Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Scat by Carl Hiassen April 14, 2009


I feel a little strange admitting this, but I have never read a Carl Hiaasen book before. Hoot did come out the year my son was born (the first of three years of getting up with him a minimum of three times a night), so that probably has something to do with it. It’s not that I didn’t think his books looked or sounded interesting, but there was always something else that kept coming up that would bump Hoot further down in the stack. That of course, was until Scat.  

I commited to reading Scat when it was the title my daughter selected for the first meeting of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.  This book has guaranteed I will read both of Hoot and Flush, and think I’ll try some of his adult fiction as well!

Scat is a book that pulled me on one level and then kept me thinking on different levels all the way through.  

The characters of Nick, Marta, Duane Jr. are well developed and feel like people you can relate to. Many of the other characters, are just as well-developed. Mrs. Starch, the mean, missing teacher; Mr. Wendall Waxmo the sub who wore tuxedos and always taught page 160 on Tuesday, no matter the day or subject; Twilly; the detective; Duane’s grandmother.

The environmental theme is woven throughout the story and arrives in surprising packages. Part mystery, part comedy, this book kept me thinking long after I closed the cover. The timely, yet unfortunate, issue of soldiers coming home wounded from Iraq is also handled in way that makes the issue very accessible to younger/middle aged readers. Nick’s determination to become a lefty like his dad really struck a nerve in my heart. 

Interestingly, when we went to get it from the library, it was in the YA section, which I found initially surprising. There are a couple “dumb ass” comments, and the danger/mystery might be too much for some intermediate readers. Nonetheless, it kept my daughter and her friends turning page after page through all 384 pages!

A must-read that would also make a terrific read-aloud. Maybe some science teachers might be brave enough to try it as a read-aloud in their content area!


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins October 23, 2008

Filed under: books,KidLit,kidlitosphere,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:56 pm
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Wow! I just finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I have goosebumps all over, including my scalp and tops of my ears (that’s a first)!

I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book since I read a review of it on Jen Robinson’s site and others over the summer. I somehow managed to block out that they were reviewing it from an ARC. I desperately wanted to read it before school started as I knew it could take potentially much longer than I wanted to finish it once the year started.

I finally got it from an inner-library loan and could hardly wait to read it, until… I read the front flap. Then I wasn’t so sure it was a book for me after all. The idea of a fight to the death on live TV seemed pretty horrifying and reminded me of a similar premise for a movie,The Condemned  which a high school friend of mine made that I was unable to go see , ( I am very anti-violence in media-sorry Scott).

Jen Robinson should take it as a bigvote of confidence that I was willing to go ahead and keep this book at the top of my stack based on her review. There were alot of things that could have easily moved it to the bottom for years:
1-I don’t love science fiction.

2-The similarities I imagined to a yucky movie.

3-the inside jacket flap

Despite all the above mentioned things, I opened the book, and once I started reading, I could not stop. I tried taking the book with me everywhere so that I could try to squeeze in extra minutes reading. That didn’t work-besides the obvious reasons, I also found myself wanting to read and savor the book in quiet, without constant interruption. I started finding reasons to go to bed early so I could keep reading! 

The main character, Katniss, is a wonderfully strong female protagonist. I was instantly pulled into her personality-the protective, yet loving nature as you see her with her younger sister beginning with the first paragraph; the proud, protector who has kept her family alive all these years. You soon find out that the book is set in a future that is a result of terrible disasters such as war and famine. Panem was the resulting “winner”, and an uprising in the surrounding thirteen districts, resulted in “The Dark Days” and “The Treaty of Treason”. Peace is kept by reminding citizens annually with The Hunger Games of their disobedience and what becomes of those who rebel.

Annually, citizens names are put into a drawing for the district within which they live. There is a system based on how starving your family is that determines how many times your name is added to the draft for the televised fight to the death. One boy and one girl from each district are “reaped” and then prepared in the capital for the “games”. Katniss volunteers to replace her sister, whose name was drawn against many odds.

The boy Peeta is also a very sympathetic character. Years ago, he took a beating for giving food to a starving Katniss. An act of kindness that was uncharacteristic of region 12, their home district.

I could go on and on about this book, but due to the constraints of time, and my desire to read Hate That Cat, I strongly encourage you to read this book! Young adults and adults alike will have a hard time putting this one down. It would also be a great book for those searching for something after the Twilight series.