TUESDAY TEASER

TUESDAY TEASER is a meme started by The Purple Booker. Thank you to that blog for the image above.

Tuesday Teaser’s originator, The Purple Booker, encourages readers to copy a couple of sentences at random from one’s current read to “tease ” others into reading the same book. My Tuesday Teaser is from John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down:

Davis and Noah’s billionaire father has disappeared and Aza, the protagonist is trying to get a lead on him to collect the reward money for giving information to his whereabouts. Noah speaks of his fears and concerns for his non-involved parent: “Nobody wants to find him…It’s like I can’t think of anything else. I…it’s…Do you think he would really disappear and not even text us? Do you think maybe he’s trying and we just haven’t figured out how to listen?”

I am at the point where Aza and her best friend, Daisy, are getting clues and have received a large sum of money from Davis and his lawyer NOT to give those clues to the police.

What are you reading currently? What is happening? Copy a few sentences to “tease” us into wanting to read the book. What? You have no blog to post on? That’s ok. Use the reply box to post your “teaser.” Be sure to mention the title and author, and PLEASE, no spoiler alerts to the plot.

September 6th is “Read a Book Day” !

September 6th is National “Read a Book Day.”  I decided to read a whole book in one day, but I cheated a bit and read, Who Was Jackie Kennedy? part of the New York Times, YA Series known as the “Who Was” books. These are basically aimed at middle school students or even high schoolers who are reluctant readers. Each volume is slim, so I knew I could read it in a day.

I cheated a bit more in that this quick read was the “Wikipedia substitute” for background on my assignment for my Third Tuesday Book Club where each member chose a first lady to read a book about and present to the group. I had already read a biography on Jackie Bouvier Kennedy by a cousin, which ended on the day she married Jack Kennedy and intend to finish Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming to get the complete story of her fascinating life.

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This book for “kids” covers her total life as well. In a tasteful way, appropriate to young preteens and teens, issues that pop up in Leaming’s book such as Jack Kennedy’s womanizing and Jackie’s marriage to Onassis for primarily security and monetary reasons are dealt with.

Which brings me to the second reason for featuring this book on Friday, September 6th, “Read a Book Day,” I am recommending it as the post for Saturday Morning for Kids a day early.

There you have it, friends, three posts for the price of one! DO READ A BOOK (Or at least start one ) today in honor of “Read a Book Day.”

THE BONE COLLECTOR’S SON, HISTORICAL FICTION BASED ON FACT FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Paul Yee’s historical novel, published in 2005, is a good read for junior high and above, as well as for adults.  Have you ever heard of Vancouver’s Chinatown riots of September 7, 1907?  Neither have I.  This attempt to purge Canada of Asian immigrants, a parade right through the middle of Chinatown, by the  “Asiatic Exclusion League” turned a bad idea into a war between the Asians and equivalent of the Klu Klux Klan.

The story is told from the point of view of young Ba, son of Bing, the “bone collector,”who makes his living returning the bones of people who died in America back to China to be buried “properly.” It is a job nobody else will do because of superstition and not wanting to do such a lowly job. When Bing digs up the bones of Mr. Shum, whose skull is missing, strange things begin to happen. Although he grew up on ghost stories, Ba tries to heed his father’s advice that there are no such things as ghosts. When Ba “graduates” to houseboy in the Bently home, he finds he must face many things with courage, and eventually is able to help Mrs. Bently “restore” the mansion to its former state and condition. What was a haunted house becomes a happy home.

The characters are fictional, the plot is imaginative, but the facts on which it is based are real. This is a fascinating “peek” into Canada’s history and an easy way to learn and enjoy  it.

WWW Wednesday for 9/19/18

I found this meme/game on “Taking on a World of Words,” a great blog which is hosted by MisB at “A Daily Rhythm.” There are three questions to answer:

What are you reading now?

What did you recently finish?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Most of my followers know that I read several books at a time, so for brevity’s sake, I’ll list only one book per category. Warning: This post may increase your TBR list.

What I am reading now is Dogsbody by Gary Paulsen.  It is a gripping adventure/coming of age story about a young Eskimo man searching for his quest and his manhood. I have read other books by Paulsen, and this is my favorite so far.

What  I finished recently is Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Portrait by John H. Davis, who is Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis’ cousin. The biography covers from Jackie’s grandparents to her wedding day with John F. Kennedy.

