Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring reviews that made me want to read the book feature, in which I highlight books (and reviews) that catch my eye. There have been quite a few promising titles reviewed this month.
I should probably just find a way to automatically transfer all of Presenting Lenore's Waiting on Wednesday posts over to my list. Lenore and I share a significant overlap in our preferences (as most recently evidenced by us sharing the same favorite Lois Duncan novel, Down a Dark Hall). She recently highlighted the upcoming Houghton Mifflin Harcourt title Genesis, by Bernard Beckett. Here's the first part of the publisher's description (emphasis mine): "Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic." Enough said, really. But Lenore also adds that "Reviewers in New Zealand, where the book was originally released, are in fact calling this a modern YA sci-fi classic and it recently won NZ's highest award for YA fiction, the NZ Post Award."
Also from Lenore, a review of The Rule of Won by Stefan Petrucha. She says: "Rule of Won is a gripping, important, and sarcastic novel with a touch of the supernatural." And she stayed up until 3:30 am reading it. Which is pretty well good enough for me.
Sometimes I don't need a review at all - I just need to know that a book is available. This is certainly the case with Fire, by Kristin Cashore, a prequel of sorts to Graceling. I'm quite envious of Patti from Oops ... Wrong Cookie, who managed to get her hands on an advance copy. She clearly liked it, once she had adapted to the fact that the book wasn't going to be about Katsa, anyway. This one won't be available until October. Sigh! No cover image yet.
Lauren at 5 Minutes for Books recently reviewed an adult nonfiction title: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Lauren says: "Three Cups of Tea is the story of Greg Mortenson's journey to build the village of Korphe (in Pakistan) a school. While building this school, Greg found a mission for his life. He has now helped to build more than 70 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan; and he has worked to provide scholarships for secondary education, to develop centers for women, and to educate the people about better health practices." Sounds like something I should read, doesn't it?
There's also a children's version of the story, reviewed for this week's Nonfiction Monday by Amanda at A Patchwork of Books. The Young Readers Edition of Three Cups of Tea was adapted by Sarah Thompson. Despite a couple of criticisms, Amanda concludes: "overall I can see a lot of kids picking this up and enjoying the learning process of what it took one man to get over 60 schools built."
I noticed a couple of other nonfiction titles this month, too. Nan Hoekstra discussed Seth Godin's Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us at Anokaberry. Here's a bit from the summary blurb: "According to Godin, Tribes are groups of people aligned around an idea, connected to a leader and to each other. Tribes make our world work, and always have. The new opportunity is that it's easier than ever to find, organize, and lead a tribe." It sounds rather timely in light of the whole read-aloud campaign idea, and, as with the book above, like something I should read.
The other nonfiction title that caught my eye, surprisingly, was The Yankee Years by Joe Torre. Surprising, because I'm a tremendous Red Sox fan. But Omnivoracious cleverly published a review by Tom Nissley titled: The Yankee-Hater's Guide to the Yankee Years. And Tom convinced me that this is a book I would enjoy.
Speaking of the Red Sox, I couldn't resist when I saw a review of Julianna Baggot's The Prince of Fenway Park at Reading Rumpus. Tasses explains "What I thought was a simple baseball story turned into a ........ FANTASY novel. It seems there are creatures living under Fenway Park. And they are cursed too. And they need Oscar's help because he might just be the one to lift the curse." Can't pass this one up. It's due out next month.
Karen and Bill at Literate Lives just celebrated their first blog birthday. This seems strange to me, because I kind of feel like they're been around, recommending kid-friendly books to me forever, but I wish them well. This week, Karen recommended a brand new title called Counter Clockwise, by Jason Cockcroft. Karen says of this middle grade time travel story, "When I finally put this book down, I felt short of breath. The story was mesmerizing, the characters were fascinating (and multi-dimensional, depending in which time continuum they are viewed), and the action was fast-paced. I literally heard myself gasp at least twice." Sounds hard to resist.
The Book Chook recently reviewed a title that's not actually available in the US, but it does look like a great book for reluctant readers, so I thought that I'd highlight the review. The book is Oddball by Janeen Brian. Susan says: "Published by Walker Books Australia in 2008, it's part of a series called Lightning Strikes, designed to support and motivate those kids who've somehow missed out on the joy of reading. The cover is eye-catching, and the format very cleverly designed with lots of white space and larger print. I think boys in particular will love Oddball. "
Another title that caught my eye was one reviewed by Ben at Guys Lit Wire: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. This one is an adult title about a New York doctor who used to be a hit man. Ben calls it "a literary drag race featuring mobsters, lost love and assassination by shark. Beat the Reaper is sardonic, clever ... all the way through. This is no Sopranos episode about the conflict between family and the Family, it's straight-ahead acceleration driven by betrayal, revenge, and violence."
Another intriguing Guys Lit Wire review comes from Trisha. She reviews The Lab by Jack Heath. Here's the start: "Six of Hearts is the best agent in the Deck, a vigilante group trying to reclaim the values of their city prior to its takeover. Six has a 100% success rate on his missions. He doesn't like smalltalk and his every action is based on logic. He is only sixteen years old. But that's not what makes him different." And this is a premise that catches my eye.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.