Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The New Policeman

Why are the Liddy's such talented musicians? Did their patriarch really murder a priest? Where does J.J. Liddy go when he disappears? And who is the new policeman in the village?

Even in the small Irish village of Kinvara time is moving faster than it ever has. When J.J.'s mother asks for more time for her birthday, he decides to try to find her some. To say anymore about what happens would be to ruin some wonderful, funny and magical moments of this brilliant book.

This book is perfect for anyone interested in Irish Music, folk tales, time, three legged dogs, drunken old men, dances that last all night, rebellion, freedom or really good story telling.

Now is the time to recommend some other books about time, Ireland or music. And since nearly all the books I thought were about Nepal and was going to recommend on the SOLD post ended up taking place in Pakistan or Afghanistan I am not surprised that all I can think of are Scottish or Australian books! My mind is completely blanking! Please post to the comments with any Irish books of interest. I will go hunt down Mr. Leahy and see what he has to say about Ireland. I should be back in a month... As for time - I try never to miss an opportunity to recommend Allen Appel's time travel books. None of them are in print but local libraries have them. And as for music -LEMONADE MOUTH, NICK AND NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, REFUGEES and KING DORK are all books where music is a life saver for the protagonist.


I just reread this book moments ago and it is as moving as I remember it. SOLD is the story of a 13 year old Nepali girl who is sold into prostitution in India by her stepfather. It is told in the form of poetry and it is not for the faint of heart.

What happens to Lakshmi when she leaves her tiny Himalayan village is told in sparse language from her point of view. If this were a regular prose novel it would be too hard to read. McCormick carefully chooses her words to convey the emotion and day to day life of oppressed girls without going into too much physical detail.

McCormick, whose previous book CUT also dealt with controversial issues, traveled to India and Nepal and interviewed many girls who escaped from human trafficking.

Nepal is also represented in Summer Reading this year by INTO THIN AIR, the story of an Everest expedition gone horribly horribly wrong.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Bermudez Triangle

THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE is such a summer-friendly book that it even comes with a waterproof cover! If you enjoyed Maureen Johnson's THIRTEEN LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES last summer you might want to give this a try. (And FYI, her newest SUITE SCARLETT just came out yesterday and it looks fantastic.)

The book starts at the beginning of the summer. Nina Bermudez , a very driven girl who has just finished her junior year, is about to head off to a summer leadership program at Stanford University. She leaves behind Avery and Mel, her two best friends. When she comes back with a new long-distance boyfriend and her head in the clouds, she is surprised to find that Avery and Mel have become more than just friends.

There is a lot to like about this book. It has a nice plot about how friends change and sometimes friendships can adapt and sometimes they can't. It talks about long distance relationships. It is a lighthearted antidote to those "you can be gay if you want but your life will be wretched" books that I run across every so often.

Young adult books about friendship are everywhere and many of them are terrific. One of my old favorites is Marilyn Singers THE FIRST FEW FRIENDS. Going from being best friends to falling in love is a theme in Singers THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE NEVER DID RUN SMOOTH. Too bad these books are out of print - but you can still get them at the public library. Not our public library, but some library somewhere. Or you can go to abebooks which is a nice place to get used books.

As for long distance relationships - I know I have read books about them and my mind is blank! If you know of any, please leave them in the comments!

I just read KEEPING YOU A SECRET which is a wonderfully written book, but depressing. It reminds me of TRYING HARD TO HEAR YOU which had me convinced that gayness, along with drunk driving and babysitting on weeknights was a recipe for certain death. Thank goodness times have changed!


Eleven Seconds will be guest blogged by Mr. Riordan who is somewhat concerned that his boyish good looks won't translate to the page. Good thing he actually knows how to play hockey.

Travis Roy is an honest man. He was paralyzed during his first shift in a college hockey game and had to quit the sport he loved. He now is a motivational speaker who inspires others. The remarkable thing about his book is that he says he still hasn't gotten used to the chair he is confined to. He has almost been in the chair as long as he lived before it and yet it still unnatural to him. He still misses the camaraderie of the game that he hasn't played since 1995. I kind of understand that, although I no longer play because I am old, not disabled. Reading his book made me remember the fun and goofiness of playing hockey. It is is an interesting, quick read and I highly recommend it. If you like books about sports, last year's summer reading favorite FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is a good one. If sports autobiographies interest you NEVER GIVE UP by Teddy Bruschi is really good. Larry Bird's DRIVE is also worth reading. THE GREATEST, a biography of Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Meyers is fantastic.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mortal Engines

Phillip Reeve has done what very few writers have been able to do. He has made me love a science fiction series. The Hungry City Chronicles is an amazing collection of books currently four strong that details life on Earth after war has left the planet mostly uninhabitable and its cities roving around the wasteland looking for other cities to conquer so that they can absorb their resources . Well, depending on who you ask...

Tom Natsworthy is an apprentice historian who finds himself in a world of trouble when he falls off the powerful roving city of London and finds himself in the company of an angry disfigured girl who know a lot more about how the the cities work than he does.

This book, along with Ender's Game, Feed, Rash and Unwind is a look at a futuristic Earth which really appeals to me. I often get nervous about futuristic books. Poor human race, what they are going to have to put up with! But the story is so compelling I can put away my worries and just enjoy the ride!