3.10.08

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Biography:
The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers Harry Bernstein Memoir of growing up Jewish in pre-WWII northern England
Hole in My Life Jack Gantos Gantos' story of his time in jail, following a drug deal (of sorts) that went wrong

Children's/Young Adult:
The Revolution of Sabine Beth Levine Ain Decent historical fiction about the American Revolutions ideas, and their effect on a young French aristocrat
Unraveling Michelle Baldini In so many ways I identified with Manda and her problems
Being Kevin Brooks Robert is different. Really, really different.
The Good Neighbors Holly Black Good plot, but needs to edit those anachronisms
Masterpiece Elise Broach Cute animal story, but just didn't do it for me
Martyn Pig Kevin Brooks Martyn hates his alcoholic father, and when Dad dies, Martyn makes some very bad choices
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk, Bowser the Hound, The Crooked Little Path and The Adventures of Unc'Billy Possum Thornton W. Burgess I still don't know why Burgess' work is out of print...
Steinbeck's Ghost Lewis Buzbee I was worried that the two stories (about the closing of the Salinas PL and the mystery behind some of Steinbeck's stories) would be a problem, but my students seem to really love it
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins This'll be huge. Just huge. Read more here
Lamplighter D. M. Cornish Once I got used to the changes in the language, it was enjoyable. But any book that comes with a glossary is just too much work to start with
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party Ying Chang Compestine Based on Compestine's life growing up during the Cultural Revolution
Not Like You Deborah Davis Yawn
Where I'd Like To Be Frances O'Roark Dowell Reminded me a bit of Sensible Kate
Underground Jean Ferris Historical fiction about the slaves who discovered/mapped Mammouth Cave
The Girl Who Could Fly Victoria Forester Yawn. Been there. Read that.
Jerk, California Jonathan Friesen A must read.
The Possibilities of Sainthood Donna Freitas I wasn't sure if my students could relate to this story of a girl growing up in a Catholic house, but they did!
Death by Latte Linda Gerber Just stay away
The Ghost's Child Sonya Hartnett Been there... and Who Was Victoria did it better.
My America: Our Strange New Land, Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary, Book One Patricia Hermes Good for younger boys
Brooklyn Bridge Karen Hesse Turn-of-the-century Jewish family that helped popularize the Teddy Bear
Do Not Pass Go Kirkpatrick Hill How do you deal when your father is in jail?
The Mouse And His Child Russell Hoban Possibly charming once upon a time, but no longer
The Foretelling Alice Hoffman Too many disjointed elements to be really interesting
Fallout Trudy Krisher Read too much like The Loud Silence of Francine Green
The Devouring Simon Hunt Not scary enough.
Warriors: The Lost Warrior Erin Hunter I don't get why this series is so popular with my Middle School boys, but it is!
RuneWarriors James Jennewein All too obviously the start of a series, and not necessarily worth a follow-up
Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls Lynne Jonell Cute, and worth it for younger Middle School girls
Belle Teal and A Dog's Life: The Autobiography Of A Stray Ann M. Martin The former didn't impress me, but the latter made me cry
Spindle's End Robin McKinley Not quite the Ella Enchanted of the Sleeping Beauty story, but good all the same
Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 Patricia C. McKissack Historical biofiction that left me disappointed in the end
Gods of Manhattan Scott Mebus A mash-up of Un Lun Dun, Neverwhere and the Percy Jackson series, with New York's history thrown into the mix
Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici Carolyn Meyer I'm guessing that the hope is to interest people in the life of Catherine, but I'm not sure that this is the book to do it. Good historical fiction, though.
Harlem Summer Walter Dean Myers Pair it with Dave at Night and you have a winning combo
Friends Everywhere Donna Jo Napoli Words just fail me
The City in the Lake Ruth Neumeier I thought my students would like it. I was wrong
Melting Stones Tamora Pierce The latest from Pierce. 'Nuff said
Sovay Celia Rees Unbelievable. Really - it's that bad
When the Finch Rises Jack Riggs Another in the "been there, read that" column
The Maze Of Bones Rick Riordan Not sure that the conceit behind this series will sustain readers interest; reads like a slightly older version of A Series of Unfortunate Events
Shanghai Shadows Lois Ruby Did you know that Jews escaped the Holocaust by going to Shanghai? Life wasn't much better there, apparently. Read and learn.
The Cabinet of Wonders Mari Rutkoski Another obvious start to a series, and another question why
The Invention of Hugo Cabret Brian Selznick Great drawings, so-so story, interesting way of tying the two together
Demon Thief Darren Shan Good sequel to Lord Loss and a definite hit with Shan's fans
Blue Jasmine Kashmira Sheth Another girl immigrates to America, this time from India
Skinned Robin Wasserman Who is Lia, really? Along the lines of Being and The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Shadows over Lyra Patricia C. Wrede Great trilogy, seemingly unconnected but with the world of Lyra at their heart
Larry and the Meaning of Life Janet Tashjian Larry doesn't quite know what's going on: is Gus for real? a scam artist? a mixture of both? The answer might surprise you
Tadpole Ruth White So much unrealized potential in this book
The Pit Dragon Trilogy Jane Yolen Need I say more?

Fiction/Literature:
The Steep Approach to Garbadale Iain Banks Dysfunctional, powerful family saga with the Banks touch

Mystery:
A Dedicated Man and Gallows View Peter Robinson With Ian Rankin letting go of Rebus, this is the perfect what-to-read-next
The Vows of Silence, The Risk of Darkness and The Pure in Heart Susan Hill Mysteries that aren't always resolved, and a detective that rivals Dalgliesh in complexity. What's not to love?

Non-Fiction:
Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?: The Play-at-Home Companion Book to the Hit Fox TV Quiz Show! Michael Benson
The Dangerous Book for Boys Conn Iggulden
The Acadians: A People's Story of Exile and Triumph Dean W. Jobb Already reviewed

Number removed from Mt. Bookpile this quarter: 65
Number added to Mt. Bookpile this quarter: 56
Net loss: 9
Status of Mt. Bookpike: 335 books to go!

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