Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

In My Mailbox 4 November 14, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox,Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:27 pm
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Bemouth by Scott Westerfield


Infinity by SherriLynn Kenyon (audiobook)
Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff

 

Reviews written:
A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Trance by  Linda Gerber

 

More Greek Hero series from Riordan June 23, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:43 am
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Thanks to The Reading Zone for the alert that the cover for the new Rick Riordan series The Lost Hero was made public this week. It will be the first in a five book series. You can check out Rick Riordan’s blog Myth and Mystery. Over at Entertainment Weekly, you can see the cover AND read the first two chapters. There is a link that will take you to http://www.camphalfblood.com and you’ll need to enter the secret password newhero. Here’s a teaser first sentence:

“Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day.”

Here’s the press release info about the series:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.

 

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen June 12, 2010

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Woods Runner

by Gary Paulsen

2010, 164 pages

Middle Grade/Young Adult fiction

Woods Runner was a great change of pace for me reading-wise. It seems like everything I’ve read lately is either dystopian fiction, fantasy, or a too sad realistic fiction. Despite the book being set during the War for Independence, no tears were shed during the reading.

I would describe this book as a cross between historical fiction and non-fiction. The clever way that Paulsen combines the story line of Samuel and his parents, interspersed with short, non-fiction accounts of the war will have this book flying out of your classroom library. It will definitely be more of a “boy” book, but your female readers who enjoy historical fiction will also like this book.

Reading this book, I was constantly struck by what a simple, yet brilliant way Paulsen has employed with the combination of fiction and non-fiction. As a format to help those readers new to some of the complexities of historical fiction, this type of book would be helpful to slowly provide the background information throughout the story. It’s making me think of all sorts of possibilities for historical fiction reads. Lily’s Crossing? hmmm…read along with short, reading-level appropriate passages explaining parts of World War II.

I hope this is just the beginning of a trend to combine fiction and non-fiction in an appealing and natural way for middle grade readers.

 

Series books April 2, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:42 am
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I had to run right out yesterday to get Susan Beth Pfeffer’s newest book, This World We Live In, the third in what is now called The Last Survivors, Book 3. It is hard to put down!


Other books in a series that I look forward to:
Mockingjay-by Suzanne Collins-The last book in the Hunger Games trilogy-release date August 24, 2010

Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix-The Missing series-release date also August 24, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan-new series-The Kane Chronicles-release date May 4, 2010

The Necromancer by Michael Scott-book 4 in the Nicholas Flamel series-release date May 25, 2010

 

Science Fiction (by accident) March 31, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:34 pm
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First Light

Rebecca Stead

middle grade fiction

2007, 336 pages

Rash

Pete Hautman

Young Adult

2007, 272 pages

I have to say that I don’t normally gravitate towards science fiction. It was doubly unusual that I would be reading two sci-fi books at once. Both Rash by Pete Hautman and First Light by Rebecca Stead kept me turning those pages. I didn’t know enough about either book ahead of time to know it was going to be science fiction, which, in my case was good because it might have steered me clear of two good reads.

First Light by Rebecca Stead is the author’s first book, published before her Newbery win this year for When You Reach Me. I picked it up at NCTE when I was getting her autograph. I thought the cover was appealing and I liked that the chapters went back and forth between a boy main character and a girl main character. Set in the Arctic Circle, First Light is a compelling science fiction/mystery that started off in a way that I was fooled into thinking it was realistic fiction.

Here’s good old Wikipedia’s definition of Science Fiction:

Science fiction is a genre of fiction. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible withinscientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas”.[1] Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities.[2] The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality.

These may include:

  • A setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record
  • A setting in outer space, on other worlds, or involving aliens[3]
  • Stories that involve technology or scientific principles that contradict known laws of nature[4]
  • Stories that involve discovery or application of new scientific principles, such as time travel or psionics, or new technology, such as nanotechnologyfaster-than-light travel or robots, or of new and different political or social systems (e.g., a dystopia, or a situation where organized society has collapsed)[5]

First Light has alternative timeline to history, a different political system and  new discoveries.

