Sunday, April 15, 2018

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver is by Mary Oliver. A Reader's Corner Highly Recommended read. There is no living poet I love more than Mary Oliver. Her poetry is so beautiful and always makes me feel good. If you can read Mary Oliver and still say you hate poetry - I just can't even. This is a book I will read from every day and so should you. Buy this book, read this book, discover the beauty of nature, and the beauty of poetry written by a master of language. 

Ratings: 9th grade - 10 out of 10. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho is by Ann Radcliffe. This classic Gothic Romance is a magnificent piece of historical fiction. Set in France and Italy in 1584, the novel is the story of Emily St. Aubert. After the death of her father, her care is entrusted to her snobbish aunt and her new Italian husband, Count Montoni. Montoni whisks them away to his gloomy medieval castle called Udolpho. Emily must endure many adventures and much suffering before she returns to France, learns the secret of her family, and marries her true love. Radcliffe's novels were so popular when written that this novel and The Romance in the Forest, another Gothic Romance by Radcliffe, are mentioned by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. This novel is considered one of the classics of the genre. It is a difficult read, but worth the effort. 

Ratings: 11th grade - 8 out of 10. 

Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

Green River Killer: A True Detective Story is by Jeff Jensen. Jensen's father was one of the detectives who worked on the Green River Killer case. This nonfiction graphic novel is set after the arrest of the killer. It deals mainly with Jensen's father and the other detectives who were sent to interview Ridgway in pursuit of other bodies that had not been found. It does not go into graphic detail regarding the killings, so if you are squeamish but want to know more about this killer this is the book for you. The drawings are well done. 

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

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

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.