Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Madness (literary style)

The mental shift from writing YA to writing MG, means that the books I read for market research are now a lot shorter. As a result, not counting non-fiction books I read for research, in March I listened to 23 audio books. I read two books on my kindle. And I read two books on paper, for a grand total of 27 books. Below is a short discription of each.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – YA – A powerful story about a girls battle with anorexia, told in a haunting voice. See longer review here.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray – YA – A very funny tale about a boy with mad cow disease who goes off on a crazy adventure in search of a magic cure.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson – Travel/Memoir – The more of Bill Bryson’s books I read, the more I find myself wishing I knew him. His books are all so witty and funny in a way that makes me want to drink a few beers with the author (but not necessarily venture into the outback alone).

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – MG – A heart warming classic that is almost enough to make a person eager to do yard work on a spring day.

Soulless by Gail Carriger – Steampunk – This is a very funny story filled with vampires, wearwolves, ghosts, and abominations, and of course of a fair dosage of stonch Victorian manners too.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy and Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Cater – YA – The second & third books in the Galiger Girl series are just as filled with exciting girl spy’s as the first. The books are completely unbelievable in a fun way that will surely make the imaginations of tween girls reel with excitement.

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie – Mystery – Unlike most Agatha Christie novel’s the dead body didn’t show up until almost 2/3rds of the way into the story. Instead all the suspects and there motives were observed before anyone died. This didn’t make it any easier for me to pick the correct killer.

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary – MG – A beloved classic for a reason. See longer review here.

The Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – YA/SciFi – A gripping though sometimes troubling story about a brave young girl put in a horrific situation. See longer review here.

Amber Brown is Not a Crayon by Paula Danzinger – MG – A fun story about a spunky third grader. This book wasn’t published until I was in high school, so I missed it as a child, but found it an enjoyable form of market research now.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – MG/Fantacy – An exciting story about story books that can be read to life, with the unfortunate result that fictious villans magically pop into reality.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen – YA/Historical – This book is basically Gossip Girl set in the 1890’s. It’s characters are pretensious and callow, but still entertaining.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith – Steampunk – It’s about what I expected, Austin’s classic filled with brain eating zombies. I enjoyed it, but haven’t yet felt the need to run out and buy Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – Drama – A reclusive former singer songwriter, an obsessed fan, and a relatively normal 39 year old woman all caught in a bazaar love triangle. What isn’t to love?

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont – Writing – I’d heard all the useful tips in this book before. In general, I’ve found that I rarely enjoy reading “how to write” books. I’ve never been all that interested in reading the directions on anything. It feels to much like cheating, and I’m having fun figuring out how to write novels without too many how to books to distract me.

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart – YA – This book was better than I thought it would be based on the title, but it still wasn’t anything overly exciting. I’m starting to get sick of YA romances, so I guess it’s good I’ve decided to switch to writing MG books, so I can read them for a while instead.

The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry – MG/Historical – This tale set in 1910 about a nine year olds unlikely friendship with a developmently disabled boy sheds a touching light on historic thoughts about mental health and disability.

Lamb by Christopher Moore – Comedy – The gospel according to Biff is just as funny as it is sacreligious. See longer review here.

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry – MG – This story about an eleven year old boys struggle to help his grandparents keep his family’s range afloat when his parents are off fighting in Iraq is both timely and powerful. I fell in love with the characters and often cried even when Brother had the strength to keep himself composed.

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt – YA – This is a powerful story about an adopted teen’s reunion with her birth mother. It questions definitions of family and shows great love without any annoying lustfilled romance.

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott – YA – A alcholoic teen comes out of rehab and tries to pull her life together and accept the reality of the death of her best friend who died while driving drunk just before Amy went into rehab.

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris – Comedy – I am a big fan of David Sedaris, but I think I like his later stuff better than this early work.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare – MG/Historic – This book won the 1984 Newbery Award for a reason. It is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. I doesn’t matter if you are ten or eighty, this story about a young white settler who is schooled in the ways of the forest by a Native American boy during the summer of 1768 is worth reading.

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten – YA – I love the voice of this character. The story was told in a charming and funny way. But the story itself wasn’t as delightful as the storytelling.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin – YA – When a 16 year old girl hits her head and forgets everything that happened to her in the past five years she begins to question everything about herself and who she is. Who are her friends? And how shallow was she? This YA book examines the peculare lives of teens in a way that stands above many other YA novels.

Joke of the Day
A kindergarten teacher asked the children just before she escorted them to the library, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in the Library?"
A girl smiled and said, "Because people are sleeping."

No comments: