09:39 pm
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Anyone who enjoys YA books will get a chuckle out of this from Booklist:

My 2011 YA Wishlist by Daniel Kraus
checkers65477: (Happiness)
Snagged at the last minute on eBay.  It holds recipes now.

pic spam )

My copy of Claverhouse, by Gordon Daviot, finally came!  It took two months and four days to arrive.  This verifies my theory that the postal services of multiple countries hate me.  The book isn't in great shape, but it's fine.  It has a musty, used bookstore smell to it, which I like in musty, used bookstores.  Not so much in the kitchen when I'm eating my lunch.  But so far I'm enjoying the story very much.

checkers65477: (Evil)
Peter:  See, this is why some books need footnotes!

*huggles book club*
checkers65477: (Books Cats Sweet)
I have [ profile] tiegirl  to thank for several of my favorite books of the year.  Neither series is new, but both are ones I'll read again and again.  So good!

Psion, Catspaw and Dreamfall by Joan D. Vinge
The Truth Trap, Aren't You the One Who..., Losers and Winners and Cutting Loose by Frances A. Miller

[ profile] aged_crone  recommended the Miller books to me, too.  Thanks, ladies!  Unfortunately, some of them can be difficult to find, but my new best friend,, usually comes through for me.

Other favorites this year:

The Last Child - John Hart
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation - Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis
Dairy Queen and The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (reading the third book now)
Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex
Stitches: A Memoir - David Small
Sand Chronicles v. 1 - Hinako Ashihara
Bad Moon on the Rise - Katy Munger
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
A Conspiracy of Kings (arc) - Megan Whalen Turner

Most of these I reviewed in my LJ at some point.  Sixty-six books read, that's about average for me.  I used to read more before the shiny!internet addiction interfered.
checkers65477: (Thief by Avian)
I got hold of A Conspiracy of Kings.  I've read it--twice. 

All I'll say is that I loved it, and you will love it, too.

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Played a fun game with a couple of classes on Friday.

I was able to place a good-sized book order recently and got all the lovely new fiction books ready to go. On Friday, a 7th grade class came in and sat in a circle. I gave each of them one of the new books. I had them talk about how they evaluate a book and what criteria they use to determine whether a book might be the right one for them. They came up with good answers--the cover, blurbs on the flyleaf and back, whether the author is one they're familiar with, whether the book is in a series they've read, the genre, how hard or easy the vocab seems, etc. All the same things adults do without thinking much about it.

Analysis and evaluation is an important skill at this age. It plays a much bigger part of their writing assignments and, in a lot of cases, thinking about it as a skill we all do is new to them. You'd be surprised how students's thinking changes about this age (12). Some of the 11-year-olds cannot understand that the hardback and pb of the same book (with different covers) are the same. I tell them that every word inside is the same, but they're just not buying it. It's weird how concretely some of them still think. At 12, on average, they become capable of doing a whole lot more.

ANYWAY, as jade would say, I told them they had 30 seconds to look at the book they were holding. At 30 seconds I said, "Switch" and they passed the book to the left. We continued switching books for 15 minutes until they'd looked at 30 books, then they got a chance to check out the ones they liked. It was pretty cool. You could have heard a pin drop while they were looking at the books. They seemed to really enjoy it. I wish they could have had longer than 30 seconds per book but we just didn't have any more time than that.

Ah, new books. How I love you.
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Sorry about the anti-social behavior, but I'm bailing out of chatzy for awhile and trimming the f-list to avoid any more spoilers for A Conspiracy of Kings. Just want to make sure I read the book without knowing more about what happens.

I'll still be reading [ profile] sounis . Otherwise, email me if you need me.


*yes, of course it was intentional.
checkers65477: (Happiness)
It's been a good week. This will be quick, so I hope [ profile] emmaco doesn't mind if I use her format of Happy Things from my week.

  1. Thanksgiving was lovely. All the food turned out well, and was done at the same time. Yay. The rolls were to die for.
  2. Although I lost at Scrabble, like always, I didn't disgrace myself. And I redeemed myself a little by not sucking at Trivial Pursuit.
  3. I got some good bargains on Black Friday.
  4. A purchase on Ebay is going to make someone extremely happy at Christmas.
  5. I spent most of the day Saturday combing used bookstores in town, hunting for books for my library. I don't like having to do this on my own time, but I love the used bookstores, so it was ok. I also don't like buying used books for the library--it doesn't do authors, publishing companies, libraries or the students any favors--but with with such a tiny budget this year, I feel like I have no choice.
  6. It was wonderful having five days off work and spending the time with family.
  7. Today was so warm that you could go outside in short sleeves.
  8. Ozzie loves his new flippy cat toy. He's been dashing around like a kitten.
  9. The movie The Taking of Pelham 123 was actually pretty good.
  10. I bought a big, red Purse of Awesome.
checkers65477: (Books Cats Sweet)
Few more quick book write-ups.  Two novels, two graphic novels.

Books, cats, sweet. )

checkers65477: (Default)
The GNs... )

Gah.  Mostly nonfiction left to read.  *procrastinates*

More Books

Oct. 17th, 2009 01:56 pm
checkers65477: (Books Cats Sweet)
I'm grateful to [ profile] emmaco for her review of Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday, because it reminded me that I'd wanted to read it.  I loved every page of it and will enthusiastically recommend it to every kid I see.  I think I'll get it for my 13-year-old niece for Christmas, too.

This review from the NY Times is much better than anything I could write, but I'll add that I laughed my way through the entire book.  It's crazy and hilarious, and one that I'll want to reread from time to time.

