Sunday, July 24, 2011

Doin' My Homework

I'm still plugging away at the school summer reading lists! There have been some disappointments and some nice surprises. As always, the title is a link to the Amazon page where you can read a proper summary of each book (and buy it if you'd like, but I'd recommend the library), and the author's name is a link to their personal website, if one exists. Some of the author websites are rudimentary, others are quite elaborate and a lot of fun!

Middle school titles:

Peeled by Joan Bauer: Another Joan Bauer book, yawn. I really don't like these, but the teachers seem to love them. Other books for kids and young adults manage to teach a lesson without being so obvious about it. There doesn't seem to be any spark to the writing. Nothing new.

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko: So-so. Overall, it struck me as too contrived, but that may be because I'm not a kid in middle school!

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick: Finally! I liked this one unequivocally! Believable story and well-drawn characters.

Savvy by Ingrid Law: This book has gotten all sorts of attention, but I thought it was a dud. I actually had trouble sticking with it to the end.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer: This is one of the books I was avoiding, because it sounded all science-fictiony and post-apocalyptic, and that just isn't my thing. Surprise! It was one of the books I liked best! Turns out it's the final book in the Last Survivors trilogy, so I can read more too!

Soldier's Heart by Gary Paulsen: It's short. It's about the Civil War. It's gory. I can't exactly say I enjoyed it, but it does a good job depicting the horrors of war.

From the high school reading lists:

Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg: I'm not always in the mood for an Elizabeth Berg book, but this one certainly came along at the right time! A great book made even better (and that's not always the case) by listening to the audio version. The reader does an awesome job bringing this book to life!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: This book has been on every high school reading list I've ever seen, and I didn't like it at all. Sure, I can see why teachers put it on the list--the lesson plan practically writes itself--but I thought the writing was sloppy and the book could have been edited to half its size. Blech.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford: I knew this was going to be popular with book clubs the minute I saw it, but I didn't expect to see it on school summer reading lists too! That said, I can see why the teacher chose it, as it focuses on a relatively forgotten aspect of American history: Japanese internment in World War 2. I thought it was a good book, though I preferred Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas. Here's a big surprise: I thought the author was a woman!


Anonymous said...

INTO THE WILD has never been a favorite for me. I did really like INTO THIN AIR when I listened to it on audio and later when I read it.

I remember my second daughter commenting when she was in middle school, "I don't know why the teachers keep assigning us all those book where the kids have all these problems. Most kids I know have enough problems in real life. They don't want to read about them. Why not read something fun or interesting?"

I did notice my sons kept on reading fantasy and science fiction a lot longer than the girls.


Karen@Candid Diversions said...

I always enjoy your book posts - I've added a few to my reading list today.