Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ahhh, Summer Reading Club is oooover. Darn! The worst thing about the end of summer is all the teens going off to college. Six of my best volunteers have moved on to academia, one to Princeton, one to Olin, one to Moravian, one to Waynesburg, one to KSU and one to Mount St. Mary's. And I am stuck here. They will miss the Teen Pizza Party than-q loud raucous bash and some of them will miss the Fall Fest. But, there's a whole crew of younger teens still hanging around shelving and shelf reading and straightening things up and generally brightening my day.

Okay, I found my inner reader again this summer. For months there, I was too busy dealing with family issues (death, wedding, etc.) to do a lot of recreational reading but I'm back and oh boy I have been reading some good stuff.

I read L. M. Meyer's fourth entry into the Bloody Jack series, "In the Belly of the Bloodhound" where the entire girls' school is sold into slavery and Jackie must join forces with her arch enemy Cornelia (?) to get free. Another romp into the realm of imagination stretching and early 19th century seaman- oops seapersonship, the pages practically turn themselves. Not for the squeamish, though.

HP 7 - like most of the people I've talked to, I found the cheery epilogue jarring. But on the whole, this was a satisfying end to the most read epic for children and teens ever.

e. lockhart has a superb book coming out - "The Outrageous History of Frankie Landau-Banks". A sophomore at a swanky, high prestige prep school, Frankie has bloomed over the summer - filling out and up and getting contacts. Suddenly, boys - who only talked to her because of her sister - notice her. And she becomes the girlfriend of very popular and handsome Matthew. Because her father attended Alabaster Academy, Frankie knows of the "secret" all-male prankster club, the Basset Society. Long story short - she infiltrates the society via email and takes it over and only one Basset is aware that an infiltration has taken place. EXCEPT that that is not really what the book is about. Pranks and cleverness abound - along with a rude awakening. Here's some good news and some bad news. Bad news first - the book isn't due out until MARCH of 2008!!! Good news - Frankie's just a sophomore and we might be meeting up with her again.

I am in the process of reading the new Cornelia Funke due out in September, "Igraine the Brave". I left off just as Sir Hedgehog, the evil knight, has discovered the special spell-removing powder that Igraine used to remove a victory spell from Sir Hedgehog's lance. (Hi real name is something like Sir Rowan of the whatever. The book's at home and I'm not.) Igraine lives with her magician parents and older brother and all she (Igraine) wants is to become a knight like her great-grandfather. I'm almost done and only sleep and work have kept me from finishing it.

I also read "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls. Um, engrossing memoir for sure but NOT enjoyable. The book made me so anxious that I couldn't sleep. Jeanette's parents led those kids through such a wild, dangerous childhood that I'm surprised they (the grown-up kids) aren't all in padded cells and yet, there is something intriguing about people who can be so unconcerned about public opinion. My family life looks so idyllic after reading that book ( and actually it is).

The last book in the Charlie Bone series, "Charlie and the Bone and the Beast" was a noble addition to the series. Loose ends are tied up and evil forces are vanquished and animals and "un-endowed" young friends all play an important part.

And the very last book by the late Lloyd Alexander, "The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio", seems to mirror Alexander's life. A dreamer, Carlo Chuchio, goes searching for treasure and finds adventure, self-awareness and a life mate in the process. Magic abounds and humor is ever present for Alexander had a playful way of viewing life. (Chuchio means 'donkey' in the language that Carlo speaks.) When the book was finished, it is rumored that Alexander said "My life's work is done." Lloyd Alexander died in May two weeks after his beloved wife died. I still am saddened by his passing.

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