Monday, August 31, 2009

Tomorrow is a big day for YA books

Even though I am a junior high librarian, I usually don't write much here about young adult books. I really don't like books written for teens very much, but I do have to read some books so that I can feel conscientious. After two years in a junior high library, I still haven't acquired a real taste for young adult books. However, I am very excited about two YA books that are being released tomorrow. First, Catching Fire, the second book of the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I read the first book, Hunger Games, in the spring, and I LOVED it! I think Katniss, the main character, is a great girl character, one who is not focused on a boy or the need for a boy. There are two major minor boy characters, but Katniss has much more important things to worry about, things like surviving a fight to the death. I can't wait to see how Collins continues Katniss's story. A former co-worker got an advanced copy of Catching Fire and says it's even better than Hunger Games. I'm going to pick up three copies of the book tomorrow and plan to start reading as soon as possible, like tomorrow night or maybe even during the PTA meeting that I have to attend after work.

The other book is Ash by Malinda Lo. I read an advanced copy of this book in the spring. Ash is a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, but it's not overly Cinderella-ish. I liked it a lot, and I think that it will be exciting to see how Lo develops as an author. I had intended to blog about the book when I read the ARC, but I procrastinated, so I will try to post something about it after I have read the final copy.

In other reading news, I am still reading The Professor and the Madman, but I am itching to start something else. It's very nerdy but interesting. I'm not a big fan of nonfiction; it really is different from reading fiction. Maybe if I read more nonfiction, I would get used to the difference, but I have so many fiction books waiting in the wings that I don't think I will be able to squeeze in very many nonfiction choices. I do have one that I intend to read soon, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, but it will have to wait a little while. I know that I will read Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger next, then I will probably read Moby Dick or Middlemarch. I will probably go with Moby Dick because I can't seem to stop thinking about reading it. I'm not sure why I'm so obsessed with the idea of reading it, but I get weird like that about books sometimes. Or maybe I'm just weird. Now, I think I'll go to bed and read for a while. Later.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogging again with a reading update

I've been blogging since March 4, 2005. Looking at my archives, I see that I have blogged less and less as the years have passed. For 1.5 of those years, I can blame grad school while being an English teacher work for keeping me from being a regular blogger. Since the fall of 2007, I've been a junior high librarian, so I really have no excuse for not blogging more. I do have a work blog too, but I don't really post much there since my students are not allowed to access it at school. (Yeah, I just love Internet filters and adult paranoia. Don't you?)

Recently Valerie said that she had reviewed some of my old posts and that I should get back to it. She said that I write good/interesting posts. I know that she's biased, but I also know that she doesn't lie. In telling me this, she reminded me of how much I enjoyed blogging in the past. Well, I've decided that I'm going to blog more regularly. Starting with this post.

I finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson yesterday morning. I love Lisbeth Salander! She is a unique character, but I find her very believable. I really enjoyed Larsson's first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I thought all the information about Sweden's economy and financial sector was interesting, probably because it reflected well real life events in America and the world. Then the mysteries that make up the main plot were also interesting. I felt like Larsson was using his first book to say something about out of control greed on a grand scale. The Girl Who Played with Fire is a more straightforward mystery/thriller. Although some of the revelations of Lisbeth's secrets do cross the line into social commentary. When it's revealed that Lisbeth's father was a Russian hit man who had defected to Sweden and been allowed to break laws and be a monster for the sake of national security, I can hear Larsson sneering at that rationalization. But in this book, those moments are few and far between. This book is a page-turner! It has real excitement and quite a lot of violence, but I never felt the violence was gratuitous. I was able to figure out much of the mysteries before they were revealed in the narrative, but I still enjoyed the reading. After being left with Lisbeth's life hanging in the balance, I can't wait for the trilogy's finale The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, which comes out October 31, 2009. It should be interesting to see how Larsson ends the series.

In other reading news, my book club's current selection is The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, my book club is made up of a bunch of nerds. Actually, this is the nerdiest book that we have chosen in our over two years of existing. I'm not much of a nonfiction fan, but I do like words, and this book has a definition at the beginning of each chapter. Woohoo! ;-)

Okay, I think that's enough blabbing blogging for now. Later.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And the winner is...

Jane is the winner of The Girl Who Played with Fire! Jane, email me your address, and I'll get the book in the mail as soon as possible. I hope you read it soon and enjoy it as much as I am.

I am over half finished with the book, and I think it's more enjoyable than Larsson's previous book. It kept me up until almost 1:00 a.m. last night, and I might have read longer if I hadn't glanced at the clock when I came to the end of Part 3. I had to go to work today, so I decided to go to sleep instead of reading further. I will probably finish it in the next couple of days.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Book Giveaway!

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson hit bookstores on July 28. It is the follow up to Larsson's The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, which I read in the spring and blogged about here. (The earlier book is now out in paperback.) The publisher sent me a copy of The Girl Who Played with Fire to give away. I'm also supposed to have some temporary tattoos to give away also, but I have not received them yet.

If you haven't read the first book, I do recommend it, but don't let that keep you from entering the contest. I've read almost 100 pages of The Girl Who Played with Fire, and I think you could read the second book without having read the first book first. Larsson does a good job of filling in the pertinent background information

To be entered into the drawing for the book, all you have to do is leave a comment below with your name. This giveaway is open to those in the U.S. and Canada only, and the deadline for entry is midnight Central time, Friday, August 14, 2009. I will pick use a random integer generator to pick the winner and announce the winner on Monday, August 17.