Books read in July 2013

Many books were read this month, but only six of any measurable length.  That librarian book club really pads the numbers with those picture books.

Doll Bones
Holly Blade
Read for Librarian Book Group
Fun and creepy/scary.  Entirely unbelievable from an adult perspective, probably completely believable from a middle-school perspective. Also includes a good depiction of the time in adolescence when everyone is transitioning from child to teenager at different rates.  I liked this a lot, even if I did wonder if maybe I shouldn’t be reading it right before bed, due to worry about potential bad dreams.

The Good House
Ann Leary
I hadn’t read a “grown up” book for a bit and I think I might have expected a bit too much from this.  The characters were interesting and lively, but as the novel wore on the informal tone started to annoy me.  I think if I had been expecting the informal tone things would have been fine, but I got it in my head it was a more literary book.  This is a good read for people interested in alcoholics in denial, real estate agents, and people who live around Boston.

Harry Bruce
This biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery, best known as the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, has a crackling opening.  Harry Bruce knew not to bury that lead.  Well done Mr. Bruce.  However, after that, it settles into a rather standard biography which, inexplicably peters out when Montgomery gets married.  I was looking for information about how she lived with depression, and this book does not examine anything in that realm, which I found disappointing.

Jennifer Bradbury
Most distracting–and completely not the author’s fault–was that the main character had the same first and last name as my brother.  Granted, “Chris Collins” is a rather common name, but it was still strange to come across it on the page, picture my brother and then have to wrench myself back into the story.

That said, I greatly enjoyed this examination of adolescent male friendship set in a cross country bike ride.  Aside from those good qualities, it also had a bit of a mystery to it.  All of these things made this an enjoyable page-turning quick read.

I see the Promised Land
Read for Librarian Book Group
I would not recommend this to elementary-aged children, nor middle school and I would be leery of recommending it to high school students because I think some parents would have a problem with the content.  I found the prose style distracting at first, but it grew on me as the book went on.  I found the artistic depiction of women throughout the book to be sexist and somewhat offensive.  Was it necessary to draw protruding nipples on all of the women including Rosa Parks?

Lottie Paris and the Best Place
Read for Librarian Book Group
Bright and fun and Lottie Paris and I agree that the best place is the library.

Barbed Wire Baseball
Read for Librarian Book Group
Great introduction to the forced relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II. It will probably be most interesting to children who are interested in baseball.  Illustrations were bright and I appreciated the inclusion of the photograph referred to in the text.

Nino Wrestles the World
Yuyi Morales
Read for Librarian Book Group
Incredibly fun.  A lot of good words here.

P.S. Be 11
Rita Williams Garcia
Read for Librarian Book Group
I started this not knowing this is the continuation of an earlier story.  Though I prefer to read things in order, I was pressed for time, so I read on and was glad I did.  I loved the depiction of Brooklyn in the late 1960s, also the 11-year-old viewpoint seemed very authentic and the letters from the main character’s mother were beautiful pieces in themselves.  There is a very solid sense of growth and growing up within these pages.  I’m not the biggest fan of J-chapter books, but this was a gem.

Black Dog
Levi Pinfold
Read for Librarian Book Group
So incredibly delightful I would buy it if I had more children in my life.  Good especially for the tiniest among us.  The illustrations were delightful and had many details to pour over.

Maggot Moon
Sally Gardner
Read for Librarian Book Group
I think the very short chapters (some not even a page) will be great for struggling readers.  The distopian setting was minimally described.  This was distracting for me, but might be fine for others.    I found that I had to do a lot of inferring because there were fewer words and I wonder if struggling readers would fine this frustrating.

Also, if you have the print copy of this book in your hands, be sure to check out the “flip book” quality of the illustrations.

Lessons from Madame Chic
Jennifer Scott
The author lived in Paris as an exchange student during college and she learned stuff from the mother of her host family.  She wrote a book to tell us about it.  There were some interesting lessons and observations.  Often, I found the fact that the author is in a different income bracket than I am to detract from her life lessons.  It’s great that she gets a mani/pedi every two weeks and also a regular massage, as well as seeing an esthetician etc. etc. etc.  However, my budget rarely has room for any of those things very often.  So after awhile I had to work not to think, “bully for you, Jennifer Scott.  Your husband actually had $600.00 to spend on pants.”  Still, I get her overall message and think it is a good one.  I’m glad she’s built a good life for herself and will incorporate some of her life lessons into my own life.

One thought on “Books read in July 2013”

  1. I LOVED ONE CRAZY SUMMER!!!! You have to read it. I read it aloud to my class the year it came out and then it got a newbery nod. LOVE it. Rita Williams Garcia is an amazing writer. I was thrilled to see her speak at the National Book fest. I also loved reading a story written by an African American woman partially about the Black Panther movement to my Virginia born kids. There's something quite satisfying about that. I was always a little worried someone would say something and possibly be upset. Thanks to N. Virginia sensibilities or my student's mum lips no one made a fuss and my students got to see a different perspective on growing up in the 60's!

    PS 11 is on my to read list. Doll Bones is by my bed, but I am worried it will be too scary. There are many other reads on my kindle right now for the long plane ride. I often read both regular books and ebooks depending on my whim. But I can say this: it will be lovely to not be dragging so many books on the trip and I just have my slim little ipad mini for reading fun with no painful extra weight of the 15 titles I'm taking with me!

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