What I think I’ll read next is Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, the Gulf Coast Read and our book club selection for next month.

I am surprised our thunderstorms here on the Texas Gulf Coast have ceased because I  have been “reading up a storm.”

 

YOUNG ADULT READING by Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief

This is the first book in Riordan’s series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.”  In The Lightning Thief, the protagonist is a junior high school boy with a touch of ADHD who has been kicked out of yet another boarding school, as the story opens. He has studied Greek Mythology under Mr. Brunner, his teacher, but is shocked when the mythology begins to affect and appear in his own life. Percy has a special bond with his mom and a hazardous relationship with his repulsive stepfather. Unsuccessfully, Percy tries to get his mom to talk about his father, hoping perhaps to go and live with him. His mother is evasive and mysterious which only fuels Percy’s determination to find him.

At a summer camp where Mr. Brunner is a counselor, Percy runs into Grover, a friend from school and meets Annabeth, and the three form an alliance against the bullies at camp. Later after it is revealed that Percy is a halfling like Annabeth, in fact the son of Poseidon (Annabeth is the daughter of Athena), he and his trio are given a quest to find and recover Zeus’ thunderbolt, a weapon that has been stolen, threatening to start an all-out war between the gods of Mount Olympus.

The story has “electrifying moments” and is packed with action and attacks on the three friends as they travel. The themes of heroism, family, friendship, and loyalty are developed throughout the novel. It is oft times humorous, often wistful, and always action-packed. The kids’ quest leads from the Atlantic to the Pacific–literally, and there is never a boring moment or lull in the story. It is a great read for any age, and the promise of a wonderful series.

A COUPLE OF REALLY GOOD READS

Kiss Her Goodbye by Wendy Corsi Staub, the book I read for “K” in my Alphabet Challenge, has something for everyone: a thriller, crime, mystery, family and marriage relationships, family secrets–you name it, it’s in there. This was a paperback written in 2004 that was turned in to my Little Free Library after a neighbor read it. There is both a prologue and an epilogue, features I always appreciate.

It opens with the approaching birthday of Jen Carmody, the fourteen year old who becomes the focus of mysterious speculations, stalkings, and secrets. Stella, for whom Jen babysits and her husband, Kurt (who is a possible suspect at one point) are having marital difficulties. The family secrets mentioned are revealed and explored which involve Jen’s father, Matt, her mother, Kathleen, and Kathleen’s father who is “confused” and in a nursing home. Her best friend, Erin’s mother, Maeve, is a single mom who is interested in each of the aforementioned men. The story begins in August with the disappearance of a young girl in town, and the story runs October through May. Several murders occur, and I challenge you to follow the clues and determine “who dun it.”

The Baker’s Secret, a 2017 novel by Stephen P. Kierman is set in occupied France in the small village of Vergers. The book hooked me from the very first line: “All through those years of war, the bread tasted of humiliation.” It is spoken by the apprentice baker, a young woman named Emmanuelle, known in the village as Emma, who has secretly been adding straw to the flour for the mandatory loaves she bakes for the German Kommandant daily, so she can give the extra loaves to starving villagers. The story covers the period prior to and during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The description of what Emma sees on Omaha Beach is vivid and heart wrenching. Her horrendous close calls and brutal beatings are told in a way that makes the reader hold his breath or ache all over his body as he reads.

The story appeals to young adults (junior high and up) and adults as well. At the end, the publisher includes an interesting interview with the author and study questions for discussions. It is the perfect selection for a book club.

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY: by Charlie Jane Anders, A REVIEW

This unusual/weird novel is set in the near future and goes forward from there. Patricia Delfine and Laurence (“without a ‘w’ “) Armstead, the two protagonists meet in junior high.  They both are misfits among their peers–he, because he is working on an AI computer assembled in his bedroom closet and has invented a time machine that can move one two seconds in time; and she,  because she can talk to birds and other animals and is branded as a witch by her classmates. These two unusual, unlikely “friends” unite against strange antagonists and typical middle school harassment.

This book is science fiction which explores the themes of magic vs technology, the fate of planet Earth, and the complexities of friendship. As the cover asks, “Will they find love? Will they save the world? or, Will they destroy it?” The book is further described as “…wacky, sexy, scary, weird, and wonderful…” I found the novel to be all of the forementioned. As I read the book (and it didn’t help that I was reading it during the craziness of Hurricane Harvey) I wondered if both kids or their guidance counselor, or I, the reader, was crazy.  Many times I expected the author to end with an explosion of the planet and then the seventh graders’ denouement of, “And, then I woke up from my dream.” The author had in mind a much more complex yet satisfying ending. I would rate it five stars out of five stars and pay my compliments to the author.

