Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry Potter, even though I came to it later than most. Good versus evil, witchcraft and wizardry, friendship and identity…J. K. Rowling delivers the whole package. And even though there will always be a special place in my heart for Hogwart’s, as a general rule, I tend to prefer my fiction (even my YA fiction) a little…darker. Which is no surprise, considering if I went to Hogwart’s, the sorting hat wouldn’t have to think twice about putting me in Slytherin.
Golden Globes. Oscars. Grammys. Awards season is upon us, folks!
While I love seeing celebrities walk the red carpet and discussing the best movies and music of the year with friends, family, and co-workers, the awards ceremony that I most look forward to is the Youth Media Awards at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference.
The YMAs include the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Morris awards, just to name a few. Each award seeks to highlight the best in books published for children and young adults during the previous year. The full list of honored titles can be found here, but I wanted to share some of my favorites from what I’ve read over the past year.
If you’ve put off your holiday shopping until the last minute, don’t fret! In the span of a lunch break you can get pick up a bookish or Lawrence-themed gift for everyone on your list. In addition to supporting local businesses and artists, you won’t have to pay shipping!
Whether they devour YA books regularly or only check them out when a hot new title like The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars hits bestseller lists (or movie theaters), there’s a young adult novel for every reader on your list. Remember, there’s no rule that someone has to be a Real Actual Teen to enjoy a young adult novel; these are all great picks for adults looking for well-written and entertaining stories as well as teen readers. Read More..
Are you heading out of town to visit family or friends this holiday season? Are you dreading a car trip where everyone is constantly asking “are we there yet?” Audiobooks can make the time in a vehicle fly by and keep everyone entertained. Of course, finding something that fits everyone’s interest can be a bit tricky. These audiobooks are family friendly but entertaining enough for adults to enjoy. Read More..
After reading Prep, a novel about the trials and tribulations of a teen girl at boarding school, and American Wife, a novel whose main character is modeled after Laura Bush, I never expected that Curtis Sittenfeld’s next novel would be about psychic sisters.
Despite the supernatural hook, Sisterland is very much in the tradition of Sittenfeld’s previous novels, which feature startling realistic and unflinchingly honest narrators and examine complex family dynamics. Rather than an angsty teenage outsider or a wife who loves her husband but is at odds with his politics, Sisterland centers around Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, who both have “senses” that give them glimpses into the future. While Kate eschews her given name–Daisy–and her psychic abilities for a quiet life in the suburbs raising her two young children as a stay at home mom. Vi, who makes a living as a professional psychic, predicts a massive earthquake and appears on television warning local St. Louis residents, and Kate can’t escape the fallout, or her own premonitions. Read More..
I discovered The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (back when it was called the Southern Vampire Mysteries and before it was HBO’s True Blood) entirely on accident. I picked up the paperback on a whim while standing in line to buy Anna Karenina at The Dusty Bookshelf. The title caught my eye, and though I thought the cover art was a bit silly, the blurb on the back sounded fun and I thought it might balance out the serious and sad classic of Russian lit I’d already selected. Read More..
My best friend runs marathons. For fun. On the weekends. This requires lots of training, registration fees, and travel. I’ve always been kind of baffled by this choice of pastime. When I asked her why she decided to adopt this hobby, she explained that the endurance required to reach the finish line made her feel proud of her achievement. She ran just to prove to herself she could do it.
I still didn’t quite understand how she could get such joy from such an endeavor until I decided to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Weighing in at 3.2 pounds and 1079 pages, it’s the reader’s equivalent of running a marathon. After successfully completing the novel and actually enjoying it, I thought I’d share some tips for reading this intimidating yet rewarding book.
Mix one part teen angst, one part black humor, and one part witty prose, and you’ll get The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand.
For reasons never explained, Adam Strand has been unable to kill himself, and not for lack of trying. No matter what method he utilizes, he always wakes up hours later, alive and well. His friends, family, and the whole town know of his condition, and mostly just seem annoyed. But this book isn’t really about suicide: it’s about family and friendship and finding the will to live while recognizing the inevitability of death. Read More..
I’ve been nervous to read Ruta Septys’ debut novel, Between Shades of Gray because I knew a novel about the Holocaust would be an emotionally draining reading experience. When her second novel, Out of the Easy, was released, I thought a whodunnit murder mystery set in 1950s Louisiana would be a good introduction to her work. It proved to be a rich historical novel with a complex plot and a compelling protagonist. Read More..