Sunday, February 24, 2008

Summer reading

What I’m Reading: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.

What I’m working on: Getting motivated. It's been a busy week. I used to plow through the weekends, too, even if the week was busy. However, I don't feel like a lazy slouch so much any more when I spend quality time with the husband or read and relax......but, still, I need to write.

New words Thursday: 148
New words Friday: 128
New words Saturday: 473
New words today: 255

Since my recent blogs had to do with both the bill-paying job and the writing gig, I figured I'd continue on that course for tonight.

Summer reading is just around the corner (even if it's still February). It's a project I have to start now.

The ninth through twelfth grade at my favorite high school will read a community book. I'll talk about it in another post at a later date. We'll be having a guest speaker when school starts back up to follow-up on the book. I'm quite excited about it, but again, that will be a later post.

The cool, new initiative we're starting is summer reading book clubs. Fifty or so of our seventy teachers will select a book (any book) to read this summer. We'll post all the books and a blurb (but not the name of the teacher who chose it) and the students will be able to read any of the books -- as many as they want (obviously) but they must read at least one.

Once school starts back, we'll have "book club" during advisory groups. The teacher(s) selecting the book will be revealed, and the students who read it, will join in for a book club discussion.
(Much better than a boring ole book report, don't you think?)
Now, I realize that for many teachers this will be great fun. They will have read something recently or even long ago that they'd love to discuss with the students. For others, a few might need some gentle prodding and a push in the direction of some good easy reads because there are always some that just don't appreciate the value of a good book.

That brings me to the actual topic. I may be reading a bit more YA or other genres for the next few months as I gather a list of great books to gently push toward some of our more reluctant teachers.

I've made a list of books I've discovered this weekend while doing research for this little work project. These first 3 are getting added to my TBR pile (near the top).

Peruse my list and let me know if there are any you're familiar with. What else could I add?

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik: "This is the first book in a superbly written, character-driven series, Temeraire, which conjures the Napoleonic-era military replete with aerial corps of fighting dragons and their handlers. When Captain Laurence of HMS Reliant takes a French frigate as a prize, the cargo includes a dragon egg due to hatch before the Reliant can reach a British aviators' base. When the hatchling chooses the captain to be his handler, Laurence's naval career comes to an end. He is now an aviator and a member of a service more tolerated than admired. Within very short order, he finds himself bonded with Temeraire, a most elegant and intelligent dragon, more closely than he has ever been bonded with anyone before, and that includes the lady he had thought he would marry. Novik fully integrates dragons into late-eighteenth-century military tactics and develops a convincing armed-service social milieu that includes the dragon corps. But what keeps one turning the pages is the urge to find out what happens next to Captain Laurence and Temeraire, characters who win one's heart from the beginning. Bravos for a most promising new author!" Booklist

Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton: "Chanda's Secrets is a novel with the lilt of Africa in its language and the urgency of adolescent struggle in every paragraph. When AIDS isn't just a faraway acronym, but a sinister, invisible poison that threaten to steal your family, creep into your night,mares, break your heart and darken your future, how do you learn to grow up with love and courage? that's one of Chanda's Secrets. This powerful story hits home with its harsh truths, its pain and its hard-won hopefulness. No-one can read Chanda's Secrets and remain untouched by the young people who are caught in the AIDS pandemic and still battling to make sense of their lives." Stephen Lewis, U.N. envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa

Beauty by Robin McKinley: "This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin. The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator." Amazon


I was going to list several more, but I think I'll save that for another post -- maybe tomorrow.

Happy reading ..... and don't forget to leave me some suggestions for 50+ books for high schoolers for summer. (And, please, no War and Peace. Summer reading should be fun.)


C. Alyson Love said...

Okay, here are some YA books I like or think high schoolers will really like although I haven't really thought them through from a book club perspective. I love that idea though. Sounds great!

The Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Speak, Twisted, and Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round things by Carolyn Mackler
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli
the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
Sold, Cut or My Brother's Keeper by Patricia McCormick
Gingerbread, Shrimp and Cupcake by Rachel Cohn
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Also I really liked Ordinary People by Judith Guest when I was that age, but it's very sad. Good luck with the list!