Recent Reads: Hale, Reisman, and Clare
Since friends know I like books (and by "like", I mean, need books like a koala needs eucalyptus leaves), they often ask me what I've read lately. For some reason, this question always makes my mind go totally blank. It's ridiculous. I'll have read three great books that afternoon, but when put on the spot, I'll come up with nothing. I have no idea why. I think it has something to do with all the 80s song lyrics that are clogging my brain... Anyway, in the interest of being able to answer this question on the fly, I thought I'd tell you guys about a few of the books that I recently read and loved. This way, I can just direct people to my blog when I draw a blank. Assuming, of course, that I can remember the URL...
First up is BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS by Shannon Hale. Shannon is a master storyteller, and this is my favorite book of hers (at least so far -- I don't know what she's working on next). It's based on a fairy tale called Maid Maleen about a princess who refuses to marry the suitor her father chooses and so her father imprisons her in a tower. Shannon's story is told in diary-format from the point-of-view of the servant who agrees to be imprisoned with the princess. It's a beautiful story with a strong, likeable, sensible heroine who grows through the tale to an ending that made me cheer out loud. I loved every page.
Second is SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER by Michael Reisman. I met Michael at a NJ library conference and thought he was awesome. His presentation even included costume changes and juggling. His book is also fun and awesome. It's about a boy who finds a book that allows him to control the laws of physics (for example, eliminating the effects of gravity in his bedroom or lessening friction so he can "skate" over the ground). Many, many super-fun scenes. But one of the things that I think makes this book important is that running beneath every scene is the theme "science is cool." This feeling of joy-in-science makes Gravity Keeper a nice counter-balance to all the dystopian SF out there. It's a perfect read for any kid/preteen who has shown even a smidge of interest in science.
Last but not least is CITY OF ASHES by Cassandra Clare. This is book two in Cassie's Mortal Instruments trilogy. I enjoyed the first book (City of Bones), but I think this book is even better. It's full of magic and kick-butt fight scenes (yay!), and it also has laugh-out-loud clever dialogue. One of my favorite scenes involves a character trying to convince another character to tell his parents that he's become a vampire. She hands him a how-to-come-out-to-your-parents brochure, and he tries it out, substituting in the word "undead." I think it's the humor that I love most about this book. It makes the characters feel real, and it makes the book a whole lot of fun.
Ooh, and I just realized, today is June 9th, which means there are just ten days left until Out of the Wild comes out!!!!! I'm so excited. Let the countdown begin!