Monday, June 18, 2012

Taking a Little Reading Break

Since I've sort of been on a hiatus from big creative projects, in addition to cleaning and getting organized, I've been reading!  Seems like a long time since I've dug into any good fiction, so I've been reading a lot in the last few weeks.  It's such a great escape for me.  Here's some of my recent picks:

I really enjoyed The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice.  Even though I'm kind of tired of the whole vampire/werewolf overload in books and movies lately, she's such a great writer, I thought I'd give it a try.  It was fast-paced version of a wolf-transformation story set in Northern California, near the Redwood forest.  There is a nice twist in this version, as the character who becomes a man-wolf can sense evil and hear victims of violent crimes calling for help.  He becomes sort of a were-wolf super hero!  Sounds corny, I know, but it was a fun, fantastical, and even romantic read.
After that, I switched pace to some good Young Adult (YA) lit, in hopes of finding things I can recommend for my daughters this summer.  I started with The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan.  My girls used to love anything that had mermaids.  We had movies, books, Barbie's and costumes that were all mermaids!  I hope some of them will pick this one up this summer.  It's about a high-school girl living in California who wants to learn to surf, but for some mysterious reason, her father has forbidden it.  The story progresse as she sees what she thinks is a mermaid (or could it just be a seal) in the water, and then discovers a curious mirror among her dead mother's things.  It's another fantasy, with an air of mystery and romance similar to the old fashioned fairy tales, but set in modern times with a believable teenaged main character.

 A story I enjoyed even more than that was The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen.  It's about a high-school track star who loses her leg below the knee in a bus accident.  Told from her point of view, the story emphasizes her total despair at not being able to run anymore.  She makes slow progress  in the hospital, then at home, and finally returns to school in a wheel chair and on crutches.  As she begins the process of being fitted for a prosthetic leg, she meets another bright girl who is permanently wheel-chair-bound due to cerebral palsy.  The main character and entire community go through a major transformation as they work together to overcome the tragic bus accident, turning a tragedy into a victory.  I highly recommend this optimistic, uplifting book.

I also read two older books that have become classics.  These are both on the required reading list for my daughters over the summer.  I had never read The Five People You Meet in Heaven, although it's been around a while and has even been made into a movie.  I did enjoy it, but I'm kind of surprised it's required reading for an incoming 9th grader.  It really seems more like an adult book to me, as the main character is an adult and there are many serious topics, and a violent war scene.  I hope my daughter enjoys it.

I finished up with The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, which I read as a child but didn't really remember.  It's set in 17th century Connecticut, and tells the story of 16-year-old Kit who sails from Barbados after her grandfather's death to Connecticut to live with her aunt, whom she has never met.  She had a difficult adjustment into the Puritan household and stark conditions of early colonial America.  It won the Newbery the year it was published, and contains lots of interesting history as well as telling Kit's story. 

Have you read any good books lately?

1 comment:

Vivien Zepf said...

We are clearly on the same page (heh, heh, heh). I've been reading like a madwoman this month. I just finished The Language of Flowers, (enjoyable summer read) after reading The Hunger Games trilogy and Sergeant Rex, the true story about a K9 marine bomb detection team. The latter, while not great literature, gave me pause about what it's like in Iraq. Now I'm reading the Remains of the Day.