Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Reads

As a teacher and librarian, I have the luxury of summer vacation breaks and I love reading.  Generally I choose one really long book to read--1000 pages is a good start--but this summer the grandchildren and I discovered the $1 rack.  Wow, some really good books at a fabulous price is just too good to pass up.  So, the kids picked three or four books each, and I forced myself to stop at about 10.  For about 20 bucks we are all set for the summer....there's nothing like sitting in the A/C with a good book and an ice cold diet Dr. Pepper!

Following are two that I've finished and the one I'm currently reading.  I've included photos and blurbs from Books A Million followed by my personal insights.

In The Night Journey by Kathryn Lasky, "thirteen-year-old Rachel dreads the afternoons she has to spend with her great- grandmother, Nana Sashie.  But when Nana Sashie begins to reminisce about her childhood in Russia, Rachel finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of memories. As the events and characters of Sashie's past come to life, Rachel discovers a distant country and time: a time when Jews were forced to serve in the Czar's armies or were murdered in pogroms, and a time when nine-year-old Sashie devised a wonderful plan to save her family from danger."

The Night Journey plays a bit too much into the hands of children: giving Sashie more abilities than her elders. However the story becomes more and more interesting as Sashie relives her memories.  I was annoyed with the story-in-a-story concept, but I usually am.  I’d have much preferred that Lasky simply tell Sashie’s story without Rachel’s life interrupting.  Those interruptions become farther and farther apart, effectively giving Sashie’s memories more pronounced importance.  That is, until the end.
Other books by Kathryn Lasky: May, Lone Wolf, The Capture, The Hatchling

Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen is a book about Rachel, "an overprotective single mother of two.  Rachel is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner--which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled ten-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of Rachel's children, who are about to be linked to the most-mocked girl in school, Rachel and Len begin dating. And when Len receives terrible news, little Olivia needs a hero more than ever.
But the world refuses to be predictable. When personal crisis profoundly alters Rachel's relationship with a wild, very special little girl, this perfectionist mother finds herself drawn into a mystery from her past and toward a new appreciation for her own children's imperfect lives."  Although a little slow at times, the book is an interesting read and allows one into Olivia's world.  I was disappointed that it takes Rachel such a long time to make her ultimate decision, but I assume that is because I'm more impetuous and a bit more radical.   I've been reading a few books about learning disorders lately.  Most of those have been nonfiction but I like reading fictional works in which the author has done great research into the issue. Olivia suffers from nonverbal learning disability, but the symptoms are very much like those of autism, which has become so prevalent today.  As an educator I appreciate being able to see the world from the family's viewpoint.
Other books by Tish Cohen: Townhouse, Little Black Lies, Switch
"Ask for It explains why it's essential to ask and teaches how to ask effectively, in ways that feel comfortable to you as a woman. Whether you currently avoid negotiating like the plague or consider yourself hard-charging and fearless, Babcock and Laschever's compelling stories of real women will help you recognize how much more you deserve--whether it's a raise, that overdue promotion, an exciting new assignment, or even extra help around the house. Their four-phase program, backed by years of research, will show you how to identify what you're really worth, maximize your bargaining power, develop the best strategy for your situation, and manage the reactions and emotions that may arise--on both sides. Guided step-by-step, you'll learn how to draw on the special strengths you bring to the negotiating table to reach agreements that benefit everyone involved."
This one is my current read.  Usually I read short novels in a day or two, not stopping till it's done.  But this is nonfiction and I just can't gobble it in the same way.  It takes a little more time to process and there's no story that makes me hang in to the end.  So far, I really like the anecdotes and the straight-forward approach to self-help.
And now for the question of the day:
What is your favorite genre or type of reading material?  Leave a comment for your extra entry to win the giveaway posted on Wednesday.  Remember you have to follow this blog and leave a comment on the original here for the direct link.  
Happy Quilting,

1 comment:

pasqueflower said...

It's hard to pick a favorite genre--I'll read almost anything! My grandmother and great-grandmother were librarians, and I'm married to a librarian, so I've always loved books.
Although it may sound silly, my favorite genre may be children's lit. I love reading classic children's stories to my grandchildren. (As you can tell by my most recent blog post, I am into grandmotherhood and children's art and lit in a fairly big way! Loved that your doctor framed his children's artwork for the office!)

In the adult section of the library, I tend toward fiction (not romance novels, but novels that would make a good chick flick if made into a movie). I also read a lot of nonfiction. (There's more nonfiction on my nightstand now than fiction.)

LeAnn aka pasqueflower