Random Musings…

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Interesting article in today’s New York Times about a new website called Bookish.com that promises to have information about “all things literary: suggestions on what books to buy, reviews of books, excerpts from books, and news about authors.” The site hasn’t been launched yet, but to learn more, here’s the link to the Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/books/publishers-plan-a-joint-one-stop-book-site.html

I’ll definitely visit the site and hope it’s wonderful, but I’ve been using Amazon for all of that information, and it’s worked pretty well. We’ll see…

This past week, I took one of my students to hear Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of the new book I’ll Be There. Sloan was speaking at the Front Street Book Shop in Scituate, and since I’ve heard so much about the book, I thought it would be a worthwhile adventure. I enjoyed hearing Sloan’s presentation about her book and her life as a writer and director of films like Angels in the Outfield and The Crocodile Hunter, but I especially enjoyed talking with one of my students about books and reading away from the classroom.

I haven’t read I’ll Be There yet, but I talked with someone today who has and they loved it. This woman (who works in another bookstore) said the story about two boys who have been kidnapped by their father is somewhat violent, but an appropriate and compelling read for kids over the age of 12.  When Sloan was talking about her characters, it reminded me of Emma Donoghue’s successful novel, Room. Both books center on children who have been separated from “ordinary” daily life because of their parents. Here’s a review of I’ll Be There from Booklist: “A harrowing survival story…. Sam and Riddle are wonderfully appealing characters….  A highly suspenseful read with a dynamic, cinematic quality that keeps the pages turning to the satisfying conclusion.” 

I want to read it soon because Inly’s summer reading list is almost a wrap, and if Sloan’s novel is as good as I expect it to be, it will be added to the Middle School list.

Finally, I re-read Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars yesterday. I don’t think I’ve read her Newbery-winning novel since it was published twenty years ago. This time it was not so much the story of Jews evacuating from WWWII-era Denmark that captivated me, but the structure of the novel. It’s so incredibly fluid. The way Lowry weaves in the story of Little Red Riding Hood is lovely. And, most of all, because there are no graphic violent scenes, it’s a perfect book to introduce the Holocaust to younger readers (over 10).  Lowry doesn’t sugarcoat, but she inspires.

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