Tuesday, August 24, 2010

. . . Let Me Sum Up . . .

Our July vacation was beyond wonderful. I think everyone must visit the Pacific Northwest. The trees, the weather, the seafood . . . sigh. Wonderful. But just in case you were thinking this was going to be a travelogue post, think again! We'll get to that, but first, 'what did you read on vacation, Juju?' I'm glad you asked.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor. Newberry winner from 1977. This was a painful read, but I can't wait to do it again. If you want to do a little civil rights study, pick this one up. It's so painful to think that this story took place in my parents generation. This was not 200 years ago, safely removed from all of us. This is a safe read for kids. It's dark, but not grotesque. Thanks to our road trip, I went through this one in a flash.

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale. Newberry honor from 2006. Fantastic! So fun, but with a great message. I read on Shannon's blog (note how I call her Shannon, pretending we actually know each other?) that she never sets out trying to write a book with a 'message', but they usually just end up that way. This is a darling story, but not a 'useless princess is saved from the mean ogre by the all-capable warrior prince' story. I don't want to give away too much on this one. You MUST read it! Also a very quick read and not too hard for the young kids. Bug read this one in the second grade, and still remembers it.

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Holy Cow! I purposely avoided this one, not wanting to buy into the hype. But any book that keeps me totally engrossed for 12 hours is a definite winner. BJ bought me this one before we came home, knowing he'd have four children asking him 'are we there yet?' every five minutes unless he did. The plot twists in this one were crazy. Totally unique plot, well written, fast paced . . . perfect vacation reading! I'm so excited for the second book in the series. I'm only number 128 on the library's hold list! Yeah, me!

And since we returned from vacation, I finished The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Newberry Award winner from 1994. Ever wondered what life would be like if we had chosen Satan's plan? Read this book and find out. This would be an amazing book group choice. Tons of discussion threads, an easy-quick read. And for the literary critic in all of us, lots of technical 'stuff' to chew on. I personally did not care for the ending. And from reading reviews on Goodreads, most agree with me. But, I think the way Ms. Lowry ended the book was totally intentional, and meant to be another book group discussion topic. ;)

On my nightstand right now? (drum roll please) Dracula, by Bram Stoker. So far I'm loving it. It's kind of like Jane Austen decided to write a horror book. There's murder and mayhem going on all around, but we're being very polite about it, and we're all impeccably dressed. Only downside is this is not the quick read-pick it up at bedtime-for a busy lady who still likes to read, kind of book. There is much concentration and slow turning of the pages going on right now.

And don't worry, I'll get to that travelogue soon. And the first day of school, and the toothless wonder at our house, and the finished landscaping . . . sigh, I need a nap!


Kara said...

Some good books on that list!

Juli said...

I love your Newberry book reviews =). Such a great way to get some great reading!
The 3rd book in the Hunger Games trilogy came out today. I'm chomping at the bit to get to the bookstore!!

Erin said...

Your reading prowess is impressive! I only wish I was finishing books as fast as you!

Diane said...

Well, we for sure need to talk about The Giver and Dracula--I can't wait to hear about that one! Lots of great reading choices, Julianne!

Chocolates for Breakfast said...

good luck with the back to school transition...kind of miss not buying some new folders or something...but then the beehives were talking about junior high tonight and I thought, uh I don't miss being beyond this stage!?