Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cutting to the Chase

I have been reading too much (is there any such thing?) and blogging too little. Time to make up for lost time.

I started 32 Candles, suggested my daughter also read it, told her never mind it wasn't that good after all (a lie), then finished it that very night. Great book, not for kids. I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to read a book written for adults!

Hate That Cat was not as good as Love That Dog, but it was pretty darn good. I will teach both books (sequentially) from now on!

I loved Okay for Now. Really, really loved it. But much like The Wednesday Wars, I wonder if kids will "get it" the way I did. After all, the closest they have come to having someone deliver their groceries is the Schwan's man!

Twenty Boy Summer made it to my summer reading list because of all the controversy recently surrounding it when a school district banned it. After reading the book, I have to say...I don't think it has a place as required reading, but it certainly belongs in a high school library. I don't make that assessment lightly; I generally believe that a classroom teacher should have the autonomy to decide what's best for her students. But in this case...well, there are too many moral issues raised in the book, and I would not be comfortable with the discussion happening in a way that excluded me as a parent, or my own religious and moral views. (I know, I could still read the book and have those discussions. But anyone who has teenagers knows that what they do in school every day is "nothing," so getting to a place where those discussions happen...well...easier said than done.)

I totally enjoyed The Department of Lost and Found by Allison Winn Scotch! Recently diagnosed with breast cancer, 30 year old overachiever Natalie decides to use the opportunity to figure out what went wrong in all of her failed relationships. Another book written for adults, not teens; maybe I enjoyed that as much as anything else. I do love young adult literature, but sometimes it is refreshing to follow a main character whose life looks a little more like mine.

I tried to read Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi again. It's a lost cause. It's just not the right book for me. I donated my copy to the public library, who didn't yet own it.

Finally, today I finished The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Since their father is a Shakespearean scholar who prefers to communicate by quoting the Bard (or just photocopying pages from his copy of The Riverside Shakespeare and highlighting the relevant passage), I wanted to write about the book in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. Alas, it's more that I can quickly pen, and I do want to read another hour or two tonight...These three sisters (each named after one of Shakespeare's heroines), who once staged a production of Macbeth in which the three witches were the only characters, return home to care for their mother as she battles breast cancer. Rose (short for Rosalind) never left, and she must accept her sisters' help; Bianca is returning unemployed, having been caught embezzling from her Manhattan law firm; and Cordelia returns home from seven years of a gypsy lifestyle...pregnant. What was most wonderful about this book were the astute observations about relationships and forgiveness, but of course I did appreciate the oft-quoted Shakespeare as well!

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