Sunday, March 18, 2018

Long Way Down

Long Way Down is by Jason Reynolds. An amazing multi-cultural realistic fiction novel in verse. A well deserved finalist for the National Book Award. This is the story of a teenage boy whose brother is killed in a drive by shooting and who takes a gun from his brother's drawer and sets out to shoot his brother's killer. On the way down in the elevator from the seventh floor to the first Will meets some very special "friends" who help him consider what he is about to do. This is a powerful work that should be read by everyone. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read.

Ratings: 10th grade - 10 out of 10 - P (profanity). 


Alone is by Christophe Chaboute. A wonderful work of French realistic fiction in translation. This beautifully drawn graphic novel tells the story of a deformed man who was born on an isolated lighthouse and left there after the death of both of his parents. His father arranged for a fisherman to bring him supplies once a week, but no one ever sees or speaks with him and he has never been off the island. When the fisherman takes on a new helper and tells him the story of the man they leave supplies for, the assistant leave a note for the mysterious man on the island and this starts a miraculous transformation. A beautiful and touching story. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended Read. 

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10. 

Lady Susan

Lady Susan is by Jane Austen. This historical fiction novella is written in epistolary fashion. It tells the story of the selfish Lady Susan who is a scheming deceitful woman who is not above using her own daughter to advance her own ends. 

Ratings: 9th grade - 7 out of 10. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey is by Jane Austen. The classic work of historical fiction by arguably one of the greatest writers of all time. The story of young Catherine who travels to Bath with friends of her family. She is an avid reader, especially of Gothic mysteries like those by Ann Radcliffe. When she meets the Tilney's and is invited to visit them at Northanger Abbey she begins to impart the sinister goings on of her books to the real life General Tilney. She falls in love, learns about the true meaning of friendship, and becomes wiser in the ways of the world. A classic Austen read!

Ratings: 10th grade - 9 out of 10.

The Tao of Pooh

The Tao of Pooh is by Benjamin Hoff. A charming look at Taoist philosophy as represented by everyone's favorite bear. Well written and easy to read, this book gives you much to ponder. A great book for lovers of Pooh who don't read much nonfiction.

Ratings: 8 out of 10 - 9th grade.

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind is by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The first book in the historical fiction series The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Wow! What a great book; the translation is beautifully done. Set during the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a young bookseller's son is taken by his father to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books and allowed to choose a book for himself. He chooses a book called The Shadow of the Wind by the mysterious author Julian Carax. Soon he discovers someone is systematically locating every book Carax wrote and destroying them. Daniel sets out to discover the truth about his favorite author and protect his book. His search sets in motion a series of events that will change Daniel's life forever. A wonderful book! It is beautifully written, full of suspense, a book lover's delight.

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

Mostly Harmless

Mostly Harmless is by Douglas Adams. The fifth installment of the classic science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The end has come for Arthur Dent and his traveling buddies. Arthur discovers he has a daughter and when she returns to Earth, he follows her there. Soon all of his friends are there and disaster is at hand. The ending is abrupt and somewhat disappointing and nihilistic, but fans should enjoy it.

Ratings: 9th grade - P (profanity).