Okay I just dated myself, I know it and I embrace it. But it helps me with this post. When I hear this phrase I think of girls who are rich, popular, and oh yea SPOILED!!! It is Friday, my last full day of school before the summer (woohoo) and I have a book to review. This book was given to me by one of my students who eats books up. I can’t give her enough. Seriously. She takes a few at a time, returns them within 3 days and has more sitting at home. Its crazy. But anyway…so my student gave this book and I promised her I would finish it before the end of the year. I finished it in 4 days.
Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Spoiled tells the story of a young girl, Molly, who finds out that her biological father is actually a famous movie star. Molly is interested in learning about her father and moves to LA to live with him and get to know him. Just as she is adjusting to the red carpet lifestyle she meets her half-sister Brooke, who is as Beverly Hills as you can get. But in a town where image is everything, and the smoke and mirrors cover more than eye can see, Molly gets a dose of reality and learns that everything is not what is seems. I enjoyed this book for many reasons. The tongue in cheek manner in which the authors wrote the book is wonderful, they take what we as non-celebrities observe to be true and run with it. We all know that celebrities are just like us we read it in US Weekly and In Touch every week (wink wink), but they write this world in a way that allows us to feast on that lifestyle. Plus this story is not told only through Molly’s eyes. Brooke is also a narrator, and this is key, because if you only read from Molly’s eyes you would get a one sided view of a character that though is a mean girl on the outside does have some redeeming qualities. This is a great book for YA readers and for middle school. This shines a new light on the mean girls, and celebrity story, by adding that small touch of heart to it.
I was lucky to see the play God of Carnage when it was playing in New York starring the late James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis, and I loved it. I also enjoyed the movie version (simply called Carnage) which starred Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz and was pleasantly surprised. The sheer fact that you could not get over how uncomfortably each character was during the scene was brilliant. I cringed during the awkward silences, the passive aggressive looks, and the final moments when they confronted each other about views on life, marriage, and parenting styles. If you never got a chance to see either please check out the movie.
This brings me to the meaning of my post today. I recently finished (finished I tore through it) the book The Dinner by Dutch writer Herman Koch. I have never read anything by him before but I promise you will be picking up some more items now. This book reminded me so much of the play and movie that I wanted to see how the characters would deal with the situation they find themselves in.
In the book, two couples come together to have what else Dinner. The men are brothers, one is an ex-teacher, the other the shinning star of a political party who looks to be next prime minster. The wives, are supportive and loving towards their husbands and each other, but they are especially devoted to their children. Primarily their sons, who are the same age. The boys become involved in a crime that shocks the country, but they are never identified. Each parent finds out in their own way and has their own views on how to handle the situation that will be beneficial to all parties. The book is told from the point of view of Paul, the ex-teacher, and you see how he handled his own personal struggles, how he feels about his brother and his political aspirations, and how he interacts with his son, and wife. During the course of the dinner you can feel the tension building during each course, as the small chit-chat and pleasantries make way for the discussion that brought them all together. The situation involving their sons. It was a book that grabbed right away. I couldn’t put it down and wanted to learn more about each character. Koch did a phenomenal job of creating the sort of tension one feels with family when dealing with a crisis with such ease that you feel you are at the table next to them spying on their conversation. It is a great book and I highly recommend it.
Happy Friday everyone. I hope that you have all had a successful work week and have a very relaxing and fun filled weekend planned. I have a book review for you today. Allow me to speak to you about If I Stay by Gayle Forman.
If I Stay was an amazing read. And a fast one. It tells the story of a teenager Mia, who is an extremely talented cello player; has a rock solid relationship with her best friend; a family bond that any kid would dream of; and the love of a rocker boyfriend who sees only the best in her. Mia’s life is full of ups and downs, but the worst is yet to come. After suffering through a car accident, that leaves her parents and younger brother dead, Mia now clings to life. However, she has been given the rare gift to choose, whether to stay or to go. Mia is having an outer-body experience, witnessing the hospital staff, family and friends visits, and Adam her boyfriend, waiting by her bedside to see which way she chooses. Told through flashbacks as well as actual time, Mia must decide should she stay with her family, or stay and experience life in a whole new way.
Please do not think that since it the character is having an outer-body experience that this is a supernatural like tale. Mia is the teenager we all once were. The one who questions her decisions. The one who falls head over heels in love, only to be unsure if this is the one she wants. The teenager who must decide what her future holds, and how she wants to live her dreams. This is a story we can all relate to, on some level.