Rash is a YA has a future setting (2074), new technology (safety equipment out the wazoo), artificial

intelligence and a whole new political system (the USSA-The United Safer States of America).  About twenty percent of the country is in prision, as anything unsafe is illegal. McDonalds still exists, but it doesn’t sell fast food-french fries are illeagal. You need to have your PSE (Personal Safety Equipment) for gym class, and more. If you take a look at Pete Hautman’s web site, you can see where he drew inspiration for this book.

I had picked it up at SSCO’s book review. I’m a huge Pete Hautman fan and think  his books should not be overlooked.

If you’d asked me last week if I liked the genre of science fiction, I would have told you no-I don’t really care for it. Now after reading these two sci-fi gems, I’m willing to give the genre a whole new look. What a happy surprise for me as a reader.

 

Middle Grade Fiction New Reads February 16, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:00 pm
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Anything but Typical by Nora Baskin

Simon & Schuster, 2009

208 pages

A Starred Book by Booklist as well as highly regarded by fellow bloggers:

Literate Lives

The Reading Zone

You can’t help but love the main character, Jason, a sixth grader who is diagnosed with autism along with “numerous disorders, most with labels like alphabet soup”. For any teacher who has ever had a student on the autism spectrum, you’ll be reminded of them while reading. I was cringing when reading the part about the substitute librarian who was trying to get Jason to “behave like other kids” and not freak out over someone using “his” computer. It brings back memories of my first interaction with a student, not then diagnosed with autism,  when I was a young(er) teacher. At the time, I could not understand the intensity with which he blatantly ignored my request that he put on his glasses. Why were my normal teacher charms working?

Written from Jason’s point of view, the author really takes you into the mind of Jason and how he views life with “neuro-typicals” ( his family members-brother, mom, dad; his classmates). I enjoyed the clarity he was able to view himself and others with. I also really enjoyed Jason’s on-line writing community. So many students that I’ve worked with on the spectrum have not enjoyed writing or written output. It made me so glad for Jason that he was able to connect with others in a safe forum.

There is a new paperback cover-coming March 2010-I am trying to soft-sell the book to my daughter to help her with her understanding of the many different types of people we encounter in school and life.

 

Recent Audiobooks January 12, 2010

Filed under: audiobook,book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:44 pm
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I’ve just recently finished listening to two different audiobooks. I enjoyed them both, for very different reasons. The one I finished most recently is John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.

The other audiobook is Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

Two very different books, but both had me driving around laughing my

head off. I’m sure that makes funny viewing for the other driving, like when you pull up at a stoplight and someone is singing like crazy.

While looking at both covers, I’m struck by another similarity! Both books have teenage boys going on a road trip at a pivotal time of their life! Hmmm…..

That hadn’t crossed my mind until just now.

An Abundance of Katherines is the story of Colin Singleton and his best friend Hassan. They take off on a road trip to cure Colin of his heartbreak of being dumped by the nineteenth Katherine in his life. How does one guy get dumped by 19 Katherines with a K? Colin, child prodigy/hoping to be a genius has managed. The boys end up in Gutshot, Tennnessee, making friends, interviewing townspeople for their summer job, writing mathematical theorems and trying to decide what life has in store for them. Not a YA book you can listen to with your children in the car, as both Colin and Hassan are prone to use “fugging” in place of another curse word frequently throughout their speech.  There are so many amusing parts that I it’s hard to name one, but the hunt for the “feral pig” would be in my top three.

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray, is funny in a whole different kind of way. The cover of a cow carrying a lawn gnome, was just too good to pass up! Main character, Cameron, is having a hard enough time surviving high school and that is even before he comes down with Mad Cow Disease of the human form! Hallucinations of fire demons, a road trip with side kick and midget, Gonzo, a punk angel, a quest to save the world. all of which Cameron endures as he either is a: dying in his hospital bed or, b: really going on the trip of a life time. You’ll have to decide as you read (or listen) which you think.  I might need to go back and read Don Quixote.

I do love Libba Bray’s humor. From scanning her blog, she sounds like a hoot to hang out with.

 

 
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