Books read in August 2014

There’s a lot of books listed here, most of the month was vacation for me.  And maybe also because I’m a compulsive reader.

Favorites:
Picture: nothing I was crazy about.
Middle reader:  West of the Moon
YA: Perfect Fifths (but only if you’ve read books 1-4 in the series).  If I Stay (which was a re-read) Noggin, which was bizzare and awesome.  Also the first 3/4 of Say What You Will.
Grownup:  Gone Girl.
Nonfiction:  The Family Romanov.

Picture Books

The Pilot and the Little Prince
Peter Sis
Read for Librarian Book Group
For some reason, there were three different levels (and fonts) of text on nearly every page in this book.  It was confusing and made the information very inaccessible.   Overall, a very frustrating book and one that people had trouble coming up with anything nice to say about it.

The Adventures of Beekle
Dan Santat
Read for Librarian Book Group
Cute story of Beekle, who is waiting to be someone’s imaginary friend.

Middle Readers

I Kill the Mockingbird
Paul Acampora
Read for Librarian Book Group
Solid (and short) tale of three friends who plan a gurulla campaign to get people to read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  Good adolescent transition (from eighth grade to high school) group of three friends novel.

Revolution
Deborah Wiles
Read for Librarian Book Group
A big book, but it turns out that most of it’s girth is due to pages that are mostly picture.  Interspersed with  history lessons is an interesting story of a white girl who witnesses Freedom Summer events in her own Mississippi town.  A solid historical fiction read, if reader can get past the number of pages.

West of the Moon
Margi Preus
Read for Librarian Book Group
Aside from being a beautiful book to look at, this is also one of my favorite books read this month.  Beautiful weaving of traditional Norwegian fairy tales with the narrative.  I also enjoyed the historical data in the afterward. 

Young Adult
Second Helpings
Megan McCafferty
We’re back again for another year with Jessica Darling, this time her senior year.  Will the push-pull with Marcus be resolved in a satisfactorily way? (Pre-reading)  I’m guessing no, because there are three more of these. (Post reading) Just as satisfying as the first book.

[I think at this point in the five-book series, the library starts shelving them in the adult fiction section, but I’m putting them here because we started out as YA]
Charmed Thirds
Megan McCafferty
Books three, four and five I read on vacation and they’ve all mostly blended.  McCafferty does a good job letting her characters grow up.  Sometimes the continued inclusion of high school acquaintances strains credibility, but otherwise this is a solid series.

Fourth Comings
Megan McCafferty
Books three, four and five I read on vacation and they’ve all mostly blended.  McCafferty does a good job letting her characters grow up.  Sometimes the continued inclusion of high school acquaintances strains credibility, but otherwise this is a solid series.

Perfect Fifths
Megan McCafferty
Books three, four and five I read on vacation and they’ve all mostly blended.  McCafferty does a good job letting her characters grow up.  Sometimes the continued inclusion of high school acquaintances strains credibility, but otherwise this is a solid series.

The fifth book had the advantage of being a book-length conversation between Marcus and Jessica.  It was the perfect payoff.

Say What You Will
Cammie McGovern
Ah yes, this book.  Which was so incredibly good. I particularly liked the slow build of friendship between Amy (born with cerebral palsy) and Matthew (currently pretending he doesn’t have a pretty extensive OCD problem).  I loved this book a lot (thanks Danielle!) and was excitedly telling people about it before I was done.  Which is a hazard sometimes, because books can turn on you.  This one did. It went on much too long with an entirely unbelievable and unnecessary plot development in the last third of the book.  However, there were so many good things about this book (it was funny, there was friendship and very complex social structures, good and bad times) I can’t not recommend it.

Noggin
John Corey Whaley
Read for Librarian Book Group
16 year old boy dying of cancer chooses to end his life early so his head can be frozen and attached to a better body when technology improves sometime far in the future. He’s thinking it will be 100 years or so, but when he comes back, only five years have passed.  Great conundrums throughout.  A solidly enjoyable read.

If I Stay
Gail Forman
Quick re-read before the movie viewing.  Still good.

This One Summer
Tamaki/Tamaki
Read for Librarian Book Group
Graphic novel written and illustrated by cousins about a girl and her summer at the lake with her family.  Packed with many telling details and a hilarious summer friend.

Grown Up Novels
The Chronology of Water
Lidia Yuknavitch
Read for Kenton Library book group.
Good writing, interesting story.  My edition came with an interview with the author which was enlightening.  Our paperback came with a modesty panel, although I didn’t realize until our discussion that’s what it was.  It was so well integrated into the design that I never noticed that there was a naked breast underneath.  I should tell you more about the book itself than the cover design and extras, but I’m feeling lazy.  Good writing, interesting story, like I led with.

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Expertly plotted suspenseful novel. I was hooked.  The diatribe about “cool girls” will stay with me for a very long time.

Nonfiction

The Family Romanov
Cadice Fleming
Read for Librarian Book Group
This was a very good book, an easily readable history of the last Czar of Russia and his family as well as the social and political developments which brought about the family’s end.  I enjoyed how so much history was imparted in a way that did not drag or bog down in details.  I came away from it thinking what a solid read it was.  Then we talked about it a few weeks later in book group and I remembered vividly so many scenes which caused me to revise my initial “very good” to “fantastic.”

Stubby the War Dog
Ann Bausum
Read for Librarian Book Group
World War I dog who becomes a mascot for his unit.  Manages to impart the horrors of war without scarring the children who will read this for either research or pleasure.  Good text-to-picture ratio and compelling story.

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