Saturday, February 25, 2012

Top Ten Books To Save If My House Were Abducted By Aliens

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
(I know it is Saturday!!! Back off)

Top Ten Books To Save If My House Were Abducted By Aliens
Wow this is a toughie!
I decided that I would give my self ten minutes to think of this list and that would be it. I do not think the aliens would give me much time. So I decided to save my sentimental favorites the ones that I could not easily replace and are all easily accessible.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - I love this copy from 1943 with beautiful engravings by Fritz Eichenberg

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker – with illustrations by Edward Gorey a version I absolutely adore

3. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins signed

4. Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle - This was my Dad’s copy. When he worked on a children’s opera based on the book Madeline L’Engle came and I had her sign it.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green signed  - Even though I have never met John Green, I still cherish this signed copy.

6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green signed

7. Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Reported by James Madison - I was in a non-fiction phase when my husband and I started dating. We would go to the (then new) Borders (now gone) and drink espresso and peruse books. I got this on one of our first dates.

8. A ratty wrecked copy of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 'cause it is totally broken in and has awesome old book scent.

9. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien This set of paperbacks were my dad’s and they are totally broken in.

10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne this book belonged to my grandfather and has awesome old book scent.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
By Jay Asher
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 18th 2007
ISBN13 9781595141712

Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. –

Last week when I was at the library looking for Jay Asher’s most recent book I finally decided to pick this up. I have avoided reading this for a long time. Frankly I really was not interested in the idea of this book, but I have heard too many gushing things about this book to pass it up. So I stepped put of my comfort zone and checked it out.

What a powerful and thought provoking read I am glad I read this! I think it is important to note, if you begin reading this you HAVE to finish it. It is very important to complete Clay’s journey with him to truly benefit from it. The subject of suicide was seriously hard for me to read about. It would have been easy to put this down and spend my time searching the web for images of kittens in cups. Fortunately, this book handles the subject well and gave me a sense of closure at the end. This book tackles very difficult topics aside from the obvious – suicide. Through Hannah’s tapes we learn of all the hard life situations that lead her toward her decision. At the same time we experience Clay’s viewpoint where he struggles with his guilt and sorrow!  

Unfortunately teen suicide is very real and these situations really do happen. In this book we see parts of both sides. I think it is important to know how are actions can truly hurt people as well as how much our positive actions can really impact someone. It would make an excellent discussion book. (for teens or adults) You definitely should read this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Synopsis: Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents' death, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society in which they find themselves "outsiders."

When my daughter had to read The Outsiders for her 7th grade English class I pulled out my copy and decided to re read it! The Outsiders is one of my all time favorite books. I have not read this in a long time though I have read it more times than I can count. When I had to read it for school I read it over and over and over. I read it at least four or five times in the time allotted to read it for class. My copy is old and trashed but I love this book! Re-reading it with the soft silky worn pages fitting in my hand I have to wonder why I have not re-read this for so long.

I love hearing Ponyboy’s voice in my head. Of course as I re-read this now I have the luxury of visualizing the characters from the movie in my mind. (This story is one of the times I really do not mind the movie!) The movie (1983) has Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez and Ralph Macchio. I remember when the movie came out and as a tween girl with a huge crush on Matt Dillon The Outsiders became my favorite movie (and still is). I absolutely stand behind the statement the book is always better! (though I am grateful Francis Ford Coppola did not cast a blond for Dally) In the book the characters are much deeper. I love how it captures that the tough guy greaser can be sensitive and to me that truly is touching. Their loyalty is something to desire. It tells us while sometimes we cannot change our circumstances, we certainly can affect the outcome. If you have not read this you should and if you have you should re-read it.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
By Stephanie Perkins
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published September 29th 2011 by Dutton Books
more details...ISBN 0525423281

Synopsis: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought I would review a sweet chick-lit romance. This is also featured on the 2012 list of Best of Fiction nominees by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

I could not wait to get my hands on this book. I will say though, after reading Anna and the French Kiss (which I LOVED) I was hesitant, I mean, what if this one is not as good?  Stephanie Perkins definitely came through on this one. I loved how Anna and St. Clair show up in Lola’s San Francisco. This is a sweet story I was totally absorbed into Lola’s world. You cannot help but fall head over heels for Cricket. He is seriously crush worthy! Of course in order for Lola to fall for him, she needs to come to terms with who she is and be honest with herself. It is this journey that is so genuine and sincere that drew me into this book. So if you are looking for a sweet Valentine’s Day read look no further!

Mom Disclaimer: I have to say I do not approve of Lola’s relationship with Max! He is a dork!

I give this 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
By John Green
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published January 10th 2012  

Synopsis: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Wow! I need to start by saying you will need a box of tissues when you read this.

Normally when reading, I prefer to delve into worlds with monsters and problems that are fantasy and are not mine. The monster in this book is very real and the problems Hazel encounters in this book are legitimate ones. Thankfully they are not mine.

Honestly, I would not have picked up this book if John Green hadn’t written it. As a parent this book was VERY difficult to read. It sent me on an emotional journey of guilt, gratitude, grief, compassion and acceptance.

I am so glad I read this, even as I am writing this half blindly through tear-swollen eyes. This story is heartfelt sweet and touching. It is a very sincere look at a difficult subject that did not leave me with the emotional residue that would scar me. (I cry at commercials) As I reflect on this story I like it even more. If you are looking for a heart-warming story to read for Valentine’s Day (if you are not afraid of shedding some tears) this is a must read!

I give this 5 out of 5 Stars