I finally got my hands on Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, the sequel to Dragon Bones.  MWT recommended these, and they're very good.  I liked the first book better than the second, but both were a lot of fun, with characters you come to love, a cool fantasy world, and thoroughly evil antagonists.

checkers65477: (Default)
Stitches: a memoir by David Small deserves the National Book Award nomination it received this week.  When I first read the blurb on the back of the book:

One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had throat cancer and was expected to die. Small, a prize-winning children’s author, re-creates a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. Readers will be riveted by his journey from speechless victim, subjected to X-rays by his radiologist father and scolded by his withholding and tormented mother, to his decision to flee his home at sixteen with nothing more than dreams of becoming an artist.

...I thought Yeesh, don't wanna read this don't wanna.  But it's less grim and more pragmatic than you would think, as things from a child's perspective often are.  So well done and not overly emotional.  It doesn't hit you over the head with the horribleness or unfairness--most of that is conveyed subtly in the illustrations, not in the text.  The story alternates between anger and pain and a child's longing.  The illustrations are almost abstract in places but always identifiable.  Fabulous 50s tone to it all.  David's face is often a taut mask--wary, apprehensive and filled with defensive anger.  Perfect.  But his pain is obvious.  One page, at a critical part in the story, has a shadow that caught me--is it a Rorschach inkblot?  One of those optical illusions that change perspective as you look at it differently?  Nothing is emotionalized, but the story is raw and bizarre.  That's one whacked-out family.  Highly recommend this one for HS and adult.

Cairo: a graphic novel by G. Willow Wilson and M. K. Perker--I'm not sure yet how I feel about this one.  I'll need to think about it for awhile.  It has a complex story that includes several sets of characters and story lines that overlap--characters who include a drug-smuggler, a would-be suicide bomber, a clueless, spoiled American, an Israeli soldier, and a jinn who lives in a hookah. 

The details of Cairo and the politics, history and religion of the area are well done--you are immersed in the setting.  The story is part fantasy, part current event and this mix works.  It's action-packed and thought-provoking.  The art is great--black and white, realistically done.  It reminded me a little of the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies and would appeal to teens who like adventure stories.  The book has quite a lot of swearing and violence.  Definitely HS. 

Ack, tired.  More tomorrow.

checkers65477: (Default)
(X-posted to [ profile] judging_covers )

A few months ago I read a series of books that have become some of my favorites.  They're by Frances A. Miller and the first in the series is The Truth Trap.  After telling a teacher friend about them (he loves Chris Crutcher and I thought he'd like these, too) I ordered him a used copy from Abebooks to read and put in his classroom library.

Imagine my dismay when the book arrived clad in possibly the Worst Cover Ever.

Here's a short blurb from Amazon:

Alone in a city full of strangers and accused of the murder of his beloved small sister, fifteen-year-old Matt McKendrick struggles to survive her loss and prove his innocence to the two police detectives assigned to the case. One of them believes him; the other, convinced he is guilty, is determined to make Matt confess and pay....

Experience the Hideousness... )

I'm still giving my friend the book.  Minus the cover.


Aug. 2nd, 2009 09:26 pm
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This is part of the reason my suitcase had not one but TWO "Heavy" tags on it.

I was in Bookstore heaven... )
checkers65477: (Default)
Back in 1980 characters in YA books could smoke, cops were able to rough up their juvenile suspects with impunity, and words like "criminal assult" were used when what they meant was "rape".  All these things happen in The Truth Trap by Frances Miller, though the book never seemed dated to me. 

Matt, 15, has suffered in the past month.  His parents died in a car accident and well-meaning adults want to send his little sister to a school for the deaf.  Unable to come up with any other solution, Matt and Katie take off for LA where they believe Matt can work and support them.  As the book begins, Matt is caught by LA police outside a boarded-up theater and he soon discovers that his sister has been brutally murdered.  The cops believe he's committed the crime.  One officer, Prado, sees some good in Matt and wants to believe him innocent.  Prado's partner, Ryder, believes the worst and is determined to see Matt tried for the murder.

We follow Matt's story over the next few weeks as he interacts with the two officers and their families.  The story is mostly told from Matt's POV, with some glimpses into other character's thinking.  Matt is brilliantly written--he's a typical kid with a hot temper, and we see each pain-filled day as he lives them--both his physical pain after beatings as well as his angst and sorrow when the people around him won't believe him, and he finds himself completely alone, with no one to turn to.

There's so much emotion in this book--it really appealed to me and I've been rereading the parts of it  that I liked best.  It looks like the book was out of print for awhile but is available from Amazon now, along with its three sequels.  I had to get the book through interlibrary loan, and I'm already on the hunt for the others in the series.  Thanks to [ profile] aged_crone  for the recommendation.  It was well worth the wait to get it and I recommend it highly.
checkers65477: (Bee earring)
I've been reading The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff and I have a vague feeling of having read it before, though I didn't think I had. 
The Shining Company )

The Secret Life of Bees )

What have YOU been reading?
checkers65477: (Fangirl Squee!)
The new cover for the paperback Penny From Heaven is gorgeous.   

I wonder, though, if there's any way to get a boy to read it now.  The hardback cover had a little more general appeal. 
checkers65477: (Default)
"It was a beautiful place we came to," he said, skipping over the endless roads.  "Nothing like the true Delta.  Nothing.  It was like the days in spring when you find everything has flowered and nothing has begun to die, so it seems that's the way the world must go on:  always just breaking into blossom, and the air full of soft, sweet smells, and colors to wring your heart, after all the white and grey of winter.  That's what this place was.  Day after day after day."

Isn't that lovely?  That's how it is outside, today.  Spring.

(from The Sorceress and the Cygnet)


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