THE BEAT ON RUBY’S STREET: A story for teens, pre-teens and everyone, A Review

Jenna Zark’s (author of A Body of Water) 2013 publication taught me more about the Beat Generation, Beatniks of the 1950s, and especially about “Beat Poetry” than I learned in an undergraduate class on Modern Poetry, which explored the subject. It is a fine book told from the point of Ruby, an eleven-going-on-twelve year old girl who lives in The Village in New York. She seems to be a “typical”pre-teen who has a “typical” cat, Solange.  Her mother, Nell, aka “Little Nell” is an artist, and her father, Gerard, aka “Gary-Daddy-O” is often on the road, playing bass. As Ruby tells us about The Beat Generation, “When it first  started, it was about people who were” beat up and fed up by the”System”, aka “The Man.”  Ruby had been making up poems by age four and writing them down by age seven. Her idol is Jack Kerouac, whom she describes is “…not a poet but writes like one.”

Ruby has a fourteen year old brother,Ray, who plays sax and often substitutes with his dad’s band, earning the adults’ respect and admiration for his playing skills. When Ruby gets in trouble on the “street,” she is sent to the police station, and Mrs. Levitt, a social worker steps in, setting in motion an investigation into her unmarried parents and her “home environment.” What follows in the story leads to Ruby becoming involved in a hunger strike at a children’s home in Brooklyn, where she is aided and abetted by her new friend, Manuela.

As she approaches her twelfth birthday day, she could never have imagined the changes in her life, attitude, and maturity or how things could change so quickly.  Through it all, she has her poetry (quite good, and interspersed throughout the novel) to sustain her and comes to the conclusion that “Poetry isn’t really good for anything except it makes you feel better.” Although the book explores the angst of “typical teen” misunderstanding and feelings that friends (and parents) don’t understand, Ruby, street-smart and talented,   is NOT a typical teen in a time and era definitely not “typical” either.

The author supplies questions for discussions suitable for book clubs, junior high English and history classes and anyone interested in the literary contributions to American literature from the “Beat Poets/Generation.”

A BOOK BY A FRIEND: BRITTNEY McWILLIAMS

Recently a friend asked me to edit her neice’s book.  Without asking the title or any other details, I agreed; after all she is a friend, and what are friends for?  This second experience in editing turned out to be a really positive experience.

Brittany’s book, Not That Girl , turned out to be a real  page turner, a memoir that every young woman of any ethnic background needs to read and heed.  Brittany, who is now a single mom, a sometimes- reality-TV actress, holder of two “day jobs” is currently struggling to get ahead and “be somebody” in Atlanta, Georgia. This book, quite frankly was an effort to earn some money, but it turned out to have a real message and to be a whole lot more.

Brittney’s voice is a young voice, a black voice that hopefully will prevent other young women from devaluing themselves because they are in love and want to keep their man.  This is a story of perseverance, self-improvement, and courage. The book cover has a gorgeous picture of Brittany and describes the book as a “tell-all memoir” of a “small- town girl who conquered her past of abuse, heartache, and fear on her journey to stardom.”

The book is a quick, engaging read and will leave you thinking, “This girl can be a star, and so can I.”

THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK by Brian Katcher: A Review (YA)

A book I started during the PWR Reading Marathon was The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak.  I read it in one day, picking it up off and on during a major housecleaning. (Well, yes, it was a YA novel, and a very fast read–all the more reason for choosing (AND REALLY ENJOYING) this book.)

The back cover covers it all (pun intended)  with an pictogram that includes Ana plus Zak, plus 24 hours, plus a wild SCI FI Convention, plus an impossible manhunt, plus thousands of costumed nerds, plus an angry viking, times lots of trouble, divided by first impressions, is unequal to anything they ever expected!   The quote next to the pictogram says, “Perfect comic timing and outrageous twists.” And the book delivers!  It is very, very funny, sweet, outrageous and just a darned good read.  Some subtler ideas are introduced than just the madcap 24 hour chase, but the book is never preachy. Young adults are respected and even admired, SOME adults are “almost ok”, and surprises in ALL the relationships abound.

I would recommend it to a friend of any age.