Monday, April 13, 2009

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

Sherman Alexie has joined the number of literary writers who have penned a Young Adult novel to great acclaim. The author of short story collection, THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN (part of which was turned into one of my favorite movies - SMOKE SIGNALS) writes a somewhat autobiographical novel about Junior - a kid growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation. He leaves the rez to go to an all-white school in a farm town. He illustrates his story with cartoons. It is funny, sad, funny, hilarious and funny.

I haven't read a lot about reservation life in our time. As far as indian books, Sharon Creech is a favorite, RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME looks good (although I haven't read it yet) and PIGS IN HEAVEN (and it prequal, THE BEAN TREES) by Barbara Kingsolver is amazing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why I am the best/worst mother in the world.

I am paying my teenage son $25 to read Stephen King's THE STAND this summer. Am I a crazy person? The book is enormous, but is the only end-of-the-world, "Oh-my-God-we're-all-going-to-die!!!" book that I have ever read and re-read. And re-read it I have! About 15 or so summers I spent a week or so freaking myself out on purpose with this book. Planning my own plague scenario. Where would I live? What would I do? How would I get to Boulder? (Because I'd have to get to Boulder!) Would I be brave like Dana? Would I be able to go through the tunnel? Would I bring a backup flashlight for the love of all things holy???

I love this book and I want my son to read it now that he is old enough. And if it costs me a double sawbuck and a fin - oh well...

Now if I could negotiate a price with my 11 year old to get him to cut his hair... Do you think I could fake a mouse incident like Pa in LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE?

The answers to these questions and the long awaited (and much procrastinated) Summer Reading Book Reviews coming soon!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Apology...

Here is my apology to science fiction and fantasy. In the past I was one of those people who would say, "I love to read everything except science fiction and fantasy." (And I would say science fiction and fantasy in a tone of voice that implied that I found them about as appealing as a bucket of vomit.)

But now that I have matured and had my comfort zone forcibly expanded by librarianship, I find that my four favorite books of the last 12 months are ALL science fiction or fantasy! Shocking, I know!

I am 152 pages into THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness and it is blowing my mind! It is the story of a boy who is the youngest person in his town at nearly 13 years old. At the age of 13, every boy in town goes through something horrible (I don't know what it is yet, and I can not WAIT to find out. I bet it is grisly!) There are no women or girls in the town because they were all killed by a virus that made everyone's thoughts audible to everyone else. Which seems like it would be handy, but is actually horrible. This book is amazing and I can't believe I am wasting time finally blogging when I could be reading it!

The next book I adored was UNWOUND by Neal Schusterman - the story of a future where we parents are finally able to get rid of teenagers who aren't living up to expectations. It seems like a brilliant idea in theory, but I am sure you will not be surprised that it goes horribly, horribly wrong. I desperately wanted this on summer reading this summer, but it won't be in paperback for awhile. Next year, for sure!

by Suzanne Collins (who wrote the GREGOR books for middle schoolers which I may or may not read on my own for fun because they are great) shows a different future of expendable teenagers. (Are you sensing a theme here? Horrible things happen to teenagers in these books! It makes me not even care that I am getting old and wrinkly and my body is falling apart. I am safe by virtue of being over 18. Whew!) In this case - in a future America, two kids from each district (regions like New England, Appalacia and the rust belt are now numbered 1-12 and it is no fun to live there) are sent to district one - the happiest, richest and most powerful district (the former California - figures...) from which they are sent to the Survivor-type "Hunger Games" where they go up against the 23 other contestants in a battle to the death. This is probably the most violent book I have ever liked. It isn't graphic (well a little) but they aren't kidding about the last man standing thing. Yikes. But it is so good and I can't wait for the sequal to come out (on September 1 which is circled on my calendar!). Look at all the parentheses in this paragraph. See what this book has reduced me to? It is brilliant.

And finally TENDER MORSELS by Margot Lanagan which was brilliant and weird and disturbing and a little painful, but also the most original thing I have read in ages. It is a fairy tale with its boots in the muck. It tells the story of Snow White and Rose Red, but in such a strange way that I didn't even recognize it until I had finished it and read a review and went, "Oh yeah - of course!" The basic plot is a young girl who is horribly abused by her father is allowed to live in heaven before her time. But a nasty little thief begins to break down the membrane between her world and the real world with massive consequences. And bears.

I swear I will start the summer reading reviews soon.