Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Diversity and Inclusion Book Talk

Today I gave a book talk to Lake Land College faculty on the day's topic of Diversity and Inclusion.  Here's the booklist!

Book Awards Mentioned

  • Schneider Family Book Award (disability)
  • Printz Award (literature for  young adults)
  • Alex Awards (adult books)
  • National Book Award  (F, NF, Poetry, Young People)
  • Coretta Scott King Book Award (African American)
  • Pura Belpré Award (Latino)
  • Stonewall Book Award (GLBT)
  • Rainbow Book List (GLBTQ)

Going Mental.

  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • My Abandonment by Peter Rock
  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

True Story.

  • The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Yeah, I’m different.

  • Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

What color? Human.

  • Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
  • Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon
  • Tyrell by Coe Booth
  • Gardens of Water by Alan Drew
  • In Darkness by Nick Lake
  • The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
  • Finding Nouf  by Zoe Ferraris
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

I am not my disorder.

  • Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Love is love.

  • Donorboy by Brendan Halpin
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Hero by Perry Moore
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters
  • Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Back then.

  • The Night Birds by Thomas Maltman
  • The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I’m sick. So what?

  • Stitches: a Memoir by David Small
  • The Fault in our Stars by John Green

I fight.

  • The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
  • War by Sebastian Junger
  • A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
  • Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff

I’m a person, too!

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Oh, Rainbow Rowell, I'm falling in love with your romances. I think you've knocked Dessen and Colasanti off the top of my best YA romances list!

This is book about identical twins, first loves, college, mental illness, college drinking, writing Harry Potter-ish fanfiction, the University of NEBRASKA, friendship, trying new things, moms leaving, sweetest make-out scenes ever, trying to ignore problems, and tons of other things.


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Hit by David Baldacci. Ready by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy.

Baldacci is always good filler when I'm waiting for interlibrary loaned audiobooks to arrive! Will Robie is still an assassin but starts to question his orders when fellow government operative Jessica Reel goes rogue.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ashfall by Mike Mullen

First of all, I was impressed when I saw the publisher of this book--Terre Haute? Tanglewood is in Terre Haute, Indiana? Close to me? Huh.  This led me to go to their website and see what else they have published.  It looks like this book is their huge YA hit, so good for them!

Alex is the typical teenage boy--arguing with his mom and full of angst--when the rumbles and storms hit. The gigantic volcano beneath Yellowstone has erupted and causes chaos through the United States and the world. There are a lot of apocalyptic novels out there, but I think what makes this novel stands out is that I kept thinking....really? This could happen? I remember watching some specials on TV about it (see for more information) and wondering if it could happen during my lifetime. This book makes it happen and everything seems very realistic.  Riots ensue in Iowa, the government doesn't help things, and people are left to forage for themselves. Luckily Alex has been trained in tae kwon do, and the self-defense he has learned helps him survive. I also liked how this is a rural book (set in Iowa and Illinois)--the characters know how to hunt, butcher animals, etc.  Non-stop action keeps the reader fascinated, and beware that there are some scenes that make this a book for mature readers. The sequel, Ashen Winter, is already out. Sunrise, Book #3, is due out March 2014.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Ezra is the tennis stud at school, but everything changes when a car accident leaves his leg injured. Now he's using a cane at school and doesn't fit in with his old friends.  He reunites with a childhood friend, and the cool "geeks" take him in--friends who score points for witty remarks and are on the debate team.  Ezra falls in love with the new girl, too, and she is about the exact opposite of the popular girls he used to date.  But things fall apart.  This is a young adult novel and people aren't always whom they are trying to portray.

Recommendations: Teenage angst boy novel. Give to fans of Nick Hornby and John Green.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. Read by the author.

I was pleasantly surprised while listening to this adult memoir.  I remember seeing the juvenile of the book, Discovering Wes Moore, years ago, and not wanting to read it because of the cover.  However, this cover is more approachable for me.

Wes Moore is a successful black man who pulled himself out of a bad Baltimore neighborhood and created a successful life for himself.  Rhodes scholarship, traveling to Europe and Africa, US paratrooper, military school--Wes Moore was on a steep uphill climb to success.  Doesn't hurt when you look like him either (see pic at end of blogpost).

Wes's curiosity is peaked when he reads in the newspaper of a man named Wes Moore arrested for shooting a cop.  Both young men grew up in similar neighborhoods--how did they end up so different?  And so he began visiting the other Wes in prison, interviewing friends and family members, and the result is this book.

I never felt like I was being preached at, which is what I was afraid of.  Why did one man succeed and the other failed? Supportive family members? The one teacher who reached out? Through the telling of their stories, Wes doesn't make the judgements for the reader--but I kept noticing things.  As I heard about the other Wes Moore, I kept thinking, "Oh, no, don't choose to do that." I learned more about poor urban America--something I only see from the view of an elevated train in most cities.  This is a good nonfiction listen!

And usually I can't stand when authors read their own works--in fact, I usually shy away from those.  But Wes Moore has a voice like a professional--deep, smooth, and emotional.

Friday, November 8, 2013

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick. Performed by Nick Podehl.

Way back in 2009, I read the first book in this couplet, Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie.  It won the Rebecca Caudill award in Illinois, and, even though it's for middle grade (and I'm usually not a fan), I loved it! It's written from Steven's point-of-view, and he's dealing with his younger brother having leukemia.

This book is written from Jeffrey's POV--he's in remission from his cancer, and ticked that his big brother is in Africa playing drums instead of helping him with the troubles of 8th grade--state testing, pretty California girls who become his lab partner, and a best friend who also has had cancer.

Just like the first book, this one is sweet, heart-felt, and a tearjerker.  Not something I should have listened to on my way to work! But I'm glad I did.  I'll be having my ten-year-old daughter read these soon--I think she'll like them!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Down River by John Hart

I loved Iron House and The Last Child, so I had to go back in time and try this author's earlier works.  I can tell this is an early novel--not as good as his recent ones, but still worth finishing.

Adam Chase returns home because his best friend mysteriously needs his help.  But Adam isn't welcome.  Five years ago, he was acquitted of murdering a fellow teenager and his own step-mother testified against him.  Now, on his return to rural North Carolina, the locals are stirred up about a new company possibly moving to town, and his family is smack in the middle of the controversy. Should they sell? Do they need to sell their land? And, of course, there is lots of family drama going on in the background.

Adam's gruffness didn't work well in this book, especially in contrast to Michael in Iron House. In fact, they really could be the same character--determined to do what's right, a man of few words, stereotypical cop attitude.  It worked in Iron House, but not so much in this title.