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Monday, May 12, 2014

World Book Night: The Fifth Batch

With this five I have now read twenty-seven of the thirty-five WBN choices; the final eight will have to wait for me a while as Victoria and I began our re-read of the Harry Potter series yesterday, and I’ll be in a state of Potter mania for the bulk of the summer!

Rebecca Lee’s Bobcat and Other Stories has left me with a hunger for short works. The stories in this collection are wonderful. With such a small amount of space Lee was about to fully draw me in to each story and make me care about the lives of her characters. All the while I was lingering over various lines and phrases simply admiring the prose. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by Lee and I thank the WBN committee for introducing me to these stories!

Can something be both idyllic and jaded? If so, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin is a wonderful mingling of the two. This novel of an almost-but-not-quite magical apartment building in San Francisco in the 1970s was such an entertaining read. This book is full of wit, heart, and sass – it’s just a good time.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is one of those books you have to talk about. I have probably mentioned some element of this book in conversation every day since I started reading it. The idea of “little things” making a “big difference” and just what makes things tip is compelling and so interesting to talk about. Definitely a good choice for book clubs (of which it has been a staple for a while now) as it is sure to get conversations going.
Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon have created a perfect middle grade mystery in Zora and Me. Using facts from Zora Neale Hurston’s early life they imbued this novel with a pitch perfect sense of time and place. The imagination at the center of this story fully realizes the spirit of Zora and her tall tales – child readers will enjoy the fun and fear of the mystery while adult readers see a portrait of the child Zora who will continue to challenge established ideas, create great stories, and teach us much about race and history through her collections of folklore. And adult readers get to enjoy the fun too.

Reading Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers was a jarring experience. Myers lulls readers with the monotony and boredom of everyday life for soldiers in Iraq; then just as you settle into that idea of life catastrophe strikes. The sheer psychic rift of inaction shifting dangerously fast into violent action was the greatest thing I took from this novel. While it is still difficult for me to imagine the life of a solider I feel that this novel helped put me into their frame of mind.

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