Friday, August 11, 2017

Fables

Fables is by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, and Craig Hamilton. A charming series of graphic novels based on the award winning comic book series. Fairy tale legends have been driven out of their homelands by an evil villain called, "the Adversary." They have settled in modern New York state, the more human-looking legends live in New York City, the less human-looking legends live on a farm in the country - both collectively called "Fabletown." The series follows their various adventures. The artwork is beautiful and the stories are fun, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Ratings: 10th grade - 9 out of 10- P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age is by Sherry Turkle. READ THIS BOOK - I mean it, seriously, EVERYONE read this book. This book takes on our technology addiction and its consequences for society in a very readable and understandable way. Turkle does not want us to get rid of technology, but to use it in a way that doesn't destroy our ability to talk to and listen to one another. She provides quotes from students, business people, and others who really make you stop and think. This is a phenomenal read and one I plan to push on everyone I can. It is written in a way that even high school readers will be able to understand it and process the information. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 10th grade - 10 out of 10.

Monday, July 24, 2017

When the Killing's Done

When the Killing's Done is by T.C. Boyle. Alma Boyd Takesue is a biologist for the National Park Service. She is leading the charge to remove invasive species from California's Channel Islands so that native species will have a chance at survival, and removal equals kill. Dave LaJoy is the head of a group who is trying to stop the government from killing the rats and feral pigs that are destroying the native species of fox and birds. This is a story of the battle between these two individuals to advance environmental causes in the way they each think is best. The story also flips back and forth in time to provide the backstory of Alma and other characters in the story. Although at times the writing is beautiful and the descriptions are exquisite, this novel just didn't do it for me. The story seemed fragmented and boring in places. As Auden would say, I can see it's good, but it's not for me. This should not discourage others from giving it a try.

Ratings: Adult - 2 out of 10 - P (profanity) - AC (mature thematic content) - V (violence).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rip Tide

Rip Tide is by Kat Falls. The second book in the Dark Life series. When Ty's parents are kidnapped, he and Gemma must use all of their gifts to find them before it's too late. No one seems to care that his parents are gone or that entire townships are missing. Ty finds help from unlikely sources, but can any of them really be trusted and are they "really" trying to help him. If you enjoyed the first book, you will enjoy this one as well.

Ratings: 7th grade - 8 out of 10 - V (violence).

The Brimstone Key

The Brimstone Key is by Derek Benz & J.S. Lewis. The first book in The Clockwork Chronicles series, which is a follow-up series to The Grey Griffins series. The Grey Griffins are now enrolled in Iron Bridge Academy, where "special" students learn to fight the forces of evil. Things, of course, are not as they seem and the Griffins must risk their lives to protect each other and the other students who are in danger from the dreaded Clockwork King. Fans of the first series will enjoy this one as well.

Ratings: 7th grade - 7 out of 10.

Alfred and Guinevere

Alfred and Guinevere is by James Schuyler. A strange, but fun, little novella about two siblings who have been sent to their grandparents' home for the summer. The story is told alternately by both children in various ways, including entries from Guinevere's diary and letters. This was presented as a children's book, but that doesn't seem correct. While the voices of the children are absolutely accurate for their ages, there are adult themes that run through the novel that are never fully explained. Their parents are having issues, but it is never clear why or if they are finally resolved. It sometimes takes concentration to follow who is speaking, but the banter between the kids is priceless and worth the effort. Anyone with a sibling will find at least one conversation they remember having.

Ratings: 8th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is by John Steinbeck. The classic historical fiction tale of the Joad family set during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. The Joads lose their farm in Oklahoma and with thousands of other families head for California where they believe they will find work. California, however, does not turn out to be the Promised Land of their dreams. While I don't like this novel as much as I do East of Eden, it is a must read classic. The story of the Joads is tragic from start to the horrifically sad finish. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 11th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (mature thematic content) - P (profanity).