Friday, September 18, 2009

Whitehead Revisited

So, a while back I got into a little online exchange with the author of Sag Harbor, Colson Whitehead.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt so I bought the book, gave him my hard earned money, and sat down to read it. I made it about a chapter and a half. 

Fast forward to the day I received a syllabus that listed John Henry Days, another Whitehead book, as required reading. I thought to my self, "Self, give him another shot." I reread the first chapter and a half of Sag Harbor and actually made it all the way through the third. Progress!

But I felt no desire to keep reading. Strange, because I really wanted to have a well formed opinion about this book.

Of course, now it's clear, that this was my opinion. Is my opinion. Neither the protagonist nor the writing is compelling enough to even invest the few hours it would take to complete the book. Ouch.

John Henry Days, however, is a marvelous book. 4 Scoops for sure. It weaves together structure, content, and theme masterfully; all three components truly support and enhance each other. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reluctant Readers No More

For all you teachers out there I thought I would compile a list of books I've read that I think would be well received by teenage boys. 

1. Tyrell- Coe Booth
2. Sucker Punch- David Hernandez
3. Feed- M.T. Anderson
4. Mexican White Boy- Matt De La Pena
5. The Vast Fields of Ordinary- Nick Burd
6. Gentlemen- Michael Northrop

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ghenet's Contest

If you aren't already following All About Them Words then you should be. And now is a great time since she has just posted her first contest!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


(4.5 scoops)

This book does not come out until April 2010 so I can't find a picture of the cover to post here. As of now the book has a light sky blue cover with a few abstract clouds. Centered and about two inches from the top in black ink is the word mockingbird. It is lower case and in a font that resembles a youthful handwriting. A red heart dots the "i". Underneath that, in the same black font, is the phonetic spelling in parenthesis. The author's name is centered at the bottom. The simple and emotionally neutral cover is very appropriate for this book which is about a ten year old girl named Caitlin who has Asperger's Syndrome.

The story is told in first person which presents many challenges, all of which are skillfully and beautifully handled by the author. In reading this book I felt a very strong sense of Caitlin's character as well as the nuances of those around her. The book uses Asperberger's as a way of looking at grief and the hard lesson of learning empathy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Fade to Blue
by Sean Beaudoin
Now this is one cracked out read!

Let's start with the cover. So goth. So cool. Reading it on the train certainly broadcasts a certain don't sit next to me unless you're as cool as I am kinda vibe. Or at least it would if you were a Hot Topic shopping teenage girl looking for a black nail polish sportin' boy. And then that super stylized strip of comics on the side. Dizzying. Just like what's inside. The narrative is fragmented. Time and space are distorted. Characters question what is real. For a teenage-person who is just becoming a grownup-person this book might inspire some metaphysical inquiry. 

14 year old me would have been super stoked to stumble upon this book. Present day me...not so much.  But just look at the girl on the cover. She doesn't trust anyone over thirty anyways.