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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

World Book Night: Those I've Read

Another year another thirty World Book Night titles. There are a few things on this year's list that I may never have encountered in my life as a reader. I'm weirdly excited to read a Nora Roberts book; I don't know that I've ever read a straight forward romance novel before. John Grisham as well, he's got such a large back catalog that I would probably have never picked up one of his books (though why the WBN decision makers chose a football story instead of a law thriller is beyond me). Probably what made me chuckle the most though was seeing Looking for Alaska by John Green make the list. I wrote in one of my WBN posts on the blog last year that this was the one book that my teenage customers insist that I read (after The Hunger Games, of course). I'll also be rereading a few books I have not picked up since high school; one I loved (The Handmaid's Tale) and one I absolutely hated (My Antonia). Then there is this year's embarrassing admission: I have never read a novel by Mark Twain. Not a one. Yep.

I'll get there soon! Until then, here are the selections I've read in the past:

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was one of the books that got me through high school. While I was writing my own weird, sad essays, David's collection reminded me that there were other weirdos out there – many, including David, were weirder than me, and they were out there turning their awkward missteps into humor. David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day is hysterical, often outlandish, but always greatly entertaining. I can go back to these stories time and again for a laugh. A brilliant pick for World Book Night.

Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is more of a fable than a novel. I read this just a few years ago, but the plot has not stuck with me. What did stick with me though is The Alchemist you will feel the warmth and hope its story provides.
the feeling it gave. It's a story of finding the path to your true self. This description doesn't really do the story justice. This is a book that betrays you with its simplicity. Long after you read
Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth has been one of my favorite books since childhood. I was introduced to this novel in the fifth grade (also known as the single best reading year of my life) and have reread it a few times since. The Phantom Tollbooth is the story of Milo's journey to another world and like most fantasy novels he has adventures, battles, and learns lessons, but unlike other fantasy novels (unlike most other books you will read) this book and its author are in love with words. The cleverness of the text intrigued me as a child and still does today. Obviously, I am not alone in this as an annotated edition by Leonard Marcus was released 2011. Juster's words and Jules Feiffer's wonderful art must mean the world to more than just me.

One of my all time easiest handsells to reluctant readers has got to by The Lighting Thief by Rick Riordan. The plot of this novel, that the son of Posieden has been framed for stealing Zeus' lightning bolt, really sells itself. That coupled with the fast pace of the novel makes it a sure win for any kid who thinks reading is boring. I read the entire five book series over one weekend and enjoyed it all the way through. Riordan ties his books back in to The Iliad and The Odyssey, but never in a way that becomes overwhelming to a reader that may be unfamiliar with those stories.

I've written about Fahrenheit 451, Middle School, and Bossypants before.

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