This is a must read. Furthermore, the powers that be have decided that it would make a great feature film. It comes out this August, please check out the trailer below.
By now you have probably heard the amazing, fantastic, great news that LaVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign has been fully funded. In less then 24 hours. That is correct Mr. Burton was able to raise $1 million in one day. That means Reading Rainbow lives.
The show originally ran from 1983 to 2006 with reruns happening until 2009. This latest venture will be a new version of the series created for the web, a classroom version of the program for teachers, and a program that gives copies of Reading Rainbow to low-income schools for free.
This is my most favorite news in a long time and I can’t wait to see the amazing things LaVar will do with this.
As a librarian I read a lot. When I worked in publishing I read a lot. As a reviewer for a magazine I read a lot. So I thought, how hard could it be to write a book. I have a notebook that has a ton of ideas in them. Some are just plot ideas. Some are characters. Some are full chapters or scenes. Some are picture books. And some are layouts for graphic novels. So with all of these ideas, I thought, hey this should be no problem to write a story. Well let me tell you it is tough.
Moving the story along, using descriptive wording, having the voices sound realistic, all of these elements are hard to master. I have tried my hand at writing only to face such terrible writers block that I abandon the story all together. These stories soon find a permanent place in a filing cabinet under the heading “Better Luck Next Time.” I have had the opportunity to meet several authors over the years and to hear them speak about the writing process. But it wasn’t until this year that it all really clicked for me.
I was able to have the incredibly talented Wendy Mass come to my school for an author visit. While she was here she spoke about her process, and she even shared with us a form she uses to help her better create a character and develop a plot. I thought, I have an idea, let me see how this form works. Well let me tell you, it worked great. I was able to flush out my main character and several supporting characters. I came up with a plot and I broke down how I wanted each chapter to go to help with the flow of the story. I was going to be able to write now.
Not so fast.
It was great that I had all of this. I felt like these filled in forms was success enough. However, now I actually had to start writing. And that is where it gets tricky. So I just started writing. A little free writing, just to see what might come out of my brain. And low and behold, some good stuff did. Or at least I think it is good. Now am I already on my fourth chapter. It is no where near being the level I would like it to be at, but that is what editing is for. I will have the chance to rework, and rewrite as much as I need to.
I thought writing a book would be easy. Just put some words on a paper and make a story out of it. I can tell a story no problem, writing one should be just as easy. Well I have learned that writing a story is difficult and not everyone succeeds. But if you keep at it, you will have a product that you can be proud of. So keep a look out, my goal is to see this published at some point (eBook or print form). I hope to have the first draft done in the next week or so. Fingers crossed. I will keep you posted on my progress.
Happy reading and happy writing.
PS I am currently in the middle of the book IF I STAY. I hope to have it done by Friday for my review day.
so I have mentioned before that I write reviews for an professional magazine (LMC or Library Media Connection). Here are two titles that I have recently reviewed.
The Meaning of Maggie
Maggie Mayfield is a pre-teen who feels has her life pretty much figured out. She is the product of a two loving parents, has two increasingly annoying older sisters, she is a straight A student, owns a small percentage of Coke stock and is working on her bid to run for president one day. Every thing is planned accept for her father’s mysterious illness. You see he can not longer walk and soon Maggie must visit him in the hospital. And this is one event Maggie could not plan for. Told from Maggie’s perspective in the form of a journal that is chronicling the past year of her life, Maggie learns that her father suffers from MS. And it is her goal to help cure him. This is a beautifully written inventive take on a coming of age story. The author allows for the reader to discover along with Maggie what is causing her father’s illness. Peppered with typical family drama, the story flows well and offers very tender moments between daughter and parent.
Muddy Max and the Mystery if Marsh Creek
Getting dirty and muddy is part of being a kid right? So why does Max have to wear five layers of protective clothing when ever it rains? Because for Max the mud doesn’t just stain his shoes and dirty him up, the mud gives him super powers. Max discovers by accident that when ever he comes in contact with Mud he develops an array of super hero skills such as, super strength, speed, and invisibility. But why did Max’s parent wish to keep this a secret. It appears they knew about his condition all along and wanted to protect him. However as Max learns more and more about his abilities with mud he soon learns about the family he never knew about. This was a faced paced graphic novel and is perfect for 3rd to 6th grade readers.