Want to see the progress Kayla, Megan, and Carly have made since March on their reading challenge? Check out this month’s accomplishments below!
A book a friend recommended- Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick– This was an awesome book. An 8th grade boy finds out that his 5-year-old brother has cancer, and his whole year changes. Surprisingly, this was a funny book, but one that had me tearing up. I’m reading it to my 8th graders now, and they are loving it too.
A nonfiction book- The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs– this adorable “how to” book for geeky ladies comes out in May, and will be getting a more thorough review closer to its release date. I thought this was great! A fun resource for new nerds.
A book that was originally written in a different language- Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu– This graphic novel, originally written in French, was hilarious. You can read my full review here.
A book at the bottom of your to-read list- Legend by Marie Lu– I’ve had this on my tbr list pretty much since it came out. I saw Marie Lu speak at a convention last year, and she said her inspiration for Legend was Les Miserables, which bumped it up my list. Day and June are citizens of a dystopic future California. June is the best military student the government has ever seen. When her brother is killed by Day, public enemy number one, June pursues Day. I loved that this is kind of based on Les Miserables, but it is still its own original story. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!
A book based on a true story- House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck– This is the story of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life through the eyes of his wife. I wrote a full review here. Basically, I loved it. It was so sappy.
A book a friend recommended/A book with a one-word title — Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — This is a book I knew about only vaguely because of its status as a bestseller, until a college friend raved about it enough that I knew I had to read it. A sort-of love story that spans decades and continents, set between the US and Nigeria, it also deals a lot with issues of identity. That summary doesn’t do the book justice – you should all just go read it, because it’s really good.
A book published this year/A book set in the future — Octavia’s Brood, edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown — I found out about this book a few months ago via social media, and eagerly awaited its release (I even preordered a copy from the publisher because I was so determined to get my hands on it as soon as possible). You can read my full review of this here, but in short, this book is now one of my all-time favorites. The subtitle of the anthology is “Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements” and it is exactly the kind of blend of activism and beautiful prose I hope to one day achieve in my own creative writing.
A book of short stories — Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2014 — This collection had been sitting around in my kindle cloud since my sister downloaded it because it was free in the kindle store. It contains twenty-five short stories (several of which are actually quite long) from the sci-fi/fantasy website tor.com. There was great diversity among the authors, content, characters, and quality of fiction. I was pleasantly surprised to find that at least three of the stories featured lesbian relationships, and that Japanese and African-American folklore were dealt with alongside Lovecraftian and Greek-inspired stories. I was not a fan of the one of the early stories, “The End of Everything” about the end of the world and all the base impulses it brings out in the people desperately awaiting their destruction. I almost abandoned the book at that point, but I’m glad I didn’t. My favorite stories were “The Litany of Earth,” told from the perspective of an anthropomorphized Lovecraftian creature of the deep who has faced prejudice and deprivation of her magic her whole life and “The Mothers of Voorhisville,” about a townful of women who end up bearing the winged-children of some sort of seductive fallen-angel thing, and their attempt to tell their story on their own terms to the society that besieged them in an old farmhouse and hunted down their monstrous offspring. There are also a couple of light-hearted pieces about a sasquatch and buildings that come to life, to balance out some of the darker, more psychological pieces.
A book based on or turned into a tv show — Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar — I used to read The Clique novels by Lisi Harrison back in high school, and I found them an interesting spectacle of a world that had nothing to do with my own middle school experience. My school was too big to have any sort of universal popular crowd, and although it did cater to some upper-middle-class neighborhoods, they were nothing compared to the over-privileged, high-society brats portrayed in these types of novels. I was intrigued by their complex social hierarchies and convoluted manipulation tactics. I remember always seeing Gossip Girl advertised in the back of The Clique novels, and I thought it would be more along those lines but perhaps for a slightly older audience. Instead, I found much shallower characters with simpler motivations, less witty dialogue, and a supremely annoying “gossip girl” segment at the beginning of certain chapters that contributed absolutely nothing to the story. The show is probably slightly more intricate that the book, and has the advantage of visual spectacle, but as none of the characters were particularly likable, not even in a love-to-hate-them kind of way, I don’t think I’ll be checking it out anytime soon.
A book you started but never finished — Persuasion by Jane Austen — I started reading Persuasion back in May of 2013. I had read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and was surprised to find that I tore through it about as fast as I usually devour my trashy supernatural romance novels. It was the only classic to have sucked me in that much, that I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I was hoping Persuasion would be the same way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I would start it, get bored, start a different book instead, and abandon it for months at a time. By the time I came back to it, I had forgotten all the characters and what their relationships to each other were and had a hard time getting back into it. I did the same thing with Frankenstein the first time I read it and that also took me two years to finish. But then it was assigned in school and I had to read it within a confined timeline and enjoyed it a lot more. Although Persuasion didn’t have quite the same level of witty dialogue as I have come to expect from Jane Austen, and the plot at times seemed slow-moving and repetitive, I think if I had stuck with it longer, and finished it in a reasonable time-frame, I would have enjoyed it much more.
Are you participating in the challenge, too? How is it going for you? Let us know in the comments!