Tuesday, December 27, 2011

long overdue

Um….Hi? It’s been a while. I haven’t forgotten about you. Truly, I haven’t. I’ve just been busy reading and working and getting ready for Christmas. Perhaps I need to make a New Year’s resolution to blog more frequently.

I haven’t been listening to many audiobooks the past couple of months. I attempted a few, but they just didn’t catch my interest. The audiobook slump will hopefully be ending, as I have found something fun to listen to during my daily commute. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith; read by Katherine Kellgren. Katherine Kellgren is on my short list of favorite narrators. So far her narration skills have not disappointed.

I’ve been reading a lot as well. I’m not going to do a full review of each book completed over the past couple of months, but will give a short rundown of the titles.

  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu – Hazel and Jack have always been best friends, but then something happens that changes their friendship. When Jack disappears into the woods, Hazel is determined to save him. With nods and references to many other beloved children’s stories (Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, When You Reach Me, Andersen’s fairy tales and many more), this is a wonderful story that fantasy book lovers will enjoy.
  • Bonk by Mary Roach – Definitely in the adult category, this non-fiction title discusses the science of sex. Often enlightening and humorous (and sometimes a bit painful to read).
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack – Hannah has been living the dream for several years, but being a ballet dancer with the Manhattan Ballet Company isn’t fun and games. Sure there are parties to attend and beautiful outfits to don. There is also a lot of pain and very hard work – and no real social life. This is a great look behind the scenes of what seems to be a glamorous life.
  • Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wonder – Debut. Seventeen-year-old Cam has been fighting cancer. The latest news is not good. Hoping for a miracle – something Cam doesn’t believe in – her mother packs up Cam and her younger sister and heads from Orlando to a small town in Maine rumored to be magical.
  • Darth Paper Strikes Back: an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger – As the new school year begins Origami Yoda finds a strong foe in newcomer Darth Paper. When his creator, Dwight, is kicked out of school for being a “troublemaker”, Origami Yoda asks Tommy to make a new case file proving that Dwight is not to blame for all his mishaps.
  • Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai – 2011 National Book Award Young People’s Literature winner. At the end of the Vietnam War, Ha and her family barely escape their native land. They end up in Alabama. There are times when Ha fondly dreams of being in war torn Vietnam – instead of being in a country where she is such an outsider. Told as a novel in verse, this is the story of one family becoming accustomed to their new country – and their neighbors becoming acclimated to them.
  • The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan – The second book the Heroes of Olympus series (a spinoff of the Percy Jackson books), this time the hero with memory loss is Percy Jackson. Finding himself in a camp for Roman demigods, Percy must prove that he deserves to be there – while figuring out who he is. When his new friend is chosen for a quest, Percy joins the trip to the land beyond the gods – Alaska.

Audiobooks (I listened to these ages ago):

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney – As preparation for an upcoming program, I attempted to listen to all of the Wimpy Kid books. I had previously listened to the first in the series. I didn’t get too far. I can’t stand the main character. What a brat and a horrible friend. Ugh!
  • A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond – if I had ever read this book as a child, I don’t recall. What a sweet and fun story!
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey – Narrated by Tina Fey, this is a great book. There are some parts, however, that she speaks more softly – in a kind of aside type of tone – that made listening to the audiobook a bit difficult. I was disappointed in the photographs in the book (I looked at them after listening to it). Overall, though, great read!

In other news:

As some may know, I am on YALSA’s 2012 Morris committee. Earlier this month we released a shortlist. On the morning of January 23, we will announce which of the five books on the list is the winner. The shortlist includes – in alphabetical order:

  • "Between Shades of Gray" written by Ruta Sepetys, published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group USA.
  • "The Girl of Fire and Thorns" written by Rae Carson, published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
  • "Paper Covers Rock" written by Jenny Hubbard, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
  • "Under the Mesquite" written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, published by Lee and Low Books.
  • "Where Things Come Back" by John Corey Whaley, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

What does this mean? The next few weeks will be spent rereading – again – the list of finalists. Then, after January 23 I can devote my time to pleasure reading once again.

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